cape town south africa table mountain

Cape Town Holidays

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Cultural Cape Town

A holiday in Cape Town is a truly unforgettable experience. Not only is this port city one of the most exciting and bustling parts of the African continent, it’s set in a gorgeous natural landscape.  

Table Mountain and the Cape of Good Hope offer an unbeatable beauty that’s bound to win your heart – and fill your camera roll. Ride the cableway – or go on a hike – to take in majestic views from the top of Table Mountain. 

Urban Cape Town also has much to offer, with a patchwork of places beating to their own drums. Step into the urban core, surrounded by skyscrapers and commerce, before heading into picture-perfect cultural suburbs such as Bo-Kaap. 

Marvel at the flora and fauna at Kirstenbosch or taste paradise at the luxury beach resorts. If you’re on a Cape Town adventure holiday, you could try a spot of surfing and visit the resident penguins of Boulders Beach.

cape town cable car

Things to do in Cape Town

There’s so much to fit into a holiday to Cape Town. Here are a few ideas for things to see and do while you’re here.

cape town south africa cape point

See Cape Point

The Cape of Good Hope gives Cape Town its name. The area spans almost 50 square miles of Table Mountain National Park and is full of fantastic places to hike, relax on beautiful beaches or dine with ocean views. 

Cape Point is the dramatic ridge that juts out into the South Atlantic Ocean. It’s well worth the trip from the city, as it remains one of the most unspoilt tourist attractions in the region. Wander along to the remote lighthouse and take in striking views over the southern tip of Africa.

Where to stay in Cape Town

Local culture in Bo-Kaap

Close to Cape Town’s city centre is the vibrant Bo-Kaap district. It’s one of Cape Town’s most iconic areas, where heritage flea markets and sushi restaurants sit side-by-side. 

Top attractions nearby include the Castle of Good Hope, Fugard Theatre and the Iziko Slave Lodge museum. Cape Town Lodge Hotel is just a few minutes’ walk away.

cape town south africa pink yellow houses
cape town south africa cape town bay beach

Upmarket Camps Bay

You’ll be entertained all day long at Camps Bay. Indulge in luxury shopping on the promenade in the morning, lounge on golden sands in the afternoon and dine on rooftops as the sun sets in this beautiful enclave. 

Camps Bay is the perfect destination for romantic holidays in Cape Town. That’s thanks to the magnificent views of the Twelve Apostles mountain range, plus a sparkling selection of high-fashion outlets, and the gorgeous Clifton Beach.

Peaceful Fish Hoek

If you’re booking a family holiday in Cape Town, you’ll love spending time in this warm and welcoming neighbourhood to the south of the city. The colourful Kalk Bay Harbour packs in plenty of fishing-village charms, with regular whale watching excursions for nature lovers.  

As one of the last working harbours on the Cape Bay peninsula, it retains a traditional aura. The Dalebrook Tidal Pool is an ideal spot for swimming, sunbathing and sandcastles – as an added bonus, it’s secluded from south-easterly winds.

cape town south africa fish hoek
cape town south africa kirstenhosch flowers

All you need to know about Cape Town

Local currency

The South African rand (ZAR) is the currency used in Cape Town. ATMs are widely available and most places accept debit and credit cards. 

Getting around 

The MyCiti bus and City Sightseeing bus are convenient ways to get around Cape Town and the surrounding areas. There are also metred taxis, car, bicycle hire and trains.

Languages spoken

English, Afrikaans and Xhosa are the most commonly spoken languages in Cape Town. Afrikaans is closely related to Dutch, while Xhosa is native to the Eastern Cape Province. 

Public holidays

Important public holidays include Freedom Day on 27 April which marks the anniversary of South Africa's first non-racial election of 1994. Heritage Day on 24 September celebrates the nation’s culture and diversity.

More about Cape Town

Vibrant cultural events

A holiday in Cape Town will open you up to a vibrant mix of cultures, which is reflected in an exciting calendar of events. The second day of January brings the annual Cape Town Minstrel Carnival. Known locally as Tweede Nuwe Jaar, meaning ‘Second New Year’, it’s an important festival for many communities in the city.  

The event is an important chance for communities to come together and the celebrations are loud and energetic. Bounce along to the rhythm of the performers (called Kaapse Klopse) as they play traditional ghoema music and dance through the streets.

cape town carnival music
cape town south africa mandela prison

Rich heritage

Robben Island is one of the most historically significant locations in South Africa. Nelson Mandela spent 27 years on this former prison island, which you can reach via ferry from Cape Town. Explore more than 500 years of history at Robben Island and you’ll learn how it evolved from a place for ships to drop off supplies, to its many years as a prison.  

The De Waterkant district is a good place to discover the city’s heritage, as it’s adorned with authentic architecture from its colonial past. Take the Cape Care route to learn about the many innovative contemporary arts and community projects galvanising the city. 

Local cuisine

Grills called ‘braai’ are one of the most popular forms of cooking in Cape Town. The process involves roasting meats such as wild game in the open air. It’s more than just making a meal – these are community gatherings. On public holidays, locals often take to the streets to socialise and share food. 

Cape Town retains a strong British influence – so you’re likely to find fish and chip shops among the dining options. Gatsby is a popular sandwich-style dish which blends game meat or fish with various sauces. You’ve got to try bobotie – a lasagne-style signature dish of the Cape Malay community, made with minced beef, fragrant spices and dried fruit.

cape town south africa braai
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Why we love Cape Town

“There are so many ways to enjoy Cape Town. It’s easy to get from the gorgeous beach resorts to the many cultural, historical and picturesque attractions. The Nelson Mandela Gateway to Robben Island is a real highlight.” 

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