Where to Stay
Cape Town offers plenty of variety, everything from five-star luxury to budget. Top end destinations include the Cape Grace, The Table Bay Hotel and Bay Hotel. Accommodation is accredited by the national Tourism Grading Council, which upholds very high standards.
Eating out in Cape Town can be summed up in four words: top quality, fresh ingredients. The food is a melting pot of African, Eastern, Dutch and English flavours. The Cape Malay community brought spices from the Far East to this corner of Africa generations ago. The aromatic Oriental flavours of cardamom, cloves, cinnamon and turmeric infuse sweet, mild curries. Key dishes include bobotie – meat or fish pie, rich with the flavours of Indonesia such as nutmeg, turmeric and bay leaves. It is served topped with egg custard and accompanied by traditional chutney. Hearty dishes are served with yellow rice or accompanied with the flavours of pumpkin fritters or Masala chips. Many of the Cape’s premier restaurants are situated on wine estates, where the best local wines complement fine fare.
The V&A Waterfront hosts upmarket shops, fine restaurants, museums and a world-class aquarium all under one roof. There are more than 400 stores of all shapes and sizes. Head to Long Street and Church Street for antiques shops and markets. Craft shops can be found all over town and good buys include the local township produce such as beadwork dolls.
You've heard of the Big Five; Cape Town has the Big Six - six icons that is, that form part of the Western Cape's must-see attractions.
These include the V&A Waterfront, a unique shopping and entertainment environment; the Table Mountain Cable Way which offers 360 degree views of the Cape as it ascends to the mountain's summit; the renowned Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens; Robben Island, once the prison cell of Nelson Mandela; Constantia Vineyards, the oldest wine-making region in the southern hemisphere and the rugged cliffs and fynbos covered vistas of Cape Point, the south westernmost tip of Africa.
The western Cape offers much more than this and visitors venturing off-the-beaten-track will not be disappointed with what's waiting to be discovered. In Hermanus for example, whale watching is a popular activity while along the Garden Route adrenaline junkies launch themselves from the world's highest commercial bungee jump. Cape Aghulhas, where two oceans meet and Touws River where lions, leopards, buffalo, rhinos and elephants still roam are just a couple of the lesser-known destinations that are becoming increasingky frequented.
Cape Town offers a healthy live music scene, from Jazz at Green Dolphin to classical music at City Hall, Clubs are concentrated in the City Bowl, around Long Street on Broadway and at number of venues around the town.
How To Get there
There are plenty of airlines offering flights to Cape Town from major UK airports including Heathrow, Birmingham, Manchester, Aberdeen, Belfast, Glasgow, Cardiff, Newcastle and Gatwick. After Cape Town, the next closest international airport is O.R. Tambo in Johannesburg, the hub for 55 airlines from all five continents.
Operators featuring the destination include Travel 2 and Gold Medal and specialists African Pride, Africa Collection and Southern Africa Travel.
How to Get Around
There are a number of options to get around the city including walking tours, the city sightseeing bus, miinibus taxis and non-shared taxis, as well as bicycle, motorbike and car hire.
Cape Minstrel Carnival - same date every year - 2 Jan
J&B Met - the last Saturday of January
Old Mutual Two Oceans Marathon - the Saturday of Easter
Cape Town International Jazz Festival - April
Riebeek Valley Olive Festival - the first weekend in May
Wacky Wine Weekend - the first weekend in June
Isuzu Berg River Canoe Marathon - July
Hermanus Whale Festival - September
Cape Town International Kite Festival - October
Discovery Cape Times Big Walk - November
Location: Located on the shore of Table Bay, Cape Town sits on the Cape Peninsula in South Africa
Currency: Rand (R1=100 cents)
Time: GMT +2 hours
International dialing code: +27
Language: There are 11 official languages, including English. Most South Africans are multi-lingual and English is fairly widely spoken, notably in urban centres
Religion: Christian majority
Visas: For the majority of foreign nationals who travel to South Africa for a holiday, entry is straightforward and hassle-free. All visitors to South Africa must be in possession of a valid passport, but for many countries, visas are not required up to a maximum number of days.
Airports: Cape Town International Airport is the second largest airport in South Africa.
Airlines: Carriers to Cape Town include South African Airways and British Airways.
Flight time: approximately 11 hours.
For more information call South African Tourism on 0870-155 0044 or see www.southafrica.net For regional information see the Western Cape and Cape Town tourism's Website at www.tourismcapetown.co.za and the Eastern Cape Tourism site at www.ectourism.co.za