There are more than nine reasons, trust us – but these should be enough to whet the appetite. From watching the sunrise from the top of Lion’s Head to dining at one of the world’s best restaurants, experiential luxury travel in Cape Town has so much to offer, no matter what you like to do on holiday. Here are just some of the reasons to make Cape Town part of your next trip to South Africa.
1. It has a mountainous national park right in the city
The iconic symbol of Cape Town, Table Mountain, rises up behind the city’s downtown, creating one of the most instantly recognisable landscapes in the world. Not only does it look mighty fine, the mountain and its surrounding peaks also provide countless trails for hiking and running, right from the city.
2. You can surf with dolphins and seals
Surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean, Cape Town is a water-lovers paradise – though the water is cold, so wetsuits are recommended! Locals and visitors alike spend their mornings surfing, body-boarding, kite-surfing, wind-surfing and stand-up paddle boarding. Often, you’ll spot seals playing in the surf and dolphins curiously checking out the goings-on.
3. Fine wine doesn’t break the bank
One of the main reasons Cape Town is such a popular destination is because right outside the city are some of the world’s best wineries. Tucked amongst rolling hills of vines, South Africa’s wine farms produce some excellent vintages – and you can get many for a fraction of the cost it would be at home. The Constantia winelands are the closest to the city, just 20 minutes outside the centre; it is the oldest wine producing region in the southern Hemisphere. A bit further afield are the famous wine regions of Stellenbosch and Franschhoek.
4. There’s a new foodie hotspot every month
Cape Town loves eating out, whether it’s for breakfast, brunch, lunch or dinner. The foodie city has a new restaurant opening on at least a monthly basis, so there’s never a shortage of places to try or excuse for being bored. There’s a vast array of dining styles and cuisines on offer, from award-winning fine dining to feet-in-the-sand casual vibes, from South African braais and artisanal burgers to oyster bars and Aussie-style brekkies.
5. We have the only major museum of contemporary African art on the continent
If you haven’t heard about the Zeitz Museum of Contemporary African Art (MOCAA), where have you been? Located in the V&A waterfront, this huge museum opened in a strikingly restored grain silo in September 2017 and showcases some of the most interesting contemporary art pieces from African artists.
6. Some of the world’s best luxury hotels are found here
Atop the Zeitz MOCAA, The Silo is one of the newest hotels in the city, noted for its quirky design and the huge, pillow windows of the Thomas Heatherwick-designed silo building. Ellerman House is a classic choice for those who are looking for comfortable, elegant luxury travel in Cape Town. The Mount Nelson is one of the oldest hotels and has attracted a host of famous names over the years.
7. History is everywhere
The fascinating District Six museum reveals the troubled past of this part of central Cape Town: under apartheid law, thousands of people living here were forcibly removed to make it a “whites-only” zone. The museum tells this story through personal artefacts like photographs and letters. Another site of South African history, Robben Island is located a short boat journey from the V&A Waterfront and is where Nelson Mandela and many other important anti-apartheid activists were imprisoned. Part of the tour around the prison is led by a former inmate, making for a raw and emotional lesson in history.
8. There’s an adventure around every corner
Your trip to Cape Town can be as relaxed or adrenaline-fuelled as you like. For the latter, the options are endless. Try abseiling off the top of Table Mountain or paragliding from Signal Hill. A little further outside Cape Town, you can cage dive with great white sharks and zip-line or quad bike through the forests. For softer adventure, head out for a kayak along the city coastline or hike up to the top of Lion’s Head in time for sunrise or sunset.
9. There’s a penguin colony!
Just over an hour’s drive from downtown Cape Town is the famous colony of African penguins at Boulders Beach. Set in the midst of a residential area, it is one of only two sites where this endangered bird can be observed at close range, wandering freely in a protected natural environment.