A South African holiday is a unique experience, the highlights of which include breathtaking safaris, stunning coastal drives and unique cultural encounters. However, to really see the best of South Africa, you have to visit Cape Town. This legislative capital of South Africa is one of the most multicultural cities in the world, and it makes an ideal holiday destination because it has something to suit every taste. There are many reasons it appears so often on lists of the most beautiful cities in the world, and below we discuss eight of them.
1. The Food!
If there is no other reason to visit Cape Town, it’s the food. Cape Town is the most reasonably priced, delicious city that I’ve been to. Given the melting pot of people that have populated the city over the years, the flavors are abundant, ranging from the brightly spiced beef-jerky-like snack of biltong to mouthwatering braais (barbecues) to exquisite classic French dishes.
Be adventurous and try something different like a fragrant Cape Malay curry or wild game like kudu, springbok, or zebra. The best part? It’s all priced at a fraction of the cost you’d expect stateside.
2. Best Wine in the World
All that food requires some world-class wines. Cape Town has gourmands covered with not one, not two, but three wine appellations producing some of the best Chenin Blancs and Pinotages you’ll ever taste.
Whether you prefer the quaintness of Paarl, the chicness of Franschhoek, or the heritage of Stellenbosch, be sure to visit at least one of the wine regions. Each is a short drive away. I recommend booking a night or two on a vineyard to truly become one with the terroir. Plus, some of the best food you’ll find in Cape Town is at the vineyards.
3. Table Mountain
Where else in the world would you be able to see this prominent landmark if not Cape Town? One can choose to either use a Cable car or go hiking. The Cableway is the easiest and quickest way, taking around 5 minutes and costs 255 South African Rands (ZAR) for a return ticket. This cable car gives a great 360 degrees view of Cape Town city, Robben Island and part of the Peninsular.
4. Brilliant Nightlife
Many have equated the scene on Long Street to that of Bourbon Street in New Orleans, and they’re not that far off. The only difference is that food and drink on Long Street is actually affordable.
Forgo the tourist trap of the Victoria and Alfred Waterfront and party with the locals on Long Street. There are plenty of bars and restaurants to catch a taste of the South African nightlife. I recommend Beer House for live music and an awesome craft beer selection.
5. Robben Island
Off the coast of Cape Town is the UNESCO-listed Robben island, a name that translates to ‘seal island’. It has a gruesome, but historically significant, past. This was the site of the prison where Nelson Mandela spend 18 years before the fall of apartheid—a fascinating reason to make sure you add Cape Town to your South Africa holiday itinerary.
Cape Town is a well-known shopping destination especially popular with other African citizens. Many international brands which may not be available anywhere else in Africa find their way in Cape Town.
The most popular shopping mall is the Victoria & Alfred or popularly known as the Waterfront. If the waterfront is too touristy for you, then Canal Walk Mall in Century city is your other option. Or head over to the hipster neighborhood of Woodstock for the Saturday morning Neighborhood Market at Biscuit Mill. Vendors are on hand selling everything from farm-fresh produce to artisan foods to crafts. Biscuit Mill is a cool place to check out with plenty of restaurants, boutiques, and art galleries showcasing the best of Cape Town.
7. Colorful Streets of Bo-Kaap (Malay Quarter)
South Africa is nicknamed the Rainbow Nation due to its cultural and ethnic mixture. These beautiful houses in the Bo-Kaap area of Cape Town are just another reason why South Africa is a rainbow nation.
This culturally diverse neighborhood on the foot of Signal Hill consists of Malaysian people, African, Indian and Sri Lankans who settled in the 16th century after being ferried by the Dutch from their original homes to work as slaves.
8. Pristine Beaches
Cape Town has a diverse and spectacular selection of beaches dotted along its Atlantic and Indian Ocean coastlines, each with their own distinct personalities and top attractions. Here are some of our favourites.
The pristine beaches of Cape Town are top among the reasons people make their way to the city every year. With the spectacular backdrop of the Cape Fold Mountain range, the Mother City’s beaches are of the most scenic in the world. There are a lot of beaches to choose from since the Indian Ocean and Atlantic Ocean borders the coastal city.