Cape Town Travel Guide

Cape Town is fondly known as the Mother City—but Mother of All Cities might be a more accurate description. From jaw-dropping scenery to centuries-old architecture mingling with minimalist modern design, this scenic South African beauty encompasses it all. Its buzzing harbor and streets house nightlife and storefronts, and its beaches and mountainous surroundings are bursting with flora and fauna. The city is set against the backdrop of the iconic Table Mountain plateau and sapphire blue Table Bay, famous for its seal population and great white sharks. Cape Town’s rich history, modern culture, and incredible attractions make it a true metropolis on the coast. T+L’s guide will help you navigate all its highlights, historic and contemporary.

The fall (April to June) is an ideal time to visit Cape Town to experience the wine harvest in the surrounding vineyards, while spring (September to November) is notable for views of the flowers and purple jacaranda trees in full bloom across the city. Cape Town’s winters tend to be windy and rainy, especially in June through August.

Restaurants in Cape Town

Cape Town chefs have been quietly making a name for themselves on the tip of the African continent, sourcing a bounty of exquisite fresh ingredients and going all out with creative techniques and combinations. From seafood to braai (barbecue), from Italian to burgers, and, above all, coffee (Capetonians take theirs very seriously), it’s hard to find something this culinary-minded city doesn’t get just right. Seafood is often the star of Cape Town dishes, courtesy of South Africa’s coastlines and more-distant African shores like Namibia.

Hotels in Cape Town

Hotels in Cape Town offer breathtaking views, both of the city’s many natural wonders and of the city itself. Many Cape Town hotels offer hip and stylish accommodations close to Cape Town’s center and along its shores, while old-luxury style hotels can be found just outside the city—some of these even boast their own wineries. Most of Cape Town’s luxury hotels—Cape Grace and the One&Only among them—are clustered around the V&A Waterfront district. But you’ll find a broad mix of lodging options across the city, from elegant mansions overlooking the sea (Ellerman House) to a colonial-era grande dame (Belmond Mount Nelson) to a historic city-center villa transformed into a chic bolt-hole (Cape Heritage Hotel).

Shopping in Cape Town

There’s no debate as to why Cape Town was chosen as World Design Capital 2014—the city’s fashion, crafts, and accessories scene is booming, even more so since it passed off its crown at the end of its reign. A favorable exchange rate means a shopping spree of the best of South Africa’s design offerings is in your destiny.

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