[Wanderlust Tips June 2018] Cape Town, the south-western city of South Africa, is blessed with typical mediterranean climate throughout the year.
In the summer, the weather is cool and pleasant with the average temperature of below 26 degrees celsius, while the temperature in the winter is often higher than 8 degrees celsius. However, if it does not have a special geographic location where the indian ocean meets the Atlantic ocean and the hot current meets the cold current, if famous explorers did not choose this place as the rest stop on their expenditures, if bustling maritime trades hadn’t taken place over the centuries, Cape Town still might be a secluded place like many other destinations in Africa. All of the features mentioned above have turned Cape Town into the most beautiful city in South Africa, and it is likely to be the most attractive one in Africa. In fact, Cape Town is always in the top ten of mustvisit cities in the world by travellers. Moreover, Cape Town always makes you feel refreshed and excited by the breezes from the ocean that blows away the polluted air, and you are always rewarded with beautiful sunny days.
Onomo Hotel Cape Town Inn On The Square
If you want to stay in the heart of the city for a reasonable price, ONOMO is a perfect choice. With 165 3-star bedrooms, the hotel serves breakfast and includes all essential amenities for your stay. One of the advantages of this hotel is its extremely convenient location right next to the Hop On Hop Off. Moreover, Green Market Square is in front of the hotel; it is a local market that sells all kinds of extremely eye-catching souvenirs.
- Address: 10 Green Market Square, Cape Town City Center, Cape Town, South Africa
- Prices: from USD150 per room per night
Southern Sun the Cullinan
The hotel is located in the heart of the Mother City. It consists of 394 rooms with modern facilities that combine classic and contemporary architecture.
With its prime location at the centre, visitors can easily reach famous sites such as Victoria and Alfred Waterfront, Kirstenbosch National Botanical Gardens, Table Mountain, and Camps Bay Beach. Guests can enjoy fine cuisine delicately cooked by chefs at The Peach Tree while being immersed in the melodious music of a piano. You will also be satisfied when visiting the Stella Café & Bar as well as the large and beautiful outdoor heated swimming pool at the hotel.
- Address: 1 Cullinan Street, Cape Town, South Africa
- Prices: from USD200 per room per night
South Beach Camps Bay
South Beach Camps Bay with 19 5-star apartments with areas ranging from 41 to 107 square meters. The hotel is just a few steps from Camps Bay, one of the most beautiful beaches in the world. Visitors can watch the sea and admire the mountains. If you want to cook, the apartment has a fully equipped kitchen and appliances. If you want to enjoy the sea breeze while enjoying meals outside, just stroll along the beach and you will find hundreds of restaurants with all kinds of seafood as well as European and American cuisine. The hotel has two magnificent swimming pools, and there are free bicycle services for visitors who want to explore the Camps Bay area.
- Address: 06 Link Road, Camps Bay, Cape Town,South Africa
- Prices: from USD350 per room per night
To save money and have more fun, then you might want to consider booking for a group on Airbnb. It is recommended to choose a hotel at the central area of Cape Town for a more convenient travel experience.
Dining in Cape Town is easy because of the diverse cuisine from European, American, and Asian to African dishes, depending on the money. It is important to note that Cape Town always includes a tip for service staff, about 10% of the bill.
Ocean Basket, Camps Bay
Situated by the road along the Camps Bay beach, Ocean Basket is a great place to enjoy lunch and especially dinner while watching the sunset on Camps Bay. The restaurant serves seafood, sushi and other dishes all with reasonable prices. The peak time of the restaurant is in the afternoon, at sunset (6.30pm – 7.30pm). There is usually a 20-30 minute waiting time to be seated.
- Address: 51 Victoria Road, Camps Bay, Cape Town, South Africa
- Opening hours: 11.30am – 10pm
- Prices: from USD30 per person
Harbour House Seafood V&A Waterfront
Here, diners can watch the entire Victoria & Alfred Waterfront and enjoy the fresh ocean breeze. The restaurant serves lunch and dinner, including seafood, sushi, beefsteak, and vegetarian food. Dishes that are highly recommended here are sushi, tuna and shrimp.The peak time is from 8pm to 9.30pm. There is usually a 30 minute waiting time to be seated.
- Address: Quay 4 Pierhead, V & A Waterfront, Cape Town, South Africa
- Opening hours: 12pm – 4pmand 6pm – 10pm
- Prices: from USD80 per person
Bertha’s Simon’s Town
Situated in the heart of the beautiful and peaceful Simon’s Harbor, Bertha’s restaurant offers a more relaxed and tranquil ambience than any other wharf area restaurant. The menu is varied and rich, including seafood dishes that provide combos for your family or group. Fresh food, fast service and very enthusiastic staff.
- Address: Quayside Centre, 1 Wharf St, Simon’s Town, Cape Town, South Africa
- Opening hours: 7.30am – 10pm
- Prices: from USD30 per person
Fish On The Rock
This South African style restaurant mainly serves fish and seafood in the form of fast food fish and chips. The prices are reasonable, suitable for backpackers or those who travel the town.
- Address: 1 Hobour Road, Hout Bay, Cape Town, South Africa
- Opening hours: 9am – 8pm
- Prices: from USD10 per person
Watch The Seals At Hout Bay
On the way to Cape Point, visitors often stop at Hout Bay, a small bay with picturesque fishing villages. However, the most attractive activity is a boat trip that lasts from 40 to 45 minutes to Duiker Island, also known as Seal Island. Thousands of extremely cute seals, sometimes even up to 6,000, will promise to overwhelm all visitors.
- Address: Hout Bay, Cape Town, South Africa
- Opening hours: The train runs every 45 minutes from 8.30am.
- Ticket price: ZAR75 per adult
Watch The Penguins At Boulder’s Beach
If you come to the beautiful Simon’s Town, it is a must to visit the extremely cute African penguins at Boulder Beach. Walk along the wooden path down to the edge of the sea, then go over the sand dunes, you will see the penguins walking to their nest. When you reach the edge of the sea, you will be surprised when seeing tens of thousands of penguins swimming, sunbathing and playing around very naturally. African penguins are found only in South Africa and Namibia, so the authorities protect this species extremely carefully. However, unlike Australia’s policy, at Boulder Beach, tourists can freely take photos of the penguins.
- Address: Boulder’s Beach, Simon’s Town, Cape Town, South Africa
- Opening hours: 8am – 5pm
- Ticket prices: ZAR35 per adult, ZAR10 per child.
The Colorful Houses Bo – Kaap
This area has a similar street structure to those in the heart of Cape Town, but it attracts so many tourists, especially photographers and travel devotees because of various houses painted colorfully. Stone or pebble paved streets and gentle slopes with deep corners promise to help you take a lively picture.
- Address: From the bus stop No.81 on Long Street in the centre of Cape Town, after walking through several streets, you will come to Bo-Kaap.
- Peak time: 10am – 5pm. Free admission.
Cape Point And Cape Of Good Hope
It can be said that these two places are so famous that any visitor to South Africa in general and Cape Town in particular tries to make time to visit this sight. More than 70 kilometres from Cape Town centre, Cape Point is the tip of the mountain that extends to the Southeast of the Cape Peninsula. Cape Point is the rendezvous of the Indian Ocean and the Atlantic Ocean, and the meeting place of the hot and cold currents. In order to have the best view of Cape Point, visitors have to climb up the mountains, where the ancient lighthouse is located. From the bottom of the lighthouse, you will see the waves lapping with white foam around Cape Point. To get closer, from the lighthouse, there is a path down the cliff to Cape Point.Cape of Good Hope is located more than 1 kilometre from the Cape Point. Regarding its geographical feature, the Cape of Good Hope is just a wild cliff, and for its history, this is where sailors from the Portuguese expedition had sheltered after being hit by a great wave. Before the Suez Canal was built in 1869, the only traffic way on the sea between Europe and Asia was through the Cape of Good Hope.There are many companies that offer tours to Cape Point for about USD100 per person for a nine-hour journey. You can use the Hop on Hop off service which costs about USD50 per person, not including ticket prices to attractions.
- Address: Cape of Good Hope Nature Reserve
- Opening hours: 8am – 6pm (or till sunset)
- Tickets to the Cape of Good Hope Nature Reserve: ZAR110 per adult, children will be charged half of the price for adult.
The name Table Mountain just indicates the inherent nature of this mountain which is flat like a table at an altitude of 1,085 metres above sea level. Table Mountain is one of the seven wonders of the modern world. Furthermore, it is also chosen as a featured image on Cape Town’s flag and other government badges. If you want to experience it, you can climb from the foot to the top of the mountain, which will take about 2 hours. Otherwise, the super-fast cable system will take you up in an almost vertical direction in just a few minutes. The ocean climate at this altitude is really wonderful; you can breathe without feeling tired as the air is not diluted. The most amazing thing is the panoramic view; you will see Cape Town looking sparkling under the brilliant sunshine on one side, while in the opposite side, you can admire the deep blue ocean merging into the blue sky. In addition, Table Mountain has rich flora and fauna, but most of them are bushes and shrubs so they do not obstruct your vision.
There are many ways for you to travel to Table Mountain, you can go by Uber from the city centre (about 7 kilometres), or if you want to visit other places on the same day you can buy the Hop on Hop Off Bus tour to Table Mountain with the price of ZAR200 per person (online tickets are only ZAR180 per person). Hop on Hop off will stop at bus stop No.7, so you need to buy a cable car ticket on the bus before departing at bus stop No.6, so you will not need to line up to buy the ticket.
- Address: Table Mountain, Cape Town, South Africa
- Cable car ticket prices: ZAR290 per adult from 8am – 1pm, after 1pm, the price will reduce slightly to ZAR275.
Depending on the months of the year, the cable car has different departure time for the last ride, so you should carefully check the information board. In the winter, the last ride usually departs at 6pm, while in the summer it will depart at 9.30pm
Victoria Wharf Shopping Center
Located in the heart of Victoria & Alfred Harbor, Victoria Wharf Shopping Center is home to hundreds of boutiques from high-end Louis Vuitton fashion brands to average brands such as Woolworths and Mr.Price; from the world-famous diamonds of South Africa to the fruits. Victoria Wharf has many restaurants from cheap fast food to expensive dishes. This place also closes the latest among the shopping centres in Cape Town.
- Address: 19 Dock Road, Victoria & Alfred Waterfront, Cape Town, South Africa
- Opening hours: 9am – 9pm
Cape Quarter Lifestyle Village
The area is home to around 100 small shops and restaurants but it is not as bustling as in Victoria Wharf. However, it still attracts tourists and locals who are looking for nottoo-noisy places but still feature Cape Town imprints.
- Address: 27 Summerset Road, Green Point, Cape Town, South Africa.
- Opening hours: 9am – 6pm (weekdays). Closed earlier on Saturday and Sunday
Green Market Square
This is a flea market with nearly 100 booths selling all kinds of handicrafts such as scarves, tablecloths, paintings of the “big five” which are symbolic animals of Africa, jewelry rings, and wooden furniture which are extremely eye-catching. Because it is a flea market, the price will depend on your bargaining skills. It is said that you should bargain down to about 40% of the initial price. This market is located in the heart of Cape Town’s trading centre, close to Hop on Hop off at 81 Long Street, so it is easy to find.
- Address: Green Square, Burg Street and Longmarket Street, Cape Town, South Africa
- Opening hours: 9am – 5pm
Old Biscuit Mill
Situated in the heart of Woodstock, Old Biscuit Mill, which was formerly a brewery, is now home to artists, people working in the art and cuisine field. This complex consists of hundreds of well-known restaurants, cafes, fashion boutiques, handicrafts, fine art and local product stores. You can find almost anything you want here for a decent price. On Saturday, The Neighborgoods Market is where tourists from all over the world gather, creating a multinational and multicultural meeting point with exciting festivals, events, and music.
- Address: 373 – 375 Albert Road, Woodstock, Cape Town
- Opening hours: 10am – 4pm.
- The Neighborgoods Market: 9am – 3pm on Saturday, close on Sunday.
Enjoy The Wine At Beau Constantia
Beau Constantia is a farm that makes wine from the grapes grown on top of Constantia Nek at an altitude of 350 metres above sea level. With a cool climate all year round, this is home to the finest South African grapes which are used to produce a great variety of famous wines. Here, visitors can try the wine at a cost of just USD5 in a beautiful and cool space before deciding what to buy. You can book private tours to the vineyard or buy a Hop on Hop off Wine Tour; remember to check the bus route and stops.
Address: 1042 Constantia Main Road, Constantia, South Africa
– Wine Tasting: 11am – 6pm
– Lunch: 12pm – 2.30pm
– Dinner: 5pm – 8pm
Clifton Beach is considered the best beach in South Africa and one of the top 10 most beautiful beaches in the world. This area is home to many cliffs overlooking the Atlantic Ocean and South Africa’s most expensive properties. The sand is smooth and relatively white, but there are many round rocks scattered on the coast. The water is clear but very cold due to the melting ice from Antarctic, even in the summer; just a few courageous people go there to swim. The most common activities of visitors here are sunbathing, paragliding or surfing. Remember that this beach has been recorded for shark attacks.
Address: Situated parallel to Victoria Road. From the parking lots, there is a path leading to the beach.
Kritenbosch Botanical Garden
At the foot of Table Mountain, to the west, there is the Kritenbosch Botanical Garden with an area of 528 hectares. It is also one of the seven most magnificent botanical gardens in the world. In the botanical garden, there are separate conservation and plantation areas for visiting or holding festivals, with the rule of not harming the nature reserve. The scenery is very beautiful in the afternoon when the honey sunlight speads over the plants and flowers. You should spend at least 2 to 3 hours to be able to see all of the garden.
- Address: Rhodes Drive, Newlands, South Africa
- Admission fee: ZAR65 per adult, ZAR15 per child
- Opening hours: 8am – 6pm (winter), 7pm (summer).
South Africa also has four seasons, but it is not really possible to distinguish exact times of these seasons; summer lasts from September to March while winter is from April until the end of August. Because it is located in the Southern hemisphere, the winter time in Vietnam will be the summer time in South Africa.
Applying for a visa to South Africa is not as difficult as in the United States or Canada, but it is not easy as it requires financial proof and invitation letter. The visa fee is VND1,192,000 per person.
The most convenient route from Vietnam to Cape Town is flying through Dubai with Emirates Airlines. Or you can choose Singapore Airlines or Qatar Airways if you want to visit other cities in South Africa.
ZAR (Rand), USD1 equals to ZAR11 – 12. Passport is required for money transfer, and the fee is quite high (about 5%)
>> Security in South Africa is also a matter of concern; it is recommended to go in groups and advoid going out in the evening. Handbags, phones and cameras must be kept safe. Do not wear too much jewelry.
>> Rainfalls in Cape Town are relatively low, so water shortage happens quite often. When travelling here, you need to show high responsibility to the Cape Town community in particular and the Earth in general by the act of saving water. This is highly recommended in public areas, hotels or restaurants.
>> Avoid unauthorized trades such as selling rhinoceros horns or tiger bones.
Thái Duy | Wanderlust Tips