When to Visit?
Mid December to early January is the peak season for Cape Town and region. However the weather is fine all through the year so you can visit anytime, even winter days would be sunny with occasional rain only. I stayed before beginning of my Namibia-Botswana-Zimbabwe tour for 3 days, 18-21 December and at the end of my tour for 5 days, 9-15 January. It was a right choice to base in Cape Town to gain power beforehand and relax after a difficult journey.
Cape Town city center is not so interesting for me, you do not feel Africa at all. Water-front is a popular area with many bars, restaurants ..etc. You can also enjoy a nice view of table mountain and the harbor.
Here are 5 highlights to me:
1) Cape Point:
Cape Point is about an hour drive from Cape Town. Before driving there I though it was the point where the Atlantic Ocean meets the Indian Ocean, but the southernmost point of Africa is actually 150km east, Cape Agulhas. However, Cape Agulhas is not a special view point, Cape Point's view 👉 breathtaking.
Cape Point is inside a natural park where you can do some trekking. Just be aware that there are baboons around, if you are worried about them, don't wander around with any food.
Cape Point baboons, which are chacma baboons are one of the largest of all monkeys (on the left). Located primarily in southern Africa, the chacma baboons are known as having a wide variety of social behaviors.
The Natural Park is closed at 16:00, so start your trip early enough from Cape Town. After a nice day there, I recommend the fish restaurant Black Marlin located nearby.
2) R44 Provincal Route - Boulders Beach - False Bay:
The route between Gordon's Bay and Kleinmond is a scenic ocean drive (R44, video below), I enjoyed a lot driving that route. On the way you will see flags with different colors representing the frequency of shark occurrence. Although sharks almost never actually attack anyone its better to be careful if you stop by a beach to swim, also be aware of rip currents.
I was so focused on my Namibia-Botswana-Zimbabwe tour that I had no idea before, it is possible to visit a colony of African Penguins in Cape Town. Boulders beach is the right location for that.
African Penguins are social breeders and live in colonies. They start to breed when 4-6 years old. They are generally faithful to their mate. Seals and Sharks are two main predators of penguin populations. During 20th century the global population of African Penguins decreased by 90 % and they are now considered as endangered species.
Yes they are sweet but I do not advise to get too close : D :
False Bay is a coastal region which is about 45 minutes outside of the city centre. Beaches in False Bay are popular as they are warmer than the Atlantic beaches. I spent nice time with the kids playing around there (below). You'll find fresh seafood, great surfing opportunities including kite surf and unique boutiques to shop in.
3) Stellenbosch Region:
Stellenbosch is known for its award-winning wines. The first vineyards were planted in 1679. Food and wine lovers will be very happy here. Not only does Stellenbosch have great wine and awesome restaurants, but it also has amazing markets. Whether you’re looking for delicious food or local products, these markets have the best:
Here are some of them:
Address: Audacia Wines, Corner of R44 & Annandale Road, Stellenbosch
Open every Saturday and Sunday from 10am to 4pm.
Blaauwklippen Family Market
Address: Strand Road, R44 Stellenbosch
Open every Sunday from10am to 3pm.
Address: Oude Libertas Estate, Oude Libertas Road, Stellenbosch
Open every Saturday from 9am to 2pm.
The Woodmill Lifestyle Market
Address: Vredenburg Road, Devonvallei, Stellenbosch
Open every last Friday of the month from 5pm to 10 pm.
Stellenbosch Organic Farmers Market
Address: Spier Wine Farm, off the Annandale road outside Stellenbosch (between R44 and R310)
Open every Saturday from 9am to 2pm.
I have spent 5 great days at my friends Bibs' farm house (picture left), which she also rents per airbnb:
4) Slums of Cape Town:
I have seen poverty many parts of the world, there is always a gap between the rich and the pure, but I have never seen such a huge gap as in Cape Town anywhere in the world.
Around Stellenbosch you can enjoy perfect food and wine with high quality service in great wine farms. You can hardly find such a life quality even in Europe. 10 mins drive you would arrive to one of the slums. As a white man it is not advisable to walk in there.
With my friends we went in by car and found a safe corner to fly the drone over. I have never seen such a divide so close together, on one side of the road slums and poverty, other side well constructed villas.
5) Shark Cage Diving:
White shark cage diving is an exciting activity for Cape Town region. Best location for that is Gansbaai, about 2 hours drive from Cape Town, known as world’s great white shark capital. At 06 am I had to be there, so it was a short night. To attract the sharks, they throw fish pieces to the sea. In the cage, I realized that they are more attracted to a small fish piece than 7 of us inside. As long as not bleeding, we are not attractive targets for sharks.
Finally, tracking at the Table Mountain national park is also a must do, which I have skipped for this time.