If You Only See One Place in South Africa, it Should be Cape Town

I’m actually not that biased. I love so many parts of South Africa. But, if you had to choose only one place in the whole country to see, I believe it should be Cape Town because Cape Town is a little slice of everything that makes visiting this country wonderful – all in one place. South Africa’s main attractions are its history, climate, culture, food, biodiversity, and stunning countryside.

So, how does Cape Town hold up against these USP’s?

History

I’m not big into history. I prefer the movie. But, something that I love about Cape Town is how you can feel the history in the architecture, monuments, massive old oak trees, and even a castle in the middle of the City Bowl. This country has a complicated past, and there are a number of places in CT that are dedicated to telling the story of the apartheid regime and the people that fought against it. Visit the Bo-Kaap, District Six and Robben Island for some really striking insights into the SA of yesteryear.

Cape Town history
The colourful houses of the Bo-Kaap

Climate

Summers (December to February) are fairly hot; averaging a noonday high of about 28C to 30C, and nights of around 17C. But, the days are breezy, which is refreshing. Winters are from June to August and are cool and rainy (generally). These months average about 11C at night and 20C in the day. Very manageable (although Capetonians may disagree).

Culture

African cultures are vibrant and enticing, and they can be seen and felt throughout the Mother City. You can buy bead- and wireworks from the guy at the traffic light, invest in pieces of world-class art at galleries in the V & A Waterfront, listen to African drummers and watch dancers on the pavement, or go to theatres and soak up local performance art. But, South African culture is different. It’s not just about art and music. You feel, taste, and hear it in the conversations you strike up with people and in the vibe of the city life. Cape Town is full of opportunities to experience the daily rhythm of Africa; its essence. For a real cultural injection, go on one of the local township tours. Such a treat!

Food

I wish I was one of those girls that forgot to eat. I’m just not. I’d forget to breathe before I forgot to eat. South African cuisine is really diverse. We have amazing seafood, meat and vegetables. And Cape Town is home to some of the country’s best restaurants, but also to a whole lot of awesome hidden gems that are just bursting with all things culinarily delightful. For stunning seafood, try Miller’s Thumb in Kloofnek.

It’s also one of the world’s top wine destinations. The Winelands have award-winning varieties for visitors to taste and buy. What a score. Awesome food and some of the best wines all in one vibey city.

Biodiversity

Cape Town may not have game reserves with the Big Five within its immediate borders, but it is close to a number of stunning areas that showcase awesome fauna and flora. Cape Point Nature Reserve and the West Coast National Park are very special places to experience the stunning plants and animals of the Western Cape.

Cape Point Nature Reserve
An ostrich at the gorgeous Cape Point Nature Reserve

Countryside

I don’t care how grumpy you are; seeing Table Mountain has to do something to your equilibrium. And then, you shift your gaze and see Lion’s Head, Devil’s Peak and Signal Hill. Turn around, and there’s the Atlantic Ocean. Squint, and you’ll see Robben Island and the Helderberg Mountains in the distance. And that’s just from one spot. A little further afield and you can explore the sprawling vineyards of the Cape Winelands. Forests, beaches, valleys and mountains…Cape Town has them all.

See my point?

It’s a little bit of everything, and it has an international airport, plenty of accommodation (ranging from basic backpackers to glitzy hotel suites), and efficient transport in the form of tourist buses and a fabulous Uber infrastructure. So, even if you only have limited time or budget, visiting Cape Town can give you a very real idea of what South Africa is all about.

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