In addition to the classic sights such as museums, Table Mountain and the Waterfront, Cape Town offers pure joie de vivre, Mediterranean flair in the coastal suburbs such as Camps Bay and fascinating landscapes on the Cape Peninsula. The proximity to the wine region, known for best wines and culinary delights as well as the nearby garden route with its many highlights make the city the ideal starting point for a location trip or the starting point of a big South Africa round trip.
Look forward to the insider tips of our travel expert of the month Ines Batz, whose heart has been beating for South Africa for many years. As a long-standing South Africa product manager, she has come to know and love the country on numerous trips. For the past 1 1/2 years she has been working for our partner agency Private Safaris in Cape Town and knows the Cape like the back of her hand.
1. What should you have seen in Cape Town?
Of course, Table Mountain! Here I can only recommend to put back all other plans and, if the cloud “tablecloth” is not to be seen, to use the chance and to drive on the mountain. A nice hike, especially at sunrise in the early morning, is also the Lion’s Head.
South Africa is home to Nelson Mandela. During a visit to the former prison island Robben Island or the “District Six” museum you get an insight into the history of the country as well as into the life of the South African national hero.
2014 is Cape Town “World Design Capital”, here there are numerous projects, actions, events and festivals worth visiting. Cape Town is also the perfect starting point for excursions into the surrounding area: Cape of Good Hope, wine regions Stellenbosch, Paarl & Franschhoek, Cederberge, Hermanus and much, much more. In order to experience and enjoy the city in a relaxed way, you should plan at least 3-4 nights
2. Do you have a secret tip for us?
Sundowner on Table Mountain: In summer, the cable car up to Table Mountain offers a 50% discount from 6 pm. With a bottle of champagne in their luggage, Cape Towners and visitors alike meet here to enjoy one of the unforgettable sunsets overlooking Camps Bay and the coast. Don’t forget your camera!
Markets in and around Cape Town: The South African lifestyle can hardly be better experienced than at one of the many markets that take place every week. Live music, food, drink, crafts – here you will find everything your heart desires. Especially recommended are the Neighbour Goods Market – a gourmet market in the trendy district of Woodstock (Saturdays), the Oranjezicht City Farm Market – an organic weekly market with a fantastic view over the city (Saturdays), the Hout Bay Market – colourful market activity in the harbour of Hout Bay (Fridays-Sunday) and “First Thursdays”: Art and culture in the city – every first Thursday of the month, the city centre around Long Street turns into a colourful art event. The city’s art galleries and museums are open until 9 p.m. and offer free art tours.
3 What should you bring with you from South Africa?
South Africa is a paradise for souvenir shoppers: The Rooibos tea grown exclusively in South Africa is very cheap locally. Beautiful pieces of jewellery for every budget can be found on the street markets as well as at the numerous jewellers. At the weekly markets mentioned above, one finds modern and trendy decoration articles for at home, and of course the obligatory wooden giraffe should not be missing!
4. what should you avoid/be aware of?
Do not underestimate the distances and travel times. In spite of the nationwide well developed traffic network, South Africa is more comfortable in terms of speed than German motorways. The motto here is “The way is the destination”. Sunburn! Due to the sometimes quite strong wind, the power of the sun is often underestimated. One should always apply at least LSF30. Cape Town is known for its “4 seasons in one day”. It is advisable to always have a warmer jacket with you, as the weather can change very quickly, especially when the southeasterly summer wind “South-Easter”, also called Kapdoktor, blows through the city.
Leave stress and haste at home, even if the “African Time” may sometimes require a little patience, the friendly and stirring smile of the people will make you forget everything.
5. When is the best time to travel?
South Africa is a country that can be travelled all year round. The seasons are the opposite of those in Europe. In summer (November to March) it can get wonderfully warm, especially for the Garden Route and the Cape this is the best time to travel. Safari lovers should rather travel in the South African winter; from June to September it is cooler and especially dry in the east of the country, so that the animals gather at the rivers or other waterholes in search of water and are much easier to discover. South Africa is worth a visit at any time of the year!
6. how long does the journey take?
A flight from Frankfurt to Johannesburg (with South African Airways or Lufthansa) takes about 11 hours, a direct flight from Frankfurt to Cape Town (with Condor) takes about 12 hours. Travellers should note that on a connecting flight within South Africa (e.g. to Cape Town), baggage must be collected from the baggage carousel on arrival in Johannesburg and checked in again. You should allow some time for this. The flights usually take place overnight and there is no time difference during the European summer time, which makes travelling very pleasant.