Cape Town experienced its worst drought in a 100 years from 2017 till 2019. The city launched a Day Zero campaign to bring greater awareness to the severity of the situation. It was speculated that the Mother City would become the first city in the world to run out of water.

Luckily Capetonians jumped into action to do everything they could to save water, and many great water saving initiatives were launched to prevent this from happening. You can follow the transformation of the drought at capetowndrought.com.

How Does the Drought Affect Water Quality in Cape Town

In the aftermath of the drought, during 2019, some Cape Town areas experienced a change in the water taste. A strong earthy taste appeared in the tap water. Asking water experts about this phenomena, they reassured residents that there is nothing to worry about.

The raw water supply increased in geosmin. This is a natural organic compound that increases in water after the rain starts to fall again, breaking the dry spell. The human palate is very sensitive to this compound. It can be detected in the smallest concentrations, even a few small parts per trillion litres of water can be tasted. The compound also often increases during hot weather.

One of the biggest water supplies to Cape Town, is the Theewaterskloof Dam. And the geosmin increased substantially in the raw water sourced from here. But there is no need to worry, the water is still safe to drink. The tap water of Cape Town is compliant with special SANS 241 water standards.

Photo by sapeople.com Theewaterkloof Dam Is It Safe To Drink Tap Water In Cape Town

Theewaterkloof Dam (Photo by sapeople.com)

The geosmin is also responsible for the pure freshness smell that hangs in the air after a good rainfall. Although it causes a strange taste, with hints of beetroot, it can’t cause any harm to humans or animals drinking the geosmin-infused water.

Water supplied by the Blackheath Water Treatment Plant to Central Cape Town areas and the Southern suburbs are affected most. To counter the build-up of the geosmin compound in the water, the city is treating the raw water supply with powdered activated carbon to reduce the geosmin’s effect.

A Good Rain Season in 2019

Everyone feels great relief that the ominous Day Zero has been pushed back indefinitely. The combination of water saving efforts by Capetonians and a good rain season, has pushed up the dam levels to over 50% in 2019. Since 2015 the drought slowly increased and by 2017 the city was in major crisis mode.

Both locals and tourists are still encouraged to stay in water saving mode, as the hit on the water supplies surrounding the city will still take three to five years to recover. Luckily the municipal water supplied to household taps remain safe to drink, thanks to the city’s constant efforts to monitor the water quality.

Can You Drink Tap Water in Cape Town

The global community sat up and took notice of the Cape Town water crisis. Although the Day Zero campaign shed good light on the situation, it also made many foreigners weary to visit the country, fearing health risks associated with bad water sources.

Throughout the drought the city employed experts to constantly monitor the water quality, linked to the dam levels. The Day Zero date was set as an estimation when the city’s water supplies would drop below 10%.

The municipality anticipated the consequences of running out of water, not wanting to drop below this point. This safety measure ensured that both locals and tourists could rest assured that the tap water would remain safe to drink throughout the water crisis.

Luckily the emergency plan never had to be executed, as the rain season slowly returned to normal in 2018 and even more so in 2019. And the greater awareness around the severity of the situation helped to preserve the existing water resources. Cape Town also employed water restrictions, linked to severe fines, ensuring that residents comply with the overall water saving strategy.

How to Save Water

There are a few habits you can adopt to contribute to the ongoing effort to conserve the Cape Town water resources:

  • Don’t take a bath
  • Take a short or stop-start shower
  • Flush the toilet only when necessary (if it’s yellow let it mellow. If it’s brown, flush it down)
  • Catch water from the shower and use it to flush the toilet or water plants
  • Close the tap while brushing teeth
  • Catch rainwater for garden use
  • Consider installing a rainwater tank
  • Don’t do washing too often

Cape Town has a wide array of accommodation options for visitors. Among the favourites are boutique hotels that offer a personal touch of comfort and luxury. Stylish interiors, swimming pools, relaxing spas, high-end restaurants, cozy bars and luxurious rooms with Table Mountain views are only some of the characteristics of the boutique hotels in Cape Town. And because our main objective is to help you get to know a little bit more about the Mother City, we made you a list of the Top 10 Boutique Hotels in Cape Town.

#1 Compass House Boutique Hotel

Top 10 Boutique Hotels in Cape Town

Compass House Boutique Hotel is a luxurious boutique hotel that offers a warm ambiance, exceptional style, and unparalleled comfort. Its amazing location in the heart of Bantry Bay makes it possible to easily access the many popular beaches of Cape Town and the bustling city centre. This boutique hotel enjoys a warm atmosphere, with a fusion of interior design styles, blending the best of Mediterranean, Asian and African flavours. All the rooms have panoramic views of the ocean and direct access to the deck and pool area with an ocean-facing, 22-metre infinity pool. The top-floor suite takes luxury to another level with a Jacuzzi on its own private balcony­.

Visit compasshouse.co.za for more information.

#2 The Tree House Boutique Hotel

Top 10 Boutique Hotels in Cape Town

The Tree House Boutique Hotel lies in the vibrant and trendy Green Point suburb, within close proximity to many of the great attractions in the Mother City. This boutique hotel features stylishly decorated rooms with a seating area and a flat-screen satellite TV. They also have a terrace with an outdoor pool and a spa where guests can opt in for a relaxing massage or body treatment. Tea-and-coffee-making facilities are available, as well as free WiFi and parking. The hotel aims to provide an exceptional guest experience with a sense of escape, wonder, and respite.

Visit thetreehouseboutiquehotel.co.za for more information.

#3 52 De Wet Luxury Boutique Hotel

Top 10 Boutique Hotels in Cape Town

Photo by hotelscombined.co.za

On the slopes of Lion’s Head with views of the ocean stretching further than the eyes can see, sits 52 De Wet Luxury Boutique Hotel. This luxury boutique hotel offers luxurious en-suite rooms, each one individually designed and furnished to make your stay as relaxing as possible. Each of the contemporary rooms offer a flat-screen satellite TV, minibar and a hairdryer. The hotel also features a restaurant, sun deck, and an outdoor swimming pool.  Enjoy breakfast beside the infinity pool while absorbing the panoramic ocean views. Stay here for an unforgettable holiday or business trip.

Visit 52dewet.co.za for more information.

#4 The Glen Boutique Hotel & Spa

Top 10 Boutique Hotels in Cape Town

The Glen Boutique Hotel and Spa lies in the Cape Town suburb of Sea Point. It is an elegant boutique hotel that offers luxurious rooms to its guests and features an outdoor pool with sun loungers and spa facilities. All rooms are stylish with modern furniture, a satellite TV, free Wi-Fi, and private bathrooms equipped with double volume showers. Some rooms overlook the pool or have a balcony with views of the mountains, others look out over the Atlantic Ocean. The hotel’s spa offers a spacious steam room, a traditional Swedish sauna, and a hot tub. In-room massages are also available. They also offer apartment accommodation located just 350 metres from the hotel and guests of these apartments can have access to the hotel facilities.

Visit glenhotel.co.za for more information.

#5 MannaBay Fine Boutique Hotel

Located at the foot of Table Mountain, MannaBay Fine Boutique Hotel is one of Cape Town’s latest and most elegant boutique hotels. MannaBay offers one of the most intimate experiences available in the fairest Cape. They have seven uniquely designed suites which set the bar for contemporary luxury. These uniquely themed rooms with state-of-the-art technology include free Wi-Fi, flat-screen TVs, and iPod docks. All rooms are also fitted with heated floors and a marble bathroom. MannaBay has an atmosphere of comfort, with dramatic wallpaper choices, monogrammed linen, bookshelves filled with well-thumbed books, eclectic furniture and arresting South African artworks. If you want to have a taste of timeless quality and modern comfort, MannaBay Fine Boutique Hotel is the place to be!

Visit mannabay.com for more information.

#6 Rouge on Rose Boutique Hotel

Top 10 Boutique Hotels in Cape Town

Photo by sa-venues.com

Situated in the colourful Bo-Kaap neighbourhood and against the slopes of Signal Hill, Rouge on Rose is located within easy walking distance of the city centre and the V&A Waterfront. This boutique hotel perfectly combines sophistication with comfort, elegance with charm and chic with minimalism, offering a home-away-from-home experience to its guests. Rouge on Rose features air-conditioned suites, each neatly decorated in a contemporary style and equipped with a flat-screen satellite TV and DVD player. Guests can choose between spacious Deluxe Suites or the larger Self-catering Suites that are equipped with a kitchenette. The famous Table Mountain is just 5km away and Camps Bay Beach can be reached within 15 minutes by car.

Visit rougeonrose.co.za for more information.

#7 POD Camps Bay

Top 10 Boutique Hotels in Cape Town

POD, set in the vibrant suburb of Camps Bay, is an elegant boutique hotel. It’s infused with raw African design, seaside sophistication, stunning decors and idyllic mountain plus ocean views. POD has made a name for itself as one of the most sought-after accommodation options in the area. This glass-walled, clean-lined, contemporary structure offers luxury accommodation just a few footsteps away from the trendy Camps Bay beachfront. A variety of restaurants and bars are within walking distance. Its 17 spacious modern rooms are all air-conditioned and fitted with deluxe bedding. In-room media includes iPod docking station, satellite TV and a DVD player. They also have an outdoor pool where you can chill and swim after a fun adventurous day in the city.

Visit pod.co.za for more information.

#8 The Andros Boutique Hotel

Top 10 Boutique Hotels in Cape Town

Set in a park-like garden in Claremont, the Andros Boutique Hotel is a manor house with country chic rooms. This heritage home has 15 well-appointed rooms. It is set in sprawling grounds, with elegant drawing rooms, a great little bar, popular spa, and excellent in-house chef. Some rooms have panoramic views of the surrounding mountains and gardens. The hotel also has a gym, a sauna, and an outdoor swimming pool.

Visit andros.co.za for more information.

#9 Cape Heritage Hotel

Top 10 Boutique Hotels in Cape Town

Cape Heritage Hotel is situated in Cape Town’s fashionable Heritage Square. It offers direct access to the city’s vibrant street life, business precinct, shopping, and fine dining. The hotel is known for its contemporary chic and historic graciousness. The Cape Heritage Hotel is an integral part of the restored Heritage Square. This intimate boutique hotel offers guests a chance to experience history with the most modern standards of services and accommodation. The hotel’s décor is predominantly inspired by the Cape’s early history. Each room is completely unique in shape and décor. But they feature lovely high-beamed teak ceilings, and standard hotel comforts such as air-conditioning, mini-bar, and king-sized beds.

Visit capeheritage.co.za for more information.

#10 One&Only Cape Town

Situated in the V&A Waterfront, One&Only Cape Town offers an unprecedented level of luxury and style that creates a welcoming atmosphere for all visitors. This luxury boutique hotel has elegant rooms and suites. Each has a private balcony which boasts with panoramic views of Table Mountain and the harbour. One&Only Cape Town offers access to a world-famous restaurant, beautiful bar, and extraordinary spa facilities which includes a sauna and a range of massage treatments. It has an outdoor infinity pool, a sun-lounger terrace, and free Wi-Fi. One&Only Cape Town also serves as a gateway to unique Cape Town adventures such as tours to Robben Island, wildlife safaris, wine country excursions and more. This urban chic resort and hotel truly sets new standard for the South African hospitality industry.

Visit oneandonlyresorts.com for more information.

Top 10 Backpacking Hostels in Cape Town

Cape Town is a prime tourist destination in South Africa. Thousands of travelers visit every day to explore the wonders of the Mother City. Among them are backpackers wanting to make the most out of their stay. And because we aim to help make your visit an unforgettable one, we made a list of the Top 10 Backpacking Hostels in Cape Town.

#1 Never @ Home

Top 10 Backpacking Hostels in Cape Town

Photo by afristay.com

Never@home is one of the biggest, hippest and most modern hostels in Cape Town. A pioneer of next generation hostel accommodation, Never@Home is located on the bustling Green Point strip. This popular backpacking hostel is surrounded by some of Cape Town’s best restaurants and coffee shops. It is within walking distance from Cape Town’s CBD and the famous V&A Waterfront. A Spar supermarket is right next door and across the road is the FIFA Cape Town Stadium. There is also a MyCity bus station located close by.

Aside from its superior location, Never@Home also offers a variety of room types priced at different levels. There is free WiFi, a communal kitchen, and a swimming pool. It has a modern yet relaxed environment and excellent security.

Contact:

Tel: +27 21 434 9282

Email: reservations@neverathomehostels.com

Visit neverathomeworld.com for more information.

#2 The Backpack

Top 10 Backpacking Hostels in Cape Town

The Backpack is an award-winning, Fair Trade accredited hostel located right on the edge of the city centre. It’s within walking distance to the restaurants, bars, cafés and shops of Kloof and Long Streets. This backpacking hostel is highly popular for its prime location. It comprises of three turn-of-the-century houses ingeniously linked together. It is a stylish hostel known for its eclectic charm, boasting aesthetically South African designs inspired by the Mother City’s fusion of cultures, colors, authentic fabrics, inspirational and colourful street art.

The Backpack is owned and managed by Lee Harris and Toni Shina. They focus on creating a meaningful and relaxed travel experience for backpackers. It features a contemporary design with a relaxed, communal vibe. The chic facilities include a swimming pool with stunning views of Table Mountain; lockers and safes to store your valuables; and a kitchen if you feel like cooking. Its ideal location with plenty of restaurants and bars within easy strolling distance makes The Backpack one of the best backpacking hostels in Cape Town.

Contact:

Tel: +27 (0) 21 423 4530

Cell: +27 (0)63 792 3611

Whatsapp: +27 (0)63 792 3611

Email: backpack@backpackers.co.za

Visit backpackers.co.za for more information.

#3 Atlantic Point Backpackers

Top 10 Backpacking Hostels in Cape Town

The Atlantic Point Backpackers located in Green Point, is one of the best backpacking hostels in Cape Town. Atlantic Point focuses on giving all their guests a great experience by offering the most spacious budget accommodation options in Cape Town, ranging from dormitory rooms to private double rooms. Each room comes equipped with a reading light, heater, ceiling fan, and private lockers. They have all the facilities you would expect from a top quality backpacker. There is a laid-back lounging space with a 40″ flat screen TV where you can relax and watch a movie.

There is also a lively bar and outdoor braai area for those looking to meet and mingle with other backpackers. Their communal kitchen allows you to prepare your own meals. The Atlantic Point Backpackers offers excellent value for money by setting the travelling trends and upholding a high standard of service and quality.

Contact:

Tel: +27 21 433-1663

Email: info@atlanticpoint.co.za

Visit atlanticpoint.travel for more information.

#4 Sunflower Stop Backpackers Hostel

Top 10 Backpacking Hostels in Cape Town

Nestled beneath the picturesque Signal Hill is the Sunflower Stop Backpackers Hostel which offers relaxing and comfortable accommodation for budget travelers in Cape Town.  The hostel’s prime location will give you easy access to the best that Cape Town has to offer. The sun-soaked beaches, the V&A Waterfront, the buzzing nightlife, and the majestic Table Mountain are just a few minutes away from this convenient location. They offer spacious, neat and clean dorms, doubles, twins and quad rooms; a communal kitchen; and a TV room.

All the backpacker dormitories have individual secure lockers so you need not worry about your belongings. They also have a pool, a braai area and a buzzing bar where you can meet and mingle with exciting new friends. You can also check their specialist backpackers’ tour desk for helpful travel tips and the best prices in town. You can book day trips and adventure tours as well.

Contact:

Tel: +27 (0)21 434-6535

WhatsApp: +27 (0)82 3013229

Email: ashley@sunflowerstop.co.za

Visit sunflowerstop.co.za for more information.

Related: Top 10 Luxury Hotels In and Around Cape Town

#5 Once In Cape Town

Top 10 Backpacking Hostels in Cape Town

Once in Cape Town is centrally located on the vibrant Kloof Street and within walking distance of a variety of parks, restaurants, bars, fashion boutiques, grocery stores, and the famous Long Street. This hostel is perfect for adventurous and young at heart backpackers. They offer a variety of affordable and clean rooms from their budget “Loud and Proud” rooms, to twin standard rooms, balcony rooms, ladies only 4-bed multi-share, and mixed multi-share dorms.

Their family rooms sleep between two and six persons. All rooms boast an ensuite bathroom, handmade room amenities, and crisp white linen. Their King rooms come with views of the mountain. There is also a courtyard to chill in and a big kitchen for self-catering. A light breakfast is served every morning in the hip and buzzing Yours Truly café at the front of the building.

Contact:

Tel: +27 (0) 87 057 2638

Email: book@onceincapetown.co.za

Visit once.travel for more information.

#6 The B.I.G Backpackers

Top 10 Backpacking Hostels in Cape Town

The Backpackers in Green Point or “B.I.G” for short is situated in the residential suburb of Green Point. It’s a wonderful hybrid backpacker and B&B which offers fun, vibrant, affordable options that will introduce you to the best the city has to offer. It is ideally located within walking distance from the V&A Waterfront, Cape Town Stadium, transport systems, gym facilities, restaurants and coffee shops. Most of the city’s greatest attractions are within close proximity.

B.I.G. Backpackers sets itself apart from most backpacker hostels by offering only en-suite choices. They have 12 en-suite private double/triple/family rooms, six en-suite dorms and the most engaging hosts you could hope for. Their dedicated and friendly staff are committed to making sure everything runs smoothly during your stay.

Contact:

Tel: +27 (0)21 434 0688

Email: info@bigbackpackers.com

Visit bigbackpackers.com for more information.

#7 Ashanti Lodge Gardens Backpackers

Top 10 Backpacking Hostels in Cape Town

Ashanti Lodge Backpackers Gardens is your gateway to Cape Town. Set in a converted Victorian house in the Gardens suburb right at the foot of Table Mountain, this laid-back hostel is well known for its superb facilities, outstanding service, and excellent security. They cater for all accommodation needs — from camping and backpacker dormitories to single, double and twin rooms with shared bathroom facilities. They offer simple mixed and female-only dorms which sleep 6 to 8 guests and feature bunk beds, lockers, and free Wi-Fi. Private rooms, some with ensuite facilities, are also available.

Their sparkling pool, landscaped garden, and spacious balconies allow you to chill and meet other travelers. You can also join the party in their legendary Kumasi Café/Bar with its cool cocktails, delicious meals and magnificent mountain views. Ashanti also serves a free simple backpacker breakfast in their well-equipped communal kitchen every morning. And because Ashanti is within walking distance from the city centre, there are a variety of cafés and restaurants nearby Staying in this stylish backpacker hostel is a fun, friendly, and effortless way to discover the Mother City!

Contact:

Tel: +27 (0) 21 423 8721

WhatsApp: +27 (0) 72 953 7363

Email: info@ashanti.co.za

Visit ashanti.co.za  for more information.

Related: Best Car Rental Companies in Cape Town

#8 91 Loop Boutique Hostel

Top 10 Backpacking Hostels in Cape Town

Photo by booking.com

Backpackers-style accommodation is being taken to new heights at this unique boutique hostel, located right in the heart of the city. 91 Loop is nestled between hipster Bree Street with its thriving cafés and restaurants, and Cape Town’s backpacker party destination, Long Street. This boutique hostel guarantees that you will be sleeping on one of the best beds Cape Town has to offer at very affordable rates. 91 Loop offers two types of rooms: Ensuite and Pod. The former has a few variations, with different numbers of beds, while their pod experience can best be described as a room within a room.

The various rooms are all named after different world cities such as Johannesburg, Nairobi, and Auckland. The rooms boast a minimalistic look and feel but with special features that include high-quality mattresses, reading lights, space for charging, complimentary Wi-Fi and hi-tech lockers for storing valuables. And because your safety and the safety of your valuables are of paramount importance, all rooms and your personal locker are RFID key-card controlled and the entire building conforms to the highest British standards when it comes to fire safety. Breakfast, lunch, dinner or drinks are also available downstairs at the on-site bar, The Honey Badger.

Contact:

Tel: +27 (0)21 286 1469

Visit 91loop.co.za for more information.

#9 Hout Bay Backpackers

Top 10 Backpacking Hostels in Cape Town

Photo by afristay.com

This quiet and comfortable backpacker hostel is situated in the beautiful fishing village of Hout Bay. Hout Bay Backpackers is just 20 minutes from the Cape Town city centre and is easily accessible by public transport. It is the perfect place for budget travelers wanting to explore Hout Bay as it is within walking distance to the beach and shopping hub, where a variety of activities are offered such as surfing, fishing, diving, sailing, hiking trails, and township tours. There are also loads of live entertainment as well as top restaurants offering sumptuous cuisine and award-winning wines.

Hout Bay Backpackers is a three-story converted home furnished to accommodate different types of groups, from the family unit to the couples’ suites, to rooms for traveling friends. Their dormitories all have ensuite bathrooms, sleeping a maximum of six people per dorm. All rooms lead onto private wooden decks with uninterrupted views of Hout Bay Beach, harbour and the majestic Chapman’s Peak drive. The long balcony that stretches across the top floor leads into the communal lounge with DStv and an indoor braai/fireplace at its centre.

But what sets this hostel apart from other backpacker hostels in Cape Town, is that they offer their visitors the opportunity to get involved in volunteer projects. You don’t only get to travel and explore Cape Town, you also get to give back to the community.

Contact:

Tel: + 27 (0) 21 790 0427

Email : info@houtbaybackpackers.co.za

Visit houtbaybackpackers.co.za for more information.

#10 Stoked Backpackers

Top 10 Backpacking Hostels in Cape Town

Stoked Backpackers is located literally just a stone’s throw from the Surfers’ Corner in Muizenberg. This hostel’s ideal location is perfect to explore Muizenberg and its surrounds. Experience surfing, kitesurfing and stand-up paddling (SUPing) on one of the best beaches of Cape Town. There are also boat tours that will take you to whale watching, freediving and scuba diving. Or if you are brave, you can cage dive with the great white sharks.

Stoked Backpackers is a three-story building offering a variety of shared dorm accommodation options, as well as some private family rooms, doubles, and twin rooms. Their communal lounge and deck have unbeatable views of the ocean. The kitchen is fitted with everything necessary for you to whip up a culinary masterpiece. If you want to get a great cup of coffee and tasty bites, Stoked Backpackers has an awesome café where you can hang out with other travelers and locals.

Contact:

Tel: +27 (0)21 709 0841

Email: info@stokedbackpackers.com

Visit stokedbackpackers.com for more information

Bonus:

Green Elephant Backpackers

Top 10 Backpacking Hostels in Cape Town

Green Elephant Backpackers is in Cape Town’s lively student area – Observatory. Established in June 1994, this backpacking hostel offers budget accommodation to backpackers, medical interns, volunteers, students and visitors looking to meet fellow travelers with its three fully furnished houses. The main house has dorm rooms, wireless internet, a festive bar, a BBQ area, and a swimming pool.

The other two houses have private rooms and are quieter and ideal for long-stay guests. All double rooms have 4-poster beds in a relaxing and comfortable space. Linen and towels are provided. They also feature a solar heated swimming pool which complements the hot Jacuzzi for great relaxing parties. This friendly backpacking hostel also has excellent travel information and a booking office to make your stay in Cape Town worth your while.

Contact:

Tel: +27 (0) 21 448 6359

Visit greenelephant.co.za for more information.

Experience the vibrant city atmosphere, dive into the interesting culture and make new friends along the way! Happy backpacking!

 

When travelling to a foreign country, it’s always tricky to wrap your head around the new money system. We’ve got all the information you need during your stay in South Africa. Whether you decide to use cash or cards – here’s all you need to know.

The South African Currency

The South African money system works in rands and cents. The coins are 5c, 10c, 20c, 50c, R1, R2 and R5 and the notes are R10, R20, R50, R100 and R200. One rand is made up of a 100 cents. As with all currencies, the exchange rate fluctuates, but to give you a general idea of the strength of the South African rand against the major world currencies:

Pound R18,35
Euro R15,96
US Dollar R14,26
AUS Dollar R9,87
Hong Kong Dollar R1,82

*Exchange rates calculated on 15 May 2019

To work out your currency against the rand, click here.

Although some people think of South Africa as a third world country, a better way to describe it, is a developing country. There are still lots of growth potential in the economy, but the financial system is well-developed with an extensive bank network across the country. But it is best to convert a bit of your travel allowance into cash because some smaller businesses do still operate in cash only.

You can consider using your foreign credit or debit card, or a special travel money card. There are also a wide variety of ATMs that you will find along your travels. Some are linked to a specific South African bank, others designed specifically for foreign bank accounts.

Money Options in South Africa

We would advise you to consider a combination of cash and electronic money for your visit to South Africa. Below a breakdown of your financial options when travelling to South Africa.

Credit and Debit Bank Cards

Using your familiar bank card can make you feel more at home in a foreign country, but it can become a costly option. Visa and MasterCard cards are accepted throughout South Africa. So you will have access to your local account. The cards are accepted wherever you see their signs including local businesses, restaurants, and ATMs. You don’t need to pre-arrange your travel money, but you must be prepared for possible hiccups along the way when using foreign currency with a foreign card. And remember to inform your bank that you will be using your card in a foreign country.

Pros:

The convenient aspect of using your own bank card, is that you don’t have to pre-arrange a card and weigh up different travel money alternatives. You have access to all the funds in your account, so you don’t have to worry about running out of money. And a credit card is handy when booking your plane ticket, accommodation, and other online services.

Cons:

Your bank’s service charges for overseas transactions might be very high, and unclear. Also, if you use the card to draw money at local ATMs, the withdrawal fee is pricey. If your card gets lost or swallowed by a local ATM, it will be a big and costly hassle to replace it. To reissue a card can take up to four weeks, if it needs to be shipped to South Africa. If your card has advanced security measures, it may not be compatible with the local machines.

Card fraud must also be kept in consideration, and if your card is accessed, all your money can be stolen. Most banks do offer a money-back guarantee in case of fraud committed, but the policy may be limited during travel. Every time you use your card, the foreign currency will be converted to rand, which is linked to a service fee. Plus, if the exchange rate suddenly drops, your travel budget can be greatly affected.

A Visitors Guide to Money and Currency in South Africa

Photo by Daily Express

Travel Money Cards

Most international travel cards do not support the South African currency. But there is a local card available to foreigners from Bidvest bank. It is linked to Visa, which allows you to draw money from any local ATM supporting it. You can also swipe it at local businesses supporting Visa cards.

It is a debit card that you can use to pay for any products or services. You can also draw cash at ATMs or supported point of sale merchants such as PEP stores (clothing) or Checkers and Pick ‘n Pay (supermarkets). This card offers you easy cash access, and it is linked to a fixed exchange rate. You can also use it to fill up your car with fuel at supported petrol stations.

The card offers 24-hour support. You can also activate SMS notifications to keep track of your spending. With the Bidvest Rand Currency Card you can make hotel reservations, but you can’t make car rental bookings with it, unless the agency supports cash/debit card payments. You can collect the card at a local Bidvest bank branch, located across the country in major shopping centres and at the airport. Click here for more information.

Pros:

The prepaid card is not linked to your main bank account, making it a good secure option. There a set transaction fees so that you can budget your holiday spending. With the SMS notifications you can also keep track of your spending to budget better.

Cons:

If you use a different travel card option than the Bidvest Rand Currency Card, you will still be transacting locally in a foreign currency, which is linked to a fluctuating exchange rate. You will also be paying transaction fees to convert the money. There may be hidden transactional fees to take into consideration.

If you choose to use the Bidvest Rand Currency Card, you will need to arrange collection of it and have an alternative source of money in the meantime. (But there are branches located in both the Cape Town and Johannesburg airports)

While fees may look low, there are often a number of hidden costs, and card holders should note that they will generally be charged a percentage on ATM withdrawals rather than a fixed rate. The cards are only valid for a certain period of time and must be cashed out before return. The cards can only be reloaded at the official bank branches.

Traveller’s Cheques

These used to be a very popular travelling money option. They are pre-printed vouchers for a specific currency instead of cash. But they are not widely recognized in South Africa. Instead credit or debit cards are preferred.

Traveller’s cheques are not a viable option for travel in South Africa.

A Visitors Guide to Money and Currency in South Africa

 

Cash

As mentioned, carrying a small amount of cash with you in South Africa is advisable. Especially if you want to explore off the beaten track. If you don’t want the hassle of figuring out an international banking system, it could be the best option for you.

Pros:

You are guaranteed that you can make effortless payments wherever you go, without worrying about finding an ATM to draw money. There are also no extra banking fees to worry about. And it’s not linked to your main account back home.

Cons:

It is not advisable to carry around a big amount of cash with you. You can easily become a target of local thieves, who know how to spot an outsider in the country. If your cash gets stolen, there’s no bank guarantee backup to recover it.

Converting a large sum of money means you will have a big bulk of notes to carry around. And when you start using the money, coins have a way of multiplying and filling up your wallet. You might also not get the best exchange rate for your conversion to cash. It can also be tricky to keep track of your spending, if you are using only cash. Plus, you will have difficulty making a hotel or car reservation with only cash. Oftentimes the institutions would require a credit card as a deposit surety.

Recap: What Is the Best Way to Use Money in South Africa

A combination of local South African money in cash form and an electronic money format is the best way to manage your money while travelling in South Africa. Whether you decide to stick to your own bank card, or use a travel card, it’s advisable to not convert all your spending money into cash.

If you’ve been in Cape Town for a few days, you will have seen the bright red double-decker City Sightseeing bus drive past. These busses operate in over a 100 cities across the globe including London, Berlin, Barcelona, Amsterdam, Budapest, New York, Dubai, and more.

They are the world’s largest open-top, double-decker sightseeing tour bus operator. Started in 1999, this innovative tour operator company is the go-to source for discovering the best a city has to offer. The service runs 365 days a year, regardless of the weather. The handy hop-on-hop-off bus operates like clockwork, arriving at regular scheduled intervals at each stop.

See More Learn More with the City Sightseeing Bus

While you are taking in the beauty of the Mother City, you can listen to interesting information about each area you drive through. The on-board commentary is offered in 15 different languages (English, Afrikaans, Arabic, Dutch, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Mandarin, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish, Swedish, Turkish and Zulu). There’s also a fun channel for the kids.

EXPLORING CAPE TOWN WITH THE CITY SIGHTSEEING BUS_

The City Sightseeing Bus is a great way to effectively explore Cape Town. Instead of trying to figure out all the places you should see while you are in the city, use the City Sightseeing Bus with its structured route travelling past all the must-see attractions.

Also, Cape Town’s traffic and parking situation is notoriously challenging. With the City Sightseeing Bus, you can simply sit back and relax while someone else manoeuvres the congested roads. And it is more cost effective than Ubering across the city as well. The company strives to leave a small carbon footprint, and the busses have been declared carbon neutral.

How Does a City Sightseeing Bus Tour Work

There are a variety of tours to choose from including hop-on-hop-off routes through the city, cruises, wine tours, township tours, helicopter tours, and walking tours. A recent exciting addition to the City Sightseeing Bus tour repertoire, is the Franschhoek & Stellenbosch wine region Explorer Tour.

You determine your exploration of the city. The City Sightseeing bus has more than 30 stops, enabling you to explore over 50 of Cape Town’s top attractions. The bus passes by each stop every 15 minutes. This gives you the flexibility to plan your day. Depending on the type of tour you choose, the first busses depart around 08:00 in the mornings, and the last busses run between 18:00 and 19:00 (season dependent) Download the bus schedule.

The busses operate on a first-come, first-serve basis. During peak season the bus departures are increased to compensate for the influx of people. Tickets can be bought online at a discounted rate. There are three City Sightseeing offices across the city – at the V&A Waterfront, in the City Centre near Greenmarket Square, and in Camps Bay. You can also buy tickets on the bus at the various stops (cash and card facilities available). The City Sightseeing tours range between 30 minutes, and 140 minutes. But you will most likely be kept busy the whole day with all the sightseeing opportunities.

The City Sightseeing Bus Stops

Here’s a list of some of the City Sightseeing Bus Stops:

  • Two Oceans Aquarium (V&A Waterfront)
  • Cape Wheel (V&A Waterfront)
  • Zeitz Mocaa Museum (V&A Waterfront)
  • District Six Museum
  • Castle of Good Hope
  • South African Jewish Museum
  • St George’s Cathedral
  • SA Museum
  • SA Jewish Museum
  • Jewel of Africa
  • District Six Museum
  • Castle of Good Hope
  • Table Mountain
  • Camps Bay
  • Greenpoint Urban Park & Stadium
  • Kirstenbosch National Botanical Gardens
  • Groot Constantia Wine Estate
  • World of Birds (Hout Bay)
  • Seal Island Cruise (Hout Bay)
  • Imizamo Yeth Township (Hout Bay)
  • Mariner’s Wharf Hout Bay Harbour

Book your ticket now

City Sightseeing Bus Tour Options

Exploring Cape Town with the City Sightseeing Bus

Photo by City Sightseeing South Africa

There are various tour packages available. Your choice will depend on the duration of your city exploration. Some tickets are only valid for one day, others can be extended to two or three days.

The Classic Ticket (valid for one day, with four tour loops) is one of the most popular ones. It also includes a free Walking Tour of the city, but does not include the Sunset Bus Tour. You can join the tour at any of the 30 hop-on-hop-off stops along the route.

You can bump it up to a Premium Ticket (valid for two days, with four tour loops per day). It includes a free Walking Tour, as well as a free Harbour or Canal Cruise. You also get a half-price discount on the Sunset Bus tour. The ticket is valid for two consecutive days.

The Deluxe Ticket (valid for three days, with four tour loops per day) is a great way to make the most of the City Sightseeing Bus routes with the wide variety of activities. It includes a free Walking tour, Harbour or Canal cruise, and the Sunset Bus. The ticket is valid for three consecutive days.

Another handy option, is buying a Cape Explorer Pass bus ticket that includes entrance to 3 of 12 must-see attractions. This is a very cost-effective option, offering you fast track, hassle-free entry at your choice of attractions. Choose from the following 12 attractions:

  • Classic Burger & chips lunch at the Hard Rock Café in Camps Bay (Red or Blue)
  • The Cape Town Wheel (Red or Blue)
  • Canal cruise (Red or Blue)
  • Harbour Cruise (Red or Blue)
  • Hamley’s Train (Red or Blue)
  • Cape Town Diamond Museum Entry (Red or Blue)
  • Kirstenbosch Gardens (Blue Tour)
  • Groot Constantia wine tasting (Blue Tour)
  • World of Birds (Blue Tour)
  • Imizamo Yetho Township walking tour (Blue Tour)
  • Hout bay Seal Island cruise, Drumbeat (Blue Tour)
  • Hout bay Seal Island cruise, Circe Launches (Blue Tour)

You don’t have to decide which attractions you want to enjoy before the time. Your bar code will give you access to three attractions, before it expires. The ticket is valid for one day, including all the tour loops.

Other City Sightseeing Bus Tour Experience options:

  • Sunset Bus
  • Canal Cruise
  • Bus & Bicycle Combo
  • 6 hour Bicycle rental
  • 20 min Atlantico Scenic Flight
  • Harbour Cruise (V&A Waterfront)
  • Sunset Champagne Cruise
  • Cape Point & Penguin Explorer Tour
  • Franschhoek & Stellenbosch wine region Explorer Tour
  • Franschhoek Wine Tram with Cape Town Explorer Tour
  • Two Day Cape Point & Winelands Combo

Book your ticket now

The Mega City Pass

The Mega City Pass offers you access to more than 70 attractions, along the City Sightseeing bus route. You can save 40% to 50% on general entrance fees. It also offers you 25% discount on any of the three Explorer Day Tours. The pass is valid for 2, 3 or 5 consecutive days. Skip the queues with the handy fast-track entrance. You can show your Mega City pass barcode on your phone, or print out the voucher for entry into the attractions.

It includes a handy guide for easy-reference to the locations and contact details of the various participating attractions. You can view the special offers and plan your exploration adventure. The guide is available from one of the City Sightseeing Bus Offices (V&A Waterfront, Long Street, or Camps Bay). You have free access to use th City Sightseeing Bus while your Mega City Pass is valid. You can scan your pass at one of the offices or on your first bus entry to access your bus boarding pass.

Free Entrance:

  • City Sightseeing: Deluxe bus ticket, Harbour or Canal Cruise & Sunset Bus
  • City Sightseeing: Sunset Bus Tour | Harbour & seal cruise |  Canal Cruise
  • Table Mountain Aerial Cableway
  • Live-guided township tour: Langa & Gugulethu
  • Kirstenbosch National Botanical Gardens
  • Cape Wheel (V&A Waterfront)
  • Two Oceans Aquarium (V&A Waterfront)
  • ZEITZ MOCAA Museum of Contemporary Art (V&A Waterfront)
  • Springbok Rugby Experience & Museum (V&A Waterfront)
  • Hamleys Express Train (V&A Waterfront)
  • Shimansky Diamond Experience (V&A Waterfront)
  • Waterfront Charters: Harbour & bay cruise | Harbour & seal cruise | Sunset champagne cruise
  • Jolly Roger Sunset Champaign Cruise
  • Jolly Roger Pirate Boat: Bay & coastal cruise
  • Cape Town Comedy Club (V&A Waterfront)
  • Castle of Good Hope
  • The Diamond Gallery: Free tour & diamond pendant (spend R1500)
  • &Bikes: Art cycle tour
  • &Bikes: Food tour
  • &Bikes: 4 hour bicycle rental
  • Rush: Indoor trampoline park
  • Woodstock Street Art Walking Tour
  • Imizamo Yethu Township Walking Tour
  • City Centre Walking Tour
  • Slave Lodge
  • South African National Gallery
  • Bo Kaap Walking Tour
  • Bo-Kaap Museum
  • South African Museum
  • Cape Town Holocaust Centre
  • South African Jewish Museum
  • District Six Museum
  • Heart of Cape Town Museum
  • Cape Town Diamond Museum
  • The Woodstock Gin Company: Gin tasting
  • Pienaar & Son Distillery: Free Gin & Vodka Tasting
  • Mama Africa: Starter, glass of wine & wine tasting voucher
  • Gold Restaurant: Free djembe drumming / glass of sparkling wine
  • Groot Constantia: Wine estate tour & tasting
  • Drumbeat Charters: Seal colony cruise (Hout Bay)
  • Circe Launches: Seal Island cruise (Hout Bay)
  • World of Birds (Hout Bay)
  • Vredenheim Big Cat Tour
  • Alpaca Loom Barn Tour & Weaving Studio
  • Le Bonheur Crocodile Farm
  • Eagle Encounters
  • Franschhoek Cellars: Cheese & wine pairing
  • Spier Wine Estate: Free tasting and bottle of wine
  • Simonsig: Cellar tour & wine tasting
  • Vredenheim Wine Estate: Wine tasting
  • Bikes ‘n Wines: Winelands cycle tour
  • Franschhoek TukTuk Wine Tours
  • Avontuur Wine Estate: Tasting & bottle of Cabernet/Merlot
  • Stellenbosch Vineyards: Wine tasting & bottle of Welmoed wine
Exploring Cape Town with the City Sightseeing Bus

Photo by City Sightseeing South Africa

Special Discount

  • Hard Rock Café: Free classic burger (valid between 11.30AM and 5:00PM)
  • Cape Point & Penguin Tour: Full-day live-guided tour: 25% discount
  • Wine tour & tasting: full-day live-guided tour: 25% discount
  • Franschhoek Wine Tram with Cape Town Explorer Tour: 25% discount
  • Meloncino Restaurant (V&A Waterfront): 15% discount
  • City Grill Restaurant (V&A Waterfront): 15% discount
  • The Greek Fisherman Restaurant: 15% discount
  • Hard Rock Café: 10% discount on merchandise
  • Jonkershuis: Free glass of wine with main meal
  • Groot Constantia Simons Restaurant: Free glass of wine with main meal
  • Wharfside Grill Restaurant at Mariner’s Wharf: R120.00 for seafood platter
  • Moyo Restaurant @ Kirstenbosch: 10% discount on bill
  • Kaapse Stories: 10% discount off ticket price
  • Jewel Africa: Spend R2,000 and receive a free Table Mountain Bracelet

Buy your Mega City Pass now

Premium Free Access

The Premium Mega City Pass will also give you free access to one of the following attractions:

  • Aquila Private Game Reserve Safari
  • Cape Town Helicopters Atlantico Tour
  • Cape Sidecars Chauffeured City Tour
  • Marine Dynamics Shark Cage Diving
  • Coffeebeans Routes: Choral Music Tour / Cuisine Tour / Jazz Safari
  • Dyer Island Cruises Whale Watching

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The city of Cape Town has seemingly endless exploration opportunities. But outside the city borders lies a completely different world. The Western Cape mountains create a rich landscape with mesmerizing beauty.

And the Franschhoek Valley should definitely be on your exploration to-do list! There are a few different ways to travel from Cape Town to Franschhoek. It’s a quaint little town, surrounded by world-class wine estates.

How to Travel to Franschhoek from Cape Town

The Best Way to Get to Franschhoek from Cape Town

Photo by Devon Janse van Rensburg on unsplash

We’ve sourced a few different travel options for you to consider, with route suggestions as well. Public transport between Cape Town and the surrounding areas are limited, but there are a few possible ways for you to experience the beauty beyond the city borders.

Shuttle Companies

You can hire a private shuttle to transport you between Cape Town and Franschhoek. A shuttle can cost up to R 950 per person (return trip). We recommend that you use Winelands Experience as they can also help you to explore the town with their tours. Alternatively, you can use ShuttleUp  to travel between Cape Town and Franschhoek, as well as other locations nearby. A trip between the city and Franschhoek will cost R590 per person, one way. They also offer tours of the Cape Town region.

THE BEST WAY TO GET TO FRANSCHHOEK FROM CAPE TOWN_

You can use an Uber to Franschhoek. But it will only be a viable option if you are travelling as a group. UberX will cost you about R700 from the Cape Town city centre to Franschhoek, one way. That works out to R175 per person (group of four)

Train to Franschhoek

If you are feeling very adventurous, you can take the Metro train to Stellenbosch, and Uber to Franschhoek from there. The train ticket will cost you R19.50, one way. And the UberX from Stellenbosch to Franschhoek in the region of R285. View the train schedule.

Bus to Franschhoek

The Greyhound Bus only runs between Cape Town and Stellenbosch. It will cost you from R270 to R290. You will then have to Uber from Stellenbosch to Franschhoek, costing about R285.

Plan Your Trip from Cape Town to Franschhoek

Another travel option that you can consider, is to hire a car for your trip to Franschhoek. Depending on the type of car you prefer, this will cost between R200 to R500 per day, excluding the petrol costs. Read our article Best Car Hire for a few car hire company options.

There are a few different ways you can travel to Franschhoek from Cape Town.

Via the N1 and R45

Travel time: 1 h 12 min | 88.8 km

This is a fairly direct and fast route to Franschhoek from Cape Town. Travel on the N1 past Century City, on your way to Paarl. Take exit 59 from the N1 and turn right onto the R301, which later becomes the R45. You’re guaranteed spectacular mountain views whichever route you choose to Franschhoek!

Via N2 and R310

Travel time: 1 h 25 min | 88.6 km

Alternatively, you can take the N2, travelling past the Cape Town International Airport on your way to Somerset West. Take exit 33 (Baden Powell Drive) towards the R310, turn left onto Baden Powell Drive. Next, turn right onto Polkadraai Road (still the R310). Follow the road through Stellenbosch, turning left onto Adam Tas Road (R310/R44) Turn right onto the Helshoogte Road (R310). Next, turn right onto the R45, and left onto Lambrechts road to stay on the R45.

Click here for directions.

Use the City Sightseeing Bus to Travel to Franschhoek from Cape Town

The Best Way to Get to Franschhoek from Cape Town

Photo by City Sightseeing South Africa

If you want to combine your travelling and touring expenses, why not consider the Franschhoek & Stellenbosch wine region Explorer Tour. This way you will effortlessly travel to Franschhoek from Cape Town, and explore the area.

The tour includes stops at two Stellenbosch and Franschhoek wine estates. Here you can indulge in wine tastings and learn more about the cellars with a tour. You can also stop for lunch in Franschhoek. Tickets cost R580 for adults, and R300 for children.

THE BEST WAY TO GET TO FRANSCHHOEK FROM CAPE TOWN_

Or try the Franschhoek Wine Tram Explorer Tour. While you are travelling to Franschhoek from Cape Town, you will be learning more about the areas you drive through with their handy commentary on the bus. There are two tram routes to choose from, travelling in a circular route, and stopping at 8 Wine Estates. The tram stops at each wine estate on the hour, giving you ample time to explore. Tickets cost R540 for adults and R275 for children.

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Cape Town’s natural beauty is awe inspiring. And the best thing about it, is that it’s entwined in the cityscape. Instead of roughing it up on dirt roads, you can hit a tar road and soak up the mesmerizing scenery whizzing by. But beware, you won’t be the only one hitting the road, so choose the timing of your scenic drive in Cape Town carefully.

As with all major cities, mornings and afternoons are the peak traffic times. And over the weekends roads can become heavily congested on a beautiful sunny day. But even if you get stuck in traffic, the epic landscapes will keep you entertained. Cape Town scenic drives offer you it all – meandering bends, panoramic views, and engineering feats.

The Best Scenic Drives in Cape Town

Whether you are simply driving from one activity to the next, or you plan a scenic drive in Cape Town – the spectacular views along the way are an awesome bonus!

Most Scenic Drives in Cape Town - Chapmans Peak sebastian-staines-unsplash

Chapman’s Peak Drive

This one is the big honcho of scenic drives in Cape Town. The locals refer to the 15km (9 miles) drive as Chappies. It has a total of 114 curves! The road’s name is in remembrance of John Chapman, a Captain’s mate of an English ship called the Consent, which arrived in Hout Bay in 1607. In 1915 planning of the mountain-hugging road started. It was officially opened on May 6, 1922. The road was re-engineering to prevent rock falls, and reopened in December 2003. To maintain the road, a small toll fee is required, R31.00 for motor cycles and R47.00 for motors.

Most Scenic Drives in Cape Town - Chapmans Peak - jacques-burger-unsplash

During turbulent weather, the road is closed for safety reasons. There is also regular maintenance projects to keep the cliffs stable. The road hugs the cliffs, with sheer drops to the expansive Atlantic Ocean on the other side. There are various lookout spots along the way for you to pause and admire the view.

Visit www.chapmanspeakdrive.co.za for more information and to keep up to date with road closures.

Most Scenic Drives in Cape Town - Victoria Road - Camps Bay tobias-fischer-unsplash

Victoria Road

This winding ocean scenic drive in Cape Town lies on the other side of the Chapman’s Peak drive. It’s almost as winding as its cousin, with just as much mountain and ocean wonder. A few of the highlights include an expansive view of Llandudno near the Suikerbossie Drive, the magnificent Twelve Apostles, and Lion’s Head in the distance. You’ll catch different glimpses of the breath taking scenery in both directions.

St James Pool Beach Huts Train tracks

Boyes Drive

This is a short drive, so you’ll have to go slow to soak up all the beauty. It is an alternative to the bottom coastal road linking the little coastal neighbourhoods of Fish Hoek, Kalk Bay, and Muizenberg. Elevated above the ocean, you’ll find yourself staring in pure awe at the rolling waves of Muizenberg. As you round the bend back towards the city, the Constantia valley will charm you with its own picturesque mountain views.

You can also extend this drive past Fish Hoek towards Simon’s Town, if you prefer ocean views over mountains. Although, you can’t really escape the mountains, they continue to hug the road on the one side. Follow the M65 further towards Misty Cliffs and Scarborough for a truly nature-filled outing. Here you’ll find the mountains change to rocky cliffs, instead of the rolling green hills found closer to the city. The road also leads to Cape Point and the lonesome Kommetjie lighthouse.

R44 from Gordon’s Bay

This one you can keep for a weekend getaway, or simply a daytrip. Travel on the N2 towards Gordon’s Bay and swing away from the main highway onto the R44. Another winding scenic drive in Cape Town, with the mountain on the one side and the expansive Atlantic Ocean on the other. Take your time and pull over regularly for epic Instagram shots. You’ll spot Table Mountain across False Bay. Get ready to inundate your eyes with the wild blue ocean and lush green mountains! You can follow the road all the way to Hermanus, or stop at one of the other little coastal towns along the way such as Kleinmond or Betty’s Bay.

If you want to create a loop trip, travel along Sir Lowry’s Pass on the N2, and the R43 towards Hermanus and do the coastal road on your way there or back.

Cape Town to Melkbosstrand

The West Coast road has its own unique charm. It’s not as dramatic as the other scenic drives in Cape Town, but on your way back into the city, you will be intrigued with Table Mountain following you all the way, steadily “growing” bigger and bigger as you near the city again. Stick to the R27 coastal road that will take you past the most popular kite surfing spots as well.

Most Scenic Drives in Cape Town - Tableview - clyde-thomas-unsplash

Photo by Clyde Thomas

On the lonely stretch out of the city there are various little beaches you can stop at to soak up the mountain views. If you get the timing right for your scenic drive, you’ll catch a stunning sunset across the Bay.

Most Scenic Drives in Cape Town marcelo-novais-unsplash

Tafelberg Road to Signal Hill

This one is a great little mini scenic drive in Cape Town. The Tafelberg Road hugs the side of Table Mountain next to the bottom Aerial Cableway station. After the steep winding road, you will be greeted by one of the new Seven Wonders of the World in all its glory. Follow the road past the cableway station towards its end next to Devils Peak. On one side the mountain looms up next to you, and on the other the city lies in the valley.

Plan your trip just before sunset to watch the sun colour the mountain and then the city lights popping up. Or you can drive towards the other side on the Signal Hill Road, across Kloof Nek road, to watch the sun set across the ocean.

A Little Bit Further

We’ll let you in on a little secret, the mountain views outside the city are almost more mesmerizing than the ones within the city borders!

Cape Town to Worcester

The N2 highway (toll road) will take you through the Huguenot Tunnel towards the Du Toits Kloof pass. Get ready to catch your breath when you exist the tunnel, the mountains in the valley are spectacular. You can also use the alternative routes to bypass the toll road, offering you an even more scenic drive.

Worcester to Swellendam

Not as famous as its cousin, Route 62, but this scenic drive is just as stunning. The route travels through unspoiled nature reserves and the looming Matroosberg Mountain range. Eventually the road will lead you to the Bree River, with lush vineyards along the way. Create an alternative loop back to see as much as possible of the Klein Karoo on your trip.

Most Scenic Drives in Cape Town

Photo by audleytravel.com

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Simons Town 5 Must-See Cape Town Neighbourhoods

Every city has a few really cool neighbourhoods that seem to have more than their fair share of history, arts and culture. As it turns out, Cape Town has more than a few. So we’ve put together a handful of our favourite must-see neighbourhoods in the Cape Town area. You’ll want to put aside at least a day to get to know these neighbourhoods or, even better, book into a guesthouse or B&B and fall in love with these local gems.

  1. Kalk Bay

Kalk Bay Harbour 5 Must-See Cape Town Neighbourhoods

Kalk Bay has always been a cool neighbourhood, but now it’s official. In July 2018, it was named one of The 12 Coolest Cities around the World by Forbes magazine – and it beat London and New York in the process.

Much of Kalk Bay’s cool can be put down to its growth over the years that has been natural, organic and driven by the day-to-day dramas and activities of the locals who live and love this sleepy fishing village on Cape Town’s False Bay coastline.

Even if these days Kalk Bay looks more polished and tourist-friendly than it did in the old days, you won’t find a franchise or imposing high-rise hotel anywhere. What makes this town so gorgeously intriguing is its hodge-podge mix of historic building, cobble stone streets and love for colourful creativity that can be seen everywhere – in bohemian bric-a-brac shops, bookshops, nooks and crannies that stock vintage collectibles, and galleries bursting with art and antiques. Then there are the cafés and restaurants that offer a smorgasbord of eating experiences and culinary treats.

The quintessential things that make Kalk Bay unique in the world, are almost never out of sight – the ocean and mountain views, and colourful fishing boats that in many cases have been used by the same families that have fished False Bay for a hundred years or more.

If you need a bit of activity to burn off those Kalk Bay calories, you can hike the surrounding mountains or explore its caves with an experienced guide. Boomslang cave is popular with novice hikers and groups and the four kilometer hike takes about two hours.

Kalk Bay Theatre is the perfect way to end the day, but you’ll need to book your seat because most shows sell out quickly.

  1. Simon’s Town

Simons Town 5 Must-See Cape Town Neighbourhoods

Simon’s Town is one of South Africa’s oldest towns and home to the South African Navy. Its rich maritime history is evident in its architectures, museums, eateries, and the servicemen and women in crisp white summer uniforms or the black and gold of winter.

A walk down Simon’s Town main road gives you the pick of quaint shops, restaurants and historic sites. These include Jubilee Square, the South African Naval Museum, and the Warrior Toy Museum. You won’t want to miss a visit to the statue in Jubilee Square of Just Nuisance – a famous Great Dane mix who became the only dog to be officially enlisted in the Royal Navy. You can visit his grave at the top of Red Hill where he was buried in 1944 with full military honours.

The other famous animal inhabitants of Simon’s Town can be found at Boulders Beach, home to a large colony of African penguins who can be seen going about their daily lives in this spot sheltered by ancient boulders along the False Bay coastline.

If you’re after a bit of relaxation, Whale View Manor Day Spa are all about pampering you. And for those after adventure, there’s everything from sailing, cycling, hiking and kayaking, to shark cage dives and ghost walks.

  1. Bo-Kaap

Bo Kaap Cape Town Neighbourhood claudio fonte unsplash

You will find Bo-Kaap above the city of Cape Town at the foot of Signal Hill and you’ll know when you’ve arrived. Cube houses of tangerine, mint green, candy floss pink and baby blue, wind up hills and down cobbled streets. They’ve been around since the 1760s when they were originally built and leased to freed slaves, most of whom had come from Malaysia and Indonesia. Many of the present day residents in this must-see neighbourhood can trace their roots back a hundreds or more and this why so many of the traditional customs and flavours live on in this unique area.

A good place to start is with a visit to the Bo-Kaap Museum for a look at the history of the area and the life of a typical Malay family. There are also a number of colourful mosques in the area – the Auwal Mosque was the first ever established in South Africa. From the museum there is a 20-minute audio tour guided by Shereen Habib whose family has lived there for almost a century.

You can also sign up for a half-day cooking course given by Cape Fusion Tours and take home skills that will allow you to keep enjoying the Cape Malay flavours of Bo-Kaap.

  1. Khayelitsha

Khayelitsha 5 Must-See Cape Town Neighbourhoods

Khayelitsha, just 30km south east of the city centre, is the largest township in Cape Town. Although poverty is still rife in this neighbourhood, a spirit of optimism and entrepreneurship is alive and well in the rich history of this place, its culture and many social development projects.

The local eateries offer a mix of traditional and western food, and patrons are treated to an authentic township meal and neighbourhood vibe. If you’re after a morning brew, try artisan coffee shop, Department of Coffee. Or for the healthiest food in town, head over to Spinach King just around the corner from Khayelitsha railway station, for spinach bread and sandwiches made with locally grown spinach.

A Township Walking Tour is still one of the best ways to experience Khayelitsha. Not only will you be able to get to see township life as it happens, but you’ll also be given the opportunity take part in helping to create sustainable, positive change in the community by planting a vegetable gardens, for instance, or creating colourful street art.

  1. Blouberg

Blouberg 5 Must-See Cape Town Neighbourhoods captureson unsplash

Bloubergstrand is located 15 kilometers north of Cape Town’s city centre, along the shores of Table Bay. The suburb’s name means “blue mountain beach” in Afrikaans, and that’s an accurate description.

The beaches (divided into Big Bay and Little Bay) are best known for their view of Table Mountain across the bay which is the perfect backdrop for holiday pics. Big Bay is the destination of choice for kite surfers and windsurfers from around, while Little Bay is great for picnicking on the lawns or exploring the nearby rock pools.

When you’ve had enough of the beach or air, catch a bite to eat in one of the neighbourhood restaurants or stop in at Studio 46 for an eyeful of creations by local artists and sculptors, jewellery designers and photographers.

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