There is no denying the fact that Cape Town, South Africa and the rest of the world has been hit hard by the global COVID-19 pandemic. On the evening of the 15th of March 2020, the President of the Republic of South Africa, Cyril Ramaphosa, addressed the nation on the current state of Coronavirus in Cape Town and the rest South Arica. As well as the very important next steps and strategies to be put into action to contain the viral spread as well as curb the number of people infected by COVID-19. Ramaphosa declared South Africa to be in a ‘National State of Disaster’ and as a result, implemented tough new measures and regulations to stem the spread of the Coronavirus COVID-19 within South Africa. On the 23rd of March 2020 President Cyril Ramaphosa addressed the nation again and this time took a firmer stance by declaring a nationwide shutdown to be implemented from midnight on the 26th of March 2020 for a period of 21 days until midnight the 16th of April 2020.
Cape Town is widely known as one of the top travel and tourism destinations around the world. Boasting a variety of sought-after attractions and iconic landmarks, attracting thousands of visitors from all around the globe each year. It therefore comes as no surprise that Cape Town’s travel and tourism industry will take a MAJOR unfortunate hit during the Cape Town COVID-19 pandemic. However, despite the uncertainty, many of Cape Town’s top attractions are stepping up and acting with the necessary caution to help curb and prevent the spread of the Coronavirus COVID-19 within Cape Town. By complying with the stringent health and hygiene measures and regulations put in place by the World Health Organisation, the National Government and the Western Cape Government’s health teams.
Here is how some of Cape Town’s top attractions are operating during the COVID-19 pandemic to help flatten the curve and play their part in preventing any further spread of the Coronavirus from taking place.
#1 THE TABLE MOUNTAIN AERIAL CABLEWAY
Undoubtedly one of Cape Town’s top attractions and most-visited landmarks, the Table Mountain Aerial Cableway has taken the COVID-19 pandemic in Cape Town very seriously and will thus be closed to all visitors from the 18th of March 2020. The Table Mountain Aerial Cableway Company will remain closed until after the Easter weekend. Or until they receive greater clarity on current standings and steps forward on the management and containment of COVID-19 by the South African President Cyril Ramaphosa, the National and Provincial Government and international health bodies such as the World Health Organisation (WHO).
For full details, additional information and any further updates visit The Table Mountain Aerial Cableway Company’s full issued statement to find out everything you need to know and to stay up to date as things progress.
#2 KIRSTENBOSCH NATIONAL BOTANICAL GARDENS
The magnificent Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens is considered one of the Mother City’s most glorious natural wonders and summer attractions for locals and tourists alike. With the famous Kirstenbosch Summer Sunset Concert Series being a major summertime highlight in Cape Town. However, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic and the recent declaration by President Cyril Ramaphosa, declaring South Africa to be in a ‘National State of Disaster’, they have decided to take the very necessary precautionary steps to help curb the spread of COVID-19 as well as ensure the health and safety of all visitors. The annual Kirstenbosch Summer Sunset Concerts, in association with Old Mutual, have therefore decided to postpone the remaining three shows this season.
• Pumeza Matshikiza and Cape Town Opera postponed from 22 March 2020 to Summer 2021 (Date TBC)
• Jeremy Loops postponed from 29 March 2020 to 29 November 2020
• Andrew Young and Don Vino postponed from 05 April 2020 to Summer 2021 (Date TBC)
Ticketholders can however rest assured that they will receive full communication via Webtickets regarding the new dates as well as their refund options.
In addition to the postponement of the Kirstenbosch Summer Sunset Concert Series, Kirstenbosch National Botanical Gardens have also suspended guided golf cart tours, guided walks and Wednesday talks until further notice.
#3 ROBBEN ISLAND MUSEUM
Robben Island and the Robben Island Museum is easily one of Cape Town’s top tourist attractions and most frequently visited destinations for travellers from around the world. However, with the recent global COVID-19 pandemic and Coronavirus outbreak in Cape Town, they have made the very important decision to extend the temporary suspension of their tours that were first implemented on the 18 March 2020. The Robben Island and Robben Island Museum tours will remain suspended until such a time that conditions allow for the suspension to be lifted as indicated by international health bodies, such as the World Health Organisation as well as the National and Provincial Government.
Prior to the global and local COVID-19 pandemic, the Robben Island Museum’s ticket prices were scheduled to increase from 01 June 2020. However, given the current circumstances and all that’s associated with it, the Robben Island Museum will NOT impose additional charges on all tickets rescheduled to a date later than 01 June 2020.
#4 CAPE POINT
The captivating Cape Point is undoubtedly one of Cape Town’s most magnificent natural wonders. Located approximately 60km south west of the city of Cape Town, at the very tip of the Cape Peninsula, Cape Point is the ultimate mecca for nature lovers and adventure seekers. And has certainly established itself as one of Cape Town’s most sought-after destinations.
A recent statement issued by South African National Parks (SANParks) stated that Cape Point’s visitor facilities will remain open until SANParks advises otherwise or if/when the situation arises that they are instructed to close the park or that operations need to cease. As it presently stands however, SANParks has announced that all their parks will remain open and operational for the time being.
Cape Point, together with SANParks, have however implement exceptionally stringent health, hygiene and safety protocols and regulations to protect and safeguard both their staff and visitors against the spread of COVID-19. Some of these additional health, hygiene and safety measures include:
- Stringent health and safety measures have been implemented at the gate, thereby aiding in the safeguarding of visitors on their arrival. Not only have all staff members received extensive and adequate training sessions around hygiene and how to disinfect the gates on a regular basis. But they also always have hand sanitizer on hand as well as gloves as an extra precautionary measure when handling cash or cards.
- Once you’re in the park, you can rest assured that Cape Point and SANParks has ensured that there are enough sanitisers available at all visitor facilities, turnstiles, payment offices as well as in the restaurants. Guests are therefore encouraged and urged to clean and sanitise their hands regularly and take all the necessary precautions.
- Within all visitor facilities in the park, taps in the toilets/bathrooms have temporarily been switched from water-saving “mist taps” to regular taps in order to ensure they are more effective for optimal and thorough hand washing and sanitising.
- SANParks and Cape Point have made a point of it to ensure that every single member of the staff is briefed daily on safety and precautionary measures that have to be implemented and adhered to as it is absolutely paramount to both their own health and safety as well as that of all visitors to the park. They have also put informational posters up to remind staff of what should and should not be done. In addition, all staff members that are working with cash are always required to wear gloves as an extra precautionary measure.
- In addition to the above staff safety, health and hygiene measures put in place, Cape Point and SANParks have also implemented regular “Vitamin C days” where vitamin C supplements are issued to all staff members as an added gesture as well as oranges to keep their immune systems strong.
- Cape Point is also working on implementing a rotational roster in order to limit the amount of staff on site as per the World Health Organization and National Government regulations (since it’s less busy). Thereby significantly decreasing the number, and therefore the risk, of staff members and potential visitors getting sick.
- Cape Pont has also put various number limitations on several of their popular attractions and experiences. For example, the normal funicular (a very popular attraction at Cape Point) capacity is 45 people. However, they now don’t wait for the cars to be full, thereby resulting in there being far less people in the funicular car at a time.
- In addition, visitors to Cape Point can further rest assured that The funicular, in addition to all the other touch points and popular attractions at Cape Point, are properly and thoroughly cleaned and sanitised according to the highest of standards right throughout the day to assist in keeping the area germ-free and safe for visitors to experience and enjoy.
As mentioned above, as it presently stands, SANParks has announced that all their parks will remain open and operational for the time being. Or until they receive greater clarity on current standings and steps forward on the management and containment of COVID-19 by the South African President Cyril Ramaphosa, National and Provincial Government and international health bodies such as the World Health Organisation. However, visitors can rest assured that strict and stringent health, hygiene and safety protocols and regulations have been implemented into all SANParks facilities and parks. And that they are fully committed to enhancing their hygiene protocols to the highest of standard in accordance to the measures and regulations stated by the World Health Organisation (WHO) guidelines.
All the National Parks will therefore remain open during this time and will be taking all the necessary precautions to ensure visitors and staff member’s health and safety are of the utmost importance and at the forefront of every decision they make. Visitors are however also encouraged and urged to take all the necessary precautions themselves. And to wash and/or always sanitise their hands regularly as well as practice safe social distancing when moving through the park and various visitor’s centres. It is paramount that all visitors are considerate and respectful to each other.
Here is a statement from SANParks CEO Fundisile Mketeni as to why he believes it’s important to keep all SANParks National Parks open at this time:
“In these trying times, it should also come as some relief to people weary from disease outbreak concerns, that National Parks with its wide-open spaces, low-density tourist numbers, self-drive and self-catering accommodation options, is still able to provide excellent opportunities for isolation, rest and relaxation,”.
In addition, should travellers and visitors still be concerned about their vacation plans, SANPark encourages visitors to consider postponing their trip/visit to a later stage. SANParks has reviewed its reservations policy to accommodate its valued guests and are happy to announce that all amendments and postponements will not be penalised or charged extra fees.
For full details, additional information and any further updates visit SANPark’s full issued statement to find out everything you need to know and to stay up to date as things progress.
#6 LION’S HEAD
Lion’s Head is undoubtedly one of Cape Town most popular, beautiful and sought-after hiking trails. Boasting spectacular views over the Mother City, Table Mountain, Atlantic Ocean and beyond, it’s pure hiking bliss! However, mountain biking and hiking activities have been suspended due to the closing of Lion’s Head and the Glen footpaths, following the wildfire that spread along Tafelberg Road in Cape Town on Sunday and not due to the Cape Town COVID-19 pandemic.
SANParks issued a recent statement saying “All trails within Table Mountain National Park are accessible. Except for Lions Head footpaths, signal hill vicinity, and the glen footpaths, due to continuous fire-fighting operations and assessments being done”.
Although going on a walk or hike is completely acceptable while practising social distancing, provided that you take all the necessary health, safety and hygiene precautions, both for yourself and those around you, the South African National Parks (SANParks) has urged walkers, hikers, mountain bikers and joggers to practice extreme caution. Especially during the rest of Cape Town’s fire season after approximately 60 hectares of vegetation was burnt, and several cars and apartments damaged.
#7 TWO OCEAN’S AQUARIUM
Widely considered as one of the vibrant V&A Waterfront’s top attractions for both the young and young at heart, the Two Ocean Aquarium will unfortunately temporarily close their doors to the public from Wednesday 18 March until Tuesday 14 April 2020. This decision was made in response to the seriousness of the nationwide and Cape Town COVID-19 pandemic as well as to keep in line with the measures and regulations issued by Present Cyril Ramaphosa in his National Address.
Here is some additional information for those that have booked tickets in advance and the necessary processes and steps to follow:
- If you booked an online ticket to the Two Oceans Aquarium in advance of your visit, you can either postpone your visit or request a refund. Please contact [email protected] to make the necessary arrangements if you require a refund, and they will be happy to do so.
- If you booked a function or conference at the Aquarium, the Two Ocean’s Aquarium is giving you the option of choosing a new date in the future that suits you. Please contact [email protected] to discuss options and the steps forward.
- South African citizens who have their birthday during the time as when the Two Ocean’s Aquarium is closed will be able to receive a free entry in the first month of the Aquarium being reopened.
- If your child was booked on their school holiday course, please contact them on [email protected] to find out more.
- If you booked a dive or a Penguin Experience, the Two Ocean’s Aquarium is once again giving you the option of postponing your adventure or requesting a refund. Please email them at [email protected] to discuss your options and next steps.
For full details, additional information and any further updates visit the Two Ocean’s Aquarium’s full statement in order to find out everything you need to know and to stay up to date as things progress.
#8 CITY SIGHTSEEING CAPE TOWN RED BUS TOUR
By far one of Cape Town’s top attractions and bucket-list worthy experiences for locals and travellers alike is the highly sought-after Cape Town City Sightseeing Bus. Also known as the famous Cape Town Red Bus Tour. However, due to the nationwide and Cape Town COVID-19 pandemic and measures and regulations issued by the National and provincial Government’s as well as the WHO, the City Sightseeing will be suspending its Hop-on Hop-off services from 23 March 2020 until 14 April 2020. This includes their Hermanus, Cape Town and Joburg services.
For full details and any further updates visit the City Sightseeing South Africa website to find out everything you need to know.
#9 V&A WATERFRONT
Known as the vibrant hub of art, culture, retail, entertainment, history, adventure, exciting culinary endeavours, thrilling food culture and so much more, the lively V&A Waterfront is without a doubt one of the Mother City’s main attractions and meccas for just about everything. Despite the COVID-19 outbreak in Cape Town and South Africa, the V&A Waterfront has made the decision to remain fully operational for the time being. Or until the time that they are instructed to cease all their operation by the National and Provincial Governments as well as the WHO.
However, they have taken the COVID-19 pandemic in Cape Town incredibly seriously and have implement a vast range of stringent health, hygiene and safety protocols and regulations in order to ensure the health and safety of all visitors as well as staff members at the V&A Waterfront. Some of their additional COVID-19 health, safety and hygiene measures and protocols include:
- The V&A Waterfront is providing additional hand sanitisers in high visitor movement areas so that visitors to the Waterfront can practice regular handwash and sanitizing protocols. They have also implemented a strict and stringent cleaning protocol and regimen on a regular basis to disinfect surfaces and tabletops in public and make sure they are safe to the public.
- They have restored the availability of water and soap dispensers in the taps in restrooms that had been reduced due to water restrictions as a result of the recent drought protocols. This will allow visitors to the Waterfront to wash their hand more regularly and thoroughly upon their visit.
- The V&A Waterfront has made two ER24 clinics available on site. The clinics are currently implementing contingency plans for clinic operations across the property, i.e. infection control kits, training of staff and transportation of infected individuals.
- They have also taken the added initiative to roll out public communication to support the public health and hygiene messaging within their facilities.
The V&A Waterfront did however consider it necessary to cancel the following events that were due to take place across the property:
- Galileo Cinema – Mar / Apr
- TP52 – April
- Wine Festival – April
- Take The Stage – Mar
- Busker Auditions
- Indian Classical Programme
- Human Right Day – Justice Desk
- Tall Ships Open Days
- Tattoo Convention
- I love Boobies Run
Although the V&A Waterfront will remain fully operational for the time being, the following attractions around the Waterfront has been closed:
- The OZCF Market
- Zeitz MOCAA
- 2Oceans Aquarium
- Comedy Club
- Robben Island Gateway
- Iziko Maritime Centre
For full details, additional information and any further updates visit the V&A Waterfront’s website to find out everything you need to know and to stay up to date as things progress.
#10 CASTLE OF GOOD HOPE
The Castle of Good Hope is not only considered as one of Cape Town’s best and most enriching historical experiences, but one of its top landmarks too. Attracting thousands of visitors each year from all around the world, the Castle of Good Hope has undoubtedly become a must-visit attraction on any trip to the Mother City. Built between 1666 and 1679 by the Dutch East India Company, it’s the oldest existing colonial building in South Africa. And carries an unbelievable amount of history.
However, due to the Cape Town’s COVID-19 pandemic, the iconic historical site of the Castle of Good Hope will be closed to the public until the 2nd of April 2020.
For full details, additional information and any further updates visit the Castle of Good Hope’s website to find out everything you need to know and to stay up to date as things progress.