When flying to Cape Town you will arrive at the Cape Town International Airport (CPT), ranked as the best airport in Africa (2012, 2013, 2016, 2017 & 2018 World Airport Awards).
Cape Town International is located about a 20-minute drive east of the city, some 20 km's away. There are about 40 international flights flying into and out of the airport each week, connecting Cape Town to several major cities across the world. There are direct flights between Cape Town and the European cities of London, Amsterdam, Paris, Munich, Rome and Zurich, as well as Dubai, Istanbul, Mauritius and Singapore. Many other flights connect Cape Town and international destinations in Asia, North America, Australasia and more, but these fly via Johannesburg or elsewhere. There are also international flights between Cape Town and other major cities in Africa, including Livingstone (Zambia), Luanda (Angola), Maputo (Mozambique), Maun (Botswana) and Windhoek (Namibia).
It is sometimes slightly more expensive to catch an international flight to Cape Town than it is to fly to Johannesburg, so if you plan to visit both then it may be a bit cheaper to take the internal domestic flight from Johannesburg instead of Cape Town. Johannesburg in Gauteng is the better option for travellers heading to Kruger Park, private game reserves in Mpumalanga and several neighbouring countries, given its proximity. Jo'burg is a more popular entry and exit point than Cape Town as it connects with a wider range of international and local destinations and offers more frequent flights.
In addition to being a legendary travel destination in its own right, the beautiful city of Cape Town also serves as the springboard for to tours of the scenic and renowned Cape Winelands and Garden Route areas.
The cheapest way to get to Cape Town once you're in South Africa is by bus or by train. You can travel by rail or bus from Johannesburg and most major cities across the country, but be warned - these are long journeys. You can take domestic flights between several hubs in the country, choosing between South African Airways (SAA) and cheap airlines such as Mango or Kulula.
Running between Cape Town International and the city are metered taxis, private shuttle services and public buses (MyCity Bus), all of which take around 20 minutes (depending on traffic). You can pre-book bus trips or just hop onto the next one, and when catching a taxi the official provider, Touch Down Taxis, is recommended. Alternatively, you could rent a budget car and mission on your own. There is also the option of being collected and dropped off by your tour operator or lodge/hotel/guesthouse.
The award-winning Cape Town International Airport is the third largest airport in Africa and is the second busiest aiport in South Africa. Cape Town's airport was rated the Best Airport in Africa (2012 and 2013 World Aiport Awards), as well as Best Airport in Africa for Staff Service Excellence. Cape Town International has also won the Best Airport in Africa awards by Airports Council International every year since 2010.
Located about 20 km's (12 mi) from the centre of Cape Town, this airport serves as the hub for international and domestic travel to and from the Cape Town metropolitan area. The airport has an international and a domestic terminal, serviced by a shared check-in terminal, offering flights that connect with major cities in South Africa, as well as abroad. Domestic flights connect the Cape Town International Airport with Bloemfontein, Durban, East London, George, Hoedspruit, Johannesburg, Nelspruit, Plettenberg Bay, Port Elizabeth and more. The most popular domestic flights handled at the Cape Town airport are those to and from Johannesburg's Lanseria and OR Tambo airports, with over 30 daily flights. South African Airways and British Airways are the two main domestic carries, along with the budget airlines - Mango and Kulula.
Within Africa the airport operates between Cape Town and Gabarone, Livingstone, Luanda, Maputo, Maun and Windhoek, to name a few. Direct international flights connect Cape Town International Airport with major cities in Europe, Asia, the Middle East and Mauritius. There are non-stop flights to and from Amsterdam, Doha, Dubai, Frankfurt, Istanbul, Munich, Paris, Singapore, Zürich and, the most popular route, between London and Cape Town.
The Wingfield Aerodrome was replaced by Cape Town International Airport when it opened in 1954. The Cape Town International Airport underwent major renovations and expansions in time for the for the 2010 FIFA World Cup.
Abseil down 112 meters of sheer cliff face, from the top of Table Mountain, at 1000 meters above sea level.
Either hike up Table Mountain or take the cable car to the top for the world's highest commercial abseil.
Enjoy spectacular views over Cape Town city, Chapman's Peak and the beautiful Atlantic coastline as your heart races from the thrill of this daring abseil.
The two best places to learn how to surf or rent equipment are Surfer's Corner in Muizenberg on the False Bay side and Big Bay, between Melkbos and Bloubergstrand. Popular surf spots include less-crowded Scarborough, a 45-minute drive from Cape Town, and Long Beach at Kommetjie, a 40-minute drive from the Cape Town.
Closer to the city options include surfing at Glen Beach (for the advanced) near Camps Bay and Rocklands, Queens and Off The Wall in the Sea Point area. Other excellent surfing spots include Dungeons off Sentinel Hill in Hout Bay, Llandudno, Sandy Bay and Derdesteen near Blouberg.
The False Bay side is slightly warmer than the icy Atlantic, which is a little less cold in winter, but precautions should be taken against shark attacks at the Indian Ocean spots.
A beach lovers paradise, Cape Town boasts a variety of beautiful beaches for every taste. Top beaches on the warmer False Bay coast, ideal for families, include St. James Beach and nearby Muizenberg, Strand, and Boulders with its colony of African penguins.
Camps Bay and the Clifton beaches are the trendiest of Cape Town's beaches along the Atlantic Seaboard, where Llandudno Beach, Hout Bay and nudist Sandy Bay are also found.
Further out lie Scarborough, Kommetjie and Noordhoek, among a host of other secluded and picturesque beaches. Blouberg beach offers great views of Table Mountain in the distance.
The Cape Town area abounds with hiking trails, including the favourites of Silvermine Nature Reserve, Chapman’s Peak Drive, Cape Point Nature Reserve , Kalk Bay Caves, Peers Cave or Elsies Peak.
Explore the best hiking trails on guided walks, learn more about the fynbos, birdlife and ecosphere. Follow the shipwreck trail, undulating coastal paths or hike to the sacred rock sites on the slopes of Table Mountain.
Explore the cosmopolitan city of Cape Town on guided walking tours or city bus tours in an open-topped double decker bus on a hop-on hop-off basis.
City highlights include the Company Gardens, City Hall, the Castle of good Hope, Malay Quarter of Bo-Kaap and Green Market Square.
The bus tours visit attractions including Table Mountain, The V&A Waterfront, Robben Island, Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens and the Constantia Wine Route, and the two day option includes a City Sightseeing Canal Cruise and Night sightseeing tour.
Cape Town is steeped in history, with historic highlights such as Robben Island and the District Six Museum providing insight into South Africa's apartheid era, ending in 1990.
Attractions on historical tours include the National Gallery, Houses of Parliament, the Iziko Museum, the Iziko Planetarium and the Iziko Slave Lodge.
Some of Cape Town's most scenic suburbs offer horse riding outings, including leafy Constantia, and coastal Hout Bay. One of Cape Town's best horse rides is along Noordhoek beach, offering riders stunning views of Chapman's Peak.
Other options include exploring Somerset West, Stellenbosch and Paarl, in the Cape Winelands on horseback on three hour, half day or full day rides, as well as spending two or three days riding along the Berg River.
There are plenty of bush and beach horse rides to choose from with horse rides available for all levels of experience and for kids, at Oude Molen among other spots.
Whale watching is best on the warmer False Bay side of Cape Town, along the west coast of the Cape Peninsula including Muizenberg, Kalk Bay, Glencairn, Fish Hoek and Simonstown.
The peak whale watching season is from July to November when Southern Right whales swim up from Antarctica, but other species include the Brydes whale and Humpback whale, among others.
Boat based whale watching trips are offered from Simon's Town, Hout Bay, the Waterfront and Cape Point. Hermanus is considered to offer the best land based whale watching in the world, located a two-hour drive from Cape Town.
Choose from guided, personalized motorbike trips and bike rentals in and around Cape Town and beyond to Overberg, Cedarberg, Wine Route, Garden Route and up into Namibia, among other places.
Most popular bike options are BMW motorbikes and Harley-Davidson motorcycles, with tours ranging from half day tours to longer itineraries that include Cape Town as a stop, lasting a few weeks.
Explore the Cape Peninsula driving along Chapman's Peak and Boyes Drive, visit Table Mountain, the Cape of Goodhope and Cape Point Nature Reserve, or drive up Lions Head to Signal Hill and down to Camps Bay closer to the city.
Cape Town's diverse and scenic terrains, make it a top favourite destination for mountain biking, especially given the beautiful backdrop of Table Mountain.
Ride along the scenic coast from Camps Bay to Hout Bay, try the moderate to difficult off-road trail in Tokai Forest, ride through the Constantia Winelands or explore Cape Point National Park or Table Mountain National Park by bike.
There are numerous biking routes to choose from, including beach, forest and mountain trails with popular routes in Durbanville, Chapman’s Peak and Ou Kaapse Weg.
Choose between guided trails, tailor-made tours, or bike rental, with options available for all fitness and experience levels from the amateur to professional cyclist. Cape Town also hosts some prestigious cycle races.
Township Tours, a must for anyone wanting to gain insight into Cape Town today and the political history and cultures of South Africa, mostly visit the Cape Flats area where the townships of Langa, Gugulethu, Khayelitsha and Kayamandi are located.
Two-hour walking tours, half day, full day and evening tours, explore the informal settlements of Cape Town visiting schools, orphanages, community centres, shebeens (pubs), shacks (shanty houses), and spaza shops. Many of these eye-opening guided tours include eating in an African restaurant or home, as well as visiting Robben Island and District Six.
An unforgettable cultural experience providing insight into the socio-economic realities of local people, who benefit directly from the township tours.
Taking a sunset cruise in Cape Town is an ideal way to appreciate Table Mountain and the beautiful surrounds from the water.
From a one and a half hour Champagne Sunset Cruises to Clifton Beach or Table Bay to full day tours exploring the scenic coastline, from the Victoria & Alfred Waterfront.
Visit Robben Island on a catamaran cruise, enjoy a sailboat or yacht ride, or take a motorised boat cruise, with options to suite all budgets.
The Victoria & Alfred Waterfront attracts more visitors than any other destination in South Africa, hosting retail outlets, from well-known international brands, to exclusive local boutiques. Other top shopping destinations include Cavendish Mall in Claremont, Canal Walk, Willowbridge Shopping Centre and Tyger Valley Shopping Centre.
The Cape Quarter Lifestyle Village in Green Point is another favourite, offering fine cuisine, unique lifestyle shops and Piazza Entertainment.
Visit the Pan African Market, Greenmarket Square and the Old Biscuit Mill in Woodstock, among other great markets in Cape Town, browse the quaint shops of Kalk Bay or go jewellery shopping and visit the Diamond Works in Cape Town.
A viticulturists' delight, the Cape Town area is home to some of the most scenic winelands in the world, and boasts the world's largest number of Fairtrade certified wineries.
From Constantia Valley Wine Route, where South Africa’s wine farming industry started, to Franschhoek Valley, considered the most beautiful wine route - Cape Town is rich in scenic and award-winning vineyards.
Cape Town's most popular Wine Routes include Stellenbosch Wine Route, Paarl, Wellington, the Helderberg Wine Route in Somerset West, and Durbanville Wine Valley, as well as the nearby Route 62, South Africa's longest wine route.
Cape Town's spas, hotels and independent masseurs offers an abundance of massage therapies, suited to all budgets and various treatment styles.
Options range from luxurious 5 Star hotel treatments, at the Mount Nelson Spa, 12 Apostles Hotel & Spa and the One & Only, to pampering treatments at a host of reputable spas and wellness clinics. Options include sports massages, Thai, Swedish, Reflexology, Hawaiian and Deep Tissue massages.
Cape Town is world-famous for kite surfing, with the season lasting from October to early April and peaking in February. Consistent winds, great waves and spectacular scenery make Cape Town a top kite surfing destination.
Conditions are ideal for kiteboarding in Table Bay, including hot spots such as Dolphin Beach, Kitebeach on Bloubergstrand, or Sunset Beach, among others. The Langebaan Lagoon, 120 km's north of Cape Town, is popular for learning to kitesurf with a variety of lessons available.
There are plenty of kitesurfing schools renting out equipment and offering lessons, with options ranging from half day to multiple day courses, suitable for all ages and levels of skill.
Diving off Cape Town’s coastal areas of Hout Bay, Noordhoek, Kommetjie, Scarborough, Glencairn, Kalk Bay and Muizenberg offers a variety of diving experiences from shipwrecks and kelp forests, to coral gardens and deep reefs.
False Bay dive spots include Castle Rock, Batsata Rock, The Clan Stuart Wreck and Partridge Point, while Atlantic Seaboard dive sites include Seal Island, Clifton Rocks, Justin’s Caves and The Antipolis Wreck.
PADI diving courses are available with various dive schools, and the diving ranges from shallow and easy dives for beginners to deeper and more challenging sites for pro divers. The diverse marine life encountered on dives includes seals, sharks and a variety of fish and corals.
Experience the thrill of gliding over the rugged Atlantic coastline and hilly surrounds, swooping off the top of Lion's Head or Signal Hill alongside the city. The Cape Wine lands and mountains around Cape Town also offer great spots where commercial paragliding can be enjoyed.
Cape Town offers a feast for the taste buds, hosting plenty of world-class restaurants, top notch delis and stylish cafes. The lively nightlife of Cape Town is concentrated in the Long Street area of the city and the main strip along the Atlantic Seaboard, as well as at the famous V&A Waterfront and other vibrant suburban and urban pockets. Beside bars, clubs and restaurants Cape Town also has some excellent theatres and live music venues.