Cape Town - South Africa - www.classicencounters.com

 

 

 

 


Cape Town - the mother city of South Africa

 

 

 

 

Voted one of the most beautiful cities in the world

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
AFRICAN CLASSIC ENCOUNTERS - LEADING AFRICAN TOUR SPECIALISTS  

Cape Town - South Africa - www.classicencounters.com - The leading tour speicalists to Africa

There is nowhere like Cape Town. Perched between the ocean and the mountain, with a national park as its heart, it is a place to renew and reconnect.

Cape Town, the "Mother City", is the oldest city in South Africa and has a cultural heritage spanning more than 300 years. It also has the top five national attractions in South Africa that should appear on every visitors' itinerary all year round.

Cape Town is a year-round destination with warm summer days and cool winters. Enjoy sunshine of up to 14 hours a day along with the warmth of the locals.

Climate

The Capes climate is described as Mediterranean with warm, dry summers and mild, moist winters. The Cape has a mostly temperate climate. Near the coast, summer temperatures range from a pleasant low of 15C (59F) to highs of 27C (80.6F). Inland temperatures are some 3 to 5 degrees higher, making for gorgeous summer days and nights.

Coastal winters see the mercury dropping to a mild 7C (44.6F) at night rising to a comfortable 18C (64.4F) by day. Away from the beach, morning arrives at an invigorating 5C (41F), with midday temperatures in the region of 22C (71.6F).

To many, March and April signals the arrival of idyllic Cape weather. Summer's heat subsides, the wind settles, and autumn/fall casts its crimson, orange and yellow mantle over the vineyards, generating red, russet vistas spreading from the mountain tops to the sea.

In winter (May July), the snow-capped peaks of the Cape Winelands and the Cederberg, and the lush, moist earth inevitably lead to log fires and steaming cups of hot chocolate in cosy taverns, restaurants and coffee shops. This is the time of year that it gets most of the rain so expect some cloudy days, interspersed with wonderful sunshine that rivals the best of the British summer.

However, with the onset of spring (Aug Oct), the fast-retreating winter gives way to the sun, awakening a riot of color of the spectacular wild flower displays and sending residents and guests back onto the Capes world-famous coastline of perfect beaches. This time of year is well-known for the Cape Doctor, the southeaster wind that brings delight for surfers and windsport enthusiasts.

Summer is from November to February. Expect long warm days of up to 14 hours of sunshine each day. Beaching and other outdoor activities are at a peak often starting early or in the cooler afternoons to avoid the heat of the summer sun.

AVERAGE TEMPERATURES (F)

MONTH HIGH LOW
Jan 78.9 59.9
Feb 79.7 59.8
Mar 77.6 57.6
Apr 73.1 53.1
May 69.0 49.1
Jun 65.3 46.2
MONTH HIGH LOW
Jul 64.1 45.2
Aug 64.4 46.1
Sep 67.0 48.2
Oct 70.1 51.3
Nov 73.9 55.8
Dec 76.9 58.8

Click here to see just a little sample of what Cape Town has to offer

Dont miss a visit up Table Mountain the V&A Waterfront, a unique shopping and holiday experience on a scenic working harbor; Robben Island the former home of Nelson Mandela; the Cape Town Wine Routes, where some of the worlds best wines are produced and Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens, internationally acclaimed as one of the great botanical gardens of the world.

The unique topography of the region makes it easy to orientate oneself as long as you remember that with Table Mountain behind you and Robben Island before you, you are facing north, looking across Table Bay and up the west coast of Africa.

To help you find your way around the Cape Town region, the area is divided into seven tourism areas - the Atlantic Seaboard, Blaauwberg Coast, Cape Flats, Cape Town Central, Cape Town North, Cape Town South and the False Bay Coast. These areas are defined by their geographical location and within each area there are a number of towns and suburbs.

One can never be bored in Cape Town. Table Mountain offers some of the best climbing in the world, and it's right in the city. The surfing is fantastic; the diving is cold but good. You could go mountain biking, or go sea kayaking - you may see whales or penguins. If you love beaches then Cape Town is the place to dip your toes in the Atlantic Ocean. 

If the wind is right, you could fly off Lions Head with a qualified tandem paraglider pilot, and land on the beach in time for sundowners. You will never be bored.

If all this sounds too adventurous, have no fear! You can shop till you drop at Cavendish, Canal Walk or the Waterfront. There is lots of live music, art exhibitions, museums, plays and even opera, ballet or symphony concerts on all year round.

The Cape Town region stretches along a vast area of coastline.

The Blaauwberg Coast, Cape Town Central and Atlantic Seaboard follow the western coast while the False Bay Coast circles False Bay. The central areas of Cape Town North, Cape Flats, Cape Town South and Cape Town Central form the hub of the City.

Markets and more Markets

Cape Town's markets are the best in the country -- informal, creative, artistic, and with a good selection of both tatty and splendid African curios. Waterfront markets are fun, especially the Sunday Green Point open-air market.

At Greenmarket Square, look for the special rubber-tire sandals. There are other markets in Constantia, Rondebosch, and opposite the Kirstenbosch National Botanical Gardens. Read the papers for up-to-date listings on these and other ephemeral markets, such as the Observatory Holistic Lifestyle Fair, held on the first Sunday of the month.

Picnic Paradise

Cape Town is the ultimate picnic land. Pack a basket and head off to the top of Table Mountain to enjoy gorgeous views or to Kirstenbosch, especially on a Sunday evening in summer when there's an outdoor concert.

Drive along Chapman's Peak Drive from Hout Bay and grab one of the roadside picnic sites overlooking the water, or bring your provisions to Blouberg to experience the sun dropping behind the famous picture-postcard view of the mountain.

For evening beach picnics, choose Bakoven, Clifton, or Llandudno. Or try a braai (barbecue) in the Tokai Forest, or at the reservoir at Silvermine Nature Reserve, at the top of Ou Kaapse Weg.
 

         

WHEN TO GO TO CAPE TOWN

As southern Africa is in the Southern Hemisphere, its seasons are opposite to those in the Northern Hemisphere -- it's summer there during the North American and European winter.

Peak tourist season is from November through March, when hotel prices rise dramatically and making a reservation can be difficult. The situation is exacerbated during major school holidays -- especially December 1-January 15, the South African summer vacation -- when South African families take to the roads in droves. Schools also have two weeks' vacation around Easter and a month in July or August, when the warmer parts of the region, especially KwaZulu-Natal, are particularly popular.

The most popular time to visit Cape Town is from November through January, although February and March offer the best weather. Keep in mind, however, that the shoulder months of October and April can be fabulous and uncrowded.

Cape winters (May-August) are notorious for cold, windy, rainy weather, but in reality these are miserable days interspersed with glorious sunny days that rival the best summer days in Britain. This season is known as the "secret season". As long as you stay for a week or more, you're bound to have at least a few days of gorgeous weather.

CAPE TOWN'S BEST BEACHES

Cape Town's beaches on both the Atlantic and False Bay sides are legendary. The beaches at Milnerton, Blouberg, and Long Beach (in Noordhoek) stretch endlessly, and you can walk for miles without seeing a fast-food outlet or drink stand. But you will see seagulls, dolphins, penguins, and whales (in season).

Forget about swimming in the Atlantic, though; even a quick dip will freeze your toes. The "in" crowd flocks to Clifton, a must for sunbathers.

If it's swimming you're into, head to the warmer waters of St. James, Kalk Bay, Fish Hoek, and Simon's Town, where the warm Benguela current sweeps along the False Bay side of the peninsula.

The beaches are dotted with tidal pools, which make swimming even more comfortable and are safe for kids. Windsurfers congregate at Blouberg, where several competitions are held.

At Boulders or Seaforth, you can sunbathe and snorkel in the coves and pools, sheltered by huge granite rocks.

Cape Town's surfing community appreciates Muizenberg, Kommetjie, Fish Hoek, Hout Bay, and Blouberg. For kite-surfing, Strandfontein and Sunrise beaches are the places to try or to watch and enjoy.

Table Mountain in Cape Town - www.classicencounters.com

   
ROMANCING THE WILD