Cape Town, South Africa, is a destination that promises all travellers a treasure trove of experiences. Whether you’re a foodie, an adventurer, a nature lover, a history buff, or simply seeking relaxation, Cape Town has something special in store for you.
Safari Guru often includes the vibrant city of Cape Town on many of our customised Southern African safari itineraries, but planning your days in this energetic city is a thrilling journey in itself. Here, Safari Guru Allan provides all the insights and tips to ease your Cape Town Holiday Planning, and to make your Cape Town vacation unforgettable, including some commonly asked touring questions.
CAPE TOWN HOLIDAY PLANNING: WHEN TO VISIT
Cape Town enjoys a Mediterranean climate, making it a year-round destination. However, the best time to visit is during the southern hemisphere’s summer, from November to March. This season offers warm weather and long daylight hours, perfect for exploring the city’s outdoor attractions. The bonus is that these months often allow for lower safari costs, as they fall outside of high season in many safari regions offered by Safari Guru.
CAPE TOWN HOLIDAY PLANNING: GETTING AROUND
At Safari Guru we’re often asked, “Should I hire a car in Cape Town?” Just like our tailor-made safaris, there is NO ‘one-size-fits-all’ answer, so we’ll let you decide, but with a few more ideas at your disposal.
There’s no doubt that having a hire car will give you more freedom of movement around Cape Town and the Winelands area.
Having said that, travel around Cape Town and the Winelands inevitably includes “wining and dining” with all the wonderful restaurants, and naturally tasting venues, so the use of a convenient Uber, or pre-arranged private transfers is a no brainer.
It’s also good to note that Uber in South Africa is significantly cheaper than many large cities in other parts of the world. Uber also provides a fantastic and honest source of income to thousands of individuals in South Africa.
However, having a car during the day to visit some of the beautiful areas within Cape Town and the surrounding areas is a huge advantage and so much nicer than going on a “tour” as such.
Here are a few ideas for your lazy (or not so lazy) days pre or post your fantastic wildlife safari with Safari Guru.
CAPE TOWN HOLIDAY PLANNING: DAY TOURS
A trip around the Cape Peninsular is an absolute must when visiting Cape Town – and this can be done as a full day tour. Drive time is close to four hours, so leave early and be prepared for an exciting, yet full day on the road. You can choose your most exiting attractions along the way, or stop randomly at pop up markets along the coastline, there are great artefacts on offer, and supporting the artists is well worth it. Along the way you will find many hotels, restaurants and bars over and above the favourites like Olympia Cafe in Kalk Bay.
Remember, most wineries also offer world-class eateries, so don’t be scared to indulge in some of Africa’s best local cuisine.
The Full Day Peninsular Trip is a great starter journey, and I recommend possibly doing this first, so that you get a better feel for Cape Town and the surrounding area. Thereafter you can do some smaller trips to specific places where you can spend more quality time and not feel like you are rushing around or missing anything.
Our second recommendation is a shorter journey past the Victoria & Alfred Waterfront, a shopping meca and the Oranjezicht City Farm Markets to experience some of the Capes vibrant culture. Your journey then takes you along the coastline, and you’ll enjoy the spectacular scenery of Cape Towns rocky shores, while visiting some of the worlds best beaches. End your day with well-earned sundowners at the Leopard Bar and Lounge of the 12 Apostles Hotel
A must do attraction is the famous flat mountain that stands guardian to the Mother City. It’s always best for an early morning start up Table Mountain and Signal Hill, and then down to the colourful neighbourhood of the Bo-Kaap, one of Cape Towns most colourful and historically important neighbourhoods. Drive through the city and enjoy the hustle and bustle of Long Street and its multitude of restaurants before a short scenic drive to Kirstenbosch Botanical gardens and on to the Groot Constantia Vineyards, the oldest in South Africa.
A nice addtiion to this journey is La Colombe restaurant, which is a fine dining experience like no other. We have added it to the trip plan, if you decide on it, otherwise a lunch at Groot Constantia Vineyards is also well worth it.
Many visitors to Cape Town wish to see the Penguins at Boulders Beach in Simons Town, which is a wonderful experiences and provides you a great opportunity to wash the safari dust off your feet in the Capes icy ocean. It’s also worth taking a walk around the quaint coastal village of Kalk Bay, and we can highly recommend lunch at the Olympia Cafe. This journey also allows for a stop at the Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens along the way.
Top Tip, ensure to lock your doors and keep your windows closed when parking your car in the Boulders area, to keep the mischievous chacma baboons, also known as the Cape baboon at bay.
Find out more about the best things to see and do in Cape Town, including our restaurant guide – READ. MORE…
CAPE TOWN HOLIDAY PLANNING: CAPE WINELAND TOURS
Although this feedback is a focussed on having a hire car, we certainly can’t recommend a self-drive wine tour…. When visiting Franschhoek and the Cape Winelands area, we recommend the hop on hop off experience on the Wine Tram, this will give you a good feeling of the area, and it offers a number of pre-planned tours. Still, we feel that it is nice to be able to choose a couple of gems which might not necessary be on the Wine Tram and spend quality time, instead of rushing around trying to visit every vineyard in the area – there are close to 600 of them!
To visit some of these gems, one would need a car, or we can recommend a private driver with a vehicle to facilitate your day trip to the locations of your choice. Remember, allow yourself plenty of time to indulge, you deserve it.
Herewith some of my personal recommendations, although, some are by appointment only and would need to be pre-booked:-
- https://oldenburgvineyards.com/ – Fantastic wines in such a beautiful valley – close to Rainbows End, so could do both and enjoy a charcuterie or cheese plater at Rainbows End.
- https://rainbowsend.co.za/ – One of the most scenic vineyards in the world – great place for a charcuterie or cheese platter.
- https://www.glenwoodvineyards.co.za/ – In a beautiful location with incredible views, great sushi and have a vine to bottle tour or wine and fynbos experience to make the visit more interesting.
- https://www.boekenhoutskloof.co.za/ – As with most vineyards, it is in a beautiful valley and the overall experience is great. The Boekenhoutskloof premium range is always sold out on release, which says a lot about the quality of their wines, their Syrah (Shiraz) is particularly good.
- https://www.grandeprovence.co.za/collections/experiences/ – Great wine pairing experience – also on the Wine Tram experience – if you like your white wines, their flagship white is incredible!
- https://paserene.com/ – Boutique style vineyard with a great Cabernet Sauvignon.
- https://eikehof.com/ – A small family-owned vineyard – been in the same family for four generations – we love the fact that the owner takes time to talk to guests – good value for money wines.
More about the CAPE WINELANDS…
There are also a couple of day trips one could do from Franschhoek if you have had enough wine tasting – a day trip to Hermanus where you could go on a boat trip and have lunch……it is also about the journey there and back via the beautiful Franschhoek pass.
You could also do a circular trip from Franschhoek over the pass down to the False Bay coastline via the Stoney Point Penguin Colony, Kogel Bay, Pringle Bay and back via either via Sir Lowrys Pass or Stellenbosch and you could stop at the beautiful and famous Vergelegen Wine Estate along the way.
CAPE TOWN HOLIDAY PLANNING: TOP TIPS
- Make sure you tell your Safari Guru travel professional in advance, so we can facilitate and recommend hotels with parking facilities, and exclude any transfer costs from our safari planning details.
- Always check the license plate!
- Make sure the driver knows YOUR name. If you walk up to a car and say, “are you John?” they may say yes, even if they’re not an Uber driver!
- Make sure they know where you’re going.
- Confirm the above three items before you enter the vehicle.
- Scam drivers will hang out places where Ubers pick a lot of people up.
Thank you for reading this blog, and if you want to learn more about Safari Guru Allan, or contact him for his insights into the local scene, visit his BIO PAGE. Better yet, ask your Safari Guru representative to book you a few days at the stunning and friendly guest house in Franschhoek, ChanteClair, hosted by Allan and his wife Yvonne. They’ll keep you informed about local happenings and the best things to see and do in the Cape Winelands during your stay.