Even though South Africa was not at the top of my bucket list, the city of Cape Town has always attracted me. And as my boyfriend come from Cape Town, it has been time for me to book my plane ticket and explore the city at the tip of the African continent. Was I disappointed ? Not at all! At the same time, you give me sunshine, beautiful beaches, incredible nature and lots of wild animals and I’m in paradise. Ha no, I miss wine and cheese … No problem, there is everywhere in Cape Town! Discover my 6 reasons to visit Cape Town, although I can give you many more!
The top 6 reasons to visit Cape Town
1 – Incredible nature and breathtaking landscapes
If Cape Town is the second largest city in South Africa, it is also a paradise for all nature lovers. No matter where you are, you can still admire the famous Table Mountain overlooking the city of its 1100 meters high. If you get away from Cape Town, you will discover more varied landscapes : mountains, bushes, natural parks, vineyards and of course beautiful beaches. In short, who has never dreamed of being able to get out of the city and to be able to choose between picnic in the mountains or a walk by the sea.
Top 5 most beautiful landscapes around Cape Town
- Table Mountain & Lion’s Head : can we really go to Cape Town without climbing to the top of Table Mountain. Well, for the less brave, there is the cable car that takes you up in a few minutes. At the top you can enjoy panoramic views of Cape Town, Camps Bay and the Twelve Apostles Mountains.
- Cape of Good Hope : 70 kilometers south of Cape Town is the famous Cape of Good Hope and its natural park. The nature reserve is huge and you can easily spend a day discovering the wild beaches and cliffs. But the most impressive point is Cape Point, with its jagged cliffs and lighthouse at the end of the peninsula.
- Chapman’s Peak Drive : to get to the Cape of Good Hope from Cape Town, there is a good chance you will take the road to Chapman’s Peak Drive. This road that winds around the ocean in the cliffs offers incredible views, including Hout Bay and the huge beach of Noordhoek.
- Camps Bay Beach : this is the best known and most popular beach in Cape Town. Located in the city’s rich suburbs, Camps Bay’s white sand beach overlooks the ocean Lion’s Head and Table Mountain in the background.
- Noordhoek : after the bustle of Cape Town, Noordhoek is the perfect place to relax in a paradise frame. At 40 kilometers from Cape Town, you will find a huge beach of several kilometers, vineyards and some mountains. The perfect place to relax, surf or horseback ride on the beach.
2 – Wildlife of animals
When we think of South Africa, we think directly of the many wild animals that can be seen. Well, you will not see lions on the street or elephants near to houses. However, you will have the chance to see incredible animals such as lions, elephants or giraffes elsewhere than in a zoo or a circus. And that, I can only approve!
Top 5 places to see animals around Cape Town
- Boulder’s Beach : Simon’s Town is where you can finally see this famous beach with your own eyes. Boulder’s Beach is the famous beach where lives the largest colony of penguins in South Africa. As these penguins are endangered, more than 3000 small animals can evolve on this beach with turquoise water worthy of the Caribbean.
- Hout Bay : If you want to see seals evolve in their natural environment, Hout Bay is the perfect place. You may have the chance to see one or two specimens move directly into the harbor and you can also take a boat to discover Duiker Island, the Seal Island.
- Hermanus : two hours from Cape Town, Hermanus is one of the most famous whale-watching spots in the world. It is between June and December that you will see evolve these huge marine mammals off the coast of South Africa.
- Cape of Good Hope : In addition to these exceptional landscapes, the Cap of Good Hope Nature Reserve is home to many baboons who live freely among the visitors. They are rather impressive, but if you keep your distance, you should leave this place with all your belongings. You may also meet antelopes and ostriches.
- Safaris around Cape Town : Well, I agree, it’s not Cape Town itself. However, after a 3 or 4 hour drive, you will quickly reach several animal reserves that offer safaris. Get up-to-date to make sure the reserve places animal welfare first, then you can embark on an unforgettable experience. See evolving elephants, giraffes, zebras or lions roaming freely is an experience to live at least once in his life.
3 – The Wine Route
If you thought that France has a monopoly on wine well … ok you’re right! Nevertheless, South Africa is a real outsider in the wine sector. All around Cape Town, you will find many wine estates with a worldwide reputation. If you like wine, you’ll love the Wine Route that goes through the main wine-producing cities like Franschhoek, Stellenbosh or Paarl. Most domains offer tastings of wines and even cheeses for only a few euros. So, I left aside my chauvinism and I admit that South African wine is not disgusting!
4 – Immersion in South African culture
If South Africa is a destination not very popular and even sometimes feared, it is because of its relatively difficult past and in particular apartheid. But this time is over and today Cape Town is as safe as most European cities. On the other hand, a trip to Cape Town will allow you to discover the long and difficult history of South Africa and to learn much more, especially on Nelson Mandela who has marked the history of the country. Did you know that we speak more than eleven languages in South Africa? This tells you a lot about the cultural diversity of the country. A trip to Cape Town is an immersion in this rainbow nation.
5 – The Garden Route
As it is difficult to imagine a trip to Cape Town without venturing on the mythical Garden Route, I thought it was necessary to add it to this article. Technically, the Garden Route starts at 4 hours from Cape Town, in Mossel Bay and runs along the coast of the Indian Ocean to Port Elizabeth. According to the Guinness Book of Records, this is the second mildest climate in the world, just after Hawaii. You will be able to enjoy a succession of incredible beaches, lakes, rivers, green hills and forests.
Top 5 must-see places along the Garden Route
- Wilderness : between river, forests, lakes and huge beaches, Wilderness is known worldwide for its landscapes. In the Wilderness National Park, discover these landscapes on foot, on a horse, canoe or mountain bike.
- Knysna : this is a city located on a beautiful lagoon. Knysna can be discovered on foot, along the promenade or by canoe, because there are canals everywhere. The waterfront is perfect for relaxing and enjoying in one of the many restaurants.
- Knysna Elephant Park : if you want to see African Elephants, this is the perfect spot. The Knysna Elephant Park allows you to move among these majestic animals and live an incredible experience.
- Plettenberg Bay : known for its white sandy beaches and crystal clear water, the town of Plettenberg Bay is a must-see on the Garden Route. It is a seaside resort where you can practice many water sports, a bit like Hossegor or Biarritz.
- Wild Oat’s market : located no far from Sedgefield and next to Lake Swartvlei, the Wild Oat’s Market is a must-see spot on your Garden Route road trip. It is open every Saturday morning and all local producers offer their local products : cheese, oysters, meats, smoothies, samosas, wines … What more do you need ?
6 – Relaxed way of life
I think this last point is very personal. Having lived for three years in an industrial city in the north of Germany, I can tell that in Cape Town, everything is more relaxed. The sun, the mountains, the ocean, the beach, the nature, the sun … all that can influence my mood pretty quickly. In Cape Town, we stroll on the walks, we visit the many markets to taste a delicious cuisine with a glass of wine, we admire the sunset from Camps Bay or Lion’s Head, we meet for barbecues with family or friends … In short, we take life as it comes, without all the negativity that we can find in major European cities.
What I did not like in Cape
- There is still a lot of inequality : when you have the chance to travel regularly, you unfortunately open your eyes to the inequalities and you realize that we should not complain too much. In Cape Town, the inequalities are glaring and we move quickly from a neighborhood of beautiful villas to shanty towns.
- Security : I think this second point is closely related to the first one. South Africa is often described as a particularly dangerous country. I will not go to these extremes, of course, but you must always keep in mind that you are not in Europe.