Travel in Cape Town

20 best travel tips for visitors to Cape Town

  1. Cape Town has a Mediterranean climate. Hot in summer and wet in winter. Average summer temperatures are around 20’C and winter temperatures average around 15’C. Winter rainfall is about nine days a month. Summer days are usually dry.
    Sunset at Sea Point Cape Town
  2. Tipping is expected. A tip of 10% on the total bill is customary. If a 10% “service charge” is added to the bill for a party of six or more, then an additional tip is not required. I once
    had a “service charge” added to a light breakfast for two at a well known vegetarian joint in Long Street. Keep an eye open for this “service charge” so you don’t end up double tipping.
  3. The five traditional MUST SEES are Table Mountain; Robben Island and the V + A Waterfront; Cape Point and Chapman’s Peak Drive; The Winelands and Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens.
  4. Since everyone is trying to see the same attractions they get crowded. You can buy a ticket in advance from – Webtickets – to avoid queuing up on the day.
  5. Table Mountain and Robben Island are weather dependant attractions so make sure you do them first in case you have to come back due to bad weather.
  6. The – My Citi – bus from the airport to town is an absolute bargain at around R50.00 a head. It takes you to the Civic Centre in the heart of Cape Town. From there you can catch either; another – My Citi – bus, a train,
    a – Golden Arrow – bus or a taxi to your accommodation. MiCiti busses are

    Table Mountain from V + A Waterfront Cape Town

    also worth considering for getting about Cape Town. A trip from the city to Blouberg costs about R10 and covers approximately 20 kilometres.

  7. We also recommend  – Rikkis – taxis for getting about. They are London style cabs. You can ride a “share cab” from one end of the city to the other for around R30. Find them on-line – here. Look for the call phones around the city or you can phone them at 0861 745 547.
  8. Visit my Cape Town travel blog for loads of ideas about where to go and what to do. Click – here – for more. Fancy a train ride to Simonstown right alongside
    the sea? Or a bike ride to Blouberg passing Milnerton lighthouse and Flamingo Vlei? It’s all there.
  9. While most locals use mini bus taxis, and they are without doubt the most cost effective way to get around, I don’t recommend them. They are inclined to be a law unto themselves
    and have the worst statistics when it comes to vehicle accidents. They should definitely be avoided at night.

    Long Street Cape Town
  10. Procuring a hired car is easy in South Africa and most airports have the usual companies well represented. Do be aware that is illegal to park on a yellow or red line anywhere in
    South Africa. It’s also an offence to park on a pavement or facing oncoming traffic. You must park facing the direction you were driving. South Africans drive on the left hand side of the
    road. Roads in South Africa, particularly in the urban areas are good. Be aware that some regions have an abundance of toll roads. Chat to your car hire company about protocol to avoid hefty toll bills.
  11. Accidents and fatalities on South African roads are a major problem. Most are are a result of driving under the influence of alcohol. Authorities are committed to cracking down. Roadblocks are becoming more and
    more common. Stop and searches for drugs are increasing. Just say no.
  12. The sale of alcohol is forbidden on Sundays in South Africa. You can’t buy beer or spirits in supermarkets. It is possible to find the odd place with a special alcohol license if you’re
    stuck on a Sunday. Ask around.
  13. Tap water is perfectly safe to drink in the major cities in South Africa. Avoid drinking water in rural
    Organic wines at Laibach outside Cape Town

    areas, unless you know it’s safe.

  14. Not all petrol vendors accept credit cards. They have only recently been introduced and some places have catching up to do.
  15. It’s illegal to consume alcohol on the beach or public places. But, you can take a basket of snacks and a bottle of wine up Table Mountain or to Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens. Check first to avoid a brush with law enforcement.
  16. People forget or don’t realise that South Africa has 50 million people. Cape Town has close on 4 million people. There are lots of beaches and mountains in Cape Town. I suggest that people allow at least 3 – 5 days in Cape Town. It’s best to be centrally located as most of the attractions are in and
    around the city.
  17. South Africa has self-appointed car guards all over the place who “guard” your car. Some of these people are desperate refugees from Africa with no status in South Africa. Being a
    guard is the only source of income for them. Others are common criminals or drunkards who wouldn’t be able to tell a car from a rock. Do you tip them? It’s your call. If they can stand
    on their feet and speak coherently, I tip. If not, I don’t.
  18. Cape Town has some excellent Blue Flag beaches but the seawater is cold. The Indian Ocean is
    Vuvuzelas during 2010 Soccer World Cup in Cape Town

    warmer and is located on the False Bay side of the Cape Peninsula. So Muizenberg and
    Gordon’s Bay will have warmer sea temperatures. On the Camps Bay side of the peninsula is the Atlantic Ocean and it’s definitely cold.

  19. The standard of accommodation and restaurants in South Africa is generally high and good value. You will find South Africans are friendly and helpful. You can
    expect good service.
  20. Cape Town International Airport is approximately a 20 to 30 minute ride from the city centre. If you are driving, make sure you budget extra time during peak hour traffic. The N2
    highway to the airport can get very congested and traffic stands still.

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