Visiting Cape Town

Tips and tricks for visiting Cape Town as a tourist…

Visiting Cape Town. Landscape and Travel Fine Art Photography — Ramon Fritz

Your Safety in the City

  • Cape Town’s Central Business District and major malls have taken considerable steps to safeguard tourists against crime.
  • Surveillance cameras monitor activities in the central business district, and security guards watch over major shopping centres. Nonetheless, tourists should take the precautions as they would in any major city.
  • Avoid carrying large sums of cash, having cameras or phones exposed, leaving belongings unattended, and in general take advice on where to go after dark. Take special precautions on lonely lookout points at dusk or after dark. If you are unsure, chat to your hotel reception about the best and safest spots to visit.
  • In general, use common sense and remember that like in any other big city, you need to be aware of the surroundings and people.

Phones and Communication

If you’re visiting from abroad, you can hire a cellphone (mobile phone) at the airport. You’ll need to leave a substantial credit card deposit. Some international mobiles will work here if you add a local Simcard.

Busy Season (Summer)

  • Most tourists visit Cape Town during our summer months from November to February.  Cape Town has a Mediterranean climate with little rain, clear skies and 11-14 hours of sunshine per day.
  • Cape Town has become a favoured site for foreign film and TV crews escaping from the Northern Hemisphere winter and seeking out weather which is reliably consistent.
  • If you’re after some sun on the beach, remember that mornings are less windy than the afternoons.  The summer sun can get very hot between 10 am and 2 pm and it is recommended to use a good sunscreen and a hat/umbrella on the beach.  Stay well-hydrated (this is easy thanks to Cape Town beach vendors who sell drinks from their mobile cooler boxes on Clifton and Camps Bay beaches).

Business Hours

  • Shopping and business hours: Most shops in the city centre and suburbs are open between 08h00 and 17h00.
  • Shops in some major malls may open at 09h00 and close at 21h00 or later 7 days a week (especially at the V& A Waterfront).
  • Government agencies still keep to traditional weekday only hours Mon-Fri but generally not available Friday afternoons.
  • Most banks close at 15h30 and have limited Saturday morning opening times.
  • Muslim-owned businesses close at noon on Fridays and reopen at 13h00.

Best Seasons to Visit

  • SPRING (September — October) and AUTUMN (April — May) are the smart times to visit Cape Town. They are comfortable and pleasant with generally less wind and many sunny days, without being too hot. If you’re into flowers, whale-watching or seeing the many Cape vineyards at their best, these are great seasons to be in the Western Cape!
  • Although Cape Town winters have a reputation for rain and wind, they often produce perfect days or even weeks. Days can be sunny and warm with no wind, nights cool and crisp.
  • Capetonians enjoy outdoor activities year-round thanks to a mild and warm climate moderated by the sea.  Temperatures seldom exceed 26 degrees Celcius in summer and many winter days are above 20 degrees C. People run, bike, hike and enjoy the beach all year round.
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