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Azure, Blue, Cape Town

Ultimate insider guide to Cape Town, South Africa 🇿🇦

Here's everything you need to know before you visit Cape Town. What to avoid, when to visit, how to get there, how long you should go for, where to stay, what to do and more.

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I've jumped on board to provide you with a local's guide to Cape Town, and as I'm a born-and-bred South African, you couldn't be in better hands.

Cape Town has once again been rated as one of the top cities in the world, and apart from flights, it is a cheap destination for those with pounds!

A pint costs as little as £1.50 and a 3-course meal for two can cost as little as £40! You may have to spend a little more on flights and nice accommodation, but living the life of a King & Queen comes at a cheap price in the Mother City!

Is it safe?

Firstly, let's answer the touchy subject of: 'Is Cape Town safe?'. Cape Town may not be known as one of the safest places in the world, and it's indeed not. But every city comes with its dangers.

The key is to know how to avoid getting into dangerous situations. For example, you probably shouldn't go walking down the street with your phone on display, you might as well tape a sign to your forehead that says 'steal my phone'. Being flashy shouldn't be an option, so go for the more laid back look while on holiday and leave your expenny bits at home. Do your research to make sure you avoid areas that are known for being dangerous, and if you do choose to go into any of them, make sure you go with a registered tour guide!

Before travelling anywhere, you should do your research. Other than that, Cape Town is an incredible place with many beauties that outweigh the possibility of danger, you've just got to be aware.

Do you need a visa?

You're in luck because British nationals can visit South Africa and can stay in the country for 90 days without a visa! That means you won't have to apply for any sort of visa before planning your holiday, just make sure your passport is up-to-date, and you'll have 90 days to explore once you enter the country. 😍

How to get there

The best way to travel to Cape Town is with British Airways or Virgin Atlantic, who both offer direct-return flights. You can expect to pay anything between £700 to a hefty £1500 for these flights, depending on when you travel. If you're okay with a stop-over, and potentially a long lay-over, you can find flights from £450 return during off season.

See live prices here.

How long should you go for?

When I say Cape Town has it all, I really mean it. From beautiful beaches, incredible hiking trails, scenic views, sprawling vineyards, delicious food, vibrant nightlife, great culture and even more amazing people.

You'll be so spoilt for choice in Cape Town that I recommend you stay for at least two weeks! That's the minimum length of stay that I'd suggest, because if you want to see it all, even two weeks can feel rushed. If you really want to embody the Cape Town lifestyle and take your time to explore, then a month would be advised.

Where should you stay?

This may be a bit biased, but the most beautiful side of Cape Town is the Atlantic Seaboard. Specifically, areas like Sea Point, Green Point and Camps Bay, where you've got the ocean in front of you, the mountain behind you and the city in less than 10 minutes. However, these areas can get quite expensive in high season, so if you're looking for something more affordable, you could opt for a stay in Century City or on the Bloubergstrand side. These are less touristy areas and are within a 30-40 minute drive of the Atlantic Seaboard.

For cheap accommodation, we really like Hotel Amalfi Executive Suites which is in Sea Point. Or if you want to splash out, from £195 a night, you can stay at the Twelve Apostles Hotel. With panoramic views of the Atlantic Ocean and mountain. Winchester Mansions is the perfect middle ground accommodation, where from £156 you'll be facing Sea Point's promenade.

Search for more stays here:

🇿🇦 Insider's tip: If you travel to Cape Town outside the 'peak season', you'll pay a fraction of the price you'd pay for accommodation between November and February. Travel between March-October.

Do you need a car?

Personally, I'd argue that you need a car to get the most out of your time in Cape Town. Public transport isn't as well-connected as in huge cities like London. The freedom to get around as you please is worth paying the extra for a rental car. But it depends on what you want to do with your trip. If you just want to take it easy and spend your days around the Atlantic Seaboard on stunning beaches, eating delicious food in cafés and lounging by hotel pools, then you may not need a car. If you want to see the different sides of Cape Town, drive through Chapman's Peak, go to Simon's Town and all the rest, it's worth renting a car, even if it's just for the weekend.

Alternatively, if you want to see as much as you can, but also save some cash dollar, then you could explore the city with a City Sightseeing bus! There are various tours you can opt to do, with quite a few with attraction entries included too.

Why digital nomads love Cape Town

Cape Town happens to be the number one destination in Africa for digital nomads to work from. Which makes sense, especially for British travellers, as the time difference is ± 2 hours ahead. Plus, to quote a nomads video, you can 'live a 5-star lifestyle on a 3-star budget'. And to top it all off, the climate is the opposite of what we experience in the UK. Capetonian summer peaks during England's miserable winter.

So if you've got the luxury of being able to work remote, then Cape Town is a hot spot to keep on your radar when you're wanting to work abroad and catch some winter sun.

The MUST-see & do list:

I'll try keep this as short and sweet as possible...

1. Table mountain 🚠🏞️

This should come as no surprise, being at the top of the list. The hiking trails and views that Table Mountain has to offer, is something that can't be missed. If you're not a hiking fan, that's okay, just take the cable car up and down the mountain to see panoramic views of the city.

2. Simons Town 🐧

Penguins, crystal clear water and the best seafood you'll taste.

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3. The Garden Route 🌲🚙

This one is for those of you opting for a longer stay, and who fancy an incredible road trip up the Garden Route. Where you'll taste fresh oysters in Knysna, go kayaking in the Wilderness, experience a waterfall hike right next to the ocean in Tsitsikamma National Park and relax with a pint (or two) in Plettenberg Bay.

4. Sunrise kayak in the Atlantic Seaboard 🐬

This is something you've got to do. Watch the morning turn into light while kayaking, and you might even be lucky enough, you might even get to see some DOLPHINS!

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5. Kogel Bay

This wouldn't traditionally be on everyone's bucket list - but it's a place I personally think is breathtaking. If you want to rough it out, you can spend a weekend camping at the Kogel Bay campsite but be warned you'll have to brave baboons on the campsite and not-so-nice bathrooms. If you're not up for that then you can book a cabin stay.

When you're in Kogel Bay - you'll be spoilt with a gorgeous beach (you just need to be aware of strong currents and swim in designated lifeguards). You also have to do the Crystal pools hike in Gordon's Bay.

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6. Kirstenbosch Gardens

The perfect place to spend the day exploring wild fynbos vegetation, picnicking and wondering up Table Mountain. There are also various events that you can attend, like Kirstenbosch Summer Concerts or the Galileo Open Air Cinema!

For a list of seven free things to do in Cape Town read this.

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