Shakedown, Cape Town

Each week, we’ll be shaking down a new destination to lay down the mainstream spots, as well as taking a more underground angle.

This week in the Shakedown, we’ll be exploring one of the world’s most diverse cities, Cape Town.

Nestled between the magnificent Table Mountain and two lively oceans, Cape Town’s 3.5 million people make every effort to welcome visitors from around the world, and show them the time of their lives.

But before we dive in, let’s kick things off with a video of internet street trials sensation, Danny MacAskill, as he rolls through the city in familiar style.

Visitors from the UK need only prod their watches to adjust to the timezone, leaving the weight of jetlag to the east-to-west crowds.

While over 40{8105bc8a7da0e4ee2985a05e217cd0e1bef95b551bf8bafd62a449e444182173} of Capetonian’s chat away in Afrikaans at home, you will rarely encounter any problems conversing in English, and at the time of print the South African Rand returns a fantastic 12.8 to the British pound (which is, by pure coincidence, the typical cost of a beer in the city).

We even share that minority inclination of driving on the left.

Expect pleasant weather throughout the year, October through to March suffering from that curious habit of the Southern Hemisphere, of actually being warm. Couple that with low-humidity, and you’ve booked yourself superb weather for exploring every nook and cranny of this fascinating city.

Table Mountain panorama

image courtesy of coda

Now, let’s take a sweep around the city. Back to the beginning, don’t miss Table Mountain (one of the New 7 Wonders of Nature), you can soar to the summit by cable car (£15 return), take in the expansive views of central Cape Town (yes, it is that close!) and when you’re back at ground level, look out for the brilliantly named ‘Table Cloth’; a layer of cloud that descends on the mountain most afternoons.

Don’t be too distracted too much by Cape Town’s plethora of cafes and bars, this is a city with a thousand stories, each more incredible than the last. Check out the fantastic District Six Museum, which charts the impact of apartheid on the city’s once thriving heart. The Holocaust Centre is equally as powerful.

Visit the 17th century Castle of Good Hope, the oldest surviving colonial building in South Africa, and enjoy a stroll alongside the brightly coloured buildings of Bo-Kaap, Cape Town’s cobbled historical Islamic quarter.

Don’t leave without swalking along the V&A Waterfront, Cape Town’s most popular attraction, and leave plenty of time to visit the city’s most infamous one; Robben Island.

Robben Island

image courtesy of carolune

This UNESCO World Heritage site is a former prison, whose inmates included Nelson Mandela and Walter Susulu.

For a breath of fresh air, escape to any one of the city’s exquisite beaches, such as Camps Bay — which some consider to be one of the world’s most beautiful — or Clifton Beach, a hot spot for the “in crowd”.

For a rush of purity, hit the 114 corners of Chapman’s Peak Drive along the Atlantic coast, this famous 9km stretch climbs steeply from Hout Bay to Chapman’s Point, revealing breathtaking views of the peninsula, before descending back to reality in Noordhoek.

And there you have it, a Shakedown on Cape Town. What would you like to add?

Discover more about:

Accommodation in Cape Town | Mini Adventures in Cape Town | Cheap Flights to Cape Town