If you visit only one place in South Africa, make it Cape Town. Whether you're partaking of the Capetonian inclination for alfresco fine dining (the so-called "Mother City" is home to many of the country's best restaurants) or sipping wine atop Table Mountain, you sense—correctly—that this is South Africa's most urbane, civilized city.

When To Travel Cape Town

Cape Town’s busiest time is from Christmas to late January, and high season is generally during the rest of summer (November to February). Easter and other school holidays are also busy times.

Low season is the rainy winter season (June to August). Whale watching season along the Cape coast is between June and November, while those in search of wild flowers will want to visit in spring, between August and September.

Cape Town Weather

Seasons in Cape Town are quite straightforward. Winter (July – August) is relatively cold and wet and summer (November – March) is hot. Be warned though – winters in Cape Town have started to become predominantly warmer, clearer and drier. So if you’re planning on travelling at this time, you should consider packing a pair of shorts just in case you land up on the beach.

Temperatures range between 7 and 18 degrees Celsius in winter and can reach up to 35 degrees Celsius in summer – although the Cape Doctor, a south easterly wind, generally keeps things bearable. Cape Town’s weather can be temperamental at times and it is for this reason we suggest you wear layers.

Passport Requirements

Before entering South Africa, it is vital that you ensure that your passport is valid for at least six months, with two consecutive, blank and adjacent passport pages in it. Passengers travelling to South Africa with passports that do not comply with these requirements, will either be stopped from boarding the aircraft or risk deportation on arrival in South Africa. In addition, a child travelling with only one of his or her parents will need a letter of consent, certified by the police, from the absent parent.


The unit of currency is the Rand, and is divided into 100 cents. Rands come in denominations of R10, R20, R50, R100 and R200 notes. The R20 note looks very similar to the R200 note, so be careful when handing over money! The rand is a shaky currency, and it’s likely that you will get more rands for your unit currency when you leave than when you arrive.

Since the exchange rate does fluctuate constantly, we suggest you consult our currency converter for the latest rates.


Banking hours vary, but banks in Cape Town are usually open from 9am to 3:30pm Monday to Friday. Many branches also open from 8:30am to 11am Saturday. Post offices are usually open from 8:30am to 4:30pm on Mondays to Fridays and 8am to noon on Saturdays.


Most shops are open from 8:30 am to 5pm and on Saturday mornings. For those who feel that eight and a half hours is not nearly enough retail therapy time, do not despair. The Waterfront and Canal Walk and other shopping centres keep longer hours – most shopping complexes close at 9pm.


Never stop on a highway if you can help it. Don’t leave anything in your car – you’d be surprised what people will steal. This is, unfortunately, the result of tremendous poverty that exists in the Peninsula. Don’t walk alone at night – safety exists in numbers. Be careful in quieter areas of the city and don’t venture into the townships without a guide.

Health Issues

Cape Town is clean and developed and you don’t need to worry about contracting rare African diseases here. The water is drinkable (from the taps) and there is no risk of Malaria or similar diseases.

If you are travelling to Cape Town it is not necessary to get any special vaccinations. Medical services are of a relatively high standard compared with other African cities.