Cape Town, South Africa
Cape Town is located on the north end of the Cape Peninsula on the South African coast. This coastal city sits about 200 km northwest on the southernmost point of the African continent where the Atlantic and Indian Oceans meet.
Climate and Geography
Situated on the Cape Peninsula near the meeting of the Atlantic and Indian Oceans, Cape Town is host to spectacular geographic and ecological diversity. The city itself has seven peaks over 1000 m, and sits at the base of the famous Table Mountain (a 1085 m flat-topped cliff-ringed behemoth), Devil’s Peak (1000 m) and Lion’s Head (669 m). Cape Town is situated in a unique area where several soil-types and micro-climates meet. This has resulted in a wealth of unique flora and fauna, including 19 types of endemic plants not found anywhere else and hundreds of endemic species. Then, of course, there are the beaches. Wikipedia lists 25 of them in the Cape Town area.
Cape Town’s climate is classified as a subtropical Mediterranean climate. Being in the Southern Hemisphere, summer is from November to March. The summer in Cape Town is mild and dry, with an average high of 26 °C. The wind tends to blow in a southeasterly direction during these months. The winter in Cape Town lasts from June to August. It is much rainier than the summer (it will usually rain a couple of days each week, and can rain for up to two weeks straight) and temperature range from an average low of 7 °C to an average high of 17 °C. During these months wind tends to blow in a northeasterly direction.
With a population of about 3.5 million people, Cape Town is the capital of South Africa’s Western Cape province, as well as the country’s legislative capital, second most populous city, and largest city in terms of land area. The moderate climate, modern infrastructure, and stunning natural surroundings have made Cape Town the most popular tourist destination in all of Africa.
Cape Town is well known for its beautiful surroundings, with a backdrop of several mountains including the famous Table Mountain. It is well known to surfers as having some of the biggest waves in the world and is home to the Red Bull Big Wave Africa surf competition. The waters are not just for surfers though. Cape Town was listed (not surprisingly) as one of Lonely Planet’s top ten beach cities in the world. There are 25+ beaches in the surrounding area and swimming, scuba diving, windsurfing, kitesurfing, and sailing are all popular activities. Although the Atlantic waters are cool with an average temperature of 13 °C (similar to those in California) the waters in False Bay much warmer with an average temperature of around 17 °C (similar to northern Mediterranean). The nearby mountains provide for great climbing, hiking, mountain biking, paragliding, and hang gliding. There are also more than 100 caves on the Cape Peninsula for spelunking.
The Cape Peninsula is said to have the “highest concentration of threatened species of any continental area of equivalent size in the world” and the Cape Floristic region is a Unesco World Heritage site. Accordingly there are many eco-tours such as whale watching and trips to the brown fur seal colonies on Seal and Duiker islands. The area also includes more than 30 nature reserves including Table Mountain National Park.
- Stand-up paddle boarding
- Scuba diving (cave, wreck, shark cage, and reef)
- Surfing (all levels)
- Hang gliding
- Sky diving
- Bungee jumping
- Hot air ballooning
- Whitewater rafting
- Kayaking (river and ocean)
- Caving and spelunking
- Hiking/trekking (all levels)
- Safaris (Big Five)
- Rock climbing (all levels)
- Mountain Biking (novice to expert)
- Horseback Riding
On a Budget?
- The cheapest accommodation in Cape Town is in hostels with dorm beds which start at about $10 – 11 USD per night and the cheapest private rooms go for about about double that price. A couple of the cheaper places are A Sunflower Stop and Green Elephant Backpackers.
- A list of Cape Town hostels and prices can be found
- Cheap restaurants and cafes will serve breakfast for around $4 – 6 USD and lunches and dinners for around $6 – 8 USD.
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The information on this page was provided by My Cape Town Info. If you want to know more about Cape Town they are the people to ask.