Choose Your Season – What Is The Best Time Of Year To Visit Cape Town?

Cape Town is one of the most sought after tourist destinations on in the world. It has just won the World Tourism Awards accolade as the best city to visit on the African continent. This is the seventh time the “Mother City’ (as it is known locally) has received this recognition. However, this is not the only award that Cape Town has received during 2019. It was named Tripadvisor’s Top Destination and placed in the top 10 of Travel and Leisure‘s ‘World’s Best Cities’. Clearly this is a travel destination with a lot to offer visitors.

However, those who want to visit this vibrant and fascinating city often wonder which is the best season for their trip to the Southernmost city on the African continent? The answer is simple – there isn’t a best season for a visit – it simply depends on what you want to get out of your trip.

Cape Town’s climate has a large part to play in the decision of when to visit. The city boasts a Mediterranean style climate – which means that it boasts long, hot summer season (which falls between November and February) and cool rainy winters. However, don’t let the idea of a little rain deter you from enjoying the wonders of the Cape’s largest city during winter – there is still plenty to keep the visitor enthralled.

Let’s take a closer look at what each season in the Mother City brings to the tourist table.

Firstly, summer in Cape Town is a time to both get outdoors and to enjoy long balmy evenings of good food, good company and great entertainment.

Summer in Cape Town is time to hit the beach. Cape Town sits on a peninsula – and that peninsula has two very different oceans running along each coast. The East coast greets the warm and inviting waves that are provided by the Indian Ocean, while the West coast is lapped by the frigid waters of the Atlantic. There is simply so much choice for the vitor. Miles of pristine sands and sparkling waters await. The beaches on the Atlantic side of the peninsula including the world-famous Clifton and Camps Bay beaches are among the most beautiful in the world – and the East coast is perfect for families who want the younger ones to experience some great tidal pools and warm waters.

After a day at the beach, head towards some of the exceptional dining spots along the Atlantic seaboard and watch the sun go down in an explosion of color as you sip on your cocktail and prepare to order your dinner from any one of the world-class beachside reaturants that can be found in places like Camps Bay.

Winter in Cape Town is also a delight. The already attractive exchange rates available to visitors mean that the cost of an incredible meal represents excellent value for money – and in winter those prices go down even further. The same goes for those who want to explore the possibilities of some retail therapy at one of the city’s great malls. You will pick up designer and other goods for a fraction of the price you would pay elsewhere in the world. Visit a great pub (there are many to choose from) and sip on an excellent Cape red wine – while basking in the warmth of a crackling fireplace (the legendary Forresters Arms in Newlands is highly recommended).

There is so much to do in Cape Town no matter the time of year. Visit vineyards where award-winning wines have their origins, travel to the top of the iconic Table Mountain by cable car, go hiking or biking or simply bask in the welcome of the Rainbow Nation. It’s a trip you will never forget.

Seven of the Best Hiking Trails in Cape Town

Cape Town is a stunning and varied destination that has a lot to offer, including safaris, museums and hiking opportunities. Since Cape Town is quite small, you can cover a lot of ground on foot, and the hiking trails will let you see a large portion of what the area has to offer. Here’s a quick look at seven of the best hiking trails in Cape Town.

1 – Table Mountain

This is one of the most famous landmarks in Cape Town. There are several different trails up the mountain, covering all difficulty levels, and with several different lengths to choose from you can enjoy a day trip or a much longer stay. The trail that most people take is Platteklip George, which is a short route that covers the centre of the table, and up to the summit. You can then relax on the cable car back down.

2 – Lion’s Head

This is another well-known landmark, located close to Table Mountain. It’s a great day walk and there are two options to follow. Start at Signal Hill Road for an easy track to just below the summit, and then climb to the top using ladders and chains. Alternatively, take the longer, but easier, path to the top. The choice is yours.

3 – Cape Point

Cape Point Nature Reserve is a part of the Table Mountain National Park and offers numerous hiking trails that each take about a day to complete. Visit deserted beaches or explore shipwrecks, enjoy the view from the cliffs and take in the sight of local wildlife. There’s so much to do, and you could spend your whole holiday on the trails.

4 – Kalk Bay Mountains

Kalk Bay is a lovely seaside hamlet, and the mountains offer numerous hiking trails and caves to enjoy, with dense vegetation and stunning forests, this is a hiker’s paradise. The trails range in difficulty from very challenging to more moderate, so there is something for everyone. There are guided tours once a month run by the Cape Peninsula Speleological Society. If you’re not a confident hiker, try the Old Mule Path for a gentle walk and some whale watching.

5 – Jonkershoek Nature Reserve

This is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The reserve covers almost 10,000 acres and is home to more than 1,00 different types of plant species. Enjoy amazing nature walks along the four main hiking trails, and explore rivers, forests, and waterfalls. This truly is an incredible reserve.

6 – Platteklip Gorge

This is perhaps one of the most well-known hiking trails in the area, second only to Lion’s Head. It’s a much more challenging walk than Lion’s Head, though, so best for experienced hikers only. There’s not a lot of actual climbing required, but it’s a very challenging walk. If you want to get to the summit of Table Mountain the “hard way” then this walk will surely get you plenty of bragging rights. It takes around three hours on average, although it is possible for the super-fit to jog it faster. There isn’t a lot of shade on the route, so try to do your walk on a cooler day.

7 – The Pipe Track

This is a beautiful trail that was built to service an old water pipeline. It’s an easy route, for the most part, although it becomes challenging in the area just past the Slangolie Ravine. The track takes you to Camps Bay. If you have a guide with you, try taking a detour to Tranquility Cracks to see the labyrinthine tunnels. This walk is suitable for most adults and for older kids too.