Robben Island, lying off the coast of Cape Town, is part of a long list of islands known primarily for being prisons. But, unlike Rikers and Alcatraz, its history has seen it go from being a leper colony, to a thriving 19th century ‘town’ complete with a school and post office, to a notorious penitentiary, and now a must-see travel destination studded with historical buildings and home to a flock of adorable but highly endangered African penguins.
Johannesburg is Africa's economic powerhouse known to locals as Joburg, Jozi and Egoli (the ‘city of gold’). The city is modern and enormous, sprawling in all directions as the heart beat of commerce demands more offices, houses and malls. About 60 kilometres away lies Pretoria, which is the seat of administrative government in South Africa and a very pretty city with jacaranda-lined streets. Both of these urban centres are vibrant and cosmopolitan, linked by a fast-moving, multi-lane highway and the high-speed Gautrain, making it easy to explore the places that played a critical role in Nelson Mandela’s life story or which honour his legacy.
Botswana is undoubtedly one of the most incredible wilderness areas on earth. The south and east consist of the jaw-dropping Kalahari Desert and lunar-like pans at Nxai and Makgadikgadi. The north and west, on the other hand, comprise the dazzling water worlds of the Okavango Delta and Chobe River ecosystem.
African safaris are jam-packed with outdoor adventure, so you’ll need to be dressed appropriately. As you experience the captivating sights and sounds of Africa, you won’t want to worry about being uncomfortable or picking out an outfit each morning.
A highlight of any trip to Africa is certain to be the people you meet. This land is made up of a rich diversity of warm-hearted people with fascinating stories to share; stories about their countries’ pasts and hopeful futures, their everyday lives, traditions and beliefs.
Being from Cape Town we like to think that we live in the land of eternal sunshine – most Capetonians do. This isn’t too far from the truth as Cape Town's winters are peppered with occasional moments of glorious sunshine. And we're not talking about a feeble, washed-out winter sun but rich, golden days with warm colours, pleasant temperatures and no wind that makes for perfect hiking weather!
Summer in Cape Town sees up to 14-hours of daylight, with the sun setting at about 8pm at the height of the season when temperatures regularly hit the 30s Celsius (90s Fahrenheit). And what a sunset it usually is: the sky streaked with candy floss-pink clouds and the sun slipping beneath the horizon as it bathes all in a soft, golden light.
Cape Town and the Cape Peninsula have two glittering coastlines with a beach to suit every mood and moment. Whether you're after buzzing beachside bars, secluded coves, safe swimming beaches or a romantic spot for a sunset picnic, our guide to Cape Town’s best beaches will point you in the right direction.
Like all major cities, Cape Town is home to a selection of the world's leading hotel brands but if it's intimate proportions and character you want, then a boutique hotel or guesthouse may be a better choice for your Cape Town holiday.Cape Town is known for being ‘a country in one city’: the city limits include everything from a vibrant downtown district to Blue Flag beaches and even Table Mountain National Park. We’ve divided our top picks into city or beach, allowing you to select the boutique hotel that most suits your holiday plans.
Come dine with our African Safari Experts as they savour the spicy scents and flavours of a Cape Malay curry and try their hands at rolling a perfectly buttery roti (a traditional round flatbread) under the watchful guidance of an authentic Cape Malay cook. But before you roll up your sleeves and inspire your inner domestic goddess, we recommend a short stroll down Cape Town’s memory lane to dip into a slice of South Africa's history that produced its multi-cultural melting pot heritage.