Cape Town Travel Guide

Cape Town, South Africa: Travel Guide

Cape Town, South Africa is one of Africa’s most popular tourist destinations, and with good reason. However, flights to Cape Town can be a little daunting for first-time travelers, which is why we created this quick and easy Cape Town Travel Guide. When is the best time to find cheap flights to Capetown? How long will it take to get there? Discover the best times to fly, major Cape Town airports and the top, must-see Cape Town attractions below.
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When Should I Shop for Flights to Capetown?

June, July and August tend to be a little more expensive than other times of the year, but airfare is also high during the December holidays. Airfares drop again in January, just in time for South Africa’s summer.                                                

How Do I Fly to Cape Town?

Cape Town International Airport (CPT): Located just 12 miles from the city center, this airport’s international terminal was renovated for the 2010 World Cup Games. CPT is served by American Airlines, British Airways, Emirates, KLM, South African Airways, United Airlines, Virgin Atlantic and others.

Johannesburg OR Tambo International Airport (JNB):  This is Africa’s busiest airport, as well as South Africa’s primary airport for international travel. If you do not get a direct flight to Cape Town, you may change planes here; flight time between Johannesburg and Cape Town is about an hour and a half. This airport is served by Delta, British Airways, Emirates, Lufthansa, Virgin Atlantic and many more.

Airline Partners: Many airlines partner with other carriers to offer easy routes to Cape Town; for example, Emirates is a member of Oneworld, Star Alliance and SkyTeam.

Airport Transportation: Both airports have hotel shuttle buses and taxis, but authorities urge travelers to use officially registered taxis only. You will find many at the Cape Town facility, but the airport’s website lists local tourism companies offering reserved taxi service.

How Long are Flights to Cape Town?

Approximate flight duration times on some of the more popular routes.

Non Stop Flights Time (Hours)
Amsterdam 11.5
Dubai 10
Johannesburg 1.5
Kuala Lumpur 12
London 11.5
One Stop
 Time (Hours)
Los Angeles 22
New York 19
Hong Kong 15

3 Must-See Cape Town Attractions

There are so many fun things to do in Cape Town that choosing how to spend your time can be a fascinating challenge. Some suggestions to get you started:

Boulders Beach

Boulders Beach: This popular tourist destination, just 24 miles from Cape Town, is a great place to swim, but the real reason to visit is to see the see the African penguin colony; watch the charming creatures at close range in their protected environment.

Table Mountain: This flat-topped landmark looming over the city is a hiker’s dream, but you can also get to the top via cable car. Explore limestone caves, grab a bite at the restaurant on top, or just take in the amazing vistas. Do not forget your camera.

Cape Town Victoria Waterfront

Victoria & Alfred Waterfront: Known as the “V&A”, this working harbor boasts beautiful views of the Atlantic plus shops and boutiques of every description; live music and nightlife; 80 restaurants featuring cuisines of the world, and 5-star and budget-priced hotels. It’s also a jumping-off point for whale watching tours, shark cage adventures and fishing excursions.

 

Quick Facts about Cape Town

Weather and Seasons: South Africa is located south of the equator, so its seasons are reversed from those in the U.S. and Europe. Cape Town’s warm and dry summer runs from November to March with average high temperatures in the upper 70’s/low 80’s Fahrenheit. The winter months of June through August offer high/low temperatures from the mid-40’s to upper 60’s Fahrenheit.

Time Difference: The time in Cape Town is GMT time plus 2 hours; there is no daylight savings. Example: Cape Town time is 6 hours ahead of U.S. eastern daylight savings time.

Passports and Visas: U.S. citizens do not need visas, but passports must have six months viability after your visit.

More information on Cape Town: The U.S. State Department has a useful site for international travelers called Travel.State.Gov which provides up-to-date information on a wide variety of countries including South Africa.

 

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Published: August 1, 2011