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The cosmopolitan city of Cape Town is one of the largest cities in South Africa and it has a massive range of diverse natural and cultural features. When it comes to sightseeing, Table Bay and the trendy waterfront area are a great place to start, with stunning views of Table Mountain and a host of old buildings as well as new eateries. Arriving on your cheap Cape Town flight gives you great views of the city, but a boat trip to Robben Island, the island where Nelson Mandela was held prisoner, gives you an entirely different view of the bay. Also don't miss out on a trip to the top of Table Mountain - an essential part of the Cape Town experience.
Cape Town has everything you could want when it comes to hotels from budget Cape Town hotels to boutique ones. Search for hotels in Tamboerskloof, Oranjezicht and Upper Gardens, De Waterkant and the Waterfront to stay in some of the more upmarket areas of the city. If you've arranged cheap Cape Town car hire you could venture further afield to areas such as the Atlantic Seaboard and the Southern Suburbs.
Cheap flights to Cape Town from the UK are available from the major airports. Look for direct flights to Cape Town to keep your travel times down, although you will pay more for the privilege. Once you begin to explore the central district of the city under the imposing backdrop of Table Mountain, the 11 to 12 hours you spent on your Cape Town flight will start to feel like a distant memory! To make life simple why not book a package holiday in Cape Town?
Cape Town International Airport is the second largest airport in the country and is serviced by regular flights from the UK. Direct flights are available from London Heathrow and indirect flights are available from other airports across the UK.
Cape Town International Airport is 20 kilometres from Cape Town city centre. There are a couple of bus companies that run regular shuttle services into town. There are also plenty of car hire options at the airport, and lots of holidaymakers pick up cars from here as Cape Town is the beginning of the famous Garden Route drive.
Cape Town's public transport network is hardly state of the art. In fact, you might get more use of your legs in Cape Town than you otherwise would in the face of the dirty, overcrowded bus network. Taxis are fairly ubiquitous and, whilst being more of an outlay than shared transport options, are the safest most comfortable means of transport around the city. There is also a fairly good train network that runs services out to the suburbs and outlying areas although you shouldn't venture onto trains after dark.
The PRASA train service operates on routes to all major cities in South Africa - Johannesburg, Bloemfontein, Port Elizabeth and Queenstown. These routes can also be travelled by bus. The main bus station is next to the train station and whilst this option is considerably less comfortable or clean, it's definitely for those looking to economise. There are also regular bus services to Windhoek in Namibia.
Weather in Cape Town is much like that in the Mediterranean. Temperatures never reach extremes, with warm dry summers and mild wet winters. January to March represent the peak of the summer whilst June and July are the winter months. August and September are perhaps the best times for nature enthusiast to visit as these are the spring months when the country is in full bloom. Wildlife spotters should visit between May and October when whale, seal and shark viewing is at its best. You're unlikely to see much in the way of ocean life in the summer. You should also bear in mind that the unique formation of the peninsula means that it shelters a number of distinct microclimates and the weather can often be fairly erratic and unpredictable.
December is the peak season for travel to Cape Town as this is when the climate is best - sitting on the cusp of spring and summer.
Cape Town's festival season falls in March when the massive city wide music, arts and culture festival takes place. It also coincides with the excellent Cape Town Jazz Festival.
The currency of South Africa is the Rand. Europeans will find the lifestyle in Cape Town highly affordable. ATMs are found dotted around the centre of town and accept all major cards. Credit cards are also generally accepted in larger hotels and restaurants.
English is one of the three main languages spoken in Cape Town - along with Afrikaans and Xhosa. It is the official language of trade and commerce and is therefore very widely spoken in the centre of town. However, you might find more difficulty making yourself understood in the townships where tribal languages predominate.
The dialling code for South Africa is +27 and the code for Cape Town is (0)21
Whilst Cape Town is relatively safe as African cities go, and much less dangerous than Johannesburg, it is still worth taking a number of precautions. Be wary of pickpockets on public transport and in busy streets, don't take the train or bus after dark and certainly don't attempt to visit the townships alone.
Citizens of the United Kingdom are not required to have visas for entry to South Africa. Entry permits can be obtained on arrival and entitle you to up to 90 days in South Africa.