Cape Town is a naturally attractive city, and alluring from almost every angle. Every day people arrive in the city and it’s often love at first sight, with its mountain backdrop and delights around every corner. These visitors probably don’t realise that the city’s charms change with the seasons and that it doesn’t matter what time of year you arrive in Cape Town, there will always be world-class activities on offer for you!
Cape Town’s summer is from December to February. There’s a celebratory energy that grips the city at the peak of summer. The days are sunny, the beaches are full and the nights are alive with possibility. It’s an exciting time to be in Cape Town and wandering through its streets. Talking of beaches, Cape Town is home to some of the very best. Camps Bay is an iconic destination, lined by palm trees and with a sunset view that’s impossible to beat. Clifton 4th is the trendiest of the lot, full of beautiful people, volleyball competitions and ardent sun-worshippers. Muizenberg Beach offers something slightly different. With wetsuits and surfboards available for hire, Muizenberg is the best place to learn to surf in Cape Town.
Another great activity in summer is a bicycle tour. You’ll start with a cycle along the Sea Point Promenade, stopping at art installations en route and listening to the story of Nelson Mandela as you gaze out towards Robben Island where he was imprisoned. Staying safe and off-road, you head into Green Point Park for a fun insight into the unique Cape flora and fauna.
Of course, summer is also a fantastic time to do a Peninsula Tour. This day trip will take you out of the city and to Kalk Bay, where you can spot seals and explore the vintage shops. On a local beach, you’ll look for African penguins and perhaps try some stand-up paddling to get a closer look at those adorable creatures. Next up is Cape Point, where you’ll explore the rocky beaches and hidden coves while chatting about shipwrecks along the coastline. A drive along the world-famous Chapman’s Peak is the perfect way to end the tour.
Cape Town’s autumn (or fall) is from March to May. Autumn in Cape Town signals the arrival of hiking season, beckoning outdoor enthusiasts to explore the picturesque trails and breathtaking landscapes. The days aren’t too hot (but still quite long), the wind has died off and the air is crisp. The great beauty of Cape Town is that the number of world-class hikes on offer seems endless. Lion’s Head is one of the most climbed mountains in the world. The hike is short (two hours) but challenging and the 360-degree views are truly incredible. It’s especially popular for sunrise and sunset hikes. Platteklip Gorge is a stone-stepped path to the top of Table Mountain and although regarded as the simplest and most direct route to the summit, don’t be fooled – there’s 3km of upward walking! The 6km Pipe Track trail, traces the western side of Table Mountain and offers more than just mesmerizing beauty with its stunning sea views and blooming proteas during the winter. It also weaves a fascinating tale as it was originally constructed to serve a 19th-century water pipeline supplying Cape Town. The route is ideal for families, as it provides a relatively flat and easy terrain, making it accessible and enjoyable for all age groups.
This is also a great time to go wild food foraging. There are some wonderfully curated foraging experiences, along the coastline and in the forests, that help you connect with the land in a very special way. Accompanied by knowledgeable guides, you will learn about edible and poisonous plants, how to identify them, which parts to harvest, and how to prepare them. It’s a fascinating and immersive journey into the world of wild food, enhancing your understanding and appreciation of the natural environment.
Winter in Cape Town, spanning from June to August, brings a mix of occasional rain and beautiful clear days that are perfect for exploring the Winelands. Just a short 20-minute drive from the city centre, Constantia holds the distinction of being the birthplace of South African wine. If you venture about an hour away, you’ll find Stellenbosch and Franschhoek, both renowned for their world-class vineyards offering breathtaking mountain vistas and delectable wines. These elegant towns feature Cape Dutch estates and boast top restaurants, hotels and spas. You’ll be able to sample some of the region’s award-winning wine offerings, stroll through exquisitely maintained gardens or explore art galleries and antique shops in the oak-lined streets of the local towns.
Another great winter activity is our Art in the City immersion. A specialist art guide will lead you on an experience through Cape Town to the best galleries, including visits to the City Centre, V&A Waterfront and Southern Suburbs. Your tour can be fully customised and curated to your area of interest, be that painting, sculpture, design, photography, printmaking, architecture, special historical art collections or ceramics. It may also be influenced by the exhibitions and showings taking place in the city.
Cape Town’s spring is from September to November. Spring is in the air and adventure is calling. Why not hop in a Cape Sidecar then? A day spent in a chauffeured vintage sidecar will help you explore Cape Town in timeless style. You’ll head out along Chapman’s Peak Drive and soak up the ocean views, or go west towards the beautiful beaches of Bloubergstrand for that iconic view of Table Mountain.
For those seeking another exhilarating two-wheeled adventure a cycle tour through the Constantia Winelands awaits. Hop on a bicycle and begin your cycle adventure at the country’s oldest wine farm, Groot Constantia Estate, with an introduction to a full array of the valley’s award-winning wines. Its beautifully restored historic manor house is now a museum that pays a testament to the heritage of this region. Cycling from estate to estate, you’ll discover first-hand the various grapes cultivated against the steep lower slopes of Table Mountain as you explore iconic vineyards like Buitenverwachting, Groot Constantia, Constantia Uitsig and Steenberg.
We’ve only just scratched the surface of what to do, and many activities can be enjoyed throughout the seasons, but the point is that no matter when you come to Cape Town, you’ll find something incredible waiting for you. Get in touch with one of our travel curators to start planning your trip to Cape Town today.