Cape Town, South Africa has such a special place in my heart. It is one of the first and only cities I have traveled that truly felt like it could be home. Breathtaking beaches, endless hikes, and some amazing parties in the city. It has everything!
What to Expect
Official language: South Africa has 12 official languages with Afrikaans and English being the most common
Currency: South African Rand
Safety: South Africa has a reputation for high crime, but most of the violent crimes happen in the areas that tourists are told not to go. Cape Town is safer than Johannesburg and Durban, but there is still extreme inequality and poverty. You should exercise caution when walking around and always stay aware of your surroundings. Do not walk around at night unless you are in a group. The biggest issue against tourists is mugging. While I was in Vietnam, a South African I met compared South Africa to Vietnam and said, "If you walk around South Africa at night, there is an 80% chance of getting robbed, where in Vietnam only a 20% chance."
I traveled to South Africa by myself on two separate occasions. At night, you can Uber everywhere you need to prevent wandering the streets alone. Thankfully the worst thing that happened to me was getting my backpack stolen at Afrikaburn. The crime is not to scare you away from visiting because Cape Town truly is amazing. It is only to make you aware and keep you safe.
Cape town is not a cheap or fast destination to get to from most of the world. You can expect to spend around 30 hours of traveling from North America. Expect to pay 800-1200 USD for a roundtrip flight. The cheapest I have found was 800 USD with Lufthansa Airlines and about 1000 USD with Emirates.
Best Time to Visit
The best time to visit Cape Town is during its shoulder seasons: March-May and September-November. You can experience less crowds and better weather.
Where to Stay
You can find anything from budget hostels for 25 USD for a dorm style bed to luxury hotels along the waterfront.
Woodstock, Bo-Kaap, and City Bowl are all great areas to stay in if you are looking to experience city life. If you are looking to be located along the beachside, V&A waterfront and Camps Bay are great areas to stay in. Uber is common, cheap, and easy to use, so no matter what area you stay in, you can easily access other parts of Cape Town.