Cape Town climate
Situated on a peninsula between the Indian and Atlantic Oceans, Cape Town has mild winters, warm summers and moderate rainfall throughout the year.Winter temperatures range from seven to 12 degrees Celsius. Spring is unpredictable, with pleasant, sunny days often interrupted by the "Cape Doctor", a southeast wind, with gusts up to 120kph. In summer, temperatures can reach the 40s (though the Cape Doctor keeps it bearable). March to April and early May have the best weather and gentle winds.
When to fly to Cape Town
With its mild climate, Cape Town is popular year-round, but you can find cheap flights to Cape Town by planning ahead. The peak travel season is from November to end of January and it is particularly crowded during school holidays, especially the local summer holiday period from December 1 to January 15. Easter, July and August are also busy.
From February to March and in October, the weather is pleasant, there are fewer crowds are and you can find cheap flights to Cape Town and good hotel deals. The best deals can be found in winter, which still enjoys glorious days among the gloomy ones.
Getting around Cape Town
Cape Town sprawls across a large area, but you can always use Table Mountain to get your bearings. Central Cape Town is small and easily explored on foot.
Public transport is patchy but can get you around the city during the day. Many visitors use the commuter trains, particularly the line to Simon’s Town. City buses services stop in the early evening. Avoid public transport after dark.
Rikkis — open rickshaws — are a cheap way to explore the City Bowl area. Reasonably-priced minibus taxis operate mostly along bus routes. You can also hail a minibus taxi, but make sure you ask the driver where it is headed as they are unregulated and may not be safest option.
You can call for regular taxis, which are metered and expensive, but worth considering late at night.
If you are renting a car, be aware driving can be unpredictable and confusing, especially since the same road can change names several times. Get a GPS and remember Table Mountain is a handy landmark.
Cape Town insider information
- Towering over the city, Table Mountain can be seen no matter where you are. If you’re hiking to the summit, there are different routes for different fitness levels. One of the most popular routes begins at the world-renowned Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden (about four hours). It’s wise to bring your own food and water, as the cafes and restaurants up there are overpriced.
- Tours of the townships (conducted by locals) can take you through some of the most desolate areas of the city and show you another side of Capetown. There are many tours on offer, but try to book one that puts your money back into the township, rather than to a big hotel. Most tours stop at the must-see District Six Museum.
- Cape Town is surrounded by vineyards producing fine South African wine. Exploring wine routes in the Western Cape takes you through some magnificent countryside. Routes are well signposted. Some of the most popular wine areas are Constantia, Darling, Durbanville, Stellenbosch and Walker Bay.
- At the Old Biscuit Mill in Woodstock, the weekly Neighbours Goods Market is a great place to mingle with the locals in this thriving “creative community”. Every Saturday (9am-3pm) there are more than 50 stalls selling local organic food and produce, arts and crafts.