Advance Planning

Three months before Book Robben Island tour; reserve table at the Test Kitchen; train for hiking in Table Mountain National Park.

Three weeks before Book township/cultural tour; check listings for theatre shows and for Kirstenbosch Summer Sunset Concerts.

One week before See what gigs and club events are coming up; buy online tickets for Table Mountain Cableway.

Resources

  • Cape Town Magazine (www.capetownmagazine.com) Online magazine with its finger on Cape Town’s pulse.
  • Cape Town Tourism (www.capetown.travel) The city's official tourism site is stacked with info.
  • Lonely Planet (lonelyplanet.com/cape-town) Destination information, hotel bookings, travellers forum and more.

Top Tips

  • Plan your stay carefully – sights in Cape Town are spread out and can't all be seen in a couple of days. Choose a neighbourhood per day and explore in depth.
  • Decide how you're going to get about. Public transport is improving but is not comprehensive and won't get you to every corner of the city. If you're pushed for time hire a car or take taxis.
  • If you want to head up Table Mountain – and you certainly should – aim to go as early as possible in your trip. Clouds and wind often cause the cableway to close at any time of year, so if you have clement weather, head there – or you might regret it later.

What to Take

  • Good hiking shoes or boots for national park hikes.
  • Raincoat and fleece – the weather can turn wet and cold very quickly.
  • Small day pack.
  • Adaptor for South African electrical sockets.
  • Sun hat

What to Wear

Capetonian dress codes are supremely casual – even at quiet formal events you'll find some people dressed in jeans and T-shirts. It's important to remember that the vast majority of the city's population own maybe just one or two changes of clothing so running around blinged up to the nines is likely to make you stand out for all the wrong reasons. That said, there is certainly a Miami-meets-Monaco beachy fashion vibe in the tonier areas of town, such as Camps Bay and Constantia, and if you are heading to the posher restaurants a smart outfit will help you blend in.

Pre-Departure Checklist

  • Make sure your passport has at least two completely blank pages, excluding the last two pages.
  • If travelling with children, bring their birth certificates and check whether you need additional paperwork before departure.
  • Check the airline baggage restrictions.
  • Inform your debit-/credit-card company you’re heading away.
  • Arrange for appropriate travel insurance.