About Cape Town / Why Cape Town
Cape Town is without doubt one of the most beautiful cities in the world and offers an abundant and exciting experience abroad. Situated on the south-western tip of Africa and capital of the Western Cape Province, Cape Town presents a very distinctive location. A perfect climate with wonderful beaches, majestic mountains, tranquil winelands, trendy restaurants, bars and clubs in a relaxed atmosphere gives the "Mother City" a unique flair. Cape Town is South Africa’s third biggest city with a population of around 4.5 million after Johannesburg and Durban. While Johannesburg is known as South Africa’s bustling business capital, Cape Town is often referred to as one of the most relaxed and laid back cities in South Africa.
Known for its cultural diversity, Cape Town is a melting pot of African cultures with European influences and diverse ethnic groups. Although being one of the most beautiful cities in the world, the gap between rich and poor is still present. In the context of post-Apartheid, the hope for equal opportunities and improvement of social services has remained unfulfilled for the majority of South Africans. However, South Africa has become a dynamic nation that endeavours to live peacefully together and to continue Nelson Mandela’s vision of reconciliation.
Perfectly located on the slopes of Table Mountain and the Atlantic Ocean, the city offers a variety of historical sites, tourist attractions, sports and adventures. Whether you want to spend a day at the beach, do a trip to the Cape of Good Hope or the winelands, hike up Table Mountain, visit the historic prison island "Robben Island" or shop at the famous V & A Waterfront – the variety of leisure activities is incredibly diverse and unique!
Those looking for an adventure will not be disappointed with the offerings in and around Cape Town. Options range from shark cage diving, skydiving, surfing, kite-boarding, abseiling, bungee jumping to whale watching and other fantastic adventures. Those who would like see the Big 5 (lion, leopard, buffalo, rhino and elephant) without having to travel to Kruger National Park, can book a safari at one of the game reserves in close proximity to the "Mother City".
Whether you visit South Africa in summer or winter – Cape Town promises an exciting and adventurous time with many unforgettable experiences.
General Information about South Africa
The Republic of South Africa lies at the southernmost tip of the African continent and covers an area of about 1,219,912 km². South Africa's neighboring countries are Namibia and Botswana in the northwest, Zimbabwe and Mozambique in the northeast, Swaziland in the east and the Kingdom of Lesotho - completely surrounded by South Africa - in the southeast. South Africa's coastline stretches along the Atlantic Ocean in the west and the Indian Ocean in south and southeast. The country is divided in nine provinces, namely the Western Cape, Eastern Cape, KwaZulu-Natal, Northern Cape, Free State, North West, Gauteng, Mpumalanga and Limpopo.
South Africa has three capitals, Pretoria is the administrative capital, Bloemfontein is the judicial capital and Cape Town is the legislative capital. The three largest cities are Johannesburg, Durban and Cape Town. According to official statistics, South Africa's population was estimated at about 58.7 million in 2019. The government still divides South Africa's population is in the four categories blacks, whites, coloureds and Indians/Asians. The black population forms the majority with about 79.6%. The white population is with 9.1 percent in a clear minority. This equally applies to Coloureds with a population of 8.9% and 2,5% Indian/Asians. The black population is divided into the ethnic groups of the Zulu, Xhosa, Basotho, Venda, Tswana, Tsonga, Swazi and Ndebele. The Khoikhoi and San also form a small population group in South Africa.
The country's diversity is, among other things, manifested in the fact that South Africa has eleven official languages. Even though the government promotes all 11 languages, English is the primary language of business and commerce.
Cape Town, situated at the southern tip of Africa, is known for its Mediterranean climate, with warm dry summers and mild, wet winters. During summer months (November to March) the average temperature reaches 25-30 degrees. During winter months (May – September) there are cold fronts from the Atlantic with some heavy rain. However, temperatures rarely drop below 7 degrees Celsius. With an average temperature of around 18 degrees Celsius during the day, winter in Cape Town is relatively mild.
The water temperature along the Atlantic Ocean is quite low throughout the year due to the cold sea current. In summer the average water temperature is around 15 degrees Celsius. Warmer water temperatures (~ 20 degree Celsius) can be found on the False Bay side, where the Indian Ocean's influence prevails. Muizenberg is one of the most popular surfer beaches on the False Bay side.
Safety in Cape Town
The media often only reports on high crime rates and negative aspects in South Africa. Crime in South Africa is a big problem, which is a result of severe poverty and high unemployment rates. However, the fact that crime is predominantly concentrated in underprivileged areas is hardly ever mentioned in the media reports.
Generally, Cape Town is a very friendly and safe city. However, like in any other big city in the world, you should be cautious and stick to some general rules. As a result of high poverty, petty crime such as theft, burglary, etc. is a common problem. Thus, you should not have large amounts of cash on you and be discreet with expensive cameras, mobile phones, jewellery, etc. Furthermore, you should avoid walking around alone at isolated places and in the evening only go out in a group or take a taxi. If you rent a car, do not leave valuables in the car and keep the doors looked. Be cautious at ATMs and don't let strangers help you, but rather go into the bank if there is a problem. It's important to be rather vigilant and careful than anxious to avoid negative situations and enjoy your time in Cape Town.