Cape Town for solos, singles and independent travelers


South Africa draws in more visitors per year than any other sub-Saharan African country, and Cape Town, one of its most beautiful cities, sits on the Southern Cape, dominated by Table Mountain.

A busy, cosmopolitan city, Cape Town has much to offer visitors - beautiful beaches, trendy bars and numerous restaurants. There are a number of art galleries and museums, as well as many shopping opportunities, with boutiques lining Long Street, and a vast range of shops at the Waterfront. African crafts are readily available, although at inflated prices. The legendary Robben Island where Nelson Mandela was encarerated attracts tourists, as does

Just outside of the city there are vineyards in the nearby wine region, as well as oppportunties for activities such as shark-cage diving and sky-diving.

Cape Town however, as with the rest of South Africa, inevitably has the shadows of Apartheid over it, and whilst Cape Town is a multicultural city produly representing the new South Africa, some tensions remain. and the wealth of much of Cape Town is contrasted by the nearby townships you pass on the way from the airport.

Cape Town for the Solo Traveler

A City Bus Tour allows you to familiarise yourself with the layout of Cape Town and is a safe way to see all that Cape Town has to offer. A hop-on, hop-off service, this route takes in most of the key sites, as well as all the museums, and is particularly useful for travel on Sunday, as most of the centre is closed, and therefore deserted.

The Baz Bus is a great way to get around South Africa, and meet fellow travellers. Offering set fares, or hop-on, hop-off routes between Cape Town and Jo'burg along the Garden Route, as well as services through Swaziland, these minibuses will pick you up from your hostel and drop you off at the next. It is a great way to meet people, make new friends and get travelling tips and ideas.

Exercise caution in the streets when on your own, and avoid walking alone after dark. Most parts of the city are safe,and Cape Town in certainly one of the safest parts of South Africa, but street muggings are still common. Avoid drawing attention to yourself by wearing flashy jewellery and keep bags where you can see them. It is perhaps a good idea to keep a bit of cash in a pocket or money belt seperate to a bag as well.

What to do and see in Cape Town

Beautiful Table Mountain dominates the skyline. It is well worth a visit up the 1086m high mountain, accessible by a Cableway. The views from the revolving cablecar and the summit over the city and out to sea are magnificent, but the Cableway closes in windy weather and you must try to avoid this on a cloudy day as the mountain will be wrapped in the famous 'tablecloth'.
It is also possible to hike up Table Mountain, although this is a dangerous climb and only reccommended for the experienced.

Robben Island remained a working prison until 1996, and is now a Unesco World Heritage Site. Tours depart from the Waterfront, and include the 30 minute boat ride each way, a bus trip around the island and a chance to view the lime quarry and prison.
Whilst this is a very regimented tour, there are excellent views of Cape Town from the island, and you get the chance to view Nelson Mandela's prison cell where he was incarcerated for 18 years of his 27 year imprisonment.

Visit one of the city's beautiful beaches on the Atlantic coast - Camps Bay Beach is worth a look for the spectacular Twelve Apostles of Table Mountain that rise behind it, or take in one of the four Clifton Beaches.

Take time to stroll down Long Street. Victorian buildings line this kooky shopping street, filled with boutiques and markets, as well as conveniently located hostels and bars.

For more commerical shopping, visit the (Victoria and Albert) Waterfront, where you can explore hundreds of shops, enjoy the street entertainment or eat at one of the many restaurants overlooking the working harbour.

Eating and drinking in Cape Town

By simply taking a wander down Long Street or around the Waterfront, you will easily find yourself somewhere good to eat, and there is a wide range of cuisine, from traditional African to European seafood dishes. The streets surrounding Camps Bay Beach contain numerous bars and restaurants where you can eat overlooking the ocean, although you will often pay a premium for this.

Mama Africa is a restaurant popular with tourists due to the lively atmosphere (there is often live music), and the range of game dishes available. Try Mama's Game Grill if you dare - crocodile, ostrich, springbok, kudu and venison sausage! Located centrally on Long St, it is a stones throw away from shops in the daytime, and places to move onto after dark.

To try a range of African dishes and cuisine, take a trip to Heritage Square's Africa Café, where you will be served 15 dishes from across Africa at once, eating as much as you wish.

The Baía Seafood Restaurant on the Waterfront provides five-star international cuisine sprea across four covered terraces overlooking the harbour.

For a night out drinking at Camps Bay, take in The Sandbar, or Caprice, a famous watering hole on the Camps Bay Strip.

Friendly places to stay in Cape Town

Cape Town has a number of excellent hostels with friendly staff and atmospheres, many of which are located centrally, which negates the need to walk around extensively after dark (which is not advisable).

The Backpack is Cape Town's longest running hostel, and offers a range of beautiful rooms for great value prices. There is a small swimming pool, and a friendly bar serving delicious food, with beautiful views of Table Mountain.

A stay at Long St Backpackers, one of the many backpackers lining Long Street, will be pleasant, and centrally located. There are a number of hostels along this street, so you'll easily find yourself a bed.

St Paul's B&B Guesthouse provides an alternative to the many hostels in Cape Town.

Around Cape Town

Stellenbosch - wine region


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