6 reasons why you should visit Cape Town, South Africa

Mar 6, 2020

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Surely you’ve heard of Table Mountain and the cute little penguins on Boulders Beach. But there are so many other reasons why you should add Cape Town to your list of places to visit, especially for 2020.

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1. The weather

In true British style, let’s talk about the weather before anything else. If you didn’t know it already, South Africa is in the Southern Hemisphere, which means that it’s their summer when it’s our winter and vice versa, making Cape Town a very tempting destination for some winter sun.

In January when we’re all suffering from the winter blues, you can expect an average high temperature in Cape Town of a very pleasant 26 degrees Celcius. Even in summer, Cape Town is worth a visit as maximum temperatures in July — right in the middle of the country’s winter — sit at around 18 degrees — a far cry from our sub-zero winter temperatures.

Related reading: Destinations to add onto a trip to Cape Town, South Africa

(Photo by Melanie Stetson Freeman/The Christian Science Monitor via Getty Images)
(Photo by Melanie Stetson Freeman/The Christian Science Monitor/Getty Images)

2. Minimal jet lag

Jet lag can really mess you up after a long-haul flight across several time zones. As far as long-haul flights go, getting to Cape Town averages at around 11 hours on a nonstop flight. Thankfully though, it’s pretty much directly south of the U.K., meaning that only two time zones are crossed. The effects of jet lag on your body when visiting Cape Town should be pretty minimal to non-existent — the same you would expect for a trip to Greece, which is also two hours ahead of the U.K.

Related reading: Best flights to ease jet lag when travelling to or from New York

3. Some of the best scenery in the world

Cape Town probably has one of the most spectacular backdrops of any city in the world — Table Mountain. Pretty much anywhere you are in the city, there will be either a view of South Africa’s most-visited attraction, the sea or if you’re in a really good spot, both!

An Aerial view of Cape Town, South Africa (Photo by Christopher Loh/Getty Images)
An aerial view of Cape Town, South Africa. (Photo by Christopher Loh/Getty Images)

The city is fairly small and is surrounded by rugged landscape. You can take hikes for breathtaking views or long strolls along some pretty stunning beaches. Rest assured, whatever you end up doing, you’re sure to find a photo opportunity or two along the way.

4. Wine

If you like a good glass of vino from time to time, then Cape Town will be right up your street. The legislative capital of South Africa is nestled on the coast of the country’s Western Cape where the majority of its wine regions are.

(Photo by Ilonde van Hoolwerff/Getty Images)
South African vineyards. (Photo by Ilonde van Hoolwerff/Getty Images)

There are many regions to choose from, with the most popular tourist wine hotspot in the Cape Winelands being Stellenbosch. A great alternative would be Constantia, which dates back to 1685 and is only 30 minutes away from Cape Town by car.

5. It’s relatively cheap

If you’re slowly but surely being convinced that you should book yourself on the next flight to Cape Town but you’re thinking that such a great trip will come at a price — well, you’re wrong. Thanks to a very weak rand (South Africa’s currency), you can get a lot of bang for your pound in South Africa.

Related reading: Choosing between local currency or home currency when using your cards abroad

Comparing the price of a pint is usually a pretty foolproof way for us Brits to understand whether somewhere is cheap in comparison. Given that the average pint will set you back 35 rand (around £1.85 at the time of writing), I think we’d all agree that that’s a very decent price.

In terms of eating out, the most expensive meals in casual hangouts like Yours Truly will cost you a maximum of about £8. Then there are places like The Harbour House on the V&A Waterfront where you can expect prices not too dissimilar from the U.K.

6. You can fly there with Virgin for 12,500 miles one-way

As of 25 October, Virgin Atlantic will be reinstating its service from London to Cape Town (CPT) and tickets are on sale now.

The route will be operated by the airline’s Boeing 787-9 aircraft, and passengers will be able to choose from Upper Class, premium economy and economy.

Return flights with Virgin are showing as £598 in Economy Light, Virgin’s most restrictive economy ticket. For £669 return, you can purchase an Economy Classic ticket, which is less than Virgin’s original advertised price of £713 return. If you’re looking to use points and miles from London Heathrow (LHR), you can expect to pay as few as 57,500 Flying Club miles + £391 one-way in Upper Class —or 115,000 miles and around £590 in taxes and fees return.

If economy is more in the books, expect to pay 25,000 Flying Club miles and around £275 for a return itinerary from London to Cape Town — from 12,500 miles plus taxes and fees one-way. Based on TPG U.K.’s most recent valuations, those 25,000 Flying Club miles are worth £300. On top of the taxes and fees, you’re looking at about £575 — a good value, considering it’s booked in Economy Classic, where the lowest cash fare is £668 return.

Crews prepare a Virgin Atlantic Boeing 787-9 (Registration G-VBOW) with Rolls Royce engines at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) on Friday, March 29, 2019 in Los Angeles, Calif. © 2019 Patrick T. Fallon for The Points Guy
(Photo by Patrick T. Fallon/The Points Guy)

Bottom line

Whether you’re a Cape Town expert or you’ve never been before, Cape Town is a great option for a holiday. Between the great wine, weather and scenery, and now that it’s more accessible, it’s a great time to head to South Africa.

Featured photo by Danielle Vito/The Points Guy

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