They call Cape Town the ‘Mother City’. Some Capetonians joke that it’s because it takes nine months to get anything done. Indeed, why rush through lush mountain views and the meeting of two oceans? Cape Town’s natural, stunning beauty is just the beginning. Prepare to be captivated.
South Africa has 11 official languages, so don’t get confused if you see the city called Kaapstad or iKapa. But fear not, English will do you fine, despite the occasional linguistic curveball. ‘Howzit’ means ‘Howdy’, ‘Bru’ is like ‘dude’, and ‘Jol’ is a party.
Public transport is more accessible here than in other South African cities, but best rent a car to see the coast or wine lands. Value Car Hire offers below-par prices at www.valuerentalcar.com. Uber has also arrived in abig way. Minibus taxis a.k.a. ‘kombis’ aren’t for the chicken-hearted but they ferry millions of people around the country every day. They’re cheap, but you get what you pay for. Meter taxis aren’t always modern, but they’re generally reliable (Marine Taxis in Bellville 021 913 6813). Cape Town’s extensive train network mainly serves suburbia but also runs along the coast (Metrorail Western Cape www.capemetrorail.co.za).
Getting in Touch
Country code is +27. Area code is 021. From overseas lines drop the 0 and add +27. If you’re here for a while, you can rent a local SIM card, most easily at the airport, but you’ll have to show your passport, a hotel confirmation, or a letter from your host if you’re couch-surfing.
Getting in Trouble
Like elsewhere in South Africa, crime is a feature of life, and the province has one of the highest crime rates. That said, you can roam the streets more freely than elsewhere in South Africa and enjoy a unique kind of street life. But the usual warnings apply: be street wise; don’t flash your wealth or carry tourist-market money belts; lock car doors when driving and don’t leave bags, cameras or any other valuables in general view. In an emergency, call 10111 for the police or 10177 for an ambulance.