Recently, United Airlines announced it will be flying non-stop, directly from New York to Cape Town from December 2019 – shaving four hours off the usual transatlantic journey and giving US tourists much more convenient access to Cape Town.
The US tourism market offers the city huge potential. According to Wesgro, the US was ranked as the third largest market for inbound passengers to Cape Town International Airport in 2017. With this new flight from New York’s Newark Liberty International Airport, South Africa stands to benefit even more from this vast tourism market.
US tourists taking advantage of this new direct flight have a rich variety of accommodation and entertainment options and activities to choose from in Cape Town and its surrounding areas. So for those planning to visit Cape Town, here are our top recommendations of what to do:
Cape Town City Sightseeing Hop-on Hop-off Tour
Hop onto the open top red bus and explore over 30 stops, taking you to over 50 of Cape Town’s top attractions, the bus allows you to hop-on and hop-off at your leisure. Travel on the 4 tour routes, and enjoy the multilingual commentary. Highlights include Table Mountain, the majestic coastline at Camps Bay and Clifton, shop and dine at the famous Victoria and Alfred Waterfront (V&A Waterfront) visit Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden and enjoy a wine tour in Constantia Valley.
Table Mountain Hike
See spectacular views of the city. The Cape Town City Sightseeing bus route stops at Table Mountain where return cable car tickets can be purchased at the tickets office at the foot of Table Mountain. Alternatively, consider hiking up Table Mountain. The hike should not take you longer than 2 to 3 hours, depending on your fitness level. Take plenty of water along the way with some energy snacks, wear a hat and sunblock and ensure that you have comfortable hiking shoes on. The weather can change, so it is advisable to pack a fully charged cell phone in case of an emergency and a warm waterproof jacket.
Cape Point UNESCO World Heritage Site outing
Take an excursion to the Cape Point Nature Reserve where baboons are often spotted. See the penguins at Boulders Beach and even spot whales in season.
Wine tours of the Winelands
South Africa’s wine history dates back to 1659 with the first bottle of wine produced by its founder Jan van Riebeeck. The internationally acclaimed wines are mainly produced around Cape Town, with significant wine-producing farms in Stellenbosch, Paarl, Franschhoek, Constantia and Worcester. Although South Africa ranks seventh among the most prominent wine-producing countries in the world, it produces some of the best internationally acclaimed wines in the world. This is proved with many international accolades that various wines consistently collects. More recently British wine connoisseur Tim Atkin scored one of the South African wines with 100 points. Take a scenic guided tour through the magnificent mountain landscapes and rolling vineyards to the heart of the Cape Winelands, Visit wine estates in Stellenbosch and the Franschhoek areas with a variety of paired wine tastings including cheese, or biltong or even cupcakes.
The Franschhoek Wine Tram is the perfect way to explore and discover the true essence of the picturesque Franschhoek Valley. Discover the scenic vineyards, breath-taking scenery, warm hospitality, world-class cuisine and fine wines by purchasing a ticket in town on the hop-on-hop-off tour.
The university town of Stellenbosch is surrounded by the vineyards of the Cape Winelands and the mountainous nature reserve of Jonkershoek and Simonsberg. The Cape Dutch architecture and the town’s oak-shaded streets filled with cafes, art galleries and boutiques, make this town a worthwhile visit.
V&A Waterfront Sunset Cruise
Apart from the many restaurants and shops to sample, we would highly recommend visiting the cultural landmark such as Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa (MOCCA) and going on a more leisurely pursuit such as a sunset cruise on one of the chartered boats while enjoying a glass of bubbly.
Robben Island by Ferry
The ferry to Robben Island departs from the V & A waterfront and stop over at the prison where Nelson Mandela was kept during Apartheid. Learn more about South African history from one of the former prisoners.
Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden Picnic
Picnics are allowed in Kirstenbosch Garden. Get a picnic hamper from the Kirstenbosch Tea Room and Moyo restaurant.
Cape Town Tandem Paragliding
For the more adventurous, experience an exhilarating tandem paragliding flight from Signal Hill or Lion’s Head with the best views of the city.
Hout Bay Cruise
Explore an exciting, child-friendly cruise from Hout Bay harbour to Duiker Island the Seal Colony where thousands of wild Cape Fur Seals can be viewed. Delight in some fish and chips afterwards in the many restaurants in town or in the harbour.
Take a game drive and view the Big 5
Encounter wildlife on an open vehicle game drive and relish in a lunch at the Aquila Game Reserve lodge. Full-day trips are available from Cape Town.