Temperatures: 11°C – 22°C (52°F – 72°F) Rainfall: 9 – 10 days per month Hours of daylight: 10
Cape Town doesn’t need an introduction when it comes to exciting things to do and see. The charm and the amazing beauty of Cape Town continue to thrive during the winter season, and the city and its surroundings open up a wide range of other exciting experiences one can enjoy. Let me tell you, Cape Town winter is not as bad as people make it sound, the temperature is usually between 11 – 22 degrees and we still get warmer days. Winter in Cape Town is mild compared to our other provinces and it’s our rainy season here too, which means natural surroundings are in their prime and you will find yourself surrounded by thick green forests, trickling streams, and waterfalls.
Winter season in Cape Town is great for homely authentic local food cuisine, red wine, crackling fireplaces, whale watching, shark cage diving, surfing, hiking, art galleries, museums, late sunrises, and restaurant and club-hopping just to name a few. Another great thing about visiting Cape Town in winter is that you will benefit from amazing low-season specials. Many hotels, restaurants, travel agencies, tour activity suppliers, and top tourist attractions discount their rates heavily during this season. There are also fewer people at attractions, less traffic, and there are no long queues at popular restaurants and bars.
If you have been skeptical about why one would visit Cape Town during the winter season, here are my 10 reasons why you should consider visiting the Western Cape during winter:
TAKE A DAY TRIP AND EXPERIENCE THE MILKY WAY
Unleash your inner space nerd and go on an intergalactic! Head off to the village of Sutherland, located in the Karoo about a 4-hour drive from Cape Town. Sutherland is home to the largest telescope in the Southern Hemisphere and is famous around the world for its excellent star-gazing experience.
Stargazing sessions are presented almost every night throughout the year. The stargazing session is 2 hours long where you will be able to watch through 1 of 6 large telescopes. Remember to “dress up for the occasion”. Evenings are cool so in order for you to enjoy the program more thoroughly, being warmly dressed is essential.
Click here for more information and accommodation options.
VISIT CEDERBERG AND SLEEP AT KAGGA KAMMA
Because of warmer conditions and less light pollution, Cederberg is also known as star-gazers heaven. You can also explore the protected San Rock Art in the area.
Accommodation is plenty in the area but I recommend booking for a night or two at Kagga Kamma Lodge before returning to Cape Town. This lodge, located just 125km from Cederberg, boasts incredible sky decks, open-air suites, cave suites, hut suites, and a camping area.
EXPERIENCE SNOWFALL IN MATROOSBERG
Yes, between June and July we have snowfall in Cape Town but not in the city. If you would like to experience this, you will have to drive for about two hours outside the city to Matroosberg Nature Reserve, about 30km from Ceres, and make sure you are driving a 4×4 vehicle. In winter (June – July) you have a good chance of also seeing snow in the following three areas: Ceres, Worcester, and Tulbagh.
July to September is the peak calving season for whales especially around the False Bay coast in Simon’s Town and this means you are guaranteed many opportunities to spot the worlds’ biggest mammal, either from up close in a boat or from the coastline.
But taking a road trip to Hermanus, about 120km from Cape Town is the best way to spot these sea giants. This is the reason why Hermanus is known as the whale capital of the world.
SHARK CAGE DIVING
The Winter season is the best time for shark cage diving in Gansbaai, the great white shark capital of the world, located about 160km from Cape Town. Between the months of May and September, shark activity is high in the area as an estimated 60 000 Cape Fur seals, the preferred food of Great Whites, make the narrow strip of water known as Shark Alley their home base for breeding.
The experts at the White Shark Diving Company are among the best in the business and offer specialised trips to prime shark-spotting and shark-diving spots.
WEST COAST WILDFLOWER SEASON
This is one magical thing you have to experience at least once in your lifetime! Travellers from around the world come to Cape Town annually between August and September to witness a natural spectacle when millions of beautiful wildflowers bloom for the spring season. This magic can be experienced inside the West Coast National Park, just an hour’s drive from Cape Town in the Postberg area.
[Temporarily closed] Have a laugh at Cape Town’s finest dedicated comedy spot. The comedy club is conveniently located at the V&A Waterfront and operates between 09:00 am – 21:00 pm. This club is a dining theatre that seats 180 people comfortably. It is a vibrant venue for stand-up comedy, world-class shows, and corporate events and is a cheerful spot with daily shows and special events to keep you entertained.
Winter in Cape Town offers ideal weather for getting out and being active. It’s one of the best seasons for hiking up Table Mountain or Lion’s Head as the days are cooler and clearer. Sunrise hikes are also later and this means you can sleep longer and still catch the sunrise.
During the winter season, the sun only rises around 07:00 am while in summer it’s at 05:30 am.
GO MARKET HOPPING
Capetonians, including foodies, fashionistas, fun seekers and families enjoy heading off to different markets to stock up on ingredients or hang out with friends. These markets have become hotspots for locals and visitors and they are all over Cape Town with new ones being opened every few months. I have compiled a list of my favourite 6 indoor markets in and around Cape Town for your enjoyment this winter.
1. MAKERS LANDING
This is a V&A Waterfront Food Community that celebrates SA’s diverse culture through food. If you are craving for some authentic South African cuisine, this market is where you should be at.
Opening times: Friday – 10:00 am – 17:00 pm and Saturday and Sunday – 08:00 am – 17:00 pm
Location:Makers Landing is situated at the Cruise Terminal. Silo District, V&A Waterfront,
2. MOJO MARKET
This market with sea views offers live music and boasts over 20 food outlets, 2 main bars, and clothing stalls in a 2 000-square-metre area.
Opening times: Monday – Sunday 11:00 am – 11:00 pm Location: 30 Regent Road, Sea Point
3. THE NEIGHBOURGOODS MARKET (NOT COMPLETELY INDOOR)
Located at The Old Biscuit Mill in Woodstock, this award-winning market currently features over 100 speciality traders, creating a weekly platform for local farmers, fine-food purveyors, organic merchants, bakers, grocers, mongers, butchers, artisanal producers and celebrated local chefs to showcase and sell their delicious wares every Saturday. Not to mention some of Cape Town’s favourite vintage traders and local designers.
Opening times: Saturday 09:00 am – 15:00 pm Location:The Old Biscuit Mill, 375 Albert Road, Woodstock
4. ORANJEZICHT CITY FARM MARKET (NOT COMPLETELY INDOOR)
It’s a wonderfully chilled and festive place to shop for fresh-from-the-patch vegetables and fruit, herbs, organic dairy products, free-range eggs, bread, raw honey, and ethically sourced seafood and meats, and more!
Opening times: Saturday 08:15 am – 14 pm and Sunday, 09:00 am – 15:00 pm Location: Granger Bay, V&A Waterfront.
5. V&A FOOD MARKET
If you don’t want a fine dining restaurant experience between before or after shopping, this bustling warehouse offers casual indoor and outdoor seating, plus there are two great bars with over 15 beers on tap.
Opening times:Monday – Sunday 10:00 am – 18:00 pm Location: Old Power Station, Building 19, Dock Road, Pierhead, V&A Waterfront
6. BLUE BIRD GARAGE MARKET
The unique venue gives the Blue Bird Garage Market an urban edge, while the laidback vibe makes it a perfect family outing. Children will have plenty to keep them occupied, with their own play area that includes a jungle gym.
Please note that most of the outdoor tour activities will still be operational during the winter season unless specified otherwise. Click here here to browse through my favourite tour activities in and around Cape Town.
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