Why You Should Take a Flight to Cape Town
On the southwestern tip of Africa lies Cape Town, renowned as one of the world’s great cities. Overlooked by the mighty Table Mountain and pounded by Atlantic breakers Cape Town is simply spectacular.
It has wonderful beaches, great architecture, fabulous culture and a vibrant nightlife. It is known as the Mother City because of its crucial role in South Africa’s development, and its wildly diverse population combines to create a city with a unique outlook.
When to Book Flights to Cape Town
Cape Town is popular all year round, but demand is highest in December and January, high summer in South Africa.
Visitors flock to the beaches to soak up the sun as temperatures nudge 90°F, horse racing enthusiasts descend on Kenilworth Racecourse for the ‘Summer of Champions’ and the city buzzes with events like the Second New Year Parade. The only downside is gales that can clear the beaches and close Table Mountain.
Winter, from June to August, is quieter, the nights are cool and there is often rain. But prices are low and it is a great time to enjoy the region’s gastronomic delights.
The best time to visit is from February through June, when the weather is still warm, the winds die down and the summer crowds disappear. The Cape Town International Jazz Festival in April is a big draw card. In spring whale watching season runs from July to September.
How to Find the Best Flight Deals to Cape Town
Planning ahead is key if you are visiting Cape Town during peak season, but there are plenty of ways to grab a bargain with Orbitz.
As there are no direct flights from the US to Cape Town, you will have to take a connecting flight - but that means there are many different routes to compare. Use the ‘Nearby airports’ option, under your chosen departure point, to check fares from other locations.
Having leeway in your schedule can also help. Use the ‘Show flexible dates’ option to compare prices on different days, it can make a big difference as it opens up alternative routes.
You can filter results on the left-hand side of the page and by using the ‘Show options’ menu. This allows you to view results by airline, sort flights by price and duration and look at different ticket types.
US Departures to Cape Town
Optimal flight times from US cities to Cape Town include:
Main Airports in Cape Town
Cape Town International Airport (CPT) is Africa’s third busiest airport and the second biggest in South Africa. It deals with more than 10 million passengers each year. There are flights from Europe, the Middle East and elsewhere in Africa so there is no shortage of routes to and from the US.
There are money changing and banking facilities at the airport and plenty of places to eat and drink, plus a wealth of shops selling everything from souvenirs to mobile phones.
Central Cape Town is just 20 minutes away by taxi or shuttle bus and the MyCiti bus service runs from 5am to 9.30pm. All the major car rental facilities have a presence at the airport, although you should book ahead in peak season.
Which Airlines Fly to Cape Town?
Airlines that fly from the US to Cape Town include:
- British Airways
- Delta Air Lines
- South African Airways
- United Airlines
How to Get to and Around Cape Town
Cape Town’s public transport system includes buses and trains. The most extensive bus network is run by MyCiti and to use it you will need to buy a prepaid card. Fares are more expensive during rush hour and there is no late-night service. Trains also connect parts of the city, but do not run in the evenings and can be unreliable.
Taxis are plentiful and Uber also operates in Cape Town. You can also jump in a minibus with other passengers heading in the same direction.
Hiring a car is a viable option in Cape Town, and there are rental firms at the airport. The city is car friendly and there is plenty of parking, but remember that driving is on the left in South Africa and that many signs are in Afrikaans.
What Are the Must-Sees in Cape Town?
Table Mountain is not so much a must-see as a will-see. It dominates the city skyline and you can take a cable car to the summit for spectacular views and explore Table Mountain National Park.
Two miles off the coast of Cape Town lies Robben Island, once a leper colony and home of the notorious prison where Nelson Mandela was incarcerated during the apartheid years. It is now a tourist attraction complete with a museum and regular tours leave from the waterfront. Be sure to book in advance as visitor numbers are limited.
Don’t miss Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens, renowned as one of the finest in the world. There are thousands of plant species, lawns to relax on, treetop walkways, restaurants and summer concerts.
Tips and Tricks for Traveling in Cape Town
Cape Town is a safe city but it pays to keep your valuables out of sight, particularly on public transport. If you want to see how the locals live it is possible book a township tour but it is not a good idea to venture in alone.
If you head to the beach take plenty of sunscreen and go early as the winds pick up in the afternoon. The water is cooler on the Atlantic-facing beaches.