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The Rough Guide to Cape Town (Miniguides) Paperback – 27 Jun 2002

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Product details

  • Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Rough Guides; 2nd Revised edition edition (27 Jun. 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 185828841X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1858288413
  • Product Dimensions: 10.5 x 1.9 x 14.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: Be the first to review this item
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 3,788,296 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product description


A guide to this city, including accounts of all the attractions from the historic city centre and Robben Island, to the African townships and Table mountain. It includes details on trips around Cape Town including whale spotting, the Winelands, and Cape Point. The best hotels, restaurants, bars, beaches and shops are reviewed and complemented by the colour maps with grid references for every sight and recommendation.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

Cape Town and the Western Cape coastal belt have a Mediterranean climate (contrary to expectations, it’s not tropical), and the warm dryish summers are balanced by cool wet winters. Cape Town is a windy city and it can gust throughout the year; although seasons are reasonably well defined, the weather is notoriously changeable. Come prepared for hot days in winter and cold snaps in summer: pack at least one short-sleeved garment during the cooler months and a jumper and jacket whatever time of year you come.
For sun and swimming, the best time to come is from October to mid-December and mid-January to Easter, when it’s light till well into the evening and there’s an average of ten hours of sunshine a day. From mid-December to mid-January, Cape Town becomes congested as the nation takes its annual seaside holiday. This is major party time: the annual minstrel carnival and the Mother City Queer Project, a gay extravanganza, are staged during the festive season, while the Summer Sunset Concert season in Kirstenbosch National Botanical Gardens also starts its four-month run in December. If you plan to visit at this time, book your accommodation and transport well in advance.
Despite its shorter daylight hours, the autumn period, from April to mid-May, has a lot going for it: the south-easter (see box below) has dropped but air temperatures remain pleasantly warm and the light is sharp and bright. For similar reasons the spring month of September can be very agreeable, with the added attraction that following the winter rains the peninsula tends to be at its greenest, with much of the fynbos in flower. Although spells of heavy rain occur in winter (June and July), it tends to be relatively mild, with temperatures rarely falling below 6'C. Glorious sunny days with crisp blue skies are common, and you won’t see bare wintry trees either: indigenous vegetation is evergreen, and gardens flower year round. It’s also in July that the first migrating whales begin to appear along the Cape Peninsula, usually staying till the end of November.

The southeaster, the cool summer wind that blows in across False Bay, forms a major obsession for Capetonians. Its fickle moods can singlehandedly determine what kind of day you’re going to have, and when it gusts at over 60kph you won’t want to be outdoors, let alone on the beach. Conversely, its gentler incarnation as the so-called Cape Doctor brings welcome relief on humid summer days, and lays the famous cloudy tablecloth on top of Table Mountain.

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