Cape Town, also called the Mother city, is the most cosmopolitan city in South Africa, where a myriad of cultures have met and meshed over the centuries. The Dutch influence is most obvious, but the French brought winemaking skills and gabled farmhouses, while the English left Georgian mansions and Victorian terraced homes. Africans from across the continent have added their distinct cultures into the melting pot that is Cape Town. The temperate climate produces warm, dry conditions from October – April, with temperatures peaking at 76 – 80 degrees Fahrenheit between December – February, making these months the most popular time for tourists. Flights and accommodation should be reserved well in advance if you want to visit during Cape Town’s busy summer. The shoulder seasons of spring and fall boast enviable weather, fewer crowds, and lower prices. During winter, temperatures make a beach vacation less desirable, with daily highs ranging from 63 – 65 degrees Fahrenheit and frequent rainfall, but you can probably find the best deals online at this time, so consider visiting between June – August.
In general, November is the cheapest month to fly from United States to Cape Town. Due to it being the ‘off-season’ during this time, you can expect flight prices to be around $868. If you don’t want to visit Cape Town in November, then you should wait until February to fly from United States, when ticket prices are also cheap, with an average price of $871.
The ideal time to book your flight to Cape Town is 0 days in advance when prices tend to average $1,050. However, in the past 72 hours, people saw flights from United States for as low as $624.
The cheapest day to depart on your flight to Cape Town is on a Wednesday when prices can be found for as low as $938. This is often the case because there is less demand to fly during this day of the week. Be sure to avoid booking your departure on a Thursday as prices are generally higher than usual. According to our data, the average ticket price to Cape Town on Thursday is $1,023.
According to our data, the cheapest time of day to fly to Cape Town is at noon. momondo users have found flights departing from United States to Cape Town at noon for as low as $831. Keep in mind that these prices may fluctuate based on what airline you choose and the time of year you plan to travel. Flights in the evening are often more expensive with an average ticket price of $1,094.
If you’re looking to do your hiking in warmer conditions, consider planning your flight to Cape Town for January, February, and March. Parks like Table Mountain are popular hot spots in those months.
Currently, South Africa travel restrictions include travel to Cape Town. South Africa has restricted the entry of all travelers who are not South African nationals and foreign nationals with valid residence permits. South Africa has suspended all flights into the country except for flights authorized by the Ministry of Transport and flights for medical evacuations, humanitarian aid, emergency landings or refueling stops. Travelers can transit without a visa to South African international airports on their way back to another country, providing they remain airside and have not been in any ‘high-risk’ country since 15 March 2020. However, travelers should be aware that international flights from South Africa are limited. Travelers cannot transit South African airports on their way to third countries, if traveling from any ‘high risk’ country. Nationals of South Africa who arrive in the country will be subject to medical screenings including temperature measurements and will need to quarantine for 10 days. Airline crew will also be subject to quarantine laws as applicable. Travelers are now able to apply to self-isolate at a place their choosing as long as it complies with the criteria set out by the Department of Health. This application must be submitted 72 hours prior to the intended date of travel to the Department of Health If you are planning to travel to Cape Town at this time, it is recommended that you stay up to date on current restrictions and follow proper safety measures while in public.
There are no airlines offering direct flights to Cape Town from the US. Airlines offering flights with one or more stops include: British Airways, Lufthansa, United, Emirates, South African Airways, Singapore Airlines, American Airlines, Air France, SWISS, Delta, Qatar Airways, Ethiopian Airlines, KLM, Turkish Airlines, and Condor.
Cape Town’s primary airport is one of the busiest in all of Africa, and is located 20 kilometers from the city center. You have several options for travel into the city.
The MyCiti shuttle bus A01 can take you from the public transport plaza directly opposite the central terminal building entrance to the Civic Centre bus station in Downtown Cape Town in about an hour. Buses leave every 20 minutes and the fare varies depending on what time of day you travel, ranging from R54.00 ZAR – R80.00 ZAR (including R35.00 ZAR for the myconnect card which is necessary as you can’t pay using cash). If you prefer, instead of a myconnect card, you can buy a R85.00 ZAR single-trip card and make 1 journey anywhere on the MyCiTi network.
You’ll find the taxis at the transport plaza which is accessible by pedestrian subway from the passenger terminal main entrance. You can hail a metered taxi here or pay a flat rate, but always negotiate the cost up front. A metered taxi will cost about R300.00 ZAR – R400.00 ZAR and gets you to Downtown Cape Town in about 20 minutes. You can also call Uber to arrange a ride.
Shuttles, limousines, and sedans
Several companies offer shuttle services to and from the airport in a variety of vehicles with prices ranging from about R60.00 ZAR and up depending on the transport and the number of people in your group.
Rental car offices are also located in the transport plaza opposite the central terminal. If you plan to drive, look for deals on car rentals with momondo.
Cape Town is a sprawling city, but there are several neighborhoods that are compact enough to explore on foot, including the City Bowl (city center), the Bo Kaap, and the Waterfront. It’s also an easy city to drive around, with ample parking and relatively light traffic. Here are some details about other useful modes of transport:
MyCiTi is Cape Town’s efficient bus service, and a cheap way to get around the city and see many of the major landmarks. You must purchase and load a myconnect card from MyCiTi stations or select retailers. Fares vary depending on the distance you are traveling. For a different experience, you can buy a ticket on the open-topped city Sightseeing bus, a hop-on, hop-off service visiting many of the city’s top attractions. A day pass costs R170.00 ZAR if purchased online.
Taxis are available in Cape Town and fall under the jurisdiction of the city. All of the legitimate taxis are metered. They are not allowed to stop for customers on the streets, so you should call for a taxi, or you can find them at one of the city’s designated taxi ranks. You can opt for a Rikki taxi which will save you money. These London-style taxis have operated here since 1984, which makes them a ride-share transport option predating Uber. You can go just about anywhere in central Cape Town for around R20.00 ZAR – R25.00 ZAR.