Best places to visit in South Africa: Durban vs Cape Town

Best places to visit in South Africa: Durban vs Cape Town


South Africa is a phenomenal country with beautiful vistas of oceans, mountains, and bushveld. If that isn’t enough to draw you in like the Pied Piper, then perhaps the amazing cityscapes, culture and nightlife will. If you’re yearning to visit our wonderful nation, yet you’re unsure as to which city you’d like to visit, then hopefully this article will help you to decide on the best places to visit.

Cape Town

Cape Town vs Durban

Cape Town is a popular choice and is, in our opinion, the best city in South Africa to visit (pardon the slight bias – we’re Capetonians). Cape Town is known as a slow and laidback city. Some locals like to clock off work from 2 pm on Fridays. We definitely know how to unwind and treat ourselves to the best that the city and its surrounding suburbs have to offer.

Cape Town has steadily climbed to the top of best holiday destinations in the world because of its Mediterranean climate, vibrant nightlife, Michelin Star restaurants, scenic coastal drives, staggering mountain landscapes, and friendly people who know how to have a good time out and about. Of course, we cannot whittle the reputation of Cape Town down to only these few points. The Mother City (as Cape Town is lovingly known ) has her arms wide open to embrace each and every traveller seeking to enjoy the numerous activities in Cape Town, from skydiving to shark cage diving. The opportunities to have fun, both indoors and outdoors, are endless.

RELATED: Cape Town’s top 10 selfie spots

Cape Town has steadily climbed to the top of best holiday destinations in the world because of its Mediterranean climate, vibrant nightlife, Michelin Star restaurants, scenic coastal drives, staggering mountain landscapes, and friendly people who know how to have a good time out and about. Of course, we cannot whittle the reputation of Cape Town down to only these few points. The Mother City (as Cape Town is lovingly known ) has her arms wide open to embrace each and every traveller seeking to enjoy the numerous activities in Cape Town, from skydiving to shark cage diving. The opportunities to have fun, both indoors and outdoors, are endless.

Cape Town, of course, is notably known for Table Mountain and even celebrities, such as Oprah, have enjoyed the splendour of Cape Town’s scenery from a Table Mountain cable car. Taking a cable car up Table Mountain should definitely be first on your Cape Town attractions list because what is a holiday in Cape Town without witnessing our Table Mountain from every angle imaginable? If you’re a local, you’ll know some of the best hiking trails in Cape Town because that’s what we enjoy doing – appreciating beautiful fynbos on foot with our dogs in tow. Some of the best hiking trails in Cape Town include:

Table Mountain National Park

  • Lion’s Head,
  • Devil’s Peak
  • Elephant’s Eye

Let Cape Town unashamedly show off more of her beauty when you drive along Chapman’s Peak to the southernmost tip of Africa – Cape Agulhas. There you can witness two contrasting oceans, the cold Atlantic and the warm Indian Oceans clashing dramatically. Take care not to stand too close to the water’s edge, as it is here that mammoth waves crash unexpectedly high against the rocky coastline, especially in winter.

Weekends are spent exploring coastal towns and suburbs, which include the bohemian fishing town of Kalk Bay, the surfing town of Muizenberg and Millionaire’s Mile, St James. St James is a popular destination for families and it is there you’ll find the well-known colourful beach huts. Superb guesthouses, such as St James Manor and excellent sea-facing restaurants that serve delicious seafood cuisine, make this one of the more sought after coastal towns in Cape Town for a weekend stay.

Camps Bay is the place to be if you enjoy rubbing shoulders with celebrities and models. During summer, you’ll find holidaymakers and locals enjoying Camps Bay beach directly across the road from sea-facing restaurants and bars bustling with activity and flowing with cocktails. Caprice restaurant is a popular Cape Town restaurant for viewing striking sunsets while sipping a mai tai and enjoying the company of friends surrounded by a fun and vibrant atmosphere.

If you’re a beach baby and enjoy sunning up a golden tan, then it’s Clifton Beach where you should lay down your towel. Clifton is one of the Blue Flag beaches in Cape Town and is a tourist destination in its own right. Owing to Cape Town’s geography, it’s possible to visit several coastal towns near Cape Town in one day.

If it’s a slower pace and more down-to-earth atmosphere you seek, then drive to the naval town of Simon’s Town. Here, you’ll find the bronze statue of the Great Dane, Just Nuisance, who became the first dog to be enlisted in the navy. A stone’s throw away from the town is Boulders Beach where penguins will happily share the sea and sand with you. Don’t be surprised if a curious penguin waddles up to you while you’re lying on your towel admiring the waves.

RELATED: Cape Town: From Simon’s Town to V & A Waterfront

If you’re placing all your holiday eggs in one basket and need a change of scenery, swap the sea for vineyards. An hour’s drive out of Cape Town will take you to the Winelands where you can enjoy the day tasting wine at prestigious wine estates in Paarl, Franschhoek and Stellenbosch.

A holiday in Cape Town will never be dull with so much to see and do in and around the city. Attractions in Cape Town are definitely not exhaustive as there is always something new to add to your Cape Town bucket list.

Places to visit in Cape Town

Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens

Table Mountain Cableway

Two Oceans Aquarium

 

It’s Turtle Tuesday! #turtletuesday Thanks @timsprake for this spectacular pic of Yoshi, the Loggerhead Turtle. According to @world_wildlife, “nearly all species of sea turtle are classified as Endangered. Slaughtered for their eggs, meat, skin and shells, sea turtles suffer from poaching and over-exploitation. They also face habitat destruction and accidental capture in fishing gear. Climate change has an impact on turtle nesting sites. It alters sand temperatures, which then affects the sex of hatchlings.” #loggerheadturtle #turtlesofinstagram #seaturtles #endangered #loggerhead #2oceansaquarium #ocean #sealife #turtle #turtles #twooceansaquarium #loveturtles #underwater #flare #aquagallery #aquarium #Carettacaretta #sea #lovecapetown #capetown #meetsouthafrica #southafrica

A photo posted by Two Oceans Aquarium (@2oceansaquarium) on

Boulders Beach

 

Road trip to #CapePoint & stopped at #BouldersBeach 🐧💙

A photo posted by Giulia (@southafricandiscovery) on

Groot Constantia

 

Happy Monday! Join us this week for wine tasting. #GrootLegacy #Wine #WineLovers #lovecapetown

A photo posted by Groot Constantia (@grootconstantia) on

Camps Bay

 

#capetown #campsbay #views #southafrica #quaint

A photo posted by Anjali Mehra (@anjalimehra17) on

Durban

"Durban

If you’re staying in or close to Gauteng and it’s a seaside holiday you seek, you’d most likely drive to Durban as it’s closer to home than Cape Town. Due to its close proximity to Johannesburg and Pretoria, Durban has become a popular holiday destination for South African families. In fact, many holidaymakers prefer Durban to Cape Town because it’s one of the best places to visit if you love water activities. The water is warm and favours all-year-round swimming, unlike Cape Town where your toes curl from the icy water even in summer. Durban also has a sublime subtropical climate with beautiful shady trees and lush shrubs that provide a jungle-like atmosphere. However, one of the downsides to Durban weather is that during South Africa’s hottest months, namely December to February, it may become extremely humid and uncomfortable.

RELATED: 10 exciting things to do in Durban this December

Attractions in Durban obviously include the many beaches where some are still home to crabs that peek out from sandy holes. It is the Golden Mile beachfront, however, that you should visit since it offers great entertainment.

Along the six kilometres long Golden Mile, you’ll find plenty of attractions and activities. These include waterslides, swimming pools and the uShaka Marine World. uShaka Marine World is popular among families. Along the Golden Mile, you’ll come across colourful Zulu Rakshas. For a small fee, you can hop on and be driven along the scenic promenade.

Even though Durban has plenty of attractions, the one thing you simply have to experience is a Durban curry. If you follow this link you’ll read about the best curry restaurants in Durban. Beware though, these curries are fiery!

Durban is also a great shopping destination with its vibrant mix of street markets and world-class malls. One of the more popular malls is Gateway – a shopper’s dream. Other malls include La Lucia Mall, Musgrave Centre, Pavilion Shopping Centre, Galleria and Heritage Market. If you wish to experience a more authentic shopping experience, head to the Shongweni, Essenwood and the Stables Lifestyle markets. When it comes to shopping, we’d say that Durban wins hands down!

If you need a change of pace and scenery, an escape to the countryside isn’t too far away. Head south to Zululand to experience Zulu culture at one of the Zulu cultural villages. There you can bear witness to traditional dances, costume and food. It’s definitely an experience you won’t’ easily forget.

If it’s Big Five animals you’d love to see, travel to Hluhluwe Game Reserve, one of the oldest game reserves in Africa. Its unspoiled beauty will leave a lasting impression, as will the excitement of appreciating Africa’s wildlife.

Places to visit in Durban

uShaka Marine World

 

Open wide! #ushaka #durbanlove #ushakamarineworld #sharkjaw #regram @muz_10m

A photo posted by uShaka Marine World (@ushakamarineworld) on

Temple of Understanding

 

#templeofunderstanding #iskcondurban #ssrr #srisriradharadhanath #iskcon #radha #krsna #indian #harekrishna

A photo posted by Kunja (@w_nderfly) on

Umgeni River Bird Park

Natural Science Museum

 

#durbanartgallery and #naturalsciencemuseum

A photo posted by Nisha Devdhat (@nisha_devdhat) on

Ardmore Ceramics

It’s without a doubt that both Cape Town and Durban are unique cities, each offering vastly different experiences. It’s up to you to decide which city best fits your holiday expectations. Why don’t you explore either Durban or Cape Town with Rovos Rail tours? By choosing Rovos, you’ll experience true luxury aboard the Pride of Africa while touring the beautiful cities and countryside of South Africa.

3 Comments

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  1. Sakhiwe Mark Pike

    Cape Town is the most beautiful city in South Africa, it is the city that makes South Africa to be voted the MOST BEAUTIFUL COUNTRY IN THE WHOLE WIDE WORLD trust me I made a research.Cape Town has won a blue flag award which makes it the city with blue beautiful beach.Many people say that Cape Town has the coldest beaches ever but let me tell you something, here in Cape Town we Muzingberg beach which the ah hmm warm water.

    So please people dont lie about CAPE TOWN LIKAPA LODUMO.
    #BLESSED

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