Cape Town’s Winter Heartbeat

Just because Cape Town is blessed with stunning beaches and has a culture of outdoor living, it does not mean she “switches off her lights” during winter. Au contraire. When the days get shorter and nippier, the Mother City tends to reveal her uniqueness, her comfort zones and secrets. Here are a few good reasons why you should visit Cape Town during the colder months and Easter.

Walk in the glorious rain

Cape Town is a dry city and we celebrate every drop that falls. Cape Town Free Walking Tours is open every day, also during the Easter weekend, and we don’t cancel an event because of a few drops of water. Pack your Wellies, an umbrella and a drimac, and enjoy a historical city tour, walk through Cape Town’s apartheid history or head up to the Bo Kaap for views, culture and food. Another travel tip: Cape Town also has several forests that offer a different winter wonder land. Visit Kirstenbosch, Newlands Forest, Cecilia Forest or Orangekloof Forest. Kirstenbosch especially has over 7 000 species of unique flora and indigenous plants. These can be explored via several walks and trails.

Walking on the beach in cold weather also promises a new perspective on ocean life and the coast and is a must see in Cape Town. Experts agree that walking in the rain has benefits. Less people walk in the rain, giving you the space and time to reflect and own the route. It has also been scientifically proven that the air during a spell of rain is cleaner and fresher. Rain also has a calming effect on us and it’s good for your health.

Eat yourself warm

You can’t travel to the south point of Africa without at least tasting the local cuisine. I could confuse you by reminding you that counting calories is a waste of time (apparently the human body doesn’t recognise all calories as equal), but let’s not get technical. Winter, and Easter, is a time for a bit of indulgence, so here are some pointers. Potjiekos is a meat and vegetable stew cooked over the coals in a black cast iron pot. This is slow cooking at its best, so organise your entire day around the cooking event. South African curries are unique thanks to the Indian influence, as well as the spices and flavours Cape Malay cooking adds to the local menu. Bobotie, our national dish is a Cape Malay dish that can be tasted in many restaurants in Cape Town. Winter is also hunting season, and various game, or venison, dishes are popular during winter. Ask our guides to suggest places where you can try springbok, kudu or warthog recipes, as well as ostrich and biltong. In Cape Town pickled fish is a traditional Easter meal; Cape snoek is a favourite with locals. On the sweet side, taste the difference between a koeksister and a koesister, or visit one of the local chocolate manufacturers.

While you eat your way around the city, you might as well work your way through the Mother City’s beverage collections. Local bars offer various home-grown craft beers and gins. Locals are distilling gin using indigenous fynbos, African herbs and spices, and rooibos. The latter, a blend of tea grown only in South Africa, has plenty of health benefits, as well us flavours. And don’t forget the wine… there are more than 20 A-list vineyards just around Cape Town.

Be a spectator

Starting with the Two Oceans Marathon over the Easter weekend, winter in Cape Town means plenty of festivals and sporting events. The list is endless: South African Cheese Festival in Stellenbosch, Wacky Wine Weekend in Robertson, Cape Town Good Food and Wine Show, Cape Town Street Food Festival, whale watching throughout winter, literary festivals, music and craft beer festivals, marathons and fun runs, olive festivals, Afrika Burn, theatre productions, Christmas in July…

The beauty of Cape Town in winter? Space. Enjoy the city out of season and experience it without crowds and long lines while sightseeing. And don’t forget the winter specials; Cape Town is an affordable destination during the colder months. Take a walk with us and we’ll show you where to go, what to see and taste, and experience the city’s history with an entertaining and knowledgeable guide. You won’t regret it.