If you're visiting Cape Town during the winter season (June-August), there's no need to worry about not being able to make the most of your time here due to gloomy or shivering weather
Cape Town's summer season is favourited for many reasons. Is it because of the meditative swooshing of waves along the beautiful coastal stretches of white sand that people make their second home? Or perhaps the crunch of people's footsteps while hiking through the seemingly endless green hills and mountains? Maybe it's the splash of kids playing in their pools, while the sound of their laughter rolls through the suburbs. I bet most men will agree that it's the crack of a cold beer being opened while the whole gang comes together for a braai.
I think Cape Town's summer is favourited by many because of a combination of above-mentioned possibilities, plus more. Cape Town is undoubtedly lekker during summer!
But hold on, now. Even though when the rainy season hits Cape Town, the beaches are no longer a second home, mountain hikes no longer seem too inviting, swimming in the pool might leave you with frost bite (kidding), and you prefer the thought of hot chocolate over a cold beer - Cape Town's winters are also lekker, but in a different way!
For those of you who don't believe me, I've compiled a list of what makes Cape Town wonderful during the winter season.
Low season deals
During low season, you really get more for less! Many hostels, restaurants, tour operators and attractions discount their rates, so if you're traveling on a budget, winter would be the best time to visit Cape Town. Not only do you get great value for money but low season also means fewer tourists, less traffic and no long queues, allowing you to enjoy your experiences more thoroughly. Yay :)
Cape Town’s nature truly comes alive with the rainfall. Photographers appreciate this time in Cape Town and take full advantage of the beautiful colours that emerge in the plants. Millions of beautiful wildflowers start to bloom and decorate the landscapes, which continues into spring. Take a road trip through to the West Coast's SANPark to witness the amazing flower phenomenon during winter and spring.
Winter is the ideal time to grab your hiking boots and go view the many waterfalls and streams on the green mountain slopes and in the forests. A great place to go walking is in Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens. Just because it's winter doesn't mean you have to be stuck indoors, guys. Cape Town's nature is waiting to play!
I always thought surfers were crazy for hitting the waves during winter, assuming that the water is freezing and perhaps too rough. However, all surfers will tell you that the bigger waves, wind conditions and warmer sea temperatures are the perfect combination for great surfing sessions. Don't wait until summer to take up surfing - May to September is the best time to give it a try. Muizenberg has a few great surfing schools for newbies and the beach is ideal for beginners.
Prime time for Shark cage diving
Cape Town is a prime location to do Great White Shark cage diving, especially during winter. Due to the warmer water temperatures, as mentioned above, sharks are particularly active in their feeding behaviour during winter and spring. This is the best time to do shark cage diving as you will have a higher chance (99%) of seeing the sharks. Hmmm.. think I'd prefer to do it in summer then.. or rather not at all, actually.
Cape Town is famous for its trendy restaurants and cafes, and it's no secret that Capetonians are definite foodies! During winter, majority of the restaurants will put their fire places/heaters to use, bring out the blankets, and alter their menus to include steaming stews, boboties and soups. A perfect way to spend a chilly winter's day is to explore the variety of indoor markets in and around the city, like the Bay Harbour Market or Root 44 Market.
During the months of July through September you will be able to spot the world's largest mammals mating, playing and calving in and around Cape Town's bays as these months are peak calving season. The best spots to see the whales would be from False Bay or Hermanus, the whale capital of the world! Either spot them from shore, from a boat or from a kayak, depending on your preferred levels of adventure.
The annual Hermanus Whale Festival in September is worth the hour and a half road-trip from Cape Town, with performances, markets and the legendary whale crier of Hermanus “calling” the whales with his trumpet.
This 1000 square meters of trampoline fun at Jump Around will warm your body temperature better than a hot water bottle! Bounce from wall to wall across 50 interconnected trampolines in the “Free Jump” zone. Slam dunk like Michael Jordan on one of the basketball lanes from superhuman heights, assisted by a trampoline. Play dodgeball on trampolines and practice your aerial skills and dive into 7000 foam cubes in the foam pit, which is suspended by a trampoline. Yesss, let's go! My inner child wants to be set free!
9 Milner Street Unit 3 Table Bay Industrial Estate, Paarden Eiland, Cape Town
Movies & popcorn
There's nothing better than cuddling up on the couch with a blanket and some snacks while watching a movie of your choice. Organise a movie night with some friends, or snuggle up to your loved one.
If you don't want to be at home, there are plenty of movie theatres around Cape Town to choose from (Cavendish Mall, Canal Walk, Blue Route Mall, to name a few). If you want to shake things up even more, visit the oldest art-repertory cinema in South Africa, The Labia. It is the ideal spot to enjoy a classic, independent film, where you can enjoy a meal while you watch.
Here at Riverlodge Backpackers, we make sure that your stay with us during the winter season is as cosy and comfortable as possible. We provide hot showers and fresh linen, both free of charge. We have a fully-equipped self-catering kitchen, so go ahead and cook up a steaming meal to warm your tummy. A fun idea would be to get group of fellow guests together, get comfy on our couches and have a movie night on our big screen TV.
If you enjoyed this article and want to read more about the exciting things we get up to in Cape Town, follow us on Twitter and like our Facebook page. If you'd love to have your own Cape Town experience, contact us at Riverlodge Backpackers to book accommodation, or book online.
Written by Saskia Carelse
(All images sourced from Google Images)