Cape Town

A multicultural melting pot, Cape Town is rich in cultural highlights, with facets ranging from politics to design to sports. First, discover how apartheid laws changed the landscape of Cape Town by visiting the District Six museum, named after the area where more than 60,000 people were forcibly removed from the city. Next, take the ferry to Robben Island and tour the facility with a former prison inmate to see where Nelson Mandela and other famous political exiles spent their days at back-breaking work in the quarry. Walk through the Bo Kaap neighborhood, filled with colorful row houses and steeped in the culture of the Cape Malay (one of many ethnic groups you’ll encounter in the city). As Cape Town readies to don its crown as World Design Capital 2014, all eyes are on funky Bree Street, with its eclectic shops and cafés. Cheer on the Ajax Cape Town football team at the Green Point Stadium, a landmark from South Africa’s 2010 World Cup games. Similarly, take in a cricket or rugby game at the sporting venues in Newlands in the Southern Suburbs.

There is always something going on in Cape Town, though the winter months (June–September) are quieter. Family events include the South African Navy Festival in April, which allows visitors to tour South African naval ships for free in Simonstown, and the Hermanus Whale Festival in September. Two large sporting events are the Two Oceans Marathon (Easter weekend) and the Cape Argus Cycle Tour (early March). While it’s fun to attend an event like the Good Food & Wine Show (May), the real fun begins when you go to food and wine festivals in the winelands. Harvest season runs from February on and is a great excuse to explore this region for several days. Music festivals include Oppikoppi (August), Rocking the Daisies (September-October), Flamjangled Tea Party (March), and Greenpop’s ReforestFest (May), typically three-day events with live music and overnight camping. For the more advanced festivalgoer, South Africa’s very own Burning Man festival, called Afrikaburn, is held in the Karoo desert annually.