The Cape Town Cycle Tour. Famous across the world as the largest individually timed cycle race – every year, as many as 35 000 entrants come together in this festival of the pedalled wheel.
The size of the event means that it’s important to be properly organised, if you want to get the best from the experience.
We’ll get to some tips on the best way to do that; but first, let’s detour into the history of the race.
A product of the 70s, the Cape Town Cycle Tour started life as the Big Ride-In: it was organised as an effort to promote cycle paths in Cape Town.
With one exception, the race has always hovered around the 100km mark. For most of the 80s, attendance grew slowly – until 1988, when the number of cyclist suddenly doubled.
By 1994, with South Africa entering a new era of democracy, the event was attracting close to 20 000 competitors; it broke this milestone the following year.
Now, it stands as the largest event of its kind, with spectators, amateur enthusiasts, and a who’s who of the cycling world gathering in Cape Town to take their part.
Severe water shortages in the Western Cape saw worries surface that the race would be cancelled this year – an ominous signal, following on the cancellation of the 2017 edition due to extremely high winds.
Happily, this years’ race has been given the go-ahead, with strategies in place to reduce the amount of water needed from the municipal supply, including:
A final strategy will see no shower facilities in use – so prepare accordingly.
The Tour this year starts in Cape Town’s city centre, striking out towards the False Bay coast before crossing the Cape Peninsula and taking in the views of Chapman’s Peak; cyclists will cross the finish line 109km later.
That may sound easy, but don’t be fooled: along the route cyclists will climb more than 1000m above sea level, get to grips with the famously difficult Suikerbossie hill climb, and have to endure Cape Town’s capricious winds.
For the spectators, things are a bit more relaxed.
Whether you’re showing up to support a friend, or simply to enjoy the spectacle, you’ll want to know the best way to watch the race.
Road closures around the route can make things difficult, so it’s worth planning a route of your own to get the most from the experience.
You’ll certainly want a car to get around; public transport is going to be difficult and inflexible, and services like Uber tend to take advantage of events of this size to apply surge pricing.
For out-of-towners, that invariably means a hire car – for versatility and ease of getting around they’re hard to beat.
Once you’ve sorted your transport, you’ll want to pick your ‘watch spots’. It’d tax the most dedicated supporter to be at every significant spot, so you’ll need to do some pruning here.
A number of spots on the route are great for watching, but for our money Suikerbossie’s infamous climb is the best, along with the final stretch in Seapoint. Watching the cyclists come into the finish gives a special thrill.
Sea point is a great spot for another reason: coming as it does at the end of the race, it gives you an ideal opportunity to take part in the festivities that invariably follow such events. Take advantage of the numerous bars and restaurants to keep yourself refreshed, and mingle with the race’s participants while you’re at it.
As the new year kicks off, the Western Cape beckons, dense with the potential for exploration and adventure.
Use our quick guide for exploration inspiration as you plan your year of fun.
For a road trip, the section from Wellington to Outdshoorn is ideal. It winds through mountain passes, onto the arid plains of the Klein Karoo.
The towns along the route offer everything from wine and port tasting, to wildlife experiences, hot springs, architecturally impressive milkshakes, and the famed pit stop that is Ronnie’s Sex Shop.
Jump in the car, turn on the music, and start exploring.
The Cederberg municipal region covers a large area of land – but for our purposes, we’re looking specifically at the Cederberg Mountains, dominated by sandstone rocks lying some distance above sea level.
Camping in this area gives you a chance to get a long way from civilization. Here, the stars are the brightest lights, and the many rivers and streams of the area provide relief from summer heat.
The sky here is often astonishingly clear, making it ideal for stargazing.
Situated a few hours’ north of Cape Town, this area is well worth the drive for those keen to get away from it all for a weekend.
No discussion concerning exploring the Western Cape would be complete without discussing wine.
The Western Cape is home to the largest wine region in the country, divided into smaller routes that produce utterly enchanting and unique wines.
Perhaps the two best known – the Constantia and Stellenbosch wine routes – are fairly simple to get to, but there are six wine routes in the Cape Winelands, and numerous others scattered further afield.
Get yourself a wine guide, decide who’s driving, and go explore the unique flavours of South African wine.
The Western Cape, as of 2017, is home to over half the Blue Flag status sites in South Africa – 28 in total. Blue Flag status is awarded to beaches, marinas and boats that adhere to a strict criterion of excellence.
So forget about Camps Bay and Clifton; travelling further afield will give you access to beaches that are every bit their rival, with white sands and warm waters. And if you choose carefully, far fewer crowds.
Whether you choose to focus your 2018 explorations on aspect of the Western Cape, or try to cram in as much as possible, you’ll want a car to get you there.
If you’re a tourist, that means hiring a car – the ideal way to set your own schedule. A car hire gives you the opportunity to chase whatever backroads or out-of-the-way gem takes your fancy.
So pack some snacks, queue up your favourite playlist, and start exploring.
Ultra Music Festival returns to Cape Town for its fifth instalment on 9 and 10 February 2018. As part of Ultra Worldwide, the festival showcases some of the top local and international electronic music performers.
From its inception, the festival has stood as an inspiration of the reach and joy that can be had by simply going out and having a great time.
Inaugurated in Miami in 1999, Ultra has, from the beginning, gone hard.
The first festival – which took place over one day – included such luminaries of the electronic scene as Paul van Dyk, Rabbit in the Moon and Josh Wink.
Held in Miami, the first Ultra Festival saw ten thousand attendees; the organisers, however, still saw a loss on that first venture.
It wasn’t until the second year of the festival that things picked up. And once they did, they picked up quickly.
By 2001 the numbers had more than doubled, with more than twenty thousand concert-goers coming together to again watch the biggest names in electronic music – among them DJ Tiesto, Robin Fox, Paul Oakenfield and Paul van Dyke.
2007 saw Ultra Festival move to a two-day format, the dominant form of the festival ever since.
In the next year, Ultra went global: Ultra Brasil brought the same high-powered line-up that had defined the Miami event. Its growth continued, and now this landmark festival is a string of events that give audiences around the world.
The nearly two-decade history of Ultra Festival and its many incarnations has undoubtedly had an impact on the landscape of electronic music.
With hundreds of thousands of attendees globally, the festival has helped expose electronic music to the mainstream, raising a generation on the stars of the genre.
The influence of the musicians seen at Ultra and other festivals of its ilk has had a lasting impact on the production of modern music, as electronic methods of creating music bleed into the mainstream.
The hunger for the music heard at Ultra has helped the rise of services like Spotify and Soundcloud, as many artists who perform at the festivals use these platforms to debut and market new mixes.
In South Africa, Ultra inspires by bringing together artists that many local music lovers may not be able to see otherwise.
The 2018 edition of Ultra in Cape Town takes place in Cape Town Stadium. The stadium, designed for the 2010 Soccer World Cup, turns into a carnival for electronic music lovers, and the surrounding city and bars are sure to experience an eclectic influx of party-goers.
If you’re interested in taking part of the unique experience that is Ultra, it’s suggested that you avoid public transport – while it’s an option, it’s almost certainly going to be packed.
For those visiting Cape Town for the festival, a far better option is a hire car: not only does it allow you to set your own schedule, but you’ll be able to experience the wider Cape Town surrounds as well.
In early 2018 British comedian Michael McIntyre lands once more on South African Shores.
Performing at Cape Town’s Grandwest Casino on 18 and 19 January, McIntyre will bring his unique brand of comedy here as part of his Big World Tour.
The comedian, with a host of accomplishments to his name, is best known for his observational comedy – a style previously pioneered by the likes of Jerry Seinfeld, but which he’s made all his own.
Among stand-up comics, Michael McIntyre can be said to stand head and shoulders above anyone else (sorry).
Active since 1999, it was in the new millennium that his star rose. From an early best newcomer nomination at the Edinburgh Festival in 2003, he quickly built a name for himself – by 2006 he had performed in front of Royalty at the Royal Variety Performance, a venue he would return to in 2010 as the event’s youngest ever host.
His meteoric rise has led to him becoming, like the rock bands of the ‘80s, a stadium performer: in 2009 he performed to an estimated 500 000 people while on tour in the UK, including at Wembley arena over a record-breaking six nights.
McIntyre’s clearly impressive work ethic kept him on stage through much of the next two years, resulting in him reportedly being the highest-grossing comedian in 2012.
Truly, this is a man that works hard at his laughs.
In 2017, Michael McIntyre set out on a globe-spanning comedy tour of the ages: The Big World Tour.
Covering 15 countries, he will perform 83 times, including in Cape Town and Johannesburg. His last visit to South Africa, in 2013, saw the biggest audience at a comedy event in Africa – 9 000 fans turned up for the laughs.
His Cape Town shows are expected to bring impressive crowds, guaranteed a chuckle from his wry observations on everything you never knew you noticed.
If you’re in Cape Town to watch McIntyre, you’ll find transport options are limited. Unless you have your own vehicle, a hire car is undoubtedly your best bet, as Grandwest Casino is a little out of the way.
But for a good laugh, it’s surely worth it.
Held at the – frankly stunning – Cape Town Stadium, the event brings together sixteen men’s and sixteen women’s sevens rugby teams from around the world.
Use our beginners’ guide to sevens rugby to make sure that you’re up-to-speed when the party rolls in to town.
Despite only recently gaining global popularity, seven-a-side rugby has deep roots: the first tournament is recorded as having taken place all the way back in 1883.
From those humble origins, sevens was eventually codified, before the advent of the World Series introduced the game to the world at large.
The game differs from traditional rugby union in two key ways. Naturally, given the name, there are only seven players on the field at any given time, as opposed to fifteen.
Games are also far shorter, with slightly different lengths for normal games and competition finals:
Sevens is played on full sized rugby fields. Combined with fewer players and shorter matches, it’s games become quick-fire high scoring affairs, seemingly designed to thrill.
The HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series brings teams from across the globe together in one competition. The Series takes place annually from roughly November to May of the following year. Each leg of the tour takes place over a single weekend, moving on to another country for each subsequent leg.
Teams in the competition compete to win each leg through a group and then knockout style tournament. A teams placement in each leg earns them points which go towards an overall total for the series, with the highest total at the end of the Series determining the victor for that season.
Which brings us, in a roundabout sort of way, to South Africa and the Cape Town leg of the series, taking place in a few short weeks’ time.
The South African leg of the World Sevens Series has been held in various venues around the country, until landing at Cape Town Stadium in 2015, its current home.
The stadium was originally built for the 2010 Soccer World Cup, and it shows – the white edifice is truly impressive, seating 55 000. Definitely a good spot for a sevens-inspired party, especially with the large abundance of nearby bars and restaurants.
The teams competing are sure to feed off the atmosphere. Host nation South Africa will certainly pitch up keen to perform, after taking ultimate honours in the 2016-17 tour, but coming second to England on their home turf.
Along with the home side, teams like Kenya, Samoa and New Zealand tend to be fan favourites. Expect to hear cheering all weekend – no matter who happens to be playing.
Getting to the stadium can prove a problem, unfortunately. While Cape Town’s MyCiti bus service will do its best to keep up, demand is likely to make this option an uncomfortable prospect. Indeed, if you’re visiting the city to jump in on the action, your best bet will almost certainly be a hire car, which will get you there much more comfortably, and give you an ideal chance to sample the post-tournament atmosphere when the final whistle’s been blown.
The Volvo Ocean Race is one of the world’s premier yacht events, held every three years.
The 2017-18 version features seven teams in a nine-month round-the-world marathon. With previous editions covering nearly 70 000km, this is a truly gruelling undertaking.
Starting in Alicante, in Spain, the race first stopped in Lisbon, before the yachts turned South – to Cape Town.
The teams are expected to make landfall in the Cape around the end of November, with an in-port event before they set sail for Melbourne, Australia on 10 December.
But what can Cape Town spectators expect from the stopover?
Cape Town has been a fixture of the Volvo Ocean Race since its inception in 1973.
This year is no different, with the creation of a Race Village towards the end of November giving punters a chance to experience things first-hand.
The Race Village, situated at the V&A Waterfront, includes a host of unique experiences:
This is just a snapshot of what’s on offer; and that’s not including the city itself.
Cape Town holds a grand place in nautical history, and this event gives you a chance to explore the side of the city – or you could just enjoy the offers of the V&A Waterfront itself.
This mall complex holds what is quite possibly the most exclusive shopping in Cape Town, along with the Two Oceans Aquarium, and some of the best dining in the city.
Once you’ve exhausted the possibilities of the Race Village, head on over here to fill your appetite for shopping and fine dining.
Moving around Cape Town is possible with public transport, but not always ideal. Lugging shopping bags around on the bus gets tiresome fast. Uber offers another alternative, but for ease and flexibility, it’s hard to beat a hire car.
This will give you far greater flexibility, while giving you access to the wider world of Cape Town and the Western Cape.
Last year, Cape Town’s Colour Run attracted nearly 13 000 enthusiastic participants. Despite drought-related concerns over this year’s event, it’s looking set to be even bigger than last year.
If you’re having trouble deciding whether to join in, maybe we can help.
Founded in 2011 in Phoenix, Arizona, the Colour Run is billed as the “Happiest 5k on the Planet”. The original paint race, it has expanded in six short years to encompass over two hundred events worldwide, with Cape Town holding its first run in 2013.
In form, the Colour Run is an untimed 5 kilometre run – that means that the emphasis is on having a good time with your friends.
But the Colour Run adds a further twist to the fun run formula: at each kilometre mark, the white-clothed participants are doused in coloured powders. And, at the end of the ‘race’, the finish festival takes things up a notch, with music, dancing and even more colour throws.
As we’ve mentioned, the race isn’t timed – and there’s a reason for that:
These three ideas – and one other that we’ll get to – are the guiding light behind the colour run:
By themselves, these are great reasons to take part in the run. Altogether, they add up to a compelling argument – but there’s one more reason to join up, and it’s a biggie.
A major pillar of the Colour Run, both in South Africa and abroad, is about giving back to the community.
By partnering with local charities, the Colour Run gives participants the opportunity to select and give back to the community at large, making this event about more than just the fun of it.
Runners can get friends and family to back them, giving everyone the opportunity to come together and help out – while having a good time.
So that’s four excellent reasons to join the Colour Run. But there’s one more: Cape Town itself. The host city is a playground of vibrant life that anyone can enjoy, no matter their preferences. From the wildlife to the beaches and bars, even if you’re not from the city, it’s worth the trip to take part in this event, help out, and have a good time while you’re at it.
And once you’ve crossed the finish line, stay for a day or two, and just experience Cape Town living at its best. Hire a car, go sightseeing – you won’t regret it.
It’s Saturday afternoon, the streets are quiet but the smell of sizzling meat lingers. If you’re visiting Cape Town and wondering what happened to everyone, just drop by your nearest bar and you’ll find South Africans glued to the TV screen. Saturdays have long been reserved for rugby matches and supporters know all too well that that means everything else pauses for 40 minutes. So, if you’re in Cape Town and want to get in on the rugby culture, here’s the rugby supporter starter kit to get you there
Cape Town is home to avid rugby supporters who don’t take the game lightly. South African families are united by the team they support. With the upcoming Cape Town Rugby Sevens on everyone’s calendar this year, you’ll need to get yourself in the spirit to truly enjoy the experience.
For the rest of the world, a braai (barbeque) is an age old tradition on a weekend. For most, families get together and enjoy hamburgers outdoors. But for South Africans, to braai means a lot more than just sizzling meat on an open fire. It’s become an institution. Whether or not the weather outside is accommodating- South Africans will find any excuse to start a fire and cook up some steaks, especially on rugby day. To truly get into the rugby spirit; go to your nearest Checkers and grab some boerewors. Don’t forget the coals and firelighters. You’ll need to get the fire started before the national anthem is sung. Now you have the first part of your starter kit ready.
This part of the starter kit is considered of utmost importance. You’ll need to equip yourself with the popular drinks to enjoy during the game. Beer is acceptable but not just any beer. Grab a six pack of cold Castle Lager (never Castle Lite). The South African beer of choice. Secondly, if you’re not much of a beer drinker, the an alternative is the Klipdrift Brandy and coke combination, known as the branners. These two drinks are sure to give everyone a buzz and brace yourself as supporters begin cursing the referee.
You might think that supporting any team currently on the field is a good idea. Think again. Who you support is key. If you’re not well versed in the ins and outs of the rugby arena, when in South Africa, do as South Africans do and support the Bokke! You simply can’t go wrong. Wear a Springbok jersey regardless of whether they’re playing or not. This will save you from having to enter into debate with the drunk die hard supporters of other teams.
Whether you’re watching the game at a friend’s house or sitting at the stadium, you’ll need to stock up on some delicious South African snacks for the rugby game. Your cooler box should include:
Rugby brings together communities and friends. It unites people from all walks of life. Remember that when you’re invited to a Saturday with friends for a rugby game, those are friends you’ll keep forever. Now you can get your starter kit together and join the Rugby family! Vineyard Car Hire offers affordable and reliable car hire service that is sure to get you to and from any rugby game in the Mother City. Don’t miss out on the action!
Whale watching has taken over many fishing communities in Cape Town. It’s one of the biggest tourist attractions on the outskirts of Cape Town. For locals and tourists alike, witnessing these majestic creatures swim by is truly a magnificent sight. Here are a few spots to visit during whale season.
Cape Agulhus is home to hiking trails that can take you along the dunes, beaches and cliffs that offer the best views of mammals and their offspring. About 50 pairs of Southern Right cows and calves are known to swim in these waters near the southernmost tip of Africa.
One of the most popular spots for whale watching, False Bay, is not too far from the city of Cape Town. For a better chance at spotting them, choose a high vantage point along the False Bay coastline which includes Boyes Drive that runs between St James and Kalk Bay.
Hermanus offers some of the best land-based viewing opportunities because the whales often come within metres of the shoreline. World Wildlife Fund rated Hermanus as one of the top 12 whale-watching locations in the world. Whale crier alerts watchers to the presence of whale by blowing on a kelp horn. During the first week in October, the town hosts an annual whale festival which is considered a celebration of all things cetacean.
The road above Slangkoppunt Lighthouse has awesome views and excellent whale watching spots. The high vantage point offers great views of the whales.
One of the most spectacular coastal roads on the plannet running between Noordhoek and Hout Bay. Amazing views of Hout Bay and all the way to kommetjie. This is also excellent spot for Mountainside vantage viewing.
Here some tips on what you’ll need as you venture to whale-watching spots across the Cape:
Vineyard Car Hire can help take you to these amazing spots for a rare whale-watching experience that is second to none. Find the spot that works for you and enjoy. Vineyard Car Hire offers a reliable car hire service, perfect for your venture to the mountain side vantage points.
In the 24th September, South Africans gather to pay homage to the diverse cultures that have come together and culminated into the rainbow nation we so enjoy today. Now if all National Heritage Day means to you is a public holiday then keep reading.
In KwaZulu-Natal, the 24th of September was known as Shaka Day, in commemoration of the legendary King Shaka Zulu. However, a South African political party with a large Zulu membership, known as the Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP), objected the Public Holidays Bill before Parliament as it omitted Shaka Day.
A compromise was reached when it was decided to create a day where all South Africans could observe and celebrate their diverse cultural heritage.
In an address marking Heritage Day in 1996, former President Nelson Mandela stated:
“When our first democratically-elected government decided to make Heritage Day one of our national days, we did so because we knew that our rich and varied cultural heritage has a profound power to help build our new nation.”
To celebrate this day, South Africans host a number of events across the country. Here’s how you can spend your day off and celebrate National Heritage day as a proud South African.
Visit Heritage Museums in Cape Town
To truly celebrate your heritage and rich history in this country, you need to take the time out to learn about how South Africa has become what it is today. By museum hopping through the city, you’ll find a deeper understanding as to how the rainbow nation came into existence. Learn about the painful history of slavery and how the Cape Malay community established its roots in the Mother City. You’ll find that somehow we are all not too different from each other. Visit the Castle of Good Hope and learn about Jan Van Riebeek’s life and how it influenced an entire way of life for citizens of this beautiful city.
If taking a step back in time is not the way you want to spend your public holiday then celebrate the present and host a braai. “Braai” is an Afrikaans word for Barbeque and it is definitely an age old proudly South African past time. Simply throwing slabs of meat and delicious local boerewors on an open air fire grill, is enough to get anyone in the mood for a celebration. Sitting around the fire as the meat sizzles and enjoying a cold beer as you catch up with close friends and family has to be one of the best ways to enjoy a day off from work. If you’ve never hosted a braai before and no nothing about starting a fire. Check out this step-by-step instructional video that will have you grilling the best meat in no time.
Discover your ancestral heritage
So you know about your great grandmother who came over to South Africa from Scotland in 1850 but how informed are you really when it comes to your ancestral heritage. Since South Africa is known as a melting pot of diversity, you might be surprised to find out that there is a lot more you didn’t know about your lineage. There are ways and means to go about this and it might take longer than you think but let this Heritage Day inspire you to go back into your family tree and learn about what your ancestors went through in the past. You might find that your great-great-great grandfather held a high position in the community and contributed largely to the development of something great. You might find that you’re an heir to a dynasty after your great-great-great-great-grandfather that came to the Cape in exile. Either way, knowing where you come from is a good start to knowing where you’re going.
Attend historic re-enactments in Hout Bay
The re-enactment of the Battle of Hout Bay is held around Heritage Month each year. The battle took place in 1795 between the British frigate in the bay and the coastal cannons of the Dutch and French defenders. While the British failed to take the fort at this time, they later took it along with the entire Cape Colony. Watch as locals re-enact this battle and take you through history. This is the perfect opportunity to enjoy some good ol’ family entertainment while learning about some great events in history.
Let Vineyard Car Hire take you where you need to be with their reliable car rental service. With a simple click of a button you can find the car that is most suitable for you. Make the most out of this National Heritage Day and discover the rich history of the Cape.