Crystal Cruises in Cape Town
photo courtesy Crystal Cruises

Situated in Table Bay at the most southerly point in Africa, and with its magnificent backdrop of Table Mountain, Cape Town is generally accepted as one of the most beautiful harbours in the world.

It is also a popular and important port for a growing number of cruise itineraries – especially those going around the world or relocating from one popular area to another.

 Brief History of Cape Town

Strategically placed on the main sea route around Africa, Cape Town was of interest to the Dutch in the mid 1600s as a way station for the ships of the Dutch East India Company (VOC) on the route between Europe and the Dutch East Indies

This was followed by similar British strategic interest in the settlement as a maritime port.

Today, Cape Town is the second-most populous city in South Africa and is Africa's most popular destination for tourism.

The port has grown considerably since those early days, and now boasts two 'docks' - the outer Ben Schoeman Dock and the older inner Duncan Dock .

Transnet National Ports Authority is the largest port authority in southern Africa, controlling seven of the 16 noteworthy ports in the region. These ports are Richards Bay, Durban, East London, Port Elizabeth, Mossel Bay, Cape Town and Saldanha.

 Cruise Terminal

Smaller sized cruise ships, and those part of the niche cruise industry, tend to use the Victoria and Alfred Basins, while the larger cruise ships have to dock at cargo berths in Duncan Dock.

The Centre of Cape Town is no more than a ten minute drive from the port. (It is advised that you cover this route by cab and not by foot.)

Cape Town International Airport is South Africa's second-largest airport, complete with new international arrivals and departures terminals. The airport is 22 kilometres from the city centre, with a range of transport options including car rental services, metered taxis and shuttle services.

Must See Attractions

Table Mountain: No postcard, or set of images of Cape Town are complete without a view of Table Mountain. No visit to Cape Town would be complete without a visit to Table Mountain.

One of South Africa's top tourist attractions, Table Mountain got its name, apart from the obvious flat top shape, from the constant layer of clouds known as “the table cloth”.

The top of the mountain can be reached by cable car (complete with a rotating floor for 360 degree views) or by a number of walking, hiking or rock climbing routes.

The mountain also boasts over 1,400 different plant species

Robben Island: Declared it a World Heritage sight in 1999, Robben Island is one of the world’s most infamous prisons, and well known for inmate Nelson Mandela

A 3.5 hour-long tour of Robben Island begins with a 30 minute ferry ride from the V&A Waterfront and includes a tour of the former maximum-security jail by former political prisoners, and a 45-minute bus ride around the island.

V&A Waterfront: From the day Prince Alfred (Queen Victoria's second son) tipped the first load of rubble for the building of the Alfred Basin in 1860, the Port of Cape Town has developed into one of Southern Africa’s most important links in foreign trade and now houses the world famous Cape Town Waterfront.

Since work began in 1988 to restore the area, the V&A Waterfront has become South Africa's most visited destination with entertainment and shopping venues along side business porperties, luxury hotels and apartments in the residential marina. Many of the historical buildings that made up the original harbour are now national monuments.

 Cruise Ports

• Cape Town – South Africa
• Durban – South Africa
• Las Palmas – Canary Islands
• Mahé – Seychelles
• Port Louis, Mauritius
• Tenerife – Canary Islands


• Bangkok - Thailand

• Chongqing - China
• Hong Kong
• Mumbai - India
• Shanghai – China
• Singapore
• Yichang - China


• Brisbane - Australia
• Melbourne - Australia
• Sydney - Australia

• Quebec City – Quebec
• Montreal – Quebec
• Vancouver – BC
• Victoria – BC

• Barcelona - Spain
• Copenhagen – Denmark
• Lisbon - Portugal
• Nice - Villefranche - France
• Piraeus / Athens – Greece
• Rome (Civitavecchia) - Italy
• Venice – Italy

• Dubai - United Arab Emirates
• Istanbul - Turkey

• Tunis - Tunisia

• Auckland, New Zealand

• Dunedin, New Zealand

• Wellington, New Zealand

• Anchorage - Alaska
• Baltimore - Maryland
• Boston - Massachusetts
• Cape Canaveral - Florida
• Cape Liberty - New Jersey
• Fort Lauderdale - Florida
• Galveston - Texas
• Honolulu - Oahu - Hawaii
• Los Angeles - California
• Miami - Florida
• New Orleans - Louisiana
• New York - Brooklyn
• New York - Manhattan
• Norfolk - Virginia
• San Diego - California
• San Francisco - California
• Seattle - Washington
• Seward - Alaska
• Tampa - Florida
• Whittier - Alaska

These are just a few of the more than 70 ports and cruise terminals to be featured here on the port pages which are being updated daily with more port destinations

 in Cape Town

The average winter temperature for Cape Town (May to September - bearing in mind we are in the southern hemisphere and winter is reversed) is between a balmy 17 and 18˚C . In the summer months (January - March) the temperatures rise to a peak of 27˚

 in Cape Town

The rand (ZAR) equals 100 cents. Note denominations include R200, R100, R50, R20, and R10.

 of Cape Town

Almost everyone peaks English in South Africa, but the country embraces a number of languages including Zulu, Xhosa and Afrikaans.

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