Cape Town—Nature’s Magnificence Meets Urban Pizzazz
Picture majestic mountain summits overlooking brilliantly hued waters, a sparkling cityscape that boasts historic museums and world-class cuisine, and hundreds of adorable penguins waddling along a sandy beach. Where in the world could you find an escape like this? This week, the Pasha Travel Guide features the dazzling and exotic Cape Town, a city tucked away on the coast of South Africa.
In Cape Town (which offers a lovely, warm, dry Mediterranean climate), seasons are flip-flopped from what they are in the United States. The temperatures in Cape Town’s mild winters (June through August) range from 47 to 64 degrees fahrenheit. Summers (December through March) see temperatures from 61 to 79 degrees fahrenheit. Allergy sufferers in Cape Town deal with the annoyance of pollen, but Dr. Pasha rated this coastal destination a 5 out of 10 on the Pasha Allergy Scale, so hopefully it won’t put too much of a damper on your trip. Keep reading to learn when to visit if you have allergies, what adventures you’ll find once you’re there, and what medication regulations you should know about before reaching South Africa.
Pollen—Cape Town’s Allergen and What to Do About It
Cape Town’s grasses are by far the largest source of pollen. Present all year round, they peak in the summer (December to March). So if pollen is your enemy, you might want to head to South Africa another time, if you can help it. That being said, Cape Town’s allergens are pretty average compared to other locations on the Pasha Travel Guide. Continue your normal allergy routine while you’re visiting the Mother City and you should be just fine. A few species of grass to watch out for include Bermuda grass (which flowers from September to May), Johnson grass (which flowers from December to January), and Thatching grass (which flowers from September to February).
As far as trees go, a few main players include cypress trees (which flower from July to October), plane trees (which flower from October to November), and yellowwood trees (which flower from October to December).
The biggest thing to remember about allergies in Cape Town is that there may be trees, grasses, or other plants that are not found in your hometown. You may react more to these plants because you aren’t used to them. If you plan to spend a lot of time outside, take an antihistamine before you go out to stop any symptoms from cropping up.
Now That Your Allergies Are Under Control, Let’s Have Some Fun
Take a day or two to explore Table Mountain National Park. It’s the country’s most photographed attraction and South Africa’s most iconic landmark. At the park, you can visit the Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens. Keep your eyes peeled for wild animals, like baboons and caracals. Oh, and did we mention penguins? You can also check out the Cape of Good Hope, which is the most southern point of Africa.
While you’re in Table Mountain National Park, you’ll definitely want to hop on a cable car and take the five minute ride up to the top of Table Mountain. Once you reach the summit, you can go for a hike, wear out your camera taking pictures of the sights, join a guided walking tour, grab a bite to eat, do some souvenir shopping, and even check-in on Facebook or post pictures of the spectacular view on Instagram at the WiFi Lounge. (Although, we suggest putting down the phone and taking in all that Table Mountain has to offer. You can post to social media once you’re back home, missing Cape Town!)
Another historical point of interest in the area is the Robben Island Museum. Robben Island houses the prison where Nelson Mandela was held for 27 years. Take a ferry ride to the island, and once you’re there, a former political prisoner will act as your tour guide.
The Victoria and Albert Waterfront has enough to do and see that you could spend the entirety of your trip there! Spend the day shopping and dining, rent a bike, take a helicopter ride, visit the Cape Town Diamond Museum, go scuba diving, or take the kids to the playground. There’s something for everyone!
What to Know Before You Go—A Guide to Medications in Cape Town
Before you head to Cape Town, study the medication regulations so you know what you can and can’t bring with you, and so you know what to expect once you’re there.
Medications containing terfenadine (an antihistamine previously used to treat allergies) have long been removed from the market, and while it’s unlikely you still have allergy medication from the 90s lying around in your medicine cabinet, it’s still worth noting that medications with terfenadine are banned in South Africa.
When traveling to South Africa, the following medication regulations are in place:
- Travelers can bring a one-month supply of medication for personal use.
- Anything more than a one month’s supply must be declared and must include a certified prescription from a registered physician.
- It’s better to be safe than sorry. Bring a signed doctor’s letter for each prescription you have. The letter should state the patient’s name, the names of the drug (including generic), and the reason for the prescription.
From sites of historical significance to sensational nature views, Cape Town will offer you a vacation you’ll never forget. With our allergy advice and our attraction recommendations, you’re bound to have a wonderful trip. Voorspoedige reis!
Be sure to check out the Pasha Travel Guide to see this year’s top 12 travel destinations, and learn tips for traveling allergy-free. Next week, we’re featuring Kyoto, Japan, and covering allergens to watch out for, fun activities to do while you’re there, and important medicine restrictions for travelers. Stay tuned later this week to learn how jet lag can affect your sleep schedule. Follow us on Facebook and Pinterest for more updates!