7 Reasons to Visit the Cape this Secret Season

Posted on Thu June 13, 2024.

Did you know that Cape Town has what is known as the Secret Season during the months of July through to October? It is a time during which the Cape reveals its hidden gems, offering visitors a chance to explore the natural beauty of the region in a quieter, more serene setting. We have put together a list of our top seven reasons why you should not miss out on this special time.

1. Whale Watching Season

Of course this is number one on our list. The Secret Season coincides with the arrival of southern right whales along the coast. These magnificent creatures migrate to the South African coast to calve and nurse their young. Towns like Hermanus, Gansbaai, and the False Bay area offer some of the best whale watching in the world. Make use of either land-based or boat-based whale watching opportunities.

Besides whale watching, the winter months bring rich marine life closer to the shore. Cape Town’s waters teem with dolphins, seals, and even great white sharks. This makes it a great time for activities like cage diving, kayaking, and marine safaris.

Hint: Hoy House (insert link), available for booking through our website, is within walking distance of several coastal paths leading to whale watching vantage points.

2. Wine Harvest Season

If you are a wine connoisseur, you would want to tick a visit to a working wine farm off your list. Cape Town and surrounds boast some of the world’s best wine regions, including Stellenbosch, Franschhoek, and Paarl. July and August mark the end of the wine harvest season, offering visitors the chance to partake in wine tastings, vineyard tours, and various harvest festivals.

This is always a wonderful chance for our guests to be amongst the first to taste some of the new wines released and to build their collections and meet the winemakers.

Local Wine Tours in Stellenbosch.

3. Wildflower Season

Number three on our list is the wildflower season. Between August and September, the West Coast National Park, located a short drive from Cape Town, becomes a floral wonderland as wildflowers bloom in a spectacular display. This natural phenomenon attracts nature lovers and photographers from around the world.

Coupled with this, winter is our rainy season, transforming the Cape's landscape into a verdant paradise. The gardens, parks, and nature reserves are at their greenest and most vibrant, offering stunning scenery for hikes and outdoor activities. Be sure to visit the world-famous Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens, a true haven of indigenous flora.

Fun fact: Established in 1913 and covering 528 hectares, the garden is part of the Cape Floral Kingdom, one of the world's six floral kingdoms and the smallest yet most diverse. Kirstenbosch showcases over 7,000 plant species, many of which are rare and endangered.

Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens.

4. Fewer Crowds and Tranquil Atmosphere

Not many know about this secret season, and as a result Cape Town and its surrounding areas are much quieter compared to the bustling summer months. This means that you can explore popular attractions like Table Mountain, Robben Island, and the V&A Waterfront without the long lines and crowded spaces.

This also means that there are more opportunities to interact with locals and experience the authentic side of Cape Town and its surroundings. Whether it’s chatting with winemakers, artisans, or shop owners, the quieter season allows for more meaningful connections.

Explore the beauty of Lion's Head with fewer crowds.

5. Mild Weather and Cosy Fireside Experiences

While it is winter in the Southern Hemisphere, Cape Town’s climate remains relatively mild compared to many other destinations. The weather is cooler and often interspersed with sunny days, making it comfortable for outdoor exploration without the intense heat of the summer months. In the evenings you may find yourself in the cosy atmosphere of one of our villas, enjoying a delicious meal or glass of wine in front of a roaring fire.

Cosy Fireside Conversations.

6. Cultural Events and Festivals

If cultural experiences are what attracts you, then Cape Town will not fail you. Several cultural events and festivals are on the calendar during this period. The annual Franschhoek Bastille Festival in July celebrates French heritage with food, wine, and festivities. The Cape Town International Kite Festival, usually held in October, is another highlight, offering colourful displays and family-friendly activities. Then there is the Franschhoek Literary Festival for book lovers and of course, the Good Food & Wine Show.

7. Indoor Markets, Museums and Galleries

Cape Town boasts a rich cultural scene with numerous museums and galleries, such as the Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa (MOCAA) and the District Six Museum. Indoor markets like the Old Biscuit Mill in Woodstock or the V&A Waterfront’s Watershed, are perfect for shopping for local crafts, gifts, art and wine to take back home. Here you can also enjoy delicious food while you listen to live music.

Imagine

Imagine hiking the iconic Table Mountain or exploring the lush Kirstenbosch Gardens with the added charm of clear, crisp air and vibrant winter blooms. Imagine yourself Indulging in world-class wines at cozy vineyard private tastings and imagine yourself experiencing the dramatic scenery of the Cape Peninsula in a serene, off-peak season.

Do more than imagine, make it happen. The Cape awaits you.