South Africa

About South Africa and the City of Cape Town

“Perhaps it was history that ordained that it be here, at the Cape of Good Hope that we should lay the foundation stone of our new nation. For it was here at this Cape, over three centuries ago, that there began the fateful convergence of the peoples of Africa, Europe and Asia on these shores.”– Former President Nelson Mandela, during his inauguration speech on May 9, 1994.

The fateful convergence of people from three continents on the shores of the Cape Good Hope in 1654 will perhaps be best represented by the convergence of population scientists, demographers, development practitioners, policymakers, intellectuals and students in Cape Town, South Africa for the 28th International Population Conference. South Africa looks forward to receiving the world in Cape Town from 29 October to 4 November 2017 to explore key ideas, debates and discourse on population and sustainable development at the Cape Town International Convention Centre.

Cape Town is the second-most populated city in South Africa, after Johannesburg, and the provincial capital and principal city of the Western Cape. As the seat of the National Parliament, it is also the legislative capital of the country. The city is famous for its harbour, its natural setting in the Cape floral kingdom, world famous winelands as well as for such well-known landmarks as Table Mountain, Cape Point, the Cape of Good Hope, and Robben Island where Nelson Mandela was held prisoner for 18 years and which is now a museum.

Cape Town is the quintessential melting pot: it is a city alive with creativity, colour, sounds and tastes. While walking through the city’s streets and meeting its people, you will fall in love with its natural beauty, creative freedom and incredible spirit. From the magnificent Table Mountain to pristine beaches, the big skies of mountains and semi-deserts and the most diverse of the world’s six floral kingdoms, Cape Town is a treasure to visit.

Cape Town is also a city that represents the sheer reality of a sometimes uncomfortable relationship between population and sustainable development that plays itself out in the form of spatial, racial, economic and social inequalities.  It is these inequalities that have formed the basis of research, policy analysis and the quest for answers to the age-old questions on migration, urbanisation, urban sprawl and population density as it affects planning and provision of service to vulnerable populations.  How communities sit side by side together can best be witnessed through a drive through Cape Town.  This, we hope will be experienced by participants of the 28th IPC in the form of the diverse social program the conference will offer, which will include not only visits to tourist attractions but also visits to community projects in the city that best reflect the many challenges of managing population and sustainable development issues.

Food and entertainment

Cape Town also boasts a wealth of entertainment options, ranging from outdoor activities and adventures in the sun to theatre, cinema and a varied and exciting night life. The vast array of shopping opportunities ranges from haggling with stallholders at Greenmarket Square Flea Market to visiting stylish shopping malls. The huge variety of restaurants reflects the multicultural history and international traditions of the Cape and caters for everyone’s taste, from fast-food outlets and casual to the chic and sophisticated. Click here for more information

Safety and security

Like most major cities, Cape Town has both good and bad areas. It is advisable when walking in Cape Town, particularly at night, to be aware of people around one, and ideally not to walk alone but in a group. Ostentatious displays of wealth should be avoided, and it is not advisable to look like a typical tourist with many cameras strung around your neck. Do not leave valuables unattended.


Due to its coastal position, Cape Town enjoys a temperate Mediterranean-type climate for most of the year. Summer days can be very hot, although often moderated with a cool sea breeze, and mid-winter can be cold with snow falling on some nearby mountains. However, whichever time of year you choose to visit Cape Town, expect a surprise or two – Cape Town is known to have four seasons all in one day.

The main rainfall occurs during winter, particularly June to August, although regular showers occur from mid-May through to end of September.  From November through to the end of February Cape Town is known for its south-easterly wind (also called the ‘Cape Doctor’, because of the clean sea air it blows in to dispel pollution). Those whose main aim is sight-seeing should visit from mid-September to mid-May.

Weather for October


  • Highest Recorded : 33° C, 91° F
  • Average Daily Maximum : 19° C, 62° F
  • Average Daily Minimum : 9° C, 48° F
  • Lowest Recorded : 0° C, 32° F


  • Average Monthly (mm) : 40
  • Average Number of days with >= 1mm : 10
  • Highest 24 Hour Rainfall (mm) : 29