There are few destinations in the world that boast a more diverse travel experience than Cape Town, South Africa. So when I encounter first-time visitors who want an in-and-out experience in the city, I am often unsure of where to start. From award-winning dining, sought after beaches, pristine natural wonders, to its rich culture and heritage, the city is definitely a traveller’s paradise.
It took me about 3 months to truly feel I had the full Cape experience, and in my time here I have discovered spots that have become personal favourites – places that I often recommend to visitors and are well received. So whether you are seeking the city’s must-sees or wish to discover its hidden gems, this list will help you navigate Cape Town like a pro.
- Table Mountain
Arguably the most iconic natural site in Africa, Table Mountain is definitely a must-see. The cableway is the most favoured way up the mountain offering an up close view with this majestic mountain and a panoramic view of the city. For adventure seekers, the Platteklip Gorge hiking trail is the most popular option and the best way to experience the natural vegetation and clearly site most of the city’s popular landmarks. The hike takes about 2-4 hours and it is advisable to start early as it gets very sunny as the day progresses. Bring water and snacks.
- Cape Point
Cape Point, also known as the Cape of Good Hope offers one of the most breath-taking views you will ever find, and depending on your vantage point, you can even see a back view of Table Mountain here. The area forms part of Table Mountain National Park and you can cycle or hike parts of the park or for a less restricted experience you can self-drive. Along the way you are likely to spot ostrich and plenty of baboons. When at the entrance of the old lighthouse view point, you can opt to take the Flying Dutchman Funicular carriage car up if you are not keen on the walk.
Hiking down to the shore is an extra special part of the experience that I would highly recommend. Most people opt out of it due to it being an extended hike but arrive early and it will be well worth it. You can enjoy of the beautiful white sand and turquoise beach and take in the calming sounds of the ocean. I’d also recommend writing your name on the sand, or any message you would like, as it will make for a beautiful imagery from the lighthouse viewpoint.
- Stellenbosch winelands
The stature of winery in Stellenbosch needs no introduction. If you are not won over by the world class wines, the rolling hills of grape and fruit plantations and green landscape will blow your mind. I would recommend the Marianne Wine Estate due it’s variety and simple elegance. I have spent many memorable afternoons here; strolling through the vineyard, and losing track of time in their wine tasting room which overlooks picturesque plantation fields. I would recommend a day pass if you have time constraints. However, if you can make a weekend of it, I would recommend staying over at Babylonstoren farm hotel, one of the oldest vineyards in Stellenbosch. I couldn’t help but fall in love with Stellenbosch, and it’s not hard to understand why many people choose this beautiful place for romantic getaways and weddings.
- Party in Long Street
The famous Long Street is the entertainment and nightlife district of the city that never disappoints. From the buzzing bars, themed restaurants and the endless cafes, you’ll be spoiled for choice whatever your taste.
- Dine at Mama Africa
Also situated in Long Street is Mama Africa, an African cuisine restaurant where you can enjoy an authentic African experience with a difference. The menu has a range of African dishes with my personal favourite being their variety of wild game meats. The decor tones speak to the theme of the restaurant with African art and statues, and a live band that lights up the vibe in true African style.
If you wish to visit a more laid-back beach then Muizenberg is a perfect choice. The popular surf town has one of the calmer beaches in Cape Town, ideal for swimming and learning to surf. You can also enjoy the easy access beaches and amenities, most notably, the availability of affordable beachfront accommodation. While in the area, you can walk freely to the next towns, namely, Kalk Bay, Fish Hoek and Simonstown in about an hour/ hour and a half and enjoy great ocean views and abound cafes and seafood restaurants. I would recommend Live Bait, a beach view restaurant with the best sushi in town. Another great restaurant to try is the Cape Town Fish Market – authentic and quintessentially Cape Town.
- Dine at the Mojo Market
If you’re a die-hard foodie then you will love the Mojo Market, an assortment of restaurants/food stalls housed in one. They also have apparel and craft stalls but I have, admittedly, only been there to sample the food and mainly returning to Mussel Monger, a mussel and oyster bar which has the best mussel sauce I have ever had. I would highly recommend it.
That is my list to get you started on your Cape experience. A small travel tip is bring a jacket/ rain coat because Cape Town can get a chilly and rainy. Happy travels friends! If you’d like me to do a post on a specific topic on Cape Town, do let me know and I’ll be more than happy to share more incites with you. Maybe, make it a series.