My recent visit to South Africa’s Cape Town left me infatuated with the city’s breathtaking landscape, unsurpassed views, white sandy beaches, pristine turquoise sea, friendly people and delicious food. It is surely one of those places on Earth that should be on everyone’s bucket list and will leave no one unmoved by its beauty. Here you can do it all in just 15 minutes, from standing on top of one of the world’s oldest mountains or wine tasting in the valley to upscale shopping at the Waterfront and strolling along palm-lined beaches. In just days, you will experience so much and see some of Mother Nature’s finest work making it the most life changing and inspiring trip you have ever taken.
Shop, dine and feel the Riviera atmosphere at the V&A Waterfront
Cape Town’s most exciting area is actually old docklands redeveloped into a bustling shopping and dining neighbourhood. Take a walk through the area to take in beautiful views across the harbour, shop in the Victoria Wharf Shopping Centre or buy souvenirs at the Watershed.
Take a walk through colourful downtown streets
Start your walk in Cape Town’s most colourful neighbourhood – the Bo-Kaap, known for its bright facades, and then walk down to the Long Street through Wale Street, stopping at the Bean There cafe for a caffeine kick. You can do some shopping at Long Street or make your way to the Company’s Garden, a beautiful park where you can dine at a pavilion or feed the friendly squirrels while enjoying beautiful views of the Table Mountain and Lion’s Head. Then walk down the St George’s Mall to the Greenmarket Square or just stroll down the many busy streets of the city centre. You can also join free guided walking tours of the city three times a day from the Greenmarket Square by locating the guides with their yellow umbrellas.
Enjoy the upscale cafe scene
Cape Town is home to many amazing cafes who roast their own high-quality beans. Coffees are prepared by trained baristas who will be happy to introduce you to their single origin coffee beans and third wave coffee brewing methods. Stop by at:
- Origin Coffee Roasting (28 Hudson St) – try their single origin coffees prepared with the Aeropress, syphon or as pour over and nibble on their chocolate chip cookies.
- Truth Coffee Roasting (36 Buitenkant St) – named the best coffee shop in the world by The Telegraph it’s amazing industrial interior will leave you speechless.
- Bean There (58 Wale St) – South Africa’s first roaster of Certified Fairtrade coffee will roast your beans right in front of you while you can enjoy a variety of single origin coffees prepared with modern brewing methods.
- Espresso Lab Microroasters (The Old Biscuit Mill, Woodstock) – a true coffee laboratory is a coffee lover’s paradise.
Go gourmet at one of the many food markets
Cape Town is foodie heaven and some of the best food can be enjoyed at its many food markets at very affordable prices. While strolling along the V&A Waterfront, be sure to stop at the V&A Food Market, located in an old warehouse right on the water’s edge and look for amazingly tasty burgers at Woodies, fresh juices and smoothies at Dr. Juice, raw and vegan cakes at Hungry Herbivore and artisanal coffee at Truth. On Saturdays, you can either visit the Oranjezicht Market for local, organic and non-profit produce and prepared food or join the crowds at the award-winning Neighbourgoods Market at the Old Biscuit Mill. There are markets popping up all over the city and its surroundings on a daily basis so you can always find amazing fresh food and products.
Soak up the sun at Clifton Beach
These stunning four white sandy beaches are lined with luxury beach villas for good reason – its turquoise waters and granite boulders provide one of the most beautiful seaside settings. In the evenings, the beach becomes a sunset watching spot with people bringing their blankets and picnics to enjoy the views. Be careful – consuming alcohol at the beach is not allowed.
Enjoy a sunset dinner and cocktails at Camps Bay
Camps Bay is the place to be seen and is often touted the St. Tropez of South Africa. Restaurants and bars line the beach promenade with amazing sea views so it’s no wonder this is a hot spot for the jet-set.
Become a wine taster in Constantia
The Constantia Valley is the birthplace of South Africa’s winemaking at the foot of the Table Mountain. Visit Groot Constantia, South Africa’s oldest winery and enjoy wine tasting at very affordable prices (taste 5 top quality wines for R45 or around 3 EUR at the time of writing). Do your wine shopping here as prices are much lower than in the shops.
Go surfing at Muizenberg Surfers Corner
Considered the birthplace of surfing in South Africa it’s a must stop for surfers, especially beginners as the smaller waves allow for a more relaxed surfing experience. The water here is warmer than on the beaches on the Atlantic coast and the beach is lined with cute colourful beach huts.
Take a scenic road trip to Cape Point, driving down Chapman’s Peak and stopping to meet the African penguins
Take a one-day road trip along the scenic coastal roads all the way to the Cape Point Nature Reserve. Start your journey at Hout Bay, taking the famous Chapman’s Peak drive, a stunning winding road, carved into rock with amazing ocean views that often finds its place in films, commercials and music videos. At the end of the road views of the incredible 8-kilometer-long Noordhoek beach open up in front of you. Stop for a photo session and then continue your way through Simon’s Town to Boulder’s Beach, home of the African penguin. Here you will find hundreds of the cute creatures in their natural habitat – you can even choose to not pay the entrance fees as you will find plenty of penguins just strolling along the boarded walkway. From here drive to the Cape Point Nature Reserve (fee to enter) to visit Cape of Good Hope, Africa’s most south-western point, and climb Cape Point for breathtaking ocean views, feeling like you’re standing at the end of the world.
Enjoy the views from the Table Mountain, one of the 7 natural wonders of the world
Table Mountain is possibly the oldest mountain in the world, being 6 times the age of the Himalayas. Its flat, 3 kilometres wide top is a prominent Cape Town landmark, often covered with a blanket of clouds, called the tablecloth. You can take a cable car to the top and enjoy magnificent 360 degrees views of both the Cape Town and its surroundings. Look for special sunset fees for half-priced tickets and book online to avoid queues.
Join the sunset watchers on top of the Signal Hill
Perked up 300 meters above the city, Signal Hill is one of the most incredible spots for sunset watching. Bring your picnic basket and watch the sun sink into the ocean with views of the City Bowl and Table Bay. After the sun has set, wait for the crowds to leave and take in the night views of Cape Town’s twinkling lights.
Walk on top of the trees and have a picnic during a concert at Kirstenbosch Botanic Garden
One of the most beautiful botanic gardens in the world, the Kirstenbosch Botanic Garden can be visited during the day for a peaceful stroll along its pathways leaning on the slopes of the magnificent Table Mountain or in the afternoon for one of many concerts taking place here. Be sure to walk the famous Canopy Walkway, a steel bridge taking you above the trees and offering beautiful views of the park and the city of Cape Town. If you’re attending a concert, bring a picnic basket and blanket.