Come for the food, the wine, the culture, the scenery… once you are here, you won’t want to leave. This port city is rich in history – from its Dutch roots to the apartheid years to the presidency of Nelson Mandela – there is so much to learn about this city. And once you’ve experienced Cape Town, there’s so much to love.
Where to Stay
Cape Cadogan was our boutique hotel in the heart of the city, right off of the popular Kloof Street. With modern décor throughout, the living room fire was lit at night while the staff brought out canapés and a bar cart to make your own drink. The morning breakfast was complimentary but tasted five-star, and the French press coffee was prepared tableside complete with an hourglass timer to confirm when brewing was complete.
What to Do
One of the greatest things about Cape Town is that you can visit the city, the mountain, and the beach all in one day – and still have time to relax.
Table Mountain can’t be ignored – quite literally. The large flat-top mountain looms over the city and can be seen from almost anywhere in town. If it’s not cloud-covered, it’s a must visit, at very least for the views. Tickets for the cable car to the summit are best purchased ahead of time online (or through your hotel concierge) and the earlier the better to avoid long lines. Alternatively you can hike up either alone or with a guide, but the steep climb takes several hours and is not for the un-athletic. (Lion’s Head is the neighboring hill and is a bit easier and shorter to hike.) However you get to the top, the views will take your breath away.
Back in the city you can’t miss the V&A Waterfront, a tourist hotspot with plenty of shopping, restaurants, and entertainment. Stop at The Watershed to browse the stalls for souvenirs from local artists. Then grab a snack next door at the Food Market. From the waterfront you can also take the ferry to Robben Island, where Nelson Mandela was once imprisoned.
In a leisurely mood? Visit the beaches of Clifton or Camp’s Bay, the Malibu of Cape Town. The beaches are warm even in winter, and the shops and restaurants along the water will keep you busy and keep you indulging in the amazing food and drinks of South Africa.
If you have time to spare, a day trip to the winelands is worth a visit, or to Cape Peninsula and Simon’s Town, to see the penguins on Boulder’s Beach.
Where to Eat & Drink
Mama Africa – For a traditional African meal, you’ll want to visit Mama Africa. If you want an authentic dish, try the Bobotie, a spiced meat dish. Later in the night a band will play African music that will make you want to dance along.
The Silo Hotel – This newly opened hotel was converted from a 1920s grain elevator and was designed by famed architect Thomas Heatherwick. As one of Cape Town’s most expensive hotels, it may not be in the budget to stay the night. However the Willaston Bar is reasonably priced for a drink and a snack, especially to watch the sunset from the 6th floor.
The Bungalow – Another local recommendation, this beach bar is a part of the local country club but open to all. A great beachside lunch option with an extensive cocktail menu, enjoy the ocean views from the patio while indulging in what they describe as “Delicate, plump sushi. Panna cotta that wobbles like a voluptuous woman on stilettos.”
Van Hunks – If you’re looking for a burger and a beer, Van Hunks will fill you up for just a few rand.
There’s a lot to see and do in this town at the edge of the world. It’s easy to fall in love with Cape Town, where you can feel far away yet still at home.