Cape Town is, hands-down, South Africa’s most diverse city, and some say the most beautiful. Situated at the confluence of two great oceans, the natural beauty is astounding. But there is much, much more to do here
Head on up to Table Mountain. The view of the Horn of Africa is breathtaking, with the Atlantic and Indian Oceans meeting at the tip of the continent. The weather changes dramatically, thunderous clouds giving way to brilliant sunshine. The photo ops are magical. And there’s that view of Cape Town spread out like a lush African carpet below you. The adventurous can climb up if they deem themselves fit enough. The even more adventurous can abseil down if they deem themselves crazy enough. There is lots to observe in Cape Town so a day’s stay won”t be enough. Book into any good hotel after checking the list of Cape Town Hotels. You will surely find a pleasing stay here.
Seriously, Cape Town’s gourmet-scene needs a whole book to do it justice, but you could spend an entire holiday just sampling the food. Tastes from across the continent, from as far as Cape Malay, Mozambique and Ethiopia, land up here on your plate. And this is in addition to classic South African fare like springbok, ostrich andste of the soul kudu delicacies. Try La Colombe for expensive gourmet stuff; head to Mama Africa and Marco’s African Place for a true taof the continent.
To party like Cape Town does, head over to Long Street, a strip of real estate dedicated to hedonism. Check out the Julep, which Cape Townies like to keep a secret, with its pared-down, brick-wall look, and with a menu of killer cocktails. The Waiting Room is cosy, old-fashioned and so retro, even your grandmother would approve; the outdoor deck is unbeatable for those magical African summer nights. The Neighbourhood has a huge balcony that allows you a snapshot of just that: the neighbourhood.
Cape Town beaches are hives of activity, from roaring jet-skis and ploughing surfboards to errant Frisbees. Try some locations that offer peace and quiet. Check out Beta Beach and the adjacent Ouderkrall, 10m from the city-centre and part of Table Mountain Park. Smitswinkel Baai is a little way off, but the views and the superlative snorkelling make up for it. Barely two hours out is Tieties Baai, where solitude and nothing but raw nature are guaranteed.
In this wine-abundant country, the choices are aplenty. The nearest ones, barely an hour away, are Paarl, Franschhoek and Stellenbosch, each of which can take days, if not weeks, to drive around, explore, and have three-hour lunches in. More gems await you as you drive further out to Robertson and Montagu. Every vineyard offers wine-tasting, but a whole meal under that great gorgeous sky, with a selection of reds and whites, is another experience altogether. Planning to stay here with family? Book hotels in Cape Winelands Paarl at Cape Town. The rooms here have all modern amenities.
For an art fix, head out to the refurbished suburb of Woodstock, at the foot of Devil’s Peak. The old neighbourhood has changed; once gangland territory, the old Victorian houses and derelict warehouses are now repositories of art, in swish studios and galleries. The Goodman Gallery Cape has launched SA’s biggest names today. Michael Stevenson has a more international collection, and Bell-Roberts is focussed more on prize-winning Cape Town artistes. Book into one of the hotels in Woodstock and stay there for the night. Wake up fresh in the morning and click pictures of the the beautiful artworks in the city.
Head out to the iconic V & A Waterfront for your shopping spree, along with a dose of events and outdoor entertainment. There is something for the whole family here. The shopping is local and unique, leaving the big brands for downtown. The Market on the Wharf is a great browsing ground for foodies. After a day of walking, eating, drinking and shopping, they have conveniently thrown in a world-class spa to unwind in, at no less than the One & Only Hotel on the Waterfront. So book into any of the hotels in Victoria and Alfred Waterfront. Look for the facilities and amenities that are available in each of these. Compare the pricing and then do your booking.
Long Street is famous for its watering-holes, but it is no slouch in the shopping department either. They are not big on branded stuff, focussing more on local delights; the quality of everything, from highfashion and perfume, to street-clothes, sports goods and arts and crafts, seems to be superbly selected and curated. Branch off onto Church Street for more hidden treats. Check out Chandler House for ceramic works. The Olive Green Cat is ace for jewellery and South African bling.
Situated 9km off the coast is a slice of world history that must not be missed: Robben Island, home to South Africa’s political prisoners during apartheid, in particular the legendary Nelson Mandela who spent 18 of his 27 prison years here. The tour is conducted by a former political prisoner, and is apt to be poignant and eye-opening. Mandela’s cell has been left untouched. Apart from the dark history, the island is roosting ground for over 100,000 penguins.
Whether you are a nature-lover, or merely wish to escape the city for a while, head out to the Cape Nature Reserve. The variety of flora is stunning; the fauna includes zebra, ostriches and baboons. Birdwatching and whale-watching are best done at Cape Point, amidst the finest ocean views in the world. Scuba divers have 26 wrecks to explore. Foodies, head out to the Two Oceans Restaurant to sample world-class cuisines over that world-class view. Surf the list of flights to Cape Town. Check their timings and pricing before doing the booking.
Cape Town is dangerous at night. Never walk the street alone. If in a car, do not stop all alone in any one place. When removing money from ATMs, make sure someone’s there with you to watch your back.