About Cape Town
Where: South AfricaWhat to do: A visit to Cape Town must include a hike to the top of the iconic Table Mountain. Discover the history of Cape Town by visiting Robben Island where Nelson Mandela was locked up during the days of Apartheid in the country. The Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens are a massive expanse of 52,800 sq km, offering some of the most beautiful collections of flora and fauna. Don't forget to get a pint of crafted beer at Woodstock, which is now home to Cape Town's best micro-breweries.
Best Time To Visit
Best time to visit Cape Town is from November to March
How To Reach
Book a Package Tour
After the tour, my host Mike was glad to accompany me on a trek to the famous Table Mountain. We took the Plateklipp Gorge route and it took us a little over an hour to reach the summit. We came down via the Cable Car. And the day ended with Mike and I pub-hopping on Long Street and Bree Street. He was one cool host. Coincidentally, it was Halloween night.
For tasting the local cuisine, nothing is better than the market. It offers the best of the local Kasol culture items such as smoking accessories and local hand made clothes at very reasonable price. You ought to develop your bargaining skills though. Also spread throughout the market are some of the finest and cheapest street food items. Be it bread omllette, parathas, Chinese, Tibetan, Israeli or even North India, it's a foodie dream come true as you salvage different varieties of cuisine in the homogeneous culture of Kasol. Don't miss the German Bakery, for it offers the best cakes and pastries this side of the Valley!
The Cape Cadogan
The 12 rooms of Cape Cadogan (Capecadogan.co.za), close to the buzzing Long and Kloof streets, evoke a Victorian-era mansion feel with lush interiors. For a queen-sized holiday, reserve the two-storey Owner's Villa, which has its own entrance, a private courtyard with a plunge pool, expansive hardwood living and dining and a modern kitchen. Or book a suite at One & Only Cape Town (Capetown.oneandonlycapetwon.com) on the bustling Victoria and Alfred Waterfront. David Beckham, Mariah Carey and Sharon Stone have all laid their heads on the plushest of linens there (use the in-room menu to order a pillow with the 'fluffiness' of your liking), waking up to glorious views of Table Mountain (which can be marvelled at from each of 131 rooms).
Cape of Good Hope Nature Reserve
It is also known as the Cape Point Nature Reserve as it consists of the two famous spots, The Cape of Good Hope and Cape Point, the south most and the south-western most point of Africa, respectively. Hiking is the best option to absorb the beauty of this place to the maximum. Hikes are arranged by the reserve itself and even though you might be an experienced hiker, it is advised to take a professional guide with you.
The Test Kitchen
The minute you have booked your trip, call The Test Kitchen (Thetestkitchen.co.za) for a reservation. Chef Luke Dale Roberts whips up a cutting-edge take on fine dining. If you can't get in, try your luck at his Pot Luck Club & Gallery (Thepotluckblucb.co.za), conveniently located under the same roof. Feast on innovative dishes like fried prawns with tom ka gai butter, and smoked beef with truffle café au lait.
Cape Winelands Home Stays
The Vineyards stretch far and wide and are a famous feature of South African landscape. Wineries are a part of the culture here and wine tasting is a heavenly experience. Most wineries allow a relaxed session of sipping wine at a decent fee. The Bilton Winery and the Boschendal estate are good places to start your wine tasting experience.
Tucked away in the southern suburbs of Cape Town, Constantia is where the first vineyards were planted in South Africa. There are just five estates here, namely, Klein Constantia, Groot Constantia, Buitenverwachting, Constantia Uitsig, and Steenberg. Located on the slopes of Constantia Mountain, these are worth visiting, especially if you’re not keen on heading further out. The Cape Winelands, however, are some of the most breathtakingly beautiful in the world. Several of the wine routes are within an hour or less easy driving distance from Cape Town along the N1 from Cape Town to Stellenbosch. Home to over 200 wine producers in the valley, this is the country’s leading wine area. The Franschhoek and Paarl wine routes are also worth exploring.
Chapman's Peak Drive
Chapman’s Peak Drive, South AfricaTouted as a major engineering feat back in 1915 and 1922 when it was built, Chapman’s Peak Drive is a 9 kilometer-long beautiful, winding road will amaze you! It offers some of the most breathtaking vantage points that you will ever see, and it won’t be surprising if you manage to spot dolphins or even whales in the ocean below! But don’t get too caught up in the scenery! The road has 114 curves which make it necessary for drivers to be slow and cautious. Don’t worry though; the views will most definitely be worth your while!
The next day, had predicted nice sunny weather, so we took a morning stroll along side the beach front, and we noticed something very different to the rest of South Africa, people were jogging and walking their dogs, as well as the public gym area available for use. We were very inspired by the Cape Townian mindset towards being active and healthy so we opted to put on our running shoes the next morning, I don’t believe there’s any better place to excersise, that overlooking the beautiful Ocean.
Garden Route Towing
I had heard a lot about Garden route & I so totally had to drive down this route. As we took our 500 odd kms drive from Cape Town to Knysna, it was a dramatic change of landscapes. At one point it was just barren land with Ostriches on the land besides the stretch of road, while the other times there was the ocean shores at the side. It was no-doubt a tiring drive especially once the sun set. I would definitely not recommend anyone to drive on these roads at night as there are no street-lights on narrow roads (on some stretches) & unlike India, there are no dividers on the road. You have to only rely on your car lights to take you through. At one point we almost gave up as it started raining & it was pitch black. In such cases its best to head to a nearby town /village & take accommodation there. But, if you like a good long drive across picturesque places, Garden route is a must visit. We stayed at Knysna, which is a small village on the Garden route for two days. Like the many things common to the Western Cape, you will see a lot of beaches here where you can just enjoy the waters, play beach cricket with the locals or take a long stroll from one stretch of the beach to the other. I also loved Martha’s viewpoint from where you can see the entire landscape of the area.
Protea Hotel Stellenbosch
We stayed at Protea Hotel Stellenbosch, which is centrally located between the Wine a route and City and the highlight of the Protea Hotel in Stellenbosch is the view from your bedroom window, as the hotel is elevated and surrounded by mountains. After tasting all the wines and champagne up for offer, we stopped at Asara Wine Estate and Hotel and had a delicious lunch.
Oude Libertas Road
A must do for a Saturday morning, is to go to the Oude Libertas Market on Oude Libertas road, which consists of a variety of food from all over the World that’s been a bit “Stellenbosch-anised” and the best of all is, near the entrance you buy a wine glass, and you can top it up with any wine there after for R30 ($3) while you walk and eat your way through this amazing market. We also spent a day driving threw the city, which is filled with great souvenir shops and history about Stellenbosch.
On my second visit to Cape Town, I decided to rent a car and get out of the city to explore the surrounding area. Also, going on a safari is pretty much the #1 thing to do here in South Africa. I headed to the Fairy Glen Game Reserve. I saw three out of the African 'Big Five' in a day and considered myself lucky! My plan for the next day was to explore the southern Cape Peninsula including the Cape of Good Hope Nature Reserve and Boulders Beach – one of only a few land-based penguin colonies in the world. The Cape Town visitors guide calls this drive along Chapman’s Peak the world’s most scenic drive and from what I have seen, I would have to agree. I stopped at Boulders Beach, located in a sheltered cove between Simon’s Town and Cape Point, Boulders has become world-famous for its thriving colony of African penguins. Although it sits in the middle of a residential area, it is one of the few sites where penguins can be observed at close range, wandering freely in a protected natural environment. The next day, I decided to spend most of my last full day in Cape Town relaxing on the lovely Clifton Beach. Cape Town has some remarkable beaches right in the city. Clifton and Camp’s Bay are walking distance apart, but I just can’t get enough of the giant boulders on Clifton Beach so that’s where I spent most of my day.
Cape Town City Centre
Our first trip and also the best way to explore Cape Town, was to take a city sightseeing hop on and hop off double decker bus, where you have 2 busses available , the Red bus stops at 17 attractions including Table Mountain, The Castle, District Six, Camps Bay and V&A Waterfront, Busses come by at stops every 20 minutes and the Blue bus stops at 13 attractions including Kirstenbosch Gardens, Imizamo Yethu Township, Hout Bay and V&A Waterfront, busses come by at stops every 45 minutes – we took the Red bus, be sure to stop at Mariner’s Wharf, Hout Bay to have lunch, it was the most amazing fish We have ever eaten in South Africa and off course accompanied by one of South Africa’s best wines.
Moonstruck on Pringle Bay
The perfect place to stay in Pringle Bay is a guesthouse called Moonstruck on Pringle Bay. This four-star graded accommodation is luxurious, cosy and great value for money. New arrivals are given not just a warm and friendly welcome, but helpful instructions on how to avoid baboons entering their room! The honeymoon suite – with its huge four-poster bed, comfy chairs and large balcony with a day bed – is tastefully decorated and a cool haven during a hot African summer. The smell of fynbos wafts in with the sea breeze, and the view is nothing short of spectacular: the ocean 100 yards away and those beautiful Overberg mountains that take on every purple hue imaginable as the sun sets. Other nice touches include an honesty bar and an infinity pool. Breakfasts here are to die for. Fruit salad is served at the table (complete with a card outlining the day's weather forecast and tidal information), while the buffet selection includes yoghurt, bread, pastries and muesli. Then you are asked what you would like for your cooked breakfast, which is prepared to order. Suffice it to say, this meal would keep you going for most of the day.
Jackass Penguin Colony
Africa has two flightless bird species: the Ostrich, adapted to terrestrial life and the African Penguin, adapted to marine existence. The African Penguin colonizes offshore islands and nests on the mainland. The site at Stony Point, Betty's Bay is one of the only three land-based colonies and for this reason it is treasured. Also this is an excellent place to try to spot whales: Southern Right and Humpback whales pass through local waters from May to November.
Lined with clubs, restaurants and boutiques, Long Street is where the action is. MeMeMe (mememe.co.za) stock labels from local designers like Doreen Southwood Jinn and Silver Spoon. Aspiring Lady Gagas will love the avant-garde finds at Traffic (Trafficshop.co.za). For artsy, locally scoured home decor, head to Cape Quarter, where Africa Nova (Africanova.co.za) sells contemporary regional ceramics, textiles and fine art that blend in African references.
Every Saturday morning, chic Capertonians descend on the Old Biscuit Mill for Neighbourgoods Market (neighbourgoodsmarket.co.za) where over 100 local farmers, bakers and artisans purvey their freshest wares in a gargantuan former warehouse. The colorful Bo-Kaap district has sweet homes in shades of watermelon lime, strawberry and tangerine which pepper the slopes of Signal Hill. Pose here for a photo op - it's the perfect souvenir.
Harold Porter National Botanical Garden
The Harold Porter National Botanical Garden located between mountain and sea, in the heart of the Cape Fynbos region within the Kogelberg Biosphere Reserve. With about 1600 plant species, the area contains a floral diversity per unit area that is greater than anywhere else in the world! The Garden consists of 10 hectares of cultivated gardens and 190.5 hectares of pristine natural fynbos. Its an awesome place to go for a walk.
Hangklip Hotel (+27 28 273 8310) is the best watering hole in the area. Three bars – a central one, Plankies pub and the bush pub, which has a barbecue area – offer more than enough choice. Don't worry about driving back on the dirt road after sinking a few cold ones, as you can stay the night at this legendary spot for just over $20. Be sure to book ahead at weekends.
Bella Donna / Posh Nosh
While there are only a handful of restaurants to choose from in Pringle Bay, the small town is a haven for foodies from the surrounding area. The Italian restaurant Bella Donna (+27 28 273 8413), on Hangklip Road, offers huge portions: the bruscetta, mussels and any of the pizzas come highly recommended. They willl even fix you up a doggy bag if you order more than you can eat (just make sure you hide it away from the sight of baboons when you get back to your room)
Camps Bay Beach
After all the mornings excitement, we packed our bathing suites and set off to spent the day at Camps Bay’s beach. On the beach front there are many great restaurants, but there was one in particular that stood out, a blue fisher village look alike, with a big sign outside, stating OYSTERS for R8 ($0.8) each!! Wow these where the BEST oysters we have eaten through out the World!!!! Their food is pretty spectacular as well and very affordable for this particular area, well to be honest most probably through out the whole of South Africa.