Spending 6 days in Cape Town may seem plenty, but with the day trips and restaurants to eat at, it seems hardly enough.
I started my first day with the Cape Town City Tour. We drove to the foot of Table mountain to get fabulous views of the town and the surroundings. I contemplated going up with the cable car but when I arrived at 9am, it was already very long queues with or without the online tickets. People who were in line told me they have waited for around an hour so I guess the tip is, go as early as possible to queue for it, go in the evening around 4pm or plan a hike up, which I did on the last day of 2018. (More on that later)
When you’re at table mountain, do remember to head to signal hill for wonderful views of the water front and also take a photo with the photo frame 😊
Bokaap is the cape Malay neighbourhood of colourful houses and there is a small museum you can visit to see how they come about. There is also a mosque there which was one of the first in Cape Town and there are a few spice shops and sundry shops where you can try samosas or koeksisters at. If you get enough time, you can try the Cape Malay food too but I didn’t see any open when I went in the late morning. If you are staying in Cape Town on January 2, there is an amazing parade like the Mardi Gras that occurs in the city centre and ends in BoKaap
I enjoyed my tour of the castle of good hope. The guide from the castle gave very good commentary and had a very good sense of humour. It was a beautiful castle with a sad past and the slave stories made us all cringe a little when we were cramped into the torture chamber.
Take a walk nearby to the Cape Town City Hall, the historical place where Nelson Mandela first addressed the crowd when he got released from prison. The building is beautiful and standing there, you can feel the history of the place as you see the wide open field in front where the crowd would have been standing.
Continue walking further and you will see the city centre where company’s garden, parliament house, slave lodge and St George’s cathedral. All very pretty buildings to look at.
You can’t visit Cape Town without a visit to the winelands if you love wine. South African wine is affordable and delicious and their tastings very generous. Choose from chocolate or cheese to pair with the wines and you are spoilt for choice for wineries In Stellenbosch, Franschhoek and Paarl. The Boschendal and Fairwood grounds looks amazing and Boschendal also has movie nights, events and picnic spots within when I was there.
The ocean drive to cape of good hope is beautiful and I highly recommend a day trip if you’re alone or driving on your own if you have a few people to share. The views are amazing and kinda reminds me of the Amalfi coastal drive. You get to pass beautiful big houses and the gorgeous beaches. Sit on the right if you’re going on a bus. It’s amazing.
Do hike up the lighthouse at cape point (skip the funicular) and if you have more time, do the trails as the views are gorgeous. I didn’t get enough time as I was on a tour but if you do, you’re gonna love it.
Don’t forget to stop by Boulders Bay for the adorable African penguins! I love them! 😍
Cape Town has some amazing beaches. If you’re into nudity, head to Sandy Bay. I opted for the beautiful Kalk Bay as they have amazing shopping and its a venue quaint town. They also have the tidal pool that you can actually swim safely at (warmer waters @ 18-20 degrees and no sharks! 🤪 not that they bite.). Other amazing beaches I saw were on Camps bay but it’s cold Atlantic waters so it about 10 – 12 degrees water even in summer. Brrrrrr
Camps bay has the best sunset view and Cafe Caprice has a club if you wanna party in a safe place with all the rich people. But be prepared to queue ok?
More on Kalk Bay, it has amazing restaurants and shops and if you are patient, stand in line for the famous and affordable fish and chips. The ice cream at The ice house was amazing, ginger flavoured ice cream I tried and I loved. The many quaint shops sold beautiful scarfs, dresses shoes and even plants. I loved it and spent almost an entire day there. You will be spoilt for choice for restaurants there so follow your nose. I had the delightful Hake at Harbour House. A bit pricy but the views are amazing. Remember to walk the pier to see playful seals. They seem to put up an all day performance. I walked before and after my lunch and they were still playing in the waters.
Remember to head to the V&A waterfront to get the cool vibe of Cape Town. This is the safest place for tourists as security patrol there 24/7. There is a lot of shopping to be done and even a duty free shopping mall. There are many restaurants and I love the beautiful Silo Hotel and the Mocaa Museum of contemporary art is an amazing place to visit. The cafe is good too!
If you love flowers and gardens, kirstenbosch is very delightful. If you happen to be in summer and here on a Sunday, they have free concerts and people picnic and do fun things here. I highly recommend it too if you have time.
And my favourite thing to do in Cape Town was…….. hike up Table mountain!
I thought it would be easy to get up or safe to do it on my own, and then I was told it wasn’t and thus, I booked a hike with a guide and did the Indian Venster Tour which started at 5am and ended around 10am. It was a wonderful hike as you can see a lot of flowers, amazing views and my guide Johann was so informative and he helped us all get up scrambling safely to the summit. I highly recommend the hike because the sunrise is amazing and because you see totally different views at different parts of the hike. Plus you will have bragging rights! There are many different trails that you can do and I did India Venster as I read about the amazing views and also the scrambling and the dangerous ledges (for amazing photos!) You can take a cable car down or hike down via Platteklip if the wind is too strong. Trust me, after India Venster for 4 hours, I was super happy with the cable car down. It’s Swiss engineered and it rotates and because we reached the summit at 10am, there were no queues down and it wasn’t crowded at all. Another plus to do the hike! I went with Hiketablemountain and they provide pick up and drop offs and an amazing guide! You can also see all the routes available in the link. I’m coming back again to hike the other routes in the next few years. An easier hike to do is lions head, much shorter with amazing views too!
Favourite places to eat.
Seabreeze fish and shell: amazing fish and chips. Really! The chef owned an award winning fish and chips shop in Scotland and decided to move to Cape Town to open this. Great grilled prawns too.
Harbour House at Kalk Bay: amazing seafood with a view. Kalky’s fish and chips is also good but the queues were too long!
Aubergine: very amazing seafood with an Asian touch. Had the best squid ever in a risotto.
Upper Bloem restaurant: Tapas style Cape Malay inspired Asian cuisine. Every dish was amazing and I had 12!
Pigalle: I had the Pigalle platter of langoustines and prawns and the freshest oysters here.
Kloof: Amazing bar and eclectic ambience with a very hip crowd. Good food too.
Zenzero: Amazing sunset view on camps bay. Food was good, I had the baby kinglip and the prawns.
I was recommended Codfather or Paranga but they were full.
Test kitchen I heard so much about but they were close from Xmas to New Year. So when I come back I’ll let you know if it’s worth it.
Really cool hotel to stay at: The Silo hotel or Radisson Red at the V&A waterfront. They’re gorgeous.
Oh and the safe and affordable way to get around is Über!
On safety, do not walk around alone at night even if it’s just a short distance, unless you’re in Camps bay or V&A waterfront. Everywhere else you should take a taxi- unicab or Uber. I take the Uber even if it’s 10 mins walk as it’s not safe to walk alone even in the day time in certain parts of the city. Remember there are many poor people around and they may do petty theft so just be mindful. In the day time, if you’re in a safe part like Kalk Bay or Bokaap but no one else is headed towards that side, don’t head there alone. Turn around and join where the crowd is. Else, I felt pretty much safe as a single women traveler following the tips above.
I’m headed to Sabi sands next and I can’t wait! Happy 2019 everyone!
Never stop exploring!