Cape Town is one of those cities that everyone just seems to fall in love with. Tucked at the base of the majestic Table Mountain, Cape Town is vibrant and exciting, yet laid back and relaxed at the same time. Countless people leave the city feeling like they could spend their entire lives there and never tire of the wealth of attractions this city has to offer. Cape Town is one of those places that will keep you wanting more, no matter how many times you visit.
Things to DoOne of the best parts of Cape Town is the fact that there is such a wide variety of activities. Whether you want to hike, shark dive, dive into history, or just lay on the beach, there is something for everyone.
Table Mountain: A cable car swings from a building on the edge of Table Mountain to the top. And while the views overlooking Cape Town from above are completely spectacular, there is actually a whole park system up top for you to explore. Well some might just ride up and take some photos, then go back down, one could spend hours up there exploring.
Groot Constantia Winery: The oldest winery in Africa doesn’t disappoint. Not only are the wines amazing, but the location is brilliant and guests are free to wander at their leisure or take part in a guided tour and tasting. This is a great place to grab lunch on a sunny day.
Shark Cage Diving: The adventurous souls won’t want to miss out on shark cage diving in Cape Town. From a boat, you’ll be lowered in the protection of a cage down among massive great white sharks. It’s a thrill that can’t be compared, and seeing the beautiful animals up close like that is truly incredible.
Robben Island: It was this island where Nelson Mandela was held during the years of Apartheid. Tours out here to the island are busy, but absolutely worth it. You’ll see the entire island, get some beautiful views of Cape Town across the water, and even hear from a former prisoner at the jail. To top things off, you’ll be shown the tiny cell where Nelson Mandela was held all those years.
Beaches: Around the Cape there are dozens of beaches one could lay out on. Personally, my favourite is Camp’s Bay since it’s close to town but still a bit quiet. There are also lots of good restaurants there.
Cape Point: A drive or tour out to Cape Point is an absolute must. Stop along the way to visit the penguins too! And well Cape Point isn’t the true southernmost part in Africa, it sure feels like you’re at the end of the world.
Stellenbosch Gardens: These botanical gardens are a stunner. Housing an impressive array of indigenous plants, especially aloe versa, the Stellenbosh Gardens are one of the most beautiful natural gardens in the world. What’s best is the peace and tranquility they offer make you feel worlds away from Cape Town even if you’re only a couple kilometers removed.
Where to EatCape Town’s foodie scene is among the best in the world. The mix of beautiful red meats and fresh seafood make it a hard place to resist. I could go on and on listing places to eat in Cape Town, but I’ll keep this brief.
&Union: This is a bit of a gastropub. They serve beautiful small portion meals and pour local beers and wines as well. This place has a great vibe and is the perfect place to start a bit of a night on the town.
Hudson’s: This gourmet burger haunt is fantastic! Like almost every spot in Cape Town, there is an awesome vibe and an enthusiastic atmosphere. The service is outstanding and the food is worth its weight in gold though it will hardly lighten your wallet.
Fat Cactus: It’s Mexican food with a bit of a South African twist. For example, lamb fajitas here are the big hit. You’ll also get the chance to wash down all that spicy Mexican grub with frozen margaritas.
Where to StayDowntown: It’s obviously most convenient to stay downtown, especially if you don’t have a car. Almost everything is within walking distance from downtown hotels, or if not it’s just a bus or taxi ride away. Downtown you’ll be close to all the good food, the V&A Waterfront, and all the museums. If you only have a couple days in Cape Town and want to get the most out of it, stay downtown.
Camp’s Bay: If you’re in Cape Town for the beaches and sea, this is a good place to stay. Camp’s Bay is on the upscale side of things and is quiet in comparison to downtown. There are great restaurants out here along the beach and good stand to plop down on. If you do want to get downtown to the attractions, a taxi ride is only about the equivalent of 8USD.
Constantia: Out in Cape Town’s wine district you’ll find peace and tranquility. If you’re looking for an upper class experience and some peace and quiet, this is the place for you. You’ll be close to the Stellenbosch Gardens and, obviously, the wineries. You’ll likely want the use of a car if you’re out in this neighbourhood.
Transportation InformationAir: If you’re flying in or out of Cape Town, the airport is about 20-30 minutes from downtown depending on traffic. A taxi will cost about $50USD or you can catch an airport shuttle for about $25 depending on where you’re going or coming from.
Train: The train in South Africa is usually pretty good value. The problem is that it doesn’t connect too many places. From Cape Town to Johannesburg is usually the way people go. If you’re doing this run, give the luxurious Blue Train a run.Bus: A number of bus companies leave from downtown Cape Town, but if I’m being honest the prices all seem inflated. Travelling by bus isn’t cheap in South Africa, and you’re almost just as well off taking a local flight for longer distances.
Baz Bus: This is a great option in South Africa. You can actually buy a pass that is good for travel throughout the country, or buy single rides. Like the bus, it’s not cheap but it’s comfortable and they’ll drop you off at hotels and hostels rather than just the bus station.
Rental Car: For me, renting a car in South Africa was a great deal. One day in Cape Town I spent $30 on taxis, a rental car was only $20. If you’re planning on moving around a bit, go grab a rental car, it will save you money in the long run.