Cape Town City Guide
If you have to fly 17 hours, then you want to land in a gorgeous city like CAPE TOWN because it’s sophisticated, super-friendly and clearly on the rise as a must-visit destination. When asked to describe Cape Town, I always say it’s the city you’d get if San Francisco married Malibu. A really pretty town with moody weather. Cape Town’s seasons are opposite ours, so when its winter here, it’s a balmy 75 degrees and summer there.
For fashionistas, I suggest shopping at the V & A Waterfront for everything from Gerard Darel to Louis Vuitton and the arts + crafts shop Africa Nova for gifts to take home. Design enthusiasts will enjoy interior design shop T & Co and great art at Everard Read and Michael Stevenson.
MUSEUMS + ACTIVITIES:
Cape Town Beaches
The beaches are beautiful and my favorite is Camps Bay, but Clifton #4 is wonderful for the scene and if you want to see the famous colorful huts, then visit the beach at Mulzenberg on the way to Cape Point.
You’ve probably seen the colorful houses in this neighborhood located on Signal Hill, but you might not know that Bo Kaap has an interesting Cape Malay culture. Walking tours are available.
Groot Constantia Road
To see a great example of Cape Dutch architecture, a visit to this wine estate is a must. You can sample wines, tour the museum and the estate’s interiors. If you have time, have a Cape Malay lunch on the grounds at the vineyard restaurant.
Grootbos Nature Reserve
For a unique day trip, just two hours from the city, this reserve on the garden route driving to Hermanus has stunning sea views, flora and fauna, and wildlife. Try horseback riding on the beach, swimming with sharks or take a floral safari.
Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens
Rhodes Drive, Newlands
One of the world’s best–a gorgeous and very popular garden full of South African flora and fauna on the eastern slope of Table Mountain.
A World Heritage site famous because Nelson Mandela was imprisoned there for 26 years. The tour was changed quite a bit for the World Cup (and I don’t think for the better), but you still get to walk in the footsteps of Mr. Mandela with guides that were once prisoners on the island.
If you can, drive to the top of this hill for great views of Cape Town.
Probably the most iconic landmark in Cape Town, glimpses of Table Mountain from the airplane as you are landing in the city never gets old. If you’re adventurous, take the cable car or hike the trails to the top for spectacular views of the city.
The Cape Winelands
An hour’s drive from the city, Stellenbosch has gorgeous wine estates where you can taste fantastic wines. There are some pretty incredible award-winning restaurants like Jordan, Terrior, Overture, and Rust en Vrede as well.
This list is not definitive, just current favorites based on recent trips to Cape Town.
A favorite for beautifully prepared food made with the freshest of seasonal ingredients. Great for lunch.
Greenhouse boasts a romantic setting and exquisite cooking perfect for a special occasion. Dinner only. In Constantia.
My favorite place for lunch during a drive down the Cape Peninsula. Wonderful seafood and sea views.
Spaanschemat River Road
La Colombe serves a classic French menu with twists of Asian and South African elements. Request a table outside on the veranda for a romantic evening, but it’s also great for lunch with friends. In Constantia.
Oakhurst Farm Road
When you’re craving wood-fired pizza, head here for delicious pies made in front of your eyes.
One Dock Road
The best sushi in Cape Town. Perfect for a fun night out. At One & Only Resort.
57 Somerset Road
When I want really simple, deliciously grilled seafood, I head to Pigalle. Order the langoustines.
34 Victoria Road
Great views overlooking Bantry Bay and modern South African cuisine (photo above).
Shop 4, Quay 5
I was pleasantly surprised by the trendy Sevruga. They offer an expansive menu with everything from sushi to steak, but it’s well-prepared and the environment is upbeat. On V & A Waterfront.
The Test Kitchen
Luke Dale-Roberts is one of the most inventive chefs with flawless flavor combinations and an adventurous spirit.
If you want to impress or a super fancy night out, a dinner at Roundhouse can’t be beat. Brilliant dishes creatively prepared with a stunning view to boot.
Willoughby & Co
A hot spot on the waterfront known for its Japanese dishes and some say the best sushi in Cape Town.
In the U.S., you should start planning a trip to Cape Town at least six to nine months before you visit because flights and hotel rooms book up really fast and you want to secure the best deals.
The grand dame of Cape Town hotels known for its traditional rooms and consistent service. VIPS love to stay here. On V & A Waterfront.
30 Hely Hutchinson Avenue
A charming B&B with stunning views of the Atlantic and attentive service. An undiscovered gem. In Camps Bay.
180 Kloof Road
Located on a cliff overlooking Bantry Bay, Ellerman House has 11 rooms with incredible views and is perfect for those who prefer a quieter, more sophisticated home away from home.
One & Only Cape Town
On two private islands near the waterfront, the beautiful One & Only Resort is the most expensive in Cape Town, but they regularly offer great deals and the resort has everything you need for a memorable stay. At V & A Waterfront.
A rather isolated hotel perfect for those who want to totally escape. Great for honeymooners. In Camps Bay.
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