South Africa is now the top tourist destination in Africa, so it may be no surprise that I took two holidays there this year. The first was to go on safari, the second was to Cape Town for a long weekend ahead of the festival Afrika Burn which I’ll tell you all about later. To sum up, I think Cape Town is my new favourite city. It has everything: shopping, good food, fun bars, mountains, a beach…what more do you need? I could talk for pages about this welcoming, relaxed and enjoyable city, but let me give you a list of six things you definitely shouldn’t miss:
- Table Mountain:
It is the first thing you see upon leaving the airport, towering over the city and its rocky mass almost seems to shield Cape Town from the outside world. It is the number one tourist attraction but don’t let that put you off, the view is worth the initial crowds. We took the cable car up because time was limited but there are hikes you can do up it that range between 2-5 hours. Once you’re at the top you can spend hours hopping over the jagged rocks on its almost flat surface to find your own spot for a picnic. A couple of my very brave (or insane some may say) friends even abseiled down a part of it.
Second on my list of must-do things in this part of South Africa. My friends and I booked onto a tour that took us to five different vineyards in the Stellenbosch region, the most famous of the wine regions. It was a real range of commercial vineyards, smaller ones, each with fabulous products ranging from chardonnay to champagne to port. The start time of the tour was 10am which felt a bit odd when we were presented with five different types of wine and cheese as breakfast and many had power naps in the minibus in between each place, but it was a really interesting day with genuine insights into wine production as well as lots of yummy wine, cheese and chocolate to taste.
I’m sure you’ve heard of the amazing phenomenon where penguins have ended up in an urban town in the Cape. Well they have now multiplied and a protected area has been set up at Boulders Beach where you can go and see them. The sea is green and beautifully clear here and you can spend a day spotting penguins sunbathing on the beach or hiding in the shade of the bushes. It’s bizarre but magical! Also, stop off in Simon’s Town for lunch, there are some amazing seafood restaurants.
The waterfront boasts the attractive port, with many good seafood restaurants and bars, markets, shopping malls and walks. This is a great way to while away the afternoon before dinner. Bit pricier than town but I recommend!
- Cape of Good Hope:
We didn’t have time to do Cape Point and Cape of Good Hope so we just did the latter but the views were still spectacular. As the most south-westerly point of Africa it felt like a good landmark to achieve too. At the top is an old lighthouse and many friendly cane rats running around!
If you’re struggling to choose which part of Cape Town to stay in I’d recommend the more bohemian part of town Tamboerskloof. Near to Table Mountain and the bars and restaurants of Long Street and Kloof Street it’s still in the action without the noise and bustle that goes with it. It’s full of cute cafes, vintage shops, and quirky streets and is just a nice place to wander around. We found two amazing guesthouses that made you feel really at home: Parker Cottage and Underberg Guesthouse who couldn’t do enough for us.
I’m not usually the type of person that goes back to a destination once I’ve had a holiday there, but there’s so much more to see and do at Cape Town this place won’t be one of them!