Between its coastal climate, urban layout, majestic views and bevy of activities, Cape Town, South Africa makes a travelling Aussie feel right at home. It’s, therefore, no wonder that we had such an epic time there during a recent trip, that we were never short on adventure. We swam with the seals, ate well, drank well, surfed well and slept well, and that’s just skimming the surface of our incredible stay. Should you find yourself in South Africa’s hippest city with 48-hours or more on your hands, let this be your guide to an experience you’ll never forget.
Do – Visit Table Mountain
Overlooking Cape Town is Table Mountain, a hiker’s dream come true. Accessible on foot or via cableway, the famously flat-topped destination offers breathtaking views no matter which way you look. Adventurous types can abseil down the steep mountainside if they so desire, which we cover in a separate article. Naturally, if you’d rather just catch the cable car down, we certainly wouldn’t blame you.
Do – Hout Bay
Head 20km south of the Cape Town business district and you’ll find yourself in Hout Bay, one of the world’s best surfing spots, and home to the Red Bull Big Wave Africa Competition. Situated on the Atlantic seaboard, the area is rife with epic history, stunning geography, a variety of marine life and some downright legendary ocean waves (aka “Dungeons”). If you’d rather leave the board back home, there’s still a ton to do, like visit the massive bird sanctuary or take a scenic mountain drive through Chapman’s Peak. Your choices are essentially limitless.
Do – Cape Town Bucket List
Do yourself a favor and hook up with Cape Town Bucket List, a company that definitely takes its name to heart. Once in their hands, you can go swimming with the seals or even paraglide over the city. We discuss that and more in our article of South Africa’s best activities. Your own bucket list will definitely be a lot shorter should you explore this company to its fullest potential.
Do – Sunrise Hike Up Lion’s Head
Just because you’re on vacation, that doesn’t mean you have to sleep in like a bum. Make the most of your morning by hiking up Lion’s Head, which offers a 360-degree view of Cape Town from its pointy peak. Included in that view (presuming you get up in time) is one of the most epic sunrises you’ll ever witness.
Do – Kiff Kombi Tours
Travelling like a tourist is so last century. If you want an authentic Cape Town experience, then you want Kiff Kombi Tours, which prides itself on knowing the city inside and out. Load into a Kombi (aka a South African mini-bus) and make some friends as you navigate the local terrain, visiting only the best attractions, and occasionally stopping for some choice alcoholic beverages. Put simply, Kiff Kombi Tours is your guide to the real Cape Town.
Do – Woodstock
True to its name, Woodstock is one of Cape Town’s hippest (and oldest) neighborhoods.Still somwhat a ghetto, here you’ll find some of the best in local culture, cuisine, art and fashion. It’s no surprise that the coolest natives and savviest youngsters consider Woodstock the place to be and you can also check out some of the weird and wonderful street art by the renowned heros of South Africa’s graffiti scene.
Do – Camps Bay
Known for its pristine white sand, spectacular views, boutique shops, delicious seafood and so much more, Camps Bay is a place to let your inner tourist run free. However, don’t mistake this tourist hotspot for a tourist trap, whereas the destination stays true to itself, and is definitely worth your while. Hang out in the natural rock swimming pool by day, and stroll the promenade by night. This is what vacations are all about.
Stay – Grand Daddy Hotel
For a true boutique experience, look no further than Grand Daddy Hotel. Located on bustling Long Street in the heart of Cape Town, this refurbished historic building is bursting with activity inside and out. In addition to offering stylish rooms and a quality restaurant, the hotel has an airstream trailer park on the roof. Also featured on the roof is a popular movie theatre and sky bar. Suffice to say, Grand Daddy Hotel is one way to guarantee you spend all your time in Cape Town under African skies!
Stay – Silo Hotel
On the Cape Town waterfront is the Silo District, and here in the Silo District you’ll find the legendary Silo Hotel (converted from an old grain silo). More than a place to stay, the hotel is an architectural work of art, drawing in all sorts of visitors who just want to catch a glimpse of its glory. Of course, it’s as an official guest that you’re truly enjoying all the hotel’s wondrous benefits. To get a full understanding of those benefits, check our previous in-depth review. Put simply, this hotel does not disappoint.
Drink – The Bitch’s Tits
As lovers of both a killer name and delicious coffee, we were delighted with The Bitch’s Tits, a hole-in-the-wall on the Western Cape that serves a mean cup of java, and caters primarily to locals. Making a great thing that much greater is the fact that come midday, this hip cafe changes its name to The Dog’s Bollocks, one of the city’s best burger joints.
Drink – Loading Bay
Inside an open, light-filled space, Loading Bay serves food and drink that’s both sustainably-sourced and tremendously satisfying. Grab a hot espresso drink or a quick bite, and then head through an open entryway to the adjacent menswear store. Indeed, this place had our name written all over it!
Drink – Truth Coffee
Giving literal meaning to the term “steampunk”, Truth Coffee serves steaming hot, gourmet coffee inside an industrial decor of brass pipes and old metal. On site are experienced baristas and a variety of fresh coffee beans. Put it all together and you end up with the world’s best coffee shop, according to the Daily Telegraph. And that’s the truth.
Drink – Steenburg
About thirty minutes outside the heart of Cape Town is Steenberg Farm, a gorgeous hotel that doubles as one of the best vineyards in all of South Africa. Here, you’ll find some of the tastiest white wines to ever cross your lips. Sit, sip, relax, and take in the majestic views that surround you. There are far worse ways to enjoy a glass of delicious wine.
Drink – Stellenbosch Wine Region
Covered in rolling hills and flanked by natural beauty on all sides, the Stellenbosch Wine Region is home to some of South Africa’s most well-known vineyards. To get here, you’ll have to travel about 40km east of Cape Town, but trust us, it’s worth it. That’s especially true if you’re partial to Cabernet Sauvignon, which flourishes in these parts.
Drink – Devil’s Peak Taproom
We already know you love yourself a great view and a delicious pint of craft beer, which is why we duly recommend Devil’s Peak Taproom. Located right at the foot of Devil’s Peak (Cape Town’s mountainous backdrop), this wildly popular gastropub picks up whatever the Devil’s Peak Brewing Company is throwing down. And Devil’s Peak Brewing Company is definitely throwing down some sudsy stunners.
Drink – House of Machines
If packed crowds, tasty drinks and live music get you going at night, then House of Machines is your new favourite spot. The energy here is so palpable you can feel it in your blood. It’s no wonder (and no coincidence) that the parent company uses a lightning bolt as its insignia.
Drink – Kloof St.
Speaking of high energy, Kloof St. is Cape Town’s liveliest strip, and home to a seemingly endless lineup of fantastic bars. This destination is a must-stop for those who like to party up to last call and beyond. What we’re trying to say is: go here.
Eat – Yours Truly
Located on Kloof St, Yours Truly brings locals and tourists together by way of tasty food, quality libations, live music and brilliant ambiance. Head on up to the rooftop bar for some next-level South African drinking–pun intended.
Eat – Kloof St. House
For unforgettable Moroccan cuisine and some of the best cocktails in Cape Town, head on over to Kloof St. House. Surrounded by luminous gardens and located inside an elegant Victorian (with patio dining also available), this destination is more than a restaurant, it’s a full blown dining oasis. Bring a date for dinner and expect romantic vibes to carry on well past your exquisite meal. There’s also live jazz on Sundays during lunch.
Eat – The Test Kitchen
Since its 2010 debut, The Test Kitchen has garnered all the acclaim that its founder, Chef Luke Dale-Roberts, could ever ask for. Backing up all those awards and reviews is Latin-inspired food so creative and flavourful that you’ll still be thinking about it months later. Equally worthy of note is the restaurant’s strikingly modern decor, which hosts both a “light room” and a “dark room”. To say this is one of South Africa’s best restaurants would be putting it mildly.
Eat – Asoka
An absolute darling of Kloof St., Asoka has been delivering top-shelf cocktails and Asian tapas for over a decade. It all goes down either inside a Victorian townhouse or outside on the open-roof, candlelit courtyard. Between the live music, dreamy decor, heavenly drinks and mouthwatering cuisine, you may never want to leave.