As a South African I am most often asked for travel tips when it comes to Cape Town. I have put together a list of my favourite places and my “to-do”list for you. I am constantly adding new bits as its always a nice surprise when I come home to discover and explore new local hotspots.
Where to stay:
There are a couple of places in Cape Town that I consider to be the best places to stay in terms of overall luxury / affordable luxury and location. They are all absolutely beautiful and totally unique so it really is impossible to compare them. Their locations are spread out along the seaboard and all bare their own unique experiences.
- The Gape Grace – The Waterfront
The Cape Grace is a mix of old world elegance and traditional Cape culture. Its prime location at the waterfront makes it super easy to explore the area on foot while everything else is a quick cab ride away. The decor of the this luxury hotel is simply amazing – an absolute favourite hotel in my books!
- The 12 Apostles, Camps Bay
The 12 Apostles Hotel and Spa is situated on Cape Town’s most scenic route, flanked by the majestic Table Mountain National Park, a World Heritage Site and the 12 Apostles mountain range. The views from this hotel are simply breathtaking and its only a few minutes drive away from the bustling Camps’s Bay.
- Ellerman House, Bantry Bay
You just cant take a bad picture… Ellerman House is a boutique hotel that sits on the slope below Lion’s Head in the prestigious Bantry Bay area. The elegant Cape Edwardian mansion was once the home of the shipping magnates, Sir John and Lady Ellerman and is known for having one of the most beautiful ocean views in South Africa.
- The Mount Nelson, Gardens
The pink paradise of The Mount Nelson is one of the most famous and historic hotels in Cape Town. True to the Belmont Group of hotels it is old world glam! It’s location at the foot of Table Mountain, and just a short stroll from downtown, the resort offers the perfect combination of leafy tranquility and contemporary buzz.
- Cape View Clifton, Camps Bay
Cape View Clifton in centrally located and boasts uninterrupted panoramic views of Clifton, Camps Bay and the Twelve Apostles. This boutique hotel is incredibly stylish and chic.
*alternatively there is an amazing selection of Air BnB properties on the seaboard that are very reasonably priced including one of my families own below:
- Bantry Bay Apartment, Cape Town
Our Cape Town apartment is located above the rocks and boasts the most spectacular views sheltered from the wind in the Bantry Bay.
What to do:
Cape Town has so much to offer when it comes to site seeing and activities. My favourite thing about being is Cape Town is that you can spend an entire day out doing making the most magical memories without actually spending a penny. Unlike most cities Cape Town’s social scene doesn’t only revolve around restaurants and bars.
- Table Mountain
Table Mountain is obviously something you have to do if you come to Cape Town. I have done it numerous times and it never gets old! This wonder of the world is one of the most breathtaking views and amazing experiences you can experience.
- Lions Head and Where’s Wally Cave
This is really a must if you have the time and you enjoy a hike and you aren’t scared of heights. It takes just under an hour so it really sing too long and its easy enough for almost anyone to get up – you don’t have to be a gym bunny at all! The views are absolutely spectacular and in my opinion this hike is much for fun and adventurous than the table mountain hike. My only advise – wear trainers and I wouldn’t recommend you take small children on this.
- Robben Island
Robben Island, Unesco World Heritage Site, is the unique symbol of “the triumph of the human spirit over adversity, suffering and injustice” with a rich 500 year old multi-layered history. For years the island was a place of banishment and exile holding Nelson Mandela for 19 years of his 27 year imprisonment.
- Cape Point – Where the two oceans meet
Rugged rocks and sheer cliffs towering more than 200 metres above the sea and cutting deep into the ocean, provide a spectacular background for the Park’s rich bio-diversity. Cape Point falls within the southern section of Table Mountain National Park. The natural vegetation of the area, fynbos, comprises the smallest but richest of the world’s six floral kingdoms. The scenic beauty of Cape Point is not its sole allure; it is also an international icon of great historical interest with many a visitor drawn to the area because of its rich maritime history…
- St James Beach, False Bay
St. James is a bloggers picture paradise. This iconic South African beach is located in False Bay and is great for little children too as they have an amazing rock pool there. The old rainbow changing huts line the beach, they look very cool!
- The Penguins, Boulders Beach
Boulders beach is a bit of a drive, around an hour out but totally worth it! Its a surreal sight of penguins lining white beaches and boulders.
- The 12 Apostles
Victoria Road is a long road that stretches from Sea point all the way to Hout Bay. This specific pass starts at the western end of Camps Bay at Bakoven and ends about 8,5 km later at the natural neck between the last buttress of the Twelve Apostles and Little Lions Head above Llandudno. It is a road which is appreciated and revered by locals and tourists alike and is well engineered with properly banked turns and smooth curves. It is a joy to drive, ride or cycle whilst offering fabulous views of the Atlantic coastline and the 12 Apostles.
- Chapmans Peak Drive
This pass is loaded with drama and history dating back to 1910 and is best appreciated driven slowly. It must have seemed an impossible task building a road on such an inhospitable and dangerous cliff face, but the road building pioneers did the job! This iconic mountain pass ranks amongst the Top 5 tourist attractions in Cape Town.
- Two Oceans Aquarium
Experience the incredible diversity of the Indian and Atlantic Oceans at one of Cape Town’s top tourist attractions, the Two Oceans Aquarium.
- Scenic Helicopter Views
This is such a fantastic activities to see the Cape Town sites, it flies around Table Mountain and continues along the front and can even include Robben Island.
Shark Cage Diving
This is not an activity that I have actually done, nor do I ever intend on doing as I am terrified of sharks but its extremely popular and I’m told its quite an amazing experience.
Parasailing and Skydiving
If you are a thrill seeker these activities are pretty amazing as you come down between Table Mountain and the seaboard. The view are unreal and so are the pictures they take for you!!
- Clifton 1st, 2nd and 4th
These are the best beaches in my opinion. They are very popular with the locals as they are sheltered from the winds of Camps Bay and not as busy.
- Camps Bay
This platinum beach is probably the most famous beach located on the Camps Bay strip, however because it is so easy to get to it can get very busy and this bay is not sheltered fro the wind – so star clear on a windy day.
- Llandudno beach
Llandudno is one of Cape Town’s most popular beaches surrounded by massive moulders and a popular surfing spot, the swimming can be rough here at times.
- The Old Biscuit Mill, Boutiques
- The V&A Waterfront, Shopping Mall
- Sea-Point Main Road, Boutiques
Where to Eat:
The quality of food and wine in South Africa is truly incredible and there are so so so many fantastic, diverse and unique restaurants in Cape Town to explore, here are some of my favourites!
- Jarryd’s, Sea Point
Breakfast / Lunch / Coffee
Jarryd’s is located in the heart of Sea Point and is a great vibey spot for a healthy and delicious breakfast or lunch.
- Fuego, Sea Point
Breakfast / Lunch / Coffee
Fuego meaning ‘fire’ in Spanish is also a colloquial way of saying ‘that’s hot’, which is quite fitting since their traditional spice and flavour is closely linked to the Latin American method of cooking serving Latin American dishes served in true New York style tacos.
- The Grand, The Waterfront
Lunch / Dinner
The Grand is an amazing venue on the beach near the Waterfront.
- The Bungalow, Clifton
Lunch / Dinner
“Cotton and Ice. Sand and sequins. Beautiful, bronzed and a little bit blasphemous – it’s the Bungalow.”
The Bungalow is a trendy, fun and stylish hot spot that is a garnered good time!
- Kloof Street House
“At the foot of Cape Town’s vibrant Kloof Street, risen from a fairy-lit garden, lies a dining oasis. Set in a magnificent Victorian house, Kloof Street House is an experience as enigmatic as it is intimate.”
Kloof Street House is more than just a restaurant, it is a collection of interesting rooms and spaces, each bursting with a character of its own. The venue is everything for every occasion – live jazz over Sunday lunch, romantic candle lit dinners in our dining rooms or cocktails under the trees in our garden.
- The Duchess of Wisbeach, Sea Point
Hip cross between a New York speakeasy and a Parisian cafe, with music and a Mediterranean menu.
- The Test Kitchen
Lunch / Dinner
The Test Kitchen serves eclectic international dish and has been voted as one of the worlds 50 best restaurants.
- Bombay Bicycle Club, Kloof Street
“Welcome to The Bombay Bicycle Club, Cape Town’s wonderfully wacky bohemian love den at the top of the hill, where everything is possible and always ensues.”
he Bombay is a representation of our colourful history and an expression of our eclectic past and the menu is a collection of al time favourites. This is a uniquely fun night out!
- The Cod Father
Lunch / Dinner
The Godfather might be a simple, casual restaurant in Camps Bay but their seafood is sensational! If you are a seafood lover – this is my favourite!
- Chef’s Warehouse and Canteen
Lunch / Dinner
Chef’s Warehouse, if you’re a professional chef, amateur cook, foodie or wine enthusiast, this restaurant is for you.
- La Colombe
It was announced today that La Colombe has been ranked 76th Best Restaurant in the World by The World’s 50 Best Restaurants.
- The Shortmarket Club
The Shortmarket Club serves modern variations of classic meals. It is a great place for food lovers and anyone with an appreciation for a stylish night out on the town!
*Note: if you are planning to visit Cape Town make sure you request restaurant reservations before you leave as they book up quite far in advance 🙂
Bars and Clubs:
- The Village idiot
The first thing I notice is one giant ostrich perched in the middle of the bar. The Village Idiot, a straight-out-of-the-box new neighbourhood restaurant and bar located on Loop Street in Cape Town’s city centre is a vibey, down to earth hotspot with great music and fantastic atmosphere.
“AN ORPHAN ALCHEMIST…leaps unto the African void, offering Orphanage Cocktail Emporium: a specialist club of artisan cocktails, elixir’s & intoxications.”
As described by The Orphanage their bar & laboratory serves cocktails, potions, champagne, superb wines, ales & virtuous tipples for those that prefer to remain pure & untainted by alcoholic liberations. Melodious musical melodies are considered an important part of the Orphanage experience and they offer a variety of performances from local musical maestro’s as well as guesting disc jockey’s from overseas and far away.
- Cafe Caprice
Cafe Caprice is a very popular local hotspot located on the boardwalk in Camps Bay overlooking the beach. Its a trendy and stylish spot for those seeking a great artisan cocktail, amazing views and good music.
- Aces and Spades, CBD
Aces and Spades is a super fun Rock n Roll bar / club in the centre of town. It’s got an old school / retro chic flair to it. It’s not too big, there is a bit of a dance floor and a few places to sit down and drink but believe me you won’t want to, the music is just too good! If you like old school tunes like me you will LOVE this spot!
- Shimmy Beach Club
Shimmy Beach Club is Cape Town’s first premier beach club and restaurant which hosts events throughout the summer season. They have a nice restaurant and lounges outside for an afternoon drink with friends. Additionally Goldfish hold a weekly gig called Submerge Sunday’s – a very popular night out in Cape Town. If your around for NYE they throw a great party too.
Stellenbosch – Wine Country:
Stellenbosch is probably the most popular university town in South Africa, surrounded by the prestigious vineyards of the Cape Winelands and the mountainous nature reserves of Jonkershoek and Simonsberg. The town’s oak-shaded streets are lined with cafes, boutiques and art galleries. Cape Dutch architecture gives a sense of South Africa’s Dutch colonial history, as do the Village Museum’s period houses and gardens. Stellenbosch is one of the biggest tourist attractions in the Western Cape and an absolute must do!
Stellenbosch is great to either go for the day exploring from Cape Town or to stay for a few days and properly discover what the area has to offer.
- La Residence
“Located in the beautiful Franschhoek Valley on a private 30-acre estate, La Residence is a tranquil haven of luxury and relaxation.”
In fact La Residence, which is part of The Royal Portfolio Group, is so luxuriously unreal that Elton John rents the entire place out for a week a year and Travel and Leisure Magazine recently named it the World’s Best 2016 Award Winner. It’s extremely private and incredibly stylish, by far my favourite place to stay in the area, if you cant stay make sure you book for dinner (your not allowed in otherwise)!
- Boschendal Vineyard
Boschendal is wonderful wine farm in Franschoek known for its award-winnig wines, farm-to-table cuisine and amazing views. This is a fantastic place for a lunch or picnic in the winelands or a weekend away.
- Babalonstouren Vinyard
Babylonstoren is one of the oldest Cape Dutch farms. Its has the most amazing botanical gardens gardens, luxury accommodation and exceptional restaurants! Exploring their mythical gardens of Babylon is incredible – you will find mazes, giant bird cages, a green house and even a cactus garden. Oh and the wine tasting is pretty magical too! I LOVE this place!
- Babel Restaurant
Babel is one of the award winning restaurants at Babylonstoren housed in an old cow shed. Its almost impossible to secure a reservation here but if you can – I would strongly recommend it!
- Delaire Graff Estate
Delaire Graff is one of the most popular destinations in Stellenbosch, their estate is breath-taking as is the art scattered around the grounds. Thier vineyards are world renowned, I would recommend having lunch at their restaurant while doing a little wine tasting.