Your Guide To Cape Town, South Africa
Cape Town is a melting pot of European and African culture, simmering with spices and flavors which are hard to replicate anywhere else in the world. This city has an array of delicious food, beautiful beaches, unpredictable weather (4 seasons in 1 day), numerous mixed cultures, 11 official languages, cheap priced but high quality wine, and an unbelievably recent history of apartheid. How did this city at the bottom of the globe blossom? And what to do while visiting? Let’s dive right in…
CAPE TOWN MUST DO’S:
Hike Lions Head & Table Mountain - If you aren’t in the best of physical shape, I’d start out with lion’s head for a sunrise hike (no later than 5am or else the crowds get packed along the trail). See how you feel, and if it wasn’t too strenuous, go for the Table Mountain hike! There are several routes up, ranging in length and difficulty. Additionally, you can ride up by cablecar as well.
Snorkeling with Seals - One of the GREATEST experiences I had in CT!! I went with an AMAZING company, Animal Ocean. The encounter we had with seals in their natural habitat was something I will remember for the rest of my life. These creatures are so curious and friendly and fun to play with under the water!
Cage Diving Sharks - I had a great, safe, exhilarating experience with bronze-whaler sharks, using the company Great White Project. From the taxi service, to the education, to the experience, this company was a blast to collaborate with.
Camps Bay Beaches - The beach access in Camps Bay is my favorite in CT. Although if you’re visiting in the summer time, be sure to go early in the day and avoid weekends; it gets PACKED with tourists. Try Maiden’s Cove for a more private experience.
Parapax Paragliding - So scary, but so worth it for adventure junkies. The views after running off Signal Hill and soaring into the air were unforgettable. The ocean, the plains, the CBD, waterfront, sea point, Camps Bay, and the 12 apostle mountain range were all just to die for. I felt extremely safe in the hands of highly trained professional flyers with Parapax.
Knysna Elephant Lodge - THE BEST EXPERIENCE and so worth a day trip! I stayed at the lodge where you get to sleep next to elephants. IT WAS INCREDIBLE! They are a humane company, and the elephant’s care is their top priority. I learned so much about these animals and walked away with a warm, full heart afterwards. Rent a car from Cape Town and along the way to the elephants, you can stop at the Cheetah Sanctuary too.
Whale Watching - In Hermanus (1.5-2 hour drive from CT), we dined at an outdoor restaurant placed into a cave, facing the whales at shore. Seeing them mating while enjoying a wonderful coconut rice curry was one of my highlights of the trip!
Old Biscuit Mill - Go on a Sunday for the best farmer’s market experience of your life. Cannot be topped. Food, fresh veggies, jewelry, music, organic kombucha and cocktail bars, energy, shops, etc. My personal favorite were the dumplings!!
First Thursday Art Gallery Night - The first Thursday of every month in Cape Town is art gallery night! You can drink in the streets, visit galleries one right after another and find art lovers bar hopping all night long!
Township Experiences - There are two incredible experience I would recommend any tourist to do: Langa Township which works with a community partner (children’s school), and the other is Dine With, where you eat with local families in the Township and see the community at night time.
Slave Lodge Museum - This museum was by far the most humbling and eye opening experience into some of the country’s past deplorable acts. I recommend to do it from the VERY beginning of your trip, so you can be fully aware of this history of the places you travel through in the city. For example, I worked at a Coworking space (SeedSpace) which was right across the street from the museum. I had no idea it is in front of the square where slaves were auctioned off until I visited the museum inside.
Kaskazi Kayaks - My experience kayaking with this incredible company was fantastic, and filled with tons of wildlife sightings. We saw dolphins and seals that morning, but other times you can spot whales right next to you! The management of Kaskazi Kayaks was wonderful and the staff super fun to be out on the water with.
V&A Waterfront Area - This area consisted of a marina with gorgeous boats, tons of shops, a mall, ferris wheel, etc. The perfect place for a family to go hang out with kids and see the sights. Across from it is also the large Aquarium called Two Oceans.
Hout Bay Market - If you like the hustle and bustle of crowds, go on a Sunday. If you prefer to take your time and space to walk around, go on a Saturday. This place has live music, amazing seafood (well really ALL food), handmade crafts, clothing and artesian goods.
Sunset drive on Chapman’s Peak - If you have access to a car, do the drive along Chapman’s Peak. It was arguably one of the top best sunset views I’ve seen in my entire life traveling the world. Pro tip, if you’re just going half way for the view, you get a pass and don’t have to pay the R30-40 toll fee. I recommend taking a great bottle of bubbly or wine and sit in the back of the car sipping and watching the sunset.
Bokaap Neighborhood - This neighborhood, also called “Cape Malay”, is where you’ll find many tourists, taking photos of the colorful houses. It takes less than 10 minutes to see, but there is a pretty cool Yoga studio / cafe there. Along with a traditional Malay cooking class!
Wineries: Franschhoek or Stellenbosch both have numerous wineries to visit. My favorite was Le Petit Ferme, in Franschhoek, which was a Dr Seuss-like utopia. Perhaps one of the most perfect places on the planet. With it’s geographical beauty, fine wine, excellent service and overall experience.
Coworking Space - If you need to get any work done from a productive environment while in CT, you CANNOT go wrong with Work&Co. This place is run by a young, hip, female entrepreneur with a creative eye and master mind in design. The set up is amazing, housing teams from companies like Airbnb! They additionally have a van you can take anywhere to work from, a little “wifi hub” to drive right on to the beach if you’re keen.
Safari - If you’re lucky enough to find a safari experience, go for it. These require some planning, and finding the right group to go with. I unfortunately couldn’t afford one of these experiences just yet, so I don’t have recommendations on which tour groups to go with! Do your research, and go if you can. It’s sad, but most of the animals you will see in their natural wild habitat, might not be around in 50-100 years from now.
Mama Africa - Whilst this restaurant is a tad touristy, the food is undeniably scrumptious.
Bootleggers - Basically the equivalent to an American’s Keke’s… but WAY more hipster and cute! Amazing poached eggs with truffle oil and the honey nut late is a game changer!
Umi - Order the udon butter noodles, sushi roses or truffle rice pot… Just do it. You’ll thank me later!
Pot Luck Club - This joint is at top of the mill house in ambiance and cocktails were great, but they’re known for their meat dishes
Eat braii style! Braii is like typical asado or barbeque meat. Try these top two restaurant recommendations for meat eaters, aMadoda and Mzoli’s.
Tribe Coffee Roasters - Never have I EVER learned so much about coffee in a holistic experience. This adorable cafe is perfect to work from. Say hi to the owner Jake and ask him about roasting!
Truth Coffee - This steampunk, grind and gears themed restaurant and coffee house was to die for. They know how to make a killer avo toast, paired with drip coffee options from around the continent!
The Drinkery - This art gallery converted into a bar has a loft or sleepover fort like feeling, one can only experience for themselves.
The Gin Bar - Need I say more? Tons of gin craft cocktails for great prices!
At first, I had no expectations for this city. I knew it’d be beautiful and full of blended races, but that was it. What I walked away from were new eyes to colonialism, culture, and soulfully impactful beauty from the southern hemisphere.
It’s been said by many that Cape Town is somewhere you just don’t want to leave from. And it’s 100% true. I can see myself living in the city for a very long time, because it has everything you need. Nature, art, great food, cheap wine, beaches, mountains, a metropolitan city, etc.
Enjoy your trip to Cape Town, South Africa my friends... I genuinely know you won’t be disappointed! You’ll be wining, dining, and traveling like a local Capetonian with these tips, so much so that you might even catch yourself adding “howzit bru!” to your slang…
Stay on the look out for my Cape Town VLOG, coming to YouTube this month! Subscribe to Typsy Soul on YouTube so you don’t miss out on footage of these amazing activities and this incredible city.