Thinking back of all the travel destinations we have been to, we realized our trip to Cape Town South Africa in late 2012 was the best so far. We decided to go back to see if we just had “lower expectations” when we were younger or if it is still one of our favorites. I will let you know at the end of this blog post.
As my boyfriend grew up in South Africa he already knew “the rules” of daily life and he was aware of a few things. Our parents were a little bit worried and gave us a piece of advise to stay safe. South Africa is beautiful and has lots of diversity but due to its history and the huge gap between poor and rich, we had to be aware of a few things:
- Lock the doors while driving and never leave anything in the car – not even a water bottle. Hide it and if you have camera gear or other things of value leave it in the trunk. Smash-and-grab is very common.
- Avoid taking hitchhiker with you.
- As everywhere else, but I have to mention it: avoid evening strolls. Rather grab a Taxi or an Uber to commute from A to B.
- If you pay in restaurants with your Credit Card, never give your Card out of hand. Ask if the waiter can bring the payment machine to the table to avoid Credit Card fraud.
- If you are in a low frequented area at night, avoid stopping at Stop Signs or Traffic Lights. Approach the crossing slowly instead and if it is safe, pass the crossing in a low pace.
- It maybe fascinating to see Baboons crossing the street but make sure to stay in your car with closed windows. They can be very nasty 😀
- There are a lot of poor people asking for money. It may sound hard, but don’t give money (there could be a miss-use). Rather than that donate to one of the Institutions to help them preventing poverty.
Please don’t get me wrong on this. It’s also advised by locals so rather safe than sorry 🙂
Rent a car to explore the surroundings
Cape Town and its surroundings are super beautiful – renting a car here is highly recommended! When we were in Cape Town for the first time in 2012, we did the whole tourist exploring. You will find inspirations on the Tourism Blog capetown.travel or the Cape Town Magazine Magazine (also available in German). This time we chose to do a more relaxed holiday and explore more “local-like” and indulge Cape Towns Foodie scene 😀
Therefore we decided to stay in 3 neighborhoods. I went into details in my Blogpost “Where to stay“. Best decision ever!
CAPE TOWN MUSTS
Table Mountain is part of Cape Town as Big Ben is of London, as Eiffel Tower is of Paris or the Statue of Liberty of New York. I would say it’s one of the most visited spots in Cape Town. There are two ways to go up: via foot by hiking or with the cable car. We tried to take the cable car 3 times and it was closed due to high demand (first sunny days in a long time and waiting time of 4 hours). Before you go to the aerial cable way station, make sure you have good weather conditions and visit their website tablemountain.net to see what the waiting time is. Make sure to bring warm clothes. The temperature difference is huge as it gets very windy on the Top.
If you watched our Cape Town Vlogs, you will definitely remember the part where we hiked to Lions Head. To be honest, I like Lions Head more than Table Mountain – it has more charme 🙂 The best spot to start your hiking is at here. Make sure you go to the restroom before going up as there is nothing than nature up there 😀 Also bring enough water as the path can be a bit strenuous (depending on which route you choose).
Day Trip to Chapman’s Peak, Cape of Good Hope, Boulders Beach
Ever wondered what it is like to drive along one of the most beautiful roads on earth? Then this one-day trip is a Must. Get a car and start your trip from Cape Town in the morning, drive along the beach to Hout Bay. Proceed to the Chapman’s Peak Drive (bring some cash with you as this is a toll route). Be prepared to see a stunning beach in Noordhoek. Go all the way down to Cape of Good Hope and stop where ever you can to enjoy the beautiful views you will get by driving there. The Cape of Good Hope is a National Park so there is a small (and fair) entrance fee. Be aware of Baboons and don’t open the window for them – they are cheeky.
On your way back
stop by in Simon’s Town and go to Boulders Beach. This is an area where you will see over 2.000 penguins chilling at the beach.
In case you get hungry, stop by at Harbour House in Kalkbay and try their amazing seafood platter (it’s enough if you order the platter for one person to share). If you are not too tired go ahead and have a surf lesson in Muizenberg 🙂
Visit Neighbourgoods Market at Old Bisquit Mill
There are plenty of beautiful markets in and around Cape Town. I wanted to visit the Neighbourgoods Market because I heard it’s a Cape-Town-Must. And indeed: amazing vendors, super delicious food on every corner and good vibes.
It’s the best opportunity to support local designers, producers and to give back to the community. I got a dress and a handbag from the local brand KOKOMO and I love it! It’s so unique and I got a lot compliments. Price/value is very good for these artisanal/handcrafted pieces.
Recommendations by Locals and other Cape Town Lovers
I asked on my Instagram page for recommendations and these are the results:
@chocolate_fudgemoon: Bakoven Beach
@emmi_katriina: Cape Point and African penguins on Boulders Beach
@runningblazefitness: Eden on the big Bay
@thomasvolker: Best sunsets from Blouberg Beach
@marc_domancie: Wine Tours, hiking in Cape Town and surrounding + Llandudno Beach for surfing
@gadijagordon: Melkbosstrand – best view of Table Mountain and taking a walk on Silvermine Mountain
@zensalodge: Scarborough and Cape Point
CAPE TOWN COFFEESHOPS
As baristas and coffeeshop owners in Austria and Miami, you can imagine how “sensitive” we are when it comes to coffee. Having good coffee is one of the most important things for us – even during our holidays. But I guess I’m not the only one who loves good coffee 😀 We never really had “bad” coffee which shows how established the Third Wave Coffee movement already is in Cape Town.
My top tree Coffeeshops
A small and cosy coffeeshop which offers organic coffeebeans. The team is absolutely devoted to sourcing and serving the very best coffee and you will definitely not be disappointed.
You probably saw Truth Coffee somewhere on the Internet because their branding is kind of unique. Once you enter their main location on … you feel like you got thrown back into time as the whole design is dedicated to the Victorian times and very industrial.
Origin Coffee Roasters
We had Origin Coffee at the Neighbourgoods Market and at V&A Waterfront and its quality is very reliable and constant.
But as mentioned, we had wonderful coffee everywhere – you can’t go wrong with coffee in Cape Town. Have a look at all coffeeshops we visited in Cape Town on the bottom of this blogpost.
CAPE TOWN RESTAURANTS
Seriously, Cape Town is a foodie heaven and it offers an incredible quality when it comes to food and wine. Due to the low exchange rate of the South African Rand, we were able to enjoy high end cuisine for very little money.
If I would have to break it down to a few restaurants, I would go for the best experiences I had.
My top Tree Restaurants
La Colombe is situated between the vineyards in Constantia and is one of the best experiences I ever had! Incredible menu and every dish a pleasure for eyes and your tummy 😉
The Pot Luck Club
This is tapas style restaurant on a high level and beautiful compositions of ingredients. Innovative cuisine served in a relaxed but edgy environment.
The Shortmarket Club
The Shortmarket Club belongs to the same owner as the Pot Luck Club and Test Kitchen. The Test Kitchen was rated as one of the top restaurants worldwide but unfortunately it was closed when we were in Cape Town. The Shortmarket Club describes itself as opulent old-world-feel, many of the dishes are modern interpretations of classics – couldn’t agree more.
LAST BUT NOT LEAST
If you are planning a trip to Cape Town, take your time (10-14 days) and make sure you include either a roadtrip on the world famous Garden Route or take a trip to Krugerpark. The safari tour was one of my top lifetime experiences!
TO SUM IT UP
Cape Town should be on everybody’s travel list. It offers so much diversity and its beauty leaves you speechless.
I realized there are a few cities in the world that offer so much more and are worth visiting many times. Once you have seen all attractions, you are getting to know the cities vibe and you get a better cultural understanding. Cape Town, it was a pleasure! See you soon! Meanwhile, I am looking forward for my reader’s recommendations on hidden gems and must-see spots. Feel free to comment below 🙂
PS: if you haven’t watched it yet, have a look at our Cape Town Vlogs