Known as the ‘Mother City’, Cape Town will wrap its loving arms around you and make it hard to for you to leave. It certainly had that effect on me. Table Mountain, wine farms, pristine beaches, live music shows and braiis…
If you’re thinking of visiting, here are 10 top things to see and do in Cape Town:
1) Get a Glimpse of Table Mountain
Arguably the most famous mountain in South Africa, Table Mountain provides a spectacular backdrop for the city. Take a Cable Car ride to the peak, or view the mountain from the road or on foot. I was fascinated by the blanket of clouds that lingered above the mountain and soon found out about the legend behind it. There’s an old tale that a Dutch pirate called Jan Van Hunks lived in the mountains and regularly smoked from a pipe. One day, he was challenged to a smoking contest by the Devil and when the Devil lost, they both vanished, only leaving the trail of smoke behind. Each summer, when the wind blows and the ‘table cloth’ of clouds stay over Table Mountain, it is believed that the Devil and Van Hunks are having another duel.
2) Go Penguin Spotting at Boulders Beach
Lovers of all things small and fluffy – get ready to squeal in delight (well that’s what I did anyway)! Boulders Beach near Simon’s Town is home to a colony of African penguins. Around 3000 of these adorable birds huddle together on the beach and swim in the sea. They say that once a penguin finds its mate, they stay together for life – a true tale of romance. You can take a walk along a boardwalk until you are metres away from your new fluffy friends.
3) Go Wine Tasting at Constantia Glen
Sunshine, cold meats, cheese, wine and spectacular views – does a better combination exist? Cape Town is known for its top quality wine and during my trip, I visited South Africa’s oldest wine production region (dating back to 1685) - Constantia. At Constantia Glen, we enjoyed a tasting menu of 6 different types of wine accompanied by biltong, cheese, salami, ham, pickles and fresh bread.
4) The Braii Experience
The Afrikaans word ‘braii’ means ‘to grill’ and a visit to South Africa wouldn’t be the same without an authentic braii experience. I was lucky enough to visit a friend’s family home for a Sunday braii feast. Roast pork covered with rosemary and spices, succulent steak, potatoes and salad. UK BBQs will never be able to compete…
5) Live Music
One thing I particularly loved about my Cape Town experience was the live music. Whether it was in local bars or pop up festivals – the music scene was incredible. Three of my favourite acts were The Shabeen, Jon Shaban and The City (pictured below).
6) Catch a magnificent sunset at Sea Point Promenade
Sunset and seafood at Sea Point..how could I refuse an offer like that? Sea Point is a beautiful sea-side suburb of Cape Town and the perfect spot to go for an evening walk. Be sure to have sundowners (a drink at sunset) at Harveys at Winchester Mansions – a gorgeous beachfront boutique hotel.
7) Go to Hout Bay Bay Harbour Sunday Market
When it comes to shopping – I can’t get enough of it, especially market hopping! Hout Bay is THE PLACE to come on a Sunday. The market in an old fish factory is home to food stands (try the rooibos red cappucino, the waffles and billtong), live music, handmade clothing, art, wood carvings, recycled goods and ornaments - you’ll never be short of things to buy.
8) Go For a Hike
Capetonians are self-professed nature lovers and everywhere you look there’s someone sprinting, cycling or hiking. While I was there, I went for an epic hike in Newlands Forest. Picture-perfect views of Table Mountain and the ideal opportunity to appreciate nature.
9) Souvenir Shopping at The V&A Waterfront
If you want to get your souvenir fix, go on a ferris wheel, take a boat ride or have a delicious lunch – Victoria Wharf in the Waterfront is the place to visit. There are also historical walking tours, an art museum and plenty to do around the marina.
10) Beautiful Beaches
Cape Town is blessed with some of the most beautiful beaches in the world. Be sure to check out Clifton and Camps Bay (some of the most expensive areas of Cape Town) and if you’re in to surfing (or perhaps getting a glimpse of a surfer or two), you’ll love Llandudno.
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