It’s Gabi here again (find me on Instagram @g.rods), this time writing about my very own home country. If you are reading this, you must be an adventure/travel junkie just like myself; otherwise, why else would you be here to read about one of Africa’s hotspot travel destinations? This blog post will cover an epic adventure around South Africa’s capital city, Cape Town. Please keep reading to find an in-depth travel guide to Cape Town. You will learn all the deets about the land of beautiful sceneries, wine farms and local shopping at its finest.
Dearest D-Ravel Traveler,
Weather and When to Visit
Although Cape Town is situated in the southern hemisphere, known for its fantastic weather, do not be fooled by this. Since it’s a mountainous area, you can expect the weather to change rapidly throughout the day. The best season to visit for loads of sunshine and to experience a real South African summer would be through the months of December-February (high-season). This will be when most festivities around the city will be happening, and expect tourist hotspots and beaches to be packed. If you are more of a budget traveler and like to beat the crowds, I suggest going in the shoulder seasons of October-November and March-April. Accommodation and tourist attractions will be cheaper.
How to Pack
As I mentioned above, do not be fooled by the weather forecasts, cape town is famously known for being able to experience four seasons in one day. If you are visiting in the summer months (November–February), you should be safe with an 80% summer wardrobe and a couple of longs. Rather be prepared. Make sure to pack a warm jacket or two, a windbreaker or raincoat, and a couple of pairs of long jeans and long pants for the odd occasion. I suggest packing clothing that can easily be layered for the colder days and light material long pants that can easily be paired with some boots and a jacket, with a simple tee underneath when the weather gets warmer. An essential in cape town is your pair of trainers or your hiking boots for the ardent adrenaline junkies. Capetonians are known for their active lifestyle of running along beaches, trail runs and especially hiking.
Cape Town is a big city with many of the hotspot locations dotted around the province. The best and easiest thing to do is to hire a car. For budget travelers and students, you can find incredibly affordable car hire from www.rentacheapie.co.za (under $12 a day); otherwise, you can expect to pay between $50-$70 a day for car rentals. Gas prices range between $30-$40 for a full tank. Uber is another great option; you will easily get around the city reliably with Uber. If you are a frequent local transport traveler, you will also be able to use the MyCiti Bus system, a card-based system you load money onto. Check out route destinations and prices for your top-up card from www.myciti.org.za.
Although Cape Town is much safer than other cities in South Africa, you should still be careful. Be vigilant with your belongings wherever you go. Petty crimes are still a thing in Cape Town, so don’t leave your belongings unattended to and be sure to watch out for pickpocketers in large crowds, in city centers, malls, and tourist attractions.
Best Areas to Stay
Sea Point & Green Point
This is a pretty central area in Cape Town and is close to all the main tourist spots, shopping centers, markets, restaurants, and Cape Town’s waterfront. With Sea Point Beach and Signal Hill your daily views, what more could you ask for? Its famous beach promenade makes it a hotspot area to stay. Be sure to check out Airbnb’s in the area.
Camps Bay & Clifton
If you are looking for luxe, beautiful beaches, palm trees, and cocktail bars overlooking fine white sandy beaches, then this is the place to be. It’s where the who-who’s and celebrities pick to stay but do not let that put you off. It’s easy to find affordable accommodation. Check out this Airbnb, or check out The Bay Hotel.
A far way out from the city center is the glorious vineyard area of Stellenbosch. If you are looking for green fields, art, wine farms, and a more tranquil setting, then Stellies is the place for you.
If you want to splurge and stay on a quiet, tranquil wine farm, be sure to check out Babylonsteren.
The waterfront harbor is a perfect central location where you will find a hub of activities. You will discover upmarket hotels, restaurants, bars, and tourist attraction departure points within walking distance. You will love this if you enjoy ocean views and watching boats dock.
Must See Locally Owned Clothing Stores
- 1. Bo-Op
Located in the colorful area of Bo-Kaap, the store has a small but diverse selection of local goods and designer items.
- 2. Merchants on Long
This store houses a curated selection of designers from around Africa. The store itself is a must-see, as its located in a historic building on the famous Long Street.
- 3. Mungo and Jemima
Located on Long Street, V&A waterfront, and Stellenbosch, this store is all about fun and quirk. Think playful prints, bright colors, and unique jewelry pieces.
- 4. Chapel
A place to get all South African’s locally crafted leather goods. You will find their store in the trendy area of Woodstock.
- 5. Dress Me Up
Another Woodstock iconic store for sure. Full of vintage treasures and unique festival pieces for Afrika Burn.
- 6. Selfi
Minimalism at its finest. A must-see for contemporary and sustainable pieces.
- 7. Shop Collective
Shop Collective is a powerhouse store with a collection of local designers. Bespoke, edgy, and bold—this store is also situated in one of Cape Town’s trendiest streets, Kloof Street.
- 8. Freedom of Movement
Think trendy leather bags, wallets, sunglasses, and apparel—home to the iconic South African ‘Veldskoen.’
Foodie Guide to some Epic Restaurants and Café’s
In this in-depth travel guide to Cape Town you can find some incredible restaurants you won’t want to miss out on during your trip. Here are my favorite:
Moro Gelato is a vintage-inspired store housing delicious gelato. Be sure to stop by after your beach visit to Sea Point.
Bree Street Delights
- 1. The Poke Co – Healthy, Asian Bowls
- 2. Grub & Vine – Refined Bistro Style Cusine in a contemporary space
- 3. Clarke’s Bar – Fresh Juices, Sandwiches, all-day breakfast, and amazing cocktails
The Potluck Club
Trendy city vibe and a definite hot spot for the foodie and Asian food lovers, the restaurant has won various awards and put Woodstock on the map for food experts.
Tjing Tjin is the Japanese dining your tastebuds need. It also doubles up as a hot spot bar at night for great cocktails and drinks.
El Burro’s Taqueria
Tucked away in the trendy Kloof Street, you can expect authentic Mexican cuisine in an even more stylish interior decor.
Deemed the best pizza spot in Cape Town, you can find this gem in Hout Bay.
Cape to Cuba
You will step into this oasis and feel as if you have been transported straight to South America. Be sure to try out Cuban bread and their famous cocktails!
Truth Coffee Roasting
This coffee shop has a steampunk, quirky vibe inhabiting the world of pipes, old metal, and their very own gourmet home-roasted coffee.
Top Things to Do and Sights to See
Table Mountain is an iconic flat top mountain seen from almost all towns in the Cape. It is one of the new seven wonders of the world. Are you into hiking? You can hike up Table Mountain; there are six famous trails to take, where you will be taken away with the natural scenery. Not so much into fitness? Worry not, there is a cable car that runs up the mountain.
Lions Head Hike
Dotted right alongside Table Mountain is the famous Lions Head. This is a frequent activity amongst locals. If you want to get some epic photos, I suggest doing the sunrise/sunset hike and enjoy a 360 view of Cape Town. Instagramers, you can check out the full moon schedule here to capture some incredible shots of the mountain and join in on the best moon hike activities. https://hikelionshead.co.za/full-moon-hike/.
Bar Hopping on Long Street
The famous Long Street is home to some of the city’s coolest pubs and bars.
Old Biscuit Mill
This is a must-see market and shopping experience in Woodstock. A unique industrial vibe that is open six days a week. Catch the Neighbourgoods Market every Saturday, where you can enjoy food stalls, music, and local stores that Capetonians flock to.
Go Shopping or Catch a Sunset Catamaran Cruise From the V&A Waterfront.
Home to many international and local brands, you can shop to your heart is content and get a glimpse of Cape Town’s waterfront. Opt-out to take a stroll and watch ships and boats dock or book a sunset cruise along the Cape’s harbor. https://waterfrontcharters.co.za/product/sunset-champagne-cruise/
Stony Point Penguin Colony in Betty’s Bay is a place to watch and admire penguins in their natural habitat along the coastline. Betty’s bay penguin location is off the beaten track and worth the trip if you would like to enjoy the penguins without too many people/tourists compared to Boulders Beach in Simons Town. Stop off in Pringle Bay’s town for some lunch and wander the streets of this quaint town.
The WWF has identified Hermanus as one of the 12 best whale-watching destinations in the world. Head over for an afternoon drive to Hermanus to watch whales up close and enjoy a lunch at one of the nearby cafés. The best time to watch the whales is between July-November.
Experience late-night art galleries, bars, and restaurants along Kloof and Bree Street on every first Thursday night of the month. https://first-thursdays.co.za/cape-town/
Wine Tasting and Wine Farm Tours
Take a day trip out to the wine region of Stellenbosch and book a trip through https://winetram.co.za/. Be sure to check out Hidden Valley Wines for exceptional hilltop views and for their chocolate and wine pairing, and Rust en Vrede Farm in Stellenbosch for our wine connoisseurs.
Bo-Kaap and District 6 Museum
Take a historical trip through South Africa’s troubled Apartheid history and visit the District 6 Museum. While you are in town, stop off at the colorful houses of Bo-Kaap. These houses were built in the 1960s and housed slaves known as the Cape Malays. Book a tour through Cape Fusion Tours for a guided experience and cooking course of traditional Cape Malay food. https://capefusiontours.com/cape-town-cooking-tours/cape-malay-cooking-in-the-bo-kaap/.
Oranjezicht City Farm Organic Market
Enjoy organic produce and pop up stalls from local restaurants. The market is open Monday-Saturday. On Saturday you can be part of the traditional farmer’s market!
Book a day out to visit the wonders of this farm. With an abundant variety of plants and gardens, you can easily spend hours strolling along with their fields. Stop off for lunch at the Green House Restaurant on site, where dishes are made organically from the gardens. Check out their wine tasting, and shop in the locally produced Deli.
Cape of Good Hope
Cape of Good Hope is a haven for outdoor enthusiasts. It offers hiking, surfing, angling, picnicking, beaching, and cycling opportunities against the spectacular backdrop of the Cape Peninsula’s mountains and coastline. Spend a day exploring the national park for animal sightings, and be sure not to miss the picturesque Dias Beach and Lighthouse.
Learn to surf at Muizenburg Beach
Visit the famous colorful beach shacks along Muizenburg Beach or try out a surf lesson from Gary’s Surf School. https://garysurf.com/.
Stop off for lunch and try out fresh fish and chips while gasping views of the harbor from the well-known Thirsty Oyster Tavern. If you’re lucky, you might see some seals!
Gifts to Get from South Africa
Want to bring back a taste of South Africa to your friends and family unique to the country? Make sure to get Rooibos Tea, only found in South African, or a bottle of wine from one of our famous farms!
Please use this in-depth travel guide to Cape Town when planning your future trips. With this guide, I know you’ll feel confident when planning you African adventure!