Cape Town is a gorgeous city that offers so much to travelers that visit each year. Below are our favorite experiences in and around this incredible metro. This part of the world truly is a wonderland of beauty and experiences not to be missed
Typically 3-4 wine estates are about the most you can visit in a day depending on a) if you have a driver and b) what time you start wine tasting. After about the fourth wine estate, one usually can’t appreciate the sophistication of true wine tasting, if you know what I mean.
Durbanville Hills and Constantia are the closest to downtown Cape Town if you have a short stay in the city. They both provide quality wines and picturesque estates. However, if you have an extra day or so, we recommend visiting the Stellenbosch and Franschhoek area, which are the more well-known regions for South African wines and are quite popular with locals and tourists alike. Each offer their own quaint town center with shops and restaurants and again, if you have the time, are a must see. Both of these areas are about a 45-60 minute drive from Cape Town. As a couple that have visited 32 different wine estates throughout the Western Cape, and being wine lovers, we would recommend staying a night or two in or around these areas so you can make the most of your experience.
Insider Tip: Another wine region which offers free wine tasting and gorgeous wine estates is the Robertson wine region which is about an hour and 45 minutes from Cape Town, and approximately 40 minutes from Franschhoek. If you are planning on driving the Garden Route, this would be a great option to visit.
2) Sunset from Table Mountain:
Take the cable car up around 4pm with a bottle of your favorite wine, crackers and cheese, and don’t forget a warm jacket, as the temperature drops quickly once the sun sets. If you don’t have time to take your own refreshments, you can also purchase food and drink from the restaurant atop the mountain, at a premium of course. Be sure to assess the weather before going to visit Table Mountain as it is known to change in a matter of minutes/hours. The last cable car down departs between 8-9pm depending on what time of year you go, so be sure to ask before venturing too far from the terminal at the top!
Insider Tip: If going to the top of the mountain for the sunset, once you’ve taken in the city and bay views, quickly head to the west side of the mountain to claim your ‘perfect’ place to sit and enjoy the sunset.
3) A Day Trip Around Cape Point and Chapman’s Peak Drive:
Depending where you are staying in Cape Town, you can access this drive from either city center or the V&A Waterfront, driving in either direction. Plan for this adventure to take a whole day. By following the directions below, the trip will put you on the coastal side of the road (remember, they drive on the left side in South Africa). This route is a must see no matter what way you go around, but for us being able to stop on the coastal side of the road gives you a whole lot more photo opportunities, as well as safer entry back onto the roadway.
From the city, you will pass Rhodes memorial, and travel through the beautiful Constantia wine region, and then up the Silvermine Pass to cut down into Simon’s Town. We recommend having lunch in Simon’s Town or if you are interested in seeing JackAss Penguins, just beyond the town. (There is also a restaurant at the entrance of the Penguin Colony.) From there you’ll drive to Cape Point where you can stop to take the funicular up to the lighthouse and then take the 30-45 minute hike down to the old lighthouse for spectacular views of the coastline. From Cape Point, drive to Scarborough and Camel Rock along this untouched, gorgeous coastline to Kommetjie. From here, you’ll make your way to the infamous Chapman’s Peak Drive with amazing views of Long Beach from high above. From here you’ll drive through Hout Bay where we recommend stopping off to enjoy a snack of pan fried calamari and a cold refreshment at the Chapman’s Peak Hotel. After Hout Bay, you’ll continue past the Twelve Apostles, Camps Bay and then back towards the V&A Waterfront or city center.
Insider Tip: Depending on where you are on the drive around sunset, we recommend pulling off at one of the viewing areas along Chapman’s Peak Drive or at the Llandudno beach to enjoy the sunset. If you have a Designated Driver, consider packing a bottle of wine for sundowners to celebrate the experience of this incredible drive.
4) Langebaan’s Shark Bay Lagoon:
Located just an hour and half north of Cape Town is the quaint beach town of Langebaan. This town is a great getaway for watersport fanatics and nature lovers (West Coast National Park). Just outside of town is a picturesque blue lagoon that provides visitors clear blue warm waters.
We would recommend a two night stay in this area. There are countless self catering units available for rent. The views of the West Coast from the National park are spectacular and worth having a “braai” or bbq near the beach. The park is also known for its spring flower season (August/September) when the wild flowers are in bloom.
Insider Tip: If you are interested in learning the sport of Kiteboarding (also known as Kitesurfing) Langebann is the place to do it! There are numerous Kiteboarding schools in town that take students to the shallow, sandy bottom lagoon for an easier beginner experience.
5) View Table Mountain from Bloubergstrand:
Bloubergstrand, know to locals as Blouberg, is a very up and coming area with great restaurants, bars, sunsets and views of Table Mountain. There are countless places along the beach here to capture award worthy photos of Table Mountain and unobstructed sunsets over Robin Island.
Known for the constant blowing winds, this area is renowned as a destination for Kiteboarders. Spending an afternoon watching the hundreds of experienced and talented Kiteboarders up and down the beach on a windy day is simply captivating. Traffic to Blouberg can be hectic rush hours but the drive is well worth it. Alternatively, there is public transportation to this area from Cape Town.
Staying in Blouberg is a great option as public transportation provides access into the city center, however a car is recommended if you want to explore more of the surrounding areas. Taking long walks on the white sand beach is great for some exercise, as well as taking in the views of Table Mountain and Robin Island.
Insider Tip: There are many bars and restaurants in “Big Bay” (at the northern end of Blouberg) where you can have a nice meal, drinks and enjoy a festive environment with views of the lovely sunsets over the Atlantic Ocean.
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6) Eat Your Heart Out
You may be surprised to learn that Cape Town is home to some of the world’s best gastronomy. The Test Kitchen, recently lauded as one of the World’s Best Restaurants by San Pellegrino, is the city’s most exclusive restaurant. Call in advance to try and snag reservations. Chef Luke Dale-Roberts’ tasting menu won’t disappoint. The trendy Pot Luck Club (and sister restaurant to Test Kitchen) is located on the top floor of the Silo at the Old Biscuit Mill in Woodstock, and its small plates will make your taste buds dance. Indulge in bistro classics with an updated twist at Bistro BizercaSignal serves up contemporary Cape Town cuisine in a warm and inviting environment. For delectable cupcakes, pies and petit-fours, visit Charly’sBakery. And it’s worth a trip out to wine country just to visit The TastingRoom, consistently ranked as one of the best restaurants in the world.
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