What to experience in and around Cape Town

What to experience in and around Cape Town

Cape Town knows how to charm its visitors. Nowhere else I have seen breathtakingly beautiful nature like here: the ocean, the beach surrounded by majestic cliffs and the rich vegetation.

I have only heard good things about this place by my colleagues, everyone I spoke to absolutely loved it.

On my first visit it was rainy, windy and freezing cold. I still was impressed by its cultural diversity, the great cuisine but it took another visit until I really fell in love with Cape Town.

The sun was out for the entire three days we were there and everywhere we went we were spoiled by a stunning scenery in contrast to the blue sky.

To get a real taste of Cape Town you should stay at least 3 to 4 days, but honestly there is so much to do that you won’t get bored in two weeks or even in a lifetime.

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So what should you put on your to do/to see list?

Climbing up Lion’s Head

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When you are visiting Cape Town you should make the time to at least visit either the Table Mountain or Lion’s Head. The top of Table Mountain can be either hiked or reached by cable car while Lion’s Head can only be reached by foot.

I am putting this point first as it was among my most memorable experiences. We met up early in the morning in our workout gear and before we started our hike we picked up some snacks and drinks at a nearby supermarket. Our plan was to enjoy a picnic and the great view once we reached the top.

The beginning of the hike was easy, but as we continued it got more steep and a little bit more difficult. At some point you need to climb a bit, so I recommend you bringing a rucksack packed only with necessities. After an hour we reached the top and were blown away by the view. It was a clear day, so we were lucky to see the twelve apostles, the coastline with Clifton Beaches and Camps Bay and even Robben Island in the distance.

Hiking up for sunrise and sunset is very popular, but I would only recommend going in a group and with torches or head lights as it is a difficult hike.

 

Beach Time at Clifton Beach and Camps Bay

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On a nice day the locals love to hit the beach after work for a game of volley ball, surfing or for some relaxing. Cape Town has many beautiful beaches with Camps Bay and the four Clifton Beaches being the most popular spots. Even though the weather is warm you won’t find many people swimming in the sea as the water is freezing cold.

I recommend you to stay for a while and watch the sunset at Camps Bay.

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Indulging in great food

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Cape Town is a foodies paradise. Here you will be able to eat well for very little money. As the South African Rand is really weak at the moment you will be able to get a steak and a bottle of wine in a nice restaurant for often less than 20 Euros.

I want to share with you some of my favorite spots to eat out in Cape Town:

  • The Rumbullion: This restaurant is part of The Roundhouse restaurant situated on a hill above Camps Bay.
  • The Bungalow: You will find this restaurant between Camps Bay and Clifton. Come here for a sunset drink and stay for dinner in a beautiful outdoor setting. The food was great, though a little bit more pricey than usual. However I don’t mind paying a little bit extra for the location.
  • Kloof Street House: as the name already gives away, this restaurant is located on Kloof Street. It is a very cozy place and you can either eat in the beautifully decorated inside area or outside in their garden.

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Hout Bay for seal watching and fresh sea food

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Only a 20 minutes drive down the Cape you reach Hout Bay. The Hout Bay harbor is a popular tourist attraction and therefore also a stop along the Sightseeing bus route. It includes a yacht a marina, a fishing fleet (and factories), a craft market, Mariners Wharf (apparently this is the place where you will get the best lobster in the city) and a couple of fish and chip restaurants.

Hop-on, hop-off Bus Tour

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In my opinion the sightseeing bus there is one of the best ways to see Cape Town. Jump on the Peninsula or City tour and get out whenever you like. Make a stop at the botanical garden Kirstenbosch, try some wine at Groot Constantia, join a tour of the township Imizamo Yethu and stop at Camps Bay for some beach time.

What I like about this tour is that it gives you the freedom of exploring the beauty of Cape Town at your own speed and you don’t need to get a taxi, public transport or worry about parking your car somewhere. This tour is 170 Rand for a day, or 270 Rand for two days- great value for the money you pay. When purchasing a two day ticket you will additionally be able to join their harbor boat tour and sunset tour free of charge.

Rent a car and go on a road trip

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Grab some friends, jump in a car and turn up the music. Its time for a road trip. The area of Cape Town and beyond has some beautiful, little corners that are just waiting to get discovered. Below are some of my recommendations what to include. We did all the stops in one day, though in two days it would be more relaxed.

  • Muitzenberg 

This laid-back beach town is situated along False Bay and is a very popular surf location among the young crowd. Along the beach promenade you will find a lot of surf schools, shops and little cafés. I don’t surf but I loved to come here to watch them ride the big waves and to take photos of the colorful Victorian Beach Houses.

  • Simonstown

Simonstown is an important naval base and harbor located on the shores of False Bay. You will pass it on the way from Muitzenberg to Boulders Beach and if you have the time make a quick stop and go for a stroll and get a bite to eat.

  • Meet the penguins at Boulder’s Beach

Everyone loves penguins, right? Here at Boulders Bay you have the chance the rare chance to visit the African penguins. Two breeding pairs settled here in 1982 and today it has grown to a penguin colony with up to 3000 birds.

  • Cape of Good Hope 

This is on the must-do lists for most first time visitors. Even though I want to tell you the little treasures and the hidden places I would suggest you to pay this beautiful places a visit. Cape of Good Hope is located at the southern tip of the Cape Peninsula and was once a very important point for sailors.

I was so impressed by the diverse nature, ranging from rocky mountains to beaches to the open sea. It is also home to a lot of different species of birds and we were lucky to spot a family of ostriches.

  • Chapman’s Peak Drive

Probably one of the most scenic coastal drives in the world, Chapman’s Peak Drive winds its way from Noordhoek down to Hout Bay. This is a popular route to drive, hike, run or cycle and along the way you will have the mountains on one side and the sea on the other.

Boo Kap

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This multicultural area is know for its colorful and bright houses. Grab your camera and go for a walk in the Malay Quarter. If you want to get to know more about the history of this area you should go on a guided tour or join a Malay cooking class.

Woodstock

As the name already gives away this is a neighborhood for the young and creative. It is home to many artists and start-up companies who settled here because of the relatively cheap rent. Here you will find a lot of street art, nice galleries and small shops. Plan a visit to the Old Biscuit Mill on Saturdays, the atmosphere is just so lovely. Here visitor can enjoy local produces and organic food.

V&A Waterfront

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Along the waterfront promenade you will find many cute shops, cafés and restaurants. It is a great place to go for a stroll and enjoy a sunny day in Cape Town.

From here you can also go on a harbor cruise, a boat will take you through the harbor and if you are lucky you might even spot some seals. Around sunset you can join their champagner cruises also.

Wine Tasting

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South Africa is famous for their wines. The wines from the Stellenbosch and Franschoek area are world famous. When visiting you shouldn’t miss a visit to one of the wine estates in the area. Stellenbosch represents over 200 grape and wine producers alone, so if you want to drink your way through all of them you will probably be quite busy.

We spent one day going on a wine tour visiting some of the wine estates close to Cape Town, among my favorites was Delaire Graff Wine Estate, Clouds Estate and De Grendel, from where you have a gorgeous view of the Table Mountain and Lion’s Head.

Often you can taste a variety of different wines for a small sum, order a snack platter or some warm dishes and at the end of the wine tasting you will have the chance to take your favorite wines home if you like.

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My Highlight: A flight in a helicopter above Cape Town

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The best way of seeing Cape Town is from above, thats when you will be able to see Cape Town in all its glory. Take off is usually at the V&A Waterfront, from there you fly above the stadium, past Signal Hill, Lion’s Head and Table Mountain and along the coast past Clifton and Camps Bay. I went on a 20 minute flight with NAC Helicopters and loved every second of it. I was literally glued to the window and

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