There are tourist traps. Those horribly commercial, expensive outings that locals scoff at while running off to their favourite secret gems. Cape Town and the surrounding winelands definitely has a fair share of these. But then there are those touristy outings that are so good, even the Capetonians love them.
So will you be visiting the city? Here are a couple of musts for your trip.
1. Spend a day at the V&A Waterfront
The Waterfront has expanded a lot in the last couple of years and has become a proper destination in its own right. Unless you’re keen on some retail therapy, you can actually skip the main mall and spend your time browsing the extensions like the Watershed, Market on the Warf, and Silo District. These are also packed with beautiful local produce and designer items that speak to the heart of the city.
2. Visit Zeitz MOCAA
The Zeitz Museum of Modern Contemporary Art Africa is housed inside an old grain silo (thus the name of the Silo District) and features a impressive selection of 21st century art from Africa spread over 9 floors. The interior alone is worth seeing, carved out of 33 meter concrete tubes. The effect is like being inside an alien space craft, both magnificent and haunting.
3. See the sun rise from Lion’s Head
There’s a reason why Lion’s Head is such a popular hike. It is a quick if perhaps challenging up and down, and you have the most magnificent views of the the city from the top. I would recommend starting your climb before sunrise so that you’re on the head when the golden light hits – you’ll probably need about an hour to the top if you’re not taking the chains (shortcut). This time of day is also much quieter – by sunrise it can be a bit of a traffic jam.
4. Catch the sunset on Signal Hill
This is another one of my personal favourites. Head up to Signal Hill at late afternoon with a few snacks and watch the sun dip into the water. It is such a cool vibe, with locals enjoying the outdoors and marveling at the paragliders who launch from this point. If you’re keen for a run, there is also a nice little trail from the top of Signal Hill to the base of Lion’s Head and then back up the hill, which is around 5km.
5. Hike Table Mountain
Yes, you’ll notice that a lot of Cape Town life happens in the mountains. There are plenty of routes that will take you to the top, ranging from moderate to difficult. I like to start at Kirstenbosch Gardens (that way you can see this local attraction as well) and then take the cable cart down (another tick on the Cape Town bucket list). You can get a good guide to the Table Mountain routes with safety tips HERE.
6. Attend a summer concert in Kirstenbosch
From November till early April you can catch top South African musicians and international acts playing in the beautiful botanical gardens, with Table Mountain in the background. It is a annual highlight for locals and visitors, so make sure you book your tickets nice and early.
7. Go to the Oranjezicht City Farmers Market at Granger Bay
If you follow me regularly then you’ll know this is one of my favourite things to do in Cape Town. The Market is held every Saturday from 9am till 2pm where you can buy incredible produce from local farmers and artisanal food producers. You can stock up on fresh fruit and veg, meat, cheese, preserves, pantry staples and so much more, or you can simply grab a bite at one of the many food stands. I recommend you go nice and early (like 08:30) to get ahead of the rush.
For more details, head over HERE.
8. Stroll on the Sea Point Promenade
strollers or people who are simply keen to hang out next to the ocean and enjoy some fresh air. You can meander all the way from the Public Swimming Pool in Green Point (another cool outing, by the way), grab some soft serve on route, and keep going till you feel like turning around. I recommend going around sunset for some spectacular Instagram shots.
9. Head out for some winetasting
The Western Cape is wine country so it’s a sin to leave without heading out for a few tastings. On Constantia side I love Beau Constantia. The wine, views and food there is mind blowing. In the Durbanville I can vouch for Diemersdal. Stellenbosch has so many to choose from, but I particularly like Mooiplaas, Kanonkop, Simonsig and Delaire Graff. In the Somerset West regions you’ll find Blaauwklippen, Cavalli, Idiom, Ken Forrester and Waterkloof. And in Franschhoek there’s Babylonstoren, Anthonij Rupert and L’Ormarins, Black Elephant Vintners, Maison and Mullineux to name a few.
10. Visit Simon’s Town, Kalk Bay & Hout Bay
Boulders Penguin Colony in Simon’s Town is home to a colony of endangered African Penguin, one of only a few in the world. While you’re in the area, it’s also worth visiting Kalk Bay, a quaint seaside town where you can scout out top fish and chips spots. If you don’t feel like driving so far out, it’s also worth visiting Hout Bay.
Anything you’d like to add? Pop your recommendations down below and let’s help visitors see the best side of our city.