Exploring Cape Town, South Africa

Cape Town is one of the most beautiful cities to visit. It is also one of South Africa’s most popular and vibrant cities and attracts tourists and travelers alike. Cape Town offers plenty  in terms of scenic views, the waterfront, majestic sights and exquisite food. If I had to pick my very favourite city in South Africa, I’d have to choose Cape Town solely because there is plenty to do and keep yourself occupied and its so pretty it just seem very unlike a commercial city. I spent about three days in Cape Town and I think I fell in love. I wasn’t able to experience everything in fact the next time I visit I’m going to spend an extra couple of days covering the things I missed. However I did enjoy a fair amount to be able to give you a quick round up of some of the things I think you shouldn’t miss when you visit this stunning city.

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Table Mountain – when I think of Capetown, the very first thing I associate with it is Table Mountain. It’s hard not to when you get a glimpse of this majestic mountain from various spots in the city even as you’re just driving past. The drive up to the mountain is wonderful and once you reach you could actually hike up right till the top or like everyone else take the cable car ride which is another lovely experience. Once you reach the top the view from the mountain is spectacular and you can spend a great deal of time walking about and getting some lovely photos from different spots. It isn’t like a mountain with just one peak, there is actually plenty of space and the best times to visit have to be the evening before sunset.

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What is another incredible experience and one that was personally special is the drive back down towards the beach. You drive down with the mountain on one side and the view of the beach on the other while the sun sets for the day. South African sunsets are magical and the entire sky along with Table Mountain in the background is bursting with colour.

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V&A Waterfront – The waterfront is a great place to visit and explore. The area is full of shops, cafes, restaurants and bustling with people. Some restaurants are strategically located with a lovely view of the waterfront and there is even a mall with plenty more shops. It is also from here where you can take a boat out on the water or catch the ferry to Robben Island. Often you’ll find street performers dancing or singing and the entire atmosphere is buzzing and full of life! It really is the heart of Cape Town’s harbour and you’ll also get another great view of Table Mountain.

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Chapman’s Peak Drive –  People always talk about how stunning the Garden Route in Cape Town is but sadly it is one of the things I couldn’t experience on my trip. I did however manage the Chapman’s Peak Drive which is almost a 15 kilometer stretch and full of more breathtaking views. You can stop at many points along the way and take more photographs. If you’re looking for a more outdoorsy adventure you could even cycle there but it definitely a drive you should try and squeeze into your trip.

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Old Biscuit Mill – I really enjoyed myself here. While I thought it was just a funky name, it really is an Old Biscuit Mill that is out of commission. No more a factory but its turned into a very trendy spot that hosts markets and events all year round. The most popular is the Neighbour Goods Market that is held every Saturday and full of wonderful designers, specialty traders, craftsman, local farmers, organic merchants, cheese mongers, artisinal producers, butchers, budding chefs and a whole lot of talented folks. There’s usually a band playing or local musicians and just plenty of shops and incredible food stalls. It is a great way to spend a Saturday morning and afternoon and the vibe is infectious.

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Gold Restaurant – This is a restaurant that focuses on ensuring you have a great meal and you’re well entertained. Gold is a lovely restaurant that is a great initiation to African food. It includes dishes from all over the continent and while you’re enjoying your dinner there is live entertainment with singers and dancers and you really can’t help but get up and join them! The meal here is a 10 course fixed meal ( possibly more courses ) and worth visiting for something completely different.

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Wine Country –  South Africa is home to many fantastic things and good wine is one of them. The heart of their wine region is about an hour or so away from the main city and regions like Stellenbosch or Franschoek are famous for their incredible wines. you can spend the day exploring the small towns or by taking tours of the many wineries enjoying plenty of wine tasting and even paired meals.

SA wines

SA wine

Bo Kaap – This is an area in Cape Town that was earlier called the Malay Quarters.What is interesting is that the residents today are decedents of slaves that the Dutch brought in from Sri Lanka, Africa, India, Malaysia and Indonesia. Despite not all of them being Malaysian they were called Cape Malays.  It’s a multi cultural area ( largely a Muslim community and have their own mosque ) with brightly coloured houses which have now become quite famous. It’s a great place to take a stroll, pose against these bright colouful houses or even pop in and take a private cooking class.

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Sunset Champagne Cruise – One of my most memorable experiences in Cape Town was taking a private Yacht out into the sea and enjoying a gorgeous sunset and watching the shoreline. The V&A Waterfront has plenty of boats docked in the harbour and lots of ferries that take visitors to and from Robben Island ( where Nelson Mandela stayed  for 18 out of his 27 years in prison). I did not visit Robben Island and maybe when I go back to Cape Town but I did just enjoy being out at sea and taking in the pretty sights around. The champagne is a lovely addition but even if you just manage to take a boat out for a bit, that’s still worth it.

 

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