Today, I have the pleasure of presenting you this fabulous post written by Bianca Knauf.
Cape Town is a melting pot of colonial culture mixed with African vibes held together by a breathtaking mountain and great coffee.
True Indian cuisine meets Dutch architecture with the smell of Cape Malay dishes as the African atmosphere transcends anything you’ve experienced before.
There really is no way to pin it down to one type of “thing”. Everyone who visits will say, it’s not what they expected. So many unique cultures have come together to make this great city, it can only be a maze of wonderful experiences.
But let’s first address the elephant in the room, is it safe?
Isn’t South Africa Dangerous?
The first thing I can say is, the perception is much worse than the reality. There are places you go and places you don’t. Just like Los Angeles or Paris.
We’ve lived here for more than 30 years and have very rarely been exposed to any crime, however small. Of course, statistics don’t lie. But these are skewed by the diversity of living conditions around the country.
Most people visiting Cape Town return feeling like they’ve visited somewhere like San Francisco or Sydney. Aside from the amazing buzz and activity that this city has to offer, the food is incredible, the people are warm and friendly, value for money is unmatched worldwide and the unique African culture is truly unmistakable.
With that out of the way, let’s have some fun…
Whether you’re an adventurer, a culture lover or a city bug, there’s something for everyone. Here are the top not-to-miss highlights of beautiful and exotic Cape Town.
Nature & Mountains
We especially love the outdoor lifestyle and have built our lives around it. Cape Town is nothing short of a hiker’s paradise with incredible trails and lookout points just minutes from the city.
The flat top of Table Mountain isn’t so flat after all. There are pathways, lookouts, “glass” bridges, a place to eat and other amenities. It’s wonderful. You feel like a Greek god on Mount Olympus, looking down at the tiny streets bustling with life below.
It’s well worth it! You can reach the top by cable car. Buy tickets before hand to save standing in queues (www.tablemountain.net). If you’re brave enough, you can climb the mountain and take the cable car back down. It takes about 2 to 3 hours up and can is a fun challenge.
Lion’s head is easily identified as the “chair” on the right of the “Table” Mountain. (Don’t try to climb Devils Peak on the left, unless you’re a serious climber.)
This 2 hour hike spirals around the peak to reveal constantly changing views of the city, the beaches and Table Mountain. You’ll need to start early, watch the weather and bring some water.
When you reach the top, you’ll be greeted by a complete 360 degree view that is out of this world. Small Dassies hop around you from rock to rock while you sit in awe of the space. You can even see Robben Island from there.
At full moon, locals regularly hike the mountain to enjoy a bottle of local wine and take in the incredible view.
You’ll need to drive about an hour down the picturesque Atlantic (Western side) of the peninsula to the very tip of the continent, for one of the most striking viewpoints you’ll ever see. Two oceans meet in front of a lighthouse. The lookout point cuts into the sea like a giant blade separating the Eastern and Western hemispheres. It can be reached by a long winding staircase or by a funicular.
When you return, make sure you drive back along the Indian Ocean (Eastern side) of the peninsula. You will pass the famous penguin beach of Boulders and can enjoy the excellent restaurants and café towns littered along the coast of False Bay.
False Bay is where the largest number of Great White Sharks in the world live. You could even experience them face to face with the famous Shark Videographer Chris Fallows as your guide.
Cape Town City
The Victoria & Alfred Waterfront
It’s a massive center where you can dine, shop, relax and even sail. Peruse the myriad of stores dedicated to the culture and glamor of Cape Town. It’s a “foodie” paradise where you will not leave hungry. I highly recommend you visit the V&A Food Market for organic delights and if you are looking for a kid friendly experience, the fantastic Two Oceans Aquarium will keep the whole family entertained.
Though you may find the Waterfront a little pricier than the rest of Cape Town, you will still find everything to be extremely affordable by international standards.
If you are looking to splurge on a truly unique view of the city, you can take a helicopter ride and see the city from the sky. You can even fast-track to the winelands. Packages are available that deliver your to the top wine estates in the Cape.
Markets and Cafés abound within the quaint “De Waterkant” area, but you can also explore further out on foot to the side streets and bars in the inner city. For African curios you can visit the Green Market Square and for a spectacular Steampunk Coffee experience, Truth Coffee Roasting, can’t be beaten.
Uber here is fantastic and will get you anywhere for a great price.
World Class Beaches
Along the Southern Peninsula, you’ll find Clifton and Camps Bay. Clifton for Beaches and Camps Bay for excellent up-market dining. You may think you’ve arrived in Nice or Monaco.
To reach the famous 4 Clifton beaches, you’ll need to park (or be dropped) along the cliff-side before you reach Camps Bay. The 4 coves create pristine, secluded beaches with a backdrop of magnificent cliffs and giant boulders.
End the day with fine dining and great music along the Camps Bay promenade.
About an hour outside Cape Town the three towns of Franschhoek, Paarl and Stellenbosch are well known for some of the best wine routes in the world. Wineries offer tastings and often have a restaurant with beautiful views of the vineyards and surrounding mountains.
My personal favorite is The Spice Route which is actually a collection of couture chocolate, craft beer, biltong and related eateries. Fairview Wine Farm is right next door and is well worth a visit too.
When visiting Cape Town, you will be left with a sense of enchantment that permeates the people, the cultures and the scenery. It really is a kind of “Ubuntu” that is unmistakably South African.
Make sure you bring a vigilant mind, as well as an open one. Common sense is all that is needed to be extremely safe and have an incredibly enjoyable adventure in this beautiful city.
About the Author
Hi, I’m Bianca, from Cape Town, South Africa.
From a young age, my grandmother filled my head with stories of adventure, and crossing the great oceans in massive ships. I recognized that traveling was not just a dream for me, but my purpose. The obsession in my mind had to become a reality, and from the age of 18, I worked to travel as often as I could.
The world inspires me. Different cultures, exotic food, new adventures and ever changing landscapes, are what make my soul explode.
By sharing my travels and experiences, I hope that others are inspired to explore and visit places they may not have originally considered. The world is a playground that belongs to all of us, and we should live every precious day with a happy and free spirit.
Are you ready to visit Cape Town?
Ready to pin? Let’s do this!