A Visit to Cape Town: It’s quite a daunting task, designing a perfect two-day visit for a friend-of-a-friend of mine who flies in from Johannesburg (having spent the better part of a week there from London) and has but two days to experience the Mother City, voted one of the world’s top 10 cities by US Travel and Leisure in 2005, 2006 and 2007, and one of the top 10 world food cities by Lonely Planet.
My mind a boggle, I haul out the latest Time Out Cape Town only to end up more confused than before. There is so much to do in and around Cape Town that to list but a few things for each day is to err in my duty to present the full picture!
So, with some difficulty, I set about writing a couple of scenarios sticking to the perimeters of Cape Town (well, almost) – I have, after all, never met my friend’s friend and cannot make any assumptions about the type of person she is. Instead, I have come up with the ‘perfect tour’ by default – if necessary, she can simply select one item from each list and her weekend will be made in heaven!
THE CITY’S WHIRLWIND ICONIC TOUR
- Reach the iconic 3 051 feet high Table Mountain top in the first up cable car (in winter at 8.30am) to breakfast at the Table Mountain Café (or pack a picnic)
- Head to the V&A Waterfront and catch a ferry to Robben Island (a World Heritage Site and museum), 12 kilometres from Cape Town, where another icon, Nelson Mandela, was incarcerated
- Visit the iconic garden of Kirstenbosch – a world famous garden offering some of the most beautiful mountain scenery and spectacular walks in amongst the indigenous flora of the Cape. Great for a picnic or lunch
- From here head out to Darling for a dinner and show combination in the presence of yet another icon, Evita Bezuidenhout. Overnight in Darling
- Head off early to Cape Town for an iconic drive (one of the most gorgeous marine drives in the world) along Chapman’s Peak Drive. When open, this toll road between Noordhoek and Hout Bay is pretty spectacular – 9 kilometres long, with 114 curves
- From Hout Bay head over the hill to the start of the iconic Constantia Wine Route – the second wine appelation area established in the world, and one of the only ones so close to a city
- Take in Cape town’s iconic architecture in the City bowl – Parliament buildings, SA National Gallery, SA Library, Bo Kaap
- Sundowners on one of Cape Town’s iconic beaches – Camps Bay
THE CITY’S YOUNG, HIP AND SINGLE WITH MONEY TOUR
- Breakfast at one of the many trendy restaurants in Kloof Street
- Head off to Green Market Square, the colourful flea market in the heart of the CBD, one of the oldest public spaces
- Do Long Street, a bohemian hangout lined with unreal Victorian buildings filled with pubs, cafés, backpackers, curio shops, galleries, book and antique shops. Make sure you take the side streets as well
- Take a sunset champagne cruise from the V&A Waterfront to Clifton Beach
- Dinner at Mzoli’s Place in Gugulethu
- Do brunch in Obz (Observatory), the city’s bohemian suburb
- Head out by train to Kalk Bay, great for antiques, bargains and people watching. Have afternoon coffee at Olympia Café
- Movie on the roof of the Grand Daddy Hotel, the country’s first rooftop cinema that screens classic and cult movies, known as the Pink Flamingo Cinema
- Dinner at Café Caprice in Camps Bay – it’s all about cocktails and location!
THE MOTHER CITY’S GREEN TOUR
- Download a copy of Cape Town Green Map from Cape Town Green Map.
- Head out to the Tygerberg Nature Reserve for an unrivalled 360 degree view of the City and Table Mountain
- Join an Abalimi Bezekhaya tour of the micro farms that grow food for themselves and commercially for a vege box scheme
- Drive to Montebello Design Centre in Newlands and have tea at kwaLapa, the organic wholefoods deli and store, take a stroll through the Design Centre and visit a number of local artists, and the Mielie Shop, which has its own organic market on Fridays, grown in a Khayelitsha food garden for which they raise funds by selling the veggies
- Stay at the Cobhouse, also known as Samhitakasha, in Muizenberg. An organic B&B – treat yourself to a little luxury and the earth will thank you. They might prepare you an organic meal for dinner
- Brunch at the Millstream Café at the Oude Molen eco village in Pinelands – local vegetables are grown in the village, and bread is baked by the restaurant
- Head to What if the World gallery, a community-conscious platform for emerging young artists in Woodstock
- Visit 210 on Long Street – a vibrant centre for conscious retailers and consumers, the run down Baobab Mall has been recycled using eco friendly building techniques
- Catch a movie at the Labia cinema, the oldest independent cinema in Cape Town
THE CITY’S CULTURE VULTURE TOUR
- Catch the open-top double-decker Cape Town Citysightseeing Bus – hop-on-and-off at will on the Red (around the city) or Blue tour (along the peninsula). This is the best way to see all the sights.
- Walk the Museum Mile – home to a number of museums and art galleries including South Africa Museum, Bertram House, South African Jewish Museum and more
- Tea at the Mount Nelson hotel – why would you do anything less?
- Take in a show at the new Fugard Theatre in District 6
- Visit St George’s Cathedral and Groote Kerk
- Take in the Adderley Street Flower sellers
- Head out to the Josephine Mill, Cape Town’s only surviving water mill built in 1818, for lunch at Caveau Wine Bar and Deli
- Visit the Kalk Bay Modern in Kalk Bay
- Mama Africa for dinner for a taste of real African cuisine
- Mannenbergs Jazz Café at the V&A Waterfront, many famous jazz musicians have played here.