It was Saturday again and I had the time to write the second part of my South African guide.
That is, after a 3-hour coffee & and cake session with my gran…
To keep you up to date, last week I covered the first of three weeks of travel in South Africa.
I began with a “general South Africa intro” adding the when, who, how and when of our trip. (So if that interests you, check it out!)
Week #1 was Port Elizabeth to Cape Town – AKA, The Garden Route. Make sure to check it out if you’re heading this way!
To sum things up – This trip was South Africa round two for me. On the first time I was backpacking alone, and after falling in love – I brought my family along!
The two trips were was completely different, so my South African guide includes recommendations from both, occasionally referring to backpackers or families only. (:
So Without further of due, let’s dive into the second week of travel – Cape Town!
Cape Town Guide Outline:
- Things To Do
- Resturants & Cafes
- General Tips
*I put some extra HTML skills to action to make a linked outline of the guide’s content, I hope it makes things more convenient! (:
- Long Street Backpackers – Placed right in the middle of the city center, LSB is my choice for being a great peoples-hub. Lots of travelers aim for it for the location. I ended up meeting most of my friends between its walls, and that’ definitely what made my trip to the great experience it was!
- Never@Home – If you’re aiming for something a bit quieter, go for this clean & homey backpackers. It’s located right in front of Green Point park, close to the V&A, and even closer to Giovanni’s, a place you can scroll down to read about.
33 South Boutique Backpackers – Located a bit far from the city center, in Observatory.
I got there after 2 months of dance-less travel when I wanted to take daily dances classes in a studio near by. I quickly discovered there was much more to do than dance in”Obs”! The main street is full of cool vintage shops and the place itself was a great for chilling at.
*Sadly, I don’t have a family-appropriate recommendation for accommodation in Cape Town.
As a family, we stayed at an air B&B that I do not recommend.
- Table Mountain – If you’re up for a hike I recommend taking the Platteklip Gorge route, it took us, the youngsters in the team, about 2 hours to reach the top. My parents arrived an hour later after waiting in line for the cable car (yes, it’s long!). It’s better to climb in the morning (7-8 a.m.) when the clouds don’t hide the view and you reach the top when just a few tourists are around.
- Lion’s head – Another exciting climb, shorter and a bit more challenging than Table Mountain. It’s a beautiful point to watch the sunset from, but when we climbed as a family my father didn’t believe how irresponsible I was for going down in complete darkness. In retrospect, I agree, and apparently the statistics as well. Quite shivering to find out how many tourists fall at night, so aim to get to the top an hour before the sun goes down!
- Kristelbosch – Another type of nature, more relaxed. The botanical gardens are probably what you’ll see as soon as you type “Cape Town” online.
It’s great for a morning picnic, tea time or… A concert!
Yep! Last year I saw Of Monsters And Men performing here, right underneath Table Mountain, and it was a blast!
- Simon’s Bay & Cape of good hope – A full day drive out of the city I recommend to hire a car for!
Cape of good hope is the nature reserve at the tip of the continent, where you see the two oceans meet. It’s nice to go for a hike from the old lighthouse to the point that is called “Cape of Good Hope”, it takes about an hour and a half.
Simon’s Town is on the way and it is known for Boulders Bay, the penguins’ reserve.
To tell the truth, the penguins aren’t that exciting, you walk on a deck and it kind of feels like a zoo. But! The town has some nice restaurants and it’s a good stop for breakfast of lunch on the way to Cape of Good Hope.
- Simon’s Bay & Cape of good hope – A full day drive out of the city I recommend to hire a car for!
- Old Biscuit Mill Market – The best food market I’ve been to, no doubt!
Dozens of colorful booths filled with different kinds of cuisine, Indian to French to complete fusion. It’s also an arts & fashion market, with stalls of local brands and vintage pieces, and has a stage with live performances.
Runs every Saturday, from 9 till the afternoon, definitely something you don’t want to miss!
- Bay Harbour Market – Another fun food& art market that takes place in Hout Bay on weekends. Check out the booth in the front called Raw Jasmine, it showcases many cool art pieces made from cork, probably my favorite material. (A bit of my cork obsession here) The place also hosts live shows on evenings, so come early if you want to sit down!
- V&A Food Market & Water Shack – Might be full of tourists, but still a good place to stop for lunch, or even a whole afternoon on a rainy day and add in the water shack.
- Ginger & Lime – A small cooking school that hosts different classes a couple of times a month. The price is great for on-budgets cooks like! Compared to the prices of cooking classes at home it’s practically like eating out, and the experience is much better! From the wine you get when you enter to the food you make yourself, I highly recommend!
- Masala Dosa – Another cooking class worth checking out, on the Indian side.
It takes place in a restaurant’s kitchen and will teach how to make curry from scratch, from raw spices. Curry is quite a hit in South Africa who has the largest Indian popularity out of India, so don’t dismiss it for being a foreign cooking class you can take anywhere else! I learned a lot about spices in this class, Do you know what cinnamon is for example…?
- Pink Flamingo Rooftop Cinema – The most magical open air cinema!
It hides on the top of the Grand Daddy Hotel in Long Street.
Rather go there and get a pink cocktail and a candy bag and understand for yourselves.
- Wine tasting – Cape Town is a known wine region with more than 600 wineries around.
On my first visit, I went wine shopping with friends and enjoyed them on a picnic in Signal Hill. That’s one great option.
Another, which we did on my second visit, is booking a guided wine tour.
And that’s the fancier way to do it!
But after trying, I think it’s worth the investment, It’s quite magical to sip wine in old farms!
I highly recommend Tsiba Tsiba Tours we went with.
- Kalk Bay to Mossel Bay – A fun sunny walk from one cute suburb to another.
You can start with a coffee in either of the towns and take the 40 min walk to the other, stopping on the way for some sea and sun and definitely a pic with the famous colored houses.
- Giovanni’s – My top choice for food in both of my visits!
A small and crowded Italian delicacy located in Green Point. The walls filled with pastries, cheese, juices, cooked meals, and salads, everything fresh and home made or imported from Italy!
Eat on their balcony or buy yourself the best picnic in town, as we did a couple of times:
- The Mess – An amazing modern kitchen that makes small tapas sized meals, each better than the other! (Baos filled with halloumi and avo was my favorite.)
Highly recommended for a fancier night out.
- Addis in Cape – An Ethiopian restaurant serving traditional dishes with western alterations. The little alterations, like having a rice injera or using fewer spices, were really great, I tasted things I didn’t have the courage to before! Add this to the music, service and setting arrangement and you’ll end up with a magical evening.
- Shift – A coffee shop located quite close to Giovanni’s, on Main Rd, Green Point. I reccomend their croissant sandwiches that pair perfectly with the freshly roasted coffee. A great place to type, or read a paper, or just start your day on a relaxed tone.
- El Burro – A Mexican restaurant (on Green Point, as well). The atmosphere and service were great, it felt like a modern take on a classic Mexican place, in both food and design.
- Visit in summer – November till February is the summer time in Cape Town, and after visiting in both summer and winter (July), I can definitely recommend summer time!
The weather is better, concerts and food markets take place all around the city, and it’s even safer! (We found that after our car was broken into, the locals I talked told me it’s common knowledge that there is less policeman in winter).
So go in summer and bring your swimsuits along!
- Markets & Festivals – Right, it’s mostly during summer time, but sassy events take place in winter as well! and you might miss most of them if you don’t search the web/ ask around.
The Cape Town Magazine is a good place to keep track of them as well as a Facebook search in the event section with “Cape Town” marked as location.
- Safety – Cape Town is completely awesome! But… It can be a scary town.
I think that it’s more appropriate for backpackers than families. Because adults know how to avoid danger better.
Use Uber (that are cheap) instead of public buses, walk in groups at night and take the fastest route to your hotel or a car if you draw cash.
Be cautious and you’ll have a better, theft free, vacation (:.
- Traveling Alone – Even though I wrote a whole safety paragraph a second ago, traveling in Cape Town alone was a great experience! The city is quite a backpackers hub and it’s much easier to find people you enjoy hanging out with. Every thing turns out better when you can really choose the people to spend the time with, climbing hills to going to the beach.
And…That’s it for my Cape Town top picks!
You’re more than welcome to contact me on the contact page/ socials if you want more info!
I must share that the month since I came back was hectic.
We came back home to discover a toxically molded apartment. Then, after an intense 2-week search moved into a new one. That drained most of my energy and money (and the reason you haven’t seen a coffee shop review lately).
Things were so busy I didn’t even write a birthday post! (What a sloppy blogger!)
But now, things are back to normal, Fww..!
I absolutely love our new apartment and it’s right by the University, which is nice. (You can check it out on Instagram till I post a proper post!),
Till the third South African post,