#africa

Journy's Ultimate Cape Town Travel Guide

What to do, see, and eat in this naturally beautiful and vibrant city.

By Danielle Ekblad

3 August 2018

Cape Town is a city with something for everyone. The city will leave you feeling inspired by its natural beauty and vibrant culture. Cape Town’s incredible food scene is world class, with its many innovative concepts and beautifully designed spots. The city also offers a buzzing nightlife, several different surf beaches and gorgeous wines. My absolute favorite thing about this city is that you can actually just get in the car and go for a drive, and you’ll be sure to have a “Cape Town moment.” You’ll be experiencing the bluest of oceans, dramatic sunsets and breathtaking mountain views. It is a city where you have fun, explore, and go on adventures.

@cityofcapetown

Most people go during the summer months—if you’re also a sun chaser, make sure to go between the months December through April. Be sure to make reservations and do some planning ahead of time, since it gets busy here when the weather is hot.

South Africa has a very interesting history and you’ll meet people from various different cultures on your trip. The country has a pretty recent history of civil unrest. I would suggest that you read up and learn a bit about the country’s history, to get an overview of everything the people of South Africa has been through. As you drive from the airport in Cape Town into the city center, you’ll catch a glimpse of the harsh reality of the poverty large parts of the population face. Cape Town is a very well functioning city, but it’s important to be aware of the wide social disparity between rich and poor.

@craighowes

I recommend renting a car when coming for more than a few days. The public transportation system is not very developed and the easiest way of getting around is by car. If you’re not renting a car at the airport you can take an Uber into the city centre. Uber works as a great option to get around in the city if you’re not keen on renting a car.

@craighowes

Things To Do

Table Mountain

Table Mountain is an incredibly impressive natural wonder. You can see the mountain and it’s flat (table) top from around the city, but making your way to the top of the mountain is an absolute must. For around $18 roundtrip, you can take the cable cars up the mountain. You can also choose to climb one of the many different hiking trails up. Depending on which hike you choose, it takes around 2-4 hours. Make sure to try to go on this adventure on a sunny day to be sure you get the best views.

Lion’s Head

www.luggagefactory.com

Drive up to the trail head and set out for the 30-minute long hike to Lion's Head. The panoramic views over Sea Point and Camps Bay will leave you breathless! A hot tip is to get up there at sunrise or just before sunset. If you feel like adding some extra excitement to your life, paraglide your way down.

Road Trip To Cape Point

@nickmillerza

Make sure to set aside a full day for this epic road trip. Start your drive along  Clifton Beach, Camps Bay and Llandudno beaches and then over into Hout Bay. Camps Bay has a few really nice restaurants overlooking the ocean, or why not break for fish and chips in Hout Bay? All of these places are worth a stop for exploring. After Hout Bay, go over Chapman’s Peak Drive. They’ll charge you a toll of around $4, but those few dollars are well worth the views. Chapman’s Peak Drive is the most stunning drive, surrounded by the ocean and the mountains. There are a few stops along the way for photos as well.

Continue the trip down the Atlantic coast of the peninsula and you’ll drive by a few other cool spots like Kommetjie, Misty Cliffs and Scarborough. After a while you’ll reach the Park, pay the entrance fee, and continue to slowly drive to Cape Point. Cape Point is where the Atlantic and the Indian oceans meet. Only the drive itself to get there is an amazing experience. Be aware! Cape Point’s most frequent visitors are the wild baboons..

Afterwards drive on to Boulders Beach. Here you’ll find thousands of African penguins hanging out. It’s an absolutely lovely experience to see these wild birds on the beach.

@davismccutcheon

Moving on from the penguins, drive through Simon’s Town and into Kalk Bay. Kalk Bay is a very quaint little town with lots of charm. Here you can stroll around  the alleys and check out art, antique shops and restaurants. Next to Kalk Bay is Muizenberg Beach, where a lot of people go to surf.

You can, of course, turn this into several different trips if you have the time, since there’s plenty to explore. You’ll most likely stumble up on things that will make you want to hang around in each spot for longer than planned.

Wine Tasting In Stellenbosch

www.drivesouthafrica.co.za

Stellenbosch is a town around 50 minutes outside of Cape Town and you’re now in the heart of the Winelands. It’s a university town (Stellenbosch), but also surrounded by the most gorgeous vineyards and famous winemakers. South Africa is known for their magnificent wines, and it’s a must to go visit a few farms to taste some wine and enjoy a good view. Here below I’m listing a few of my favorites.

Tokara

Tokara’s wines are world class! Come here and enjoy the beautiful setting, while dining at either in the more casual deli or in the fine-dining restaurant. They also produce their own olive oil on the farm, and they’ll happily walk you through a tasting of the different types. The deli has a nicely curated shop with different chocolates, books, gifts, and all sorts of specialty goods.

@kristendavids

Delaire Graff Estate

Right across the street from Tokara, you’ll find Graff. Enjoy pure luxury in between majestic mountains, overlooking the vineyards of Stellenbosch. Make dinner reservations at one of the two restaurants, and enjoy the sunset from the veranda.

@delairegraff

Lanzerac

Lanzerac is a 320-year old wine estate in Jonkershoek Valley, a 5-10 minute drive from Stellenbosch town. Try a wine and chocolate pairing in their tasting room for about $8 per person. A truly beautiful farm, with the traditional Cape Dutch charm.

@lanzeracwineestate

If you decide to spend a few hours in the town of Stellenbosch there are some nice shops, cafés and bars to keep you busy. If you love bread, (who doesn’t love bread?) a visit to Schoon de Companje is a must! Try their artisanal bread platter with different toppings and charcuteries, have a freshly pressed juice, or buy some farm produced yoghurt in their little shop. Absolutely amazing place!

From Stellenbosch you should move on to Franschhoek. It’s a very cute little town where you’ll find some of the country’s most beautiful wine farms and restaurants.

A Few Other Things To Put On The List

@verasilvap

Take the car up to Bo-Kaap to look at the bright, colorful houses and go for a little stroll. After this, make your way down to buzzing Kloof Street where you’ll find some cool boutiques, cafés, with a nice atmosphere. Another well known place is the V&A Waterfront. There’s a big shopping mall and a lot of nice restaurants overlooking the harbour. The area is very tourist friendly and you’ll be able to find almost anything you might need here. Cape Town also has a lot of vibrant food markets on the weekend. I love going to The Old Biscuit Mill on Saturday for a drink and a bite to eat. Local crafts and design are also displayed, along with some cool vintage clothing.

Where To Eat & Drink In Cape Town

Ok, so I love food. If you do too, Cape Town will be a great choice for your next trip. The food scene is really blooming and you can spend weeks just eating your way through the city. The list of places to visit is long, and I’ll be naming a few.

Jarryds Espresso Bar + Eatery

This place is great for brunch. They prepare eggs, bacon, avo and that sourdough toast just the way we like it. Try their coconut chai latte!

@danielleekblad

Yours Truly Kloof Street

This is the spot if you want to experience the true Cape Town vibe. They serve amazing coffee in a modern design setting, and the place is filled with locals on their laptops. Upstairs, they have a rooftop bar that’s busy every day of the week.

@danielleekblad

Truth Coffee

They roast their own coffee and make their own blends with their award winning beans. They are in Love with coffee at Truth and they call themselves the best coffee shop in the world. Need I say more?

Mulberry & Prince

Cape Town meets SoHo, New York. The experience is casual and relaxed, but the food won’t leave you disappointed. Here you'll find smaller plates, meant to share, with dishes such as pork with burnt cucumbers and beef tartar. Even though the restaurant opened its doors recently, make sure to phone and make a reservation beforehand.

@pedersenlennard

Loading Bay

This place is for eating and shopping. This spacious and trendy local shop stocks brands like Acne, Aesop, Our Legacy and many more. I think it’s a great idea to combine your shopping with eating and coffee drinking.

Hallelujah

This hole-in-the-wall spot serves fresh and modern Asian street food. Imagine steamed buns with pork belly, dumplings, and of course, plenty of cilantro. Bonus: their pink flamingo walls are very Instagram worthy.

The Pot Luck Club

This is one of the hottest and most popular restaurants in Cape Town right now. Sharing plates "tapas style" seems to be the theme of a lot of the modern cuisine in Cape Town. The food is beautifully presented and every plate presents an innovative and delicious sensation. Luke Dale-Roberts is not only the creative mastermind behind The Pot Luck Club, but also the award winning The Test Kitchen. His most recent venue is The Shortmarket Club, which has received great reviews and is booked for weeks in advance. Make sure to book a table ahead when wanting to visit one of these three top restaurants.

@theshortmarketclub

Chefs Warehouse & Canteen

Situated on popular Bree Street this relaxed restaurant serves a set menu with tapas for 2. Dishes changes daily, the service is great, and the atmosphere is casual and relaxed. The tapas menu is a set menu of 8 different dishes, served in three courses. The food here is absolutely gorgeous (both for your mouth and for the eyes), and it’s a great spot to visit to get a good feel for the Cape Town food scene. Note that they close their kitchen at 8pm and they don’t take reservations.

@danielleekblad

Door 221

I could write a book about all the hip restaurants and bars on Bree Street. Door 221 is a cozy little dive bar with cocktails, craft beer and some funky nibbles. Try to attend their Taco Tuesdays to experience some of the fun that’s happening in the bars of Bree Street.

The Gin Bar

The name speaks for itself. In a beautiful hidden courtyard you can enjoy one of the sexiest gin cocktails you’ve ever had. Tucked in behind Honest Chocolate Café, with which it shares a romantic courtyard, this place could easily be missed. But don’t miss it! At Honest Chocolate you can buy handmade chocolate, made with raw and organic cacao.  

@joliejanine

Clarke’s Bar & Dining Room

Join in with the buzzy brunch scene and enjoy a brioche bun burger, or come a bit later towards the afternoon or evening to have drinks in a more lively bar atmosphere. Great hang out spot!

Kyoto Garden Sushi

This place is perfect if you feel like some proper Japanese food. The sushi is absolute perfection and elegance. Forget about the trendy sushi with popcorn and spicy mayo on it. This is the real deal!

Tjing Tjing Torii

This cozy and cool restaurant serves brilliant Asian food. The food is playful and fresh—as is the restaurant’s décor. Tjing Tjing Rooftop is part rooftop and part attic, and you will love having a drink or two up there. Their cocktail list is filled with great choices, and their Cotton Candy must be the most delicious (and pink) drink to have here.

@twiggymoli

Mzoli’s

A big part of the South African food culture is having a braai. A braai is like a barbeque and is something that you just have to experience when visiting South Africa. This open-air shack is anything but fancy, but it is an experience that you won’t forget about. Listen to live music, eat your meat, and mingle with the locals.

Places To Stay

Dysart Boutique Hotel

This small boutique hotel is situated in Green Point, a short ride away from the V&A Waterfront. The staff here is warm and friendly, and they’ll make sure that you feel well taken care of. The rooms are beautifully furnished and the hotel has a pool area, which is perfect on a hot day.

@briannekimmel

Four Rosmead Boutique Guest House

This beautiful spot is located in a quiet area, but within walking distance of vibrant Kloof Street, where you’ll find cafés, shopping and nightlife. I love the lounge area of this place and they have a really nice pool. The rooms are beautiful and the staff is very friendly.

POD Camps Bay

When you stay here, you will not be right in the city center, but you’re not far away! Camps Bay is a beautiful area with several great restaurants and you’ll be walking distance from the beach. The luxurious décor, the outdoor pool, and the ocean view is what makes this place a great choice for your stay.

@suziewilkinson

If you’re more into renting an apartment or your own house, Airbnb is widely used in Cape Town. If you do it this way you can find places that normally will be cheaper than a hotel room, or you can go big with a luxurious villa.

Tembela Bohle