Extraordinary Africa>South Africa>Cape Town
Cape Town’s where our explorations of South Africa began, and we fell in love the moment we landed. Cape Town is without doubt one of the world’s hippest, most laid back cities. This gorgeously cosmopolitan city has a foodie scene to die for (two of the world’s best restaurants are within a short drive) and a fascinating cultural mix. On top of this are the achingly cool beaches at Clifton and Camps Bay, and the elegantly leafy wine growing suburb of Constantia. While the Waterfront grabs all of the headlines, we’d also recommend considering the city bowl for an authentic sense of Capetonian life.
Our pick of places to stay in Cape Town
Please forgive us- a few of our favourites are missing here, but we write slowly!
What to do in Cape Town- a few things we’ve enjoyed along the way:
It’d be entirely possible to spend a week in Cape Town and not get bored. With so many world class restaurants in your doorstep (we’ll give you a list of our top tips with your travel documents) you could spend that time just eating out. Or visiting some of the numerous vineyards in the area. After all that eating and drinking, you might like to stretch your legs with a visit to the top of Table Mountain. Our top tip? The minute you see the blanket of cloud, affectionately known as the “Table Cloth” is off, seize your moment and head to the top! There’s the cable car, or we can arrange guided hikes on the mountain, or for a cyclists we can arrange daytime and sunset bike tours of the city.
If you have a hire car, a visit to the penguins at Cape Point is a real must, either on land, or by kayak, and more thrill-seeking water-lovers can try a shark cage dive. Alternatively, if it’s sheer glamour you’re after, get an overview of the city with a helicopter flip. History buffs may enjoy a visit to Robben Island, where Nelson Mandela was imprisoned for many years, though it’s essential to book this in advance. Finally, what makes Cape Town most special are the people who live there. We can arrange historic and cultural tours of the city, visits to the townships (and include a cookery or drumming lesson if you like) or even an art tour of the city. Phew! We feel exhausted, and excited, just thinking about it!
Cape Town is an incredibly outdoorsy city and we’ve tracked down a phenomenal selection of adventure guides (from a world-class surfer to a Cordon Bleu chef) who can help you explore the city in the way the locals do- whether it’s a 6am jog above the city into the rising sun, mountain biking through the Winelands, stand up paddle boarding, abseiling down Table Mountain, surfing with a world-class tutor, urban art safaris or visiting craft breweries. Each day with the guide is totally tailored around your interests and we’ve found this to be particular hit with families who’ve done everything from scavenger hunts through the city to spotting seals and anything that could capture your imagination in between. Just tell us what you love, we’ll book the guide for the day, and the adventure is yours.
Giving back in Cape Town:
Our trips to Cape Town generally include some of the city’s most beautiful (and often most affluent) areas. However, many of our guests have expressed an interest in learning a little more about Capetonian life. We’re often hesitant to recommend most townships tours as they can seem rather voyeuristic and uncomfortable for both residents and visitors. However, then we discovered something very special indeed. As part of your stay in South Africa we make a donation to Uthando, a fantastic organisation which helps support a dazzling selection of micro projects in some of Cape Town’s most deprived areas.
Spending a morning visiting 3 or 4 of these projects, and learning about Capetonian life and history is a fascinating, insightful, and utterly heartwarming experience and for anyone who is at all interested in seeing under the surface of Cape Town, we can’t recommend it highly enough. Just let us know if you would like us to book this for you.
One tip from us- you’ll get the most from this if you’re prepared to be as open, friendly and involved as your hosts are. This is very much a visit from one community to another and is all about bringing people together- whether it’s clapping for the children as they sing their morning songs or practicing your high-kicks during dance classes for the elderly.
Want a personal recommendation for where you should stay? We’ve seen many of Cape Town’s hotels so just