Last February I was lucky enough to spend 3 days in Cape Town! It was my first time ever to South Africa and first time on mainland Africa since I was 9 and visited the Ivory Coast with my parents.
Well this might not come to surprise to many, but it did to me: even though I was expecting Cape Town to be ‘different’ from my Ivory Coast experience – I didn’t suspect it would be that different. Arriving to Cape Town is like arriving to European city, but in Africa. I really enjoyed my time there, but let’s say I was surprised.
There are many many things to do just in the city – and 3 days to visit the area are clearly not enough. But none the less here is the list of the places I visited, the favourite restaurants and the hotels I stayed at! Some of the links are to my more descriptive posts on my blog other to the actual websites of the places.
What I visited
I chose to concentrate on the city and didn’t venture out at all. If you are preparing a trip to Cape Town well you have noticed there is an extraordinary amount of things to visit – and if like me you only have very limited time, well you need to choose! So here we go:
- I took a stroll in the Company’s Garden
- I visited 88 Hatfield Street – centre of Jewish history of Cape Town. You can visit the Synagogue, The Holocaust Centre, The Jewish Museum.
- The Castle of Good Hope, the oldest surviving building of South Africa. You can walk by yourself or join one of their guided tours – they also have a couple of daily events as the firing of the canon.
- District 6 Museum, probably the biggest icon in Cape Town against the Apartheid. The visit, I found, was very emotional. Guided tours can be joined as well.
- Slave Tree, the place slaves would be sold. Most South African cities would have had such a spot.
- Groote Kerk, the oldest church in South Africa.
- St George, the Anglican Cathedral – where Desmond Tutu, the first black Archbishop in Cape Town was bishop and became the face of the Anti-Apartheid movement.
- Visited the Slave Lodge
- Walked in the streets around and on Green Market Square.
- Free Walking tours – from the Green Market Square leaves a few times a day free walking tours. I took one of them to Bo-Kaap, known as the Malay quarter and I loved it. Don’t forget to tip when you join a free walking tour. I gave the guide 150Rand – so a bit more than 10€.
- Discover the Victoria and Albert Waterfront – by night and day! Visit the Two-Ocean Aquarium, find the Cape Seal platform, the many shopping places (I love the Watershed – a Market Place with locally designed goods), the museum and getaway for Robben Island, the statues of the 4 Nobel Price winners or take a ride in the Cape Wheel.
Where I ate or had a sneaky glass of bubbles!
- Kosher Lunch at Cafe Riteve @ 88 Hatfield.
- Dinner at Marc’s Table @ The Sugar Hotel.
- Belmond Mount Nelson Hotel – Very well known for their high tea, but also an amazing spot for a glass of bubbles after an afternoon walking the streets of the city. Their gardens are an delight to walk around in. Located just north of the city centre.
- Enjoy a coffee at District Six Museum
- Lunch at Fork – a tapas restaurant
- Have the best Rosé bubbles at the Vista Bar and Lounge at the One and Only Cape Town.
- Eat awesome oysters and fab sushi @ Willoughby & Co.
- Best dinner award goes to Nobu, at the One and Only Cape Town. Expensive? Yes, but much less than London or Dubai and really, the food was just amazing.
Where I stayed
- The Sugar Hotel – 1 Main Road, Green Point, Cape Town
The first night by my own, I chose a hotel not far from the city centre, about 10 minutes walk. The Sugar Hotel is a small boutique hotel, located half way in between the city centre and the V&A Waterfront. It is very good value for money, Cape Town hotels come in quite expensive – and to add to the nice large and comfy rooms, they have an excellent restaurant Marc’s Table – open for breakfast and dinner. I was very happy with my choice. You can read about my experience here.
- One and Only Cape Town – Dock Rd, V & A Waterfront, Cape Town
The other 2 nights, I met up with my husband and we enjoyed a bit (a lot) of luxury at the One and Only Cape Town. I have to admit that it was absolutely amazing – we both loved it. You can read about that experience here.
Why I need to go back!
- More Walking Tours: There were 2 other tours I would have loved to join: the Historic centre and District 6. Am sure both would have been super interesting.
- Hop-on Hop-off bus Tour: I don’t particularly think that inside the city centre of Cape Town you need a tour bus – The centre is quite small and everything can easily be walked. However there are many things to visit on the outskirts and for that it is really worth it. Check out CitySigntseeing.co.za – so you get an idea of all there is to do – they have an awesome map of all the stops.
- Table Mountain Of course!
- Robben Island, the Prison Island where Nelson Mandela was imprisoned for 18 years.
- Guided tour of a township, on the outkirts of Cape Town.
- Wine Route
- Garden Route
- Cape of Good Hope
- Cage Shark diving (my other half won’t allow me that one!) and Whale Spotting.
- Camps Bay area
- Safari trips
And I am afraid that the list could go on and on!
Shopping: What did I bring back?
- Well, you cannot really go to South Africa without bringing back wine. I was lucky enough to find my favourite bubbles at the (otherwise not so interesting) airport: a couple of bottles of Le Lude Rosé! Check.
- In both hotels there were awesome amenities made locally: cream and other bath products for Him and Her from Charlotte Rhys. Available in the Made in SA shop at Victoria Wharf Shopping Centre. Check. Also grabbed a couple of painted metal mugs for the kiddos.
- Biltong – the famous SA dried, cured meat. Available a bit everywhere. We bought ours at the V & A Food market (a food hall with street foods). Check.
- At the Watershed: two beautiful paintings by a Nigerian painter, Solomon Omolayo Omogboye. African art: Check.
Let’s talk Money
Food and cultural visits are generally cheap in Cape Town compared to many other places. Entries to attractions around ZAR30-50. Lunch by myself would be around ZAR200 with a glass of house wine. A 500g steak in a good place around ZAR400.
What is expensive are the hotels: The One and Only we talk +US$700 – my first boutique hotel was $US180 (I think). Transfer from the airport ZAR400.
I loved my short week-end in Cape Town and would love to go back.