Last October we had the unique opportunity to visit South Africa on an 11-day itinerary (tight with holidays but travel addicted ☺ ) and we managed to spend few days in Cape, see cape of Good Hope, drive +1000km on the Garden Route and have a 2-day safari adventure close to Port Elisabeth. Want to find out how? Read all about our journey below, but careful we don’t recommend it as you need at least 2 weeks to fully embrace the beauty of this journey!
Cape Town has it all – beach, mountains, culture and food
Cape is surely a unique city to visit. Settled at the ocean footsteps and surrounded by mountains it has a unique geographical position and therefore climate – cool and wet winters and warm and dry summers. Throughout the year 50% of days are above 21 degrees.
There are so many things you can do in Cape! From a foodie paradise, hiking, beach lovers, nature lovers and city breakers to shopaholics - all will find their perfect in Cape. Safari is the only thing missing from the offer but one can enjoy wildlife few hours drive away from Cape or if you are like us drive +1000km and get the full safari experience ( big 5, luxury tents and safari sunsets).
How long to stay?
At least 5-7 days to feel the city and have enough time to explore the surroundings.
Where to stay?
We stayed at Welgelegen Boutique Hotel close to Kloof Street, which was perfect as there is an abundance of cool and hip restaurants and bars as well as shops. Kloof Street is a busy street with few chill oasis to hang out from mornings to evenings. Most of the restaurants and bars we tried were on this street as we didn’t have to drive/walk far.
Source: Welgelegen Boutique Hotel
Where to eat?
Cape is a true foodie paradise – mix of cultures throughout history have left their mark and nowadays you can enjoy Afrikaans, English, Portuguese, French but also Indian cuisine.
Here are some spots we tried ourselves while in Cape.
Asoka Restaurant and Bar - cosy and warm atmosphere and even better food! Asoka is a must on Kloof Street and perfect for any occasion.
Source: Asoka Restaurant and Bar
Black Sheep Restaurant – Good food, friendly service and interesting décor! Black Sheep is no black sheep among restaurants on Kloof Street, it is a wise choice either for lunch or a night out! Always fresh food and new interesting recipes it will surely not disappoint you. Just come in early as once the food is crossed over the blackboard it is done for the day!
The Kloof House – chic, unique and cosy! This hidden gem of Kloof street is a true inspiration and you will surely want to come back. I know I want to!!
Source: The Kloof House
Yours Truly Cafe – I think this was my favourite coffee/brunch/lunch bar. I remember passing one day and we just had to come back the next day just to enjoy this place. It has a nice garden and great food. Think healthy salads, sandwiches and wraps. Mmmmm perfect for that brunch or lunch out!
Source: Yours Truly
Melissa’s – great coffee bar with some delicious and healthy meals. We stopped here for an afternoon sweet and I tried their lemon curd which was amaaaaziiiing! ☺
The food was good and entertainment was ok. We tried crocodile and Springbok carpaccio and Springbok, Kudu & Ostrich steak. The crocodile was fried so it tasted like chicken, nothing that special to be frank. We did not go crazy with the tasting as you could have chicken or sheep hearts, steamed tongues, kidneys, heads, mapane worms or I guess any other part. However, the place is very popular with the tourist. It was interesting for a night out and few glasses of excellent Cape wine as well as to try the African specialities.
The Charles Café
Truly an amazing place, healthy fresh food and friendly service. The owner is a Swiss so we had a word or two.
What to do while in Cape?
Oh gosh, where to start? There is literally SO MUCH things to do in Cape that I recommend you stick around for some time! Food is certainly a big topic and we have covered few places above but that’s just a starting point. Now that you are well fed you need to do some activities – like hiking, swimming or sightseeing.
Have you seen all those beautiful photos on Instagram where you can see the whole town? Oh well you need to hike for that view! It starts at Signal Hill and you climb for 2-3 hours. The route is at first really nice and easy, but the closer you come to the top the steeper it is. I did not dare to climb all the way up so no picture guys. Maybe next time! Remember wear good shoes and bring some water and sunscreen with you! However, the view it seriously the best you can get (even if not at the top top)
This is how it looks at first…
And this is how it will look like later…
A true symbol of Cape Town and a must once you have travelled all the way. You can either hike up or use the cable car. However, unless you hike regularly and are fit we would recommend you to take the cable car (Note: it is not recommended for children to hike up). Also please check the weather as the cable car does not operate if it is too windy.
Source: Table Mountain
The relatively easy terrain makes it a popular trail. It takes 1-2hours, but you will need a free day pass (issued at the entrance)
You can drive up with the car or hike up one of the trails. It is especially nice for a romantic sunset over the city. There is also an opportunity to take photos or just to sit down and relax. Bonus tip: bring a blanket and do a picnic with a sunset view on the city!
Bo-Kaap colourful houses
This quarter is known for its colourful houses and is a must stop for all photography lovers. The residents of Bo-Kaap are descendants of slaves from Malaysia, Indonesia, India, Sri Lanka and various African countries during the 16th and 17th centuries. They were called “Cape Malays”, and Bo Kaap is even today referred to as the Malaya quartier.
There are so many things to do in Cape. Here are some further ideas:
V&A Waterfront, spend an afternoon strolling through the restaurants, bars or shops.
Robben Island, the island where Nelson Mandela was imprisoned for 27 years. Nowadays you can do a half day tour to the island.
Shopping, head over to Canal Walk, Waterfront, Cape Quarter or Kloof Street to name a few shopping opportunities in Cape.
Kirstenbosch Botanical Garden, a beautiful botanical garden
Clifton Beach, one of the beautiful beaches in cape, located on Atlantic coast and Clifton home to many affluent residents of Cape
Cape of Good Hope – day trip from Cape Town
First stop - Muizenberg
This was one of my favourite days in Cape, so versatile scenery and things on the way makes it a must route! We rented a car and we drove 30min straight to Muizenberg, known worldwide for its colourful Victorian bathing "boxes". It is a popular beach among locals as it is located on the Indian Ocean and its temperatures are far more welcoming than other beaches on the Atlantic. Due to its position and mild waves, it is also the beach where many learn how to surf. So fancy some surf lessons? This is the place where many began to surf so why not give it a try? ☺
Next en route is Simons Town. Originally this was not on our list, but this charming city is so inviting you just need to have a break in one of the local restaurants or coffee bars. We walked around the city and did some shopping and then we decided to have a short break at The Lighthouse Café.
The Lighthouse Café, Simons Town
Boulders bay and penguins
We then continued to see the Boulders Bay and the penguins. It is just a must once you are there to see these little funny and cute creatures. You need to pay an entrance fee (cca 5USD per adult) and there is a built walking trail. You don’t really come close to the penguins on the beach as they are protected, but some come close to the train itself.
Next stop – Cape of Good Hope
On our way, we stumbled upon a family of baboons who blocked the road to pass. We arrived at Cape of Good Hope, there was few cars but no big crowd. Of course, this changes once you arrive at the point of interest. You can actually do some hiking here there are several routes or you can drive from point to point. Nature is beautiful and you can meet baboons, ostriches and other on the way. But be careful those baboons can be tricky so you don’t want to mess with them! After spending there the entire afternoon we drove back and had dinner at Chapmans Peak.