Cape Town, South Africa: A First-Timer’s Shenanigans!

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Have you been following us on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter? Great, then you’d know we’ve recently spent time in Cape Town and its surrounding wine estates.

Our “to-do list” was long, combining suggestions from fellow bloggers and inside info generously shared by resident Capetonian, Nadine Carroll from Living It Up CT. What can we say? The result was simply, #wowSouthAfrica

If Cape Town is new to you too, here are some ideas for your adventure.

Capetown. South Africa.
Capetown views.

Firstly, why visit Cape Town?

Aesthetics – the mountains, coastline, gardens, parks and waterfront are stunning.

Dining – the region’s local produce, sustainability and cuisines are innovative and inspiring.

Wine – history dating back to the 1600s producing classics, blends and their own Pinotage.

Distilleries & Brewing – the use of South African botanicals in both.

Currency Exchange – the rates make Cape Town a more than affordable location.

Getting Out & About.

Having a car is not imperative but it does make life a lot easier. Be aware of the volunteer parking/ security personnel. You’ll find them in most locations throughout the city. They’ll guide you to a park and keep an eye on your car for a small donation of ZAR 5 or 10, preferably collected in advance but accepted on pick-up if you have the gift of the gab.

Capetown. South Africa.
Sea Point.

Flying in on a clear day, views of Table Mountain and the coastline are spectacular and getting up close and personal with both is essential.

Capetown. South Africa.
On top of Table Mountain.

For the fitness conscious walking trails take you to the top of Table Mountain while the rest of us buy a ticket for the aerial cableway. Buy tickets online here to avoid the queue.

Capetown. South Africa.
Table Mountain Aerial Cableway.

Once in motion, the cable car’s floor rotates capturing spectacular 360° views of Cape Town and the mountain range.

On the plateau, a selection of easy walks can be done solo with commentary from a free app. Alternatively, meet at a spot near the café for free guided walks on the hour from 09:00 to 15:00.

Follow this link for more info on the flora, fauna and their commitment to responsible tourism.

Capetown. South Africa.
Walking trails & a Dassie.

Spend time at Sea Point Promenade for fitness or leisure and if you did hire a car, the Atlantic Seaboard makes for a picturesque road trip.

Capetown. South Africa.
Sea Point Promenade.

Follow it to Hout’s Bay dropping in at beautiful Llandudno Beach. Take it slowly and enjoy the views. Parking bays are plentiful so pull over, breathe deeply and take some Insta-snaps. Time permitting, continue along Chapmans Peak Road to Noordhoek, Fish Hoek and onto Simon’s Town to Boulders Beach for the penguins.

Capetown. South Africa.
Houts Bay

Keep going all the way to Cape Point Nature Reserve at the Cape of Good Hope where the Atlantic and Indian Oceans meet.

Capetown. South Africa.
Victoria & Albert Hotel

Although V&A Waterfront is quite commercial, it’s still well worth a wander. With bars & restaurants, boutique & mall shopping, and the beautifully restored Victoria and Albert Hotel, the ambience and architecture are unique.

Capetown. South Africa.
Giant Chess & Jazz Quartet

The Nelson Mandella Museum and the Gateway to Robben Island are at the waterfront. It’s a good idea to buy Robben Island tickets online in advance. Tours sell out quickly and queues are unavoidable.

Capetown. South Africa.
V&A Waterfront Map

The Dining Scene.

Conde Nast Traveller recently placed Cape Town in the top position globally for foodies. It’s a big call, but not undeserved. Check out Bree Street for a taste of Cape Town’s eclectic and inventive cuisine. Nose to Tail, local, sustainable, LCHF, all the buzz words are on Bree.

Capetown. South Africa.
A Buck-a-Shuck Oysters @ Seabreeze Fish & Shell.

Liam Tomlin’s Chefs Warehouse (#92 Bree Street) is a no reservations, tapas with a difference, ‘casual fine dining’ restaurant. Arrive early or add your name to the waiting list and grab a drink at their aptly named ‘No Reservation’ Bar downstairs. The sister restaurant at Beau Constantia Wine Farm does take reservations and you’ll be joining us there with full details in our next post. 😉

Capetown. South Africa.
Nautical Themed Private Dining @ Seabreeze Fish & Shell.

Bree Street has dedicated Bacon and Cheese restaurants, Osterias, Peruvian, Spanish, Italian. With over 40 restaurants on the street, you’d be hard-pressed not to find exactly what you’re looking for.

Seafood? Absolutely! Open for just over a month, Seabreeze Fish & Shell (213 Bree Sreet) has cornered the fresh seafood market on Bree.

Capetown. South Africa.
Seabreeze Fish & Shell.

Go for oyster happy hours (12:00 – 13:00 & 17:00 – 18:00). Oysters are ZAR10, that’s a buck a shuck. Stay for fresh local line caught fish and shellfish cooked to perfection, presented beautifully and priced attractively.

Capetown. South Africa.
Witlof Salad @ Black Sheep.

Black Sheep (104 Kloof Street) is a very cool neighbourhood restaurant recommended by Seth at Chefs Warehouse Beau Constantia. The blackboard menu changes daily with the freshest produce purchased in limited quantities. With a no reservations policy, get in early before a chalk line goes through the popular dishes.

Capetown. South Africa.
8-hour Asian Braised Pork Belly @ Black Sheep.

Although Long Street seems more of a bar/club street, there’s a hole in the wall for dim sum lovers not to miss. South China Dim Sum Bar (289 Long Street) may have the best dim sum you’ll experience outside of China and priced just as economically. All the regulars are there, Har Gao, Siu Mai, Char Siu Bao along with excellent slow-cooked beef brisket noodles.

Capetown. South Africa.
South China Dim Sum Bar.

Where to tipple.

South Africa is no slouch in the global gin revolution. A great bar to sample the local range along with many International brands under one roof is at Mother’s Ruin. A blackboard menu changes with the house concoctions or savour local botanicals in a simple G&T. Begin, end, or stay all night at this very cool Bree Street bar.

Capetown. South Africa.
Botanicals @ Mother’s Ruin Gin Bar.

Publik Wine Bar (81 Church Street) shares space with 2 other notables. Frankie Fenner Meat Merchants, makers of highly recommended biltong and Ash Restaurant, a chef’s favourite casual fine dining experience centred around charcoal cooking. Publik’s wines are from lesser known winemakers, sustainable wine farms and small producers. The list changes regularly ensuring there’s something new to try on every visit.

Capetown. South Africa.
Smoked Old Fashioned @ The House of Machines.

At The House of Machines (84 Shortmarket Street) expect single farm produced Arabica coffee, handcrafted small barrel cocktails, single distillery spirits and craft beer. The food is fresh, hearty and honest and the entertainment top class.

Capetown. South Africa.
Espresso Martini @ The House of Machines.

A coffee and beer expert, a men’s fashion designer and an entrepreneur open a bar…no, not a joke. These 3 were connected by a motorcycle thread and developed a haven for themselves and everyone else to enjoy. Try a smoky old fashioned and you won’t want it any other way.

We hope this helps get you started on your Cape Town itinerary. Share your finds with us in the comments below. Cape Town, South Africa: it’s a place we love….

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