I've been meaning to publish this since getting back from my trip so apologies for the delay.
Cape Town was amazing! Since I'd been before I had a pretty good idea to some of the things I wanted to tick off and BOY did I tick them off!
My Cape Town experience is two-fold however! One write-up will include my itinerary, must see's and do's plus a few other bits. The other write-up will be a little more personal on how the trip impacted me as an individual and what I noticed; I'll try to keep this as concise as I can!
DAY 1: LANDING IN CAPE TOWN!!
I'd already pre-booked a ride from the Airport but since Uber is popping in Cape Town, I'd suggest just arriving at the Airport and scheduling an Uber when you land (The Airport has free Wi-Fi so you're good) I'd also suggest picking up a local sim card in the Airport. I used Vodacom which was cheap and like 100 Rands for 1GB of data, super easy!
DAY 2: GREEN POINT
My initial plan was to climb Table Mountain on day 2 but that quickly changed, decided that it was too much too soon and we wanted to explore the local area. The first 7 or so days I was staying in Green Point, a cool little area which the weekends there's a little music and dancing thing going on along the promenade during the day, since it was a nice day we ended up hanging out in the local area for most of the afternoon before grabbing some food at Primi Piatti! (MAN! the food was good)
Side note: You'll have to check my instagram to see the place I was staying!
If you like Salsa then I'd suggest finding out when they have this on. I swear if I could salsa I'd have jumped in and KILLED IT! But alas, I can't salsa.. Well, I can pretend but not really really...
Recommendation: On your first or second day I'd suggest to buy a RED BUS ticket (You know those City sightseeing bus pass things). You can grab a 1 day or 2 day pass, it'll help you get your bearings of the city and plan the next few days in Cape. It's WORTH it! Wish I'd have done it sooner in my trip.
Day 3: ROBBEN ISLAND
An MUST SEE if you visit Cape Town. I've been to Robben Island twice now and the experience was still as touching and insightful as the first time. The Robben Island museum tour lasts 3.5/4 hours so try to book a tour as early as you can, then you can utilise the rest of the day to hang out, shop, chill, eat etc
Book the tickets online BEFORE you arrive in Cape Town. They sell out quickly so to doing it in advance is the move, head to www.robben-island.co.za
I booked the 1pm since I was forgot, then remembered, then forgot to book in advance (rookie mistake) all earlier slots were booked. Even so, the day was still great; arrived to the V&A Waterfront (This is where the boat departs) about 11'ish and done a little looking around and grabbed lunch before heading across the water to the Island.
Got back to the waterfront on the boat about 5pm, by which time it was time to EAT!
The V&A waterfront have a load of shops, restaurants and independent boutiques (located in 'the Watershed') So I'd say to budget 7 or so hours to do the Tour and explore the area. More like 8/9 if you're me and like taking your time, chilling out, watching people and soaking in the environment.
OH! There's a little ferris wheel thing there too! Cost like 20 Rands or something and If you catch it around sunset you'll capture some amazing views over the water.
Time: Various, book early
Cost: 320 Rands per adult, 180 per child
Day 4: TABLE MOUNTAIN!
So it was time to face the mountain again! Unfortunately the cable cart was closed when we arrived so it was going to be a Hike up AND a hike DOWN!
One thing I'll say about the Table Mountain hike is that it is TRULY worth the hike once you get to the top. Once there you'll see a ton of people who cable carted it up but the reality is; they can't really say that they hiked the Mountain. To visit Cape Town and not Hike it s NOT the move, even if you're not the fittest person it's still worth doing, just take your time, step by step, it's not about speed.
Budget about 2/3 hours for the hike up, you could probably do it in less time if you're feeling froggy but what's the point! Take your time, soak it in, enjoy the views! To do the hike you'll only need your gym gear, a snack and PLENTY of water! DO NOT forget your water or you'll be suffering like I did the very first time I went up.
The cable cart is usually open but if its windy they'll close it for safety reasons. Usually only for half the day or so, depending on how long it stays windy.
If the cable cart is open, the restaurant at the top will be too. If the cart is closed, restaurant will be closed. Keep that in mind because if it's closed you won't be be able get any water for the hike back down (BRING PLENTY WATER)
My advice would be: climb up, cable cart or abseil down. You'll appreciate doing the climb once you leave Cape Town, I say when you leave mainly because it'll take that long for the soreness to wear off! lol. I kid.
You'll appreciate it simply because it's an amazing mental and physically journey. You don't need to be fit as a fiddle, just have the tenacity to do it! Also, how else will you get a photo like this if you don't do the hike!!
Day 5: FRANSCHHOEK - WINE TRAM (Hop-On / Hop-Off)
There are a few amazing places an hours or so drive from Cape Town where you'll literally find yourself in the middle of Vineyards. Franschhoek is one of those places and the Wine Tram experience is a great way to explore the vineyards.
There are Wine Tours you can book, however the smart move would be to do what I did. Book the Wine Tram! You can choose a route of your choice and visit 4/5 vineyard in Franschhoek! All you need to do is get there! They'll handle the rest when you arrive.
What I liked about this Tour is that unlike the scheduled Wine Tours, you simply decided IF you want to buy a glass or two at each Vineyard or not. There was no (I'll drink everything because I paid for this) it was fun and the open bus takes you from place to place, leaving you there for an hour each time.
If you don't feel like drinking at every single one, pick one of the routes which has a good spot for lunch and enjoy the scenery, I'll post a pic of my plate below somewhere.
The Tram experience starts between 9am-11am dependant on which route you book but its DEFINITELY worth scheduling in advance; depending on how heavy of a drinker you are you might want to schedule something relaxing for the following day.
N.B: Book a hotel in the local area and leave the car there, maybe taxi to the wine tram stop. Or drive to the wine tram stop and come collect the car the next day before driving back to Cape Town in the morning/afternoon.
Booking: www.winetram.co.za Cost: 220 Rands per adult. Duration: 5/6 hours Distance: 1 hour from Cape Town
Hire Car: Avis/Europcar (use the .co.za websites, they're cheaper) info below
Day 6: CHAPMANS DRIVE/PEAK - CAPE POINT - BOULDERS BEACH - HOUT BAY
I'd dropped off the car used to drive to Franschhoek and was about to collect the beast! I'd hired an AC Cobra for the day to drive through the hills and valleys towards Cape Point!
Picking up the Cobra was definitely a highlight of the trip. Had so much fun blasting through the hills in this pocket rocket! No CD player, no Radio, No AC!!! Just the POP POP POP of the exhaust and the gust of the wind through my hair (My beard hair that is since my roof is open top too, lol) easing onto the gas through the twists and turns is definitely something I'll never forget.
Now of course you don't have to hire a classic car like me (Last year I'd done it from the back of a ford fiesta) however doing it in a classic convertible did make the memory that little more amazing!
Tip: Start early! Collect your car as early as you can since there are quite a few stops along the way if you plan it correctly.
I left Cape around about 9/10'ish and the route included: Hout Bay (Good fish and chips and docks area), Boulders Beach, Simons Town (Penguins), Cape Point. Cape Point is located in the Cape of Good Hope Nature reserve so be prepared for some absolutely amazing, untouched landscapes and some wildlife (somewhat frightening if you're in an open top)
Cape Point is the most South Western corner of the continent so there are views as far as the eye can see and winds that WILL blow your hat out to sea! lol
The plan should be to leave Cape Point at least 1 hour before sunset so that you can catch the sun touching the water from Chapmans Peak on the route back to Cape Town.
Day 6 is a FULL on day with plenty driving and plenty to see. You'll cover about 200KM and be in the car for an hour or so at a time so make sure you factor in stopping for lunch in the morning and even Dinner on the way back to your hotel or hostel that evening.
WARNING! I almost forgot this! lol. There are Monkeys at Cape Point and for the most part they're fine and wont bother you. They're usually minding their own business, climbing onto things as tourists watch and take photos etc. HOWEVER! At the end of the day we were hungry so decided to buy a pizza!
The monkeys apparently like pizza (or any food) and DEFINITELY know what pizza smells like! I literally had to hide behind a car to avoid being robbed of my pizza by a monkey! lol. I know this story sounds comical but be careful if you're walking around the car park area with food! Those monkeys will not think twice about whooping (Biting) you for a slice of Margherita!
Time: All day!
Cost: Hire car price varies, food, whatever you buy and tolls. You can check the prices here, however I think it's about 35 rand per person
Locations: Hout Bay, Boulders Beach (Simons Town), Cape Point, Chapmans Peak
DAY 7! NEIGHBOURGOODS MARKET, WOODSTOCK!
I love this market. There's sooooo much going on and the food stalls! WOW!!!
If you're looking to spend some money and pick up a few local pieces then this is the place for you, you'll be able to grab scarves, bags, dresses, hats, crockery; practically anything you can think of, all things made by South African Brands.
Neighbourgoods is just one of the many markets in Cape Town which happen on the weekend. If you're in the city on a Saturday or Sunday you most definitely have to factor in 3/4 hours going to one of the markets. This particular one is on every Saturday from 9am - 2pm. www.neighbourgoodsmarket.co.za
There's also a bunch of stores on the road outside of the market so be sure to visit them as well, they're worth spending some time digging in!
DAY 8! JAZZ BRUNCH!!
So.. The plan WAS to walk over to the Jazz Brunch at the Winchester Mansions (Some fancy lunch type thing) however! I messed up the room reservation so instead of going we ended up having to pack and move to a new room. DOH! lol
If you are in or near Green Point and feel like doing something a little fancy then check it out and let me know how it was, lol.
Time: 9am - 2pm
Cost: Free entry / Cost of lunch
DAY 9! ZIP-LINING AND STELLENBOSCH COTTAGE!
So day 9 was a pretty special day! Picked up another hire car (2 days) and drove east of Cape Town for about 1 hour until we arrived at Cape Canopy Tours! Cape Canopy Tours are a Zip Lining company.
The next few hours were spent zooming along lines from post to post and was absolutely one of the highlights of the trip! It doesn't cost too much and it's a truly exhilarating experience, highly highly recommended.
Budget 1 hour for the drive from Cape Town, about 2/3 hours for the Zip-lining and then 1 hour or so to get back to Cape or Stellenbosch. I'd suggest heading to Stellenbosch for a day or two if you want to chill out in the woods so to speak.
Now please understand me. This meal was exquisite! The food in the restaurant I'm about to recommend to you was absolutely one of the best meals I've had, the complete dining experience was amazing and the service was top notch. If you have a special occasion (or even if you don't) and you're staying in or near Stellenbosch this is definitely somewhere worth visiting.
Anyway.. It's called 'The Lanzerac Spa Hotel'. I really can't explain how amazing the food was in this restaurant! I'd have to be a qualified food critic to truly explain the flavours which were hitting my tongue and the emotions in my heart as I devoured dinner! Was emosh..
DAY 10: MIA
DAY 11: Bo KAAP
The last stop of the trip was Bo Kaap. Bo Kaap walk is located just walking distance from Long street (up the hill) and is where all the colourfully painted houses are. Spent about an hour or so here just strolling around and taking a look. The history of this area really makes you stop and think. If it doesn't, it should.
Cape Town is not just a tick of the bucket list, it's certainly an education and leap back into time in some respects. you should aim to leave being a little wiser and more knowledgable about life and some of the things endured not only by South African people but also those brought there back in the day.
Take a wander up and check it out! I don't want to tell you everything about it, do your own research and soak in what you can. There's also a museum which will give you more of an idea about what Bo Kaap is and how the houses became to be painted with such bright colours.
PM: Time to drop my hire car back and catch a flight outta here!
Where to eat in Cape Town
Oh boy! In all honesty, every single place I had food in Cape Town was on point! The meats were amazing. Whatever you do, DO NOT go to Marco's! Unless you're over 60 and want to be stuck in the most touristy place on earth! Everyone kept recommending it so stupidly we went and man, that's one place I could have gone without visiting.
A snap from my meal at one of the vineyards on the Wine Tram tour! This cost about £10 and was worth every penny! I don't know many places you can grab such a treat for so little.
Anyway! I could go on and on about this trip. It was pretty amazing and I'll be posting photos to my instagram over the next few weeks.
If you plan on taking a trip, the below info should help! Enjoy
SUMMARY OF INFO:
AC Cobra Classic Car: www.capecobrahire.co.za
Table Mountain www.tablemountain.net
Hout Bay Link here
Cape Point www.capepoint.co.za
Neighbourgoods Mkt www.neoughbourgoods.co.za
Lanzerac Wine Est www.lanzerac.co.za
Wine Tram www.winetram.co.za
V&A Waterfront www.waterfront.co.za
V&A Waterfront www.waterfront.co.za
Cape Wheel www.capewheel.co.za
District Six Museum www.districtsix.co.za