A city nestled between the crashing Indian Ocean and the numbing Atlantic on the one side and Table Mountain National Park on the other, Cape Town is a glittering jewel with just as many facets. Navigate your way around the coast and you will find bustling communities, wild nature, and breath-taking, unforgettable views. Cape Town doesn’t only sprawl outwards into suburbs but also upwards into the skyline, enjoy the sun from one of the many the roof top bars or take a hiking trip to view the growing and changing city from above.
Cape Town has the dubious honour of being the first major city to run out of water. Day Zero as its locally known has been pushed back to July 2018 thanks to the city-wide efforts to save water. Be aware that public areas and restaurant bathrooms have turned off the taps and offer hand sanitiser instead of hand washing water. Although it’s also not advised to drink the tap water due to the low levels in the aquifers, bottled water is in plenty supply. Every person in Cape Town is limited to 50L of water for personal use, so get used to using less and conserving more and as they say in Cape Town – Save Water, Drink Wine!
The population of Cape Town has been steadily rising over the last few years and with this expansion comes extra stresses on an already struggling infrastructure. A bustling metropolis will always have bustling traffic and Cape Town has bustle in spades. Avoid travelling at rush hour if you can, although you may find that rush hour ends up lasting for 3 especially on Fridays.
Cape Town is the perfect winter get away and really comes into its own during the months of November to March where the plentiful sunshine makes room for outdoor activities. There is literally something for everyone from outdoor concerts to extreme sports. You can paraglide off Signal Hill during the day then catch the sunset at one of the many beach front bars. Absolute musts are the cable car to Table Mountain (get there at opening time to avoid the crowds), hiking up Lions Head Mountain (free! Take water and wear trainers), shopping on the V&A waterfront (worth going for the atmosphere) and sundowners at Bungalows (try and get a bed outside facing the beach).
Cape Town is a city built for brunch and there is no better place to take in the atmosphere than at one of the many organic markets in and around the city. You will find live music, artisanal food and drinks, boutique stalls and stops for your weekly groceries all under one roof. Highlights are Root 44 in Stellenbosch, Bay Harbour Market in Hout Bay and Oranjezicht Market on the Waterfront.
A must do over a long weekend. Wine tasting around Kirstenbosch and Stellenbosch is an institution. Each sprawling vineyard has its own collection for you to taste and buy (if you so wish) an average tasting of six wines is around 50 Rand but you are welcome to share your tasting between two. If you have a designated driver, plan your route before you go and get tips from the locals. However, if all of your party are on the sauce there are many companies that offer tours and in Kirstenbosch there is a wine tram that takes you between vineyards.
Where to Stay
Cape Town accommodation is notoriously expensive, especially during the summer season. Some areas are more tourist friendly than others and it’s worth paying a little bit extra if you can be in walking distance to restaurants and the beach. Sea Point is the perfect area for tourists with a main street dedicated to restaurants, markets and boutique shops. The seafront comes alive at sunset and you will find yourself in good company as you stroll along the promenade.
Cape Town is a sleepy, decadent city that will inspire and excite you, it is the perfect place for a winter break. Once you arrive, you will want to stay forever.