Cape Town, South Africa
I can’t seem to take Cape Town out of my mind. If you haven’t been before to Cape Town, then you are reading the right post!! I’m sharing my short experience in Cape Town, and my tips.
Cape Town has a huge number of accommodation options, from super fancy to rustic backpacker type places, so you are likely to find exactly what you need. For younger people, the city centre as well as surroundings including; Camps Bay, Bantry Bay, De Waterkant, Gardens, Tamboerskloof, Clifton, Sea Point, Mouille Point, Higgovale and Orangezicht. These are either located near nightlife or the sea. Alternatively you could stay in the university area of Newlands, which is a quick drive into the centre. For those looking for something a little different or for a bit of surfing, the smaller coastal towns of Kalk Bay, Fish Hoek, Hout Bay and Llundadno might be appealing but please note these are a little more out of the way.
For a relatively comprehensive listing of Cape Town self-catering, b&bs and hotels, go to www.capestay.co.za and refer to tripadvisor for reviews.
During my visit, I stayed in a boutique hotel called: Cascades on the Promenade (you can find it on booking.com). A wonderful boutique hotel, friendly staff and great breakfast. The owner was around, he welcomed us and showed us everything in the hotel. The hotel is 10 mins drive to the waterfront. Good for either a family or a group of friends.
Otherwise, if you’re looking to stay in a villa, this could help: http://www.capevillas.com/New_Hotlists/Camps_Bay_Villas.shtml
If you’re comfortable driving on the same side of the road as in England, then I highly advise you to rent a car. A convertible car. Beautiful beautiful scenery going from one place to another.
3. Touristy stuff.
– Go up Table Mountain (either hike or use the cable car). If you’re an athlete, hike for sure!! It’s not an easy hike though, it’s kinda steep. Otherwise, cable car is your friend.
– See the penguins at Boulders Beach (warm water, rock formations and cute penguins)
– Chapmans Peak Drive (one of the most scenic drives in the world)
– V&A Waterfront (beautiful indoor/outdoor mall – great shopping and eating – located by the sea with opportunity to go on boat trips around the coast)
– Kirstenbosch Gardens (amazing botanical gardens at the foot of a mountain, they have great sunset concerts on Sunday evenings)
– Camps Bay/Clifton (prime beach real estate, such a wonderful setting to spend the day in the sun with the mountains behind you – parking is a nightmare in summer, be warned!)
– Robben Island (more history focused than anything, this is a small island off the coast where Nelson Mandela was imprisoned for a long time), we took a boat to the island, and did the tour – worth visiting if you like history!
– Hermanus (coastal town, perfect for whale watching)
– Drive in your convertible to Cape of Good Hope. Drive by the sea.
4. I did it, you can do it.
A) SHARK CAGE DIVING.
We rented a private driver-guide for sharkcage diving. We did it with Shark Cage Diving Gansbaai (http://www.sharkcagediving.co.za). They arrange for your pick-up and your drop-off from and back to the hotel.
Guys, you DO NOT swim with the sharks deep in the water in this one. You dive in a cage and you’re very close to the surface. You dive with great white sharks so they’re very dangerous and this tour/dive is mainly for people with no diving licenses.
B) Helicopter Ride.
This ride was absolutely fantastic. I booked The CapeTown Scenic Flight with these guys: http://www.helicopterscapetown.co.za
5. Eating out.
Haiku restaurant is a fun place to eat out, they do Asian fusion and are famous for Asian tapas. Rick’s Cafe in the city centre is a wonderful place to go and have snacks as it has a large roof terrace with a view of the mountains – all kinds of interesting cigars are also sold there for cigar lovers. The Bombay Bicycle Club is a funky place to eat delicious grills and African food, its also in a very convenient central location. Royale Eatery on Long street is a yummy trendy hamburger place, on the top is a trendy bar/club called the Waiting Room – definitely worth checking out. Cape 2 Cuba in Kalk Bay is a bit away from the centre (on the other side of the mountain) but has delicious food and is a very interesting spot.
To find a specific restaurant or read about more dining in Cape Town, you should go to www.eatout.co.za.
On a Sunday afternoon, starting at 5 or 6 pm (more or less), go to Caprice Bar, which is a beach front bar in Camps Bay, very cool vibe, very good crowd, DJ playing soft house music and everyone chilling there while watching the sunset.
6. Final words.
Be safe!! South Africa is a wonderful place to visit; however, this paradise isn’t perfect – crime and car accidents are both a serious concern. When driving at night be extra vigilant as many other drivers do drink and drive. Avoid driving long distances after dark when possible. Always lock your car when driving and ensure valuables are not visible when stopping at traffic lights. Ensure whatever accommodation you choose has adequate security measures in place (secure parking, a safe, an alarm or physical security etc) Don’t walk around with a fancy laptop/camera etc when this isn’t necessary, the more concealed the better. As in most countries, there are good and bad areas (unless on a guided tour avoid shanty towns and poorer areas).
Salud, and enjoy Paradise! Toomzie