10 reasons to visit Cape Town - South Africa's best city!
Thinking about visiting Cape Town? Here's why we think that it's one of the best cities, and why you MUST see it for yourself.
Cape Town has been ranked as one of the best cities in the world numerous times by the likes of The Telegraph, Conde Nast Traveler, Lonely Planet and many more, and we’re not even slightly surprised. It seems that the people of Cape Town have effortlessly created this gem tourism destination over time, and now in recent years, it’s blown up with extremely positive reviews and hot publicity. Cape Town is wonderfully unique in that it is made up of four different exciting aspects which come together perfectly, and complement each other to create a once in a lifetime experience for all who visit: It’s surrounded by cloud covered mountains, the Atlantic Ocean and it’s sea-life, as well as magnificent wildlife as you travel outwards, and of course a crazy cool city centre with hands down the best cocktail bars and restaurants that one might ever come across.
If you think you need more persuasion to go or just some personal advice, here are 10 hand picked reasons why we think you MUST visit Cape Town, and soon!
The western cape is undoubtably one of the most beautiful areas in the world. Without exaggerating (or trying not to at least), there is distinctive beauty everywhere you look. The many mountains will keep you on a glorious high that will be hard to shake off when you leave. There’s nothing quite as peaceful as staring down at the world beneath you whilst the sun rises, forgetting about the busyness that we’ve got ourself so deeply sunken into. From inspiring ocean views to bright city lights, there is always complete magic to be seen and felt by all in Cape Town and it’s surrounds.
Images: Left - View from the top of table mountain; Right - Mountain scenes
Locals are incredibly secretive about the hidden gems that are nestled in their home city. Which local wouldn’t be? They’re “hidden” for a reason and this is what makes them so sought after. You’ll have to befriend a few people who are happy to show you their favourite spots. Two of my personal favourite hidden gems in Cape Town are Beta Beach in Bakoven, and Wally’s Cave which is about half way up Lion’s Head, but you’ll have to take a little detour to get there. They’re off the beaten track and even though more people are getting wind of their existence, both remain totally dreamy and relatively quiet.
Images: Left: Wally's Cave; Right - Beta Beach
Africa is famous for its wildlife, safari’s and other bush adventures. But Cape Town is extremely unique in that there is an array of outdoor activities to enjoy that will give you a good dose of nature, but the City is also really something to drool over! There are quirky coffee shops on every corner, live music and clubs, vintage stores and so many other things that make Cape Town a city of dreams… With the amount of choice, there is truly something for everyone to enjoy, and even better, there’s always something for everyone to discover - a new taste in fashion, foods, music, books, photography or even, people.
Images: Left - Dining on Bree; Right - Aerial view of the City of Cape Town (SAVenues.com)
Probably my favourite thing about this city. The food never ever ceases to amaze me. Cape Town is known for the many wonderful cultures that reside there, and so this provides us with an amazing variety of cuisines to choose from, all of which put their own unique twist on their food and ambience. I can’t remember a time that I was disappointed during a restaurant outing. Everything from the flavour, to the presentation and the people running the place, is thought through so that it all works perfectly together. What’s even better, is that Cape Town’s sustainable eating patterns are continuously on the rise. The people are genuinely interested in the matter, which encourages restaurants and coffee shops to meet theirs and the environments needs, and they do an outstanding job of making it delicious AND nutritious. My favourite restaurant/coffee shop by miles is Four & Twenty - I’ll recommend it to everyone!
Whether you’re living in Cape Town, or just visiting, make sure you surround yourself with a bunch of people who are always up for adventures, you’ll regret it if you spend your days in a shopping mall, or even lazing at the beach (although lazing at the beach is definitely important too). Thanks to all the mountains that surround the area, there’s always a great hike to be had that will surprise you with a new, breathtaking view. Paragliding off of Signal Hill is a must if you’re wanting to see Cape Town from above, and if you want to be very in touch with nature, kayaking in the ocean won’t disappoint you - you may even bump into a pod of dolphins or whales! If you are fit and healthy, I encourage you take advantage of experiences like these.
Images: Left - Limietberg nature reserve hiking trail; Right - Paragliding
You may have heard that the roads in Africa aren’t necessarily the easiest to drive. This is not a concern to have in Cape Town. With smooth highways and easy-to-see signs, you’ll have a great time road tripping. There are so many classic road trips to be done. The garden route for example is one of the most famous drives to take in South Africa. It takes you from Mossel Bay in the west to Storms River in the east. This particular road trip covers about 300 kilometres of diverse vegetation and wildlife, and an abundance of beautiful lagoons, lakes, mountains, forests and beaches. If you don’t want to venture too far out of Cape Town, then simply drive along Cape Point and you’ll undoubtedly be blown away by the views which are some of the best in Cape Town.
Images: Left - Garden Route; Right - Cape Point drive
Some of the best whale watching in the world can be had along the Cape Whale Route - a 900 kilometre-long stretch of coastline that extends from Strandfontein (near Muizenberg) to Plettenberg Bay in the southern Cape. Hermanus, although considered to be the Whale Watching Capital of the world according to The Inside Guide, is not the only village along this route that is worth a visit. Have a look at which other areas will give you an equally magnificent experience here. If you’re travelling between July - November, whale watching will be one of the most surreal experiences you’ll have whilst visiting South Africa.
You might be happy to know that there is never a shortage of wine in the western cape. If this point interests you even slightly, then Franschhoek is a must. It is full of gorgeous vineyards within walking distance of each other, all with their own unique look, feel and of course taste! “Wine farm hopping” isn’t a bad idea if you’ve got a transfer vehicle to drive you around. A favourite of mine is Babylonstoren - one of the oldest and most unique Cape Dutch farms. It has a beautiful fruit and vegetable garden, incredibly luxurious accommodation, delicious food and wine, all married together with a sense of wellbeing. Babylonstoren is located between Franschhoek and Paarl (about a 45 minute drive from Cape Town international airport). If you’re able to spend a night, I’d highly recommend it, otherwise a stop for lunch and a walk around their fascinating farm, really is a perfect day!
Images: Left - Babylonstoren tea room; Right - Wine Farm in Stellenbosch
You’ll come to find that Cape Town is extremely multi-cultural (as mentioned in the foodie point above), and you’ll realise that the different people coming from all walks of life paint the city in their own unique style, with no shame whatsoever! Because of this, Cape Town has become the greatest creative hub in Southern Africa. People express themselves in every corner of the city, whether its through drawing, music, photography, food, fashion, written material, and so much more - the artistry doesn’t stop! There are also some amazing schools/institutes in and around the area that teach and encourage all sorts of creative skills. A great (and free) event to attend in order to experience and support the work and originality of some individuals is First Thursdays, where you can stroll between the galleries, restaurants and shops of the CBD. The event is held on the first Thursday of each month, and is loads of fun!
Cape Town is a city that never sleeps, there’s no doubt about it. But that doesn’t mean that you can’t take a time-out from the hustle and bustle for the weekend and sneak off to a place where you’re able to think and be alone (or with your loved ones). All along the west cost stretching from Cape Town all the way up towards Namibia there are numerous quiet little nooks to choose from. Liesel Venter from Tourism Update mentions “the quaint fishing villages, flower filled nature reserves and endless white sand beaches” that will certainly do the trick, and leave you feeling relaxed and rejuvenated, and ready to fully immerse yourself in the next adventure! I’d recommend Langebaan - it’s everything you’d want for a genuinely peaceful time away.
Images: Left - A quiet guest house in Langebaan; Right - An endless white sand beach in Langebaan