After our AMAZING Emirates First Class experiences from Orlando to Dubai and Dubai to Cape Town, we had four days to explore the Western Cape of South Africa! This was both Mallory and my first time south of the equator, and we were excited to explore this magical city. The city of Cape Town technically stretches all the way from about Grotto Bay in the north down to Cape Point and the Cape of Good Hope in the south nearly 60 miles and from the Atlantic Ocean to Stellenbosch in the East around 20-30 miles. So this is a large, spread out city, but if you are planning a trip to Africa, it is a city you cannot miss!
Being on the other side of the equator we were visiting Cape Town in the middle of its winter, also traditionally the wet season. Cape Town is about as far south from the equator as Myrtle Beach is north, so the winters aren’t terribly cold, but it got a bit chilly at night. Temperatures, for the most part, ranged from 55-65 degrees Fahrenheit during our stay.
Cape Town has loads of small boutique hotels and all of the major hotel chains have properties in Cape Town, so there is something for everyone’s needs and budget. Click here to search for a hotel in Cape Town!
We stayed at the One & Only Cape Town, which is located right on the V&A Waterfront making it very central to the main attractions. This hotel can be pricey, but since we were visiting during winter we were able to take advantage of a 40% off deal and using my Citi Prestige card we were able to get our fourth night free bringing the price per night down significantly!
The One & Only Cape Town was a beautiful hotel with huge suites and two fantastic restaurants including the world-renowned Nobu. This was our first time staying in a One & Only hotel, but it was one of the best hotels we have ever stayed in. The service was phenomenal everyone went above and beyond to make sure we had a comfortable and pleasant stay. The concierge was fantastic and helped us plan all of our activities, and worked with us when some of them didn’t go as planned.
If you still want to be centrally located, but don’t need a five-star resort check out the Victoria & Alfred Hotel. You will still be on the V&A Waterfront with beautiful views of Table Mountain, steps away from a massive shopping center for around $200 per night.
Families would love the One & Only, but another option is the 12 Apostles Hotel in Camps Bay. Kids are given a backpack at check-in and can stay busy with complimentary board games, puzzles and x boxes. The hotel also has a 16 seat cinema that the whole family can take advantage of if it gets a bit rainy like it was for us!
We only had about four days in Cape Town with all of the traveling we were doing, so we wanted to take full advantage of our time. Our guide Brom from Jarat Tours said to thoroughly enjoy the time you need 10-14 days, so you can have some time to relax too. We didn’t have nearly that much time, and the weather wasn’t exactly cooperative with us, but we managed to see a lot during our short stay. There are plenty of day-trips and other tours, but there are certain things you must do when visiting Cape Town!
Sitting in the center of the city, Table Mountain is the main attraction for people visiting Cape Town. You can hike up or take a cable car, but as we found out the wind and clouds will cause the cable car to shut down. Unfortunately, we weren’t able to go to the top of Table Mountain because of the weather during our stay, but we loved Cape Town so much we will be back!
Before arriving in South Africa, I thought Cape Point and the Cape of Good Hope were the most southern part of Africa, but that is actually Cape Agulhas about 90 miles to the Southeast of Cape Point. Nevertheless, if you’re visiting Cape Town, you should go down to Cape Point because the views are spectacular!
Another activity we were unable to do because a lack of time was visiting the Winelands region of Cape Town. Stellenbosch is world renowned for some fantastic wines. Even though we weren’t able to visit the Winelands were still able to try our fair share of South African wines including a local specialty called Pinotage, which is a cross between Pinot Noir and Hermitage grapes. Some of the wines we brought home with us are: Creation Pinot Noir, Rijk’s Reserve Pinotage, and Bowwood Cabernet Sauvignon
We were able to knock two of these five activities off our list in one four hour tour. On our way down to Cape Point, we stopped at Boulders Beach in Simon’s Town the home of Cape Town’s penguin colony. Four 65 Rand or about $5 per person you can get up close and personal with these funny little creatures. You’ll likely see swimming, running, and sleeping penguins and if you are lucky some fluffy baby penguins! Don’t forget to stop for an affogato on your way back to your car.
The only thing in Cape Town that I planned before arrival was a helicopter tour that took us down to the Cape of Good Hope back up and over the Winelands, over Table Mountain and back to the city center. Come the morning of our flight we look outside to see the wind and a very overcast sky after delaying us several hours we decided we didn’t want to waste a whole day, so we were able to cancel our flight due to the weather.
If you are a thrill seeker, you can dive with the massive great white sharks. Cage diving excursions leave very early in the morning and are about a two hours drive from Cape Town, so be prepared to spend a whole day. With it being winter and our limited amount of time we didn’t cage dive this trip, but you bet I’ll be doing it next time I visit!
On the same day, we visited Cape Point and Boulders Beach we also did a beach horseback ride in Noordhoek. The Dunes stables use retired racehorses for their excursions, and if you are a skilled rider, you will have a chance to let them run at the end of your ride. I am by no means an experienced rider, so I skipped that part, but Mallory said it was scary, yet amazing! At only $75 for two people on this two-hour ride, The Dunes is a great value if you’d like to ride while you’re in Cape Town.
To experience a little bit of the culture of Cape Town and its people spend an afternoon in Bo Kaap – the Malay quarter. It is known for its colorful houses and makes a perfect stop for a few great Instagram posts! Nearby you will also find some great food!
We were fortunate staying at the One & Only that we had two fabulous restaurants in our hotel, Nobu and Reuben’s. If you’ve never had a chance to eat at a Nobu, you should check it out. It was probably the best sushi and gyoza I have ever had, and all of the platings is simple and beautiful.
For lunch, you should check out the V&A Food Market down on the waterfront. Inside there are booths with different cuisines set up we had some quesadillas, and they were not only huge but delicious! Just a few blocks from Bo Kaap there is a street with tons of dining options the Mediterranean option Love Thy Neighbor has great food and an excellent staff that even helped us decide what wine we should take home!
When you visit Cape Point have lunch at the Two Oceans Restaurant. The views are gorgeous, and the food was to die for. The yellowtail or salmon would be great choices for fresh fish.
That is the extent of the dining we did while in Cape Town, but this article lists some other great dining options!
In just four days we fell in love with this beautiful city. The people are so friendly, it seems like from anywhere in the city you have a view of the beautiful mountains or the sea, and there is a lot to do and see. I’d love to visit Cape Town during their spring or summer to also be able to enjoy the beach, maybe try surfing, then again with those great white sharks hanging out nearby maybe not. If you have never been to Africa or South Africa, Cape Town needs to be on your bucket list so you can see for yourself how magical this city is! The next stop on our trip of a lifetime is &Beyond Ngala private game preserve for our three-day safari!