Dine, drink & discover Cape Town
Cape Town, South Africa
November 2 – 6, 2014
After 20 days of camping through east Africa, we were looking forward to staying put in one place for a few days, sleeping in, and enjoying some comfort food. I had been craving a big greasy burger and fries and Jessica was looking for the best gluten-free pizza. Plus, we would be in Cape Town, one of the most stunning cities on the planet!
We haven’t talked about airbnb in a while, but we were back at it in Cape Town. We found accommodations right in the city on Buitenkant St., and fortunately for us, the place was exactly what we were looking for. It was spotless, spacious and had a large shower, huge modern kitchen that was at our disposal, not to mention a host who’s worst enemy was an empty wine glass.
EATING IN CAPE TOWN
Cape Town is as westernized as any North American city and is a foodie’s paradise with everything from high-end restaurants to amazing street food. I found my burger and fries at Hudson’s the Burger Joint at 69 Kloof Street, while Jess found amazing gluten-free pizza at Primi Pizza.
Narona restaurant was inexpensive and a 30 second walk from our airbnb and, yes, we ordered from their multiple times. The Wham Bam pizza was delicious. With bacon, avocado, mushrooms, onion and garlic, how could it not be?
For a truly authentic African (Ethiopian) dining experience, head to Addis in Cape at 41 Church Street (corner of Long & Church). In true African style, our meals were piled onto a communal plate which we all ate from with our hands.
Not before washing our hands, of course. The servers bring water and cloths to your table to ensure everyone washes up first as cleanliness is extremely important. This was an amazing meal and equally amazing experience. We highly recommend this place. Punam, a friend from our G Adventures East Africa tour was in Cape Town for the night so we met for dinner.
Oh and we ate at Nando’s as well. It is extremely budget friendly and delicious.
Our airbnb included breakfast so we cooked for ourselves in the mornings; Bacon, eggs, toast, avocado, tomato, etc. It was delicious and included coffee so this saved us quite a bit and allowed me an extra beer or two! By the way, my go to beer in CT was Jack Black’s Original Lager, a local craft brew.
We did find a great coffee shop at the corner of Long and Short Market called Kamili Coffee. This is near one of the Cape Town sightseeing bus stops in city centre, so be sure to grab a coffee before for your tour.
TOURING IN CAPE TOWN
The number one tourist attraction in Cape Town has to be Table Mountain which is perched just to the south and overlooks the city. The mountain is popular for hiking having several routes to the top with varying lengths and levels of difficulty. The easiest route up is of course the famous Table Mountain Aerial Cableway which whisks you up in 5 minutes. A return ride on the cable way costs between R225 and R250, depending on the season. That’s between $23 CAD ($19 USD) and $25 CAD ($22 USD). Cost also varies between morning and afternoon as watching the sunset from the top is extremely popular.
We opted for the one-way ticket down after our hike.
We chose the more strenuous route up and that was the hike via Platteklip Gorge, although this is the most popular and easiest of the more than 200 routes. It took us about 2 hours to make it to the summit. It was extremely hot and not a breath of wind. That’s one excuse for the two-hour time. The second would be that there was a new photo opportunity at every step. We couldn’t have asked for better weather on the day. Not a cloud in the sky. Absolutely amazing.
Once you reach the top, you can see Robben Island, Lion’s Head, Signal Hill and the city centre to the north. To the south you can see the Sandstone Mountain Range running for miles as they run parallel with the mighty, shark-infested Atlantic Ocean. Incredible view. Our tripod got some use at the top allowing us to capture this view.
Apparently we were unprepared for the hike. We did not have enough water, nor did we have appropriate clothing. We should have known how quickly the weather can change growing up on the Atlantic Ocean, albeit the other side. The weather can change at the drop of a hat bringing extremely high winds, pea soup fog and freezing temperatures. Several hikers are stranded each year due to the changing weather, so do not underestimate the mountain. A Table Mountain hike is 100% must when in Cape Town. Oh, and please hike up. Trust us, it is worth it!
HOP-ON, HOP-OFF BUS
You see these buses in all major cities. The red double-decker, open-top buses filled with tourists wearing headsets, flashing cameras relentlessly. Judge as you wish, but these buses are a great way to see Cape Town (and any city).
The City Sightseeing Cape Town tour offers three main routes; Red, yellow and blue. The yellow route does a loop of the city centre showing the main attractions.
Take the Red tour if you want to go to table mountain and take the Blue tour if you want to take a longer drive down the peninsula. We did a combination of yellow and red which brought us all around the city centre, plus table mountain and a drive out to Camps Bay.
Camps Bay is stunning with its beautiful beach, million dollar houses and apartments and a different view of the mountains that tower behind it.
Bo-Kaap is a tiny neighbourhood in Cape Town’s city centre and is famous for its brightly coloured houses. Bo-Kaap, once known as the Malay Quarter, sits at the base of Signal Hill. Among the colourful houses are some beautiful mosques as well.
Steeped in tradition, Bo-Kaap is definitely worth a visit, especially for photographers. Check out the Bo-Kaap Iziko Museum to learn more about the area and its significance.
V&A WATERFRONT MARKET
For some retail therapy including some tiny one-of-a-kind boutique stores as well as brand name outlets and a mix of dining options, head to the V&A Waterfront. The waterfront is perfect for a stroll along the water with coffee in hand while people watching. Here we found some delicious food vendors including $5 pork belly with mashed potatoes at &Mash, tucked away in the corner of V&A Market on the Wharf. For cheap, delicious eats and quirky boutique shops, the V&A Waterfront is a must.
SHARK CAGE DIVING
This is a must do for any thrill seeker. Yes, we did it. For details on our shark diving experience, check out our post here: Shark Cage Diving with Great White Shark Tours
Our trip to Cape Town was perfectly timed. It was exactly what we were looking for after our overland safari with G Adventures. The city really catered to everyone. Great weather, delicious dining options, outdoor activities galore and unlimited opportunity for retail therapy make it an ideal destination.
NOTE: Despite its reputation of being a dangerous city (although better than Jo’burg), we did not have any issues and felt perfectly safe walking around, even after dark. Just like any city, try to stick to well-lit, populated areas and you should be fine!
jess + trickett