Nestled between towering Table Mountain and icy Atlantic Ocean, lies the laid-back yet lively city of Cape Town. Historical and cultural landmarks, avant-garde artsy enclaves, swish eateries and trendy hotspots form the pieces of a sprawling puzzle that make up one Africa’s most popular tourist destinations. With so many things to do and see, a brief visit can seem daunting. Here’s a guideline on how to beat the clock – explore and capture the essence of Cape Town in only 48 hours.
Lay the foundation of your visit by looking beyond the city’s gorgeous exterior and stop by one of our many museums and galleries. Founded in 1825, The Iziko South African Museum is the largest of its kind in Southern Africa and sits in the historic Company Gardens. It is home to a range of artefacts depicting the very beginning of civilisation, from San rock paintings, fossil footprints and even a dinosaur display. For more Cape-focused exhibits, the Slave Lodge in Adderley Street is a haunting reminder of a darker time, yet truly informative and thought-provoking.
After this, you may be in need of a pick-me-up, so why not head to the Adderley Street Flower Market to lighten the mood? Picture stunning visuals of hundreds of vibrant bouquets – the wide range of colours and scents will definitely leave you smiling.
If by this time you’re completely ravenous, hip and happening Bree Street is just a stone’s throw away. The ultimate foodie destination – so trendy in fact, that even Vogue magazine had to do a feature on it – has everything from artisan coffee to cutting-edge organic food restaurants. For a hearty meal, Clark’s Bar and Dining Room is sure to deliver. Try their legendary cheeseburger or hit up Jason’s Bakery for some lighter sarmies and mouthwatering croissants.
Round off a cultural day by paying a visit to artsy and industrial Woodstock, where striking graffiti artwork adorn the sides of unkempt buildings. We’d recommend going with a guide since it is a transitional suburb and still has elements of it’s rough and tough origins. Juma’s Tours provide excellent walking tours of the area, allowing you to marvel the sights, mingle with locals and gain insight into how this unique form of ‘artwork activism’ was born. The tour begins at the creative business hub of the Woodstock Exchange, which is an experience in itself. Don’t miss the chance to check out this little gem too!
The Sea Point promenade is a Mother City institution. Watch the sunset and relish in the crisp ocean air amid joggers and cyclists or indulge in some Gelato and waffles for a late night treat. The vibey Camp’s Bay strip is not too further afield, offering affluent nightlife and restaurants. Cafe Caprice or the Blues Restaurant and Bar are always buzzing with an elite crowd.
Time for the Cape’s most iconic landmark – Table Mountain, to start your day off on a high. A scenic cable-car ride ascends to 1098 metres above the city, seemingly the perfect spot to soak up spectacular views from a 360-degree angle (for convenience, try booking tickets online in advance). Or if you’re up for it, venture further into the summit and tackle one of three hiking trails that begin at the Upper Cable Station to fully immerse in the indigenous flora and fauna. Of course, don’t forget to stop for a quick brekkie at Table Mountain Cafe before you head on your way.
Next up, beaches! Popular beaches like Clifton and Camp’s Bay are exquisite, yet often crowded. Cape Town’s Southern railway line is a unique and relaxing way to tour the various beaches and seaside suburbs of the False Bay coastline. For just 30 bucks you can purchase a hop-on-hop-off ticket that takes you from Cape Town all they way to Simon’s Town, as well as receive a map that highlights the attractions in each area. Explore the surfer’s paradise and antique shops in Muizenberg, before viewing the colourful bathing boxes at St James Beach – the subject of many a postcard photograph, and then get lost in the fishing lifestyle of Kalk Bay. En route Fish Hoek, keep an eye out for whales in view as your carriage glides along the coastline, and definitely visit Africa’s Penguin colony at Boulder’s Beach in Simon’s Town.
An action-packed day calls for a chilled night. Perhaps catch a movie at South Africa’s oldest independent movie theatre, The Labia. Choose from a range of foreign or indie films, grab a few snacks along with a blanket from home and get comfortable. The modest set-up is an alternative take on commercial cinemas located in malls and exudes an old-world charm through its vintage aesthetic.
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