My Cape Town favourites

I lived in and around Cape Town for only about 2 years and I would recommend a long visit there any day!  Its colourful diversity offers you more than you can handle, everything from the night owl activities to the day-breaker’s passion, Cape Town has got you covered!  Jokes about the ever-changing weather aside…

Just like any other city situated right next to the ocean, the weather can change within the hour.  Cape Town’s also got a big majestic mountain behind it, enforcing them interesting mood swings from time to time.  But don’t let a little cloud or wind discourage ya!  There’s enough to do, with or without a bright sunny day.  I mean, if you’re interested in kite surfing, Blouberg is right next to Cape Town and very a famous spot to learn and enjoy the art of kite surfing.

Public transport includes taxi’s, combi’s, buses and trains but it’s not always as direct as you’d want it to be or recommendable.  For the most part, people in SA prefer to have their own vehicles.  So, if you’re going to take any of the above mentioned, just be aware of the peak hours, the pickpockets and the “safety in numbers” principle.  Otherwise, rent a car or call a Rikkis!

If you are looking to get your surf on, I suggest you start on Muizenberg‘s main beach.  There’s enough parking, right next to the parking are all the surf shops lined up and ready to assist you.  Whether it is gear or lessons you need, you have your pick of a couple shops, with different options and hours.  The waves in Muiz are best surfed with medium- to longboards.  Depending on the day you could sometimes take a shortboard.  If you don’t need practice and can handle a little rumble n pummel, head over to Llandudno, a cute little cove with a feisty wave build-up at times.  Check out Surf Hostel to learn more about the various sports, spots and conditions.DSC06299

Famous colourful cabins on Muizenberg beach.

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Learning to surf on Main, Muizenberg

However, my personal favourite beach activity is skimboarding and there are a number of suitable beaches around the peninsula.  You can read more here.

A curious adventurer will always find lots more to do on a beach than just what you initially came for, e.g.  horse riding in the nature reserve, cliff jumping, hiking, snorkeling, etc.  You can also scuba dive in most of the areas.  Just connect with a local dive shop first in order to get the local’s insider tips.

Sandy Beach

How about a skinny dip?  This is Sandy Beach, the only nude beach in Cape Town.  Secluded, bleach white beach and the most beautiful and cold (but I really mean icy) blue waters.CT 3

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All of these photos are from Sandy Beach.  Found this little guy trying to escape the sun.  Maybe he should’ve tried the water…

This water = the perfect cool down after a picturesque hike up Table Mountain, Devil’s Peak, Lion’s Head, 12 Apostles or Muizenberg mountain.  The nature calling you out of the city is very much a reality for most of us, so pack you bag, put on comfy shoes and take a hike!

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Table Mountain

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Lion’s Head

The mountains are beautiful and a great pleasure to explore.  The views from the top aren’t so bad either…

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The view over Muizenberg and the main beach.

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On your way up Table Mountain you will find a couple of streams and waterfalls before the trail splits and you’re forced to choose between Devil’s Peak and the flat top of Table Mountain.  Do yourself a favour and begin your adventure at the second starting point (more or less in the middle, where it forms a little a valley) and avoid the first trail going up (where the cable car and all the tourist buses stop) Unless you’re an experienced climber or you want to take the cable car, you will not enjoy going up there.  Alternatively, you could also hire an experienced climber and learn the ropes while tackling another face of Table Mountain.

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Cave with water dripping, on our way to Devil’s Peak.  Lion’s Head in the background.

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The city to your left, the harbour in front and Blouberg in the distance.  Is this heaven?!

Oh, and then there was the time that I was so absolutely lucky to meet a paraglider in the gym and he said let’s run/ jump off a mountain together!  We were strapped and ready for the big leap the very next day =)

Lion’s Head is a paragliding hotspot and you can book tandem glides to get a bird’s eye view of the city and this side of the peninsula.  Very recommended if you’re in Cape Town during summer! 

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A paraglider aiming at the sunset after building up enough height against the mountain.

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The view from the cockpit =) Camps Bay with the 12 Apostles mountain range to the left.  Llandudno and Sandy Beach in the distance.
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How I felt when it was landing time… Don’t look down.  Or up.  Or anywhere if you can afford to close your eyes!

After any adventure a person needs good food and a great vibe.  There are so, so, so many awesome places to go in Cape Town to get a unique, tasty and filling meal!  Just stroll down Long street  and you’re bound to find something that floats your boat.  Stay away from them instant meal franchises, you can find that everywhere in the world!  Instead, try some “Local is Lekker”!  You’ll have to learn to roll your r’s for that one…

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My list of favourite restaurants, even if just for a cocktail or burger  would be Royale Eatery, Rafiki’s,  Eastern Food Basaar, Kalkies and Cape To Cuba.  Obviously there are many more fantastic options that I don’t even know of but spend enough time with a local and you will soon learn that you are indeed spoiled for choice in the Cape!

Kalkies and Cape To Cuba are both in Kalk Bay, a cheap train ride away from Muizenberg.  You can easily explore this tiny fisherman town by foot and check out the various restaurants and shops.  Even walk to Fish Hoek or hike up the mountain back towards Muizenberg.  If you walk to Kalk Bay from Muizenberg along the shore (there’s a pathway next to the rail) you can also stop and admire the whales (depending on the season) as well as surfers.   Just remember your “safety in numbers”.

In case you took my advice and rented a car, and you have the time, you should take the road that leads you towards Cape Point for a scenic drive along the mountain range and coast.  You’ll pass Fish Hoek and Simonstown, both of which are excellent places to stop and explore as well.  Especially if you fancy a visit to the Naval base in Simonstown!  Right after Simonstown is Boulders Beach, famous for the cute African Penguin colony running the show.  There’s a boardwalk along their ‘republic’ not to be missed!

At Cape Point you can exhale all the stress and inhale everything else =)  If you’re a smoker, I wasn’t talking about that…  This is a nature reserve on a peak, there’s a restaurant but it’s pricey if you’re not a 5%er…  You can always enjoy nature for free!

You can keep going on this road around the corner and find Noordhoek.  This is my idea of perfection: farm life, mountain in my backyard and  the beach down the road.  There are some farm stalls/restaurants,etc.  But not much else that I know of, best to check on the web and ask around if you want to spend some time there other than on the beach.  Kommetjie beach is also a surf spot.

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Kommetjie Beach 

Following the Chapman’s Peak pass you will have to pay toll entrance.  But it is worth it!  This pass connects Hout Bay to Noordhoek via the coast.  It’s also a very popular cycling route and  longboarders (skating) enjoy the downhill adrenaline kinks and curves as well.

Once you’ve made it pass the exit, you will see some English fort ruins next to the road.  You are allowed to stop and explore and please do so!  The view over the bay and surrounding mountains is spectacular and great for a photography outing.

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While in Hout Bay, checkout the markets in town and the harbour, where there’s a little museum, some restaurants and friendly seals.  You can also take a boat ride to Seal Island.

It will smell.  And if you’re prone to motion sickness remember to take prevention medicine before.

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Hout Bay harbour.  Yes, this guy is feeding an obviously untamed seal and risking his face in the process… Great photo!  =)

I’m sure I’ve convinced you now to put Cape Town on your bucket list.  And I’m not even working in tourism…  There are many more places to see and things to do in and around the city!  But if you only have a few days and you want to be active I would say go along the line of these.

Enjoy and always be a mindful traveler!

Cheers!

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