Since I’m a travel blogger I’m often asked the question – “Where’s the best place to go on vacation?” – and up till now I’ve always found it a difficult question to answer. I’ve travelled to a lot of destinations and I always struggled to choose a favourite. But then I found some cheap flights to Cape Town (£400 return peak season) and I have to say this place is the bomb.
Why so? Well, for starters, it’s cheap. You can go to a top-end restaurant in Cape Town, order seafood and wine and still pay less than you would for an average restaurant in say, London. The food is ridiculously fresh and colorful. Then there’s the scenery. It’s stunning. Everywhere you drive you’re met with views of beautiful beaches and dramatic mountains. Car is king in Cape Town and rentals are very affordable, so it’s the ideal place if you like the freedom of road tripping.
If you’re visiting for 7 days, here’s my suggested itinerary for one week in Cape Town:
Day 1: Clifton Beach
My flight landed at 8am and on my first day in Cape Town I went straight to the beach. Camps Bay is great if you want to be close to a wide choice of restaurants – I would definitely recommend heading to Zenzero for brunch. However, Clifton Beach is a lot more beautiful since you have to walk down a flight of stairs in the cliff to get to it. The beach has beautiful white sands with rolling waves and the beach vendors will keep you happy with all the ice cream and drinks you can manage.
Day 2: V&A Waterfront/Catamaran Cruising
On day 2 in Cape Town I’d recommend you hit the beach again, before heading to the V&A waterfront in the evening. The waterfront is lined with all sorts of top notch restaurants serving fresh fish and sushi. But first, book yourself onto the Peroni Catamaran which will take you on a tour of the coastline at sunset. The views are magical and you’ll get a glass of prosecco or two to toast a magical day in Cape Town. My favourite spot at the V&A waterfront is Den Anker, a Belgian restaurant serving Belgian beers and delicious snacks like croquettes and seared tuna. I also had some of the best sushi I’ve ever eaten in my life at Sevruga restaurant – it tasted like it had come right out of the ocean (which it had).
Day 3: Boulders Beach
Penguins at the beach? It’s a bit strange to see penguins in a hot, sunny place as we usually associate them with snowy Antarctic conditions. But Boulders Beach is home to a colony of African penguins, known as “jackass penguins”, which are the only type of penguin found on the African continent. The beach falls within a protected reserve so its been kept in pristine condition and it gets its name because of the granite boulders that the penguins like to hide amongst. There are two parts to the beach – there’s the viewing platform, which attracts throngs of tourists, as well as the beach part, where you can swim and have your photo taken with them.
However, a little tip for you. There’s a beach outside the area called Seaforth and I stopped there for a spot of sunbathing after my trip to Boulders Beach. I went for a dip in the ocean and about 5-6 penguins casually swam by me in the water. I couldn’t believe it. They settled on the rock and I managed to get even better photos than at Boulders Beach.
Day 4: Stellenbosch
Ahh Stellenbosch. The scenery in wine country is absolutely breathtaking. Stellenbosch lies about an hour’s drive outside of Cape Town and is known for its vineyards that produce top notch South African wines. The fantastic thing about visiting wineries in South Africa is that everything is much cheaper than in America’s wine regions, so you can visit here on a budget but still be able to order anything you like.
I began my day with a visit to Rust en Vrede, one of the prettiest and most picturesque wineries in South Africa. The winery only produces red wine, so you’ll need to be a red wine lover, but the terrace has a spectacular view. After that I drove to Delaire Graff Estate, which boasts a luxury hotel and a fine dining restaurant with a large terrace overlooking the entire vineyard. The food is excellent and it’s the best place in Stellenbosch for lunch with a view.
Day 5: Woodstock/Bo-kaap
On day 5 in Cape Town I’d recommend you discover Bo-Kaap, Cape Town’s vibrantly coloured Islamic neighbourhood. The buildings here are painted in all sorts of bold colours including pinks, greens, yellows and every colour of the rainbow. Its a fantastic spot for Instagram photos. Afterwards head on over to the hipster neighbourhood of Woodstock for some beer tasting at Woodstock Brewery before grabbing tacos at The Fat Cactus. Their tacos are incredibly fresh (as is all the food in Cape Town) and the patio attracts a fun crowd.
Day 6: Beach Day/Table Mountain
Next the attraction you’ve been waiting for: Table Mountain. It’s possible to hike up the mountain but most tourists take the cable car up to the top. If you’re afraid of heights, rides or anything scary like I am, you’ve been warned. The cable car has a revolving floor, which creeped me out and left me hanging on to the side for dear life. The ascent is steep, so I wouldn’t advise looking at the cliff face.
Once at the top, the view is one of the most impressive things I’ve ever witnessed. You can walk around the flat top and take pictures, and if you’re feeling brave enough, you can stand on top of some of the rocks around the edge. The clouds seem to flow off the top of the mountain, making for some dramatic photos over Cape Town.
Day 7: Robben Island
OK, I actually never made it to Robben Island as it was actually sold out for the time I wanted. Instead, I did what any pasty English lady would do; I spent my last day trying to catch the last rays at the beach. However, Robben Island is a must-do when you’re in Cape Town because this is where Nelson Mandela was imprisoned. The tour will take you around the maximum security prison, which culminates in a visit to Nelson Mandela’s cell. Tours depart from the V&A waterfront and usually take approximately 3.5 hours.
7 days is a good amount of time in Cape Town, although it would definitely be possible to spend 2 weeks there and not get bored. I loved this city for so many reasons, but mainly because the food was so damn good and the scenery was just out of this world. If you haven’t been there yet and you’re thinking of visiting, it’s well worth the long flight to get there.