Cape Town Travel Guide
Cape Town’s nightlife spans everything from live theatre at the Baxter to cocktails at Planet bar at the Mount Nelson Hotel. For an equally unique experience a little off the beaten track, step outside the city to the Oude Libertas Ampitheatre, an open-air amphitheater in the Stellenbosch vineyards. Here you can see music, dance and theatre, all under South Africa’s bright starry skies, just under an hour outside of Cape Town.
If you’re looking for things to do in Cape Town proper, try the Cape Town Good Food & Wine Show. There, gourmet cuisine, fine wines, and top chefs, vintners and restaurateurs vie for your attention and delight, offering tastings, workshops, and one-on-one cooking lessons.
Whatever your plans for the day, get started with a champagne breakfast at Mount Nelson’s Oasis Restaurant, set amidst sparkling pools and lush gardens, before heading into Cape Town to explore. Go to Bo-Kaap, the old Malay Quarter, for spices from South-East Asia, or check out the independent bookshops along Kloof Street. With such an eclectic mix of cultures and experiences, it won’t be hard to find things to do in Cape Town – you may even plan a return visit to take it all in.
A drive along the westerly, warmer-watered side of the peninsula brings you through quaint villages and laid-back surfer communities.
The area known simply as District Six was a vibrant, multiracial, working-class neighborhood on the city’s eastern fringe until 1966, when the apartheid government declared it a whites-only area.
Caveau’s wine list is an enjoyable departure from the red, white, and sparkling norm; it’s divided into Easy Drinkers (try the superb Pierre Jourdan Brut), Discoveries, Food Friendlies, Vintage Reserves, Rarities (like small lots from inner city winery Signal Hill), and Giants.
The expansive modern space is geared toward serious collectors, representing both well-established and up-and-coming talents.
From its 3,500-foot summit, this flat-topped mountain that looms above Cape Town offers truly mind-blowing views: the entire city peninsula, including the Atlantic coast, False Bay, and the easterly valleys of Winelands, all stretch out shimmering below as far as the eye can see.
Behind the red-brick façade of a Bo-Kaap office building, the bright yellow showroom of Monkeybiz is packed with colorful beaded objects made by craftswomen in some of South Africa’s most disadvantaged communities.
Whatiftheworld’s mandate is to cultivate a community among Cape Town’s young furniture-, product-, and fashion designers and aspiring collectors. It takes the form of shows held in Whatiftheworld’s gallery/work space in Woodstock.
Surf culture is deeply entrenched in South Africa; boys and girls here start catching gnarly waves as early as kindergarten. The warm, relatively calm waters of False Bay are where most Capetonians develop their surfing legs—and where you can get yours.
The water may be colder on the Atlantic side of the Cape peninsula, but the beaches are definitely hotter. An upmarket and well-toned crowd gathers here, for sun and sand during the day and sundowners by night at beachfront bars.
Best known as the former prison where Nelson Mandela was incarcerated for 18 years, this island off the coast of Cape Town also served as a leper colony, mental institution, and military base over the past three centuries.
What to Expect: The four small white-sand beaches that face the Atlantic Ocean on the west side of town are often called the South Beach of South Africa.
The venue has an extensive collection of mixed-media works divided between two gallery spaces.
The Cape Peninsula is one of the world’s six Floral Kingdoms, home to thousands of plants found nowhere else in the world—and this 1,300-acre indigenous garden that rises up Table Mountain’s lower slope is an amazing place to see them.