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Presenting ‘Cape Town, South Africa’ according to Rafiqua of Rafiqua Israel Express
If you ask anyone that has ever visited Cape Town to tell you their thoughts about the city, the chances are that they will probably respond with it’s “lekker bru”. Literally translating to ‘it’s nice/ sweet brother’, Cape Town is a city where ‘local is lekker!’. Cape Town is one of those cities where fond memories will linger in your mind long after you’ve departed. It’s the warm summer nights on one of the many beaches, the breath-taking views on the coastal roads around the peninsula, the charming and friendly locals, the great food and beautiful scenery that keep visitors coming back, and locals staying. It’s the braai’s (bbq), the sunsets and Table Mountain that will make you wish you never left.
Welcome to Cape, the sun is shining, put on your dancing shoes, Cape Town welcomes you!”
– Kaapse Klopse (local song)
1. Ride a Cable Car to the Top of Table Mountain
No vacation to Cape Town would ever be completed without a visit to the iconic Table Mountain, one of the new 7 wonders of the world. Table Mountain is a significant landmark in the city because of the sheer size of it, masking it visible from most areas within the city. If you feel like a challenge, hike up to the top of the mountain to get some of the best, uninterrupted views of the city. If you enjoy cable car rides, a quick ten minute ride will get you to the top and offer equally beautiful views.
Bonus: When on top of Table Mountain, keep your eyes open for dassies, an African rat related to the elephant family, which calls Table Mountain home and lives between the rocks and the fynbos (plants).
2. Visit One of the Gorgeous Beaches
Of all the cities in South Africa, Cape Town is infamous for it’s lengthy list of stunning beaches, which surround the entire city from West to East. While tourists tend to flock towards Camps Bay or Clifton, my personal spot is Llandudno or Boulders Beach. A visit to Llandudno during the week gives you not only panoramic views of the beach from the drive out there, but also a beach barely touched by people. While it does get busy during peak season, week days are usually peaceful and only visited by surfers. A trip to Boulders Beach during the right season will allow you to swim with free-roaming African penguins! Boulders Beach just so happens to be home to a breeding colony of over 2000 endangered African Penguins.
3. Visit a Wine Farm
South Africa is very well known for its wine farms, which surround Cape Town by the dozen. Apart from sipping on extremely affordable wine, straight from the cellar, most wine farms offer stunning scenery and restaurants. Two of my favourite wine farms include De Grendal for it’s stunning view of Table Mountain and Babylonstoren for it’s glass house restaurant.
4. Discover Natural Beauty at Kirstenbosch
Summer days should be spent outside, and one local favourite weekend hangout spot is at Kirstenbosch Gardens. Set against the eastern slope of Table Mountain, this botanical gardens is home to thousands of different specifies of plants and fauna, including the very beautiful fynbos. Apart from strolling around the beautiful nature, visitors to Kirstenbsoch can also take in their own home-packed picnic, as well as walk through the top of the trees on the recently built boomslang (tree top bridge).
5. Eat good, slow food at the Biscuit Mill Saturday food market.
A city is only as good as it’s food and my favourite thing to do on a Saturday is visit one of the many weekend markets in and around the city. While the markets are plentiful in Cape Town, my favourite market of all time is found at the Biscuit Mill every Saturday. While the food is not ‘typically South African’, the vibe is awesome and the food delicious. Some of my best meals have come from here, and some of the best macaroons I have ever eaten can be found at a stall inside this Saturday market.
- Take a walk through history by meandering through the beautiful cobble streets of Bo-Kaap, situated on the slopes of Signal Hill . Once referred to as the Malay Quarter, Bo-Kaap is an area in the city centre famous for both it’s history as a former township as well as it’s colourful houses.
- The best places to go out at night are definitely in and around the city centre, with well known streets for locals and foreigners to hang out at, including Kloof Street, Bree Street and Long Street.
- For some of the best hand made Beef Burgers and monstrous milkshakes, pop into Hudsons. The vibe is always pumping for happy hour, when you can pick a healthy sized cocktail on happy hour from 16:30 – 18:30.
- No visit to Cape Town is complete without a scenic drive along the peninsula. My personal favorite drive is to Simons Town or even Cape Point, via the high level Boyes Drive Road, as it offers dramatic views of the sea and cliffs below.
- If you want to do as the locals do, warm Sunday afternoons should be spent walking along the peaceful Seapoint Promenade. One of my favorite highlights along this walk is a pit-stop at an ice-cream parlor, either The Creamery or Crumbs and Cream.
- If you would love to see some of the old European architecture influences, a walk through Cape Town city center is a must. Do make sure to check out the Cape Castle as well as the area surrounding St. Georges Mall.
Things to avoid
- Cape Town is a reasonably safe city to travel to, but as always when traveling to a new country, be aware of pickpockets. Personally I would avoid flashing your camera or smartphone in the city center.
- While the nightlife in Cape Town is fun and plentiful, it is advisable to not go out by yourself an night and try to use a reputable taxi service when doing so.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Rafiqua Israel is a twenty-something South African who found her passion for travelling and photography while teaching English in South Korea in 2013. She loves to be on the go and exploring new cities around the world. Some of her favourite memories to date are scuba diving with turtles in the Philippines, paragliding in South Korea and tobogganing down the Great Wall of China. To join Rafiqua on her wanderlust for adventure, follow along on her blog or social channels. You can find her blogging at Rafiqua Israel Express. Follow her on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest too.