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Cape Town bucket list
Things you have to do every once in a while or at least once – as a visitor and local
Cape Town has something for everyone, something for the active peeps as well as the ones that like to take it easy. So much is happening, sometimes one forgets about what’s to do in the Mother City. This is a reminder of things that should be on your Cape Town bucket list – for at least once a year or once in a lifetime. Be encouraged to do things you usually don’t do.
Be a tourist
.. and take a trip on the red hop-on, hop-off sightseeing bus. You will stop at many of Cape Town’s attractions, visit the Kirstenbosch Gardens, a township and a wine estate – don’t forget to wave at the Capetonians.
The V&A Waterfront is worth a visit if you like shopping. You will find everything here, from clothing to jewellery to restaurants. Walk around and have a look at the yachts and go on a boat ride. The V&A Waterfront is also where the boat to Robben Island leaves. This historic island was where Nelson Mandela and other freedom fighters spent decades imprisoned during the Apartheid. Knowledgeable guides will tell you all about it.
The St. Georges Cathedral in the centre of town is just as impressive as the oldest building in South Africa, the Castle of Good Hope. From Rhodes Memorial you will have a nice view of Cape Town, a great picnic spot to broaden your horizon.
Go for a drive
Cape Town’s scenic wealth is spectacular. Rent a car (and why not a fancy Ferrari F430 Spider?) and go for a long drive and say 'Wow, is this beautiful.' out loud. Victoria Road, the road that leads from Camps Bay to Hout Bay is a nice way to impress someone that’s in Cape Town for the first time as well as a drive up to Signal Hill. Chapman’s Peak is what I call nine kilometres of paradise. Chappies is a must – also nice for fit cyclists or motorcycle-freaks.
The drive to the Cape of Good Hope will give you a brief insight on South Africa’s cavity and also, beauty. Here you will see baboons but watch them, they can jump faster into your car than you think.
Cape Town is diverse and the different areas in town and the suburbs showcase our multicultural background. For example, take a walk through Bo-Kaap and be inspired by the colourful houses, taste a curry and watch the locals. Observatory is known as the hippie and student suburb and has lot’s to offer in terms of nightlife. De Waterkant is the gay hood and offers a hot nightlife. But don’t forget to look over the mountain – the Boerwors-belt called Bellville and beyond has nightlife and more.
How often do you take the train? Leave your car at home and take the train from Cape Town Central station to Simon’s Town. It will take you a scenic 1,5 hours to arrive at your destination, where you you can visit restaurants, museums and the penguins. A stop in Kalk Bay and Muizenberg is totally worth it. Muizenberg is great for a surf, Kalk Bay is fantastic for antique shopping and the Kalk Bay Harbour is an experience on its own. Watch the fishermen, fisher-women and seals. Hermanus is not only known for the Southern Right Whales, there’s plenty to experience in this seaside town. We also love romantic Stellenbosch and Victorian village Matjiesfontein.
Shop local at markets
Capetonians love their markets. Every year there are new markets popping up and shopping and eating there is a blast. Of course, you must visit the hip Neighbourgoods Market at the Old Biscuit Mill, but also get out of town, for instance, to Tokai for the Porter Estate Market. A must is also the Milnerton Market – when you’re lucky you might find antique bargains and many interesting people are guaranteed. Markets are everywhere, visit Markets in the Southern suburbs, in the City Bowl, in the Northern suburbs, in the Cape Winelands, Cape Town’s surrounds and Atlantic Seaboard and False Bay.
Be sporty in Mother Nature in the Mother City
How fit are you? Are you already running along the Sea Point Promenade or going for swims at the Sea Point swimming pool? Cape Town is the place to do sports. The Cape is well known for its fabulous golf courses. Plus, Cape Town is a water-sports-heaven. From surfing to kite-surfing to diving, from kayaking to yachting, you name it. There are many running routes, hiking trails as well as mountain-biking and cycling routes.
Table Mountain and Lion’s Head should be on your to do list at least once a year – the view will make you come back more often. Newlands Forest and the Table Mountain Park are beautiful for walking with dogs plus a nice getaway so close to town. The Long Street Baths are often forgotten – go for a splash or swim a few lengths. Cape Town also offers crazy stuff for fans of extreme sports. See the sharks face to face or dive with seals, paraglide from Lion’s Head or bungee jump.
Beaches, picnics & parks
Since God blessed Cape Town with amazing nature, go out there and enjoy it. Have a picnic on Cape Town’s beaches; Clifton 1-4 are great, but also remember Llandudno with it’s huge rocks, Noordhoek beach and Kommetjie – watch the surfers, go for a walk with your dog and have a lekker picnic.
Chilling in Cape Town’s parks is easy since there is the right park for everyone. De Waal Park is the dog park, the Greenpoint Urban Park gives you more a London feel; fun to spend some time there after a tour through the stadium. If you are really into plants, you must visit Kirstenbosch Gardens.
Get to know the other side
.. and visit the Cape Flats. Township, Gugulethu is well-known because of the butchery Mzoli’s, Manenberg because of its jazz heroes. A township-tour is a good way to get to know Cape Town properly. Many different tours are on offer, from a gospel-tour to an eco-tour to a jazz safari.
Eat biltong, koeksister and Malva pudding, but don’t forgot bobotie, samoosas, roti and vetkoek – the Cape’s Cuisine is a mixture of many influences and will inspire you to also re-think your choice of restaurants. Be adventurous – from low-key to fine dining, Cape Town feeds everyone.
A braai is always the best – at home or at official braai-spots – lekker, lekker.
Have a drink in the winelands
The winelands have award-winning restaurants, but the wine, oh the wine. Without the many wine estates the Cape wouldn’t be the Cape. Visit wine farms, get to know their history and cheers on all the good things in life. Plus, you can buy wine for less and you may grab a chat with the winemaker.
It’s raining men
Cape Town has it’s days where it’s melancholic and rainy. But good to let the plants have a drink as well as get to know indoor-activities. The Labia is South Africa’s oldest cinema, there are also many other movie theatres where you can get inspired by a good movie. When you’re cultured, visit Cape Town’s galleries, theatres and museums. When you want to spend money, visit Cape Town’s malls or shop in the city centre. Lazy? Visit a spa.
Cape Town is a party. We celebrate in the City Bowl, but also in the Northern suburbs as well as the Southern suburbs. Woodstock and Observatory have great venues for live music and a drink. Cape Town is proud of its many live jazz venues and world class jazz clubs. And don’t forget you are in Africa – listen to African live music. Rainbows, rainbows, Waterkant, nice party spots for your gay friends. Hey, but why not party for a change in Stellenbosch?
Cape Town is buzzing. Every day, there are exciting events happening, from comedy to live music to theatre to film festivals. Have a happy Cape Town day, we love Cape Town! To get you in the mood, have a look at our We love Cape Town photo album, where we show off our city with some amazing pictures.
By Antonia Heil