The 10 things in Cape Town you have to experience
January 1, 1970
by Mutondwa Nemurangoni
For the love of the Mother City
Don’t ever get me started on a conversation about Cape Town… it is literally opening up a can of stories and amazing memories. I believe that travel is the antidote that one needs to cure all the self-doubt and find enlightenment and inner contentment. I especially believe this to be true for solo travel. I know that when I travel I gain pieces of myself within each location. One such a location is Cape Town, also known by the locals as the Mother City. In my humble opinion, it is one of the most beautiful places on the planet, someone once told me that I over-hype it. As if this is possible. Cape Town will always live up to the hype, even with a water shortage currently threatening to turn it into a desert wasteland Cape Town will always live up to the hype.
As a South African, I like to boast about the beauty of my country, the awe-inspiring and eye-capturing mountains, the oceans and most importantly the people and their culture. Cape Town happens to be at the heartbeat of all South Africa has to offer. You cannot walk around its streets without being affected by its clear and crisp air, its stunning views of the wonderous Table Mountain in all its ‘one of the seven wonders of nature’ glory that seem to follow you no matter where you are. If you are after an adventure and insane experiences then this is certainly the city to do it. This is why I have decided to make a list of the 10 things in Cape Town you have to experience. Some will melt your heart, some will leave you really drunk, and some will leave you inspired.
This is my list of the 10 things in Cape Town you just have to experience…not in any order.
1. Hike up Table Mountain and use the cable car back
Table mountain will actually follow you around throughout your entire stay in CT. No matter where you are, it is always watching and always inspiring. I remember my own first personal encounter with it. It was an early morning, I was walking up the stairs between the city center bus station and the taxi rank. When I got to the top of the stairs I was hit by beauty my mind couldn’t understand, there stood Table Mountain with smokey white mist brewing on top of it. The sun was just about to rise and it looked glorious. There is a reason it constantly makes the 7 wonders of nature list year in and year out, it’s because you will always remember the day you encountered it. Hiking up table mountain on a beautiful, clear sky Cape Town afternoon is an experience you just have to have. There are various trails for you to explore, choose one and pack up the correct gear.
Things you might want to bring along:
- A bottle of water, maybe two
- A snack… dried fruit, biltong, or a sandwich… believe me, you’ll need it
- A hat/cap… it gets really hot
- Apply a ton of sunscreen, and carry some more just in case
- Wear comfortable sneakers (Converse All-stars will not do… believe me).
- Don’t wear black, especially on a hot day.
- Do wear comfortable gym attire, you don’t need the extra weight
- Decide which route to take… there are quite a few, so do a little research before rocking up. If you need a little help deciding then check out this cool article on CapetownTravel.
- If you are a sweater… some deodorant will save you… especially when you are in a tightly spaced cable car back down
2. Wine tasting in the Winelands
I happen to be obsessed with wine, and there is no better place to try wine than in the Cape Winelands. Cape Town is known for its beautiful vineyards located just a few minutes outside of Cape Town center. The Winelands are absolutely beautiful and you have plenty of vineyards to pick from. You’ll enjoy some awesome wine tasting, or in my case wine gulping, and tours of the grounds, including checking out how wine is made. You also have plenty of options to pick from, and if you are truly a wine enthusiast and have the day or weekend you could probably check out all of them. To find out more information on the Cape Winelands visit their website and read up on all your options.
3. Breakfast at Jarryd’s Espresso Bar and Eatery
I am not usually a breakfast kind of girl… usually I skip breakfast but I found this little cozy place to be worthwhile. Located in Sea Point this joint absolutely carries chilled vibes. Jarryd’s Espresso Bar and Eatery is a great place to enjoy really strong coffee and have a conversation. The staff is incredibly friendly and their breakfast menu is off the chains. They have options for days and the prices won’t have your head spinning completely. You can come through with the breakfast crowd or if lunch is more your thing then join the afternoon lunch crowd. Another awesome thing about this place is that they serve breakfast ALL day, who says you need to eat breakfast in the morning? Bacon certainly never did.
4. V&A Waterfront
Do people enjoy going to shopping malls when they are traveling? I sure don’t, I’m not a fan of malls on any given day, however, if you are going to check out a mall in Cape Town it might as well be the V&A Waterfront. Located on a beautiful marina overlooking the harbor, you can certainly spot some amazing scenery. The Waterfront not only looks ridiculously clean (I think you could actually eat off the ground), it is also quite posh and high end. The mall carries a list of exquisite restaurants and clothing stores. You can also pop in for a movie date as they have a top of the range cinema showing all the latest movie.
5. Consume 5 different brands of local wine…
Okay, I know I am putting wine on the list twice but come on, are you going to seriously complain? Wine is a fundamental part of life, therefore, it has to be mentioned twice. SO, if you don’t get the opportunity to check out the Cape Winelands, then pop into your local Woolworths Food or Checkers and get yourself five bottles of local wine. Why five you ask? Well, why the heck not? Mix it up, get some dry wine, sweet red, some rose or whatever else you fancy. Remember to keep it local, there is no point in drinking French wine while in Cape Town. Sit on a balcony overlooking the city, play some awesome music and down your bottles (you can use a wine glass or drink from the bottle, no one is judging).
6. Eat the 15 pieces chicken wings with sweet chilli mayo sauce at Sticky BBQ
Seeing as I’m rolling with the theme of food and drink consumption let’s talk about chicken wings, or ribs or calamari, but mostly let’s focus on chicken wings. I have a little bit of a chicken wing obsession; this obsession has taken over my life to the point where I am that annoying person who is going to order chicken wings at any restaurant they go to and rank them in my “top 10 list of places to eat chicken wings”. My number two on the list is a place I can only go to when I am in Cape Town. Sticky BBQ in Rondebosch cape town is a favorite hangout spot of mine. I always order the 15-piece chicken wings platter and a side of sweet chilli mayo sauce, I never skip a beat. This little American diner style place is the perfect hang-out spot to kick back and chill hard!
7. Visit Robben Island
South Africa has a ridiculously painful history, but it also has a beautiful story of triumph and perseverance to tell. Robben Island is a great place to check out and hear these stories. Board a ferry boat and travel across the ocean from the Cape shore all the way to Robben Island. You will be taken on a tour of the prison and the island, hearing stories about our nation’s history in a dignified and inspired way. An ex-prisoner will be your guide and you’ll get to experience history through their own story. Don’t forget to carry some cash to tip the tour guides, they truly deserve the support, I basically kicked myself for not having any cash. You can book your tickets at Webtickets.
8. Simons Town
Located on the far eastern side of Cape Town and overlooks the ocean. Take a stroll through this small town and enjoy fresh air, beautiful scenery and friendly locals. You can check out the cool restaurant Bertha’s which has a beautiful terrace overlooking the harbor and the ocean. Enjoy some seafood accompanied by tasty cocktails and friendly service. This would be a great opportunity to use the CT Metrorail as this little town is the final stop on the train.
9. Ride the CT Metrorail
The CT Metrorail is an adventure for sure and you cannot really say you have experienced all the Crazy this City has to offer without riding the Metrorail. Expect to meet all sorts of Capetonians from various backgrounds and culture. If you want to truly understand all the diversity this city has to offer then the metro rail during peak hours is the spot to do just that. Just be careful to find yourself in the first class, don’t worry the ticket difference is like R4.00.
10. Charlys Bakery
Ahh, I am back talking about food… travel for me is not complete without a ridiculous amount of food consumption, especially baked goods! Charlys Bakery is somewhat of a national treasure and a Capetonian hot spot for baked products. You have to pop into this little gem located in Cape Town’s District 6 area. Please do try their chocolate cupcakes, actually any of their cupcakes, they will give you a ton of life!
There are so many things for you to experience in Cape Town and this is just my list of 10 small things I think you should experience at least once when visiting the Mother City!