goKonrad’s Cape Town travel blog (South Africa)
In between the towering Table Mountain and the crashing waves of the Atlantic Ocean lies a small pocket that has become one of the world’s most naturally beautiful cities. This laid back and multicultural city inspires travelers as they wander around her bustling streets and harbors, follow in Nelson Mandela’s tracks, and soak in the breathtaking vistas on nearly every corner.
Some of my favorite highlights of Cape Town you shouldn’t miss:
Robben Island is a famous island situated off the coast of Cape Town in the middle of Table Bay. Dutch for “Seal Island,” Robben Island is a historical prison turned museum where former South African president, Nelson Mandela, was imprisoned for 18 of the 27 years he was jailed for during Apartheid. It is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Today, the island is a popular tourist spot that can be reached via ferry from the V&A Waterfront. Tours of the prison and island are led by reformed prisoners.
Lion’s Head is a popular mountain range, between Signal Hill and Table Mountain. The peak is known for its distinctive shape and is a popular hiking route, particularly during the summer months when hikers walk the route by full moon. The 360 degree view from the top makes the hour long ascent well worth it, offering views over the city center and Atlantic Ocean.
Long Street is Cape Town’s liveliest party street, situated in the city center. You can take a walk along the street that never sleeps and take your pick of a mix of quirky bars, restaurants, and nightclubs. Don’t miss stopping at Beerhouse which has 99 bottles of beer and 20 beers on-tap.
District Six Museum
The District Six Museum is dedicated to the thousands of people of mixed race who were forcibly removed from their homes during Apartheid. The museum is a living memorial and a great way to get an understanding of South Africa’s turbulent past, colourful history and promising future.
The Bo Kaap is Cape Town’s most colorful suburb, easily recognizable by rows upon rows of its colorful housing. Formerly known as the Malay Quarter, the Bo Kaap is home to the city’s Muslim community and features the Bo Kaap Museum, cobbled streets and fragrant restaurants. Cooking tours are available where you can learn to cook traditional Malay meals in a local’s kitchen.
Table Mountain cableway
Table Mountain is one of the most iconic mountains in the world, easily recognized by its unique flat-topped surface. Hike up or take a short cable ride to the top and enjoy an unforgettable 360 degree view of the city center, Table Bay, and Robben Island. The cable car station at the top has several viewpoints, walking trails, a restaurant and a curio shop. Tickets can be purchased at the lower cable car station and online. Operation of the cable car is weather dependent.
The V&A Waterfront is located in South Africa’s oldest working harbor and offers one of the most iconic views of Cape Town with Table Mountain in the background. The waterfront is a well-loved shopping and leisure attraction in the Mother City with a large shopping mall with 450 retail outlets, a variety of restaurants, and some of the best bars for sundowners. Boat trips and ferry rides operate out into Table Bay and there is a healthy event calendar full of entertainment and events scheduled at the marina amphitheatre.
Boulders Beach in Simon’s Town offers the chance for beachgoers to share a sheltered beach cove with a colony of fluffy African penguins. Situated alongside a penguin colony, the nearby beach offers boardwalks built above the sand allow for easy viewing within Table Mountain National Park. A restaurant and curio shop is available.
Enjoy a real South African township experience at Mzoli’s in Gugulethu. This butchery and bar is renowned for its drunken debauchery, but you’re always promised a good time. You can bring your own drinks and barbeque your choice of meat purchased from the butchery on one of the open fire barrels. Be mindful that this is not a fancy dine – expect plastic tables and chairs and plastic cutlery if you’re lucky.
The Power and the Glory
This laid back spot is a great place to savor a perfectly brewed cup of coffee, a cocktail made with love, or one of their locally famous hot dogs. With big, open windows, it’s the perfect place to watch the city pass by, talk to the friendly staff and locals, or get lost in a good book.
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Cape Town travel blog (South Africa)