I have been blessed to have been to glorious Cape Town on two occasions, the first time to visit my BFF when she lived there back in 2012, and the second time I tacked on a visit after her wedding (May 2018) in Durban, South Africa. Both times I wanted to move there. I am a sucker for the combination of mountains and ocean in one location. But besides the absolutely jar dropping landscape; it has an enthralling history, a rich culture, and friendly people. Photos featured are all my own. Attraction titles link (when available) to website resource.
The great outdoors
This may be my favorite place in all of Cape Town. For a small entrance fee you can wander the gorgeous botanic gardens. It was the perfect place to journal and reflect. Can't you feel the good juju even in the one photo above? There is an abundance of flora, fauna, and animals. One of my favorite things I stumbled upon was a tree canopy walk, which was super cool. Maybe the best part? They have free concerts and you can picnic there!
There are various routes to hike your way up Table Mountain. Back in 2012 I did it with the girls and almost died (not really, but it was hard) and my camera actually did die, and I got no pics from the top. It was very sad! However, if you aren't into the hiking route, there are gondolas that take you to the top! All of the view, none of the work! Also, the best part of the gondola IMO is that if you hike to the top you can gondola down.
This hike is not as intensive as Table Mountain and relatively quick, but if you miss the sign you could end up climbing vertically with random ladders and chains built into the side of a mountain, ahem, like me and apparently this guy. That being said I have a fear of falling from great heights, and I was able to push through and hike this by myself. It was definitely scary at times, but I think if you were with another person it would be a-ok. The views are absolutely unreal, and not to miss.
A gorgeous beach laden with, big shocker, boulders and also where the penguins call home. It's a perfect place for a chill afternoon, get some sun and spend some time with our feathered pals. I took hundred of penguins pics. All of the cuteness. Honestly, I don't have anything to add. Could you imagine anything better?
This winery is gorgeous and the oldest wine producing farm in the country. It's a great option if you want to include wine tastings in your trip but don't want to head all the way to Stellenbosch (the major wine region). Groot Constantia is easily accessible from the city tour buses. If you're lucky, you will get to see some baboons like we did!
Cape of Good Hope
Known for its stunning scenery, the Cape of Good Hope marks the point where a ship begins to travel more eastward than southward. Our guy, Bartolomeu Dias, was the first modern explorer to round the cape in 1488. It used to be thought of as the place where the Atlantic and Indian Oceans meet, however, modern cartography tells us that isn't quite right. 🤔🤔🤔 Go there for some stunning views and a feeling like you are on the edge of the world.
Beautiful beaches. Great dining options. No brainer. It's probably one of the more accessible beaches if you are staying in the city. It feels like you've stumbled upon a beach town in the midst of the city.
I could not describe it better than the District Six Website:
"We want Robben Island to reflect the triumph of freedom and human dignity over oppression and humiliation." -Ahmed Kathrada, Prisoner
Robben Island was home to a maximum security prison that held Nobel Laureate and former president of SA, Nelson Mandela, for 18 of his 27 years in exile. Two other political inmates held there, Kgalema Motlanthe and Jacob Zuma, also went on to become president of South Africa.
It is definitely a somber experience visiting the island, but being there to learn and feel the history are the makings of a life changing trip.
This article is a great read for further information.
Mojo market is an indoor market with beach views. Amazing food and drink (see below) vendors and some really cool unique boutique retailers. There was also a yoga studio down the street, but I was sick so I wasn't up to it that day. That being said, the Sea Point area seems like the go to for all your wellness finds! You can even go for a run on their beachfront running path.
There is no shortage of spas or yoga studios around, but as I didn't have a chance to experience them, I won't elaborate on my findings. If you want more- this article from Well + Good was very helpful!
More Touristy goodness
The V&A Waterfront is probably the tourist Mecca, but it truly is beautiful. There are lots of great dining options and awesome shopping. There are actually a lot of really cool local artisans around, but you have to look for them in the sea of mass retailers. And yeah, you can find an almond milk matcha there. #winning
Located in the heart of the city, there are some super cool markets. It definitely is targeted at tourists, but you can find a lot of really cool local artisan finds there too. You can definitely barter, but try to do it ethically. If you are coming from the US you can probably afford to pay their mark up. It's a safe area, but people with ask you for money or to buy them food. The architecture surrounding the square is gorgeous and makes for a scenic shopping trip.
I only have stayed at one hotel in Cape Town, but I couldn't recommend it more. The Tree House Boutique Hotel was amazing and the staff were beyond helpful. My stay came with complimentary breakfast, which was incredible. It had a transitional fresh tree house vibe with hints of balinese. Basically, made for me. It was walking distance to the V&A Waterfront, the boojiest Woolies (Woolworth's) I've ever been in and some great restaurants and gelato!
Things that I still haven't done but think you should do
Bo-Kaap - Beautiful, cultural rich neigborhood
Company's Gardens - lovely gardens in the city center
Muizenberg beach - colorful shacks on the beach? Yep, that's Muizenberg. Great for surfing or beach yoga!
Stellenbosch - incredible wines come from Stellenbosch. Wine tasting sounds like a pretty romantic way to spend your honeymoon!
A note on water conservation in Cape Town
Cape Town is running out of fresh water. To prevent this, they have enacted lots of water conservation efforts in order to preserve water. This has deterred lots of tourism from the city and country. I can tell you, this did not negatively affect my stay in any capacity. If anything, it helped me to realize just how much water I waste on a daily basis. Please do not overlook this glorious place for that reason- the lack of tourists has had a huge impact on the people and the economy.
Has this inspired you to head to Cape Town for your honeymoon? Let me know if you have any questions on this glorious place, I would love to give you any pointers from my experiences there! Happy travels! -AHS