Many places in the Northern Hemisphere have seen a big drop in temperatures in the last little while, a sure sign that winter is here to stay for the foreseeable future. But, way down South in the Southern Hemisphere, summer is just getting started. Because of this, destinations like Cape Town, South Africa are increasing in popularity with travellers looking for a bit of sunshine to get them through the rest of winter.
At Hiplets, we believe Cape Town is one of the foremost tourist destinations in the world, and we are continuously expanding our portfolio of unique self-catering properties here. Luckily, we are spoilt for choice! As you will be too when it comes to activities in the Mother City when you visit. Below are some of our top suggestions for what to busy yourself with during your stay in Cape Town.
Take a drive along Chapman’s Peak Drive
It’s really worth your while to rent a car or hire a driver to take you along this scenic road. Chapman’s Peak Drive hugs the coastline from Noordhoek to Hout Bay in Cape Town. There are plenty of spots along the road where you can stop to take photos of the frankly mind-blowing view, so schedule in enough time to take it all in.
Both Hout Bay and Noordhoek are great suburbs with plenty to see and fantastic places to have some food. If you prefer hiking to driving, you could also hike to the top of Chapman’s Peak itself. Both the trek and the view will take your breath away. This outing is particularly easy to accomplish if you’re staying at Chapman’s View in Noordhoek.
Visit The Vibrant Bo Kaap Area
If it’s history and culture you’re after, there is plenty of that to choose from in Cape Town. But we still think that the best and most unique place to experience the cultural diversity of modern day South Africa is in the colourful Bo Kaap area of Cape Town.
Nestled below Signal Hill in the centre of the city, this neighbourhood has a rich history as the Malay Quarter of Cape Town, a place largely populated by Muslim descendants of slaves from India, Indonesia, Malaysia and Sri Lanka. It’s not just the brightly coloured houses that make this place so special; it’s the one-of-a-kind neighbourhood feel and friendly residents that really draws you in. The food culture here is especially tantalising. We recommend taking a tour or even a cooking class that will educate you on local delicacies such as koeksisters, tomato bredie and bobotie.
Stay at Waterkant House and you are only a short walk away from your Bo Kaap adventure.
Waddle with Penguins in Simon’s Town
When you first see a waddle of penguins (yes, this is what you call a group of these adorable creatures) on a white sand beach surrounded by turquoise water, you may feel like you’ve landed in some alternate universe. But on Boulders Beach in Simon’s Town, just outside of Cape Town, this is exactly how penguins like to roll.
Take a walk along the leafy boardwalk to spot the penguins and their homes along the way, and then spend time with them on their favourite beach. While you sun tan and enjoy the calm waters of this particularly secluded beach, you’ll experience the unusual sight of penguins strolling past your beach towel and swimming alongside you in the sea. Their favourite hang out is on the giant boulders that dot the beach. We think this is sure to be one of your favourite memories of Cape Town!
Feel on Top of the World on Table Mountain
It’s a truth universally acknowledged that you cannot say Cape Town without also saying Table Mountain. And let’s face it, while you’re in Cape Town, there’s no running from this massive, beautiful mountain that rests in the middle of the city. It’s iconic shape has helped make the city as photogenic as it is.
But you’re really only getting a fraction of the story if you only admire the mountain from afar. To really understand its true beauty, you have to get up there, to the top, and take in the unique fynbos flora and the dazzling views of the city below. There are two ways to get to the top of Table Mountain; you can hike, or you can take the Table Mountain Cable Car. The cable car is a fantastic experience, as you float above the city and up the face of the mountain. And it only takes 5 minutes to get to the top. The hike takes quite a bit longer, depending on your fitness, but it is an unparalleled opportunity to get up close and personal with the mountain and the plants and animals that call it home. Just make sure you are fit and well prepared!
Another popular option is to combine the two, for example hike up and take the cable car down, or the other way around. Either way, do not miss out on the opportunity to stand at the top and wonder at the beauty of the world.
Explore the Local Flora at Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens
If your Table Mountain trip has left you inspired to find out more about South Africa’s unique plants and flowers, you will find no better place to learn about and admire the flora than in Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens. You will be amazed to find such a vast and diverse piece of paradise so close to a major city centre like Cape Town.
The Gardens make for hours of pleasurable walking and lounging around on lawns. The Boomslang Treetop Walkway is particularly popular and is a great vantage point from which to take in the whole of the Gardens. There’s a fantastic tearoom with a varied and delicious menu, from healthy to indulgent. You can even order your food as a picnic to take out into the park.
We’ve only scratched the surface, but it’s clear to see why Cape Town should be top of your list when you write to Santa to let him know that, actually, what you really want this year is a bit of sunshine and relaxation.