36 hours in Cape Town
After a fantastic road trip from Port Elisabeth to Franschhoek, the legendary Mother City was our final destination in South Africa. We couldn’t wait to explore Cape Town with its natural, cultural, and architectural heritage. Let us share with you our favorite Cape Town moments.
Early morning kayaking with dolphins
There is no better way to start a day in Cape Town than enjoying a panoramic view of the city’s coastline with its famous natural landmarks such as Table Mountain or Lion’s Head. Forget about sleeping in, grab your swimsuit, GoPro as well as a windproof jacket and join a kayak tour before breakfast.
The chilly waters of the Atlantic are calmest just after sunrise. Besides the almost unobstructed cityscape, marine wildlife such as seals, dolphins, penguins, and sometimes even whales (provided you are super lucky) may join you.
Dolphins and seals joined our 2-hours-long tour with Atlantic Outlook Adventures.
Morning on the Table Mountain
Whether you decide to hike to the plateau of the Table Mountain or take the aerial cableway, on top, you won’t be disappointed. Table Mountain borders to Cape Floral Region protected areas, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and one of the biodiversity hotspots in the world.
The unique vegetation includes several species of sugarbushes (proteas), silver trees, and fynbos. Many of these plants can only survive on the granite soils of the Western Cape. Walking atop the Table Mountain is like visiting Noah’s Ark of the plant world. For what is more, during a cloudless morning, the aerial view of the Atlantic Ocean and surrounding bays is phenomenal.
Good to know: A tablecloth of clouds is nothing unusual on Table Mountain. If the mountain looks clear in the morning, don’t hesitate and hurry to the top. The weather changes within minutes.
If you decide to take the cableway, buy the ticket online to avoid lines at the counters. For more information about Table Mountain National Park, visit the official SANParks website. Also, and we can’t stress this enough, please use only the marked walking paths. Hiking of the marked trails causes unrepairable damage to the fragile endemic vegetation.
Midday Beach Walk in Camps Bay
The heart of the chic suburb underneath the Twelve Apostles mountain range undoubtedly is the Camps Bay beach, where white sand meets the Atlantic Ocean.
While it’s a perfect place for a beach walk, extensive bathing was off-limits for us because the water temperature hardly ever rises above 20 °C (68 °F).
Afternoon in Bo-Kaap
The Capetonian neighborhood, with its distinctive colorful houses, is nowadays a magnet for photographers from all over the world. Pick up your camera too and explore Bo-Kaap in the afternoon sun.
While posing in front of the vivid facades, don’t forget to learn a little something about the former township’s sad history. It used to be home to Malay slaves brought to South Africa by The Dutch East India Company. Throughout the centuries, the community intermarried with other enslaved entities creating a unique Cape Malay culture. To this day, its members try to preserve their traditions through religion, music, and unique cuisine.
Tip: Uber is convenient and safe transportation around Cape Town. Also, check out our tips for getting around in South Africa.
Exploring Zeitz MOCAA
Victoria & Albert Waterfront is Cape Town’s boulevard with restaurants, markets, shops, and museums. If you visit, try to look beyond its overcrowded commercial side.
For example, explore The Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa (Zeitz MOCCA), the largest museum of contemporary African art in the world. The building itself, a conversion of a historic grain silo, is an eye-catcher. Forty-two 33 meters (approx. 110 feet) high concrete cylinders were rebuilt into a modern museum building.
For opening times, tickets, and current exhibitions, visit the museum’s website.
For dinner, seek local advice. Because of the multicultural heritage, Cape Town is known for its excellent fusion cuisine. Or find some tips on where to eat in our South Africa for first-timers post.
Cape Town is a fantastic destination. During one visit, you can combine a city trip, hiking with culinary experiences, kayaking with dolphins in the morning, and stunning ocean views in the afternoon.