Cape Town: The Chicest City in Africa

Mike & Anne Howard on Table Mountain in Cape Town, South AfricaWe love Cape Town! As the first European port in Africa dating back to 1682, Cape Town’s historic mash-up of cultures still makes it one of the most diverse and exciting cities. With 3.5 million people you would think this peninsula would feel crowded but with jagged coast on all sides and mountains pouring down the center, it has all the excitement of a metropolis plus the laid-back vibe of the beach. Though we could have stayed here for weeks, here’s what we packed in during our amazing five days on the Cape.


Architecture of Cape Town South AfricaThe Dutch were the first to arrive to the Cape and their architectural sensibilities had the greatest impact on the city’s look. This grand balcony building is one of many that line the party-strip of Long Street. We checked into a basic little hotel for a night here and our walls were shaking from the bass pumping in every building around us (including the seemingly quaint pub directly below). This may have been he first time, we’ve ever felt old in our lives.


Harbor at Cape Town with South African FlagTo get a good night sleep and soak up the best of the city and sea, we stayed a night at Cape Grace on the Victoria & Albert Waterfront (more on this fab hotel later). We could watch the boats come into port, enjoy views to Table Mountain, stroll the inner-harbor, and be downtown in a fifteen minute walk…it couldn’t have been better.


Hike on Table Mountain, Cape TownIf Cape Town is one the most beautifully situated cities in world, its most striking feature has got to be Table Mountain. This flat-top, 260-million-year old mountain–that’s more than six times the age of any peak in the Himalayas–is visible from anywhere in town and begs to be explored. We took the cable car up and spent four hours strolling the craggy surface and soaking up the 360-degree views from downtown to the Cape of Good Hope. This detail shot gives a closeup of its unique landscape.


Old Biscuit Mill in Cape Town South AfricaThe neighborhood of Woodstock is like the Brooklyn of Cape Town and fun any day of the week for vintage finds and trendy cafes–but Sunday, the town becomes a foodie fantasy. Nearly 100 food stalls set up in the Old Biscuit Mill serving everything from paella to ostrich burgers to dutch pancakes to South African wine spritzers. Gathering around the warehouse’s candlelit farmhouse tables for nibbles then heading outside to the funky hay bales and AstroTurf seating areas is possibly the greatest way to spend a Sunday.


Nova Africa shop in Cape TownTaking in all the shopping recommendations I could and hoofing it from each trendy neighborhood to the next, I came across Africa Nova. The beadwork, textiles, sculpture, and furniture was all locally made but with a contemporary kick.


Africa Cafe interior Cape TownLike all great cities, Cape Town has fantastic food but they do gourmet African like none other. Under the heavy shadow of white rule until the 1990s, this genre of food was all but taboo until a mixed race couple took a risk and brought the Africa Cafe out from their underground kitchen to the Cape Quarter neighborhood. They take the finest recipes from nearly a dozen different countries around the continent and serve a bit from each in bountiful tapas style. A night here is an African cultural and culinary crash course.


Robbin Island Cape Town, Nelson MandelaWe were quickly falling in love with South Africa but to fully understand it, we had to get a grasp on its dark apartheid past. We had already had an eye-opening visit to the Apartheid Museum in Johannesburg but to further our education we went to the ex-political prison, Robben’s Island. This is where Nelson Mandela spent 18 years of his life, serving hard time for sabotage and secretly writing his memoir A Long Walk to Freedom.


Lighthouse along Cape drive in South AfricaIn preparation for our two-week road trip around the South African coast, we took a one-day drive out of the city and around the Cape Peninsula. As a Californian it’s hard for me to say this, but with charming towns, lighthouse lookouts, dramatic beaches, and rugged coast, this route rivals the Pacific Coast Highway.


Penguins at Boulders Beach South AfricaBut one thing, I must say the Cape Peninsula has up on the PCH is penguins! Boulders beach is home to a colony of hundreds of these waddling cuties and you can get within a couple feet of them!


Cape of Good Hope, South AfricaIf you ever make it as far as Cape Town you have to go the 41 miles further to get to the legendary Cape of Good Hope. Feeling the wind blow off southwestern point in Africa, watching the Indian and Atlantic oceans collide, and thinking about the centuries of sailors braving the seas to get here gave us chills.

There is a lot to love about the Cape Town and the peninsula, which part was your favorite?


13 thoughts on “Cape Town: The Chicest City in Africa

  • August 23, 2012 at 3:43 pm

    Never knew there were penguins in Africa! That’s crazy. Bring one home, as a honeytrek mascot.

    • August 24, 2012 at 7:25 am

      I don’t think he would stay quite in the overhead. but we did get a bunch of nice shots, and some solid memories of those guys waddling around in the sunset. Amazing!

  • August 23, 2012 at 8:44 pm

    Glad your enjoying Cape Town!! I spent 18 Days there a few years ago… Great Pic @ the Cape of Good Hope… You defintely need to hit Table Top Mountain either via the Cable Car or a beautiful hike…. Stay Safe on your travels and try the ostrich while your there…. -Kyle S.

  • August 23, 2012 at 11:01 pm

    Great article! Just wondering, will you post an article about your visit to Johannesburg?

    • August 26, 2012 at 7:20 pm

      thanks Rashaad, i dont think we will post an article on JoBurg, simply because we didnt spend enough time there to get a handle on it. We did attend the Apartheid Museum, and we can HIGHLY recommend that!

  • August 24, 2012 at 6:47 am

    Hey guys! Loved this post about Cape Town. Such a beautiful place! Your pics are amazing too. Looking forward to reading more of your african travels

    • August 26, 2012 at 7:14 pm

      Thanks Danica, glad you liked it. We had such a blast in Cape Town and Constantia. so much more amazing africa to come!

  • August 24, 2012 at 7:07 pm

    We are also in Cape Town for few days. It’s nice city but it change a lot from Tanzania ! We have still to discover Cape of Good Hope and Cape Peninsula. Have fun !

    • August 25, 2012 at 6:52 pm

      If you are still in CT tomorrow, make sure you get to the Old Biscuit Mill for the Sunday market…I could have written a whole blog on how amazing it was! Eat at the Toasted Hot Sandwiches stand in the middle, the Dutchman at the back, or try the Rosti guy for eggs Benedict! So good!

      • August 26, 2012 at 6:51 pm

        We have been to Sunday Market today, thank you for the good adress ! The crepes bretonnes were excellent and the chicken wings delicious !

        • August 26, 2012 at 7:02 pm

          So glad you guys could make that happen. The food there was delicious right? Quite the scene with everyone sipping champagne and craft beers at 11 in the morning 🙂

  • January 2, 2015 at 1:19 am

    Cannot wait to visit CT in a couple of months 😀 I also cannot wait to eat ostrich burgers; I haven’t had that delicious meat since 2011 back in Taiwan!

    • January 3, 2015 at 4:48 pm

      So exciting you’re going to Cape Town! Have a blast and enjoy a good ostrich burger for us!

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