For Stephanie Gschwandtner, Cape Town is one of the world’s most beautiful cities. No wonder, that Stephanie, originally born in Austria, moved there! Since doing so, Stephanie has come to call the South African port city home, and in this blog story, she shares with us her personal insider tips when visiting Cape Town.
It’s not just the breathtaking landscape or blood-red sunsets that will leave you speechless; it’s also the city’s 3,700 hours of sun a year and the fact that its locals seem to come from all corners of the world. Thanks to this unique mix, the city on the Cape of Good Hope boasts an atmosphere that’s second-to-none.
This combination of cultures, nature and the relaxed lifestyle also make Cape Town a paradise for creatives and start-up entrepreneurs. Countless international Hollywood film productions, photo shoots, TED Talks and start-up events are held here, set against the beautiful backdrop of the Mother City.
Life pulsates in the bars and restaurants here, and the amazing vineyards attract foodies and connoisseurs from around the world. As if all that weren’t enough, Cape Town gives you unique opportunities, breathtaking hiking, a great exchange rate and beaches to die for – the perfect conditions for a dream holiday, in other words!
Cape Town Insider Tip #1: Check out the Loveliest View Over the City
Looking for the ultimate 360° view of Cape Town, perhaps? If so, I always recommend visitors to hike up to the Lion’s Head and enjoy the breathtaking view from the top. Don’t miss it!
A more comfortable alternative is a gondola ride onto Table Mountain. For travel times, ticket prices and recommendations, click here.
Cape Town Insider Tip #2: Cape Point and the Cape of Good Hope
A day-trip to Cape Point is an absolute must for any visitor to Cape Town. The southern end of the Cape actually offers two tourist attractions: the Cape of Good Hope and Cape Point, the latter located slightly further south, and higher up. This national park covers 7,750 hectares and is home to a wide variety of flora and fauna, beautiful bays, beaches and great hiking paths. Cape Point is a paradise for nature lovers. For further details and opening hours, click here.
Cape Town Insider Tip #3: Go Swimming with Penguins at Boulders Beach
How many of us can claim having swum with penguins? A short drive away from Cape Town is Boulders Beach, with its chic tuxedo wearers. The penguins themselves appear to feel particularly at home in the bay, and founded a colony there in 1982, which has grown to include over 1,000 penguins. The birds now relax amongst visitors to the beach, and enjoy cooling off by taking a refreshing dip with swimmers in the sea as well.
Cape Town Insider Tip #4: Explore the Art Scene in Cape Town
Cape Town isn’t just a place where countless different cultures collide, however; it’s home for creativity and art. One very special museum hasn’t just been making art lovers’ hearts miss a beat but also those visitors with a love of beautiful architecture. This is because the Zeitz MOCAA Museum (MOCAA stands for ‘Museum of Contemporary Art Africa’, by the way), situated in an old wheat silo at Cape Town harbour, is a work of art in its own right. It might look modest from the outside, but from the inside it’s simply breathtaking. Here, where tons of corn grains once slid down vast concrete pipes, the heart of the Zeitz MOCAA now beats.
Cape Town Insider Tip #5: Go Surfing
Surfing enthusiasts will also find everything they’re looking for (and more) in and around Cape Town. The Cape is the perfect place for every level of surfing, and home to pro surfers including Jordy Smith and Tanika Hoffman. Whether you’re a beginner or advanced, the best place to go is Muizenberg, Cape Town’s surfers’ corner. As well as all those surfers, of course, Muizenberg has a vast range of bars, surf shops and restaurants. Every Friday, moreover, Muizenberg is home to Blue Bird Market – offering a great opportunity to get closer to the hip surfing community. Be sure to drop by!
Cape Town Insider Tip #6: Food Markets
Capetonians love their food markets, because they offer a welcome change from the slightly stuffy ambience of restaurants in the city. At the markets, you can spend time with friends and family in a relaxed atmosphere while tasting your way from one culinary delicacy to another.
My favourite markets (and of the locals) are:
- • Oranjezicht City Farm Market
- • Neighbourgoods Market
- • Hout Bay Harbour Market
- • Blue Bird Garage Food and Goods Market
- • Lourensford Market
Cape Town Insider Tip #7: Go Shopping
Wherever you go in Cape Town, you’ll find places and shops where you can purchase great products designed by up-and-coming African artists and brands. (And all at highly affordable prices!) Watershed Hall, for instance, on the Waterfront, is home to no fewer than 365 different brands. From ceramics and home furnishings through to textile goods, clothing and jewellery, you’ll find everything the souvenir and fashion-driven heart could possibly desire. For fashionistas, meanwhile, shops such as Mash Boutique, The Lot, Missibaba and AKJP Collective also come highly recommended.
Cape Town Insider Tip #8: Wine Tastings
For most visitors to Cape Town, the words ‘South Africa’ and ‘wine’ are meant to belong together. You’ll find world-class wines and vineyards right outside your front door here, while wine tastings are also very popular amongst the locals. A wide range of different tours has specialised in wine tastings. The advantage of booking a tour, of course, is that you don’t need to worry about driving home safely after the tasting. The Franschhoek Wine Tram Hop-on Hop-off Tour offers a very special experience.
Cape Town Insider Tip #9: Explore the Restaurants and Cafés
Cape Town is famous for its top restaurants and hip cafés. That does mean it can be difficult to choose between the hundreds of amazing eateries, however. In general, the culinary landscape of the city combines a vast range of different influences and styles. First and foremost, of course, this reflects South Africa’s history, which is why typically South African cuisine nowadays is shaped by Dutch, English, German and Asian elements. For a great overview of the best restaurants, click here.
Cape Town Insider Tip #10: Enjoy Breathtaking Sunsets
Tourists and locals in Cape Town have one thing in common: their love of the city’s deep red sunsets. I recommend you enjoy these – armed with a picnic basket and wine – at one of the beautiful beaches around Camps Bay and Sea Point.
Want to get to know the more adventurous side of Cape Town as well? Then continue reading here!
Now you’re armed with Stephanie’s Cape Town insider tips, there’s nothing stopping you taking a trip to South Africa! To find your flights right now, click here:
Photos: Stephanie Gschwandtner