48 Hours in Cape Town

Cape Town has been gaining a lot of attention lately. And not just for its natural beauty. A glamorous city with a sophisticated food and wine scene, located in a country that’s usually lauded for safaris and wildlife, Cape Town is proof that South Africa is a dynamic country with so much more to offer than just game reserves. In Cape Town, you’ll find everything a modern-day traveller could ask for. 

Spend a day exploring the city

Rise early, because there’s a lot to explore. All good days start with good coffee and Cape Town has no shortage of great, artisanal brews. In the city centre, places like The Power and The Glory and Deluxe serve some of the best cuppas around. If you’d like to add a croissant to your order, Jason Bakery on Bree Street has the most sought-after freshly baked pastries around. 

The best way to see Cape Town in a short space of time is from the sky. Helicopter rides, which are available from the Victoria & Albert Waterfront, offer spectacular views of the dramatic mountains and brilliant coastline. From the V&A Waterfront you can also take the boat to Robben Island, the historic island where Nelson Mandela was incarcerated. 

After your V&A Waterfront excursion, head back to Bree Street, where shops selling everything from handcrafted handbags to locally made ceramics await.

Along this street you’ll also find one of Cape Town’s best restaurants, owned by acclaimed Irish chef, Liam Tomlin. Does a gastronomic sharing menu delight you? Consider Chef’s Warehouse your lunchtime nirvana. Finish off with a glass of wine at Publik Wine Bar, which lies two streets over and serves a selection of local boutique wines. 

Cape Town has spectacular sunsets, which are best viewed from the ocean. You can enjoy a sundowner on Cape Town’s famous beach Camps Bay, or book yourself a spot on one of the luxury yachts that dot the coastline during golden hour, and enjoy a glass of local sparkling wine or rosé as you watch the sun sink beyond the horizon before heading to dinner. If you love hiking, the sunset view from the top of Lions Head is truly worth the walk. One of the things Cape Town delivers on (other than natural beauty) is good food. Now ranked as number 22 on the World’s 50 Best Restaurant list and the Best Restaurant in Africa, The Test Kitchen is a destination unto itself. Chef Luke Dale Roberts serves forward-thinking cuisine in an unpretentious environment. For an after-dinner cocktail, head to Pot Luck Club, The Test Kitchen’s sister restaurant, which has spectacular views over the city. 

Head to the winelands

Don’t miss a sunrise hot air balloon ride over the winelands, glass of local sparkling wine in hand, followed by breakfast at Schoon De Companje bakery, in the quaint University town of Stellenbosch. The focus here is bread, so leave any gluten hangups at the door. Stellenbosch is a lovely town to get lost in, wandering the pretty boutiques and galleries. But you didn’t come here just to shop, you also came to sample some of the Cape’s finest wines. To ensure your stomach is well oiled, enjoy a picnic at Boschendal Wine Farm for lunch, before tasting your way through various wine farms. In the Cape, you’ll find more picturesque farms with gourmet restaurants and sophisticated tasting rooms than notes in a complex Pinotage. Go for the wine tasting, but stay for a whole bottle, accompanied by a decadent meat and cheese platter. Significant wineries include Tokara, Jordan, De Moregenzon, La Motte and Delaire Graff Estate.

Where to stay

If you’re spending a night in the Winelands, check yourself into Babylonstoren, the most stylish wine farm in the country. Here you can stay in the refurbished, minimalist Cape Dutch cottages, pick fruit from the garden and eat a dinner made of homegrown produce at the restaurant, Babel. Rates at Babylonstoren start from R3300 (about A$300) per night for a suite.

For a night in the city, The Taj Cape Town is an opulent five-star choice located within walking distance of the V&A Waterfront. The tower hotel has spectacular views over the city and the  majestic Table Mountain and offers a signature high tea experience in the Lobby Lounge. Rates at The Taj Cape Town start from R4250 (about A$400) per night for a Luxury Room with a city view.

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