A Guest Post by the lovely Kasha Dubaniewicz – Lines of Escape
So, you’ve got 48 hours in Cape Town?
As a biased born-and-bred Capetonian, to me, it goes without saying that two days in the Mother City can never be enough. With a colourful, varied history, a wealth of attractions to match all types of interests and a buzzing food and nightlife scene, it really is a case of too much to see in far too little time.
Even though we could spend the next few sentences commiserating over the fact of how two days is woefully inadequate, I’m happy to report that 48 hours will still allow you to get a glimpse of what my incredible hometown has to offer.
Without further ado, here are some of the activities and places that deserve a spot on your itinerary.
To the mountain!
It’s time to get straight to that object that’s been in sight ever since your plane landed. Start your first morning with a trip up Table Mountain. The easiest way to get to the top is via the cable car, but be prepared for the queues. While you’re up on the top, keep an eye out for dassies, the mountain’s resident cheeky rodents who will gladly rid you of whatever you’re eating.
If you’re looking to escape the crowds but still get a good view from a mountainside, you can hike up the neighbouring peak, Lion’s Head, in under two hours. As you wind your way up to the summit, you’ll be treated to 360-degree views over the city and surrounding areas. This is a must for active travellers.
Chapman’s Peak Drive
It’s worth hiring a car if only to get to see what makes Chapman’s Peak Drive so famous among locals and tourists alike. Once known for its dangerous rockfalls, the 9km roadway was re-opened as a toll road in 2005.
The route, which stretches from Noordhoek to Hout Bay, has over 100 curves as it winds its way along the coast. When you drive this roadway, you’ll be confronted with the most beautiful displays of sheer cliffs, rocky coves and ocean views (guaranteed). There are many stopping points for photography opportunities and, as you snap away, you’ll realise that this is a drive you won’t ever forget.
The V&A Waterfront
There’s no denying that Cape Town’s Victoria and Alfred Waterfront is a major tourist hub, but, in this case, the place deserves all of the attention it gets. Construction of the harbour began in 1860, and it was named after Queen Victoria and her son, Alfred (as he’s the one who actually schlepped all of the way over to Cape Town).
This is the official starting point for tours to Robben Island, where Nelson Mandela was imprisoned, but there is so much to see at the harbour itself. The mall houses numerous shops and restaurants, there’s a market selling local arts and crafts and you can take a ride on the giant Ferris wheel. If you’re lucky in the summer months, you’ll also spot some noisy seals basking in the sunlight.
Established in 1913 and now home to over 7000 plant species, Kirstenbosch Gardens has to be the prettiest place in Cape Town. There are plenty of walking trails to follow and the different sections of the park showcase types of plants from all over the world.
There’s also the newly opened Boomslang Tree Canopy Walkway, which takes you above the trees to see just how large the gardens really are.
Food in the Mother City
I still maintain that Cape Town has one of the most exciting food scenes in the world. From fine dining to hipster restaurants to independent coffee houses – there’s something for all tastes here.
In the city centre, some of my favourites include the Royale Eatery for the best burgers in town, Dear Me for its healthy food and delicious baked goods, Gourmet Boerie for a hipster twist on a South African foodie classic, Jason Bakery for the most inventive pastries (try the bacon croissant!) and, lastly, the Sidewalk Café for their consistently perfect meals.
If you’re like me and love a good market, you’ll be a very happy person when you see what Cape Town has on offer.
There’s the weekend food extravaganza at the Old Biscuit Mill, the Hope Street City Bowl Night Market on Thursdays and, of course, the daily arts and crafts market held on Greenmarket Square. These are all excellent options, but my personal favourite is Hout Bay’s Bay Harbour Market. It’s a little further afield, but its combination of good food and top-quality craft stalls is worth the trip.
Once the sightseeing and eating out is out of the way, it’s time to explore the Cape Town’s nightlife. There are many good spots in the city, but Long Street is undoubtedly the most popular. Keep your bags close, dodge the countless stag/hen dos and see what the fuss is about. There are many great bars and fun nightclubs on this main thoroughfare.
And, if it all gets a bit much, you can head two streets over to Weinhaus & Biergarten on Bree Street, which has an awesome selection of craft beer and wine.
I hope that I’ve managed to convey just the smallest fraction of how much there is to do and see in Cape Town. I’ve lived in the city for over 20 years and I never felt like I was close to running out of new places to visit.
Whatever you choose, you’re in for a memorable 48 hours. And maybe, just maybe, I’ve convinced you to extend your trip!
About the Author
Kasha Dubaniewicz is a Polish South African who left her home of 20+ plus years for new adventures in London. With a particular interest in active travel, quirky destinations and a memorable story, she travels at every, and any opportunity. Kasha is one of my favourite women in London and a true inspiration. You can follow her misadventures on her blog, Lines of Escape, as well as Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.