DAY 1 - CULTURE & HISTORY
Rise and shine bright and early! Cape Town is waiting for you. My favourite way to explore a city is on foot. Cape Town however is vastly spread out so I opted to join the Hop-on Hop-off Bus Tour to ensure I got the most out of my morning. The company currently operates in over 100 cities world wide and so far I have joined their tours in Sydney, Dublin and Cape Town. How it works? The bus stops at main attractions around the city where you have the leisure of getting on and off at your own pace. Buses generally come every 15 minutes so it is a much cheaper alternative to taxis and you get the added bonus of commentary along the way. Start your tour at 'Stop 5 - Ticket Office' in Long Street so you can enjoy the abundance of cafes and boutique shops. Once onboard my top recommendations are to hop off at both Table Mountain and the Botanical Gardens. Table Mountain, officially named as one of the new ‘7 Natural Wonders of the World’, is breathtakingly beautiful. If weather permits take the cable car to the summit for 360 degree views from city to bay! The Botanical Gardens offers the unique Tree-Top Canopy Walkway which treats you to stunning views over both the gardens and Cape Town Harbor. Daily ticket prices for the Hop-on Hop-off Bus Tour start from R170 per person. Next up on your cultural day is a visit to the iconic Robben Island. Formally a prison until 1996, Robben Island was home to former South African ANC Leader and President Nelson Mandela for 18 of his 27 years in prison. Mandela was a well loved political figure in Africa and he can still be spotted on the South African Rand notes. Be sure to book your tickets online in advance as this is an extremely popular attraction. To make your way to Robben Island simply catch the Hop-on Hop-off bus to stop number 2 and make your way to the Mandela Museum, 30 minutes prior to your selected time slot, to board your ferry. Unfortunately for me my selected time slot was cancelled due to the weather forecast. There is always next time!
DAY 2 - EXPLORE THE REGION
A trip to Cape Town is not complete without fully appreciating the beauty of the Atlantic Coast. For R750 you can join Cape to Addo Safaris on a full day peninsula tour to explore with one of their many dedicated local guides. Start your morning with a drive to Cape Point. The scenic 1.5 hour drive allows you the opportunity to spot pods of dolphins as you cruise along the coastline. Pass through small seaside townships which offer further spectacular views. Marvel at one of the World’s 6 Floral Kingdom’s as you pass through the National Park. Keep a look out for the once endangered Bontebok and Baboons! Once you arrive at Cape of Good Hope you will officially be at the most south westerly point of Africa! The day tour then heads to Boulder’s Beach which in my opinion is the highlight of this tour. Discover a hidden cove with pristine waters. Climb over, under and between boulders to get up close to the African penguins who call Boulder’s Bay home. In winter be sure to bring your bathers as these penguins are known for swimming with tourists. For lunch head to neighbouring area Simon's Town to Kalky’s for the best fish and chips in town. Wander down along the harbor for your chance to feed fish to the local Sea Lion. As if all that isn’t enough, spend your afternoon wine tasting in the world’s oldest wine region excluding France. I was spoilt with a visit to Groot Constantia - Napolean’s favourite wine producer. A perfect end to a fantastic day!
DAY 3 - SOAK UP THE SUN
If you’re like me and hate early mornings, rest assured climbing Table Mountain is all the motivation you need to get you out of bed. Sure you’ve most likely taken a ride on the cable car but why not take the scenic route and explore the mountain by foot? A 2.5 hour hike will see you reach the peak of Table Mountain. The climb is suitable for all levels of fitness. Don’t forget to pack plenty of water and sunscreen as the African sun is quite unforgiving. After you’ve finished your morning hike head down to Camp’s Bay, known locally as the ‘Miami’ of Cape Town. This is a top vacation location for celebrities such as Leonardo Dicaprio. The scenic backdrop also makes for a great movie set so don't be surprised if you see crew filming. Soak up the sun, hire a lounge chair on the beach and indulge yourself at the local ice cream parlours. A tip to first timers - The waters in Africa are typically warmer during winter opposed to summer so before you head for the waves brace yourself! Spend your afternoon strolling Cape Town’s Wharf which was inspired by Sydney Harbour and San Francisco. If you are after a bite to eat I would highly recommend exploring the food markets for an affordable and divine culinary experience. The Wharf Harbor is also home to an extravagant shopping mall with over 450 retailers and international brands such as my favourite Forever New. If you’re on a family vacation stop into the Aquarium for a fun afternoon. The kids will love the interactive rock pools and thrill seekers can swim with the sharks for as little as R600. Please note this is only available to qualified divers.
If you are lucky enough to have an extended stay in Cape Town don’t pass up the opportunity to explore the Garden Route or spot the BIG 5 in Kruger National Park.
WHAT DO YOU NEED TO KNOW
Currency - South African Rand (Estimated conversion rate of 9.2 Rand per 1 Australian Dollar)
Language - Zulu, Xhosa, English and Afrikaans are widely spoken. However there are over 11 official languages!
Cost - I would budget around R3,000 for 3 days. This included 3 nights hostel accommodation, transport, food, activities and light souvenir shopping
Safety - Always travel in a group where possible. For solo travellers stick to the main tourist areas or catch a taxi through residential areas. I wouldn’t suggest travelling alone at night under any circumstances
Pack your bags and head to South Africa! What are you waiting for?