Cape Town is a city of layer upon layer upon layer. It has so much to offer anyone ranging from the brand-new tourist to the South African native, that it’s impossible to ever feel bored.
What I love about being in a new place is discovering the sights and sounds behind the bigger tourist draws. Finding the local hang-outs and little nooks that really give a city its feel and foundations.
So that’s what these are: my top three picks, a fishing village, a drive, and a market, that you just can’t miss if you’re in this incredible city.
If you drive along main road around False Bay, just past St. James, you’ll hit the seaside gem that is Kalk Bay; and you’ll want to stop.
It is the perfect reason to get out of the city. With its rickety antique shops, 1876 church-turned-theater, and cobblestone back alleyways leading to an eclectic clothing shop or hidden-away café, its charm will keep you wandering happily for hours.
The absolute highlight, and the eatery I would hitchhike to if I had to, is the Olympia Café and Deli. Pick out an old wooden table (if there’s one free, chances are slim), take in the old village decor and feast on the freshest ingredients while watching the brightly-colored boats bob in the harbor.
Pop around the corner to their bakery for a fresh croissant before hitting the road.
Prepare to lean close to your steering wheel with your jaw dropped.
This 9 km drive between Noordhoek and Hout Bay boasts some of the most stunning views in the entire cape peninsula. It was constructed nearly a hundred years ago, winding around the nearly 600 m high Chapman Peak, and offers places to unpack a picnic, snap some photos, and take in what is sure to be a brilliant African sunset.
Neighbor Goods Market:
You’ll need to be here on a Saturday for this one since it only welcomes in the traders, families, merchants, artists, hipsters and butchers from 9-2 one day a week, but it’s worth it.
This relatively new gourmet market (founded in 2006) located at The Old Biscuit Mill in Woodstock, is the best way to spend a sunny Saturday morning. Everyone is milling past all the international cuisine on offer with a glass of Merlot or Boston lager in their hands. They’re sitting communally by candlelight at one long table made from wooden doors, or resting on hay bales outside while eating west coast oysters, afro sushi, or ostrich burgers. The young and old are buying rainbow trout out of ice buckets and plump olives brought in from a local farm while vintage jazz hums in the background.
It also has a tinier design goods market, a Lomography store, and some of the best coffee in the city (go to espresso lab micro roasters).
And when needing a place to stay in the city, don’t miss out on these great luxury hotels in Cape Town: