Top 20 Insider Tips for Cape Town & Top 10 Restaurant Recommendations
Updated: Mar 1, 2019
We travel to Cape Town every year as I lived in South Africa as a child and have family there, so would love to spread the joy of this beautiful country with some awesome recommendations!
The great thing is South Africa really is baby/child friendly. The water is safe to drink; there’s no malaria (aside from some specific parts like Kruger National Park) or zika virus; and the weather is very accommodating all year round. I mean, we experienced 21-27 degrees in Durban and 17-27 degrees in Cape Town in June. That’s their Winter, what’s not to love?! More importantly, people are very friendly and child loving so you will find lots of warm hospitality if travelling with children.
I've restricted this post to Cape Town and surrounding areas as it's the most popular destination in South Africa. The city is just a short 25 minute drive aware from the airport. There are many accommodation options available from uber luxurious to more standard, so you are spoilt for choice. Going out in South Africa is very afforable which makes Cape Town a much travelled to city. But please feel free to message me if you need tips on other parts of South Africa.
Cape Town is a large city offering many cultural experiences, wine lands, beach and adventure activities. It's a city fairly easy to move around so staying in any major areas will work. Babysitting services are safe and affordable via a hotel, if you choose to do an activity without children. There are so many diverse offerings so you will certainly find something to tickle your fancy.
Our Top 20 recommendations within and around Cape Town
1. Take the Table Mountain Cable Car to have an immaculate panaramic view of Cape Town
2. Do the Lions Head Hike to see an amazing view of Table Mountain
3. Visit Robben Island (where Nelson Mandela was imprisoned). A sad but history oozing experience to learn more about the Apartheid era and it's end.
4. Wine tasting at the Constantia Winelands, Cape Town's in city wine land located in an affluent suburb with amazing views of False Bay from some prestigious wine estates.
5. Stay at Stellenbosch & Franschoek Winelands for a truly decadent winelands experience, some amazing views, and fabulous wine tasting. These are larger wine land cities which some gorgeous wine estates, so if you have time, this is certainly worth the investment.
6. Drive the Chapman’s Peak Drive (Similar to the 17 Mile Drive in Monterey) for scenic views of the mountains and ocean, exciting hair pin bends and stumble across the most beautiful seaside towns each with a unique offering as you go through.
7. See the Penguins at Boulders Beach. This is such a unique experience. You have a choice to swim with a few freely as they visit the beach or see them from a ramp being in their habitat.
8. Visit False Bay for Seal Snorkelling. We did this when I was pregnant and had the most amazing time. You visit a small island that the seals occupy. All equipment is provided but brace yourself for the cold Atlantic waters.
9. Visit the Cape of Good Hope, the first point of South Africa discovered by Bartolomeu Dias, the portuguese explorer, for panoramic views of the Atlantic Ocean.
10. Hike the Cape Point Nature Reserve. Look out for wild untouched vegetation and plenty of baboons. Amazing views to be seen.
11. Shark Cage Diving in Gansbaii (if you dare!) or Whale Watching at Hermanus
12. Surf or Picnic at Camps Bay & Clifton Beaches and take in the cool atmosphere and view.s
13. Shop & Dine at the V&A Waterfront featuring over 450 stores and 80 restaurants, including craft stores, and theatres.
14. See the Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens placing strong emphasis on indigenous plants and a large conservatory, set against the backdrop of Table Mountain.
17. Visit the Two Oceans Aquarium and World of Birds
18. Visit the Pan African Market on Long Street offers authentic African mementos, décor pieces, tribal masks, art and other collectables.
19. Have Afternoon Tea at the Mount Nelson Hotel or 12 Apostles Hotel
20. Visit Bo-Kaap to learn more about the Cape Malay culture (a unique ethnic group to Cape Town)
Top 10 Restaurant Recommendations in Cape Town
I’m a gastronaut and always book restaurants ahead of time to ensure that we have reservations at the city’s best. Cape Town has an amazing array of restaurants and if you travelling from the US or Europe, it’s so affordable to eat at top places and to indulge in really good wine! South Africa does seafood amazingly, especially shellfish, so please indulge! Good restaurants in Cape Town are in demand so please try to book ahead of time. Here are some of my favourites.
Grand Africa Cafe & Beach, V&A Waterfront. One of the coolest spots to eat in Cape Town for a retro-chic dining experience. Great atmosphere, fashionable crowd and delicious food. We go for the vibe and people watching. Request a table on the deck or beach and dive into the seafood! Book here.
The Test Kitchen, Woodstock. This is an institution in Cape Town, offering nouvelle Latin cuisine. Book well in advance as this place is difficult to get a table at! Book here.
The Pot Luck Club, Woodstock. From the same group that brings you the Test Kitchen, try this for slightly easier to get reservations, sophisticated tapas and a chic buzzy vibe. Book here.
Chef’s Warehouse at Beau Constantia, Constantia. Great food at this boutique wine farm. Expect delicious tapas, an awesome view of False Bay and fabulous wine. Book here.
Willoughby and Co, V&A Waterfront. The location is not as glamorous as the others for me but the food is absolutely delicious. Love the seafood & sushi here. Book here.
Babel, Paarl. Set amongst wonderful Cape Dutch architecture in an old cow shed, creating an edgy yet sophisticated environment. Expect freshly harvested dishes according to the seasonal mood. Beautiful venue, more appreciated during lunch. Book here.
La Perla, Sea Point. Serving classic Italian food with ocean views from the terrace. Our Italian go-to in Cape Town. http://www.laperla.co.za
El Burro, Greenpoint. Imaginative yet authentic Mexican food, tequila and cool craft beers in a quirky setting. Great if you fancy something different. Book here.
La Tete, Bree Street. Delicious farm to fork French bistro fare in a contemporary atmosphere. Book here.
Kloof Street House, Kloof Street. Eclectic European cuisine in a Victorian dining room. Fabulous service. Book here.
I hope you enjoyed our insider tips. Do reach out if you need further information.
Shanti | The Kensington Diary