Destinations

48 Hours in Cape Town

How to fit beaches, mountains, wine tasting, local food and museums into two days in Cape Town.

March 26, 2021

by Sophie Baker

Destinations

48 Hours in Cape Town

How to fit beaches, mountains, wine tasting, local food and museums into two days in Cape Town.

by Sophie Baker

With eleven official languages, South Africa is a melting pot of cultures, and nowhere is this more true than Cape Town. The city is home to the country’s creatives, artisans and nature lovers, and has vibrant drinking, dining and nightlife scenes. And, being sandwiched between mountains and the sea, there’s no shortage of incredible views either. 

Day One

Start your day on the Atlantic Seaboard and check into The Twelve Apostles Hotel and Spa 91 which has luxurious rooms, an award-winning spa, and sweeping ocean and mountain views.

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It’s easy to visit Table Mountain while staying in Cape Town

From here, it’s around seven miles to Table Mountain 89 If the weather is good, take the opportunity to visit one of the world’s most famous mountains. You can hike to the top — but if you’d rather opt for as little exertion as possible, take the cable car, which has the bonus of 360-degree panoramic views. On cloudy or misty days, you won’t get as good a view, so save this experience for when the skies are clear.

Next, visit the Victoria & Alfred Waterfront 75 or the V&A as it’s known locally. With a busy harbor, restaurants, and regular street performers, it’s always buzzing here.

If you’re a sushi fan, swing by Salushi for an early lunch, where you can drop less than $30 on dim sum, sushi, and cocktails. Or, take a short walk past the Cape Wheel to the food market, where you’ll find a wide variety of food and craft stalls. Take a breather at Bascule at the Cape Grace 88 which has over 500 whiskeys, spectacular views of the mountain, and is rarely crowded. 

A short ferry ride from the V&A is Robben Island Museum 88 the prison where Nelson Mandela was famously incarcerated. Set aside four hours for the trip, including getting there and back. You can take a tour of the island and the prison museum and see the former South Africa president’s cell. It’s the kind of experience guaranteed to be etched into your memory for years to come. 

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Zeitz MOCCA is a new contemporary art museum in Cape Town

Once you’re back, have a look around Zeitz MOCAA 77 Africa’s largest contemporary art museum, which is housed in a transformed grain silo. Back at the hotel, give theAzure Restaurant 72 a try. Hotel restaurants can be underwhelming, but Azure has unparalleled ocean views, impeccable service — and the Cape Malay curry is better than most.

Day Two

This morning, check in at Cape Heritage Hotel 82 for a boutique hotel experience that will transport you back in time. Built as a home in the 1700s, each room has its own quirky style, but they’re all supremely comfortable.

Your first stop today has to be Truth Coffee HQ 72  Voted best coffee shop in the world by the Daily Telegraph, this is where to get your caffeine fix before a day of sightseeing. If you’re not a coffee drinker, try some Rooibos tea, a caffeine-free pick-me-up packed with antioxidants. Then, spend an hour exploring St George’s Mall and Greenmarket Square 79, popping into little boutiques and admiring African arts, crafts, and trinkets. 

Your next stop, Bloubergstrand is one of Cape Town’s most iconic and Instagrammable beaches. Walk along the beach, dip your toes in the water but be warned that it’s seriously cold! 

Stop for a bite to eat at Ons Huisie, a world-renowned heritage site with great west coast food and a kids’ play area. For a taste of South African food, opt for a potjie, a traditional slow-cooked meat stew, or bobotie, a dish made with curried ground beef and egg.

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South Africa’s best wine regions are within easy reach of Cape Town

Another experience you can’t miss on a trip to Cape Town is wine tasting. Either head to Constantia or take a trip out of the city to neighboring Stellenbosch.

Stellenbosch is renowned for producing excellent wines at affordable prices and is considered one of South Africa’s culinary capitals, so you’re guaranteed fantastic food with views of mountains and vineyards. You can’t go wrong with Overture at Hidden Valley or Indochine at Delaire Graff Estate - Lodges and Spa 72 which have both won multiple awards. 

Constantia is one of Cape Town’s wealthiest suburbs and feels like you’ve been transported to Europe, with tree-lined streets winding over the mountains. Buitenverwachting Restaurant 75 is one of the best options and won’t break the bank. Don’t even bother trying to pronounce it  — just go straight in and order the free-range ostrich tataki and triple cooked truffle chips!

Sophie Baker is a freelance travel writer based in Johannesberg, South Africa


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