Cape Town: Your Best Holiday
Cape Town’s brilliance as a holiday destination has not gone unrecognised – readers of the Daily Telegraph voted it Best City in the World for the fifth year running and Lonely Planet’s round-up of Top 10 Cities in 2017 placed it second. From marvellous beaches and plenty of activities for kids to an innovative dining scene, Cape Town has something for everybody, making it the ideal destination for a group holiday.
Get a bird’s eye view
We’re not exaggerating when we say that Cape Town’s combination of majestic mountain and rugged coastline makes for breath-taking views. Take the cable car to the top of Table Mountain or better yet, join the locals and hike up Lion’s Head, it’s a relatively easy one hour climb to the top and the views include Table Mountain. For a particularly memorable experience, time your visit with the sunrise, or the sunset during the full moon.
A helicopter swoop with Cape Town Helicopters is a spectacular way to see the coast – you might even spot whales or dolphins.
Life’s a beach
Most people head to the lovely white sand beaches in the upscale neighbourhoods of Clifton, Camps Bay and Llandudno. The only thing is, they’re on the Atlantic so the water can get quite cold – for swimming beaches, head for False Bay, on the other side of the peninsula, where water temperatures are a few degrees warmer. While it’s more bohemian chic than glamorous here, you can have a great family day out.
St James, with its iconic row of sea huts, has a tidal pool that’s safe for little ones and Muizenberg is a popular place to learn to surf; if you fancy swimming with a penguin head for Boulders Beach. Cape Point Nature Reserve – at the tip of the Cape Peninsula – has a number of hidden beaches – Buffels Bay is a great place for a long walk or a swim in the tidal pool.
Not just for the summer
Cape Town is usually portrayed as a summer destination, but its mild climate means it has appeal year-round – for example, the peak season to see whales is between June and October when large numbers of southern rights come to calve within the coastal waters. Take a cruise from Kalk Bay, or head to Hermanus, three hours south of the city, considered to be one of the best whale watching destinations in the world.
If you fancy an adrenalin rush, why not cage dive with sharks? This activity is available year-round, but the best time is from May to August. On a rainy day, the world-class Two Oceans Aquarium, on the V&A Waterfront will keep all ages mesmerised for hours.
Make sure your itinerary includes a visit to the vibrant Bo-Kaap, formerly known as the Malay Quarter, which features rows of Instagram-worthy brightly-coloured houses on narrow cobbled streets. Take a walking tour, stop in at the museum and pick up locally hand-crafted gifts for folks back home at Monkeybiz. While you’re here, pop over to the avant-garde De Waterkant village, which boasts stately Cape Dutch and Georgian townhouses and quaint cottages, as well as loads of restaurants and bars – stop for coffee at Origin or Asian cuisine at Shio.
Last but not least, don’t miss a visit to the Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa at the V&A Waterfront, where the building itself – a former grain silo – is almost as impressive as the artworks within; it’s not for nothing that it’s being described as Africa’s Tate Modern. Afterwards, head upstairs to the Silo Rooftop Bar for a cocktail or glass of champagne – and more spectacular views.
All you can eat
Cape Town’s getting pretty famous for its innovative dining scene. Top of most foodie’s lists is a visit to The Test Kitchen in The Old Biscuit Mill in Woodstock (there’s also a fabulous market here on Saturdays). Fans of Fergus Henderson’s nose-to-tail style dining will find much to love in La Tête – in fact, chef Giles Edwards spent seven years at St John Restaurant. It’s on downtown Bree Street, which has become quite a destination in recent years, with quite an array of restaurants offering everything from lunch for nearby office workers to eclectic tapas at Chef’s Warehouse. Enjoy a post-dinner drink at Orphanage Cocktail Emporium.
There are plenty of quality casual spots in Cape Town too, such as Col’cacchio in Camps Bay for deliciously crispy wood-fired pizzas. For fish and chips, there’s nothing like Kalky’s in Kalk Bay harbour – trust us on this. The Deer Park Café in the City Bowl is a great place for breakfast while the kids run wild in the safely-fenced play area.