There’s so much to do in Cape Town that it can be difficult to know where to start. To help you out, we’ve teamed up with some of the city’s biggest bloggers to create the ultimate list of things to see and do in 48 hours. Here’s what the experts had to say…
1. Take a street art walk
Y’all know I’m the biggest street art fan, so my Cape Town must-dos wouldn’t be complete without some sort of street art. Woodstock is a hub for Cape Town street art but there are also great works to be seen around the city bowl area, and in the townships. Take a guided tour around Woodstock or a township street art with with Juma’s Tours, or do a self-guided audio walking tour of the Fringe District with South Africa’s foremost street artist, Falko using the Voicemap app.
2. Ride the Cape Wheel or take a helicopter tour
The Cape Wheel is a fun way to orientate yourself to the Waterfront and parts of the city. At the top you are 40 meters above the ground and the sights you miss on the first revolution you will see on one of the next three turns. The ride takes around 20 minutes and the Wheel still operates when it is raining but shuts down if the wind is too strong. If the Cape Wheel is not high enough for you then take to the skies in a helicopter with NAC Helicopters Cape Town. The staff will advise you regarding the weather conditions as safety is paramount, but your enjoyment is also important to them so do ask them for advice if it looks overcast or is very cloudy. Allow an hour for the 15-minute flight. You need to be there half an hour in advance to enjoy a coffee on the deck next to the water, get weighed and listen to the safety briefing. I needed a little extra time after we landed to gaze at the views and to allow myself time to mentally come back down to earth.
3. Find the best burger in town
Every new kid on the block offers ‘Cape Town’s best burger’, and while no one has yet been able to decide who offers the real best burger, there’s so much on offer that testing them all is a pretty fun experience. I’ve attempted to find the best burger, but they’re all so different that there’s really no way of telling. So here are a few winning spots: Jerry’s Burger Bar (wonderfully stuffed burger patties), Slug & Lettuce Kloof Street (best Banting burger), Woodies (value for money), The Taproom at the Devil’s Peak Brewing Company, Mondiall, and all-time classics such as Hudsons, Café Manhattan, and Franky’s Diner. All these spots offer great burgers, are open at all hours of the day, and definitely form part of the latest number one Cape Town food trend.
4. Watch a movie in the oldest cinema in town
Originally a ballroom, The Labia Theatre was opened in 1949 for live performances. Nowadays, you can enjoy art-house movies in the oldest independent art-repetory cinema in the country. Step into the past with the old-fashioned ticket stubs, popcorn in a brown paper packet and a Coca-Cola in a glass bottle. You can buy dinner-and-a-movie tickets for two, or pop in to the coffee bar for a hot chocolate or a glass of wine and a pie with the arty crowd.
5. Enjoy the atmosphere on the Sea Point Promenade
Sea Point Promenade is ideal for a walk with the locals as the sun starts to descend over the Atlantic Ocean. It will allow you feel right at home as you join Capetonians jogging, cycling and walking their dogs along this established and newly upgraded paved and grassy route. Start at the Sea Point Pavillion pools, walking towards Mouille Point. You can grab a coffee or snack before you go from the kiosk next to the pool. Remember to take note of the public art and benches along the way, there are some very poignant installations that deserve a second look. Should you prefer, rent a bicycle from UpCycle.
6. Experience Table Mountain
No trip to my town is complete without experiencing Table Mountain. Book online to avoid the queues and catch the cable car up and be amazed by the most breathtaking views… Robben Island, Signal Hill, the entire city and surrounds, on one side, and Camps Bay beach and the Clifton coves (all Blue Flag beaches by the way) and the Twelve Apostles mountain range on the other. Free WiFi is available on top of the world too so you can spend some time in the cafe catching up on work and then do a walkabout and upload your pics and comments to your heart’s content. Your Insta timeline will never look this good!
7. Join a Bo-Kaap cooking tour
There is nothing quite like a good old curry to beat the winter blues and a dash of colour to fuel your day. Join a Bo-Kaap cooking tour with Zainie – a Bo-Kaap local, resident and curry master with “strong community ties and a passion for preserving the Cape Malay culture”. The tour starts with a Bo-Kaap walking tour, a visit to the spice shop and then you’ll stop at Zainie’s home where she will give you a hands-on demonstration on how to mix your Masala and a 2-hour cooking lesson. After all your hard work in the kitchen you can enjoy your own craft (sit down lunch) and go home with pre-mixed Masala and a special booklet covering the cooking course.
8. Take a Cape Town free walking tour
Get an insider’s perspective into Cape Town’s history, architecture, culture and day-to-day life when you join a 90-minute-long, free daily walking tour through Cape Town. There are three walking tours to choose from. I did the ‘Historic City’ tour that starts at 11.am from Green Market Square. The other two walking tours include District Six and the Bo-Kaap. We spotted a rather albino squirrel at The Company’s Gardens near St George’s Cathedral (he’s quite an attraction, especially as some Capetonians still haven’t spotted him), before walking past Parliament, the President’s House and seeing the remnants of Apartheid. Then it was on to The Castle of Good Hope – which used to be a fort and is apparently the oldest building in South Africa. We ended the tour at the local flower market – the best place to buy proteas. The tours are run by real Capetonians, who are volunteer guides, and although they are completely free, it’s courteous to give a tip.
9. Spend some time in Iziko National Gallery
I have been to many international art museums, but it’s a crying shame that I took so long to visit our National Gallery. The gallery is located at the Company Gardens and contains a lot of international art, as well as South Africa’s most important works of art and artists. If you need to see a work of art, it is Jane Alexander’s “Butcher Boys”, something that, in the South African art context, is as important as Michelangelo’s “David” for the Renaissance.
10. Take a surfing lesson in Muizenberg
Muizenberg, sitting in the curve of the Cape Peninsula, is a seaside resort that for over a century has been the Cape’s surfing heart center. It was here that, in 1919, Heather Price became the first South African to be photographed riding a wave while standing on a board and any surfer worth their salt will tell you that Cape Town in winter brings out some of the year’s best quality waves. Head down to the aptly named Surfer’s Corner, turning right outside of the old Edwardian station, the smell of ocean water and baking bread emanating from the array of stores and restaurants that have appeared between the traditional Herbert Baker styled houses inside this conservation area. You can take a surfing lesson with Waves for Change, a programme that was developed to plug the gap in the provision of primary social care and emotional support for vulnerable young adults growing up in South Africa.