Where to begin! Cape Town is a tourist paradise, with every conceivable activity you can think of – shark diving, coastal drives, wine tastings, mountain climbing, sailing – you name it.
Sas and I were heading to Cape Town for our friends' Zishan and MacGregor's wedding in Franschhoek so made a longer adventure of the trip. We started off renting a car at the Cape Town airport and hit the Garden Route. After leaving Cape Town, we headed straight for Wilderness, a small town along the Western Cape nestled amongst the Outeniqua Mountains. Be sure to spend the night in the hills here, with lots of options including Paradise Cove in Victoria Heights. We ate an incredible meal at Girls Restaurant before calling it a night.
Wake the next day and make your way either to Plettenberg for some swimming, or better yet just take a dip nearby in beautiful Victoria Bay. Then head North into the mountains and make your way to Montagu, where you can enjoy a quiet stay in the mountains and load up on delicious meals in an old and quiet town – no need for cars here.
After one night in Montagu, we drove south for some ways to make it to Cape Agulhas, the southernmost tip of Africa. Excellent stop for pictures and to cool down and eat some fresh fried chips and fish. If you push it, you can leave by mid-afternoon and make your way West to Gansbaai or De Kelders, where you can enjoy stunning ocean views and great food for a night – a bit more residential but cozy nonetheless.
Wake early the next day and drive West again following the Whale Route, heading back to Cape Town, but be sure to drive along the insane and epic Chapmans just past Rooi Els and keep heading West to the Cape Peninsula, where you can drive down the Simon’s Town to spend the afternoon with the penguins. Great eats abound.
If you have the energy, drive back north and crash in Cape Town for the night.
Then spend the next few days in Cape Town, exploring CBD, Table Top Mountain, Woodstock for the art scene and shopping, Constantia for food and wine, and driving up and down the epic coastline for kicks. Woodstock is home to Africa’s top galleries, Goodman and Stevenson, and you must visit these.
Once done with Cape Town, head north into wine region of Stellensbosch and Franschhoek, where you can spend 2-3 days just driving around sampling the local goods and eating feasts beyond imagination. Check out Jordan for dynamite Sauvignon Blancs, Rust en Vrede for bold reds, Graff for lunch at Indochine, La Motte for character and excellent wines.
La Colombe – one of the top restaurants in the world, arguably the best in Africa, this place is nestled in a modern farm house building amongst a private residential community in a converted vineyard. Definitely go for the wine pairing and the full course prix fix, you won’t be disappointed. Make reservations months in advance or cross your fingers and show up last minute for a cancellation.
Pot Luck Club – the sister restaurant of Test Kitchen and just upstairs in the Old Biscuit Mill, this place is a gem namely for its location and casual nature. The food is fun but not top notch, and the vibe is both edgy and homely. Tasty small plates, be sure to order lots for a group.
Mulberry and Prince – Manhattan meets Cape Town, hearty small plates for sharing and a cozy modern upgrade to an old space. Fun for date night.
Black Sheep – a much more casual option, but hearty and inventive cuisine, this place is a standby that never fails to deliver. Need a rez.
Willoughby's – this unassuming gem is hidden inside the V+A Waterfront Mall on the ground floor. But don't be surprised when you show up after getting your shopping fix to discover a line to get in wrapped around the hallway. Be sure to sit at the sushi bar to beat the crowd and order anything salmon paired with a glass of Graham Beck Rose Brut.
Olympia Café – casual brunch or breakfast spot along the road to Simon’s Town, definitely worth a visit for coffee and crepes.
Origin Coffee – for a hangover, and a wake up with insane coffee, head here first thing in the AM.
The Gin Bar – the one on Wale Street, not Mothers Ruin, and thank us later. Excellent small cozy spot nestled in a back courtyard.
Airbnb – this is one of those cities where it might make more sense to Airbnb – so many properties and reasonable prices. Definitely consider this.
Ellerman House (Cape Town) – this is one of the most spectacular properties in the world, with an insane art collection to boot. Do it.
Twelve Apostles (Cape Town) – our friends got married here in a stunning ceremony overlooking the ocean, this hotel is nestled amongst the mountains with no neighbors. A romantic getaway, a bit classic in execution, but worth it.
Montagu Vines (Montagu) – incredible vineyard converted into an olive estate due to forest fires, this place is both elegant and cozy. Perfect location away from the hustle, and a lovely family runs the place. Largest shower I have ever seen.
Paradise Cove (Wilderness) – amazing B&B in the mountains overlooking Wilderness, an incredibly value for money along the Garden Route.
Whale Song Lodge (De Kelders) – this place is a cozy but modern B&B overlooking the ocean with laid back owners. Great honesty bar inside, with tasty wines, and nearby restaurants make this a gem of a stopover.
Head over to the Old Biscuit Mill on the weekends for some excellent markets where you can buy handmade raw jeans, the latest kitenge fabrics, and sample sparkling wine with baked goods.
Alternatively, you can go the more conventional route to the V+A Waterfront, where you can find the mega brands and explore the beautiful mall and waterfront while you wait for a ferry to Robbin Island. Coming in 2017 is the Zeitz MOCAA which will add some culture to the V+A.
If you are ready to buy a serious piece of art, head to Goodman Gallery and pick up something for your collection.