AIRPORT & GETTING INTO THE CITY
- About 12 miles from downtown, takes about 20 minutes in taxi, metered rate about $20-$25.
Getting Around the City
- Taxis are all over with metered fares about 100ZAR ($11) from Camps Bay to city center or VA Waterfront. Slightly less to Table Mountain cable car. Should be careful which taxis you take as there are known to be safety issues and scams. To be safe, order taxi from your hotel or take taxi that looks legit. Elite taxis are some of the most reputable and were recommended by most.
- If you are daring like me, you can take the South African version of a collectivo which is a van/bus that does a defined route and you pay like 12ZAR. I took one from Camps Bay to downtown as I like the adventure plus like to see the city. If interested, look for white vans/mini buses with yellow stripe and a guy yelling out the side noting where it is going.
- Not a good city for walking given safety issues. Completely safe walking around VA Waterfront or on main drag in Camps Bay. Somewhat safe to walk along Long Street as long as you’re ok with drunks and hookers about. Shouldn’t walk from Long Street to Waterfront at night and be cautious during day. It’s ok to walk around Greenpoint area a couple of blocks from one bar to the next but be careful.
- Nothing much to really see in downtown Cape Town, don't even bother, spend time in VA Waterfront, Camps Bay, wine region, western cape drive
- Idyllic setting, 10 min drive from Cape Town, 100ZAR to waterfront or Long Street by metered taxi
- ¼ mile beach with stunning views of Table Mountain and Lions Head.
- Main drag has about 10 restaurants, each with a few tables along sidewalk. Zen Zero is a nice spot with very good food. Great place to have lunch and enjoy the view. Area is popular at sunset then town dies down a bit after dark so not a lot of nightlife options, better to go to VA Waterfront or Long Street. Caprese at end of the stretch is a hot spot on weekend nights and Sunday. Young crowd heavily libated.
- Good beach to walk or relax in sun but not conducive to swimming since strong currents and bone chilling cold water. The coldest sea water I’ve ever felt.
- What’s nice about the beaches in Cape Town is there are no hawkers bothering you so you can have a nice relaxing time. However, there is no infrastructure on beach for drinks, bathrooms, etc.
- Bay Hotel is a magnificent hotel located right across from the beach and smack dab in the middle of the main drag in Camps Bay. Beautiful hotel with well appointed, modern rooms. Elevated pool and lounge chair area is great spot with excellent view of the beautiful bay. Front facing rooms have view of ocean while those in back have view of Table Mountain. So you can't go wrong. They also have both an Audi and a Porsche Panamera to transport you wherever you want. Trips to waterfront or Long Street cost about 150ZAR. Good price considering taxi costs 100-120ZAR.
THE SITES & SIDETRIPS
- Table Mountain - Spectacular view, about ten bucks for round trip funicular, trip takes about 5 minutes to ascend to top in this modern funicular which actually rotates throughout the journey so everyone gets a good view. Spend an hour poking around and enjoying the magnificent views of city, coast, etc. Great place to visit during day or at sunset. There’s a restaurant on grounds with decent food and drinks. Good place to relax and enjoy the views! I recommend bringing sunscreen in summer as sun is very strong.
- Robben Island – A must do in Cape Town. Boats leave at the Clock Tower in VA Waterfront, best to book in advance as they are known to fill up days in advance during the summer. Tickets cost 180ZAR ($20) for the boat to/from and the tour of the facility. Boat ride is about 30 minutes and seas can be rough. Upon arrival you will get on a bus where a guide will take you around the island for about 45 mins telling you the history of the island. About ½ way, you’ll stop and get out for great views and pictures of Cape Town and Table Mountain in the distance. After the bus tour, you will be guided throughout the prison by an ex-prisoner. Certainly interesting to hear his views of the prison since he was incarcerated there. You’ll see all the sites of the prison including the general population facilities, Mandela’s cell and the prison yard. Whole trip takes about half a day.
- Cape Point – A must see, easy & scenic drive an hour or two from Cape Town, depending on which way you go and how many times you stop for pics. I rented a car and drove on my own which is the way I roll but many contract a driver for the day which costs about $100. Last stretch is a national park so need to pay about ten bucks (90ZAR) to drive in. Once there, park and walk to the funicular to avoid the half hour uphill walk to the point. Ticket only costs 49ZAR ($5) return. Explore around for an hour. Can eat alongside parking lot at Two Oceans Restaurant on terrace with view of the Indian Ocean. Funny that it's called Two Oceans but can only see one from the restaurant. After meal and your departure, make sure you take your first left when you drive out so you can have a walk around Cape of Good Hope. Walk along rocks, take pic in front of sign that says southernmost point in Africa, keep walking to end for spectacular views of the sea.
- Boulders Beach Penguin Colony - $10 to get in. Nice to see penguins for 5 mins but I wouldn't go out of my way to do it. Kind of disappointing. Just stand on a deck and look at them hanging on the beach.
- Western Cape Drive – Amazing drive and a must do. Tie it in with a trip to Cape Point. Start downtown, head over to VA Waterfront and follow that road along coast through Green Point, Moulle Point, Sea Point and Clifton. Right after Clifton, take left onto Kloof Road and head up to top of Signal Hill for a great view of the city and Table Mountain. After, descend hill and follow signs for Camps Bay. Drive down to Camps Bay then hang a left, following that road to Hout Bay, stopping along the way for pictures when you have the urge. Hout Bay is a good stopping point to stroll along the beach then grab some fish n chips at Fisherman’s Wharf. From here take the road to Noordhoek, Kommetjie and Scarborough, again stopping along the way to enjoy the views. One of the best stretches is the Chapmans Peak Coastal Road where you will drive through a cut out in the mountain. Well worth the small road toll. After Scarborough, follow signs for Cape Point. You’ll enter the park where you’ll need to stop and pay 90ZAR entrance. After driving about 20 minutes through the park, you’ll arrive at Cape Point where there is plenty of parking. When exiting, be sure to veer off to left as described above to enjoy Cape of Good Hope. Follow signs to Simon Town, stopping at Boulders Beach if you want to check out the penguins as listed above. Continue onwards to Fish Hoek, Kalk Bay, Muizenberg then head inland towards Constantia on the M3. At Constantia / Bishopscourt, turn left to go over Constantia neck to head back down to Hout Bay then Camps Bay. Will likely take you a full day but time well spent!
- Stellenbosch – best area of wine region. Easy day trip from Cape Town, only about an hour via N1. Exit 47 and hang a right towards Stellenbosch. Here are a couple of my favorite wineries to visit:
o Kannonkop - Simple place with exquisite wines. Entire facility is indoors but you’re not here for a view, you’re here for great wines. Tasting is free with plenty of wines for purchase. Very friendly staff. Small art exhibit is in adjoining room. Easily found. Heading down main road from exit 47, look for large cannon on left side.
o Thelema – Beautiful modern, open aired place with stunning view. Wines very good and tasting costs 25ZAR. Small outside deck overlooks mountains and vineyards. When you exit Kannonkop, keep heading down road a couple of miles taking a left onto Hellshodge (the road leading to Franschoek). Located a couple miles up that road on left side behind Tokara.
o Delare Graff - Magnificent place architecturally speaking, beautiful patio with decent view and incredible art throughout. Wines far from inspiring so just go there for a look. Tasting is 20ZAR. Adjoining restaurant is supposed to be very nice but requires reservations. I tried to squeeze in while no one seated and was told is completely booked, likely tour buses on way, staff not very nice. Easily found nearly directly across main road from Thelema entrance.
o Ernie Els - Spectacular views and well worth a visit. Wines very good and can enjoy your tasting out on tables perched over the valley. 30ZAR for tastings of 4 wines and believe a bit more if you want to sample all, very nice staff. A bit tricky to find but from the Delare Graff, go back to the original main road you took from exit 47. Continue down the road, for several miles, taking a left onto Annandale. From here, you’ll wind around onto some small roads, following the signs for Ernie Els. Well signed.
- Franschhoek - Cute little town in center of wine region and nice place to stroll looking in several blocks of boutiques and restaurants. Reuben's is ward winning restaurant with renowned chef. Nice place for lunch or dinner, best to sit in courtyard in back. While Reuben’s came highly recommended to me, I think I’d prefer to sit at a cafe on the sidewalk in town to enjoy watching people pass by while basking in the sun. That said, squid salad was great and karoo lamb rack was awesome.
- Not a lot of nightlife options in Camps Bay, outside of Caprese mentioned above so best to head to the VA Waterfront where it is safe and there are plenty of spots for a drink. Mitchell's on corner in VA Waterfront is best for a pint of beer and to listen to nightly live band on patio,
- Long Street in town center is a bit rough and reminds me of Beale Street in Memphis or Bourbon Street in New Orleans. Gritty scene with lots of rowdy drunks, homeless, hookers and plenty of suspicious looking people. If this is your thing, check out Dubliner in the center of Long Street for cold beers and live band. Also, Fiction is few doors down and across the street, great spot for dj electronica music. Just be careful in picking a taxi to drive you home....
- Deco Dance in Sea Point is awful, 50ZAR cover, bar is in basement, smoky, dj old and plays 80s, crowd is full of 40 and 50 cheesy people and hen parties
- Jade in Green Point very nice, small second floor joint, entrance on side street with no sign, very small, loungy and hip
- Radisson Blu has nice lounge with open view of the ocean. Fancy, white table cloths with sophisticated older crowd. Good for sun down.
- Cape Grace Hotel has nice bar with boating theme and outdoor patio on marina. Good place to sit at a table with your date and have a nice glass of wine or whiskey which is their specialty.
- Bukara in city center is excellent spot for Indian food. Well appointed location with beautiful décor and impressive open kitchen. Located at 33 Church St, not far off Long Street. A bit difficult to find as entrance is around corner and need to go up steps to restaurant situated on 2nd floor.