My itinerary for Cape Town was created so spontaneously, for two 20 years old longtime friends with a habit of saying yes to everything. Therefore, everything that happened was almost completely unplanned yet somehow perfect. We had our connection flight in Johannesburg and after less than two hours, we landed in Cape Town.
Arriving in Cape Town honestly felt like we were flying on a time machine and entering another world. We two, travel the world a lot, and we’ve seen a thing or two in our past trips, yet never we have seen such authenticity and uniqueness as Cape Towns.
Everybody here carries big smiles on their faces, and we, who heard about the hard living conditions of Cape Town, felt confused. We arrived at night and shared a taxi with two guys we met at the airport. Understandably, this was a bit scary, considering we are two young girls in the other half of the world.
Where to stay in Cape Town
The first night we stayed at the hostel “Once in Cape Town”. As we arrived, we saw people partying having fun, smiling, and just vibing. The design of the hostel was so colorful and welcoming. Sadly, while writing I discovered this place was recently shut down, but worry not, as I won’t leave you empty-handed.
There are several areas in Cape Town that are good to stay at, for most of those are V&A Waterfront, Clifton and Camps Bay, and Newlands. You don’t want to rely on public transportation, so make sure you take a good hotel in a location that fits your itinerary. Here are my favorites –
1. Taj Residence (Best Overall)
4. O’ Two Hotel (Best for Travelers on a budget)
You can also try to find hotels with our booking map –
Because it was so late there weren’t a lot of open places to grab dinner, but there was a pizza restaurant down the street. When we sat there, a beggar shouted from outside asking for money. There are a lot of homeless people in Cape Town and you need to be aware of that. Since it was nighttime, and we didn’t know the place well, we got a bit dramatic over it and asked the waiter to escort us to the hotel, which was a 4-minute walk.
He was more than happy to come with us, that’s the atmosphere in Cape Town. From that point, we were no longer afraid to walk Cape Town’s streets.
Cape Town Day Trips
We woke up for our first day and went to breakfast at the hostel, which was very tasty with a spot-on atmosphere. The best thing about this hostel is that it offers you an abundance of attractions, there’s a big board with activities for each day.
We joined the group who drove to markets that opened that day. In Cape Town, there are different markets that open each day. The market we were heading to was about food, live music, and art. The streets in cape town are colorful and clean and what I loved most is that you can see Table Mountain from almost anywhere which gives the city a perfect blend of the urban and natural look.
Volunteer in Cape Town
We left the hostel that day for the real reason we flew to Cape Town – Volunteering at the Save Foundation. We drove 40 minutes and got to Table View, which is a small village on the beach. Walking distance from where we slept, was one of the most beautiful beaches I’ve ever seen. It had the best view of Table Mountain.
We stayed at a villa with more than 20 people from all around the world, spent our weekdays helping at schools in the mornings then doing some extreme activities in the afternoon, mostly surfing.
On the weekends we were able to travel around South Africa to see more than just Cape Town. The area really reminds of Ocho Rios in Jamaica.
Surf in Cape Town
Cape town offers perfect beaches for surfing and is known to be one of the world’s best wave-surfing locations. We surfed at a beach called “Big Bay”. The waves here are unbelievable, and in some areas, they get extremely high. The water temperature is cold even in hot seasons.
There is also a big community of surfers here, and many underwater activities to try, such as deep-sea fishing and even shark-cage diving – all popular activities.
Cape town Tour Guides (Second Day)
We started our day on the train for Cape Town City. Our first stop in the city was a tour of relics that remained from the apartheid era. A time when non-white Africans didn’t get civil rights. I highly recommend hiring a tour guide to take you to historical sites in the city. This tour taught me a lot about humans and freedom, it’s not easy to process but I believe it’s important.
Hiking Lion’s Head, Cape Town
We continued the day walking the famous Lion’s Head hike trail. The Lion’s Head is a mountain in Cape Town that offers an amazing backdrop to the city. From the top of Lion’s Head, you can see an amazing view of both the Atlantic Ocean and the city of Cape Town.
Since it’s only an hour and a few minutes hike to the top (3 mi / 5 km), people choose to go there on sunset / sunrise / full moon. We did the hike at noon and it was still breathtaking. The hike itself was fun and rather easy, you get to climb some ladders and enjoy gorgeous scenery throughout the whole hike.
BO – KAAP Cape Town
After the hike we went to eat lunch at a local pizza place, apparently, there are many pizza places here and then continued to the famous streets of BO – KAAP. Bo Kaap is an area in cape town that is not only known for its rich history, but for its colorful houses. When the residents of Bo Kaap bought their houses, they decided to paint them with bright colors, as an expression of individualism.
Bo Kaap is a great location to take photos, so it’s recommended to dress nice!
Cape Point and Boulder Breach were probably my favorite part of the trip. We took a tour guide and drove all the way to the southwest corner of Africa, to a place called Cape Point. Even today, years later, whenever I think about this place it fills me with emotions, as it truly was one of the prettiest places I’ve ever seen.
Cape Point is a national park (you need to pay when you enter), with a lot of places to see and explore. The drive itself in the national park is beautiful. The park is filled with rolling green hills, towering stone cliffs, breathtaking bays, beaches, and more.
Note that there are no shops or restaurants in Cape Point, so make sure you bring plenty food and water.
After this amazing trip to Cape Point, we drove to Boulders Beach. Boulders Beach is home to many African Penguins, making it highly unique. Taking the beach trail, you are sure to meet some penguins and other animals on the way, and it’s recommended to pay the small entrance fee to the beach, so you could get close to them.
Table Mountain Cape Town
Table Mountain is the most famous site in South Africa and is one of the 7 wonders of the world. The reason this mountain is well known is because of its flat top, that’s how it got its name. You can take a cable car to get to the top of the mountain easily, or if you’re crazy like some of my friends, you can hike to the top. Even though I love to hike, it felt pointless with the time window we had.
Unfortunately, when we got to the mountain it was foggy! You must plan your visit well to get the view you want. Many other visitors had to go back only to return another day, when the visibility is better. We decided to climb up the mountain, even though it was foggy.
The top of the mountain was very cold, so bring along warm clothes. There’s a famous place on top where you can get the best hot chocolate, which really was amazing. The top of the mountain is small and most of the time we couldn’t see anything but it was still a breathtaking experience, definitely a highlight of the trip.
One of the things we couldn’t give up is to go on a safari. We were busy with our main task of volunteer work, so finding time to fit in a safari was difficult, but we made it work by going to a nearby safari.
It was a dream come true to get to see animals in their natural place. We took a tour guide with a group who picked us up from Table View. On the way we stopped for breakfast at a point with a beautiful scenic view, only to find out there was already breakfast waiting for us on the safari.
Apparently, safaris in Africa also operate as resorts, and so is Aquila. I’m going to let the pictures speak for themselves.
Cape Town Wine Tours
Did you know there are more than 550 wineries around Cape Town? we took a guided tour that went through the many different wineries of Cape Town. This winery area around the main city is well known for their wines.
The first glass was at 9:00, the bottle was opened by a sword, and we finished around 5 pm. My favorite place was “Fairview Wine and Cheese“ (Not sponsored!), we were in the barrel room, a private table with rich tasting wines and cheeses. I bought 3 bottles of dessert wine from all kinds of wineries that came to be great gifts.
If you like wineries, we’ve also written about the best wineries of Temecula.
Long Street, Cape Town
Long Street is famous for its endless clubs and bars. It was our go-to place when we wanted to party. We took an Uber there and hopped to different Clubs and Bars. Be wary as this street is known to be filled with phone thieves, so it’s important to keep your phone close and use it only if necessary. Don’t let that scare you away though, We had a great time on Long Street, and it’s a good visit.
Cape Town is the kind of place you never get enough of. You can easily spend a few weeks here, enjoying its people, parties, culture, nature, and general vibes. There are many other activities in Cape Town that weren’t mentioned, and I encourage you to go explore them!
If you have any questions, the Sunset team is available in our Facebook group to answer everything that is on your mind.