Exotic Traveler Tips: What to See and Do in Cape Town
Cape Town has been spoken of internationally as the ‘fairest Cape of them all’ and is known to South Africans as the ‘Mother City’. Cape Town is renowned for its stunning natural beauty and is one of the top ‘lifestyle cities’ in the world. Think mountains, wilderness, vineyards, fascinating cultural heritage, and glorious beaches with stylish bars, restaurants, and nightlife. Cape Town is also an artistic hub for Africa, with an array of galleries, festivals, and theatres.
Our Exotic Yoga Retreats yoga teacher and trip leader, Nina Butler, is South African. We asked her for recommendations on the absolute must-see attractions in Cape Town.
Lion’s Head Hike
For the fit and adventurous, Cape Town offers numerous rewarding hike routes. Table Mountain is the world-famous option and an obvious recommendation. There is a cable car for you to get up and down on, if the very demanding hike does not appeal. However, if you want to get your heart pumping and do as the Cape Town locals do, avoid the crowds on Table Mountain and rather climb Lion’s Head. This hike is stunning, and there are 360-degree views from the top, including that of Table Mountain herself! Spot the international celebrity houses in Camps Bay, Bantry Bay, and Clifton. You can do this 3-hour hike self-guided; it is well-marked. Begin from this location.
The Kirstenbosch Botanical Garden
Cape Town’s Kirstenbosch Botanical Garden is enormous (pack sturdy walking shoes!). The array of plant life is simply astounding, and you will quickly get swept up in the romance of the spacious lawns beneath the eastern slopes of Table Mountain. Don’t forget to check out all the fynbos - this is indigenous plant life, unique to the Western Cape coast of South Africa. Fynbos comprises of over 9000 plant species you cannot find anywhere else in the world! If you are visiting Cape Town over the summer, check out the Kirstenbosch events page, because they often hold music concerts in the gardens. Join the locals with a picnic basket, a bottle of Cape wine, and a blanket to relax on.
A Curated Secret Adventure
Embrace the opportunity to have an adventure experience in the Cape Town area specifically curated to your likes, fitness levels, and time-frame. We adore Cape Town local, Henk, the energy and passion behind, Secret Adventurer. Henk designs an adventure experience you will love, because he designs it just for you - think off-the-beaten-track meanders, cliff jumps into forgotten rock pools, gourmet picnics overlooking azure waters, or even an urban run, visiting his favourite hipster spots! Contact him in advance so he can plan the perfect experience for you.
Zeits MOCAA - Museum of Contemporary African Art
The newly opened Zeits is a landmark development in the history of African art. Set aside an afternoon to survey the collections of dynamic and cutting-edge artists from across the continent. Reform your perception of what modern African society means! The museum is in the V&A Waterfront, so after you have got your fill of art, take a stroll through the famous Waterfront, stop for some sushi and the Cape’s famous MCC sparkling wine.
Jazz in Gugulethu
To understand the history of South Africa, and in particular, Apartheid, you have to understand the role of Jazz! Jazz is part of the heartbeat of resistance culture and African identity in South Africa’s townships (shanty towns). It also has a unique sound, and some Grammy award-winning proteges. Gugulethu is the largest township outside Cape Town. Jazz in the Native Yards is an innovative concept, facilitating live Jazz and Blues concerts in the backyards of artists’ homes in the township. An unforgettable experience! Bring your dancing shoes!
Markets - The Old Biscuit Mill and Hout Bay Market
Do as the locals do! Hit the Old Biscuit Mill on a weekend morning, grab a craft beer, or mimosa, and pursue the incredible variety of local artisan stores, food stalls, restaurants, and art galleries. You might find yourself still there come lunchtime. Alternatively, take a breathtaking drive over Cape Town’s beaches and around to Hout Bay Market. This is a sleepy historic fishing village with a totally different feel to the city bowl. There is an artisan food market here on weekends that features live music!
There are almost too many to mention!
Rust en Vrede
Savour wines from a vineyard founded in the 1600s. Rust en Vrede is a red wine exclusive vineyard, steeped in history. The grounds in classic wine country, Stellenbosch, are gracious, spacious and refined - just like their wines! The Cape Dutch buildings that dot of the rolling laws will charm you. Every inch of this vineyard exudes passion and attention to detail - over time. Their on-site fine dining restaurant is also incredible - although bookings are hard to get! Tasting top pick: Single Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon 2014.
This massive estate exudes a sense of wellbeing. Apart from the excellent wines, there are bountiful organic fruit and vegetable gardens, restaurants, a botanical garden, a guesthouse, and a spa. In spite of its size, Babylonstoren retains incredible attention to detail and all its staff are noticeably well educated and happy! Book a table in the Greenery - it’s a magical experience! Tasting top pick: Chardonnay 2018.
Try something different. Creation Wines is in the cool microclimate of the Hemel & Aarde Valley, about 90minutes drive from Cape Town centre. This award-winning and innovative vineyard offers modern architecture and innovative wines, with a sublime pairing menu that changes daily. Tasting top pick: the Reserve Pinot Noir 2016, and Reserve Syrah 2015.
Visit South Africa and match your time in Cape Town with a safari! Exotic Yoga Retreats hosts its next Luxury African Safari in South Africa and Botswana in April 2020.