Over on my instagram I had a lot of requests to share my South Africa experience. The last two years for me has been a whirlwind of trips and in the process I have discovered that researching for a vacation is like taking on a full time job! The amount of time that you have to invest into preparing an itinerary, where you can get the most out of your holiday, can be quite overwhelming and sometimes simply impossible. So recently I spent 9 days in South Africa and here I am going to share the best bits, the things I am disappointed I couldn’t squeeze in and what I felt we could have done to improve our Capetown experience.
We had limited time in South Africa, with only 9 days to play with, so we stuck to exploring Capetown and a neighbouring village Stellenbosch. Here, I am going to separate the two so that if you are doing one or the other it is easier to take note.
We both consecutively came down with 24 hour bugs which meant there were activities and restaurants we had booked that we unfortunately had to cancel but I will include them anyway!
Atlantic Outlook : We had booked into a sunrise kayak in the bay of Capetown with Atlantic Outlook which was probably what I was most looking forward to! But unfortunately we couldn’t attend our booking as I was bed-ridden. The reviews are excellent and on insgtram you can get a sneak preview of the epic ocean views the tour provides.
Lion’s Head : We hiked (easy incline with a bit of a climb at the top) Lion’s Head in time to watch the sunset. I would give yourself plenty of time for the uber journey as there is usually traffic at this time. This was for both of us the first highlight of the trip. I have never witnessed a sunset like it and with 360 degree view of Capetown, ocean and the 12 Apostles of Table Mountain, there really is no vista comparable.
Table Mountain : Again being pushed for time means we did not get to hike this trail. I would definitely try to squeeze in the hike rather than cable car up like we did. The hike is an all day activity really as it’s 3-4 hours up to the peak (unless you are (cable car-ing down!). Again it’s so worth the climb. The views are epic and even though slightly similar to Lion’s Head it is just as magical an experience to stand at the top of this epic mountain.
Cape of Good Hope : I don’t drive and Conor doesn’t enjoy driving, so we took an uber which in total for the round trip (with time to stop and make stop offs) was approximately €80. Not bad for a 3 hour journey! If you enjoy driving perhaps you would prefer to rent a car. The beach is a must which you can access from Cape Point with a short trail down to the right. On our return journey we stopped off at boulder Beach to see the penguins but to be honest I would not recommend it. Very touristy!
Chapman’s Peak Trail : We made the journey to Chapman’s Trail but unfortunately on the day we went the weather took a turn and our taxi driver encouraged us not to go ahead with the hike as it would have been too dangerous. The views are meant to be unreal but just me mindful that since it’s on the other side of Table mountain the weather can be quite unpredictable and can sometimes be the complete opposite to that of Capetown bay!
Surfing lesson or rental : Another activity we had wanted to do was surfing. We were recommended Gary’s Surf School in the heart of Capetown. We saw so many people on the bay surfing, paddle boarding and kite surfing and it looked seriously fun so if you’re a water baby this could be a memorable thing to include in your itinerary.
Workout : If you are like me and love keeping up your sweat vibes then theres a few spots you can hit up!
Where To Eat
One of the most exciting cities for food. Anywhere from casual tacos & beers to a tasting menu dining experience your mind will be blown and for a draw-droppingly low price. Brunch spots I would recommend are noth Clarke’s and The Loading Bay for a casual bite, and Pot Luck Club for again an unparalleled (set menu) brunch experience. It is so hard to narrow down the dinner date recommendations in this city as they are just endless but here were our fav’s : Shortmarket and Foxcroft. El Burro was where we spent our last evening in Capetown. We started the night across the road at The Moveable Feast and we then made our way over to El Burro Taqueria (be sure to go to this location) where we had the most unreal feast of cheese stuffed jalapenos and endless selection of tacos. Very vegan friendly! Here’s a link to the top Capetown bars as recommended by Conde Nast.
We took a break from Capetown, which tbh I needed as I was not a big fan of having to UBER everywhere (due to safety issues). Stellenbosch I would compare to the likes of Portland or New Orleans – picturesque colonial village surrounded by mountains! It was the perfect laid back town with endless things to explore.
Rent a bike/e-bike : I think the best way to explore the surrounding countryside is to rent a bike. There are plenty of bike rentals in the town but our host recommended a friend of his who rented them out just around the corner from the guest house (who happened to be irish!).
Walking : Again our host was very helpful in directing us on local walks and was mindful of accomodating for length, difficulty etc.
Picnic : At Warwick Estate you can book in for a prepared picnic on their grounds where you can choose from a charcuterie or vegan cheese board accompanied by wine! We again booked in but cancelled because we literally couldn’t fit any more food in our bellies!
Yoga : I went to Hot Yoga Studio and it blew my mind! A large variety of peak and off peak classes to squeeze into your busy holiday itinerary. I was so impressed by the classes, instructors and welcoming vibe. I loved the power class with Sandi!
Where To Eat
Stellenbosch and Franschhoek are centre to the vineyard region of Capetown. Since neither of us are not big drinkers I wanted to visit just one for dinner, rather than part take on an all day wine tour. We chose Chefs Warehouse at Maison in Franschhoek which was the second highlight to our whole trip. From the moment we stepped onto the plot it was like entering a fairyland! The most stunning restaurant with outdoor seating, overlooking their garden which is enveloped by mountains. We sat in the garden with champagne while watching the sun set behind the mountains before taking a seat at our table. From start to finish it was magic. Service, food, and vibe was more than we could have ever expected, and for an embarrassingly low price we skipped out of there feeling like royalty! GO! The other vineyard we visited which provided us with the taste sensation of the whole trip, was Babylonstoren. The most amazing food and grounds, where unlike Maison was not a tasting menu. Be sure to go hungry as the portions are big! It’s such a gorgeous day out as you can spend time walking or cycling around the grounds after lunch. Some more casual spots in the town itself were The Fat Butcher (dinner), The Blue Crane & The Butterfly (brunch), Oude Bank (brunch), Postcard Cafe (after walk), and Creme de Levain for icecream.