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Megan the Traveling Writer, Cape Town, South Africa

CAPE TOWN

Megan the Travelin Writer

Discover Cape Town: Ultimate 2-Week Itinerary

There’s more than one reason why they call it the Mother City. Cape Town is the absolute mother of all cities from stunning beaches backed by Table Mountain, a Natural World Wonder, to rowdy nightlife, some of the best hikes, and icy swims that will make you feel alive.

Cape Town travel guide, a 2-week itinerary

This 2-week Cape Town travel guide includes all sorts of adventures like hiking Lion's Head for the best sunset views of Camps Bay, following Chapman’s Peak for one of the world’s best ocean drives, cage diving with sharks, kayaking in Green Point, taking a walking tour of colorful Bo-Kaap, and learning Gumboot dancing in Langa. There’s something everyone will want to do in Cape Town.

Megan the Traveling Writer, Bo-kaap, Cape Town, South Africa

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Megan the Traveling Writer, Lion's Head, Cape Town, South Africa

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Megan the Traveling Writer, Table Mountain, Cape Town, South Africa

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CAPE TOWN

itinerary

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Day 1: Hanging out with penguins at Boulders Beach

Spend the day lazing in the sun, watching penguins waddle past, hop from rock to rock, and swim into the blue sea. You can even get into the water and join them! Just remember not to feed them, try to approach them, or disturb them in any way. They can be curious, but they are still wild animals.

Tickets

Tickets:

R152 per international visitor and R39 per SA local

Try fish and chips, shop local, and watch the sunset in Kalk Bay

After swimming with the penguins, head just 20 minutes north along the coast to Kalk Bay. Your first stop is Kalky's for the best fish and chips in Cape Town. The long queues are well worth the wait for the R75 fish and chips they’ve been serving since the 1950s.

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Tip:

They don't take cards and the ATM doesn't always work, so bring cash.

After lunch, walk around Kalk Bay, shopping and supporting local, before grabbing a coffee and watching the sunset at Dalebrook Tidal Pool. (Lekker, Dalebrook, and Salt are all firm coffee standouts.)

 

If you're feeling artsy, visit Soul Design Jewelry to make your own beaded jewelry or buy their Africa-inspired designs.

CAPE TOWN

Day 2
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Day 2: Take it in from the Red Bus

There’s no better way to get to know the city than from the Red Bus. Hop on at the V&A Waterfront or Long Street, and take in the sights from the top deck. Buy your Red Bus and Table Mountain tickets together online to save money and skip the queue.

Tickets

Tickets:

R245 for one of five routes and R655 for the Table Mountain combo, or

R320 in the afternoon and R390 in the morning for just Table Mountain

Stand atop a natural world wonder

Have you even been to Cape Town if you haven’t been to the top of Table Mountain? Whether you hike up or take the cable car (no judgment here!), visiting the top of this Natural World Wonder is a must-do. Once at the top, there’s a restaurant, a gift shop, and even a wine-tasting room. Try to find the dassies climbing the cliff edges. Their closest relative is the elephant!

Take the cable car back down to rejoin the Red Bus. Enjoy the sunshine and salty air as you breeze through Camps Bay past the Twelve Apostles and around the corner towards Sea Point and the V&A Waterfront.

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Tip:

Want to hike up Table Mountain instead of taking the cable car?

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Platteklip Gorge is touted as the "easiest" hike to the top; it’s a winding 2.5-3 hours over a 650m climb. There’s joy in reaching the top, gazing out at the city below as you catch your breath and wonder how this beautiful city is even real.

 

Another favorite hike up Table Mountain is Kasteelspoort. You get the added bonus of “Surfboard Rock” jutting out into thin air for jaw-dropping photos.

 

If you're feeling extra adventurous, come back to Table Mountain for an abseiling tour.

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Safety:

Never hike alone and make sure to bring plenty of water.

CAPE TOWN

Day 3
Photo by Clayton Cardinalli

Day 3: Hike and swim in Cape Point

Cape Point is the most southwesterly point in Africa. Walk or take the tram to the lighthouse and listen to the power of the ocean as waves smack the rugged cliffside. Don't forget to stop at the Cape of Good Hope sign, and if it's low tide, check for octopus and pyjama sharks hidden in the rocks. Just make sure to purely observe them and not disturb them in any way.

 

Cape Point is a truly wild area. As you make your way to Buffels Bay for a picnic and to brave the tidal pool, see how many ostriches, baboons, and elands you can spot. Woolworths (or "Woolies" depending on how local you're feeling) is a favorite for stocking up on picnic goodies before your visit.

Tickets:

R376 per international visitor and 188 per SA local

Tickets
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Tip:

Make sure to stop at the quirky and iconic Scone Shack after you leave Cape Point.

CAPE TOWN

Day 4
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Day 4: Hike Lion's Head

Start your day early with a sunrise hike of Lion's Head. It's cooler in the morning and less crowded, so the early start is worth it. The trail takes 1.5 to 2.5 hours roundtrip (not including your golden photo session at the top, basking in the glory of Table Mountain). The 360° view from the top is well worth it. Standing on top of Lion’s Head, watching the cars of Sea Point go by, the waves rolling into Camps Bay, and the sun rising over the Twelve Apostles and Table Mountain is a must-do Cape Town experience.

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Safety:

Bring a headlamp or flashlight if you plan to hike before sunup.

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Tip:

Bring your camera; Lion's Head is one of the best places in Cape Town to take photos.

Brunch local and visit Robben Island

After brunch at favorites like Jason Bakery and Coco Safar, head to the V&A Waterfront for a visit to Robben Island, one of the most historically significant places in South Africa. During apartheid, Robben Island was a prison for political activists, including Nelson Mandela. If you're visiting Cape Town, you have to visit Robben Island, not just to pay tribute to the great activists who were imprisoned there but also to learn about South Africa's important history. Each tour is led by a former political prisoner.

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Tickets:

R1,400 per international visitor and R400 per SA local

CAPE TOWN

Day 5
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Day 5: Visit colorful Bo-Kaap

This colorful neighborhood with steep, cobblestone streets, the rhythmic call of the adhan, and brightly painted homes is my favorite part of Cape Town. Snap a photo with the iconic “blue car” and search for spices at Atlas Trading Co. Tour the nearby Iziko Bo-Kaap Museum, take a free walking tour, and learn how to use your new spices at one of Bo-Kaap’s cooking classes, where’ll you learn to roll rotis, craft samoosas, and attempt your own Cape Malay curry.

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Socially Responsible Travel:

Don't take photos of people without their permission.

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Remember to be respectful of the people who have made this beautiful, colorful neighborhood their home for generations. Bo-Kaap’s heritage is as colorful as its buildings, and the difficulties facing this tight-knit community are as clearly marked as the contrast between one house and another. Spend time getting to learn their history and the issues they face today, including gentrification.

Tip:

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Stroll along the Sea Point Promenade

One of Cape Town’s best walks is the Sea Point Promenade (or “The Prom” depending on how local you’re feeling). Start at Mouille Point or the Sea Point public pools and continue all the way to Clifton. Once you round the bend, you’ll know you’ve made it as Lion’s Head juts out from among cascades of white, modern homes. Pause to listen to the calls of the seagulls and the lapping of the waves, and bring your “cosi” if you want to take a quick swim at Saunders Rock’s Beach tidal pool.

CAPE TOWN

Day 6

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Day 6: Visit Langa

Langa is a vibrant community, home to incredible history, culture, and some of the most amazing people you will ever meet. Take a walking tour with my friend Siviwe Mbinda, a South African changemaker and tour guide who shares a birthday with Nelson Mandela. You’ll learn more about Langa and South Africa's history. When you’re done, support local artists at Guga S’Thebe Cultural Centre. Don’t forget to stop at Ikhaya Le Langa for coffee or to pick the brain of entrepreneurial visionary Tony Elvin, and to have lunch or dinner at the vibey Jordan Ways of Cooking.

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Socially Responsible Travel:

Remember to be respectful of people and their communities.

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This isn't a poverty tour. While South Africa is a very beautiful country, it has also been impacted by a difficult past, and communities like Langa bear a lot of the brunt of enduring issues like racism, crime, and unequal distribution of resources.

CAPE TOWN

Day 7
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Day 7: Get your adrenaline pumping with shark cage diving

If you’re looking for an adventure in Cape Town, this is it! Book with African Shark Eco-Charters. They are the only company in Simon's Town to use respirators, so you'll spend more time braving the icy water in search of sharks. It is absolutely mind-blowing to watch the sharks check you out underwater and then disappear into the depths. The presence of Great Whites has significantly decreased in the last few years due to threats by Orca Whales, so you'll mainly spot Bronze Whaler and Cow Sharks along with a massive colony of 60,000 seals on your way back past Seal Island.

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Tip:

Make sure to bring sea sickness pills as the water can be rough.

Chase the sunset at St. James or Muizenberg

On your way back from Simon's Town, cool off on the beautiful coastal drive from Simon's Town and stop at St. James Tidal Pool or Muizenberg Beach. Both beaches have colorful changing houses that are a photographer's dream, so make sure to get there just before golden hour.

CAPE TOWN

Day 8
Photo by Carmen Comrie
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Day 8: Drive or hike Chapman's Peak

Chapman's Peak Drive is one of the most beautiful ocean drives in the world. Start at Noordhoek and follow the road to Hout Bay. You'll pay just R50 per car for the toll fee, and you can stop at view points along the way. If you have more time, hike Chapman’s Peak; it’s 2 – 3 hours roundtrip with stunning views over the bay and more time to take them in as you wind your way to the top.

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Tip:

Chapman's Peak is one of the best places to watch the sunset.

Go wine tasting in Constantia

Constantia is a stunning neighborhood of wealthy homes, leafy vineyards rising up steep mountain slopes, and long, meandering walks through green, forested trails. Buitenverwachting, Groot Constantia, and Beau Constantia are some of my favorite wineries in Constantia, but Constantia Glen wins out for their stunning views.

CAPE TOWN

Day 9
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Day 9: Visit the District Six Museum

The District Six Museum is a memorial and celebration of District Six, a vibrant, mixed community forcibly evicted in the 1970s during apartheid. Visit the museum and take a tour for R50 that's led by former residents of District Six. It's a perfect entryway into learning more about South Africa's history and celebrating the rich cultures impacted.

Shop for chocolate and visit The Book Lounge

If you're a chocolate fiend, you're spoiled for choice in Cape Town. My all-time favorites are Honest Chocolate and Grumpy & Runt. They're both minutes away from the District Six Museum and your next stop.

 

Full up on chocolate and donuts, visit Clarke's Bookshop on Long Street in downtown Cape Town. The gold-lettered, wood-floored bookshop once held banned books. Now it holds rare books, out-of-print books, and secondhand books. If you want to soak up more of South Africa’s history, this is the place to go.

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Want to learn more about South Africa's history?

Long Walk to Freedom, Asking for Trouble, and Biko

Read >>>

CAPE TOWN

Day 10

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Day 10: Kayak in Green Point

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Imagine kayaking from Green Point towards Robben Island and down the coast to the V&A Waterfront, watching Lion's Head and Table Mountain rise above the city in front of you. Sunset kayak trips have the most spectacular views, but book a morning trip if you're more interested in spotting sealife. Keep your eyes peeled for dolphins, and don't be surprised if a "raft" of penguins swims by.

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Tip:

Looking for even more adventures in Cape Town? Try snorkeling with seals in Hout Bay, skydiving, or paragliding from Lion's Head.

Take in the views from the beach

Cape Town has some of the most beautiful beaches in the world. If you want to laze in the sun and take in the views, then head to Camps Bay Beach or Clifton 4th Beach. Camps Bay has a long stretch of trendy restaurants along the main road, but you'll have to pack your own picnic for Clifton 4th Beach.

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Tip:

Visiting Clifton 4th in summer? Take an Uber; parking is scarce.

Have sundowners

CAPE TOWN

Days 11-12

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Day 11: Go winetasting in Stellenbosch and Paarl

Just forty minutes outside of central Cape Town is a whole new world to explore. Your first stop on the wine route is Spier Wine Farm; they have a range of wine tastings and pairings, beautiful, sprawling grounds to get lost in, outdoor art, and picnics. Spend the rest of the day indulging your senses with chocolate, wine, and beer tastings at the Spice Route before spending the night in Stellenbosch or Franschhoek.

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Stay:

Day 12: Go wine tasting in Franschhoek aboard the Wine Tram

For those who want to rosé all day, you can take a ride aboard the hop-on-hop-off  Wine Tram in Franschhoek on one of their ten tram lines. My favorite stops are Haute Cabrière and Babylonstoren. If you book a cellar tour at Haute Cabrière, you'll have a chance to open a bottle of MCC with a saber; it’s called Sabrage and ties into the French roots of the wine farm. Babylonstoren is a garden lover's dream with seasonal displays, charming, farm-inspired shops, and sprawling grounds to explore. Lunch in Babylonstoren's Greenhouse Restaurant is one of the best, hidden things to do in Cape Town.

CAPE TOWN

Day 13
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Day 13: Safari at Aquila Private Game Reserve

Just a couple of hours from Cape Town, Aquila is the go-to destination for Big 5 safari experiences near Cape Town, so much so that even celebrities from Margaret Thatcher to Rihanna have visited. Book either a half-day or full-day safari in a game vehicle, on a quad bike, or atop a horse. Spotting wild animals in a natural setting for the first time is exhilarating, but if you've already been on a safari before, you might find Aquila not as wild. 

Tickets

Tickets:

R995+ for half-day trips and R1,990+ for full-day

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