Cape Town, South Africa
A pretty magnificent city, Cape Town has a little bit of everything going on. With sexy, sandy beaches, roaring mountains that’ll make your hamstrings shake in fear and a bustling urban metropolis in the mix, you will have no shortage of activities to keep your enormous bean entertained.
The first C-town attraction on everybody’s lips is the ever spectacular Table Mountain. As you drive into town from the airport, this glorious mountain range is the first thing you see. With a startling 90 degree drop and a flat top, you’ll find some adventurous tourists climbing like their lives depend on it, scaling the heights to reach to top of the table.
With a morning and afternoon sitting, i’d get there as early as possible. Our silly selves rocked up at 9.30am and spent the next hour in line with some kitschy Floridan retirees with straw visors and high octave voices – please adopt me. Avoid the line with an early arrival or climb the bastard like some of the pain hungry humans we encountered. It’s a wild climb not for the feint hearted, at least two or three hours one way.
Table Mountain is not for any losers with a fear of heights (me), cruddy walking shoes (always me) and lazy temperaments (do i even need to point it out?). Parking is also a rude, mean biatch with no consideration for you or your cruddy walking shoes, so Uber up there.
Robben Island is anther hit on the tourists hot spot tour of Cape Town. The island housed political prisoners, including the late and great Nelson Mandela, for hundreds of years. I can strongly advise you to arrive half an hour earlier than your ticket time, three guesses for who the asshole who missed the ferry is, and take some water with you – the ferry ride is a cruel, nauseating beast.
Once you arrive on the island, you’ll be shuttled around on a bus and given a brief tour of the island. A personalised tour of the maximum security prison from a former inmate, forms the second half of the tour. I found it a little difficult to follow at times but a pretty profound moment seeing Mr Mandela’s former cell and living quarters.
The Oranjezicht City Farm Market is the bumble bees knees with an obnoxious number of glorious stalls selling stuff you never knew you needed. The ultimate place to score a few presents for your buds, madre and boss. Don’t eat before you go and feel none of the shame you should when aggressively sampling all of the good free stuff. Samples galore.
From homemade jams, stores selling locally made straw bags and baskets and more delicious food stalls you could prod a stale baguette at. Strictly a weekend and Wednesday gig, get there early and be sure to hit up the Hoghouse Brewing Co. Portuguese tarts – the holy grail of Cape Town tastiness. We went at peak hour on a Saturday, but had no trouble finding a tricky parallel park i thoroughly embarrassed myself with.
Parking in Cape Town is generally a simple task with local parking guys in colourful vests helping direct your car into free spaces with the promise to keep a watchful eye over your vrom vrom. Be sure to tip them once you get back to your car, these dudes hustle for a buck.
After a morning indulging in every baked good imaginable at le market, hit the road and go and check out the glorious Cape Town coast. A few picturesque coastal, visit-worthy spots are Fish Houk, Kaulk Bay and Cape Point. I’d recommend Kaulk Bay above all, with a beautiful bunch of lovely cafes, restaurants and parent approved gift shops. Lucky Fish Shop in Kaulk Bay sells cheap-as-chips chips and fish, all local and all stinkin’ deeeelish.
If the promise of fried foods isn’t enough to pull you from the throws of the city, a beach full of roaming penguins will surely do the trick. Boulders Beach in Simon’s Town is full of the little critters, walking on the sand, pavers and riding the gnar. A public beach and a totally free activity (you ripper), you can get awfully close to the penguins – look but don’t touch people.
We stayed in three Airbnb’s during our time in the Town, in both Woodstock and Sea Point. Sea Point is a fancy pants, tourist friendly area with a bunch of nifty shops and nice eating places scattered everywhere.
Mojo Market is a neat place to grab a bite with a stupid number of tasty stalls selling everything known to greedy man-kind. A walk down the beach front will give you a sweet taste of the beach, mountains and the the bitter taste of exercise – eugh, if i must.
Woodstock has a lot going on, with a heap of cool no-waste supermarkets, vintage and furniture stores and markets. The Old Biscuit Mill is a badass way to spend your Saturday morning. Shop local designers and soak up the deliciousness of the squillions of food stalls. I had a Swahili breakfast of mung beans, chapati and spinach – finger lickin’ goodness, i tell you.
Be sure to tick off the Woodstock Foundry for a stupid cool shopping experience. Laden with local South African wares, The Foundry is a killer spot to grab a present, coffee and a touch of sanity in between the bustle of the big smoke. Check out Float Apparel for some homegrown men and womens clothes.
Bo Kaap, settled by the Cape Malays, is a colourful suburb, riddled with cobblestones and character. On the outskirts of the city and worth an hour or so to walk and explore, this historic part of the city is arrogantly photogenic. Check out the Bo-Op while you’re there for a tasty spot of shopping – all South African made and designed of course.
Hit Lower Main Road in Observatory for a touch of vintage shopping with the street laden with cafes, an absurd number of budget sushi restaurants and plenty of charm. Revolution Records, Voom Voom Records and Vintage, Bang Bang Vintage Market and Komati Foods were my highlights (far less offensive than my streaky 2009 blonde highlights, i promise).
Our sexy Woodstock Airbnb was the ultimate way to end our trip. A beautifully decorated warehouse conversion that made me want to shower four times a day, brush my hair more and start painting my nails, this place was paradise. Having a washing machine and kitchen made me a better person and need i mention the water pressure in the shower. Check out the listing here and snag yourself the nicest accomodation in town.
For a few tasty bites in the city that’ll slap you in the chops, i would send you no further than Madame Taitou. For a hefty price tag of $8 AUD each, my travel bud and I scoffed ourselves silly on this delicious veggie curry platter. No words for the delicious injera and spinach – boy oh boy was it dreamy. The plant frenzy and African decor will keep your simple mind as happy as your picky tastebuds.
Also try South China Dim Sum for cheap n’ delish in-house made dumplings, Jason Bakery for all of the baked cholesterol-laden goods, Willoughby and Co for fresh-to-death sushi and El Burro Taqueria so you can stuff your smoocher with rice n beans.
With a heap of things to see, eat and do, Cape Town is a bustling hub of surf and city. One of the better things we did was rent a car and be at the mercy of Google Maps. Mucho recommendo, mucho fun. As with Cape Town, my obvious disdain for the place is pretty apparent with the plethora of hideous photos, horrible food and cruddy accomodation. Go at your own risk.