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Intro to Cape Town Travel Guide

 

“Mother City”, was founded in 1652 and named this way becouse it was the first city in South Africa! Jan van Riebeeck and other employees of the United East India Company were send to the farthest south Africa parts to establish port that would support ships on the Spice Route. One of the 3 capitals of South Africa is well-known for its wine, espacially region Stellenbosch. Main support for economy is wine production and turism.

I got a chance to spend 6 days in this beautiful region, met amazing people, and explored local restaurants, coffee shops, and attractions that are must-sees when you are in Cape Town!

Wednesday:
🛫 12:00 pm Chicago (ORD)
🛬 11:50 am (next day) Cape Town (CPT) (Stop in Newark (NWR)). Travel time 22h. 

Tuesday:
🛫 8:00 pm Cape Town (CPT) 🛬 10:00 am (next day) Chicago (ORD) (Stop in Dulles (IAD)). Travel time 22h. 

All trip costs

 

Flights from Chicago: $1100 (you should be able to buy a ticket to Cape Town between $800 – $1200 from anywhere in the world).

Accommodation: two-bedroom apartment: $1080

Tickets:

  • One-day tour with guide: R2000 = $112
  • Table Mountain: R395 = $22
  • Chef’s table dinner: R2200 = $124
  • One-day wine your: R1200 = $67

Transportation:

  • Uber is the best way to travel around Cape Town and the region around, costs around the city won’t go higher than R100 = $5.50, 45-60 min ride to another town will cost you up to R400 = $22
  • Gas R22 = $1.20/liter

Total: ~ $180

Coffee + Food:

Prices for food an around 50% cheaper than in the USA, you can have breakfast for R200 = $11, the average cappuccino price is R38 = $2.14, and you can have two meal dinner for R400 = $22.50. The quality of the food is outstanding and nothing I tried was less than great!

I would count around $50 a day for food = $300

Total: ~ $2900.00

Flight becomes the highest cost if you travel to Cape Town, all other costs can be easily lowered if you travel with someone else, also Airbnbs start from $50 a night you can cook your own food and you can skip some of the expensive attractions.

Accommodation

 

Airbnbs in Cape Town are very affordable starting from $50 a night and going up, if you share your space with friends or family, accommodation becomes very cheap.

Here is the one I used https://www.airbnb.com/rooms/722240497848093195

Coffee

 

To my big surprise, coffee shops are everywhere in Cape Town! People are known for drinking even 4-5 cups a day, it is amazing how coffee culture is taking over the “Mother City”.

I selected 3 of the best coffee shops that I visited more than once because they were outstanding! Great coffee and also food. Here you can find a full review with all photos.

Truth Coffee Roasting, 8.9 (Google maps)
Origin Coffee Roasting & Café Noir, 8.6 (Google maps)
Ground Art Caffe, 8.6 (Google maps)

Food

 

Few places that stood out to me, and I could visit every day, great food awesome service, and ambiance like nowhere else.

Social Vixi House

Address: 49 Bree Street, Strand St, CBD, Cape Town, 8000, South Africa
Menu: https://vixi.co.za/menu/

Black Marlin Restaurant

Great place on the way from Boulders Beach to Cape Town, with the Ocean view!

Address: Millers Point, Simon’s Town, Cape Town, 7975, South Africa
Menu: http://blackmarlin.co.za/main-menu/

The Athletic Club & Social

My favorite place, with amazing vibes, and great food, and you can also smoke cigars on the rooftop!

Address: 35 Buitengracht St, CBD, Cape Town, 8001, South Africa
Menu: http://theathletic.co.za/

Chef’s Table

On the expensive side (around $130 per person), still way cheaper than similar experiences in the USA, and totally worth it, never eat anything that good and couldn’t belive how well the wine was matched with the food.

Address: 76 Orange St, Gardens, Cape Town, 8001, South Africa
Experience: https://www.belmond.com/

Explore Cape Town

Boulders Beach

The famous beach where hundreds of penguins live!

Location: Kleintuin Rd, Simon’s Town, Cape Town, 7995, South Africa
Tickets: https://www.sanparks.org/
Recommended: 8.5

Cape Point

Dramatic cost of South Africa, cliffs ocean, nature with all its beauty.

Location: Cape Peninsula, Cape Town, South Africa
Recommended: 9.0

Lion’s Head

Must do hike with a view of Cape Town and Table Mountain, my friend Nicole joined me for a Sunrise hike, we started around 4:30 from the parking. The hike is around 45 min up (fast pace), and 55 min down. To my surprise there were around 70-80 people in total at the sunrise, a very popular place for the hike, check out the photos so you will know why!

Location: Lion’s Head, Signal Hill, Cape Town, South Africa (parking where the hike starts).
Recommended: 10.0

Safari

Little safari at one of the wineries, if you are not planning to go on a safari with big 5 animals, then I would recommend it, very good experience. If you go to another safaris North of Cape Town or Johannesburg I would skip this one. It is connected with wine tasting!

Location: Villiera Wines, Stellenbosch, South Africa
Website: https://villiera.com/
Recommended: 8.0

Table Mountain

Flat mountain, is a very unique place that standouts to the entire world. You can take a hike around 1,5h or you can take the cableway. Stunning view from the top, and most important place to visit.

Location: Table Mountain Aerial Cableway
Website: https://tablemountainnationalpark.org/
Recommended: 9.0

Stellenbosch

The capital of Stellenbosch region, the most productive wine region in South Africa. Great getaway from Cape Town, (it is also warmer), with endless boutique restaurants, coffee shops, and hand made products stores. Highly recommended, you can easily spend the whole day here with a lot of options for wine tasting.

Location: City
Recommended: 9.5

Whole day Wine Tour

If you like the wine I don’t think there is a reason not to go! Starting at 8:30 am and finishing at 5:30 pm is a whole day bus tour visiting 3 wineries and Franschhoek town. I was very happy with the experience!

Location: City Sightseeing Cape Town
Website: https://www.citysightseeing.co.za/
Recommended: 9.0

Franschhoek

Lovely little town, with a unique vibe, perfectly clean, and a good selection of restaurants and coffee shops. Around 1,5h ride from Cape Town but highly recommended.

Location: Franschhoek
Recommended: 10.0

Tips and Tricks

 

  • I wouldn’t rent a car when visiting Cape Town, Ubers are very cheap, and left-side traffic, get me really confused!
  • It is not recommended to hang out in the evening by yourself, especially for women, always walk with a group or simply take an Uber even if it is 2 blocks from your hotel/Airbnb.
  • Didn’t need to bring any South African money, you can pay with a credit card anywhere.
  • Outlets are completely different so make sure you have the right converter.
  • Spring starts in November, before that you can have chili weather and more rain. After November you can experience more tourists.
  • To watch whales, you should be in Cape Town around July – October.

Summary

 

6 days in Cape Town was one of the best experiences ever, great weather, food and service at the highest level, so many things to do and see, and great opportunities for photography. There is no way to get bored in Cape Town, a highly recommended destination for your next trip!

Damian

Hi! My name is Damian, I live in Chicago since 2015, and I am a photographer, traveler, and coffee drinker.
You can learn more about interesting places in Chicago and around the world how to take good photos of them and find a decent cup of coffee on your way!

Honorable Mention Award from “MIFA” – Moscow International Foto Awards.

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