4 Days in Cape Town – Things to do

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4 Days in Cape Town – Things to do

Whether it’s the mind blowing sea of fog spiraling over the Table Mountains, or perhaps the picturesque sapphire blue Table Bay, you definitely made a right choice to visit Cape Town. You could easily spend a week in this beautiful city and still not be able to experience it all. You will be absolutely impressed with what Cape Town has to offer. And yes, at the end of the trip you will be able to justify why Cape Town is known as Mother of All Cities or in short Mother City.

Day 1: Arrival at Cape Town

My flight from Johannesburg to Cape Town landed at 9:00 am. Nice little modern airport little smaller than Joburg airport but with plenty of ATMs, coffee shops, restaurants and most importantly helpful tourist information desks in the arrival hall. Withdraw some money from the ATM. Grab some maps and travel guides from the information desk. Rental cars are right across from the main terminal, just follow the sign for “Rental Car.” I got my Hyundai Accent rental and realized that for the next 4 days I would be driving stick shift on the wrong side of the road! It was not a huge issue, but it did take me a couple of hours of driving to get used to it. 

Rental car

The Rental car I was driving during my Cape Town trip!

From the airport it took me about 30 minutes to get to Icon Luxury Apartments in the city center. The highway was as good as any American highway.  Early check in was not a problem, and I also got free parking in the basement of the high-rise hotel. I got plenty of time to do a few of the activities mentioned below and was still able to soak up some sun in Signal Hill and enjoy the sunset at around 6:55 pm.  My Plan For Rest of The Day: Hotel Icon Luxury Apartments –> Bo-Kaap Area –> Camps Bay Beach –> Signal Hill  –> V&A Waterfront –> Gold Restaurant

1st Stop at Bo-Kaap 

Before heading to Signal Hill my plan was to visit The Bo-Kaap formally known as the Malay Quarter. This  area is situated on the slopes of Signal Hill above the city centre. Different colored houses, the oldest mosque called Auwal Masjeed built in 1794, the old Tailors House, Biesmiellah Cape Malay Restaurant beautiful cobbled stone streets, local beer and many more will definitely impress you. It was only a mile from my hotel so it was easily doable.  This historical place is definitely a must do, there are daily free walking tours offered by Neilsen Tours check for their schedule.

Beautiful colorful buildings in Bo-Kaap, Cape Town

Beautiful colorful buildings in Bo-Kaap, Cape Town

2nd Stop at Beautiful Camps Bay Beach

From Bo-Kaap the beautiful Camps Bay beach is about 4 miles one of the most popular tourist attractions in Cape Town. Located at wealthiest suburbs, well know for it’s high end luxury apartments, trendy restaurants, cafes and bars along the beach. The white sandy beach is perfect for sun tanners . The stunning backdrop of the twelve Apostles mountains range and clear blue ocean between Lions Head and Table Mountain is worth the visit.

A view of Table mountain from Camps Bay Beach

A view of Table mountain from Camps Bay Beach

Next Stop – Signal Hill for Sunset at 6:55 pm (oct 10, 2017)

If you are traveling by car then it’s definitely convenient to drive all the way up to the top of Signal Hill just by following Signal Hill Rd. To secure a parking you need to be there a little early at least an hour before the sunset to secure a convenient parking spot. On your way up you may find several lookouts, therefore consider pulling over for photo opportunity. This is a perfect sunset drive and absolutely nothing can beat witnessing the breathtaking scene of the Sun going down in the horizon. Moreover it’s a truly magnificent spot to sit quietly at the elevation of 985 ft (300 m) and enjoy the city skyline after sunset. It’s important to know that Signal Hill is not considered to be safe place for hangout late at night therefore my suggestion is to make your way back down right after sunset. 

Signal Hill one of the best place in Cape Town to watch Sunset

Signal Hill one of the best place in Cape Town to watch Sunset

Next Stop at V&A (Victoria and Alfred) Waterfront 

The beautiful waterfront of Cape Town is located in the heart of the city between Robben Island and Table Mountain. The V&A Waterfront has become South Africa’s most visited destination. It is also one of the most preferred tourist attractions with plenty of pubs, bars, restaurants, speciality shops, malls, and theaters to explore. You can conveniently park your car at an underground garage and come right out in front of the iconic clock tower and Mandela Gateway from where the ferry to Robben Island departs. Definitely worth a visit. 

A view of V&A Waterfront in the evening.

A view of V&A Waterfront in the evening.

Final Stop for The Today is at GOLD Restaurant

Driving from V&A waterfront to GOLD a unique African Restaurant was not so difficult. My cellphone map navigation was absolutely perfect. I made online reservation a month ago so getting a table was easy. They have delicious 14 course of Cape Malay and African menu. How about trying some South African Ostrich biltong (dried meat) or Tanzanian dried fish and shrimp with spinach, yes definitely something unique.  Most importantly the exclusive interactive traditional entertainment during this amazing culinary experience was awesome.

Traditional African food at Gold restaurant along with the traditional dance.

Traditional African food at Gold restaurant along with the traditional dance.

Day 2: Wednesday October 11, 2017

My Plan For The Day: Hotel Icon Luxury Apartments –> Sunrise in Lion’s Head –> Visit to Table Mountain Early in the morning –> Lunch at V&A Waterfront –> Take an Afternoon Ferry to Robben Island. 

1st Stop – Climb Lion’s Head for Sunrise at 6:09 (Oct 11, 2017)

To get from the Hotel to Lion’s Head parking is about a 15 minute drive (4 miles) and then another 45+ minute hike up to Lion’s Head peak. Therefore, I needed to leave my hotel by 4:30 AM to be able to enjoy the 6:09 am sunrise from an altitude of 2,195 ft (669 m). 

It’s approximately 1.5 hours round trip, 2.1 miles going up and back down there prepare yourself accordingly. Lion’s Head is located between Table Mountain and Signal Hill and the view from the top is spectacular. A must see place in Cape Town for the panoramic views. Note that carrying a flash light and water is a must.

Lion’s Head, Cape Town

A 45 minutes hike will get you up there at the top of Lion’s Hill to enjoy a breathtaking view of Sunrise!

Table Mountain One of The 7th. Natural Wonder of the world

After enjoying the sunrise from the top of Lion’s Head the drive to Table Mountain’s was very short. Nine o’clock in the morning is the best time to avoid a bus load of tourists. Road side parking is free but most of the time an attendant will approach you and watch over your car until you return definitely with an expectation of some tip. Table Mountain is at least 6 times older than the Himalayas, making it one of the oldest mountains in the world. A great place to sit and soak up the 360-degree views of Cape Town, Table Bay, the nearby peaks like Lion’s Head, Signal Hill and Robben Island. The iconic flat-topped Table Mountain is one of the main attractions of Cape Town to locals and visitors alike.   The easiest way to get to the top is by Aerial Cableway. cost is R290 return and R150 one way ( US$ 1 = R13.02) between morning pick hours (8:00 am – 1:00 pm) and R275 return and R150 one way between afternoon pick hours (1:00 pm onward). It is definitely a good idea to buy a ticket online otherwise you may risk waiting hours at the ticketing line. You can buy tickets online. Between September – October 2017 first car up is at 8:00, the last car up at 6:00 pm and the last car down is at 7:00 pm. 

Table Mountain, Cape Town

Table Mountain is definitely one of the 7 natural wonders of the world!

Explore Robben Island from Nelson Mandela Gateway by Ferry

After getting back from Table Mountains, I spent some time exploring the beautiful V&A Waterfront, and had a delicious lunch at Den Anker (food picture below) and boarded on to the 3:00 pm ferry from The Nelson Mandela Gateway to Robben Island an UNESCO World Heritage Site. 

Ferry to Robben Island, Cape Town

The Ferry to Robben Island departs from V&A waterfront few times a day!

It was a quick 30 minute ride in a spacious double decker boat to the island that is about 5.5 miles (9 km) off the coast of Cape Town. Ferries run at 9:00, 11:00 1:00 and 3:00 on daily basis, tickets were 340 (about US$ 24).  Once on the island, there was guided bus tour and a walking tour which are all included wth the trip. The total tour takes about 3.5 hours including the ferry trip to and from the Island. The highlight of the trip is the opportunity to see the isolated prison where most of Mandela’s 27 years prison sentence was served. 

Next – Late Afternoon Drive to Franschhoek – Winelands of South Africa

One of the oldest and picturesque towns in the Western Cape, the Franschhoek valley is about 80 km from the Robben Island Ferry terminal and took me about an hour to get there. It is also known as the food and wine capital of South Africa. There are so many restaurants to choose from and some of them are regarded as the best restaurants in the world. I had the privilege to have some delicious food at Roca Restaurant at Dieu Donné Vineyards and definitely recommend this to all my food lovers not only for the specialty of their food but also for their wine. The Merlot I tried from their own farm was one of the best.  

Franschhoek, Cape Town - South Africa

The best view of Franschhoek Valley from Roca restaurant !

How About Wine Tasting

Wine tasting is so popular in that part of the world it is almost like a national event to them. You will absolutely love the quality of their wine. There are so many wineries & vineyards in the valley and the best way to visit most of them is taking one of those hop-on hop-off tram and bus tours that take you through the heart of Franschhoek valley, just hop-off at best places for wine testing, cellar tours, lunches and stroll through the vineyard. 

Dieu Donne Vineyards

Wine testing at Roca, Dieu Donne Vineyards in Franschhoek Valley, South Africa

Day 3: Thursday October 12, 2017

Scenic Cape Peninsula Drive. This will take a day to cover the drive around the peninsula. The following is a circular route about 87 miles ( 140 km) in total and we will be driving anti clockwise scenic drive around the peninsula exploring the below attractions on the way. Note – The trip could be done in reverse order as well. From Cape Town Icon Luxury Apartments –> Llandudno –> Hout Bay –> Chapmans Peak Drive –> Noordhoek –> Scarborough –> Slangkop Lighthouse –> Cape Point –> Boulders Beach –> Simons Town –> Kalk Bay –> Muizenberg Beach –> Back To Hotel. The Cape Peninsula is a generally rocky peninsula that sticking out into the Atlantic Ocean at the south-western extremity of the African continent. At the southern end of the peninsula are Cape Point and the Cape of Good Hope. On the northern end is Table Mountain, overlooking Cape Town. The peninsula is 52 km long from northern Mouille point to southern Cape Point.

Visit Llandudno Beach

Llandudno Beach is one of those beautiful beaches that seem to have it all. Parking is limited near the beach, so plan accordingly. The white crescent shaped beach lies at the base of the steep slopes of the Twelve Apostles and is flanked by massive granite boulders. It is one of the most popular chilling and romantic sundown picnic spots in Cape Town, Llandudno Beach is also the haunt of photographers, surfers, surf skiers and an active lifesaving crowd.

Llandudno Beach, Cape Town

A view of Llandudno Beach in the morning, Cape Town !

Have Fish & Chips at Hout Bay

Hout Bay is a fantastic seaside fishing village, is only twenty kilometers south of Cape Town city center that offers something for everyone. If you want to have the freshest fish and chips around then you are in the right place. Mariner’s Wharf is situated right at the edge of the most active fishing Harbour, this restaurant has been around since 1984. Here not only can you buy great food, but you can also find marine artifacts, souvenirs and antiques. 

Hout Bay, Cape Town

Fishing boats lined up at Hout Bay !

Scenic Chapman’s Peak Drive

Definitely one of South Africa’s most scenic drives, Chapman’s Peak Drive is one of those road trips you must take when visiting western Cape. The Atlantic Ocean is on the one side with the pictueresque mountains on the other. Chapman’s Peak Drive is a scenic toll road in Cape Town and one of the top destinations in the city. The trip is nine kilometers zig zagging through various twists and turns that each open up an ocean of panoramic beauty. There are several lookout points on the way where one could pull over to just absorb the wonder or take photographs.

Chapman's Peak, Cape Town

A beautiful view of the of the drive from Chapman’s Peak lookout!

Visit Noordhoek Beach

Noordhoek beach with its white sands and surrounding wetlands is an absolute beauty. It is situated a quiet and peaceful location. This beach is over 5 miles (8 km) long, and is the most unspoiled and best protected. Horse riding in Noordhoek is a must-do among may tourists. 

Scenic Cape Peninsula Drive, Cape Town

White sandy Noordhoek Beach, you can’t miss it if are taking your way through Scenic Cape Peninsula Drive!

Slangkop Lighthouse

Slangkop Point lighthouse near Kommetjie in Cape Town, South Africa

Slangkop Point lighthouse, Kommetjie – 30km south of Cape Town

Slangkop Point lighthouse near Kommetjie in Cape Town is the tallest cast-iron lighthouse along South African shores. it is approx. 30km south of Cape Town on the Chapman’s Peak road past Hout Bay. When visiting Kommetjie for the Slangkop Lighthouse tour, take time out to visit Imhoff Farm for a variety of family activities, including horseback rides on incredible Noordhoek beach. This provides an alternative opportunity to experience this vast stretch of surf and sand.  A guided tour is available that includes a climb up the spiral staircase inside the lighthouse that will take you to the wire mesh lookout at the top. It stands 100 ft (30 m) from its base to the lookout. Important Safety tips to Tourists and Hikers:  If you are hiking the popular route from Noordhoek to Kommejie through the long beach then you need to be aware of the risk of robbery, especially along the remote stretches of the beach. Tourists and hikers to the beach are advised by local authorities to walk in groups of 4 or more adults and not to carry valuables. Call +27 (0) 21 783 1717 to get the latest entry fee and update on opening hours. 

Cape of Good Hope  and Cape Point

On the way to Cape Point passed through the beautiful Scarborough town situated on the Cape Peninsula to the South of Cape Town. The sights and scenery surrounding Scarborough beach are something to be admired. At last reached my destination which was the cape of Good Hope National Reserve. Payed the entry fee and drove through the two lanes along the Atlantic ocean. After a few miles of driving, I reached the most south western point of the African continent.  The Cape of Good Hope is a rocky headland on the Atlantic coast of the Cape Peninsula. It is known as the meeting point for the Atlantic and Indian Ocean. The cliffs towering more than 7,874 feet above the sea level and you can see three clearly defined promontories- Cape of Good Hope, Cape Maclear and Cape Point.

Cape of Good Hope, South Africa

Cape of Good Hope is the most South-Western point of the African Continent

Next Stop Cape Point which is still part of the Cape of Good Hope and offers the same scenic magnificence that one would experience at the Table Mountain National Park. There are attractions like angling and diving sites, tidal pools, shop, restaurant, Flying Dutchman Funicular and two lighthouses. Entrance fee to Cape Point is R135 (Adult), R30 (Child), and Flying Dutchman Funicular ticket is R65 return (Adult) and R25 return (child). 

A view of Cape of Good Hope from Cape Point, South Africa

A view of Cape of Good Hope from Cape Point, South Africa

Boulders Beach (for penguin walk)

Nested in a sheltered cove between Simon’s Town and Cape Point, Boulders has become world famous for its thriving colony of African Penguins and magnificent wind sheltered, safe beaches. There is a 70 Rand entrance fee to the beach.  

Boulder Beach, Cape Town - South Africa

Boulder Beach – Penguins watching

Kalk Bay

From Bolder’s beach, I drove through beautiful Simon’s Town home of South Africa’s naval base. The charming little coastal town is beautifully decorated with Victorian style houses. Drive though the seaside village and plan to make short stop before heading to Boulder Beach. This town is home to a large colony of the endangered African Penguins.  Our next stop is the charming fishing village of Kalk Bay which is one of the last surviving functioning ports in South Africa. This place is known for its stunning views, interesting shops, vast selection of restaurants.  Distance from Cape Town to Kalk Bay is 20 miles (31 km) about 35 minutes drive. Kalk Bay is known for its natural beauty, interesting shops and huge selection of restaurants. 

Talk Bay - Lucky Fish & Chips

A view of Kalk beach from Lucky Fish & Chips – Having delicious lunch

Muizenberg Beach

From Cape Town need to drive down the picturesque M3 and then M4 passing Constantia and Tokai the wine-producing suburb of Cape Town to nicest Muizenberg beach. The beach is full of brightly coloured beach cabins lined up along the beach. 

Muizenberg Beach, South Africa

Colorful beach huts in Muizenberg Beach

Day 4: Friday October 13, 2017

Check-out from Icon Luxury Apartment very early in the morning, Return the rental car to Budget at Cape Town Airport (CPT). Flysafair flight FA100 departs at 5:45 am. 

How To Get Around 

In Capetown we planned to use the hop-on hop-off bus for a day or two as it is one of the cheapest way to move around from place to place in the city. Also renting a car from the airport to cover the scenic peninsula drive and a trip to Franschhoek  valley. There are other continent way to get around the city like:

Rental Car

Renting a car from the airport is the easiest way to drive around Cape Town as long as you have a working GPS and comfortable driving on the left side of the road. By renting a car you can ensure that you get to see all of the major attractions at your leisure. It also means that you can afford to be more relaxed about your holiday planning. You can save Save up to 30% on Car Rentals Worldwide – Search Now.

City Sightseeing double decker bus

Hop-On Hop-Off bus is a great way to explore Cape Town at your own pace. Ticket available for 24 or 48 hours and during the service hours you could get off any designated stops and explore the surrounding areas once done get on to the next available bus. It’s a safe and affordable option for tourist with limited travel window. Click here to Book tours, attractions, and activities online.

Uber

Probably Uber is one of the most safe and easiest ways to get around in Cape Town. No need to pay cash as the ride is shared to your credit card and most of all fares are affordable.

Minibus taxi

Minibus taxis is available on the dedicated routes and it’s another inexpensive way of moving around the city. Ideal for locals but find it difficult for travelers visiting the city for the first time. Also you need to deal with cash with the driver and the fare is based on the distance travelled.  While on the street you simply flag down a minibus taxi and when you need to get off just tell the driver to stop. 

On foot

Whether you have a rental car in Cape Town or getting around in a taxi or by Uber it is absolutely fun to walk around the city specially in the city center and around the riverfront. There are also free walking tours available which will cover many landmarks of Cape Town. The Historic Tour, The Bo-Kaap and District Six Tour are definitely easily walkable.

By bicycle

There are places where you can rent reliable bikes and it’s also one of the easy way to move around in the City. Bike tour led by experienced local guides is safer than going solo and these guided tours are one of the popular event in Cape Town.

Meter taxi

There are reputed taxi companies in Cape Town like UnicabExcite, Cabco etc., these companies use the taxi-meter, and fares are displayed. Taxis service should be pre-arranged or they could be found in designated taxi stands. Actually they are not suppose to stop for customers on the streets. 

MyCiTi bus

MyCiTi bus is Cape Town’s public transportation system. It is safer and cheaper way to get around the city. You need to have my connect card to travel because MyCiTi does not accept cash on the buses. You can buy the card from MyCiTi stations or from selected retailers and top up when necessary. 

Best Time to Visit Cape Town

Summer – December to February

The weather is worm but not overwhelming, with daytime average temperature ranging from mid to high 70s. During summer months City beaches gets crowded and hotel rates increase hard to find bargains.

Autumn – March to May

Autumn in Cape Town is perfect time for wine lovers. Many of the wineries offers interesting activities. Daytime temperature remains in cooler side between high 60s to mid 70s. As a result hotels begins to offer discounts to attract tourists. 

Winter – June to August

Cape Town is relatively quiet and experience less tourists in winter. You can save big on accommodation as long as the cold wind does not bother you much. Daytime winter temperature is usually in the low 60s.  

Spring – September to November

Spring is the best time to visit Cape Town when the city and surrounding mountains becomes colorful. Expect a little rise in hotel rates but they still remains reasonably low. Daytime temperatures remains comfortable between the mid 60s to mid 70s.   

Where to stay in Cape Town

Harbour Bridge Luxury Apartments, Anchorway, Roggebaai Canal Cape Town. Road Lodge Cape Town International Airport, at Cape Town International Airport Cape Town Icon Luxury Apartments, Corner Hans Strijdom and Lower Long Street, Cape Town City Center

Icon Luxury apartment, Cape Town

I really liked the apartment which was equipped with all the appliances you may need.

Favorite Local Restaurants and Food

Cape Town is well known for it’s vibrant culinary scene. Whether you spice up your chicken thighs in a South Africa curry or like sitting in a sushi joint or feel like a tapas bar, the choices are endless. Cape Town being in a crossroads of cultures for centuries, as a result you will find many local receipies reflects global influence.  

Den Anker Belgian Restaurant & Bar, V&A Waterfront, Cape Town

This restaurant is located next to the waterfront, with a great out door sitting arrangement. Food is delicious so is the service. 

 Tigers Milk Kitchen & Bar, Cape Town

I had lunch here, next to my hotel in the city center. Great location and excellent food. 

The Test Kitchen, Cape Town

Luke Dale-Roberts’ The Test Kitchen, which opened in November 2010, has the celebrated chef cooking at his most creative in a distinctive contemporary space. Since coming to Cape Town in 2006, Luke has consistently proven his world-class standing with a string of awards and accolades. You definitely need to make a reservation few weeks ahead.

Gold Restaurant, Cape Town

It is definitely a unique African restaurant in the heart of Cape Town. Famous for it’s Cape Malay and African dishes. GOLD Restaurant offers 3 unique performances during the dinner.

My Opinion and Tips

Local Airlines :

There are few budget airlines operates out of Cape Town to domestic and International destinations. I found great deals with out a dent in my wallet, check hear for great deals on FlySafair and Mango Airlines.

Buying SIM Card

It is simple to buy one at the airport there are a couple of phone shops there, you only need to show your passport but you could buy one cheaper at a supermarket or other retail shop elsewhere. The equivalent of 10 pounds sterling for 100 minutes and 250 mb data. Had to show passport and address where we were staying, but not proof. Used most of the data as I was using Google maps for navigation.

Currency and ATM:

1 US$ = 13.15 ZAR, South African Rand. ATM is available at the airport. 

Have you been to Cape Town? Any additional tips to share?

Please leave a comment below! I’d love to hear from you to improve my knowledge. 

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1 Comment

  • Sam

    Interesting and very helpful blog, lot of information ! Thank you for sharing.

    November 11, 2017 at 5:57 am
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