words by Harriet Chubb
Being the third largest city in South Africa with its vibrant, colourful and adventure filled atmosphere, it’s easy to see how many people’s travels to Cape Town turn from a few whirlwind days into a couple of exploratory weeks. A very easy city to fall in love with, it’s hard to know where to start; but we recommend beginning with simply strolling through the many art galleries, perusing the indigenous craftwork, enjoying a drink in as many quirky café’s as you can and then come evening sampling some of the best Cape Town restaurants. A personal healthy favourite would be the ingeniously named, ‘The Codfather’ one of the first sushi restaurants to be opened in the city where the chef’s help you decide what to eat based on your appetite and mood. If you are looking for a more contemporary South African cuisine, then head straight to the hip Beluga for a more cosmopolitan seafood vibe. For the real Hip and Healthy readers amongst us, you can’t miss a visit to the gourmet brasserie; Dear Me. Catering for vegetarians, vegans and any type of food intolerance, the Dear Me kitchen team are passionate about creating natural, fresh and seasonal dishes with specially handpicked suppliers – perfect for those with wheat, gluten, or dairy allergies!
It would be impossible to write about Cape Town and not mention the revered elephant in the city – Table Mountain. Surrounded by the magical flora and fauna of the national park it is a must-see for first time visitors and acts as a stunning backdrop to the rest of the city. Take a few hours to hike the world class trail from Cape Point to the City Bowl. Or, if you fancy yourself as more beach chic than intrepid trekker; then head down to Camps Bay where the alarmingly beautiful and glamorous people play. Clifton has an equally, if not more glitzy clientele, but the beaches itself are positively worth visiting even if yachting glamour isn’t your thing. The water may have a definite Atlantic chill, but there are always the stalwart surfers riding the waves – invest in proper surf instruction if you want to give it a go as the surf can often be quite high and rough for beginners, especially with the often fickle weather.
Looking for an authentic shopping experience? Then top of your list should be to visit the various markets the city has to offer. They truly encapsulate the sociable, fun, colourful atmosphere of the culture. The Greenmarket Square has an excellent flea market open daily and sells jewellery, antiques, clothes and souvenirs to suit all shoppers’ needs. The indoor craft market on the Victoria & Albert waterfront is well worth a stop too for anything authentically handmade.
Cape Town Hotels are in abundance; from the myriad of sought after guesthouses lining the beaches to the stylish boutique city hotels, it is always best to book anywhere in advance, especially in peak season, but you will be able to find a hostel or two if you are just turning up on your travels. Try Hemingway House, a guesthouse masquerading as a hotel, it has a pool in the courtyard which is surrounded by the four sumptuous bedrooms on offer. Book all four if you are travelling as a group and you will experience a delightful feeling of seclusion from other tourists; at a minimal price. For the more luxury, upmarket traveller – stay at the exquisite one&only Cape Town resort, with undeniably attentive staff and restaurants such as Nobu and Maze attracting the excited residents, you can’t fail to be impressed by this hotel. Not to mention their award-winning spa; after a hard days hiking and surfing, book yourself in for a ‘Restore the Glow’ package; with a choice of three ESPA treatments to soothe and relax, you will be ready to hit the beach again in no time. We love it and we have a feeling you will too.