48 Hours In Cape Town

Above: An aerial view of Cape Town city centre
Above: An aerial view of Cape Town city centre

After spending 48 hours in Cape Town there is no doubt you will want to extend your stay. It’s just that kind of place, one which sucks you in, subtly working its many charms so that before you know it you’re smitten. It’s tough not to develop a crush on Cape Town and when you do, it will be a hard one to shake. Between the laid back vibe, easy pace and wide range of things to see and do both in and around Cape Town, it’s easy to see why the city is one of South Africa’s top draws. If you only have 48 hours to explore, here’s how to make the most of your visit to Cape Town

Where to stay

The stately yet warmly welcoming Cape Grace Hotel sits right across from Cape Town’s historical working harbour, making it the perfect place to base yourself if you want to experience the city’s vibrant V&A Waterfront – and trust us, you do. The area is made for aimless wandering on foot, filled with new discoveries at every turn, be it a bar, café, bakery or chance to shop locally made goods. When you’re not out exploring, take advantage of the hotel’s many cozy spots to relax. Sink into the couch with a book in the library, weather- permitting grab a lounge chair by the pool, or sit by the bar where the friendly bartenders can mix up your preferred poison. Rooms here are bright, filled with personal touches like hand-selected reading material and decorated with local art, so no two rooms are going to look exactly the same. No matter what room you opt for you’ll have either harbour or marina views.

Where to eat

Since a stay at the Cape Grace will put you steps from the waterfront, take advantage of the over 80 spots to eat in the area. If you’re not sure what you’re in the mood for and would rather browse a bunch of selections all in one place, V&A Food Market is where you’ll want to go. This is a foodie’s paradise, an appetite-inducing mashup of over 40 food vendors where everything you see will tempt your senses. Do you want an empanada? How about gelato? If not, there’s samosas, vegan pizza, sushi or fish and chips (and so much more).

If you’re staying at the Cape Grace Hotel (or even if you’re not), make a reservation at the property’s elegant Signal Restaurant (perfect special occasion spot). The menu is inventive and highlights local, seasonal ingredients. What shows up on your plate is almost too pretty to eat, but eat it – it’s going to be good.

Where to sip

There’s currently a craft beer boom happening in South Africa, something that is particularly evident in Cape Town. In the industrial but up-and-coming Salt River area you’ll find Devil’s Peak Brewing Company, in business since 2012. Located at the foot of Devil’s Peak with views of Table Mountain, you can visit the Taproom, the onsite brewpub for a beer and food pairing board (recommended), or grab one of the massive burgers with a pint of Devil’s Peak Lager.

Whiskey fans will want to head straight for Bascule Bar at the Cape Grace Hotel, which has one of the largest whisky collections in the Southern Hemisphere. Not only can you sample from over 500 bottles from around the world, you can book a sommelier’s choice tutored whisky tasting and get to know some rare and premium whiskies. You’ll taste six in total, three of which are paired with small bites that help highlight specific tasting notes.

Where to market

The Old Biscuit Mill in Woodstock feels like a mini self-contained village in the heart of Cape Town. Wander through the gates and you’ll find shops, restaurants, art studios, furniture makers and various other creative business, but go on a Saturday and the entire place erupts into a wonderfully chaotic market called Neighbourgoods. From 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. over 100 vendors set up shop to sell everything from organic produce and fresh pressed juices, to hand crated soaps, fresh cut flowers and all kinds of amazing food. Come hungry because you will want to try everything. Whether you’re craving something sweet, savoury, healthy or totally calorie-packed and sinful, you’ll find it here. Wash it all down with a beer or handmade seasonal cocktail from the market’s Copper Bar.

Where to trek

You can’t visit Cape Town without a trip to Table Mountain. The iconic flat-topped mountain stands 1089 metres above Cape Town and is now one of the New 7 Wonders of Nature, a title it shares with Iguazu Falls, Ha Long Bay, the Amazon, Indonesia’s Komodo National Park, Jeju Islands in South Korea and PP Underground River in the Philippines. There are two ways to the top: you can hike or you can opt for the aerial cableway. If you opt to hike there are many routes you can take, depending on your fitness level and the amount of time you want to spend on the move. If you’re short on time or just don’t feel like exerting yourself, the aerial tramway whisks you to the top in about five minutes, all the while rotating for fantastic views on the way up the mountain. At the top (assuming the clouds haven’t rolled in), you’ll get 360 views of Table Bay and Cape Town and if you get hungry or want to stock up on souvenirs, there’s a café and a small shop.

Jessica Padykula

Jessica Padykula

Jessica Padykula is a freelance writer based in Toronto. Her work has appeared on Styleathome.com, ElleCanada.com, Slice, Travel + Escape, Thrillist, AmongMen.com and SheKnows.com among others. When she’s not writing or researching a story she can be found planning trips to places near and far in a never-ending quest to travel the world. You can follow her on Twitter @JessPadykula

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