Micro Guide: Cape Town, South Africa
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“Something for everyone!” That’s what every glossy tourism brochure promises; yet few deliver. Cape Town is the rare exception that quite literally has something to entertain every manner of traveler: adventurer, foodie, historian, and partier. From world-class cocktail bars, wineries, and restaurants to shark diving and world record-setting adventure opportunities, Cape Town is hip, adventurous, and cosmopolitan. Of the countless reasons to visit South Africa’s “Mother City”, here are a select few of our favorites.
Drink: The Best Cocktail & Craft Beer Scene in Africa
The Wembley Tap is testament that even Africa is now embracing the craft beer revolution. The bar’s upscale, industrial indoor/outdoor space is Cape Town’s best beer bar with 30 taps and a carefully pruned selection of bottled beer to boot. Cocktail enthusiasts will appreciate the modern, quirky, and whimsical Orphanage Cocktail Emporium. The vibe here is young, hip, and friendly with sophisticated liquor and dining menus that never disappoint.
Eat: From American to Zambian Cuisine (and Everything in Between)
In two short decades, Cape Town has blossomed out of its dark past to offer a diverse selection of world-class restaurants. For North African fare, check out Addis in Cape — this Ethiopian eatery features communal eating with such traditional dishes as homemade wot (stew) poured into a large injera (sourdough pancake). For upscale comfort food, The Brasserie offers thin crust pizzas, great burgers, and an incredible lamb shank & mash dish. For finer dining, the waterfront Mondiall Kitchen & Bar provides simple but exceptionally well-prepared foods in an atmosphere that’s luxurious, yet reserved. The broad menu is primarily American, Italian, and French, with daily specials inspired by everything from Japanese, to Mexican, to South African cuisine.
Crash: Sleep in a Vintage Airstream … Atop a Hotel
The Grand Daddy Hotel on Cape Town’s bustling Long Street is an interesting boutique property in its own right. But it’s their unique Rooftop Trailer Park Experience that truly offers something special. Here, seven full-sized, vintage Airstream travel trailers form a literal rooftop trailer park, complete with grass lawns, U.S. mailboxes, and individual patios. The trailers each offer an individual themed decor, with the entire park collectively depicting the “quintessential South African road trip”. The “Gold Rush” suite is a flashy, modern nod to the country’s rich and diverse history, while the “Rooftop Safari” trailer aims to capture the natural beauty of South Africa’s Madikwe and Sabi Sands landscapes.
See: Experience a Lifetime of Adventure in Less than a Week
South Africa is synonymous with adventure and Cape Town in particular is home to the country’s best bucket list opportunities. The best part is that you needn’t travel far to experience them all. (First: take a safari. But you knew that already.) Start with a trip up famed Table Mountain before abseiling 1000m down on the world’s original highest commercial abseiling adventure. Nearby Lion’s Head and Signal Hill offer the city’s best tandem paragliding adventures with stunning views of downtown and the Pacific Ocean. From there, trek to the beach to strap into a sail-powered Blokart and scream across the sand at nearly 100kph. As the “shark capital of the world”, the waters around nearby Gansbaai also offer visitors the opportunity to see the world’s biggest, baddest Great Whites in their own habitat. Cape Adventure Zone guides adventurous travelers on single- and multi-day treks that include some of the world’s best caged shark diving.
Photo credit: Daniel Manners/Flickr