72 Unforgettable Hours in Cape Town, South Africa

Category:  

Bucket List Worthy  

Photo credit: Loren Kerns
Photo credit: Loren Kerns

 

When you’re in search of a destination that will take you from the sea to mountain peaks and everywhere in between in just 72 hours, Cape Town, South Africa is it. This bucket-list destination is packed with award-winning places to dine, shop and stay with picture-perfect natural views surrounding you at all times. This is Part 1 of our guide to experiencing the best of Cape Town in just 72 hours.

 

Day 1

 

EARLY MORNING

 

Photo credit: Yours Truly Cafe
Photo credit: Yours Truly Cafe

 

You’ve finally made it, and it’s go time. Shake off that travel exhaustion and jet lag with a trip to one of the three Yours Truly coffee shops — on Long Street, Kloof Street and Loop Street — to regroup and prep for the day over a Flat White or a Cortado. You’ll love the jungle theme of the interior. Can’t get enough? Plan to return later that evening for beer or wine.

 

MORNING

 

Photo credit: Irma Stern Museum
Photo credit: Irma Stern Museum

 

Begin your morning with exploration at the Irma Stern Museum, which highlights collections curated by the late and beloved South African artist, Ms. Stern. She collected these pieces on her travels through Europe and Africa. Or, for a more contemporary take on art that’s authentically South African, plan for a stay at the Ellerman House boutique hotel, featuring Cape Town’s most esteemed and lusted after art galleries. The art is only accessible to hotel guests, so you’ll enjoy a more exclusive look into South African art. The sumptuous rooms and luxurious amenities are an even bigger bonus. 

 

Photo credit: Ellerman House
Photo credit: Ellerman House

 

LUNCH

 

Photo credit: Warwick Wine Estate
Photo credit: Warwick Wine Estate

 

Since it’s your first day, indulge in a gourmet picnic at the Warwick Wine Estate. Lounge on the lawns, sunbathe in the courtyard, or enjoy your lunch in one of the pods or balconies – the menu is a bit expensive but worth it in every bite. The gorgeous view of the vineyards makes every bite sweeter – and every sip of your wine satisfactory.

 

DINNER

 

 

Photo credit: onEdition
Photo credit: onEdition

 

Stroll down to the V&A Waterfront for an array of dining and shopping choices – from over 80 restaurants to the daily market, which offers street vendors and craft beer. Boogie to live music and take in the cultural atmosphere of authentic Capetown, as this is the spot the locals love to visit. Make sure to check the events calendar – this is a hot spot for some of Cape Town’s greatest performances.

 

NIGHT

 

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Before you head in for the night, go for a drink or two at the Tjing Tjing Rooftop Bar. The incredible view of the Cape Town city lights is a majestic way to close the day, with anticipation for the rest of your trip. The cocktails are as wonderful as the view.

 

 

LATE NIGHT

 

 

Photo credit: Tintswalo Atlantic
Photo credit: Tintswalo Atlantic

 

Feast your eyes on the Cape Town coastlines as you settle into your home for the night: the famous Tintswalo Atlantic five star hotel. There is much to see, as it’s based at the Table Mountain National Park. Choose a room by the water and fall asleep listening to the waves crash outside your window. In the morning, you can consider the many tour options the lodge offers around the area.

 

Day 2

 

EARLY MORNING

 

Photo credit: Into The Blue
Photo credit: Into The Blue

Start out your second day with a splash with scuba diving lessons, snorkeling with seals, or the more blood pumping choice of cage diving with great white sharks. It’s your morning ocean adventure – take your pick at the Into the Blue center.

 

BREAKFAST

 

Photo credit: Clay Cafe
Photo credit: Clay Cafe

 

With just 72 hours, it’s advisable to combine activity time with breakfast time – especially at the Clay Cafe. Devour farm style breakfast after that scuba diving while you mold your own pottery, paint, or simply explore the boutique for a pre-made treasure to take home with you.

 

Photo credit: Table Mountain
Photo credit: Table Mountain

 

After breakfast, head to the famous Table Mountain via the Table Mountain Aerial Cableway. It’s one of the best ways to see Cape Town from above, especially from this famous landmark. Grab a bite to eat at one of the picnic tables while you take in the view.

 

AFTERNOON

 

Photo credit: Durbanville Wine Valley
Photo credit: Durbanville Wine Valley

 

Experience a picturesque wine valley at Durbanville, with twelve wineries and accompanying restaurants. Choose a few and let your taste buds tingle in the tasting rooms. Favorites of tourists include Meerendal, Bloemendal, and Signal Gun. This late lunch promenade will have you jolly and full by the time 4:00 rolls around – just in time for another adventure.

 

 

Or, if you prefer beer to wine, visit Jack Black’s Brewing Company for refreshing African beer made in house. Their tap room is conveniently located along the Diep River, so you can swing by in the midst of your exploration. Take a tour of the facility to learn more about how the beer is made (while sipping on a complimentary glass), and check their events calendar – a fan favorite is the Food Truck Friday on the last Friday of every month. Beer and burgers – what more could you ask for?

 

DINNER

 

Photo credit: Bertus Basson
Photo credit: Bertus Basson

 

For dinner, take your pick of one of the Bertus Basson restaurants to continue your palate’s exploration of South African cuisine. The Overture Restaurant is cozy in the foothills of Helderberg Mountain,  and Spek & Bone is located on Dorp Street. See what all the buzz is about, and order an authentic South African wine to top off the authentic taste.

 

NIGHT

 

Photo credit: Cape Heritage Hotel
Photo credit: Cape Heritage Hotel

 

The Cape Heritage Hotel is a perfect spot for your slumbers tonight – its proximity to the shopping, dining, and culture of Heritage Square will define your evening’s activities. The hotel itself is quaint and homey, with endless opportunities for how you want to spend your night. You can even pre-order a picnic basket to eat while you watch the sun set.

 

Day 3

 

EARLY AM

 

Photo credit: Aquila Safari
Photo credit: Aquila Safari

 

You can’t come to South Africa without experiencing its wildlife – lions, anyone? Book a half day trip with the Aquila Safari and meet elephants and the like in their natural habitat. Continental breakfast is included upon your 7:00am arrival.

 

 

MIDDAY

 

Photo credit: Classic Cape Cuisine Walk
Photo credit: Classic Cape Cuisine Walk

 

To begin your goodbye of the Cape Town area, take a Bites and Sites tour – we recommend the Classic Cape Cuisine Walk, to get a final taste of all the favorites. Try nearly ancient tea leaves steeped in hot water, traditional snacks from a butchery, authentic Cape Town desserts, and of course, another bout of wine tasting. Eat your heart out.

 

Photo credit: Eagles' Nest Wines
Photo credit: Eagles’ Nest Wines

 

Target your wine tasting to awarded wines at the Eagles’ Nest Winery for some pre-dinner drinks, sampling their Merlot, Shiraz, and Sauvignon Blanc. Even cooler – they are home to an eagle conservation (true to their name), which is worth exploring as you sip their liquid masterpieces.

 

AFTERNOON

 

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Soak in the aquatic wildlife unique to Capetown’s location, where the Indian Ocean and the Atlantic Ocean meet with an afternoon trip to the Two Oceans Aquarium. Make acquaintance with evil eye pufferfish, ragged tooth sharks, and everyone’s favorite – the rockhopper penguins (which you can hold in your lap!). To take a closer look, observe our smaller aquatic friends under a microscope. It’s an unparalleled learning experience for the whole family.

 

DINNER

 

Photo credit: The Village Idiot
Photo credit: The Village Idiot

 

On your way out, stop for a casual and savory dinner at the Village Idiot – a favorite in Cape Town. The atmosphere is relaxed, the food is delicious, and the drinks  are priced fairly. Check out the hype of this trendy spot.

 

Photo credit: Summit Place
Photo credit: Summit Place

 

But, if you’re staying one more night, my final recommendation is the Summit Place Guest House. Almost cottage-like, this hotel is nestled in the Constantia Valley Winelands. Reflect on your trip with an evening walk through the vineyard with your travel crew, sampling a few more wines – wine not? Watch the sun set on your incredible 72 hours in Cape Town.

 

 

About the Author: Courtney McCaffrey

Courtney McCaffrey is a travel writer and editor based in Wilmington, N.C, Mexico and around the world. In addition to writing, she lives for travel - seeing new places, experiencing new cultures and surfing new waves.

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