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Where the warm currents of the Indian Ocean meet the icy Atlantic, the reputably beautiful Cape Town lies near the tip of Africa. The city, suitable for both daytime activities and nightlife, offers something new for everyone, whether it's hang gliding, surfing or trotting about to elegant shops and emerging neighborhoods. After a day outdoors, night holds all types of places to grab a drink or relax, from coffee bars and cigar lounges to discos and pubs. Wine country is a short, scenic trip away, as are some of the best game parks in South Africa. Cape Town is an ideal destination for families, presenting a variety of activities and events for all ages, as well as child-friendly restaurants.
Two Oceans Aquarium
Alfred Basin, Dock Road (V & A Waterfront)
Tel. +27 (0) 21.418.3823
The Two Oceans Aquarium is ideally positioned to showcase the incredible diversity of marine life found in the Indian and Atlantic Oceans. More than 3,000 living underwater animals, including sharks, fish, seals, turtles and penguins can be seen in this spectacular underwater nature reserve. Be sure to catch a shark feeding while you are there—it’s a good reminder as to why it’s better to watch these monsters through the glass. The Aquarium also offers adventure diving with sharks, environmental education programs and activities for kids.
District Six Museum
25A Buitenkant Street
During apartheid in the 1960's this multicultural area was devestated when residents were forcibly removed. This museum tells their story's in poignant photographs and through narrativers.
The Company's Garden
19 Queen Victoria Street
When the first Dutch settlers arrived in the 1650's they farmed this patch of land and developed this area with fish ponds and rose gardens. Today it's one of the most visited areas by locals who enjoy the outdoor sitting area at the new Garden Restaurant. There's a playground for grownups and children with larger than life chess set and outdoor oversoized swings for kids and grownups as well.
Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden
Tel.+27 (0) 21.799.8783
Part of the Table Mountain National Park, the gardens were founded in 1913 and spread across 1400 acres on the eastern slope of Table Mountain.
Tel. +27 (0) 21.409.5100
This small, Alcatraz-like island served as a brutal prison for society’s castaways for nearly 400 years. Now, it is a museum focusing on the struggles of Nelson Mandela and the Freedom Fighters who were banished there during apartheid. Take a boat trip out to experience the low point of the Freedom Fighter’s struggles and be glad that you, unlike the prison’s old inhabitants, get to take the ferry back to your hotel.
Victoria & Alfred Waterfront
Tel. +27 (0) 21.408.7600
This is the shopping and dining center of Cape Town. Go for the people watching, but be prepared to find it a bit touristy. The working harbor of Cape Town adds a bit of authenticity to the outdoor mall. Named after Prince Albert, son of Queen Victoria, the buildings are a fine example of Victorian industrial era architecture.
The Test Kitchen
The Old Biscuit Mill
375 Albert Rd, Woodstock
If you only go to one restaurant in Cape Town this should be the one! If you can get a reservation! Opened in 2010 by Chef Luke Dale-Roberts it continuousely gets rave reviews. British-born Luke trained in Switzerland and England before heading to Asia for a five year stint, launching several restaurants in Singapore, Malaysia, South Korea and the Philippines. Like the name implies the restaurant is a test kitchen where all the dishes are a reflection of the chef's unique artistic creativity.
39 Barnet St, Gardens
This established restaurant is one of the most beloved in the city. It's about a five minute walk from the Belmond Mount Nelson hotel. It's won numerous awards and over the years and has a consistent following among Capetonians and returning visitors alike.
The Pot Luck Club
6, The Silo, The Old Biscuit Mill
373-375 Albert Rd, Woodstock
Another restaurant my famed chef Luke Dale Roberts has been dubbed the coolest place to be in Cape Town and its success is based not only on it's innovative cuisine but by the relaxed and edgy environment its served in. The views of the "Mother City" alone are worth the visit.
24 Napier Street, Green Point
+27 (0) 21.419.2501
Specializing in Turkish cuisine, Anatoli presents a feast for all your senses. Upon ordering, you are presented with a dizzying array of mezzes to choose from including Topig, mashed potatoes and chickpeas stuff with tahini, pine nuts, cinnamon, onion, and drizzled with chili oil, and Kuru Kofte, spicy lamb meatballs served with a walnut sauce. You will also find a wide selection of vegetarian dishes and kebabs including the Turkish specialty Doner Kebabs. Truly a tasty treat.
95 Keerom Street
+27 (0) 21.422.0765
Housed in the stables of former slave quarters dating to 1682, 95 Keerom now hosts one of the best Italian restaurants in all of South Africa. Elegantly decorated, Chef Giorgio Nava takes a very personal approach to the food he serves. Most of the fish offered on his menu are caught from his own fishing boat, while his meat selection comes from his personal farm north of the city. His menu changes frequently, but expect to find freshly prepared salads, a mixture of game and seafood dishes, and delicious fresh pasta. Lastly, be sure to try their luxurious chocolate soufflé which is not to be missed.
Pierhead – V & A Waterfront
+27 (0) 21.419.0249
Located in a beautifully high ceiling building, with exposed beams and large windows to enjoy the view of the harbor, Den Anker provides classic Belgian specialties in a gorgeous atmosphere. Their specialty, moules marinieres is of course mussels cooked in an aromatic beer sauce. They offer plenty of other fresh seafood dishes as well like such as Tiger Prawns, panfriend in olive oil, chili, and garlic or the Kingklip served with a sauce of saffron. Enjoy their fine selection of Belgian beers as the perfect complement to your meal.
57A Somerset Road
This is the place for seafood if somewhat touristy it's still a well known place by all the locals and can be great fun. There's live music for dancing so be sure to request a table far away from the band if you want a more quiet dinner.
Constantia Uitsig Estate, just outside of Capetown
Tel. +27 (0) 21.794.2390
28th on the "World's Best List." One of the Cape’s most respected restaurants, chef Franck Dangereux’s legacy remains despite his departure in 2006. An epicurean experience, the quality of the food and wine and the superb service set this restaurant apart. Reservations essential.
33 Church Street
Tel. +27 (0) 21.424.000
Located down an offshoot of one of the city’s main thoroughfares, Bukhara was voted the best Indian restaurant in all of South Africa last year. Its perfect for those lingering evenings and communal dining is definitely the way to go - order as many spicy and aromatic dishes as you think you can and share!
Noordhoek Farm Village
Tel. +27 (0) 21.789.1390
Down the road from one of Capetown's most beautiful beaches, this bright and airy bistro specilizes in French-Asian cooking.
Tel. +27 (0) 21.418.0001
Another trendy French-Asian bistro; this one set in a former Bible study center near Cape Town Harbor.
211 Long Street
Tel. +27 (0) 21.423.5739
Established in 1955, this shop is one of Cape Town's oldest bookstores. Clarkes specializes in new and out-of-print books, as well as maps and prints of southern Africa. There is also an excellent stock of general secondhand books, including reams of Africana. Of the new books in this spacious store, there is a particularly good selection of literature on South Africa, film and antiques. It’s a lovely spot to pick up some beachside reading or browse the shelves.
Molweni Hout Bay
30 Victoria Road
Tel. +27 (0) 21.790.3697
This store serves authentic wares of Africa, from handcrafted textiles designed by the women of the Xhosa tribe, to driftwood models of boats, yachts and fish. A wide variety of items can be found in this attractive shop including glassware and ceramics. You are sure to find some inimitable souvenirs to bring back with you.
Central Business District
Greenmarket Square is the perfect location to watch South Africa’s “rainbow nation” in all its glory. Once the scene of slave markets, this is now the site of one of the city’s most vibrant flea markets, where clothing, jewelry, knickknacks and souvenirs are on sale every day. Tourists and business people alike frequent the many sidewalk cafes that surround this busy cobbled square, each with his or her own story and agenda. On the west side of the square is the Old Town House, dating from the mid 18th century, which is a wonderful example of Cape Dutch architecture.
Cape town Beaches
The beach of choice for those visiting Cape Town and chic locals as well. Go show off that bikini body you worked so hard for on Beach 1 or 2, where the fabulous types kick off their shoes and work on their tan.
If you would rather play Frisbee in the sand with the little ones, then try Glen Beach. It's family-friendly and unpretentious.
For those who know their grapes, a trip to South Africa wouldn’t be complete without a glass of locally made chardonnay. Plan a little jaunt through the wine route to the Stellenbosch Region. Two fantastic wine estates to visit are Kanonkop and Beyerskloof. Both are family owned, inviting and would love to have you in for a discussion about the family business and a glass or two of vino! Check these sites:
Mothers Gin Bar
219 Bree Street
Cape Town is usually all about wine but this bar is acutally noted for gin. Try it our before or after dinner.
Planet Champagne Bar
Mount Nelson Hotel
76 Orange Street
Tel. +27 (0) 21.483.1000
This is the best place in Cape Town for early evening cocktails. Keep in mind it gets crowded and you will definitely want a table in the main bar, so get there early.
Orphanage Cocktail Emporium
227 Bree Street
This speak easy style bar has a decor to match and creative cocktails.
43 De Villiers Street
Tel. +27 (0) 21.465.2106
When South Africa’s leading rock acts roll into town, they usually end up here and so should you.
Tel. +27 (0) 21.425.4010
Opium is a dark nightclub, fashioned to look like a castle. The lighting is red, the deep house music is loud and the drinks are potent. There are a whole slew of events on the schedule from live music to DJ’s. Check out the site before you go to make sure the entertainment is something you are interested in.