After my most recent visit, I've decided that Cape Town is my favorite city in the world. And I don't say that lightly. But it's beautiful, vibrant and has an underlying energy that I can't explain. I have spent quite some time there and I've narrowed down the best ways to make use of your week there. It's action-packed, but so worth it.
Since you're most likely just arriving, I suggest taking it easy and getting a feel for the city. Head to Table Mountain where you'll get to see the entire city from up above.
Next, have dinner at a nice restaurant (Gold Restaurant or Mama Africa for typical African food, or Test Kitchen or Potluck Club if you're looking for the trendiest spots in town), and then head to Long Street for some nighttime fun. Long Street reminds me of Bourbon Street (just less smelly, no shade New Orleans).
*Pro Tip: Take an Uber to Long Street because parking is hard to find. We also don't believe in drinking and driving here at Will Drink For Travel).
Get in a bit of South African history by visiting Robben Island. This trip takes about a half day, but it's worth your time as you trace the steps of Nelson Mandela, Robert Sobukwe and other political prisoners who fought against Apartheid.
If you get seasick, don't worry. You can go to the District Six Museum where you can learn about how black and mixed residents of District Six were forced to leave their homes to make way for white South Africans. While Cape Town is a beautiful city, I highly suggest both Robben Island and the District Six Museum to get a better idea of its marred history.
Once you finish, head to Camps Bay for a walk along the beach and dinner with a view. Grab a cocktail and enjoy more of Cape Town's nightlife.
Head to Mzoli's in the Gugulethu township. If you take no other piece of my advice, take this one. Mzoli's is the go-to place on Sundays for local music, dancing, food and drinks, and most of all, you get a feel for the real Cape Town.
*Pro Tip: Carry a small bag and wear tennis shoes. There are a lot of people and you don't want them stepping on your toes. Also, make sure to carpool because parking is limited.
Road trip! While Sutherland is the coldest place in all of South Africa, it's known as the best place in South Africa to view the stars. It's about a three and half hour drive from Cape Town to Sutherland, but with views like these, the time will fly by.
I highly recommend stargazing in Sutherland. Make sure you're there by 6 pm in the winter or 8 pm in the summer for the Sterland Stargazing tour with Jurg. He started the evening with showing us a presentation of the stars, planets, and constellations. I learned that stargazing is best in the Southern Hemisphere because there is less pollution and clearer skies. Our group ended the night by viewing various stars through two telescopes and even saw Mars, the International Space Station and a satellite!
*Pro Tip: Be sure to stay overnight at the Sutherland Hotel or one of the few B&B's in the area. And bring lots of warm clothes because it gets COLD.
Continue your road trip and head four and a half hours south to Cape Agulhas. It's the furthest southern point on the continent of Africa. You read that right. It's as far south in Africa as you'll ever get. Plus, it's where the Indian and Atlantic Oceans meet. That's cool enough to warrant a visit, I think.
Take a walk along the boardwalk and enjoy Mother Nature's beautiful view. It was a surreal experience being there and one of my favorite places.
Next, drive through the town and enjoy the sites. There are various activities to enjoy including horseback riding and fishing.
*Pro Tip: Stay at the Arniston Spa Hotel. It's about 30 minutes from Cape Agulhas, but they have wonderful views of their own and the staff is super friendly.
It's time to head back to the city. The drive from Cape Agulhas to Cape Town is about two and half hours, which is nothing compared to all the other driving you've done up to this point! Once you return to the city, head to the V&A Waterfront for lunch/dinner and ride the Cape Wheel. You could also make reservations to paraglide off of Signal Hill (which was the best time ever).
A great way to unwind and revel in the amazingness that is Cape Town is by visiting wine country. There are plenty of tours available to Stellenbosch or Franschhoek that include visits to other noteworthy sites, including Boulder's Beach (can't miss the penguins), Cape Point, Cape of Good Hope, Chapman's Peak and a few others. This is a great way to relax after your long week, enjoy local wines, and have someone do the driving for you.
Time to go home but if you're up for it, perhaps take the morning and visit Sea Point. It has a Miami-like vibe and is beautifully located on the water. It was a whirlwind week but I guarantee, it's the best way to make use of your time and see all of what Cape Town has to offer. Happy traveling!