Spending just two days in Cape Town is no easy task. You’d be hard-pressed to find another city offering so much natural beauty, fine dining, and rich cultural experiences in one place. You can easily spend weeks here, but if you only have two days, here’s what to do.
Climb Table Mountain: Reaching the top of this 1,085-meter mountain rewards you with breathtaking 360-degree views of Cape Town. Choose from over 900 hiking routes, or take a quick five-minute ride on the Cableway.
Once you’re up there, explore over 3 kilometers of the mountain-level plateau, relax over lunch at the café, or go all Ethan Hunt as you abseil down the mountain’s jagged cliffs.
GPS co-ordinates to the Lower Cable Station: -33.948184, 18.402969, (+27) (0)21 424 8181.
Couple abseiling off the cliffs of Table Mountain. Photo: Roman Alvarado
Drive to Cape of Good Hope: After so much fun in the sun, hop in your car and drive yourself to one of the greatest capes of the South Atlantic Ocean. Getting there is part of the fun.
Along the way, you’ll be treated to winding roads with stunning cliff edge views as you pass through Chapman’s Peak and Noordhoek. Make sure to take a break at Boulder’s Beach, where you’ll catch African penguins taking a dip in the cool South African water.
The full drive takes about an hour and a half but when you arrive at the Cape, take a moment to appreciate its natural and wild beauty.
Cape Point Road, Cape Town, 8001, Visitor Centre: (+27) 21 7809010.
Dine at The Test Kitchen: If you manage to secure a seat in this internationally recognized restaurant, you will be rewarded with a tasting menu like no other. Chef Luke Dale Roberts serves South African cuisine that is fresh, inventive, and superbly presented.
It’s important to work up an appetite here, as diners start with seven small plates in the relaxed lounge room known as the Dark Room before proceeding to another eight courses in the formal Light Room.
The menu changes with the seasons but past dishes include crab ravioli and lamb sweetbreads, with an option to pair with either tea or wine. This is the perfect way to end your first day and wake up refreshed and energized.
375 Albert Road, Woodstock, Cape Town, (+27) 21 447 2337.
Visit the Neighbourgoods Market: Start your day nice and early by visiting this bustling food market at The Old Biscuit Mill village.
Hosting over 100 specialty traders, go here to find super fresh produce, artisan foods, craft beer, wood-fired bread, and tons of trendy pieces from local designers. It’s so much fun walking to different stalls, sampling diverse foods, and listening to some pretty amazing local bands.
Remember to plan accordingly as the market is only open on Saturdays from 9am to 3pm. It’s also best to arrive early to avoid the huge crowds.
373 Albert Rd, Woodstock, Cape Town, 7925.
Explore Robben Island: Since the 17th century, this small island has been used to isolate major political prisoners. This is where Nelson Mandela spent 18 years of his life, imprisoned during the apartheid era.
The island is about a 30-minute boat ride from Cape Town, and tickets can be purchased from Robben Island Museum. Once you arrive, you’ll be treated to a tour of the island by bus and get a walk-through of the maximum security prison.
The really cool thing about Robben Island is that a lot of the workers are former inmates themselves. This is not to be missed if you want a little history and a unique perspective of a very significant moment in South Africa’s past.
PO Box 51806, V&A Waterfront, Cape Town, 8002, +27 (0)21 413 4200.
Robben Island Prison. Photo: Jim Sher / Flickr CC
Drinks at Outrage of Modesty: For the best cocktails at a fraction of the cost of other big cities, head to Outrage of Modesty in the evening. This speakeasy-type bar sits tucked away in an alleyway on Shortmarket Street, next to House of Machines.
Chances are you’ll miss the unmarked door and need to be guided up by a very watchful security guard. Once seated, the first thing you’ll notice is the heavy stone menus listing flavors, not ingredients, and super-hip waiters behind the bar crafting some fancy-looking drinks. Make sure to try some of their delicious appetizers to line your stomach beforehand.
88 Shortmarket St, Cape Town City Centre, Cape Town, 8000, South Africa, (+27) 21 422 2902.
Planning your visit to Cape Town will ensure you are not disappointed when you arrive. December is the busiest time of the year and costs do go up. Visiting between June and August will see the fewest crowds, but it can get chilly with lots of rainfall. The best time to go is March to May or September to November, when crowds are small and the weather is fine.
One thing is for sure when you leave Cape Town: you’ll already be planning your next trip back.