We arrived into Cape Town after a delightful three days in Franschhoek and checked into the Cape Grace Hotel. The hotel is in a prime spot, located in the centre of Cape Town’s V&A water front. The views were stunning, overlooking the marina, with the Table Mountains behind. It’s just a five-minute walk to the shops and restaurants where we enjoyed local entertainment, food and people watching on a bustling Sunday afternoon.
The Cape Grace Hotel is located near Cape Town’s marina.
Cape Town restaurant recommendations
Following on from our culinary experiences in Franschhoek we had a couple of standout meals in Cape Town. Kloof Street House was recommended by a friend. It’s a sprawling house in the city, with an eclectic array of furniture, lamps, dripping candles, art and people. It reminded me of a haunted house. If you’ve ever played Cludo as a child, this would be the perfect setting to have a real murder. The restaurant was pumping and the waiting staff were running, but this fast moving scene was part of its appeal. We ate and drank well, finishing with some interesting local cheeses.
I would also highly recommend the Cod Father. This restaurant is in Camp Bay, a highly sought after area on the coast. Serving only seafood you choose from an impressive selection of fresh fish beautifully presented on a bed of ice. The fish is weighed and its straight on the grill. Our king pawns, octopus, squid and variety of local fish appeared minutes later, beautifully cooked.
If you are staying in Cape Grace Hotel don’t shy away from the Bascule Bar which is downstairs. The atmosphere in this nautically themed bar is fun, the staff were great and the bar food was excellent.
Finally, for a local coffee, pastry or a more substantial breakfast, head to Truth Coffee. You’ll be wowed with the interior and professional staff, not to mention the coffee.
The Cape of Good Hope and the Cape Peninsula
After our Sunday afternoon of people watching at the marina, we set off the next morning, with our guide, to explore the Cape Peninsula and the Cape of Good Hope. The coastal drive towards the Cape was a little over an hour. The sea was invigorating as it pounded the coastline slapping thick, black kelp against the rocks. Along the way, were entertained with baboons and ostrich, an unusual combination of coastal wildlife. The baboons are smart and well aware tourists have food, so it’s advisable not to get out of your vehicle, if they’re around. They are strong and can be very aggressive and have been known to get into tourists cars and create mayhem.
Bizzarley, ostrichs and baboons graze the coastline.
The Cape of Good Hope is a rocky promontory at the southern end of the Cape Peninsula,
We then drove to the Cape lighthouse, at the southeast corner of the Cape Peninsula. With towering stone cliffs, and incredible white sandy beaches it’s definitely worth seeing. The walk to the lighthouse takes about 15 minutes, but there is an alternative, a funicular. At the Cape, the Atlantic and Indian oceans meet the most southern tip of South Africa. I walked to the light house and looked down on breathtaking beaches. You feel as though you could see Antarctica from the Cape Point, but it’s at least 6,000 kilometres away.
The lighthouse at the top of Cape Peninsula.
Beaches surrounding the Cape are stunning with white sand.
Hungry, we stopped near Fish Hoek, at a small fishing village, on the way back to the city We feasted on salmon tartare, fresh squid, octopus and prawns. The seafood in Capetown was exceptional.
My squid was fresh and so soft.
Surrounding the restaurant were numerous fish and chip vendors, renowned for their superb fresh fish. The queues were significant, so their produce must have been good. As the fishermen returned to shore, they displayed their catch on the wharf. When the locals purchased their fish, the fishermen filleted them, much to the delight of waiting seals. They had hopped out of the ocean onto the wharf, keen for the scraps.
Fishing boats near Fish Hoek.
Our friendly seal, waiting patiently for the fish scraps.
Cape Town City
The following day we explored the city. One of my favourite areas was Bo-Kaap. All the houses are painted brilliant colours. It’s an area of Cape Town formerly known as the Malay Quarter and was segregated during apartheid. It was here the first mosque was built in the late 1700s, making it the oldest mosque in South Africa. However, Muslims were only allowed to practice their religion in public from 1804.
The coloured houses in the neighbourhood of Bo-Kaap.
No one is quite sure why the houses are painted so brightly, but it is believed when the Bo-Kaap residents bought their houses, after apartheid ended, they painted them in bright colours as a celebration of their freedom.
We also visited Cape Town’s City Hall, where Nelson Mandela made his first public speech after being freed from prison. He stood on the balcony of the grand Edwardian building on 11 February 1990 and addressed a crowd of thousands. The speech is perhaps the most momentous in the country’s history. To commemorate the moment, the city erected a life-size statue of Mandela on the balcony from which he spoke.
The site of Nelson Mandela’s first speech at the Cape Town City Hall after his release from prison.
Cape Town’s Table Mountain is a prominent landmark overlooking the city of Cape Town. This flat-topped mountain is part of the Table Mountain National Park and stretches from north of Cape Town down to the Cape Peninsula. The summit is 1,086 metres, providing amazing views of the area. It can be reached via many ways, including the cableway system, bicycle, car or on foot. Beware, the hike up is strenuous with some technical and awkward parts.
Unfortunately, the day we had set aside to go up to the Table Mountains, Cape Town was shrouded in cloud, with high winds, so the mountain was closed, however I did get to see it.
Cape Town’s iconic Table Mountain.
Cape Town is a great place to visit and so much to do and see, especially the exceptional terrrain, food and wine.
If you’re feeling like going further a field from South Africa, read about Blog the Globe’s exceptional experiences in Botswana.