Cape Town. Kaapstad. iKapa… the capital of South Africa. Indeed, the Mother City has assumed many names and many roles throughout its history. First discovered by the Dutch in the 1500s, the land began its modern-age history as the Cape of Storms and then as Cape of Good Hope when it became a symbol of hope for an easier sailing route to India. And that is the extent of what Cape Town was supposed to be. A port for travelling traders, a resting place for the tired sailors, and to an extent, a trading place with the local tribes. However something happened that changed everything; something that happens to every place that shows potential for it: growth. 

While its years of colonisation by the Dutch and then the British were no doubt some of the dark chapters of its history, Cape Town has been able to make the most of the situation and take out the good that came from it. Fast-forward to some 500 years later and Cape Town is now the city that’s shaping the socio-cultural and economic landscape of South Africa.

What To Do

Victoria & Albert Waterfront

There is a reason why the V&A Waterfront is on every list you’ll find about travelling to Cape Town, that’s because it really is that important. 

Part of the Port of Cape Town and home to both commercial and residential properties, the V&A Waterfront is the perfect spot to slowly get to know the Town. From a guided walking tour to the historical landmarks of this 1654 location to a sea trip to Robben Island or even a helicopter overview of the whole harbour, the Waterfront is a brilliant, living witness to the history of Cape Town and its evolution into what it is today.  In addition, the Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa, the largest collection of African art in the world, will be right there to complete your initiation to this South African adventure.

Bree Street

It sounds like the French cheese, yes, but there is so much more to perhaps the busiest street in Cape Town.  But there’s also cheese… maybe.

Bree Street has become one of the must-go locations for anyone visiting Cape Town. Encapsulating the very best that the city has to offer on both of its flanks, Bree Street is a canvas exploding with colour, tastes and sensations. Enjoy local and international dishes and beverages with the various restaurants such as The Hot Skillet which often hosts shisa nyama  or braai (traditional South African barbecue) nights, Frogitt & Vonkel Wine Bar, and Sotano. There’s also a long line of shops from which you can easily invest into authentic South African designs and brands, such as Missibaba and SAM. And if you just want to walk around and stare wide-eyed at the beauty of the place, then at least take a break and refuel with a drink at any of the coffee shops or wine bars on the street.  Wait… what about the cheese? Worry not, you can always pick some up at Frogitt & Vonkel Wine Bar or give a call over at The Culture Club in The Josephine Mill for a selection of responsibly sourced and handmade cheeses!

Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens and Table Mountain

Cape Town is a marvel of a civilisation, but the capital also boasts a luxuriant fauna and flora.

The city is surrounded by the splendid Table Mountain, Devil’s Peak and Lion’s Head, all three comfortably encasing and protecting the city in what is referred to as the City Bowl. At the eastern foot of Table Mountain is the Kirstenbosch Botanical Garden. The garden belongs to one of the ten national botanical gardens of South Africa and represents an important figure in the cultivation and conservation of indigenous plants. From there, you can take a quick car ride to the Table Mountain Aerial Cableway and enjoy a scenic view of the whole Mother City. Table Mountain is perhaps the singular most iconic place in the city and would be a perfect conclusion to your trip to Cape Town. Except for this last one…

The Cobra Experience

Holidaying in some place can often feel like you are working around to fit in with the pace of events and people around you. So much so that the only moment you truly feel like you are in control of your trip is when you are in your hotel room. But there is a way you can extend this control… The Cobra Experience enables you to rent one of the most gorgeous looking vintage cars on the planet and drive around the streets of the Cape Peninsula. Now that’s a mighty finale to this South African adventure!

Where To Stay

One&Only Cape Town

Located at the heart of the V&A Waterfront, this One&Only resort is the perfect spot to access all the attractions of the waterfront and of the neighbouring locations, such as Bo-Kaap and Camp’s Bay. With their rooms and suites opening up onto splendid views of the harbour and marina, the hotel is an immersive experience in the quintessential Cape Town life. You can count on the hotel to also design tailor-made discovery journeys for you to get to know the town better and at your own pace.

Belmond Mount Nelson Hotel

If you want your hotel to be just as special as the trip itself, then look no further than the Belmond Mount Nelson Hotel. Guarded by the shade of the impressive Table Mountain, this Colonial English mansion, with its pink walls and grand interiors is guaranteed to be one of the highlights of your holiday. Close to the several attractions of Cape Town, the hotel is focused on being the perfect home to come back to and have a cup of tea at the end of a day filled with discoveries and emotions. Quaint and quiet, the Belmond Mount Nelson Hotel is somehow the most unexpected and yet the most fitting hotel that Cape Town has to offer.

About Nimah Koussa

The best part about being a travel writer is bringing cities and destinations to life: their stories, secret addresses, luxurious gems and unique holiday moments. And I have been one for a little more than 10 years. From the best bars and restaurants in different cities of the world to hotels where you can check-in to get away from it all, this Magazine is all about making every trip just a bit more meaningful.

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