Cape Town is one of the world’s most beautiful cities – with a magnificent mountain as its centre, miles of sandy beaches, a colourful and moving history, and countless bars and restaurants, Cape Town captures the hearts of visitors. We normally recommend a minimum of 3-4 nights, so that you can really get to see everything that the city has to offer… but if you only have 24 hours here, this is a list of what we consider you just HAVE to try and fit in!
1. On arrival head for Table Mountain! This really is one of the main highlights of Cape Town, and you really cannot come to Cape Town without having taken a cable car ride to the top and back down again.
2. The V&A Waterfront is a good place to start in the morning, where you can also catch a City Sightseeing Hop on/Hop off bus trip OR canal cruise, or just stroll around and take in the buzzy atmosphere of the shops, restaurants and food markets, and the cheerful working harbour. In the afternoon, head out to Cape Point, and take a drive along the Southern Peninsula, maybe stopping along the way at Boulders Beach, home to a huge nesting colony of penguins. The main viewing platforms allow you get right into the middle of the breeding colony where you can observe and photograph the penguins at close quarters; the second beach is smaller and lesser known, but you can actually get onto the sand and into the sea here and there are usually a few dozen penguins mixing with the bathers. You can then make your way back to town along the Atlantic coast enjoying the GREAT sights of Chapmans Peak.
3. If you’re feeling peckish, Cape Town has some TOP restaurants. Check out NV-80 in Seapoint if you fancy a rib eye steak, oysters or shrimp. Or Belthazar Restaurant in the V&A Waterfront for a really succulent steak, or if you want to sample some authentic African cuisine, then head to Gold Restaurant.
4. On a rainy day don’t despair, there is still tonnes of things to do! Such as winetastings – Cape Town has many wine farms with excellent wines – or visit the iconic Mount Nelson Hotel for afternoon high tea. Families can head to the Two Oceans Aquarium to watch the feeding (check the times first!).
5. Whatever you do, don’t leave without a helicopter flip/ride around the Peninsula.
6. For the best sunset photograph, the sunset is really amazing from Milnerton as you see Table Mountain and the last bit of sun rays beaming down on the mountain with all it’s different colours. It is also beautiful sitting at one of the cocktail bars in Camps Bay.
7. The best place to go for cocktails is Leopard Bar at Twelve Apostles (with the added attraction of great sunsets too!), or check out the popular Shimmy Beach.
8. Cape Town’s hidden claim to fame are the Protea Fire & Ice milkshakes – don’t leave without trying one!
9. Not a lot of people know this…the insider’s tip to Cape Town is Richards Supper Stage & Bistro – a unique theatre venue and dining experience.
10. And finally, this list would not be complete without mentioning our most favourite places in Cape Town in terms of where to stay. For a great guest house, you can’t go wrong with Floreal House, in Oranjezicht – friendly staff, beautiful location at the foot of Table Mountain, and lovely rooms. For a great value hotel, then for us the Protea Breakwater wins hands down. Situated right in the heart of the Waterfront, this hotel is steeped in history but it is the location (and the frequent Stay/Pay deals!) that makes it a perfect place to stay. And finally, for one of the best 5* luxury experiences, it has to be the Cape Grace – stylish and luxurious, with a working harbour to one side and a multi-millionaire yacht basin on the other – it is just wonderful.