I have wanted to go to Cape Town for as long as I can remember. My parents took me when I was two years old and my Dad always tells the story that he almost moved us there as a family but we ended up staying in England as my mum wanted to.
My boyfriend and I who do long distance were trying to work out where to book our next trip to when he suggested Cape Town and it was an immediate yes from me. I decide to plan the whole thing, as I love to organise and research when it comes to trips! I have so much to write about now the trip is over, where to stay, tips, what to do, the vegan scene over there so lets get started!
Where to stay:
We started off by booking an airbnb in central Cape Town for three nights…the airbnb was amazing, a loft style conversion one…Honestly I would check out Air bnbs in Cape Town just from home inspo, they have some beautiful spaces with rustic interior and amazing designs. So that being said the loft itself was so cute but the area we stayed in I wouldn’t recommend…I didn’t feel all that safe and was glad I wasn’t by myself there late at night. When planning a trip to Cape Town I recommend staying in areas like Camps Bay, the V and A waterfront and Clifton.
After three nights in the airbnb, we had organised one night down in the winelands at a hotel called La Residence in Franschhoek. It took just over an hour to get there and we just got an uber as we had arranged a hotel transfer the next day to another hotel so it was pointless to rent a car. Ubers are really cheap in Cape Town; I think it was about £30 to get to La Residence. We had booked the hop on hop off wine tour for while we were down there and as much as I loved it and would really recommend if you want a taste for wine tasting but aren’t a passionate wine connoisseur! However once arriving at La Residence my thoughts were, this hotel is so beautiful I just want to stay here all day! Especially as we only had one night booked. My boyfriend and I both turned to each other as soon as we arrived and said one night is definitely not enough! I really would recommend booking at least three or four, as the hotel is so beautiful. It consists of just eleven rooms, each with a beautiful bathroom, balcony and amazing views of the rolling mountains.
Side note: If you do book the hop on hop off tour (I’ll put the link for it at the end of this blog post) make sure you book lunch at Grande Provence and book the picnic. It’s about £25 and you get a beautiful hamper filled with dips, fresh bread, a bottle of wine and amazing other bits. I told them I was vegan and they gave us the veggie hamper, which was perfect. Honestly it was an amazing setting and I’m so glad we had lunch booked there. I think we did the red route, but my friend also said another route which has a stop at Haute Cabriere has amazing sparkling wine, so maybe try and find a route that stops at both of those places!
Once we returned from the hop on and hop off tour, which was only a five-minute drive from La Residence we spent the rest of the afternoon chilling by the beautiful pool, before having dinner at the hotel. The service was probably the best I’ve ever had and I was really sad that I was still so full from our picnic to be able to try lots of food dishes from their menu. They were so accommodating with me being vegan and even printed me out my own vegan menu.
The next morning we had a beautiful breakfast from La Residence buffet breakfast, which is like no other! They had the most amazing fruit spread and fresh organic produce. We then got in the transfer and made our way back to Cape Town for our one night stay at The Silo Hotel on the V and A waterfront. This hotel is beautiful but in a completely different way to La Residence. Super modern, with all the amenities you could want and an amazing infinity pool with 360 views of Cape Town. We had lunch booked at a restaurant in the V and A waterfront and ended up cancelling it and chilling at the Silo rooftop pool all day and having lunch there, which was a great decision. The staff are really friendly and make you feel really welcomed and at home. Overall a lovely luxe hotel, in a great location.
Our final destination was the Twelve Apostles just outside Camps Bay. This hotel was perfect as it was very close to Camps Bay and they offer a free shuttle every hour to and back from Camps bay so it’s quite nice to be slightly outside of the main strip. Offering two pools, one being a natural rock pool and two restaurants, you could definitely stay here for a week and not feel bored. We had one night dining in their restaurant Azure, which actually offers a complete plant based menu. (Make sure you head up to the leopard bar beforehand for some sunset cocktails the view is outstanding). Azure also offers a plant based afternoon tea, which I didn’t get the chance to try, but sounded delicious.
Although some people may find it stressful moving around a lot and would prefer to just have one base I really enjoyed staying in different parts of Cape Town to really get a feel of the different areas and as long as you don’t unpack each time it’s really fun!
I feel like this blog post could go on for ever and ever as I just have so much to say about Cape Town but to make it slightly shorter and easier for you guys to read I’m going to put some bits in bullet point form and who doesn’t love a list.
Where to eat:
- Oranjezicht farmers market – AMAZING vegan options and a really cute vibe. We went on Sunday morning and it gets packed so go early! We tasted lots of different foodie bits and it really felt like somewhere locals go not just tourists.
- Bungalow in Clifton – Book this for a long lazy Sunday lunch or early dinner and enjoy some wine, beautiful food and scenery.
- Jarryds eatery – Everyone raves about this aussie brunch eatery, I didn’t rate it that much and think we have way better ones here in London but if you want some avo toast then you could go here.
- Mojo market in Sea point – Another amazing market with loads of different food stalls and lots of vegan options – Mexican, Lebanese, Japanese, poké bowls, they have everything.
- Nourishd for breakfast – You feel like you’re in Bali! Delicious smoothies, breakfast bowls and good coffee. I also wanted to check out scheckters raw but we didn’t have time and I did try their stall at the Oranjezicht market so I was happy with that!
- Everyone told us to try Gold Restaurant for an authentic African experience… it was okay… I pre warned them I was vegan and they said it was fine but when it came down to the menu they didn’t substitute the meat/dairy dishes with vegan alternatives they just gave me less food then what you would normally have (it was a pre paid set menu). I feel like it’s a bit touristy and not really that authentic at all.
Overall I was so surprised at what an amazing vegan and health scene there was in Cape Town. I really thought I was going to struggle but so many places were so accommodating and have vegan options on their menus already, which was so nice to see.
- Café Caprice – Great sunset view and delicious cocktails.
- Chinchilla rooftop bar in Camps Bay
- The Gin bar in central – Not for sunset views but this little hidden gem is so cute and definitely only known by locals (my friend who lives there told me about it).
Things to do:
- Table Mountain – Wow I don’t think I quite knew what I was getting myself in for hiking Table Mountain. Found it pretty hard but the views and getting to the top are worth it! Make sure you start early – no later then 7/7.30am as when it starts to get hot it gets so much harder! And take lots and lots of water, I didn’t take enough and started to feel so ill near the end. Also take the cable car back down – Great views and nice and quick which is what you want after your big hike up.
- Clifton 4th beach – We didn’t spend much time chilling on many beaches because the water is so cold but we cam to Clifton 4th beach before our lunch at Bungalow and it’s very pretty.
- Chapman’s peak drive – Honestly the most insane views I’ve ever seen. My boyfriend is Australian and he was even blown away by the beaches and the colour of the water you can see whilst driving along. So insane! Definitely hire a car for this drive; it’s cheap and way better than doing some touristy coach trip. We hired a car for two days to do this and then for the next day to drive down to Aquila Safari and it was about £50 (hired from Thrifty in De Waterkant and it very easy and simple. (Just a tip for the chapman’s peak drive, there is a toll to drive down and back and you must have cash, they don’t accept credit cards that aren’t from Cape Town).
- Boulders beach – Was so excited to do this to see the penguins and it worked well as you have to drive through Chapman’s peak drive from Cape Town to get to boulders beach but it is just a tourist trap. Hundreds of other people there and you have to pay to actually go and see the penguins on the beach which we ended up not doing as it was a long queue. I’ll let you guys decide whether or not you think it’s worth doing.
- Aquila Safari – We really wanted to do a safari whilst in Cape Town and I had heard good things about Aquila and the fact that’s its only two hours outside of Cape Town is a plus if you’re short for time. We used our rental car and drove down for the day (would recommend doing this over booking a safari with Aquila that includes transfers as they charge ridiculous prices for this). Whilst I did love that we saw so many amazing animals at Aquila, giraffes, elephants, lions, hippos, you do have to take into account it is a private game reserve… and if I had more time I think I would of chosen to do a safari which wasn’t on a private game reserve. Also I am really glad we didn’t book to stay overnight as we were considering staying at Aquila for our last night but it felt like Disneyland almost… and no vegan options at all in terms of food.
- La Petite Ferme/Delaire Graff in Stellenbosch – We didn’t do either of these but got told by so many people to go. Both beautiful wine estates that need advance booking.
Overall Cape Town in my opinion has it all. Amazing fresh food with healthy and vegan options, so much to do and see, beautiful hotels and really friendly locals. The fact it’s only two hours ahead as well from London means no jet lag which is such a plus and guaranteed sunshine, it’s the perfect spot to head to when you’re in need of some winter sun! I had so many people telling me it was dangerous and to be careful and of course yes you should be cautious, but I feel like you should be the exact same in London?! Don’t be on your own late at night, be careful with your bag and purse…all things I do anyway in my own hometown.
Cape Town you really gave us an unforgettable trip and we can’t wait to come back.
Wine hop on and hop off tour: https://winetram.co.za/