48 hours in Cape Town
A&K’s Ross Pakes lays out his favourite ways to spend two days in South Africa’s cool capital
Just a night flight away, with a climate made for city exploring, Cape Town offers a contemporary buzz backed by panoramic views of Table Mountain. A&K’s senior product manager Ross Pakes lays out his favourite ways to spend two days.
Leave the bags at your hotel and make the most of your first morning in the city. For one of the best brunches, stretch your legs with a walk to the popular Manna Epicure restaurant on Kloof Street. I can’t go in here without ordering a flat white and the Atlantic sandwich.
Ease into Capetonian life with a morning of shopping before heading to the beach. Long Street is a haven for interesting one-off boutiques, or follow the tourist trail to one of South Africa’s most visited destinations, the V&A Waterfront. With over 450 stores, from local designers to international brands, you’re sure to find something your heart desires. Here, you’ll also spot The Silo hotel and Zeitz MOCAA (Museum of Contemporary Art Africa).
For an authentic lunch, book onto one of Zainie Misbach’s three-hour Bo-Kaap cooking experiences. Savour some hands-on Cape Malay cuisine in one of the oldest urban residential areas in Cape Town. Discover the secrets of mixing masala, creating dhaltjies (chilli bites), folding samoosas (the local spelling of samosas), mixing and frying rootis, and learn the traditional way to cook a mouth-watering Cape Malay curry.
Now take some time to relax and soak up the South African sun. Enjoy a little local-watching in Clifton where the beautiful people go to sunbathe and the four beaches are as handsome as the regulars. There are no shops here, but you can get cold drinks and ice-creams from the beach vendors. If you want a bit more of a buzz, continue to Camps Bay, a wide sweep of a sand backed by a promenade of shops and restaurants.
Take a cab back to the waterfront and jump onboard a sunset catamaran cruise. This scenic 90-minute sail into the harbour serves complimentary drinks and there’s a good chance of spotting seal and dolphin.
For your evening indulgence, enjoy gastronomic delights at Baia. This large and lively restaurant provides the tastiest seafood. High-profile, modern, metropolitan, energetic – it personifies Cape Town and serves a classy mix of Portuguese, Mozambican and more mainstream continental dishes.
After dinner, head to Merchants Shebeen on iconic Long Street. This divine dive bar offers great cocktails and is open until 02.00. Be sure to check it out during your luxury holiday in Cape Town.
Time for nature in the Mother City. There’s a choice of hikes depending on how late your night was. Take the beautiful trail up Platteklip Gorge to the top of Table Mountain or climb Lion’s Head for equally stunning views of Cape Town. Neither are a walk in the park, so don’t wear jeans and flip flops. This towering wilderness in the middle of the city has to be the highlight of your visit.
You will definitely have worked up an appetite by now, and Woodstock is the place to go. Renovated warehouses are home to cutting-edge art galleries and shops – like Cape Town’s answer to London’s Shoreditch. The hottest table in town is at The Pot Luck Club, so reserve your table a good few months in advance. This is the place for city vistas and culinary variety. Try fish sliders, beef in truffle café au lait sauce, cocktails, and local wines.
Your legs will probably want a break, so take advantage of the city’s hop-on/hop-off tour buses to catch any sights you may have missed. Bree Street is worth a wander to experience the rainbow effect of colourful townhouses and excellent shopping – this area is also home to many cosmopolitan boutiques. Stop for a coffee from Jason’s Bakery, or something stronger at Mother’s Ruin if you fancy a pre-dinner gin cocktail.
Now’s the time to indulge yourself at one of the city’s premier spots. Settle in with your sundowner at The Silo’s Willaston Bar and enjoy the people-watching. Be sure to make a reservation in advance to avoid disappointment.
For dinner, if you’re wanting something eclectic from the place where the locals hang out, head to the Bombay Bicycle Club. Try the Cajun calamari or the drunken Camembert, followed by chocolate chilli steak or the ostrich special. With swings for seats, it’s a wonderfully wacky, bohemian den, and the perfect place to consummate your love affair with Cape Town.
For more travel inspiration, take a look at our South Africa destination page, where you can browse our itineraries and find out when is best to visit.
Where to go & where to stay
- Holiday ideas
- Holiday ideas
Nestled on a private quay between the working harbour of Cape Town's bustling Victoria & Alfred Waterfront and the serenity of an international yacht marina, the Cape Grace is a welcome and gracious sanctuary of traditional sophistication whilst emanating progressive style and comfort
Located in the Sabi Sand Game Reserve adjacent to the world renowned Kruger National Park is Dulini River Lodge boasting access to a vibrant conservation area of over two million hectares in which lie the 'big five' and in particular the elusive leopard
The Silo is the latest addition to The Royal Portfolio. It has been created from the iconic grain store that has been in the heart of the waterfront since the mid 1920’s. With only 28 rooms, all styled differently and all offering a balcony with incredible views of the city below or Table Mountain
Experience spectacular views from the Kwandwe Great Fish River Lodge's viewing decks. Set along the lush green banks of the river after which it is named, every aspect of the lodge is designed to amplify the endless landscape
Located on the highest crest along the magnificent Helshoogte Mountain Pass linking the Cape's two leading wine districts, Stellenbosch and Franschhoek, Delaire Graff Estate combines understated elegance with state-of-the-art design
Nestled within a 30 acre private wine and olive estate in the Franschhoek Valley, La Residence is conveniently located just forty-five minutes drive from Cape Town and offers 11 individually furnished suites and five two bedroomed Vineyard Suites
Facilities include four swimming pools and an amazing spa