Cape Town is unlike any other city. Featuring its controversial history and culture it has an edgy vibe that attracts, fascinates and divides people in equal measure. From my experience, and therefore of others i understand who’ve been, it is a location you quickly fall in deep love with.
Cape Town is full of vibrant and fun people and, above all for backpackers, a good amount of epic activities. To aid narrow your choices down, here’s your ‘absolute must’ list.
Bo-Kaap is the Malay Quarter of Cape Town, set in the slopes of Signal Hill. It’s a colourful area with quaint houses painted in a variety of shades – think Balamory but better. The multi-coloured dwellings from the cobbled streets are a giant draw for anybody travelling through, and with such a multicultural community the region can be brimming with flavoursome must-eats.
Sample the best bites by firmly taking a food tour where you’ll end up with a meal in someone’s home – I went to ‘Zainie’s’. Apart from assisting you to put on the pounds, the tour also introduces you to some friendly locals who’ll teach you more info on the area’s past, present and future.
There’s also the Malay museum and South Africa’s first mosque to see in Bo-Kaap too.
Think grime, dirt and whole lot of awesome. This has to be the most original restaurants around – although ‘restaurant’ is a slight exaggeration. Mzoli’s is an iron shack with plastic tables and chairs stuck from the region of the local butchers in the area of Gugulethu.
Although it doesn’t sound so glam, the food is one of the city’s tastiest and a little bit of grunge is definitely fun.
The theory is rather simple: you pile your plate full of meat (there’s a ridiculous amount of choice), wait for it to grill from the big BBQ, grab a beer and dance towards the butcher’s DJ pals even though you do.
No knives, no forks, no messing at Mzoli’s – pure, hedonistic indulgence, and a veggie’s worst nightmare.
3. Wine tasting
It’s a well known fact that South African wine is some of the best and thus it will be rude never to indulge in some of the region’s favourites.
There are several vineyards you can travel to through the city by bus, in accordance with bottles as cheap as £3 they’re well worth the fare. Most vineyards offer tours of the land where in fact the winemakers will explain the grape to glass process. They’ll also share some samples with you, give you a nibble and sometimes offer you an area when it comes to night if you just can’t stumble home. Stellenbosch and Franschhoek are between the biggest vineyards in the area but I decided to go to the lesser-known Constantia Winery and sampled as many wines as you possibly can, at about 10am.
Cape Town has a fantastic amount to offer in terms of shopping which can be unfortunately bad news for the bank account but great news for the wardrobe.
The Watershed has over 150 stalls offering food, clothing and art, while designer boutiques and local marketsare dotted throughout the city. Greenmarket is perfect for picking right on up the ethnic goodies and exotic jewellery, and Long Street could be the spot to go with all things retro. It’s here that the budget is within real danger with vintage shops in succession – an Instagrammer’s dream.
5. Climb Table Mountain
More than 20 million individuals have climbed up Table Mountain in Cape Town but none of the photos taken could ever do the scene justice. It’s already been voted one of the New 7 Wonders of Nature – the views through the top are incredible.
It’s easy enough to climb up and you may go unaided, however, if you’re feeling lazy or you don’t have much time, just like me, there’s always the cable car. It’ll whizz you to the top in a minute for just 185ZAR (£11.75).
If that is simply not fast enough, you are able to take it one step further and view the mountain by air from a helicopter. At around 1600ZAR each (£100) it’s quite the investment, but if there is the cash, the experience is really worth it.
6. Do an extreme sport
Cape Town is a hub for anyone who love only a little adrenaline, can stomach heights and also have that crazy desire to jump out of things. As you might not be able to cram in every nail-biting experience the city is offering within one trip, you need to certainly sample a number of the city’s extreme sports. You can easily literally bring your pick with several companies offering everything from paragliding on the mountains, kite surfing in the waves or kayaking the Cape Point.
While often only a little pricey, these experiences can be a method to see some of the city’s best views and produce every day to consider.
7. Shark cage diving
Heart beating already? Yeah, shark cage diving is not one for the knee wobblers.
There are lots of companies in the city that offer you the chance to head down into the deep waters and find out a shark close up. You are able to usually book the excursion using your hotel or hostel for around ZAR 1650 (£ 78), but check around for the right deal while making sure you will do your business research.
Try to find a company that takes its responsibility towards the water and also the sharks seriously. They need ton’t overfeed the shark (a danger when there are tourists to please), they ought to search for areas clear of other deep sea delvers so as to not disturb the same areas plus they should only sign up for small groups at the same time. All this work will be protect the sharks and make certain minimal obtrusion towards the marine environment.