Updated: Jun 15, 2021
After arriving in the "Mother City," it can be overwhelming narrowing down where to start with the large range of activities. Cape Town is one of the most beautiful places in the world, boasting both inescapable natural beauty and a cultural melting pot. This all comes together to create a traveller’s dream of marvelous markets, breathtaking surroundings and some of the best wine in the world.
To get you started on your journey of Cape Town, I have put together the things that cannot be missed. Most of this list you won’t find in any guide book. There is a little something for everyone.
Markets of Cape Town
Who doesn't love a good market? Foods which have never graced your taste buds with the freshest produce, local arts and crafts and of course, the best coffee.
Old Biscuit Mill, Woodstock - Situated in the vibrant suburb of Woodstock, The Biscuit Mill hosts world class designers, studios and a weekly neighborhood market every Saturday (9am-2pm). I say your first stop within The Biscuit Mill should definitely be for a pink tonic ice coffee at The Espresso Lab Microbrewery. Exhibiting beans from across the world, from Costa Rica to Indonesia, I bet this stop will give you the pep that you need to get your Saturday started. But the main part of the market, where the food hall is, in on the other side. After the market, walk 10 minutes down the road to the Woodstock Brewery for a tasting.
Oranjezicht City Farm Market, Granger Bay (9am-2pm)- Grounded in sustainability practices, the OZCF presents all the best home grown fruits and vegetables grown right under Table Mountain. In recent years, the market has expanded to offering delectable food stalls, an impressive array of flowers and plants and every now and again you will spot Oscars Arc WOOF Project, a NPO founded on preserving and promoting conscientious pet adoption and rehoming. This market is quintessential to a weekend in Cape Town. Go for Saturday or Sunday brunch, grab a coffee or an adult beverage, and enjoy people watching. My go to stand is the Ethiopian one!
V&A Food Market, V&A Waterfront - Located just outside of the shopping mall, the V&A Food Market presents some mouth watering options while taking a break from some retail therapy. With a diverse group of food on offer, I promise you will not walk away disappointed (Thursday-Sunday). I recommend going for a lamb burek, mussels, and/or some bubbly.
Take a walk from Sea Point to Camps Bay - This light stroll takes you through some of the best bits that Cape Town has to offer. Ten minutes from the city center, you are able to take in that fresh ocean air and feast your eyes on the vast Atlantic. The walk takes about an hour but rewards you with the most beautiful view of Bantry Bay, Clifton and Camps Bay. If you need an energizing boost, grab a cold pressed fresh juice or smoothie from SunLife in Seapoint (just across from Schoon on Main Street) and next to the bank on the corner.
High Tea at the Belmond Mount Nelson Hotel - Dubbed the Nelly by locals, the Belmond Mount Nelson is an institution in the Mother City. Located in the centre of the city hustle, Mount Nelson offers an oasis of relaxation. Built in 1918, the Mount Nelson is characterised by its iconic pink colour and colonial architecture. Their tea selection is excellently curated offering a variety of 40 teas to choose from while snacking on scrumptious treats and the sounds of the grand piano.
If you happen to find yourself in the vicinity of Mount Nelson and want to be pampered, grab a facial at Raydiance which you will find at the backside of the hotel on Kloof. Ray is absolutely incredible and I promise you will leave feeling brand new and refreshed. Find her at @Raydiance on Instagram.
Grab a bite at the hipstery eatery Clarke's, Bree St- Clarke’s Bar and Dining Room on Bree is a must visit for coffee, brunch, or dinner. Clarke’s offers some of the best Hash Eggs to grass fed beef burgers. If you have a sweet tooth, don't forget to try the chocolate pie. It’s to die for.
Take a heated boxing class at Drenched, Upper Buitengracht - Best workout.
With all the divine grub to offer in Cape Town, you might want to work up a bit of a sweat in return for your indulgence. Drenched is the place to be. Offering 45 minute heated boxing classes, you are guaranteed to be ready for any escapade presented to you. The classes are divided in 10, 3 minute intervals and you’re guaranteed to walk out DRENCHED. While you’re there, say hi to Craig and Looqman for me! They're to thank for getting me a few steps closer to my beach bod, ha!
Hike up Lions Head for sunrise - Who knew walking up an incline could be this rewarding? This ~45 minute hike to the top of one of Cape Town’s second most famous mountain, will take your breath away. The view from the top presents a panoramic scene of the city. This hike is safe to do alone as it's a busy hike, although not lit. Remember water and a flashlight!
First Thursday's, CBD - “First Thursday’s” hosted on the first Thursday of each month began in 2012, taking inspiration from similar international events. The core focus began as an opportunity for a variety of local galleries to showcase artists but has now grown to include multiple activities spanning the inner city. If you happen to be in town over this time, find yourself a First Thursday map of participating galleries, restaurants and bars. Remember most of these venues will be within walking distance of one another, so it is always best in SA to travel in a group and be vigilant of your surroundings. Please don’t walk alone and have your belongings at your side. You can't go wrong with bars on Bree. La Parada seems to always be packed!
Enjoy one of the co-working spaces - With a huge culture shift happening in the way we work, Cape Town does not fall behind on having an array of fantastic co working spaces. My personal two favorites are Workshop 17 on Kloof and Ideas Cartel at the Old Foundry in Greenpoint.
Sound bath at Luna Sound Healing, Green Point - Get a private 1 hour sound bath with Audrey. Audrey is an incredible energy healer. When I was injured, I visited her desperately looking to be healed both physically and emotionally (after an excruciating few days) and I left that morning feeling lighter and hopeful... Ended up buying a package of sessions. If you’re looking to treat yourself to an hour of bliss and guided meditation a visit to Luna Sound Healing is a must.
Day trips/weekend trips from Cape Town - One of the many blessings of Cape Town is the ability to drive 1 to 2 hours and be in another world. Cape Town and its surroundings offer nature that is often hard to come by. From riding horses on the beaches of Noordhoek to Hermanus in Winter (starting in June) for whale watching to the absolute must Simonstown penguins, your adventurous side will never feel unfulfilled. If you are a wine lover, you cannot miss out on the luscious winelands of Constantia, Franschhoek and Stellenbosch.
Now that you have your must do activities stacked up, get ready for a trip packed with great food, wonderful views and endless amounts of culture to explore (and wine to drink)!