Cape Town & the Winelands
Cape Town is an inspirational and relaxing place to visit, not only because of its beautiful setting between Table Mountain and the sea, but also because of how its tumultuous history has weaved its way to form a creative, colourful and vibrant metropolis. The city is surrounded by a region known as the Cape Winelands, which includes the towns of Stellenbosch, Franschhoek and Paarl. These areas make excellent day trips from Cape Town and are all less than an hours drive by car.
Getting around the city centre is safe and easy on foot, by taxi, the hop-on, hop-off Citysightseeing bus and the MyCiti public bus. Travelling to the surrounding areas will require you to rent a car, take a taxi or join an organised tour. There are some fabulous tourist train routes including a trip along the False Bay coast and a ride on the new Franschhoek Wine Tram.
There is much to see and do. Below is our list of our top recommendations:
Top 10 attractions in Cape Town
- Table Mountain National Park and a trip in the Aerial Cableway (Table Mountain was voted a New7Wonder of Nature)
- V&A Waterfront and a host of great shopping options
- Robben Island World Heritage Site
- Kirstenbosch National Botanical Gardens
- Boulders Beach Penguin Colony and Cape Point
- Cape Town Winelands including Constantia, Durbanville and Helderberg
- Inner city walks to see why Cape Town is the 2014 World Design Capital
- White sandy beaches from trendy Clifton to relaxed Gordon’s Bay
- Eating, drinking, culture and entertainment
- Green Point Urban park and Atlantic Seaboard promenade
Top 10 attractions in the Cape Winelands
- Wine tasting and spectacular views at the many wine estates
- Gourmet restaurants – the Cape Winelands are known as the culinary capital of SA
- Eagle encounter, cheetah outreach and Moyo restaurant at Spier outside Stellenbosch
- Full moon picnic at the Afrikaans Language Museum in Paarl
- Shopping in Stellenbosch with its beautiful Cape Dutch architecture
- Franschhoek motor museum at L’Ormarins
- Golf at any of the scenic courses
- Spa treatments at the relaxing wellness centres (including Wedge View Spa)
- Tasting cheese, olives and local fresh produce at the country markets
- Hot-air ballooning over the Paarl vineyards
- Here are some further recommendations on things to do and see during your stay. Please get in touch with us if you would like to find out more.
Cape Town is well know for its beautiful white sandy beaches and refreshing (somewhat chilly) blue sea. There are so many options to choose from. The best beaches for sunsets are on the western Atlantic seaboard and you’ll catch the sunrise on any of the beaches on the east or False Bay coast. Trendy beaches include Camp’s Bay and Clifton. Family options are Hout Bay, Muizenberg, Gordons Bay, St James and Simon’s Town on False Bay.
Cape Town and the Winelands are the culinary capitals of South Africa. There is a wide variety of excellent restaurants ranging from fine dining, fusion cuisine, to distinct local and African flavours. Seafood is particularly good and be sure to try traditional Cape Malay cuisine. The area is proud to be home to the only two African restaurants that made it onto The World’s 50 Best Restaurants list in 2012 – the Tasting Room at Le Quartier Francais in Franschhoek and the Test Kitchen in Cape Town.
You should include at least one visit to a local wine estate. Some, such as Groot Constantia include historic Cape Dutch buildings and have been in existence since 1685, others such as Dornier in Stellenbosch are contemporary and modern. The wine regions closest to the Cape Town city centre are Constantia, Durbanville and Helderberg. Don’t miss a visit to the many wineries surrounding Stellenbosch, Franschoek and Paarl. Most are open for tastings from Monday to Friday from 9-5 and on Saturdays from 9-1.
Top shopping centres to look out for are the V&A Waterfront, Canal Walk, Cavendish Square and Tygervalley. Local designer stores are concentrated along Cape Town’s Long and Bree streets. Look out for great finds in boutiques and local markets particularly in Stellenbosch and Franschhoek.
Local culture & history
An excellent way to learn about the areas rich history is by joining a walking tour, going on a trip to a local community, visiting any of the museums or taking the trip to Robben Island, where Nelson Mandela was imprisoned for many years. Local culture is focussed on sport, outdoor activities, a good braai (barbeque), music, art, theatre and dance. Join in and experience first hand the warmth and hospitality South Africa is known for!
Nightlife & entertainment
Look out for shows at venues in Cape Town such as the City Hall, Artscape, Baxter and Fugard theatres as well as the outdoor Oude Libertas and Spier Amphitheaters near Stellenbosch. There are a host of nightlife options ranging from large venues such as the Grand West Casino to intimate bars, nightclubs and live music venues along Long Street. You may even find yourself at Mzoli’s in Gugulethu, a popular place to get together for drinks and a braai – township style.
Lots of sunshine and good weather mean that you may want to include some of the wide variety of outdoor activities on offer in Cape Town and the surrounding areas. These include kayaking, scuba diving, surfing, kitesurfing, sailing, mountain biking, cycling, hiking, sand boarding, climbing, abseiling, paragliding, running and walking (we could go on!). Sports lovers will also find great venues for golf, tennis, gym, rugby, cricket, soccer, squash and more.
Spa & wellness
There are xcellent spa’s and beauticians in the area, ranging from glitzy to esoteric. Look out for local offerings such as a Cape Fynbos treatments that includes a scrub and wrap with Atlantic sea salt and rooibos tea powder.
The area offers many child and family friendly activities. Some of our favourites are a ride on the Table Mountain Cableway, visiting the indoor Two Oceans Aquarium, taking a City Sightseeing bus or boat trip, the great kids park within the Green Point urban park, bike-riding along the promenade, scary rides at Ratanga Junction amusement park, the train from Muizenberg to Simon’s Town, sitting with penguins on Boulders Beach, Butterfly World, Monkey Town, riding camels and touching snakes at Imhoff Farm in Kommetjie and a visit to the Iziko Planetarium.