Cape Town, South Africa’s breathtaking ‘Mother City,’ holds the distinction of being one of its oldest, originally founded in 1652. It has so much to offer travelers – beautiful beaches, leafy streets, bustling cafes, world-class restaurants, incredible history and thriving culture – a visit to Cape Town is a must!
Depending on your interests, we will make a personalized recommendation of a neighborhood and property for you to stay in as your base for exploring Cape Town’s many wonders. Here are 5 of our favorite areas to stay in the city.
The V&A Waterfront is an ideal base for exploring Cape Town and offers a variety of accommodation types from luxury hotels to self-catering apartments. Restaurants, bars and shopping are all within walking distance, allowing guests easy access to entertainment. The views of the city and Table Mountain from this area are stunning.
Several tourist attractions are found at the Waterfront including the Two Oceans Aquarium, the Cape Wheel and several museums including the incredible Zeitz Contemporary Museum of Art. It is also the departure point for ferries to famed Robben Island.
Up and coming – the new Time Out Market is set to open in the V&A Waterfront in late 2023, replacing the old V&A Food Market. Time Out Market first opened in Lisbon in 2014 with iterations in New York, Miami, Chicago and Dubai – its focus will be on cool culinary and cultural trends of the city, all housed under one roof.
Cape Town’s ‘City Bowl’ is flourishing with new restaurant and retail openings and has a very energetic vibe. If a central location and easy pedestrian accessibility are what you seek, the City Bowl will be a great base for your Cape Town adventures. The area gives easy access to trendy shops, great restaurants, historic buildings and the city’s most dominant feature, Table Mountain. While a visit to the mountain’s summit is weather dependent, it’s always memorable. If you love to hike, we can arrange a guided climb to the top or you can take the scenic cableway (weather permitting) to enjoy the city’s incredible views.
New Africa Adventure Consultants favorites in the area include Upper Union Restaurant, Chefs Warehouse at The Bailey, Ramenhead, Ouzeri and Club Kloof. We are also excitedly awaiting the much-anticipated Red Room (at the Belmond Mount Nelson) and Galjoen (set to open mid 2023).
The City Bowl offers a range of accommodations that include fun and funky boutique hotels, guest houses and luxury hotels.
The Atlantic Seaboard unfurls from the V&A Waterfront, and the suburbs along this strip each have a distinct feel. Cafe culture and Promenade life start from Green Point and Mouille Point, running to the Sea Point Promenade and on to the upmarket residential enclaves of Bantry Bay, Clifton and Camps Bay (more on those neighborhoods below).
Sea Point is a rare suburb that still has a fully functioning high (main) street – it actually has two! Main and Regent Roads are hubs of fashion, boutiques, supermarkets, stylish restaurants and trendy cafes. The Promenade remains the star of the show for walkers and runners, moms and kids, dog walkers, cyclists and skaters – all framed by the sparkle and spray of the Atlantic Ocean. The people watching along the Promenade is phenomenal!
Much of Sea Point’s appeal lies in its intercultural and diverse spirit – there are no less than 7 synagogues and 21 churches here; Islamic Capetonians gather on the Promenade for the first sighting of the crescent moon every Eid; there is a French school and members of the Jewish and Greek communities swear that the Sea Point Spar supermarket is the best in the country! Some of AAC’s favorite places to grab a bite in Sea Point include: Kleinsky’s Delicatessen, Scheckter’s Raw, Arthur’s Mini Super, Ariel Modern Italian and Grand Pavilion.
Accommodations in Sea Point run the gamut from charming guest houses to luxury boutique hotels.
Camps Bay’s palm-tree-lined beach is where you’ll find Cape Town’s glitz and glamor. Stunning mansions overlook the Atlantic Ocean while Beach Road’s restaurants, shops, hotels and beach bars attract the ‘see and be seen’ crowd. The beaches are busy year-round despite cool water temperatures, which can be most welcome in summer. Find a spot on the beach, cozy seat in a restaurant or a sunny seat in a café for the ultimate in people watching. It’s not just the ocean’s beauty you can appreciate from Camps Bay – views of the towering Twelve Apostles mountain range are captivating as well.
There are a range of accommodations available, from ultra-chic and luxe to more moderately priced boutique hotels. Its walkability, scenic beauty and the feeling of being at the beach while in a major city make it a great choice.
Just a stone’s throw from the City Bowl, De Waterkant is another part of the city abuzz with trendy restaurants and bars, chic boutiques, historic buildings and lovely cafes, though it is quieter than other neighborhoods. De Waterkant has a sweet vibe that attracts many visitors. The neighborhood, like most of South Africa, is gay-friendly and welcomes guests of all backgrounds. You can walk or rent a bicycle to reach the V&A Waterfront or the City Bowl.
The neighborhood offers lodging options ranging from boutique hotels to townhouses and apartments. If diverse dining options, a thriving nightlife scene, outgoing people and walkable neighborhood are what you are seeking, De Waterkant will be a great fit!
Looking for something a bit quieter? There are many small communities just outside of the city that might fit the bill. One of our favorites is Constantia. The oldest wine making region in the Southern Hemisphere is located in Cape Town’s southern suburbs just a short drive from the hustle and bustle of the city. Fantastic restaurants and wine farms (vineyards) abound, and the famous (and beautiful) Kirstenbosch Gardens and the back side of Table Mountain are your playground. Family-friendly activities are on offer as well including zip lining and a bike park. Constantia is a 15-minute drive to the city and also offers easy access to a number of the Cape’s other area attractions including Cape Point and the charming coastal villages of Hout Bay, Kalk Bay, Fish Hoek and Simons Town.
Accommodations include intimate boutique hotels in beautiful garden settings, manor houses on historic estates and luxury villas.
A visit to Cape town is a perfect add-on to a South African safari but is also a destination in its own right! Contact one of our Journey Specialists to explore the city’s myriad adventure options and which Cape Town area is the right fit for you.
Photos courtesy of Cape Town Tourism, Cape Grace Hotel, Cloud 9, The Charles Cafe & Rooms and Sightseeing South Africa