Feb 13, 2012 10:37:57 AM
24 hours in Cape Town
Having beaten Dublin and Bilbao to the title of World Design Capital 2014, South Africa’s ‘Mother City’ also bagged a place at the end of 2011 on the list of the seven new wonders of world with its iconic Table Mountain. A day isn’t nearly enough to enjoy everything that this beautiful, creative city has to offer but the following itinerary will help you make the most of those 24 hours.
8am: Skip the line at the kiosk by printing a web-ticket for the Table Mountain Cableway; it’s a little cheaper, too. The revolving car provides 360 degree views as you ascend this mesmerising 60-million-year-old mountain. From the upper cableway station it’s around an hour’s round trip hike to the 1088m summit at Maclear’s Beacon.
9.30am: Return to the city for breakfast at one of many excellent cafes: there’s old favourite Manna Epicure (151 Kloof St) with its coconut bread toast, eggs and avocado, or buzzing Jason Bakery (185 Bree St) for espresso and croissants. When you’re done, stroll along Long St, lined with attractively restored Victorian buildings housing an eclectic collection of boutiques, shops, eateries and bars.
10.30am: Pop into the lush Company’s Gardens which began their cultivated life as a vegetable patch for the Dutch East India Company in the mid-17th century. At the adjacent South African National Gallery there are always interesting exhibitions, plus a great gift shop stocked with plenty of local crafts.
Noon: That explosion you just heard is the Noon Day Gun being fired atop Signal Hill. On the east flank of the hill is the old Muslim quarter of the Bo-Kaap; have your camera ready to capture images of the photogenic pastel-painted colonial period homes and mosques that line the cobbled streets. There are more opportunities to buy local goods at the chic coffee shop/boutique Haas (67 Rose St), and premier craft shops Monkeybiz (43 Rose St) and Streetwires (77 Shortmarket St).
1pm: Hail a cab and head to The Kitchen, a fabulous deli where Michelle Obama lunched when she was in town. It’s in the heart of edgy Woodstock where you can check out contemporary galleries such as Stevenson (160 Sir Lowry Rd) as well as the abundant street art. In nearby Salt River there’s more art at What If the World (1 Argyle St) in a converted synagogue, and the fabulous collection of emporia at the Old Biscuit Mill (375 Albert Rd): if it’s Saturday don’t miss the Neighbourgoods Market that happens here, offering the cream of the region’s artisan food purveyors and product designers.
4pm: Next to Green Point Stadium, Green Point Park is a beautifully designed urban oasis – with a fabulous kids play area – watered by streams flowing off Table Mountain. Meander along the promenade to Sea Point Pavilion where you can enjoy a cooling dip in the outdoor pools, or continue down to Clifton’s wind-protected beaches. They’re divided by giant boulders; No 3 hosts a body-beautiful crowd catching the rays.
7pm: Time for sundowners. Prime candidates include cocktails and sushi on the deck at Wakame (cnr Beach Rd & Surrey Pl) or sipping some lovely local bubbly at Tobago’s (Radisson Blu Hotel Waterfront, Beach Rd).
8.30pm: If you’ve been taking it easy on the food front (never an easy option here) indulge in a haute cuisine feast from Aubergine (39 Barnet St). Otherwise tapas and a few choice glasses of local vinos at French Toast (199 Bree St) is the ideal dinner solution.
There’s no shortage of late night options for drink, dance and music, including The Assembly (61 Harrington St) for DJs and local bands and The Waiting Room (273 Long St) high above Long St with a fabulous roof top view of illuminated Table Mountain.
Get the very best of South Africa’s most enticing city with Lonely Planet’s Cape Town city guide.