Our Mother City is incredibly gorgeous and I’m very sad that I don’t get to visit it often enough. Usually when I do visit I am there for work, so I am always in-and-out of the city and all I get to do is go for dinner. The last time I visited Cape Town properly was in 2012, and I did all of the touristy things- I went up the Table Mountain, went to see the seals, visited the penguins at Boulder Beach and shopped around at the V&A. It was a lot of fun, and I do enjoy doing touristy things when I visit the city for the first time. However this time around, I wanted to experience Cape Town like a local, see the spots that Capetonians go to for breakfast and dinner, and really immerse myself in the lifestyle. Luckily, one of my besties moved to Cape Town 3 years ago and is now a full-blown Capetonian, so she took me around to her favourite spots and showed me how beautiful Cape Town is from a local’s perspective!
Please note this is just my own personal experience. I do not claim to know anything about Cape Town(or the locals) and this post is purely from my side for informative purposes 🙂
So here is my list of things to do if you want to experience Cape Town like a local!:) After looking at it again after I wrote it, I realized it mostly involves a lot of food, but hey it was one delicious trip.
Visit a yummy breakfast spot for the most important meal of the day
Capetonians take their breakfast very seriously, so awesome breakfast spots are all over the city! On the first day we chose to visit Cafeen– a really cute and quirky spot with a view to die for!
It’s the perfect spot for a relaxed and chilled breakfast to start your day off. The restaurant is also filled with little trinkets and vintage memorabilia, so it really gives the place a nice feel.
Another popular spot to try out is Bootlgeers, known for their amazing coffee! There are a few of them all over the city now and I really enjoyed the one in the Cape Quarter. Lastly we also checked out Jaryyds in Sea Point for a delicious all day breakfast menu (yum!) and the food and the coffee was amazing.
Breakfast also happens to be my favourite meal of the day, so I would move to Cape Town just for its amazing breakfast spots! 🙂
Spend a day or an afternoon in Kalk Bay
Kalk Bay is one of Cape Town’s trendiest seaside villages and reflects a cosmopolitan heritage and a long fishing history. There is a bohemian arty vibe, a growing nightlife, with great theatre and the art, and anything your heart desires. It gets quite packed on the weekends as everyone flocks to this little village to spend some time on the beach, have a drink and just stroll around- which was exactly what we did.
The Kalk Bay Market takes place twice a month at Kalk Bay Community Centre, Main Road on the second and last Saturday of each month (except December) , but besides that, it’s still filled with quaint little shops!
We strolled down Memory Lane and checked out the Sweet Ol’ Jester– a shop filled with anything any everything.
If you are a lover of vintage, then Kalk Bay Vintage will appeal to your antique heart.
We went into book shops, clothing shops and coffee shops and I left with a new panama hat and a full tummy! In terms of drinks, Cape to Cuba and Kalkys are at the top of my list for an afternoon drink.
Go Wine Tasting
Yes it’s a rather “touristy” thing to do, but hey, its wine! Cape Town is known to produce some of the best wines in the world, so of course on Saturday afternoon I dragged my friend out to go get a delish glass of Merlot.
Word of advice– plan which wine farm you want to go to first and make sure that its open on that day to the public before you go! We wanted to check out Cape Point, and drove all the way there, just to be told that there was a wedding taking place and we couldn’t be allowed in(the cellars were open, but we wanted to be outside). Then we drove all the way back to check out the Constantia Wine Route and our first stop was Buitenverwachting- only to be told that it was closed for a private function! At this point I was getting quite frustrated(can a girl just get a glass of wine around here?).
Eventually we ended up at Steenberg and its magnificient Bistro Sixteen82, and I finally got what I wanted! The wine there was great, and the meat and cheese board that we ordered along with it was even better!
If you have more time I would suggest doing the whole route and doing the tasting at several different farms. Again, just check it out and maybe book a tour online first, in order to avoid disappointment of a farm that’s closed on that day for something else.
Have an amazing meal on Long Street or Brie Street
We chose to have sundowner tappas at La Parada, and boy was it delish! The only thing about Cape Town, is that many places are closed on a Sunday so keep that in mind! We originally wanted to go to a yummy little dim sum place on Brie Street that we’ve visited before, but due to it being a Sunday night, it was closed. Tappas at La Parada didn’t disappoint though, and we watched the sunset while sipping on drinks and eating churros- pure bliss!
Visit a little secluded beach and let your hair down
Now I was lucky that I was exploring Cape Town with an actual local, and she took me to a little secluded beach that she found a while back, somewhere between Clifton and Hout bay. We parked the car, walked down, and there were a whole lot of 3 other people on this beach. It was wonderful!
We relaxed there for a while before heading out, and while I wouldn’t swim in the freezing cold water, just having my feet in it and the afternoon sunshine on my face was splendid. From what I’ve heard, Cape Town is filled with little secluded beaches, so ask around and find one for yourself!
Have sun downers overlooking the ocean
We wanted to stop on the Clifton Beach strip for a cocktail on Saturday evening, but it was so busy that we rather decided to head out for a drink in the beautiful Hout Bay rather. We also thought of maybe having a drink at the 12 Apostles’ Hotel, but when we got there we were told that there was a private function taking place and the seating was limited- seriously what’s with Cape Town and all its private functions?
We didn’t regret going to Hout Bay afterwards though, as I’ve been there before and had a great time so I wanted to go back. Oysters and a Cocktail, overlooking the ocean and some beautiful scenery was exactly what the doctor ordered!
Check out the local markets for arts and crafts and some yummy food
Cape Town is so well known for its wonderful markets, and if I could visit them all- I would! The Old Biscuit Mill Market, the Oramjezict City Farm Market , there are so many to choose from! We ended up going to the Watersheds market at the V&A(because I needed to check out the location as we were having our event there the following day), but I didn’t regret it because it was great!
Besides the delish food choices at the market(we had fresh crepes with filling and Bubble Tea), I loved the different clothing and jewellery stores. Beautiful jewellery pieces,clothing and art were on display for us to marvel at and purchase!
I’ve been to the Hout Bay Organic Market before and loved the fresh produce that you could buy there to take home, and at the Blaauwklippen Family Market I’ve bought some unique clothing before. Whichever market you chose, this is a must- do while in Cape Town!
Have a drink at the Life Grand Café in the Waterfront
This was the setting for our Urban Decay event, and just look at how magical it is! The Life Grande Café has an amazing upper section that overlooks the deck, and having cocktails there while gazing at this view, was the highlight of my trip. Just gorgeous!
Other fun things to do is take a stroll on the promenade or a hike up Lions Head(I did not bring my gym gear with so that was not on the cards for us this time ;)), indulge in a delicious ice cream sandwich from Crumbs and Cream, see the beautiful streets of Bo Kaap in person and mostly, just have a lot of fun!
A quick note on the logistics of getting to Cape Town and staying there
Flights– I always book all my flights on Cheap Flights. The cheapest day to book is a Tuesday and the most expensive is any time over the weekend. If you start looking early, you can get a local flight for as little as R800, and again it all depends on days that you are flying! The most expensive day to fly is a Sunday statistically so take that into account.
Car rental– I’ve had a great experience with Avis and a terrible one with Budget Car Hire! All depends on what you looking for, but Avis always wins for me with its great rates.
I am going for another visit to Cape Town in May, and I can’t wait to explore more. Do you have any recommendations for me?