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Top 10 Things To Do in Cape Town

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Cape Town has everything for every kind of traveler. That’s right; the perfect weather all year round together with unique beaches, good shopping, nice nightlife, incredible scenery, exquisite cuisine and interesting history that will make you want to move to the city. In this article I will tell the Top 10 Things to Do in Cape Town that will make you want to book the next flight!

1.Go all the way up to Table Mountain

I was impressed with the views from Table Mountain. There are few places in the world like that where from one place you can spot most areas of the city. The name comes from the flat top shape mountain and its part of Table Mountain National Park together with Cape of Good Hope.

View from Table Mountain

View from Table Mountain

Related: Driving the Cape Peninsula: The Scenic Route

You can get up there by foot – several good hiking trails are possible but the quickest way is by Cable Car.

Cost: The round trip on the cable car costs R255. I strongly recommend you to buy the tickets online in advance to avoid massive queues. You can read more information about it here. There is also a cost to hike up the mountain and depends on the route you choose (you can check it here).

View from Table Mountain

View from Table Mountain

2.Learn about South African’s history in District 6 Museum

A visit to this museum will make you understand better South Africa’s period of apartheid when in 1966 the government declared District Six area ‘whites only’ and more than 60,000 residents were forced to move from their homes.

Cost: R30 for self-guided entrance and R45 for a guided tour with an ex-resident/guide. See more information here.

District 6 Museum, Cape Town

3.Eat Delicious Food

South Africa is probably one of the best countries I have ever eaten! In Cape Town you will find so many places from the simple street food van to the most expensive restaurants, everything is rich in flavour and worth the try.

My favourites during my visit were Mama Africa that had meat in huge portions and Marco’s African Place with the best peri-peri shrimps. In both places there was live music that just enriched the experience. I also loved the seafood at Willoughby & Co at the V&A Waterfront.

Related: The Vineyards of Franschhoek Valley

4.Go to the beach

There are several beaches within minutes from the city centre. Sunbathing, swimming, surfing there are so many things to do.  Visit some of my favourites Camps Bay, Muizenberg and Boulder’s Beach for some rocky hippie vibes.

Beach in Cape Town

5.Have a cocktail in Long Street

Long Street is the place for partying. You will find several cosy and retro bars there with awesome cocktails that will make you want to dance all night long! The best spot for me are was Zula Sound Bar and Café.

6.Discover the beautiful colours of Bo-Kaap

Bo-Kaap formerly known as the Malay Quarter, is a multicultural area full of coloured houses that make the area a must go for all the photography lovers!

There is a little museum there where you can find more about the history of the area.

I opted to stay there because it’s very well located in the middle of the city. La Rose Bed & Breakfast was the perfect place for my time in Cape Town. Breakfast was perfectly cooked every morning with fresh fruit and the owners gave us lots of advice on where to go and see in the city.

Bo-Kaap, Cape Town

7.Stroll around V&A waterfront

V&A waterfront was named after Queen Victoria and her son Alfred and it remains till this days a beautiful harbour full of art work.

V&A waterfront in Cape Town

Although this area is mainly for food or shopping, there are more things to do. You can go for a boat tour around the waterfront to see the seals or Robben Island.

Seals in V&A waterfront in Cape Town

V&A waterfront in Cape Town

V&A waterfront in Cape Town

8.Became one with nature at Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens

Unique flowers species can be found here with the impressive Table Mountain on the background. The gardens are beautiful and filled with trees that are specific from the African continent.

Cost: R55 for an adult ticket.

Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens in Cape Town

Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens in Cape Town

Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens in Cape Town

9.Get inspired by African Art work

Even if you’re not into art and don’t want to walk around shops, believe me, you will most certainly bring something from Cape Town. It’s just irresistible the amount of good art work around and hand crafted objects you see everywhere! The Pan African Market and the Greenmarket Square offer great variety. If you want to experience something different, head over to Woodstock to see the many art galleries that are quickly giving the area a very trendy vibe.

Cape Town markets

Cape Town markets

10.Visit Robben Island

From V&A waterfront you can take a boat to Robben Island which was a former island prison for people against the Apartheid regime. One famous name was Nelson Mandela that spent more than 2 years in the island. The tour is two and half hours and you will learn more about this period of South Africa’s history.

Cost: R190 – R340, check more here.

TOP 10 Things TO DO in Cape Town

Have you done any of my Top 10 Things to Do in Cape Town? Tell me your favourite thing to do in the city!

 

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Driving the Cape Peninsula: The Scenic Route

Driving the Cape Peninsula from Cape Town is something that everyone should really do! Why? Because the scenery is beautiful and will give you the opportunity to explore all the cities, little towns, go for a swim or indulge yourself in amazing food along the way.

Hiring a car in Cape Town it’s easy, there are numerous rental services around the city so you don’t have to rush and do it straight from the airport. I recommend you to book the service as soon as you arrive for the days you want, because if you just leave it for the day before, you may not have a lot of choice.

How long does it take to drive the Cape Peninsula?

The usual amount of time to drive the Cape Peninsula is one day.

Saying that, it’s possible to stretch these to two days, if you really want to emerge yourself in all the little towns along the way.  I did not have a lot of time so opted for one day.

We left at about 7am from Cape Town and return around 10pm.

We took our time along the way, had nice meals, stopped to go to the beach and enjoyed the views. This is why it’s a good option to rent a car, you can just follow your own pace and if you want to stop somewhere you just do it.

We never paid for parking along the way, even at Cape Point with so many excursions we managed to just park for free. There were a few places, more close to the beach areas, where there were some people with yellow vests helping to park the cars but they did not ask for any money.

The route around Cape Peninsula

The route it’s really easy to follow with a simple map (even without GPS) because it’s just goes around the coast– as seen on the map below.

Little-Foot-Adventures-Cape-Peninsula

The simplified version of the route with the main stops is like this:

Cape Town > Camps Bay > Hout Bay > Chapman’s Peak > Cape Point > Simons Town > Kalk Bay > Muizenberg > Constantia > Cape Town

What to see along the Cape Peninsula?

STOP 1 Camps Bay

Some of the most picturesque views not far from Cape Town are in Camps Bay. It’s also one of the best trendy places to visit. There you can relax on the beach or enjoy breakfast while looking at the palm trees, Miami style. Don’t miss the views of the Twelve Apostles.

Little-Foot-Adventures-Cape-Peninsula

STOP 2 Hout Bay

This small fishing village is buzzing with locals surfing and tourists enjoying the beach. In here it’s possible to see the Sentinel Mountain Peak and get a boat to Seal Island, where you can play with the Cape Fur Seals. We skipped this last one because the seals are really everywhere, even in Cape Town waterfront. There are also nice shops and restaurants around, it was a shame it was still early for lunch as I would have gone for a very big plate of seafood!

Little-Foot-Adventures-Cape-Peninsula

STOP 3 Chapman’s Peak

The drive continues to Chapman’s Peak where you will want to stop in several viewpoints to see the magnificent panorama over the bay and how the mountains touch the clouds. If you’re lucky you can also spot the Southern Right Whales. Unfortunately we went to South Africa in February meaning that it was off the ‘whale spotting’ season. The chance to see them is higher between July and November.

Little-Foot-Adventures-Cape-Peninsula

STOP 4 Cape Point

To visit Cape Point there is an entrance fee of R105 p/adult as this is considered to be part of the Table Mountain National Park, together with Table Mountain in Cape Town.

The park is known by the diversity of plants, birds and other animals like baboons and the Cape Town Mountain Zebra, which I did not spot while there.

There is a funicular that takes you up to the top with a cost of R49 p/adult return. Once you arrive from the funicular you have to climb a numerous of stairs that will take you up to the lighthouse which has an amazing view of the bay and the nature reserve.

Little-Foot-Adventures-Cape-Peninsula

We decided to have lunch there, as we just feel in love with the views from the Two Ocean’s Restaurant, overlooking False Bay and the delicious menu. There is a cheaper snack restaurant there selling pizzas, sandwiches and other quick snacks.

After lunch we head over to the Cape of Good Hope, one of the most famous areas visited. It was known in the old days by the sailors as a reference point to navigation.

Contrary to what I thought, this is not the southernmost point of the African continent (that’s in Cape Agulhas) but anyway, it’s well worth for the views!

Little-Foot-Adventures-Cape-Peninsula

STOP 5 Simons Town/Boulders Beach

We drove through Simon’s Town and it’s nice to go along the coast and see all the Victorian style houses. What we really were excited to see were the penguins in Boulder’s Beach!

In the area there is a large colony of African penguins, also known by Jackass Penguins that walk along the white sand beach and swim along with people. They were so cute and gracious, jumping from the rocks to swim and are clearly used to be in the middle of the many people that came to visit every day. Even if you don’t come for the drive along the Cape Peninsula, do come and see them anyway, it’s not far from Cape Town.

Boulders-Beach-Little-Foot-Adventures-Cape-Peninsula

STOP 6 Kalk Bay

Kalk Bay is a fishing village with a lot of beautiful colourful houses where you can see a strong fishing community actively working in the harbour.

We had to spot there for an ice cream and enjoy the ocean breeze!

We also had a look on the fascinating fish markets. Kalk Bay is another place to spot the Southern Right Whales during their season.

STOP 7 Muizenberg

Either this is your last stop before Cape Town or not, don’t miss it! It was one of my favourite places as the town is really cheerful with its colourful beach huts.

Don’t miss the chance to deep your toes in the water in St. James Beach because the water is warm and there is a pool made up in the ocean which is great for a swim!

Little-Foot-Adventures-Cape-Peninsula-Muizenberg

STOP 8 Constantia

Our last stop, not the most usual one, but we really wanted to have dinner outside Cape Town that day to finish the day in a beautiful way.

The Constantia Wine Route includes some of the oldest wine estates in South Africa, great for a quick trip from Cape Town. We decided to skip this activity as we had already planned to visit Franschhoek (read more here).

Because it was still quite light we spotted Simon’s Restaurant with a space on the open air and little candles and thought it was just the perfect place! The food was excellent, we both had steaks, and of course a bottle of wine, after all we were in the wine country.

Little-Foot-Adventures-Cape-Peninsula

Are you planning a drive around Cape Peninsula? Tell me your plans!

 

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The Vineyards of Franschhoek Valley

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South Africa is world known by its vineyards. The quality and unique flavour of the wine produced in the country is one of the reasons people visit as I found out in Franschhoek.

FranschhoekFranschhoek

Franschhoek is a lovely little town in the Western Cape Province at about 75 kilometres from Cape Town.

As I wanted to go for a ‘wine tasting’ tour while in South Africa I researched where I could do this. Within the most usual places people go to are Stellenbosch, Paarl and Constantia which are all close to Cape Town. I came across Franschhoek and really fell in love by the breath taking scenery, so decided to go over and stay for 2 days.

Little did I know that the town is world known by the picturesque vineyards, world class cuisine and more than 300 year history.

Little Foot Adventures

In 1688 the Dutch government gave this land to a small group of French refugees and they have settled in building farms which they have given French names from where they came. Later these farms became well-known wineries such as La Motte, La Cotte, Cabrière or La Provence.

Needless to say that the all town is very much influenced by the French traditions, from the magnifique wine to the excellent cuisine.

Wine Tours in Franschhoek

There are numerous wine tours in Franschhoek that you can join in with several prices depending on what you are looking for. I must say I am not a great expert when it comes to wines so it was just about the experience.

Little Foot Adventures
Dieu Donne

The Wine Tram

When we arrived to Franschhoek we learned about the ‘Franschhoek Wine Tram’.

The Franschhoek Wine Tram is a hop-on hop-off tour that goes around the valley with several stops along the way where you can, most of all, taste different types of wine.  They have five lines with different colours and you opt for one that takes you to different cellars depending on your wine taste. Each line can take you up to eight wine estates but you don’t have to stop in all of them.

I immediately loved the idea, it just sounded like great fun!

We opted for the ‘red line’ and stopped at Maison Estate, Leopard’s Leap, Chamonix, Dieu Donne, The Franschhoek Cellar and Grande Provence.

As this is one of the most popular wine tours I advise you to book it at least the day before you intend to go.

Wine overload in Franschhoek

It was early in the morning and I was thinking ‘Am I really going to drink wine at 10 am?’ and then it’s like ‘Why not? Life is short’ so off we went to visit some of the most beautiful vineyards.

Each cellar is waiting for these tour groups and they already have ‘wine tasting’ menus ready with super cheap prices, like $3 USD for 6 glasses of wine and some include cheese boards and chocolates.

Franschhoek

Make sure you eat properly before you indulge yourself in these activities as by 12 am you may already have tried 40 different wines.

In each stop apart from drinking wine you can also enjoy the views which are incredible and buy a few pieces of art from the local artisans.

Dieu Donne
Dieu Donne

Little Foot Adventures

I also had sort of lunch in Dieu Donne which consisted in a massive cheese board and fruit with more wine, of course!

The day was absolutely brilliant and even that I still don’t understand much of wines I loved it and had lots of fun.

Franschhoek

Food made in heaven in Franschhoek

When I planned to visit Franschhoek I wasn’t really thinking about food but ‘Oh my’ I got a big surprise! To the small little cafe to top restaurants nothing disappoint me, the food was delicious!

I soon found out that Franschhoek has eight of the top 100 restaurants in South Africa and is known as the Wine & Gourmet Capital of the country.

Franschhoek

My choices to visit:

  • Chamonix
  • The French Connection
  • Café Franschhoek
  • Leopards Leap
  • Col’Cacchio Pizzeria

Where to stay in Franschhoek?

We booked our accommodation last minute and did not want to spend a lot of money. In Franschhoek there are not a lot of hotels but tons of bed and breakfasts so that’s what we went for! We also looked for one with a pool to enjoy the sun after our wine tour and it end up being the perfect experience! The town is really small and even if you’re not driving it’s possible just to walk to the city centre and the taxis are cheap if you need one.

Franschhoek

Have you tried any wine tours in South Africa? Let’s talk about it, comment below.

 

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Diving with Great White Sharks in Gansbaai, South Africa

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The Great White Sharks

Sharks are with no doubt one of the scariest and deadliest animals in the world. They have been pictured in many movies killing and injuring people contributing to the increase of hunting the specie. Diving with the Great White Sharks in Gansbaai made me demystify my fears.

The truth is that humans are not part of the shark’s diet which consists mainly of fish and seals. They rarely attack and most of those times there is blood in the water.

The great white shark can be found on the coastal waters of major oceans and are huge reaching up to 6 metres in length and 2,300 kg in weight.

Because they have a high developed sensory and visual systems and a powerful body they can swim very fast reaching 50-60 km per hour.

From the world population of Great white sharks it’s estimated that almost half of it can be found in South Africa. The country was the first in the world to protect the specie and has become a prime destination for the adrenaline seekers.

Diving with Great White Sharks in Gansbaai

Gansbaai is one of the best places in the world to spot these sharks. This little town not far from Cape Town has become one of the most visited in the country, thanks to the activity of cage diving with sharks.

Because of this the community leaves almost of the shark encounters and they have created many programmes and initiatives to protect the sharks with volunteers coming from all over the world to help.

Why cage diving?

The opportunity to be face to face with these sharks is what makes people dive in the cold waters of South Africa. The adrenaline and the chance of meeting such a predator in their natural habitat also attracts people to it.

Cage diving is pretty safe compared to actually diving as the cage it’s attached to the boat and sealed everywhere. There is an opening on the top where people get in and out but remains closed when people are on the water.

When I first heard of it could not stop myself from reading and watching videos from other people. Some of these experiences were not so good and it made me think that maybe I should not do it. I must say that my experience was really calm and relaxed and most of all not scary at all.

How to do it?

The best way to do Cage Diving in South Africa is by booking a company in advanced, they get full up quite quickly. There are two places: False Bay and Gansbaai where I went as the possibility to spot sharks there is higher s I explained before and it was closer for us.

We booked our dive with White Shark Diving Co. You should leave just one day for this activity because there are two slots, one really early and then another one just at lunch time. Either of them (with this company) include: drive from/back Cape Town; briefing, boat trip and cage diving; breakfast, snacks on the boat and lunch; diving gear (suits/shoes and mask) and towels. The price is $132 USD for divers with $30 USD for transportation. There is also the option of just watching with no dive for $120 USD. For more information you can check their website here.

My experience diving with Great White Sharks in Gansbaai

I was pretty excited for this activity but not really scared. I had a little snooze from Cape Town to Gansbaai and the journey felt really quick.

When I got there, the first group already had return and were telling us about the big sharks they have seen. There was a little video and when I saw how big they were I started to think that maybe I should not have signed up for this…too late!

A small breakfast on the company office was followed by a briefing around a model of the cage we were going into. Then off to the boat and 20 minutes ride off the coast.

First they got the cage and attached it to the boat. Then they distributed the suits. The thickest ones I have ever put on! Soon I was going to find out that the water was freezing cold.

One of the crew members was preparing the bait. I can’t really call it that because there was no real food at all for the shark.

They do not feed the sharks with fish. Instead they had an old fish head which they were using to soak in fish blood to attract the sharks towards the boat. In my opinion the movement of that on the water was what was attracting the sharks. They were just curious about the noise but quickly would go away once they realized there was no food.

At first I was scared and decided to go in the second group. After I seen how the shark was behaving it was actually not scary at all. When passing through the cage the shark does not pay much attention to people. He was actually more curious to what the people on the boat were doing, going around the cage several times but more on the surface.

The cage can take up to 8 people at time. To stay under water there are specific places where we had to grab our hands and put our feet. With only a mask to see the sharks, we were only putting our heads under water when the sharks were coming, which happens really quick.

The first group was not very lucky and they waited forever in the freezing water. The first shark just wasn’t interested in them. Then it was our turn to go. Slowly the cage is open, one group comes out and another goes in.

During this time the crew does not attract any attention towards the boat. We went quickly in and at that point I was more worried how cold the water was.

Then, the waiting game starts. They moist the head fish again in a bucket full of fish blood and throw it in the water. Repeat this three, four times. And then it comes, a massive shark with about 4 metres passes in front of our eyes. Every time he’s coming they shout ‘heads down’ so we can quickly see it under water. They are not scary at all, they look beautiful and at one point I saw their eyes directly to mine.

At the same time I say they are beautiful I would not risk to put my arms out of the cage (which is possible as the bars are large enough) as it would take seconds for the shark to grab it.

The most spectacular moment happened when the shark jumped from the water towards the fish head, just like a movie with a display of their big set of teeth.

After this, he soon lost interest and did not come back for about 15 minutes again. By then I have been in the water 1 hour and half and needed to warm up so left the cage. It’s exciting to see it also just on the boat as you see the fin going around it like in the horror movies.

Overall opinion

It’s a different experience and I recommend it if you really into this sort of crazy stuff! The water was not totally clear and most of the best moments actually happened at surface so watching from the boat it’s not bad at all either.

I would definitely repeat it because the adrenaline is high and it’s exciting to watch how the great white sharks behave. It is truth that cage diving is controversial but I did not saw anyone feeding the sharks so don’t think that makes them dependent on feeding because they still have to hunt to feed themselves.

Also, the companies really educate people that participate in these activities to respect the sharks and to protect them. We had a small educative session before and a lot of explanation on how they act when we were in the boat/cage so I am much more aware on how to act when going to an area that is prone to have sharks.

More adventures from South Africa coming soon!

 

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