Cape Town, South Africa, is one of the most beautiful places I have ever seen. I can’t wait to go back, despite the 16-hour flight from New York. The people are friendly, the atmosphere is beautiful, the prices are reasonable, and the food is amazing. The weather is best from October through February (their summer), but this is also the busy season. While I visited Cape Town in April, during their fall season, which can be rainy, windy, and misty, I lucked out and the weather was perfect; 80s and sunny with no humidity every day. If you’re willing to chance it, this is the best time to go to avoid crowds.
Some of the nicest hotels in Cape Town, all located either near or on the beach with a beautiful view of the water, are Cape Grace, One & Only, and Ellerman House. Both located in the Victoria & Albert Waterfront, Cape Grace and One & Only are within walking distance to nearby sights, shopping, and the beach. The Cape Grace is more reasonably priced, and One & Only is a little more expensive, urban, and luxurious. The convenient location of both hotels makes the area slightly touristy, but potentially worth it for the proximity to the waterfront if that’s a priority for your trip. Ellerman House is priced higher than the previous two, but is located in the hills of Camps Bay overlooking the beach and coastline below. Because it’s a converted mansion with fewer rooms than the other hotels, and situated away from the beach, it’s more private and the view is beautiful. It’s still less than a 10-minute drive to the beach as well, so it’s not far out of the way at all. Plus, renting a car in Cape Town is necessary if you’d like to have the freedom to get around on your own anyway. Had we not rented a car, we would have missed out on some great experiences, like the Old Biscuit Mill (more details below), which was one of our favorite parts of the trip.
The city offers so many unique things to do and see. Don’t miss Boulders Beach, home to a group of penguins that migrated over from a nearby island to avoid the sharks. The best way to see the beach is by kayak; there are guided kayaking tours that leave from Simon's Town, a quaint seaside town that’s worth a walk around. Table Mountain, named for its flat top, has a rotating tram that takes you from the bottom to the top in less than five minutes, or you can choose to hike. On a clear day, the views from the top of the mountain are amazing. Taking a drive around the entire Cape Peninsula, you’ll find yourself on winding roads hugging the side of the mountains, overlooking a crystal blue sea. It’s so picturesque that at times it doesn’t seem real. Camps Bay has a beautiful beach with tons of beach-side restaurants and shops. Not far from Camps Bay is the Victoria & Albert Waterfront, home to a huge indoor and outdoor shopping mall, Ferris wheel, restaurants, and various other attractions all overlooking the water. And for the more adventurous, there are shark diving and scuba diving trips available. Personally, I’d rather spend my time eating food, not being food!
It may not be likely for an American to have just two days in Cape Town, but if by chance you find yourself there with a limited amount of time, here are some of our favorite recommendations I received from the locals.