Locals Only: Exploring Cape Town

Two years ago, I decided to make the move from New York City to Cape Town to serve as the Extraordinary Journeys in-country concierge to clients. This means I am on the same time zone as our travelers and available 24/7 to ensure a consistent and unparalleled customer experience for every trip.

Over the past couple years I have had friends and family visit me in my adopted ‘Mother City’ and I love giving people a taste of life as a Capetonian. Most importantly: Frequent the local hangouts and (mostly) avoid the tourist traps.

Here’s an overview of my suggested itinerary for friends, family, and intrepid travelers.

Day 0:

Arrive. Check-in at the hotel. Dine at RockPool. (Side note: My dad – who lives in Washington State – claims RockPool has the best fish and chips he’s ever tasted.)

Day 1:

Breakfast at Jarryd’s. Walk after the meal on the Sea Point Promenade. Continue to the V&A Waterfront to explore. Lunch at Life Grand Café. Boat cruise of the Waterfront Harbor. Dine at Grand Africa Café and Beach.

Day 2:

Breakfast at Truth Coffee (regarded as the “world’s best coffee shop”). Visit the District 6 Museum and Castle of Good Hope. Keep your blood sugar in check with a snack in the Company’s Garden at Madame Zingara’s Company’s Garden Restaurant. Explore the buzzing Long Street, Loop Street, and Bree Street. Shop for curios at Green Market Square. Sundowners and dinner in Camps Bay. (Note: There are tons of fabulous restaurants in Camps Bay but we dined at The 41.)

Day 3:

Depart for a full day in the Cape Winelands. Breakfast at Schoon De Companje in Stellenbosch. Hop on the Franschhoek Wine Tram. (I like the Red Line.) Dine at The FatButcher in Stellenbosch before returning to Cape Town.

Day 4:

Breakfast at Oranjezicht City Farm Organic Market (or OCZF for those in the know). Head to Woodstock – one of Cape Town’s hippest areas – to admire the street art and Blue Chip galleries. Make sure to check out The Neighbourgoods Market in The Old Biscuit Mill. Then check out Table Mountain Cableway for the Sunset Special (be sure to purchase tickets beforehand). Dine in Constantia at La Colombe.

Days 5-9:

Go on safari in South Africa. There are hundreds of easily accessible options!

Day 10:

Drive through Camps Bay. Be sure to stop at Llandudno – a beautiful beach for photos. Breakfast at Pokalolo, Suikerbossie or Barney’s Artisan Deli in Hout Bay. Enjoy one of Cape Town’s most scenic drives through Chapman’s Peak to Noordhoek, then Kommetjie, to the Cape Peninsula. Ride the Flying Dutchman Funicular to the lighthouse on Cape Point. Choose from scenic walks and/or visit the sign demarcating the most southwestern point of the African continent at the Cape of Good Hope for a classic Cape Town photo op. Do bring good walking shoes to navigate the trail between Cape Point and the sign for the Cape of Good Hope. (Pro tip: There is a stunning beach that is hidden and only accessible from this trail.) Jump back in the car to drive to Simon’s Town – a good way-station to refuel with snacks. Stop along the way at Boulder’s Beach to visit the colony of African penguins. Continue the drive through Fish Hoek to Kalk Bay. Dine in Kalk Bay.

Day 11:

Relax and repack for the long journey home. If you have time, choose from the following: Kirstenbosch Gardens, Bay Harbour Market in Hout Bay, hiking Lion’s Head or paragliding.

There you have it… Cape Town like a local!