This itinerary will take you on a journey throughout Capetown, South Africa and its beautiful surroundings. You'll find yourself having an opulent 14-course meal experience at an affordable price, cage diving with sharks, and sipping away South African wine in native local vineyards.
Before diving in here, I'd like to share a few quick personal thoughts with you regarding Capetown (try not to let this influence your own perspective). First, the natural beauty of Capetown is impeccable. Still, socially it feels incredibly divided, and culturally, it lacks an identity. Nonetheless, the trip was enjoyable and educational in many ways. There is great value in visiting a city like Capetown: it will cause you to reflect on how each nation and city really is a product of its own history. Below you will find the itinerary, with inputs on the good, the crazy, and the better-avoided. But before going into the itinerary, here are some things you need to know before visiting Capetown:
What to know about flying to South Africa?
If you are looking to fly direct to Capetown, we found those flights to be in the area of $300-$600 more expensive, from Atlanta, than flying into Johannesburg. For about $100 you can buy a flight from Joburg to Capetown, so might as well space your itinerary to spend some time in Johannesburg before you're off to Capetown.
How bad is the jet lag when flying to South Africa from the States?
We experienced intense jet lag on this journey. It lasted roughly four days for us. A common result was waking up in the middle of the night wide awake, feeling disoriented. There are ways to combat it so do prepare yourself, body, and mind to overcome it.
Can you drink the tap water in Capetown?
You can drink the tap water in Capetown. Be mindful of your consumption of water in general (showers, toilets, etc.) as the city and region are recently recovering from a severe drought. Limit your time in the shower. And don’t flush until it’s brown.
Is Uber available in Capetown?
Yes and we used it avidly--short ETAs of 3-7 minutes seemed to be the norm.
What is the language spoken in Capetown?
Afrikaans is the most commonly spoken language in Capetown. We did not have any issues getting around speaking English, which is also a common language in Capetown.
The Itinerary, 5 days in Capetown, South Africa
Day 0: ATL to Johannesburg, South Africa
16 hours later.......
Day 0.5: Arrive in Johannesburg
4:35pm: Land in Johannesburg and prepare to head to Capetown
9:15pm - 11:20pm: Johannesburg to Capetown Flight
It took about 20 mins in an Uber to get to Green Point
Uber fare estimate: ~ 168R = $12USD
Green Point turned out to be a convenient place to stay in Capetown. It was a relatively well-to-do neighborhood, with plenty of services accessible by foot, with several sights nearby. Many of the tour companies we chose offered pick up and drop off from this location. We found the neighborhood to be a quiet place and soon learned that Capetown itself, generally speaking, is a quiet, calm city (by comparison, it's no New York or Rio).
We arrived at our Airbnb around midnight on a Saturday night and decided to hit the town.
First we ventured out to Long Street to take a peek into the nightlife. This street reminded us of Bourbon Street, New Orleans in some ways--there were several bars accessible on foot, music playing from every venue, quick bite restaurants, and quite a young crowd spread out hopping bar to bar. We didn't stick around too long as the scene seemed more appropriate for an age group between 18-25.
After this street, we hit Cubana Latina Cafe & Cigar Lounge. Now THIS was THE MOVE. You will get a feel of what a night out with a sophisticated African crowd is like. A distinctively Black, stylish and young crowd from all over the corner danced at every corner of the massive floor, while savoring cocktails and smoking hookah, to the pulsating rhythms of Afrobeats. Find a table if you can, grab some smoke and drinks and mingle with the folks around you. We were informed by the locals that there are very few places like Cubana Lounge in Capetown. And this made us begin to realize how intensely segregated the wealthier parts of the city truly are...
Day 1: Capetown
12:00pm: - Jazz Brunch at Harvey’s Winchester Mansions
The brunch turned out to be about 8 minutes walking distance from the Airbnb in Green Point--talk about convenience!
- The cost of this exquisite brunch banquet was 320R per person, ~$24USD. Totally worth it!
- The cost of the brunch includes complimentary Sunday Newspaper and a glass of bubbly upon arrival.
- The buffet has a wide selection of food from eggs, sushi, assorted cheeses, pastries, and so forth!
- Great way to wake up into Capetown. On a dollar basis, this place was pretty affordable, and makes you feel straight up aristocratic AF
2:00pm: Free Walking Tour of Bo Kapp
- There are no reservations needed to attend this tour
- The meeting place is at the Green Market Square where you will find the guides under green umbrellas
- The location is about 8 minutes driving distance from the Airbnb in Green Point
- We found that the tour was insightful. Although if you have a short attention span, I would not recommend it
- Highlights usually are:
- The oldest Mosque “Auwal Masjeed”
- “Tuan Guru” himself
- The old Tailors House
- The different coloured houses
- Biesmiellah Cape Malay Restaurant
- The Atlas Spice Trading Centre – smell the spices of the east
- The beautiful Chiappini Street
- Passing through Long Street and Bree Street.
- Although we had full intentions to attend this tour - we didn't end up making it because we got distracted by Aperols ;) (see below)
- If you are interested in continuing to explore this tour, the highlights include:
- Company’s Garden
- The oldest living citizen in Cape Town
- The Parliament and the old president's house
- Green Market Square
- The Castle of Good Hope
- The most spoiled citizens of Cape Town
- The Slave Lodge
La Parada Tapas Restaurant & Bar for your happy hour fixes ;)
Day 2: Cape Peninsula, Cape Point, and Penguin Colony
We used a company called African Eagle to book all of our tours in Capetown. It helps to book in bulk as they may be able to provide special rates for repeat guests. This tour ended up costing roughly ~$80 and we found it to be worthwhile. They also include Wi-Fi in their van, which is nothing to complain about!
8:00am - 9:00am: Pick up for day tour and hit the following spots:
You will spend the day exploring the following highlights on this tour from African Eagle:
- Clifton & Camps Bay
- Twelve Apostles
- Hout Bay (optional boat trip to Seal Isalnd)
- Chapmans Peak Drive
- Ostrich viewing drive by
- Cape of Good Hope Nature Reserve
- Cape Point
- Cape of Good Hope
- Penguin Colony (optional)
- Simons Town
- Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens
The tour is scheduled to return at 5 but I would count on it arriving later...
8:00pm: Dinner at Gold Restaurant
Y'ALL. DO YOURSELF A FAVOR AND GET A RESERVATION HERE THE MINUTE YOU BOOK YOUR FLIGHT. You will experience a 14-course African meal with dishes from all over the continent. There will be entertainment, dance shows, face painting, drum lessons, all enjoyed from your table and throughout the restaurant. You WON'T be disappointed in this experience. Make sure to make a reservation ahead of time as this books up fast. Definitely one of the highlights from the trip!
It's also reasonably priced for the immense and diversified feast you'll get to enjoy!!
Day 3 : Western Cape Wineries
We LOVED this tour! As mentioned above, we booked all of our tours using African Eagle. Here is the link to purchase the all day winery tour that includes stops in Stellenbosch, Paarl, and Franschhoek. The cost of the tour is around $70.
8:00am - 9:00am: The tour company will pick you up depending on what part of Capetown you are staying. Our Airbnb in Green Point proved to be clutch once more.
Details of the tour:
- City orientation
- Dorp Street
- De Braak
- Free walk around historical town
- Wine tasting at a Stellenbosch wine estate
- Cellar Tour
- Cheese Tasting
- Drive through Paarl
- Wine-tasting at a Paarl wine estate
- View Nelson Mandela’s former prison (Victor Verster)
- Historical village
- Huguenot memorial (optional)
- Wine tasting at a Franschhoek wine estate
- Helshoogte pass
- Opportunity to purchase wine
- Enjoy a unique ride on the Franschoek Tram
5:30pm: Return from Wineries and enjoy an evening in Green Point.
Day 4: Shark Cage Diving in South Africa
This tour begins at 5:00am and is scheduled to have you back in Capetown by 6:00pm
This excursion was the MAIN highlight of the Capetown trip! It is an INCREDIBLE being so close to yet and protected from Great White sharks. Now, depending on the time of year you go, the water may be FREEZING cold! AND there is no guarantee that you will see sharks. After-all, this is mother nature we’re talking about! Our crew had three groups and not every group was able to experience seeing them first hand in the cage. I would advise that you try to be in the group that gets selected to go first, because in successive rounds, the sharks may get scared away from the boat, or disinterested.
There were several elderly people on this excursion as well! So don't shy away if you think you're "too old" to do something like this. All ages are welcome!
Also - I do not recommend watching videos on YouTube of Shark Cage Diving Gone Wrong (we found the YouTube algorithm automatically finishes your 'Shark Cage Diving' query with 'Gone Wrong')…don’t psych yourself out. This is worthwhile!
Tour highlights include:
- Early pick up at your hotel, en route to Gansbaai
- Breakfast, overview of the day and safety briefing
- Launch from Gansbaai Harbour
- Anchor near Shark Alley and start cage-diving
- Approx 2-3 hours out at sea to enjoy the interaction with one of the natures most awesome predators
- Viewing of Great White Sharks, seals, various birdlife and whales in season
- Return to Gansbaai Harbour
- Lunch and viewing of DVD of the day
- Collection Of Cage Diving Certificates (On Request)
- Return to Cape Town
- Wi-Fi on board
8:30pm - 10:30pm: Dinner at Reverie Social Club
226A Lower Main Rd, Observatory, Cape Town, 7925, South Africa
- Weren’t able to make this dinner (due to our still-intense jet lag!) but I would recommend checking it out. The concept is unique. Every night the chef serves a party more or less of 20 people in somewhat of a family style manner. Great way to get to know the folks around you!
- Make reservations in advance as the occupancy here is limited
Day 5: Hiking Table Top Mountain/Mountains Den
10:00am - 12:00pm: Hike Lions Head in Capetown
- We found the level of difficulty of this hike to be low as it was more of an uphill walk on a paved path
- The views are BEAUTIFUL! As you can see here below -
1:00pm - 4:00pm: Shopping and Dining at V&A Waterfront
Shortly after a nice lunch at the Harbour House above, we picked up our luggage and headed to the airport to continue our African adventures in Kruger National Park and then Zanzibar. More to come there!