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48 hours in Cape Town

by Travelbag on 24 April 2018, 15:04PM

Cape Town is South Africa’s second biggest city after Johannesburg. Most visitors come to see the famous sites relating to Nelson Mandela and Apartheid But there's so much more to scratch beneath the surface. In this city, the outdoors blends effortlessly with edgy urban spots – Table Mountain National Park is literally in the city. South Africa's world-beating wines are no secret – and where there’s good wine, there’s good food. You can expect to find amazing restaurants here. What’s more, a large population of artisans and designers have created hip spaces in districts like Woodstock and Greenmarket Square.

Sounds like a lot to take in, doesn't it? If you're not sure where to start, take a look at this handy 48-hour itinerary for things to do in Cape Town, and start planning your break. 

Cape Town

Day one

Day One: Morning

Get your bearings by kicking things off in the city centre and get to know your way around the city. There’s a couple of iconic landmarks to tick off the list like the 17th century Dutch for Castle of Good Hope, some of it built from rock sourced from Table Mountain itself. It’s the oldest surviving colonial building in South Africa. Then, descend down to Darling Street on the south side and walk up to Haas Coffee (corner of Caledon and Buitenkant Streets) for a mid-morning caffeine fix. Next up is City Hall, off Buitenkant and Darling Streets, where Nelson Mandela spoke about freedom and tolerance 11 February 1990 – the day he was freed from prison. Swing by Darling Street where you’ll find the ‘We are still here’ memorials that mark what was once a slave market.


Day One: Afternoon

Once you’ve wandered around a bit, head west towards Long Street where you’ll find cool dining spots (we like Fork Tapas and Pinchos Bar) as well as a host of shops and museums to while away the remaining sunlight hours in. Alternatively, head east towards the Old Biscuit Mill in Woodstock (you can take a cab) to rummage through edgy art and contemporary design items from southern and eastern Africa. We like Imiso for its weird and wonderful Picasso-esque art pieces at affordable prices. There are restaurants here too if you’re after an early supper/late lunch.


Day One: Evening

Head back to Green Market Square and order an aperitif in The Gin Bar where five different cocktails (a short menu is always a good sign) are served in a Mediterranean style courtyard. The subdued and moody atmosphere by the bar is emphasised by stern faces on dusty portraits on the wall, subtle reminders that this was once a morgue. Then take a stroll up Bree Street, and choose from the clutch of trendy bars and restaurants along the way. Otherwise, continue towards Tanker Basin and end up in one of the eateries in the Victoria and Alfred Waterfront.

inside the Castle of Good Hope

Day two

Day Two: Morning

Start early on the 9am tour to Robben Island where Mandela was kept captive for almost two decades (tours departing from Waterfront at 11am, 1pm and 3pm and last around four hours). There’s a small museum that chronicles the island's history and you can see the lime quarry where inmates were forced to work. Tours include Nelson Mandela’s cell, the graveyards of inmates who died of leprosy, the army and navy bunkers and the Maximum Security Prison.


Day Two: Afternoon

Once you’re back in the city, either pay a visit to the Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens on the eastern slopes of Table Mountain, entirely devoted to indigenous species – the flora of the Cape. Consider the Blue Mini Peninsula Tour to get there, you can hop on one of the regular buses and tours come in several languages.


Day Two: Evening

Finish the day off by taking the cable car up to the top of Table Mountain to watch the sunset (the last one departs at 7.30pm but remember to check sunset times beforehand). Extreme weather conditions can get in the way and even make it inaccessible but the views out over the city and Table Bay are a perfect end to your 48 hours. For dinner, we recommend ordering in one of the restaurants on the mountains flanks – Roundhouse and Aubergine Restaurant to name a few.

Robben Island, Cape Town in background

You can book a Cape Town holiday package with Travelbag. Why not extend your holiday with a safari on a South Africa multi-centre?

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