Your Fool-Proof Guide to 72 Hours in Cape Town
Cape Town is a dream travel destination. The bustling streets are packed with marketplaces and award-winning restaurants, while the sea and lush mountain peaks are just steps away. Planning a 72-hour escape to a city with so many must-see sites and must-try activities is daunting, and that’s why we’ve created this fool-proof guide to making the most of three days in the Mother City of South Africa.
Jumpstart your first morning with a refreshing taste of Cape Town from the valley – at the Waterkloof, take a one hour horseback ride in the early hours of the morning to avoid the heat, or opt for a helicopter ride to see the terrain from above. Settle in for a lunch after your adventure at the Waterkloof restaurant “Cellar in the Sky.”
The noteworthy Spier 1692 wine vineyard and farm is inviting for all – taste their concoctions with your choice of chocolate or charcuterie, with the option of grape juice tasting for the kiddos in the tasting room overlooking the Spier Dam. If that wine makes you hungry, just wander over to one of the several restaurants on site: my personal recommendation is the healthy, farm-to table option, called Eight.
Enjoy your position on the Atlantic Ocean with an Animal Ocean adventure – the perfect way to kickstart your first of three days in Cape Town. You can snorkel alongside adorable seals, or go on a Cape Photographic Expedition for underwater photography. It’s up to you to decide which adventure sounds appealing.
Opt for a treat on your very first night at the renowned Cellars-Hohenort, a hotel villa meets cuisine specialty for an unforgettable Cape Town welcome in the heart of the Constantia Valley. Choose between their two high end restaurants on site: Greenhouse and the Conservatory, where their chef serves up authentic Cape Town dishes. Stroll through the neighbouring vineyard in the Cape of Good Hope and sample fine wines, and take a brief walk to the Saturday farmer’s market at Hout Bay. This location provides easy access to all of Cape Town’s finest.
Get pumped for day two at the quirky Bootlegger Coffee Company, with Guatemalan and Costa Rican coffee. You’ll find these stores all over Cape Town, as it has become a hit over the past couple years. If you don’t opt for breakfast at your hotel, order some poached eggs, hollandaise, and sourdough bread to accompany your coffee.
You’ll likely want a refill – the coffee’s that good. So, coffee in hand, head over to the Clementina Ceramics Shop, which features ceramics made by Clementina van der Walt – a notable South African artist. You’ll immediately fall in love with the bowls and cups – their fascinating shapes and textures will add them to your “must buy” list.
Or, visit the SMAC gallery to view the art of contemporary South African artists who are up and coming. These works of art are often featured in international art festivals.
Authentically South African: A game of cricket. Head over to the Cape Cobra’s game spot at the Newland’s cricket ground, situated under the gorgeous view of the Table Mountain. So much history has happened here, it’s worth a tour. I recommend you call ahead to book – they’re quite popular.
You’ll be hungry after a morning chocked full of adventure – and here’s the perfect opportunity to try a restaurant like Savoy Cabbage. Its typical guests include the likes of politicians and movie stars, and for good reason – its champagne bar and authentically South African menu make it a must-try in your 72 hours.
Head over to the Benguela Cove to discover all they have to offer – such as premium olive oil from their 10 olive groves, a pontoon tour aboard the Lady Bonnie pontoon boat on neighbouring waters, or one of their many events – such as the Three Wine Men tour with featured wine experts including Oz Clarke. Check out their calendar to see what’s on tap for your 72 hours.
Stop by the MOJO Market on your way to dinner. Take your pick from the MOJO Coffee Collective, shop the vendors’ unique products, and settle in for some live musical entertainment. If you really like it, visit again tomorrow morning – then you can really go crazy on the coffee and bakery treats.
Grab dinner at the Hotel Verde, known for its fine dining atmosphere and healthy cuisine. If it’s a Wednesday, join them for their weekly Earth Hour, starting at 7pm. Lit only by solar energy, all appliances and electronics are turned off – providing for a romantic and fun environment with an emphasis on eco-friendliness. It’s a powerful experience to top your delicious meal.
Hit Club Lenin on the Blouberg Beach Front to meet fellow travellers and the Cape Town locals who are official Club Lenin members – with two floors featuring a sports bar, a cocktail bar, a cigar lounge, you’ll be set for a night of delicious drinks and dynamite dancing with South Africa’s finest. You have to register as a tourist to get in – which adds to the mystique and allure of the highly exclusive club.
Now that you’re falling more deeply in love with South African culture and views, spend the night at one of the four romantic Delaire Graff Lodges. Ogle at the views of Stellenbosch Valley and the vineyard, and relax in the spa or your bubble bath after a long, exciting day of exploring. Still feel like wandering? Take a look at the estate gardens and the gallery.
Stroll through the STEVENSON Gallery – there is one located in Johannesburg and one right here in Cape Town. The art is unique, refreshing, and representative of international taste. Expect the unexpected as you peruse the gallery’s treasures.
Head over to the Boschendal farm and experience the quaint hospitality on a gorgeous landscape, with opportunities for mountain biking, horseback riding, wine cellar tours, and a stroll through the Boschendal Gardens. There is much to explore on this beloved farm, guided by the on site hosts who know and love it best.
The Fairview Tasting Room boasts treats in addition to its incredible wines – settle in with friends or visiting strangers to bond over exquisite tastes. Try the cheese, yogurt, and cheesecake, paired with refreshing wines within your designated pod, led by knowledgeable hosts.
Learn more about the Cape Town’s animals and farmland at the Babylonstoren – one of the oldest Cape Dutch farms. You’ll see a number of vegetables, indigenous plants, ducks, and berries at this serene sight. Take a workshop on a topic that particularly interests you (such as herbs for health, or the purpose of bees) and, if you can’t get enough of the relaxing atmosphere, book a night at the hotel. Make sure to purchase some farm-fresh produce at the Farm Shop on your way out.
It’s time for some wilderness exploration. Visit Cape Point for dinner at the Two Oceans restaurant – the view will nearly knock you out, as its situated in the Table Mountain National Reserve overlooking False Bay – a double win during sunset. Your mouth will be watering over the view and the food. Take the Dutchman Funicular for an easy ride up.
Have one last night before you catch a flight. Settle in for a cozy evening at the Welgelegen Boutique Hotel – comfortably situated nearby Table Mountain and other classic Cape Town landmarks in case you want one last peek in the morning before you go. Take a dip in the pool, stroll through the gardens, and relax with a good book to soak up the last few hours of this glorious Cape Town vacation.