Traveling from abroad to come and visit the wonderful city of Cape Town? Here are some tips on hotels, travel and the basics of “How to do Cape Town” as a foreign visitor.
Uber is very functional here and highly recommended as a mode of getting around Cape Town. Especially to and from the airport.
Public transport is not all that reliable nor does it provide wide coverage of areas. MYCITI BUS services are also great and very much dependent on where you are staying, can be very useful. Routes are limited but the service is good.
Being a major tourist destination you are spoilt for choice here. There are many hotels, backpackers, boutique hotels and Airbnb galore!
The festival is in the city centre and more specifically in District Six. Cape Town is small! So you can pretty much stay anywhere near the city centre and it will be considered “close to the festival”.
If you want to be in walking distance of Cape Town’s best bars and restaurants we suggest you stay in these areas highlighted in orange:
If staying near nightlife and bars is not your scene and you are happy to be a bit further away but in a nice neighborhood, we suggest these places as wonderful areas to stay on your visit to Cape Town
$ = cheap
$$ = medium
$$$ = expensive
$$$$ = very expensive
Tamboerskoof (10min Uber from venue)
$$ – $$$$
Higgovale (10min Uber from venue)
$$ – $$$$
Oranjezicht (7min Uber from venue)
$$ – $$$$
Vredehoek (7min Uber from venue)
$$ – $$$$
Gardens (5min Uber from venue)
$$ – $$$$
Greenpoint (10min Uber from venue)
$$$ – $$$$
Seapoint (17min Uber from venue + also very vibrant nightlife)
$$$ – $$$$
Camps Bay (15min Uber away + fantastic beach + vibrant nightlife)
Clifton (17min away + fantastic beaches)
As you can see, accommodation costs can vary but these areas except Clifton & Camps Bay offer a range of options dependent on your budget. Clifton and Camps Bay are very wealthy neighborhoods and unlikely you will find a “bargain” in these places.
Restaurants and Bars
Cape Town is very well known for its outstanding restaurants so it’s pretty difficult to find a bad one. We can recommend the following: (in no particular order)
- One Park Listening bar and restaurant
- Scala (Italian)
- Boma on Bree (African Cuisine)
- Belly of the Beast (pre book + fine dining but unpretentious)
- Yours Truly (local hangout)
- El Burro Taqueria
- Kloof Street House
- Love Thy Neighbor
- Our Local
- Ouzeri (Mediterranean)
- Surfa Rosa (close to venue + local hangout)
- Saloon Bar (close to venue + very small but super fun!)
- Blondies (local hangout)
- Dark Horse (cocktails)
- Gigi @ Gorgeous George Hotel (upmarket rooftop)
- Power & The Glory (local hangout open during the day too and good coffee!)
- The Shack (a stalwart of the Cape Town bar scene! Down to earth hole in the wall!)
- The Village Idiot
- The Athletic Club & Social
Cape Town on the whole is a safe city. The above areas you are able to walk around freely, just be smart. You are coming to a country that has a very unequal society. Muggings and pickpockets are something to be aware of especially at night. Avoid quiet areas. And unless you are staying in or very near an orange zone, we suggest you Uber/Myciti Bus to and from your accommodation just to be on the safe side. Avoid Long street at night. It’s busy but it’s pretty hectic and loads of pickpockets. Day visit is recommended.
Things to do and see
- Table Mountain cable car
- Zeits MOCAA Museum of Contemporary African Art (highly recommend a visit!)
- Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens is a must!
- Robben Island day trip
- Hike up Lions Head
- Neighbourgoods Market at the Old Biscuit Mill in Woodstock
- Oranjezicht Farmers Market
- Clifton 4th Beach (if you feel like a day at the beach)
- Pan African Market in Long Street if you would like to do some curio shopping.
Loads of bars and restaurants in Upper Bree and Kloof street. These are the main nightlife zones for locals. Great day time dining too.
The city center lies nestled against the slopes of the iconic Table Mountain National Park, offering easy access to scenic hiking and walking trails. However, it’s essential to maintain a sense of caution regarding safety in these natural surroundings. (Uber friendly)
Before setting out on any hikes or walks, please familiarise yourself and follow these safety guidelines.
Kalk Bay is a lovely fishing village about a 40 min drive from the CBD. Highly recommend a visit. Amazing restaurants, thrift shops, boutique stores and beautiful ocean views.
Restaurants: Brass Bell, Salt, Olympia Cafe, Serroco. (Uber friendly)
Surfers! Please give Muizenberg a visit. You can rent boards and wetsuits and have an epic day on the waves! 5min from Kalk Bay. (Uber friendly)
Hout bay is another lovely little fishing village close to the CBD, about 20 min away. Beautiful beach, great seafood. (Uber friendly)
Penguin lovers! A visit to Boulders Beach is definitely worth doing. It’s just tricky for transport as Uber doesn’t really service the area, so renting a car is suggested. There is an entrance fee. You could combine your trip to Kalk Bay with this as Boulders beach is about 15 min past Kalk Bay. Boulders beach is easily the best beach Cape Town has to offer. So pack your swimmers, a towel and a pair of goggles and if you are lucky you’ll be swimming with the penguins! Do this in the morning and then head to Kalk Bay for some lunch and a stroll around the charming shops.
Wine Lovers! You have come to the right place! There is so much to do. Highly recommend the Franshoek Wine Tram. It’s a day trip, 40 min drive to get to the small wine town of Franshoek and then you should pre book with a group or go it alone and meet people on the tour. The tram picks you up and it’s a little open choo choo train that stops at all the best wine farms for various tastings. Very fun!! (Uber friendly)
Constantia Wine farms: (food also available) (Uber friendly)
- Groot Constantia
- Constantia Glen
Stellenbosch is a very old wine town about a 45 min drive from Cape Town. It’s also a university town, so lots of little restaurants, bars, shops and loads of wine farms. It is considered the jewel in the crown of the Cape Town wine route. (Uber friendly)
Daytrip Recommendation for Short Stayers
Great Day out for City Slickers
Have breakfast at Power & The Glory, smash a coffee and then head to the Zeitz Mocca Modern Art Museum. Then head to The Waterfront or Green Market Square and walk the area where there are many shops and street vendors selling a wide variety of things. Then head to Blondies for some lunch and a cold beer and then do the Table Mountain sunset cable car (pre book). After you come down go eat some dinner at any of the above suggested restaurants and if you still have the stamina, head to any of the above suggested bars for a nightcap.
Great Day out for Nature Lovers
Smash some breakfast at Our Local in Kloof street, then take an Uber to Kirstenbosch Gardens. After a few hours walking around the gardens, head off to Constania Glen wine farm (pre book and ask for an outside table if it’s a nice day) for some lunch where you will also get a stunning view of the wine farms and the city. Then head to Kalk Bay for a walk around the village and its shops, go for dinner at SALT and then head home. (Pack your swimmers! Plenty of lovely tidal pools to take a dip in.)