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5 Minute Guide: Cape Town

There’s so much more to Cape Town than the postcards would have you believe, says Zane Henry

 

1. About: Cape Town has the charm and sunny climate of a sleepy Mediterranean town, enriched with dramatic African landscapes and diverse cultural heritage. It welcomes nearly 10 million tourists every year and is ideally poised as a portal to the rest of South Africa and the continent.

2. Hotel: Most big hotel brands have a presence here, and while places like One&Only Cape Town and The Westin Cape Town offer world-class experiences, boutique hotels such as POD Camps Bay and Ellerman House have niche appeal. Located in the heart of the city, the Belmond Mount Nelson Hotel is South Africa’s answer to The Beverly Hills Hotel, with its pink walls and opulent decor.

3. Attraction: Cape Town’s most famous draw is the frankly stupefying natural beauty. Marvel at the wild greenery and sheer grandeur of Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden, check out the amazing sunsets at Scarborough beach near Cape Point nature reserve, and don’t miss out on climbing Table Mountain.

Image: Getty

Image: Getty

4. Building: With its cobbled streets and brightly colored houses festooning the slopes of Signal Hill, Bo-Kaap is a traditional Cape Malay neighborhood. Meanwhile, the gabled Cape Dutch farmhouses of the Winelands provide the perfect backdrop for sipping a glass of zesty Cape wine.

5. Shop: Greenmarket Square is bang in the middle of the city and will satisfy curio hunters. The V&A Waterfront serves as a home to prestigious international brands as well as the seals frolicking in the harbour that surrounds it.

Image: Getty

Image: Getty

6. Restaurant: South Africa is a foodie’s paradise, drawing inspiration from its diverse heritage for a jigsaw puzzle of national cuisines. The Old Biscuit Mill’s food market offers a good mix of traditional dishes and culinary innovations, while Gold restaurant features authentic African cooking.

Image: Getty

Image: Getty

7. Café: After a day of intensive antiquing around postcard-beautiful Kalk Bay Harbour, head to Olympia Café for flaky croissants and perfect flat whites. Closer to the city center, Truth Coffee’s steampunk decor will dazzle visitors, while Deluxe Coffee is a more understated local favorite.

8. View: While Table Mountain is good to look at, it’s even better to look out from – particularly when
the city’s lights are scattered at its feet in the evening. On the other side of the peninsula, Chapman’s Peak Drive dramatically hugs the near-vertical mountain face spilling into the Atlantic.

Image: Getty

Image: Getty

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