There is a lot going on in Cape Town, including art and cultural options but honestly on this trip, I purchased art from local vendors and did not visit museums in Cape Town. Most of my time was spent outdoors.
So, Cape Town is not a great city for tourists to take public transit because of safety issues. Since I was there with a large group we took taxis in town, to Table Mountain and even over to Camps Bay. For the Cape Tour and a winery visit, we were in a tour bus, which is usually not my preference, but it worked well in Africa. I would only suggest a car if you want to check out the Gold Coast. Also, you will get more bang for your buck in South Africa – so taxis are cheap.
I did end up at the V&A (Victoria and Alfred Waterfront) several times though – it was a quick taxi ride from where I stayed at Acorn House, which I highly recommend. V&A is a great spot for shopping, dining and relaxing. It has everything you’d expect from a mall plus a massive grocery store, money exchange, Movie Theater, and an upscale African Crafts market with pottery, textiles, glass and jewelry. There is also a wonderful view of the water. It has upscale restaurants with outdoor seating options and nice quick options in the food court. My favorite options were — Beijing Orchid restaurant and fast food option Simply Asia Thai Food & Noodle Bar. Both had plenty of vegan choices. Two of my friends from China who accompanied me to Beijing Orchid said that the food was very traditional, as opposed to many Chinese restaurants in America, and gave it their seal of approval.
Long Street is a lively popular spot for locals and tourists. If you are looking for restaurants, nightlife and shopping – this has a lot to offer. Mama Africa was one of my favorite experiences. I had a great African curry dish and they seated us near the band. The singer serenaded us and one member of our party was invited to join the band for a moment. A word of caution for a night time visit to Long Street – arrange for your own taxi so you do not over pay, be polite to the locals and be aware of your surroundings. People can be a little pushy but we never had a problem. During the day – watch out for the small children in groups – they will lift your wallet.
If Long Street seems too gritty – try Kloof Street. It is definitely more upscale and quiet. There are a lot of dining choices, cafes and boutiques. Two restaurants that I visited more than once: Yindee’s Thai and Saigon Vietnamese are across the street from each other in the Kloof area. Saigon is extremely popular with the locals and requires a reservation.
One of my favorite afternoons was spent with friends at The Neighbourgoods Market at the Old Biscuit Mill. There is also a market in Jo’Burg. The market is open every Saturday. It is a little outside of downtown but a few people in a taxi and you are set. They have an amazing world food market with fresh, hot food to eat while wandering, plus hot sauce, spreads, honey chocolate and other artisan products one would find at local farmers market. They also have small vendors selling clothing, jewelry, housewares and more. Make sure you have cash on you for food but some of the other artisan vendors take credit cards.
Camps Bay is great if you want to experience South Africa’s beach community. I went one evening with some friends in time to watch the sunset, the colors were brilliant. While there we checked out Mezepoli Meze & Wine Bar, which has plenty of vegan options.
During my stay, our group went to one of South Africa’s historic wineries, Groot Constantia. I’ve been drinking Malbecs fairly faithfully for the past few years but found that I really enjoy South African wines; they are smooth and oaky. Groot Constantia has a long history, the winery is lovely and the grounds are gorgeous – even in winter. We did a lovely wine tasting with reds and whites paired with chocolate. It was a great way to spend the afternoon.
More South African adventures to come…
For more photos visit my Flickr site.