Gaby’s Guide to Cape Town

OMG. Finally. I’ve been back from my African adventure for a month now and we’ve finally finished editing 5,000+ images and I’m ready to roll. Gaby’s Guide to Cape Town is here!

First let me start by saying that this was my dream trip. I’ve been BEGGING my parents to take me to South Africa for years. YEARS. I even twisted various surprise vacation clues to make myself think I was going to South Africa but it never happened. Until this year! My dad went all out and planned the most epic vacation of all times. I’m writing this just after my birthday (I turned 31 last week!!) and I’m concerned that I peaked in terms of vacation goals. This trip was the tip-top of my bucket list!! Today it’s all about Cape Town. Next week we’ll dive into the safari of my dreams.

But before we get to the animals and all that… let’s make our way through Cape Town shall we?

We hit the ground running when we landed in Cape Town! It was around 1pm and I was determined to stay awake until at least 9pm so naturally I dragged Thomas all over town and did some serious exploring. My parents came in a few hours later and by the time we all woke up the next morning it was on. We hiked, walked, explored, saw some great white sharks… the works! My mom grew up there so we got to hang with her childhood friends which was an added bonus and have a few home cooked meals between all the eating out which was INCREDIBLE! Usually I’m all about restaurants while on vacation, but when you’re on the road for 2+ weeks, a home cooked meal is pretty fantastic. Below you’ll find my favorite places to eat / drink / stay and do!

First up… Food

Codfather – easily my favorite restaurant meal of the entire trip. The restaurant has it’s own seafood counter and they’ll grill whatever your heart desires. We got a little bit of everything, because I thought that was the right thing to do and it was perfection. I could go back once a week and never tire of it!

Gaby's Guide to Cape Town

Black Sheep – seasonal food with a killer bar list!! The menu changes frequently based on what’s fresh and everything we ordered was fantastic.

Millers Thumb – pick your protein and it comes cooked however you like it!! And don’t miss the grilled calamari!

Potluck Club – make a reservation WEEKS before you get to cape town and get ready for some epic tapas!

Test Kitchen – the sister restaurant for Potluck Club is another chef-y restaurant that is no to be missed! Again – early with the reservations!

El Burro Taqueria – I mean, it’s right at the top of Kloof Street and it’s the perfect place to grab lunch. Plus it’s basically my life mission to taste as many kinds of tacos and guacamoles from around the world and South African tacos do NOT disappoint!

Shortmarket Club – another one of the same caliber as Potluck Club and Test Kitchen!!

Kloof Street House – a super fun and semi-swanky restaurant right in the heart of the walking area. The interior is gorgeous, but sit at a table on the patio for the best people watching!

La Parada – Another great spot for Tapas, plus it’s an open air restaurant which is perfect for those hot Cape Town nights!

Chefs Warehouse – the menu changes daily but word on the street this is where all the restaurant chefs come to eat on their day off. So basically you can’t go wrong!

Next up… Hotels

Silo Hotel – there are 2 kinds of hotels in my world. The first is the ritzy fancy hotels right smack in the heart of town. These first 2 hotels are exactly that! The silo hotel is an EPIC new property right on the waterfront that is beyond stunning. You won’t miss it and the views from up top are beyond. It’s chic and fun and the design is beyond.

One & Only Cape Town – another property right in the heart of the waterfront is the One & Only. I’ve never met aOne & Only that I didn’t love and Cape Town is no exception! It’s not cheap but you’ll be pampered head to toe!

Parker Cottage Inn – if you’re looking for something a little more low-key than a 5 star hotel in the heart of Cape Town, the Parker Cottage Inn is it!! The sweetest little B&B right by a ton of fantastic restaurants and just a hop skip and a jump from Camps Bay. The rooms are lovely and the breakfast was out of this world. Fresh pressed juices, softly scrambled eggs, bacon and tomato frittatas… the works. Plus, I much prefer this part of town to the touristy waterfront – just saying!

In between eating and sleeping…. here’s what to do

Bree Street / Kloof Street – great walking areas, just wander around and pop into all the cute shops and coffee houses!

Camps Bay – it’s more residential and has a super great beach front for strolling. Find somewhere to hang and watch the sunset… it’s perfection

Table Mountain / Skeleton Gorge – Going to the top of Table Mountain is non-negotiable. You can take the cable car up if that’s more your speed, but we hiked up Skeleton Gorge which was an insane hike that is not for the faint of heart. But after huffing and puffing my way to the top, the views were unmatched!

Lions Head – another hike!! Gotta burn off all those calories

Kirstenbosch gardens – 100% worth a visit to see the gardens and all the plant life! Plus this is where you start the table mountain hike. Also – it’s a great place to picnic!

V&A Waterfront – A bit of a touristy walk around area with great hotels and lots of shopping. Make sure to check out the food market and local artisan market right in the center of the waterfront – both are packed with tons of things to eat and buy!

Bo-Kaap – An incredibly colorful and very instagram friendly neighborhood

Shark Diving – I mean… it’s a 3 hour drive away and you get picked up at 3 am… but it’s 100% worth it. We went cage diving with great white sharks and it was basically the highlight of my life!

Stellenbosch / Delaire Graff / Tokara / Thelema – wine tasting!! I’d venture to say that it puts the California wine country views to shame!

Borshendalle – more wine tasting. When in Rome, right?

Franschoek Tram – you guessed it… WINE!

Cape Point – one of the most gorgeous views outside of Cape Town!! It can’t be missed

High Tea at Mount Nelson – if you need a minute to catch your breath, high tea at Mount Nelson is the perfect place to go!

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18 Comments

  1. What an amazing trip. Just asked my husband if we could go to Cape Town one day. Can’t wait to see your safari pictures. Thank you for sharing!

  2. This brought back memories, Gaby. I agree that South Africa’s winelands are spectacular! We also ate at Test Kitchen and liked it. The presentation of the dishes was exceptional.

  3. Shark diving?! Wow, sounds awesome but scary. I’ll live vicariously through your photos!

  4. Did you take a specific wine tour to Stellenbosch or was it more on your own? Would you say you liked Stellenbosch or Franschoek better if you had to only visit one?

    1. oh man it would be hard to choose! we didn’t do a tour in either place, just picked a bunch! In stellenbosch we did: Gelaire Graff, Tokara, Thelema and I loved all of them!

  5. Do you know what shark diving company you used? I am travelling to Cape Town in December and cage diving is on the top of my list!

  6. Gaby, I recall seeing photos from your Botswana safari trip. When exactly did you go, and did you get a lot of good animal sightings?

  7. Gaby, I recall seeing photos from your Botswana safari trip. When exactly did you go, and did you get a lot of good animal sightings?

  8. Amazing! I can’t wait to read your post about your safari! I’m planning a trip for next fall and would love your recommendations!

  9. Awesome – so glad you enjoyed our country! There’s SO much to do in Cape Town and so much to eat – even as a South African (I live in Joburg), trying to get to everything when I’m in CT is impossible. The food is world class. Loved your writeup on Londolozi too. In SA, we call it ‘the bush’ and ‘game drives’; never ‘safari’. 😉

    It’s also worth taking a trip to Joburg next time – it is such an incredible place. And also doing more of Kruger National Park – the five star stuff is great, but the more rustic places add to the experience as well. And also, a trip to the Waterberg (closer to Botswana) will blow your mind. We own a game farm there and it’s my favourite place on the planet!

    Hope you come back – shout if you need any tips, I flippen love this country.

    (Just a side note – you’ve misspelt ‘Boschendal’ and ‘Franschhoek’.)

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