Cape Town: the inside guide
A colourful fusion of a place where culture, cuisine and effortless-coolness collide, South Africa’s oldest town is a place well worth exploring: we get the inside track from some Capetonian locals
Travel and lifestyle enthusiast Jessica Stafford (@jessbinxx) takes us on a tour of Cape Town’s foodie finds
One of my favourite restaurants is in the Southern Suburbs of Cape Town, a place called Starlings Cafe. It’s an old house that’s been turned into a rustic cafe with a lush back garden too. They serve an amazing eggs benedict and a mean flat white! I also love Solo Restaurant. In the uplands, you can get delicious Asian-inspired cuisine at Delaire Graff’s Inochine restaurant. If you’re visiting on a summer’s day, try The Grand Café.And for artisan ice cream, Unframed Ice Cream on Kloof street is a must. Try their in-house flavors like jasmine-rice lemon grass, coconut raspberry, turmeric and other creative flavors. You should also check out Giulio’s Café on Loop Street.
There’s a whole lot of trends happening in Cape Town right now – from burgers and tapas to a growing coffee culture and stuffed-donuts at Jason’s bakery on Bree Street or My Sugar in Sea Point. Head to Bree street for First Thursdays where basically, on the first Thursday of every month, restaurants host open galleries and exclusive entertainment.
Finally, whatever you do make sure you have a Gatsby – a foot-long roll, filled with ‘slap’ chips, masala, your choice of meat, cheese, garnish and eggs. Also don’t miss fish and ‘slap’ chips – try it at Kalky’s restaurant or the infamous Fish on the Rocks.
Having lived in Cape Town since 2003, Olivia Davidson (stylemanagement.co.za ) knows the best kept secrets when it comes to stylish finds in the city
Style in Cape Town Cape is very relaxed, almost ‘beachy’ first and foremost, but it’s eclectic and colourful. The city’s diverse food scene is reflected in the fashion industry with a regular influx of new boutiques and big international labels setting up shop.My go-to shopping destination and somewhere you should check out is the V&A Waterfront, there’s a great variety of flagship stores, local as well as international. While there, explore the recently revamped Watershed. It’s a local market housed in a former industrial shed and you can find an eclectic selection of beautifully crafted, unique South African designs from jewellery and clothing, to art and ceramics.
Keep an eye out for local designer Lara Klawikowski, her designs are highly unusual, intricate, yet imminently wearable and beautifully made in her studio in town where she produces both a couture and a ready to wear collection. Her bridal designs are also amazing. Also, step away from tacky fridge magnet or keyring souvenirs and instead go for locally produced creams made from Rooibos, an indigenous plant to the Western Cape.
If you want a stylish place to head to for dinner, One of the city’s newest additions is Villa 47, set across 3 levels, each one offering a different dining experience and definitely one of the more fashionable places to go to, for a great vibe and superb food. Oh and an insider’s tip is not to miss the summer market held on a Thursday evening at Cape Point Vineyards in the seaside town of Noordhoek. It offers spectacular 360-degree views of mountains, beach and glorious sunsets over the Atlantic Ocean; a great place to soak up the atmosphere with a sundowner and some local market fare.
Lifelong Capetonian Johan Eddies talks culture in the city
There’s so much culture here but one of the most touching and interesting things to see is the District Six Museum. Tracking a community that began as a mixture of merchants, artisans, laborers, immigrants and former slaves, the area was torn to pieces by the government who went onto declare it as a white area and forced over 60,000 from their homes, the museum documents this period. Also, make sure you visit Bo-Kaap. On the slopes of Signal Hill, it never fails to delight thanks to some of the best views in the city, its different brightly-coloured houses and quaint cobbled streets. Linked with the Cape Malay culture of Cape Town, people always love the delicious wafting smells of homemade local food and particularly strong coffee in the neighborhood.
When it comes to art, be sure you visit the country’s premier art museum, the South African National Gallery. With collections of South African, African, British, French, Dutch and Flemish art and regularly changing showcases, there’s always something new to see. The Association for Visual Arts is one of the cities oldest galleries and great for seeing work by contemporary visual artists with an emphasis on the Western Cape. Whatiftheworld is an up and coming spot showcasing contemporary African installations, drawing, sculpture and more
For the perfect 24 hours visit in the city, I’d start at The Castle of Good Hope. Having been the centre of Capetonian life since its inception in January 1666 it’s a great intro. Next, check what’s showing at Theatre on the Bay at Camps Bay. Intimate and charming, you can catch a great mix of local and international musicals, plays, comedy and dance as well as tuck into delicious eats at the Act Theatre Café. For something a bit more sobering, The Iziko Slave Lodge is one of the oldest buildings in the city and the exhibition offers an essential look at the origins of South Africa and the country’s history of slavery and how it impacted on South African culture. Keep in mind that the bustling streets of Cape Town aren’t the only places worth exploring; go underground to explore the networks of tunnels built to divert tonnes of mountain water into the ocean. Despite claustrophobia, slipperiness and sheer darkness, a tour of these tunnels shows you a side of the city that not everyone knows exists.
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