Ten top things to see, do and eat in marvellous Cape Town.

Ten top things to see, do and eat in marvellous Cape Town.


If you’re heading south this winter for sun, sea and sand in the Seychelles or Mauritius, or on safari in South Africa, do stay over in Cape Town for a few days, too. Why? Because the city is buzzing thanks to a stunning new modern art museum that will blow you away, love it or hate it! Here are my ten top things not to miss…

1. Zeitz MOCAA
The new Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa on the V&A Waterfront is the first major museum in Africa dedicated to contemporary art, 180 rand / approx. £10 per person. It covers nine floors, has 80 galleries and the exhibits are very striking – expect some Marmite moments! The building itself is an incredibly impressive reworking of what were once grain silos, www.zeitzmocaa.museum. Have dinner at The Silo Hotel’s rooftop Granary café, www.theroyalportfolio.com

2. Tea at the Mount Nelson
An absolute must but do go hungry as it’s huge and incredible value for money at just 325 rand / approx. £18pp, and served in such elegant surroundings. Expect multi-tiers of scrummy sandwiches, hot savouries, a vast choice of beautiful cakes, scones with jam and cream and yummy South African milk tart, or melktert in Afrikaans, plus a range of beverages – pay extra for a glass of fizz, www.mountnelson.com

3. Dine at the Cape Grace
Another iconic Cape Town hotel not to be missed is the gorgeous Cape Grace down on the V&A Waterfront not far from the Zeitz MOCAA. The elegant Signal Restaurant offers fantastic seafood specialties like the curry risotto with spiced kingklip and grilled prawns, hearty options such as succulent ostrich steak or confit of lamb shoulder, and vegetarian options such as creamy mushroom tortellini, www.capegrace.com

4. Gansbaai whale watching
Book with Dyer Island Cruises, Gansbaai, 1100 rand / approx. £60pp. Trips last two to two-and-a-half hours depending on what pops up, and they say take you to quite possibly the only place in the world where you can see a mighty whale and a great white shark on the same boat trip. You’ll also see Cape fur seals. Peak season is June to December, www.whalewatchsa.com

5. Fish ‘n’ chips in Hermanus
You have a great chance of seeing a whale from the beach or cliff-tops in Hermanus, a half-hour drive from Gansbaai, and the town even has a Whale Crier who blows a horn made of kelp if he spots one. While you’re here, stop for fish and chip lunch – Bientang’s Cave restaurant and bar is in a cave on the ocean’s edge and claims to be one of the best whale-watching restaurants on the world and a great place to sample some of the Cape’s superb wines, www.bientangscave.com

6. Table Mountain
Take the five-minute ride by Table Mountain Aerial Cableway up to the very top of Table Mountain for stunning views, weather permitting, across the whole city and out to sea, from 275 rand / approx. £15pp return. There are free guided walking tours and an audio tour, a shop of course and there’s a restaurant if you need a snack and drink. There’s even WiFi, www.tablemountain.net

7. Penguin Colony at Boulders Beach
Visit the enchanting penguin colony at Boulders Beach, Simon’s Town. African penguins are adorable and very endangered, and used to be known as jackass penguins, because of the braying sounds they make. Visitors get to the beach over wooden walkways, so there are plenty of photo opportunities, 75 rand / approx. £4pp, www.sanparks.org

8. Go shopping
Cape Town’s V&A Waterfront has brilliant shops galore for souvenirs and top-end boutiques you’ll recognise too, but don’t miss Greenmarket Square for cheap, inexpensive pressies to take home, and the Neighbourgoods Market on Saturdays is great for local foodstuffs to sample on the hoof, www.southafrica.net

9. Visit Robben Island
The 3.5-hour tour, 340 rand / approx. £18.50pp, encompasses all the historical sites around the island where former South African anti-apartheid revolutionary and former president Nelson Mandela and other political prisoners were held during the apartheid era were held, including Mandela’s actual cell. Former political prisoners act as guides, www.robben-island.org.za

10. Dine at Kloof Street House
Spend your last evening at this delightfully quirky restaurant serving great food in a magnificent Victorian house surrounded by gardens glowing with fairy lights. The bouillabaisse - line fish, salmon, shellfish, garlic toast and aioli – and salted caramel cheesecake with popcorn ice cream are superb, www.kloofstreethouse.co.za