A WEEKEND IN CAPE TOWN
Pre-Safari Adventures in South Africa’s Capital
Cape Town: Your adventure starts now.
When booking your African safari, it is to the final destinations that we look, often forgetting about those stepping stones that will get us there. International visitors frequently first touch African soil in Cape Town, the southernmost tip of the continent and one of its three capital cities.
Though many will rush onwards to their safari destinations, desperate to immerse in the natural surroundings for which they journeyed, taking the opportunity to experience the diversity and luxury of Cape Town is highly recommended. But with so much to see and a limited time to do it, where to begin?
Here is a selection of exclusive activities to do when you have 72 hours in Cape Town:
Cape Town, Your Way
While there are many wonderful experiences to choose from, to consummately discover the sights, flavours and wonders of Africa’s southernmost peninsula, the best option of all is to leave the planning up to us.
A bespoke itinerary will always far exceed the offerings available to the average traveller and, with a short discussion on your preferences, interests and intrigues, we can formulate an exclusive Cape Town adventure encompassing all you could wish for.
Your true Cape Town experience cannot be found in guidebooks and Google searches. Cape Town, your way, evolves through conversations with your travel designer and our extensive knowledge, connections and local wisdom of this wonderful city; the ideal starting point for your African safari.
Cape Town for Gastronomists
Wandering the streets in your own time will reveal numerous culinary experiences, but for the true flavour of Cape Town, place yourself in the expert hands of the region’s chefs and creators. With their in-depth local knowledge, they will take you through the regional farmers’ markets and even into the fields to discover fresh produce and South African specialty ingredients. They will then handcraft a dish especially for you, discussing the process, enlightening you on flavour balance and sharing the nuances of local cuisine. Take a peek behind the curtain of Cape Town’s culinary world to discover the fascinating talents and personalities behind some of Cape Town’s finest restaurants.
Change Your Perspective
As mentioned below, helicopter excursions allow you to observe the Southern Cape from a rarely accessible vantage point. However, your whirlybird adventure need not be limited to a quick one-hour tour. A helicopter makes the diversity of the region far more accessible and, rather than limiting yourself to one particular landscape, you can take in a wide variety of locations and experiences all within a single day.
Breakfast with the rising sun on your own deserted beach before being whisked away to the Cape Winelands. There, you can enjoy a relaxing massage followed by a gourmet degustation lunch, your sommelier perfectly pairing a locally-selected demi-tasse with each exquisite course. With your dining experience complete, your pilot will take you for an afternoon’s mini safari before returning you to the heart of Cape Town for an evening overlooking the tranquil Victoria & Alfred Waterfront.
Cape Town’s Art Culture
From the ancient tribal artwork to the visual political protests of apartheid and contemporary fine and modern art, Cape Town is certainly not lacking in creativity and inspiration. An afternoon spent in any of the city’s diverse galleries is time well spent, but there is little exclusive about queuing to enter a public building with 3,000 other patrons.
A personal invite to a renowned South African artist’s studio gallery is not found on the coupons and flyers of any hotel reception, and your concierge is unlikely to have their phone number squirrelled away in his little black book or on a long-forgotten cocktail napkin.
Delving into the city’s tormented and unsettled past, iconic graffiti artists – Cape Town’s answer to England’s Banksy – will take you on a walking tour through the streets, highlighting poignant pieces that give insight into the tempestuous past, as well as the bright and jubilant post-apartheid unity and cultural reformation.
Discovering not only the art itself, but the story, emotions, inspiration and personality behind it is a wonderful way to gain new insight. Introducing you to the culture and community of Cape Town’s artist district, these celebrated creators provide an experience that is second to none for any art lover.
The History of the Cape
The contemporary history of Cape Town is wonderful, painful and inspirational in equal measure. Take a helicopter flight to Robben Island for a personal guide tour from a former political prisoner of the institution that tried to erase former activist and, later, South African president, Nelson Mandela. Or perhaps a guided tour by air of the city’s colonial and contemporary architecture inspires you.
The hinterland offers a more physical step through the pages of the history books. Settler’s ranches have been wonderfully restored, often by the descendants of the original colonials, and maintain their roles as working smallholdings. Even more fascinating, they have developed little, or been returned to their earlier ways, so you can take to horseback, be regaled by the family members of their history upon the land, and experience almost precisely what it would have been to have migrated here all those many years ago.
Cape Town’s Celebrities
From golfers and fishermen to race car drivers and icons of the national sport of rugby, Cape town has its share of celebrity sportspeople, several offering you the exceptional opportunity to go 18 holes with a pro, cast a line with an expert angler or even enjoy a picnic with a Springbok, followed by a quick game of barefoot touch rugby.
Even those less inclined towards sports will be thrilled to spend a day with a personality, to hear tales from their careers, their personal knowledge of their home city and even – if you’re just a little lucky – some secret inside tips on how to land that hole in one!
Whatever intrigues or inspires you, our limitless list of exclusive itineraries, personal connections and wonderful ideas will offer you 72 exceptional hours in Cape Town like no other, and that few, if any, have ever experienced before you.
Of course, Cape Town holds appeal for every visitor, and with its growing reputation as an exceptional tourist destination, offers a wealth of more conventional activities as well.
Cape Town’s Penguins
Only 40 minutes from Cape Town, Boulders Beach offers visitors the chance to observe the adorable yet endangered Cape penguin colony up close.
Wander the City
With a little guidance, you can discover magical alleyways, cultural street markets & myriad mouthwatering eateries.
Cape Town by Air
Taking in the former penal colony of Robben Island, the sweeping vistas of the Cape and the stunning panoramas of the hinterland, a helicopter flight offers a completely new perspective, quite literally, on the Cape region.
The Elgin Valley
For some excitement, take a zipline adventure through the Hottentots Holland Nature Reserve or rent a mountain bike and take to the trails. For a more refined excursion, board a steam train for a yesteryear afternoon tea.
Ease in with a Spa Day
Luxury estates and premier venues allow you to enjoy a day spa, wander through lush gardens and take in your surroundings for a relaxing start to your safari adventures.
Vineyards by Bike
While spending time in the Cape Winelands is always a joy, there are few better ways than on an electric bicycle, riding from vineyard to vineyard to sample the wines and take in a picnic lunch.
Adventures for the Tastebuds
Cape Town is rapidly developing a reputation as one of the foremost culinary capitals of the world, and for good reason. Enjoy the finest in African dishes, world fusion menus, haute cuisine and everything in between.
Take to the Ocean
Fringed by two great oceans, visitors can learn to surf, stand-up paddle through the tranquil waterways of the V&A Waterfront, or take a sunset sail, sipping champagne as the sun bids adieu to Africa’s most southerly point.
So before boarding your connecting flight and hastening to your eagerly anticipated safari camp, take the opportunity to explore the wonders of Cape Town.