VISITING CAPE TOWN FOR THE FIRST TIME – 5 DAY CAPE TOWN ITINERARY
March 15, 2021
VISITING CAPE TOWN FOR THE FIRST TIME – 5 DAY CAPE TOWN ITINERARY
As a Capetonian, I can definitely confirm that this beautiful city has it all and that is another reason why CNN Travel labelled it as ‘one of the world’s most beautiful cities’. From ocean views, natural landscapes, Winelands, wildlife safari, marine wildlife safari, birdlife, the karoo, picturesque seaside villages, tourist attractions, and never-ending tour activities, and of course to the Table Mountain, this city will make you fall in love with it. You can never get bored because there will always be something to do or see.
No matter how much you google about Cape Town or things to do and see in and around this city, you are still going to feel overwhelmed by its beauty and many things you can do, and the “limited” time you have. One thing you should never do when you visit Cape Town for the first time is to stay at your accommodation or sun-bask at the beach for most of your stay. You can always do this on your next or third visit.
Cape Town has plenty to offer both local and international tourists, so there is no “one-itinerary-fits-all” when it comes to itinerary planning. You can visit the Western Cape one hundred times and never have the same itinerary. In this guide, I will show you how you can experience Cape Town like a local.
DAY 1: FAMILIARISE YOURSELF WITH THE CITY
I highly recommend arriving by an early morning flight (08:00 am) at Cape Town International Airport. This will not only make you feel like you woke up in Cape Town but it will give you an opportunity to maximise time on your first day. Drop off your bags at your accommodation (reception usually have a storeroom where they keep guests’ luggage before check-in time) and head straight to one of the City Sightseeing station, number 82 in Long Street to begin your hop-on hop-off open-top red bus tour.
City Sightseeing bus tour is a great way for you as a first time visitor to take in as much of the city as you can, you will have an almost 360 degrees tour of the city passing through the city bowl, Table Mountain, Kirstenbosch, Constantia, mini peninsula including Hout Bay, Twelve Apostle, Camps Bay, Clifton, Sea Point Promenade, Green Point and ending in V&A Waterfront.
Remember you can hop-off at any point and hop-on into another bus when you are ready to move to the next point, there is a bus every 15 minutes. Book your City Sightseeing ticket online to skip the line or purchase a City Pass card, it allows you free access and discounted rates to over 70 attractions and tour activities.
DAY 2: FULL-DAY CAPE PENINSULA TOUR
Hire a car, book a tour guide, or arranged with a local friend to join you on this fully-packed tour because there is so much to do and see, and you still need to focus on the road especially when you drive on Chapman’s Peak Drive.
On this day, get an early start. Leave your accommodation in Cape Town at exactly 08:00 am or 07:30 am if you are staying in Bloubergstrand and make your way to Simon’s Town harbour for a 09:00 am 1 hour guided Water Bike tour (booking in advance is essential). Next, carry on further and pass Boulder Beach, home to the colony of African Penguins.
Don’t worry, you will come back on your back from Cape Point. Water is still a little cold at this time of the morning to swim with the penguins anyway unless if you just want to admire them over the protective fence or wooden walkway inside the enclosed park.Your next spot and the ultimate reason for this tour is the beautiful Cape Point National Park. Here, you’ll find a spectacular sight with towering stone cliffs, endemic fynbos, breath-taking bays, beaches, rolling green hills and valleys, and both the old and the new lighthouses. The climb to the lighthouse is steep and requires some moderate fitness, but there is a Flying Dutchman Funicular (“train”) to take you to the top.Don’t spend too much time here, go down the rock path to enjoy the views of the cliff and the new lighthouse. When you are done admiring the spectacular views, go to the edge of Diaz Beach (you don’t have to go all the way down) to enjoy more views of the endless ocean.After enjoying lunch at the Two Oceans Restaurant, which offers delicious food with amazing ocean views, your next spot is Cape of Good Hope before driving back to Boulders Beach. As you enter Simon’s Town on your way back from Cape Point National Park, look for the first brown signboard pointing to Boulders Beach and turn there, you will find a parking lot and entrance to Boulders Beach, home to the colony of African Penguins.
The water will be warm at this time and you can take a dip with these cute creatures. When you are satisfied, drive to Muizenberg Beach, here you will find the popular rainbow beach huts and the sun will be shining at the back of the huts. This will give you the best Instagram pictures (these huts look cute and newer from the back than in front).
DAY 3: GO WINE TASTING IN FRANSCHHOEK – WINE TRAM
This is another full-day activity, but you can leave your accommodation at 10:00 am and you will arrive at the Wine Tram ticket office in Franschhoek just before 11:00 am. Franschhoek is one of the prettiest wine routes and home to the Franschhoek Wine Tram, which allows you to enjoy wine tasting from 8 wine estates (no one I know, including myself have completed tasting from all 8 in a single day), you will probably taste from 4 – 5 unless you rush the entire experience.
Most wine estates have restaurants on-site, while others have pre-packed picnics or more casual eateries. No matter your taste or budget, there will be something that appeals to you.
DAY 4: TAKE A BREAK
This day gives you a chance to slow down and reflect on things you have done so far. By now you should have an idea of where most of the things/places are including beaches, bars, restaurants, markets, malls, museums, art galleries, etc. You can use this day to sun bask at the beach, read a book, go shopping, go for a massage or do whatever makes you feel happy and relaxed.
DAY 5: LIVE LIKE A LOCAL
Start your day with a Robben Island tour followed by a boat cruise in V&A Waterfront and a stroll on the Sea Point Promenade, and end off your day with a night out around the city bowl (Long, Bree, and/or Kloof Streets) or Victoria Road in Camps Bay. Treat this night as your farewell celebration, so go all out and make it your best night out.
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