by Pippa de Bruyn, The Telegraph, January 22, 2018
Swap thermals for sunglasses to visit this celebrated South African city, says Pippa de Bruyn.
The sun is shining in Cape Town. Every day. Until 8pm. This is the season for sundowners on the beach, tanned limbs on the streets, and balmy evenings eating under moonlit skies. What more do you want? The Zeitz MOCAA– the museum of contemporary African art that opened in September, perhaps? A non-stop 12-hour connection, courtesy of BA (ba.com).
A sprawling green oasis in the centre, the Mount Nelson (1) is my top city pick. Doubles from £307. For a more boutique experience, Cape Cadogan (2) starts at £177; or try An African Villa (3) from £109.
Explore the 17th-century Castle of Good Hope (4), then pass the City Hall (5) – where Mandela gave his first speech – and head down Adderley Street to the Slave Lodge. Stroll through the Company’s Gardens (6), home to the National Gallery and Iziko South African Museum. Either cross Orange Street to the Mount Nelson for the best high tea between here and London, or double back down Long and up Wale to colourful Bo Kaap (7).
Don’t miss the Zeitz MOCAA (8) in the Waterfront’s Silo district. Book online to avoid the queues and avoid busy Wednesday mornings.
Leap off Lion’s Head hill (9) to soar on a paraglider over Camps Bay, the beachside suburb dwarfed by the jagged Twelve Apostles. No experience necessary (paraglide.co.za; 1,300 South African Rand/£78).
Pop into Mungo & Jemima (10) on 108 Long Street, then cross over to MeMeMe at 117A. Long Street is the best for shopping, although Loop and Bree have some goodies, too.
Screened from the street by hanging ferns, Up Yours (11) is an open-air first-floor balcony entertaining the coolest young crowd in town (G&T R40). If you like a more refined sort of place, The Stack (12), in an elegant Victorian building, has interesting cocktails (R80) and a bistro-style menu. On Feb 1, it’s First Thursday – pick a pavement table anywhere on Bree and watch the passing parade.
Get to dinky Chef’s Warehouse (13) 30 minutes before it opens (it doesn’t take bookings), and Liam’s superb “tapas for two” set menu (R700) will blow you away (chefswarehouse.co.za). Otherwise, feast on oysters at Seabreeze Fish & Shell (14) (seabreezecapetown.co.za; mains around R160) or the stuffed calamari (R88) on the piazza outside Maria’s (facebook.com/MariasGreekCafe).
Off the map
Kirstenbosch is more than a garden; for some it’s the most beautiful aspect of Table Mountain, the terraced lawns blending seamlessly into the forested mountain slopes. (sanbi.org, R65 entry). Summer sunset concerts are held here every Sunday; February’s line-up is stellar – see you there.