The Best Adventures in the Cape Town Area
by Taylor Deer
Welcome back everyone! I hope you all enjoyed my first Cape Town blog post on its best beaches. Since I did WAY more than just go to the beach during my time in South Africa, I am excited to share some amazing, unique and active adventures that I participated in during the 10 days I was visiting my cousins.
Private Wine Tour in the Winelands
My first big adventure in Cape Town was a private wine tour in the dreamy towns of Franschhoek and Stellenbosch. If you plan on traveling to Cape Town, I highly recommend doing a wine tour while you are there because the South African Winelands are absolutely breathtaking and the wineries itself offer 5 Star wine and food options.
During the private wine tour, we had our own tour guide who drove us around the Winelands and gave us an enriching education about the history of Franschhoek and Stellenbosch as well as each winery we visited.
Our first adventure of the wine tour was to the quaint town of Franschhoek. Featuring Cape Dutch architecture, gorgeous mountain views, amazing restaurants and great shopping, there is no reason why you shouldn’t fall in love with this town.
During our time in Franschhoek, we visited two stunning wineries that offered an amazing collection of award-winning South African wines. The first winery we visited was Anthony J Rupert Winery, where we got to taste four delicious champagnes and sparkling wines. Champagne tasting was the perfect way to start the day!
I loved the grounds of Anthony J Rupert Winery because it had 360-degree views of South Africa’s gorgeous mountainside. The whole area reminded me of what Napa Valley and Tuscany are like (even though I have never been to those places… yet). During our wine tour at Anthony J, we also got a brief historical lesson on the man himself (Anthony J Rupert) and got a nice tour of his colonial estate. The family will still come and go to the house for vacation.
The next winery we visited was 15 minutes away, located alongside gorgeous cliffs and rolling hills where there are endless amounts of vineyards. This winery was called Tokara and it was definitely more populated than Anthony J Rupert, but it was huge and it is also an olive farm.
Alexie and I were at Tokara during lunchtime, so we got to taste a few red and white wines as we savored a five-course meal with it. Here are some photos of our delectable meal that will make you hungry right away. As a bonus, we also got to experience some priceless views as we ate and drank.
After lunch, we had two more wineries to go to. Before we headed to the other wineries, we made our way over to the town of Stellenbosch for a brief tour of the popular University and downtown area. The town of Stellenbosch is quaint, lively and offers some adorable cafés, boutiques and so much more!
The first winery we visited in Stellenbosch was Peter Falke Wines. It was quiet like the Anthony J Rupert Winery, but it was nice to sit in their courtyard and enjoy the beautiful views of the Helderberg Mountains in the heart of the Stellenbosch Winelands while hearing the birds chirp. Let me tell you, after a long winter in New Jersey, it is so nice to be outside and listen to the birds sing their little songs. At Peter Falke Wines, we mostly tasted red wine that was filled with various flavors.
Last but not least, our final winery was at Stellenbosch’s beautiful Waterford Wine Estate. Just like the rest of them, Waterford Wine Estate is absolutely breathtaking and I loved how Southern European the architecture of the winery was. Next to Tokara, Waterford Wine Estate definitely attracted more people than the others, but it was nice to still be able to enjoy the grounds and tasting area without too many people being in your way.
During our time at Waterford Wine Estate, we mainly tasted white wine (South Africa is known for its delicious Chenin Blanc). What was cool about this wine tasting is that we got to also taste chocolate with it. I am a huge chocolate person, so this was definitely up my alley! It was the perfect way to end a happy day.
Just like I mention above, it is definitely worth it to do a wine tour during your time in Cape Town, but I strongly recommend doing a private one. After visiting four wineries, the wine could definitely catch up to you (especially if you are petite and not the biggest drinker like myself). In the end, you will be exhausted from the day and will want to get back to the place where you are staying instead of waiting on a bus for an hour or more. What is nice about Cape Town is that you will not have an issue finding a private wine company to go through.
Feeling on Top of the World at Table Mountain National Park
As I mentioned in my previous blog post, Cape Town offers endless views of Table Mountain National Park, one of the Seven Wonders of the World! This mountain definitely resembles a table as it levels off evenly at the top.
My cousins and I couldn’t wait to experience Table Mountain, since they had never done it before either. Just about 15 minutes from the heart of Cape Town is where you could catch a gondola that will take you all the way up to the top. If you are feeling adventurous enough and have saved a lot of time, you could also hike to the peak of Table Mountain. (Don’t worry though; there are wide walking paths to assist you all the way to the top.)
We decided to take the gondola since we went to Table Mountain in the afternoon instead of in the morning. As much as I wanted to hike the mountain, I was happy we took the gondola because it offered insane views of beautiful Cape Town. In fact, you could receive the same views at Table Mountain that you normally see in travel ads for this beautiful city. It is absolutely amazing!
Once we reached the top, there were numerous areas where you could catch different views of the city and mountainside. On one side of the mountain is where you see the coastal areas of Greenpoint and Camps Bay and the other side offered endless views of canyons, cliffs and steep mountains. There is also a great aerial view of the mountain’s famous Lion’s Head. (You could hike Lion’s Head too, but that has to be saved for a different time as it features difficult trails. Unfortunately, I didn’t have time to hike it.)
Being on top of Table Mountain felt like being on top of the world! The air was fresh, the views were astronomical and I just had an overall great time with my cousins. There are endless amount of places to get great pictures at Table Mountain and even though you have to watch wherever you walk because there could be dangerous viewing points, you could also find safe areas where it looks like you are hanging at the edge (but really not, if you know what I mean). It is all about mastering the art of creativity and making it seem like you are “hanging on the edge”. Check out my “risky” images below from Table Mountain.
At the top of Table Mountain, there is a café where you could grab lunch or a snack and there is also a souvenir shop. It is important to make sure you plan accordingly and either hike down the mountain ahead of time or catch the gondola back down before it closes. It could be dangerous to be on top of Table Mountain in the dark.
Sandboarding in the Desert
During my time in Cape Town, I am so excited to say that I learned how to sandboard! Yes, this fairly new sport could be enjoyed in major sand dunes and deserts around the world. Similar to snowboarding, you are given a board where you secure both of your feet inside and use your hips and lower body to direct your way down the dunes.
Before I started to become a seasonal skier, I used to snowboard and it took me a while to really learn how to perfect the sport. So unlike snowboarding, sandboarding is much easier and you definitely could maneuver your way down the dunes much quicker than you could on a ski slope. In addition, you go much slower on sand than you do on snow (don’t worry though, you still get that adrenaline rush as you make your way down the dunes).
Sandboarding Cape Town offers great fun in Cape Town’s Atlantis Dunes, which is located around a half hour from the heart of the city. After you park your car in the lot, a pick-up truck will come and take you to the sand dunes. We all loaded in the back of the truck and held on as we made our way into the dunes. As you could imagine, we had to REALLY hold on as we stood, but it was so much fun and the views were phenomenal.
When we finally reached the sandboarding area, there were boards already lined up and sanded for us. Before we hit the dunes, it was important that all of our boards were sanded so that we could go down smoothly without there being any issues. Once we were all geared up, we hopped back on the truck, which took us to the peak of the dunes.
I have to admit that I got a little nervous when I first reached the peak of the hill because the one side was a regular slope that I knew we would be boarding down, but the other side was a really steep hill that someone could have easily fell from. I tried so hard not to look down!
Sandboarding down the hills were so much fun, even though I got a little beat up from it. Since I don’t do this often, my board would get stuck on a little sand mound and I would fall. I still had a great time and shared some awesome laughs with my cousins. Check out this great GoPro video I made from my time sandboarding in South Africa. Click here!
After sandboarding, we got back in the pick-up truck that took us back up to the peak of the dune and we were told we were going to go down the steeper side. I automatically told myself “no way” because I knew I would have gotten seriously hurt since I am not an advanced boarder. The instructor reassured us that we weren’t going to use this hill to sandboard down (although you could if you wanted to). Instead, we were told that we would slide down it using the board as a sleigh-like object.
I have to admit that I was still scared at first because I was really nervous that I would fall off the board and tumble down, but the man taught us how to securely sit on the board and to glide our fingers along the sand while we went down as a way of support. Once I had the courage to take off, I had the time of my life! It was so much fun and I want to do it again really soon.
Wandering through Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden
Considered to be the most beautiful garden in Africa and one of the most grandeur botanical gardens of the world, Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden in Cape Town is the perfect place to wander through and pretend that you are in a wonderland.
Lying against the eastern slopes of Table Mountain National Park, Kirstenbosch was established in 1913 to promote, conserve and display the rich and diverse floras of South Africa. I truly enjoyed walking through Kirstenbosch because I saw unique plant life that I had never seen before. I also loved walking through all of the hidden paths that lead to some gems of the park.
One of the coolest paths at Kirstenbosch was the Centenary Tree Canopy Walkway. It features a new curved steel and timber bridge that winds and dips its way through and over the trees of the entire Arboretum. This walkway is the perfect “photo opp” since it will take you through of one of the most beautiful and scenic parts of Kristenbosch. I will admit to you that it took me a while to find this breathtaking walkway, but it was definitely worth it as I got to discover more areas of the park. I also recommend picking up a map when you enter the garden. That was one thing I didn’t do because I just wanted to see where the path would take me (I know, cliché).
When I was finished exploring the botanical gardens, I enjoyed delicious South African tea at The Kirstenbosch Tea Room. It is a perfect place to grab lunch and a healthy snack.
Eat Your Way through Cape Town
In addition to the adventures, I also indulged in some amazing cuisine and drank delicious coffee while I was staying in Cape Town. Below is a list of great restaurants you can find all throughout the city.
- Bootlegger Coffee Company (Best Coffee Shop)
Around the corner from my cousins’ Airbnb in the area of Greenpoint is a delicious coffee shop called Bootlegger. This welcoming spot is all open to catch the brightly South African sunlight and ocean air. There is a big area to sit inside as well as outside, depending on the weather and your mood. Not only did I LOVE the coffee and pastries from Bootlegger, but also the breakfast and lunch options were out of this world! (Um, banana bread French toast? Is that real life?) Thankfully, you could find a Bootlegger coffee shop all over the city of Cape Town as they have numerous locations. At night, you could catch a live band performing in this awesome coffee shop.
- Hudsons The Burger Joint (Best Place to Grab a Beer and Enjoy American Food)
Another awesome place near my cousin’s Airbnb is Hudsons. This is the place where the whole neighborhood comes together to grab some beers and great food, while enjoying the company of others. Even though I am not a burger person, I thoroughly enjoyed savoring Hudsons’ grilled chicken sandwich and sipping on some delicious South African craft beer. During my time in Cape Town, I came to this place three times because it is so good and a fun atmosphere. Just like Bootlegger, Hudsons also invites local bands and singers to perform at night. It is awesome!
- El Burro (Best Authentic Mexican Food)
Even though I had never actually been to Mexico before, I have indulged in some delicious fajitas and margaritas in Texas, Southern California and even in the NYC area! Never in million years did I think one of the best Mexican dinners in my life would have been in South Africa. El Burro is an authentic and quaint Mexican restaurant with some of the best dishes and drinks you can find in Cape Town. Luckily, there was an El Burro in Greenpoint so my cousins and I decided to grab dinner there one night. The dish I indulged in at El Burro was the infamous South African line fish made with amazing Mexican ingredients. On the side, I enjoyed a delicious mojito that fit perfectly with my meal.
- Dinkel Bakery (Best Bakery)
There is nothing I love more than enjoying breakfast at a cute bakery. When I first came to Cape Town, Alexie told me that I just HAD to try Dinkel Bakery because not only was it located in a cute little house with a picture perfect courtyard, but they also have amazing coffee and baked goods. Even though Dinkel Bakery has one location (near the colorful Bo Kaap area), it is a big staple in the city of Cape Town. Their menu includes delicious German breads, pastries, cakes and other breakfast and lunch items. Plus, what better way to enjoy a gorgeous sunny South African morning than sipping on coffee in an adorable courtyard that screams love.
- nü Health Food Café (Best Healthy Food)
Located in almost every area of Cape Town, nü is the place that will make sure you stay on your health grind. As a health food café that serves up the freshest and tastiest smoothies, smoothie bowls, protein pancakes (or flapjacks according to South Africans), salads, wraps, hot drinks and so much more, this is the perfect place to get breakfast, lunch or a snack after a workout. Luckily, there was a nü café located right around the corner from my cousins’ Airbnb, so you can say I stopped at the place a lot during my time in Cape Town.
Book Your Next Big Adventure to Cape Town, South Africa!
I hope you all enjoyed my second blog post about my amazing adventures in Cape Town, South Africa. I truly hope you all could get to this beautiful country at some point and experience the once-in-a-lifetime experiences I did during my 10 days there.
We are offering an amazing package to Cape Town, South Africa. Just imagine relaxing at some of the most beautiful beaches in the world, experiencing some of the most fun adventures and savoring amazing food. Check off another country on your bucket list by emailing me at Taylor@sitinmyseats.com or calling us today to book your next grand adventure to South Africa.
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