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A panoramic view of the sun setting over Cape Town

8 hours in Cape Town

6 unmissable things to do in South Africa’s capital

Published on 15 May 2024

Cape Town, a jewel nestled at the foot of the awe-inspiring Table Mountain, pulses with an unmatchable rhythm of diversity. This South African metropolis, a cultural mosaic, welcomes with colourful facades of Bo-Kaap, the haunting history of Robben Island and penguins waddling on the sandy shores of Boulders Beach. Known as the Mother City, Cape Town is a rare blend of art, nature and culinary excellence, all set against the backdrop of a rich historical tapestry and azure waters crashing against endless coastlines. Every visit promises an adventure that etches itself into the soul.

In September 2023, ROL Cruise team member Olivia spent four days in Cape Town. Her itinerary was jam-packed, allowing her to see as much of South Africa’s capital as time allowed. Here, she shares her top things to do: 

Read first: Staff stories: An African adventure with Wendy Wu Tours and Rovos Rail

Drive along Chapman's Peak

Affectionately known as Chappies, Chapman’s Peak is a scenic drive that winds along miles of stunning coastline. Starting in the picturesque fishing village of Hout Bay (where we picked up the route) and finishing in Noordhoek in the Cape Peninsula, the route is considered one of the most beautiful in the world. The rolling landscape and shimmering sea make the Hout Bay section of the drive, in particular, a photographer's dream. 

Enjoy live music at Mojo Market

Sometimes the best part of a trip is the unplanned part. With time to spare before dinner at Bobo’s, our tour guide Lizwe spontaneously dropped us off at Mojo Market. Greeted by a lively atmosphere, we headed straight for the bar and took in our surroundings. I felt like a local in amongst the fun of a welcome weekend. With five unique bars, over thirty food vendors and daily live music from brilliant local artists, Mojo Market is not to be missed.

Go wine tasting in the Cape Winelands

South Africa is synonymous with the production of wine - vineyards cover over 140,000 hectares, mainly in the province of Western Cape. We were lucky enough to visit three different vineyards during our time in Cape Town; Bloemendal, where we took part in a wine and ice cream pairing, Boschendal, where we enjoyed lunch followed by wine tasting, and Middlevlei, where we had the opportunity to blend wine. Seven months on and I’m still yet to try my blend! 

Have dinner at GOLD Restaurant

A friend of mine, who is travelling to South Africa later this year, asked me what to do in Cape Town and at the top of my list was dinner at GOLD Restaurant. The extraordinary 14-course dinner was such an unexpected experience but one that I will remember forever. GOLD Restaurant is not just a place to dine, it’s an immersive experience that sweeps you across the African continent through its rich flavours, vibrant rhythms and dynamic atmosphere. While eating, guests are serenaded with live djembe drumming sessions, creating an irresistible beat that gets everyone tapping their feet. Incredible! 

See the penguins at Boulders Beach

When I knew I would be travelling to Africa, there were two items at the top of my bucket list: to witness elephants in their natural habitat and to see the penguins at Boulders Beach. Amazingly, I was able to tick both off! Seeing the penguins at Boulders Beach was such a lovely experience, watching them as they waddled around their natural habitat, chatting away with each other and posing for photos for their visitors was really special. 

Bonus: Summit Table Mountain

During our time in Cape Town, the capital was hit by a storm which brought with it unseasonably low temperatures. Sadly, it meant that we weren’t able to see Cape Town from above on the Table Mountain Aerial Cableway (as we had planned). Instead, Lizwe, our tour guide, got us as close as possible. It was fascinating to see one of the oldest mountains in the world and I can imagine a trip to its summit would have been even more impressive. I shall have to return! 

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