When in Cape Town
Cape Town is a vibrant city full of rich culture, delicious food, and gorgeous beaches. Whether you’re travelling solo or with friends and family, Cape Town has something for everyone. Join us as we guide you through some of the best things to do in Cape Town.
For a city whose waters are more of a test of endurance than a subtropical paradise, Cape Town has a staggering array of popular beaches that each have a personality of their own. There’s Muizenberg Beach (surfer’s corner), Sandy Bay (yes, that Sandy Bay), Llundudno (a secluded, unspoiled surfer’s beach), Camps Bay (meet you at Caprice’s, babes!), Bakoven (a hidden gem), the Cliftons (a volleyball and sunbathing Mecca for the body beautiful), and Sea Point’s little alcoves (ideal for avoiding the limelight). And that’s only False Bay and the Atlantic Seaboard. We haven’t even gotten to Blouberg and Melkbos yet!
SHOP LIKE A CAPETONIAN
This young, bohemian neighbourhood is far enough out of the immediate hustle and bustle of the City Bowl yet close enough to pop into town at a moment’s notice. But what makes Obs so beguiling is its exciting fashion scene. Thrifting is a culture here, with thrift stores on every other street corner. The best is to Uber to the main street and start exploring, ending up at a cool bar for a spot of live music that evening before heading back home.
VICTORIA & ALFRED WATERFRONT
You might think Capetonians avoid the Waterfront, banking it under a tourist trap, but they don’t (even if they won’t admit to it). Known to locals simply as the V&A, this nautically themed complex is Africa’s most visited shopping destination – and a true Cape Town institution. Its open design means it seldom feels overcrowded, although the array of outside eateries and other attractions – like the aquarium, Watershed market, and Silo District – could have something to do with it. You can also catch the ferry to Robben Island from here or book a helicopter flight to catch a glimpse of the Mother City from the air. You w ill also find many of the top designer brands, such as Louis Vuitton , Gucci and Mont blanc inside the mall, although there are plenty of stalls, pop-ups and markets from which to shop anything from locally produced, artisanal brands to more affordable international labels.
WHERE TO EAT
ATHLETIC CLUB AND SOCIAL, 35 BUITENGRACHT STREET
One of Cape Town’s chicest restaurant bars, Athletic Club and Social looks and feels like something out of a 1930s Wodehouse novel, complete with Tiffany-style lamps, black and white photographs and vintage tennis racquets adding delightful moments of intrigue in its intimate pockets across its three storeys of bars and dining nooks. It truly is a club worth belonging to.
BLONDIE, 71 KLOOF STREET
Before opening its doors on Kloof Street on 21 December – a block from JAN Innovation Studio – the screens hiding the refurbishing work happening on the inside alternated between pop art imagery of Princess Diana and Marilyn Monroe. When the screens eventually came down, Blondie did not disappoint with its Mediterranean-inspired menu and vibrant atmosphere. A quick drink on the veranda after work invariably turns into an all-night affair.
FYN, 37 PARLIAMENT STREET
Said to be the result of 22 years of planning, Fyn is Chef Peter Templehoff’s magnum opus – an African-inspired fine dining restaurant with an overarching Japanese aesthetic. Blurring the lines between kitchen and restaurant, Fyn brings you into the dining experience, and leaves not a stone unturned, from the innovative array of dishes to the warm, convivial atmosphere.
HEMELHUIJS, 71 WATERKANT STREET
This modern, chic café-style eatery opened its doors in 2010 and, since then, has become something of a household name in Cape Town. Owner and restaurateur, Jacques Erasmus (featured in JAN the Journal Volume 4), has kept Hemelhuijs fresh over the years by constantly changing the décor – which often features a whimsical collection of floral art – and by continuing to refine his menu, which is always delicious and fresh.
THE KIMBERLEY HOTEL, 46 ROELAND STREET
The name might be a touch misleading as, today, this grande dame of Cape Town (one of the oldest in the city) is more of a backpacker’s hostel than a hotel. But in its shabbiness (shabby-chic would have gone a step too far), it shines. Having a drink at the bar (and don’t get fancy) will expose you to a wealth of stories to fill the pages of your next mystery novel in a fortnight.
THALI, 3 PARK ROAD
Widely considered to be Chef Liam Tomlin’s personal passion project, Thali – as is the meaning of the word – gets its inspiration from a complete meal consisting of 10 or more regional Indian dishes. The restaurant succeeds in bringing Indian fine dining to life but manages to maintain a relaxed atmosphere where flavour is at the heart of the experience.
WHERE TO SLEEP
ELLERMAN HOUSE, 180 KLOOF ROAD
It’s no coincidence that we shot the cover for this Journal at Ellerman. This one-of-a-kind boutique hotel has been a part of the JAN family since our very first issue in 2018, and we continue to work with their incredible team every year to create stories set on their beautiful premises. With a view like no other, a smile and a helping hand every time you arrive at the gate or walk through the door, suites and villas that make you feel right at home, and a garden to get blissfully lost in, Ellerman is one of the Mother City’s warmest welcomes.
RADISSON BLU HOTEL WATERFRONT, BEACH ROAD, GRANGER BAY BLVD
This salt-spray suffused, seaside hotel has its own private marina and an on-demand shuttle service to and from the V&A Waterfront, Cape Town’s most exciting shopping and dining destination. Choose from an array of rooms – many of which have an ocean-facing view – to suit your needs, whether you’re a family or simply travelling here on business. But the hotel’s biggest boon is their lovely, super-efficient team, who always make you feel so welcome.