With Table Mountain providing commanding views from any vantage point, gorgeous white-sand beaches with romantic sunsets, tranquil waterfronts and sprawling vineyards, you would think Mother Nature herself gave special attention to Cape Town, a ravishing destination with picturesque natural landscapes and cosmopolitan flair to boot. It’s the perfect fall getaway with loads to do, and our guide below highlights the best of the destination you can experience in one unforgettable Saturday.
Start at the Market
Since opening in 2006, the Neighbourgoods Market in the revitalized Woodstock neighborhood has become a weekend ritual for discerning locals. The public market is only open Saturday mornings from 9 am to 2 pm, when more than 100 specialty traders set up shop with an eclectic variety of goods, from farm-fresh produce and fine-food purveyors to organic bath products, souvenirs and clothing. Dozens of stalls offer incredibly fresh breakfast entrees and strong coffee, making it the best one-stop shop for your early Saturday morning.
Frolic in the Vineyards
A trip to Cape Town isn’t truly official without exploring the enchanting vineyards in the popular Stellenbosch and Paarl regions. Less than an hour’s drive from town, Paarl leaves visitors breathless with its stunning bucolic scenery. Among the rolling hills and vast blue sky are dozens of top-notch wineries featuring exciting, world-class wines, and we recommend Nederburg Vineyards, one of the most iconic in the countryside. Nederburg spans nearly 4,000 acres and is known for robust Cabernets, refreshing Sauvignon Blancs and Pinotage, a varietal unique to South Africa.
Seafood with a View
“Bay views” are an understatement at Harbor House Kalk Bay. The award-winning, elegant restaurant is built literally on the breakwater, so diners have unobstructed views of the bay and the mountains while gentle waves crash just several feet away. From inside the romantic dining room with floor-to-ceiling windows, it’s common to spot Humpback and Southern Right whales emerge from the sea, seriously enhancing the dining experience. Thanks to Harbour House’s own fishing boat, guests can expect a bounty of fresh-caught fish for an unforgettable lunch right on the water.
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Reach Great Heights
The most striking landmark in Cape Town, Table Mountain is dramatic with its flat, “tabletop” plateau and impressive cliffs. The UNESCO World Heritage Site can be seen from virtually anywhere in Cape Town, and is one of the most Instagrammed attractions around, though the money shot is from the top of the mountain. Here, travelers are captivated by immense, awe-inspiring views of Robben Island, Lion’s Head and Cape Town’s sprawling city center. Intrepid travelers will take the two-hour hike to reach the summit, while those less inclined to hike can opt for the Table Mountain Aerial Cableway that takes visitors straight to the top in less than five minutes. Relish the sweeping views 3,500 feet high above sea level!
Penguins: a Perennial Favorite
Most travelers know that Cape Town is a launching off point for unforgettable safaris, where untamed wildlife like elephants, lions and zebras are just a short drive away. But you don’t have to travel far to see cute little penguins waddle their way into your heart. Foxy Beach in the Cape Peninsula is a hot spot for dozens of warm-weather penguins, which is just a short stroll from Boulder’s Beach, a magnet for sunbathers. The colony of penguins here is guaranteed to give you a show as they totter throughout the beach in their adorable little tuxes!
Sunset like a Pro
Over in Sea Point, Camps Bay and Clifton Beaches are the main beaches of Cape Town, home to affluent locals and a throng of tourists who thrive on the trendy bars, al fresco restaurants and, naturally, sandy-white beaches that are simply pristine. Head here for the magnificent sunset, toes dipped in the sand while a gentle breeze creates the perfect setting. Travelers and locals alike also congregate at Beach Road, a popular spot to experience the awe-inspiring sunset every night of the year.
There’s no other restaurant that captures the heart and soul of Cape Town like Mama Africa, an exciting and spirited institution where a live Marimba band takes stage every night for traditional live music. The good vibes are utterly infectious (diners have no qualms about dancing at their table), and South African culture is celebrated with zest. Be sure to keep an open mind as much of the food served is exotic game like biltong, crocodile and ostrich. For those who prefer more familiar dishes, plenty of beef, chicken and vegetarian options are also available.
Where to stay in Cape Town