Not too long ago we were sitting around talking about how it felt like summer would never show it’s sunny face again and the next thing we know its the middle of September and summer is just a few weeks away. With warmer weather and longer days on the horizon, this little city is gearing up for its summer visitors. If you’re planning your first trip to Cape Town, I’m so excited for you! As an extremely passionate Capetonian myself, I’ve put together this comprehensive guide to Cape Town for summer 2018.
My Comprehensive Guide to Cape Town for Summer 2018
Here’s my list of the best things to eat, drink, see and do in the Mother City and immediate surrounds. It’s something I’ve put together over time, for friends and family members who are heading to town. Your first visit to Cape Town is going to be incredible. I’m a little jealous actually.
What to do in Cape Town in Summer 2018
- Climb Lions Head | It’s not as easy as people make it out to be, but it is worth the effort. Make sure to wear proper shoes (I’ve seen people in everything from sandals to wedges) and take a bottle of water.
- Hang out on Bree Str | There are lots of nice shops and galleries, but mostly nice restaurants to get sidetracked by.
- Biscuit Mill Market | Only open on Saturdays, it’s a must-do!
- Walk through the colourful Bo-Kaap | For cool photo ops and a history lesson on the city’s Cape Malay culture. Remember though that people live here, and the colourful buildings are people’s homes, so be respectful, say hello and ask if people mind you shooting before you snap.
- Check out Long Street | It’s kinda touristy now but still cool for shopping.
- Visit the penguins at Boulders Beach | Skip the boardwalk area and head straight to the beach. Pay your entry fee and then walk across the small beach, between the boulders, to the little bay on the other side. Now remember not to touch or harass the birds, and just take your cute pictures.
- Take a walk through Kalk Bay | You can stop here on your way to the penguins – walk along the main road and stop for a coffee at Olympia Bakery and have fish and chips at the harbour.
- Hang out at the beach | Clifton 4th is my favourite big beach for long days in the sun, but my favourite ‘locals’ beach is Beta beach in Bakoven. You’ll find it on Google Maps.
- Head to the top of Table Mountain | It’s incredible at sunset, but the weather can throw your plans for a loop. I’d aim to go up first thing in the morning, for breathtaking views of the city. You might as well take a bottle of bubbles up with you because, well, mimosas.
Eating & Drinking in Cape Town in Summer 2018
Best bars in Cape Town
- House of Machines | A very cool motorcycle shop-themed space on the Shortmarket Street strip. They serve an excellent Old Fashioned and play host to a particularly cool crowd. Live music on Thursdays and very vibey on Friday nights, but also good for a mid-week coffee.
- PUBLIK | The best wine bar in town. They always have hard-to-find bottles open, which you can buy by the glass or bottle.
- Power & The Glory | Good for a night out with a very hipster crowd spilling out into the street.
- Botanical Bar | Extremely Cape Town. They use a variety of local botanics to create cocktails you won’t find anywhere else. Also great for snacks before dinner or a night out.
- Love Thy Neighbour and Hank’s | Two of the city’s best bars, right next door to each other. Love Thy Neighbour has a huge outdoor area, while Hank’s is an intimate indoor space. Tuck into some of the best Greek food in town at Love Thy Neighbour, before heading to Hank’s for a whiskey.
- Yours Truly on Kloof Street | A great vibe at one of the city’s only rooftop bars. You’ll always a diverse crowd and good music, perfect for early evening drinks.
- Outrage of Modesty | A tiny bar serving the most unique cocktails you’re likely to see on any menu. It’s painfully cool.
- The Willaston | My personal favourite for a couple of cocktails. It’s kinda swanky, but in a good way. You’ll need to book ahead, and I recommend going at sunset because the views are next level.
- The Stack | Especially for early-evening cocktails. It’s one of my favourite spots in town.
Best restaurants in Cape Town
- El Burro | For modern, authentic Mexican and the best margaritas in town
- Kyoto Garden | For top quality sushi and Japanese
- Chef’s Warehouse | They don’t take bookings so arrive early – the best restaurant in town by far
- Shortmarket Club | Classic food served in a sophisticated setting. If you missed out on a table at Pot Luck Club or Test Kitchen, fear not because this is as good. Be sure to book ahead.
- Kleinsky’s | Excellent for a breakfast bagel.
- Jarryds | My favourite spot for breakfast. The Seapoint one gets really busy, so go early. Alternatively the Bree Street one is even nicer, in my opinion
- Clarke’s | For breakfast, lunch and dinner. Everything on the menu is just so good.
- Hesheng | A hole-in-the-wall authentic Chinese spot that could be considered a local secret.
- La Mouette | A beautiful courtyard in the heart of Seapoint. Great value for a fancy, multi-course tasting menu.
- Smack | A great spot for breakfast or lunch.
- Bilboa | The food is kinda overpriced but it’s right on the Camps Bay strip so it’s got a great view and vibe – the bar upstairs is great too!
- Burrata | For the very best pizza in town in an upscale setting.
- Villa 47 | For really great pasta or a mid-week breakfast.
Best coffee shops in Cape Town
- Jason Bakery on Kloof | It’s always very busy, because it’s the best bakery in town
- Bootlegger | There are a few around town. I particularly like their extensive breakfast menu.
- Deluxe on Church Street | A classic hole-in-the-wall, only open weekdays, literally the best coffee I’ve ever had anywhere. The original story on Church Street is what I’d consider a local secret.
Where to go in the Winelands in Summer 2018
- Babylonstoren | Everything about this farm is just so beautiful! The tasting room serves beautiful platters, so plan eat there while you enjoy a wine tasting. Their spa is NEXT LEVEL so I would suggest booking whatever special is running that month and then carving out a good few hours to use the facilities – sauna, salt room, spa pool and outdoor pool.
- Boschendal | Picture perfect in every way. This is definitely my top recommendation. I prefer their restaurant over all the other winelands options. They also do incredible picnics under the trees, which you can book on their website.
- Beau Constantia | I would recommend this if you want to kill two birds with one stone since Chef’s Warehouse has a restaurant here too, so you can do a wine tasting and a lunch at the best restaurant in town at one spot – also has amazing views.
- Overture restaurant at Hidden Valley | It’s famous for good reason. Because it’s really really good.
- Waterkloof Restaurant | It’s edible art, served with excellent wine and breathtaking views on the side.
- Le Lude | The most beautiful tasting room in the winelands. They are very busy in summer, so book ahead. This is heaven for Champagne lovers.
- Lanzerac | For beautiful platters and fantastic wine in the sunshine. It’s well worth visiting their exceptional spa too! And who could blame you if you wanted to spend the night? Their hotel is the most luxurious I’ve stayed anywhere in South Africa.
- Spier | Especially if you’ve got little people with you. Everything about this farm is just so well run, and there’s loads of space for kids to play while the grown ups picnic and drink wine.
- De Wetshof | If you’re in the mood for a road trip, De Wetshof in Robertson will not disappoint. Especially for Chardonnay lovers like me. My favourite white wine for life.