Nature sprawl versus urban sprawl!
Most urban environments grow and encroach on their natural surroundings, threatening to overwhelm them.
Not Cape Town. This is a city where the opposite holds true – where, if you weren’t paying attention, the mountains could overwhelm you or the oceans could engulf the peninsula. This makes for a very unique city, made up of some truly diverse neighborhoods.
Their names pop up in searches without any context as to their character or location so here is our three minute read on Cape Town’s myriad of neighborhoods and satellite towns…
The V&A (Victoria & Alfred) Waterfront
The face of the city. Marginally dismissed by locals, beloved by visitors. It is a MUST. The best example of a mixed-use waterfront development anywhere in the world. As this is still very much a working harbor, expect to see large ships undergoing work in dry dock, moored oil rigs, etc., all alongside pubs, wine bars, restaurants, retail shops and some of the finest accommodation in Africa.
Greenpoint & Mouille Point
Adjacent to the V&A, hip local eateries and bars that showcase the diversity of the city. Especially fun for cocktail hour.
THE CITY CENTRE
During the day, it is great to explore Greenmarket Square and adjacent sites of historical interest such as the Company Gardens, the Castle, the District Six Museum and the Jewish Museum. At night, it becomes the epicenter of activity. The best concentration of restaurants, bars and clubs are found along Long & Bree streets and their surrounds.
Bo Kaap (above the Cape) is a colorful community nestled on the slopes of Signal Hill, just sandwiched between De Waterkant and the V&A Waterfront. Best for photo opportunities (multi-colored houses), home cooking experiences (Cape Malay cooking) and perusing interior design stores for inspiration.
Tamboerskloof, Gardens & Oranjezicht
Nestled together and referred to as ‘the City Bowl’ this is an area sandwiched between Cape Town city center and Table Mountain. Home to the hip and trendy, these neighborhoods have some of the best located boutique hotels and casual gastro restaurants in the city.
Clifton & camps bay (the beach communities)
Like Santa Barbara meeting South Beach, Miami (if you can envision that). Gorgeous beaches below Africa’s most prized residential real estate, these spots are perfect for people watching, beach culture and long lazy lunches…and only a 15 minute drive from the heart of the city.
Llandudno & Sandy
Simply the best beaches if you want to avoid the crowds. Thirty minutes from the city and a world away. It is all about the beach, nothing else to do…
The town with THE MOST dramatic setting and majestic scenery in Africa, period. Best for artisanal shopping, local markets and lunchtime fresh seafood directly from the fishing fleet housed in the harbor. Around 40 minutes from the city.
Fish Hoek, Simonstown, Kalk Bay & St James
Apologies for lumping all of these coastal villages together, but they can appear somewhat indistinguishable aside from defining spots like the SA naval base, Kalky’s (famous for fish & chips), The Brass Bell (no better spot for Sunday brunch & jazz…or for sundowners any day of the week). A short hour from the city, yet a world away.
For surfing, period. A 40 minute drive from the city.
The original wine region and now part of the city’s exurbs tucked neatly behind Table Mountain. Home to some of the city’s finest restaurants – La Colombe, Chef’s Warehouse, Foxcroft, and an intimate appellation of fabulous wineries, this is a gem hiding in plain sight. Another MUST visit suburb.
This rapidly gentrifying neighborhood, less than 10 minutes from downtown and adjacent to the docks, was placed on the map with the redevelopment of The Old Biscuit Mill. Home to the city’s most famous restaurants, Test Kitchen & Pot Luck Club, and farmer’s market, you can delight in pop-up stores, taste your way through the South African culinary landscape, and fully integrate with local Capetonians.
…so the city has multiple personalities. It is one of the few cities in the world that warrants more than two days of exploration…from the above, no doubt you will agree it is more like a week…or at the very least warrants a return visit!