Cruising Through Cape Town

What does one do with only 2 days in Cape Town?  Jam in as much as possible, of course!  For context, we visited as part of our honeymoon after our Safari and before our time in Mauritius.

While our time there was short, we certainly made the most of it choosing to spend a day in the Cape Winelands and then a day touring the Cape Peninsula, making our home base in Cape Town.

We stayed at the 15 on Orange, a Marriott property in the heart of Cape Town.  It was a beautiful (albeit business) hotel, though we stayed there because it was central and available for very few points.  If you’re curious about how we used points to make our honeymoon so affordable, check out this post.

Pro Tip: There are a ton of advantages to picking one hotel group and sticking with it – one of my favorites that comes with my Marriott Platinum status is free breakfast at every hotel we go to.  We save a ton of money on food (oftentimes doing brunch instead of breakfast and lunch) and more often than not, the hotels have amazing, free breakfast spreads.

We arrived late in the afternoon and were hoping to go up to Table Mountain, but it was totally clouded over.  So, instead we just relaxed a bit and then went to dinner!  I had done a ton of research on food options and settled on La Mouette, an adorable spot known for amazing food at an amazing value.  And it’s true – for $33 we had a 5-course meal.  See for yourself!

Cape Winelands

Pro Tip: We booked a driver for our day in the Cape Winelands (safety first!) but it wasn’t a tour which actually was nice because it meant we could set our own agenda for the day.  We often do this, instead of booking tours, because we love the privacy and flexibility!

The Cape Winelands have 3 main regions – Stellenbosch, Franschhoek and Paarl.  While they are all right next to each other, each have a very distinct vibe to them and many different advantages, so it was a bit overwhelming to figure out where to go.  But, with the help of a few friends and a bit of research, we narrowed down our list!

Here’s a quick overview of each of them:

Fairview: Their wine and cheese pairing is a must considering they are also a dairy and make their own cheese.  Truth be told, their cheese was outstanding, and their wine was very good, but I still would go back again for another tasting in a heartbeat!

Mellasat: Probably my favorite winery of the day because it is truly a small, boutique winery trying to make a name for themselves in a very popular area.  We had a lovely tasting and the owner arranged for us to tour their facilities and walk their vineyards while we were there.  Also, they are the only winery in the area to make a white Pinotage (normally a popular red varietal) which was something very special!

Delaire Graff: The views here are just stunning! It is a very posh hotel and winery and we went for lunch on the terrace which was both delicious and gorgeous.  It definitely is on the expensive side, but it was a truly great experience!

Vrede en Lust: They had me at “wine and chocolate pairing” and even though we were so full by that point, it was another gem of a spot.

Cape Peninsula

Since we had a LOT of ground to cover, and only 1 day, we booked another driver for our day around the Cape Peninsula (who was our guide).

Pro tip: There are a TON of pre-planned tours of the Cape Peninsula that all make very similar stops, but similar to our wine tasting day, we really wanted to customize our visit (mix things up a bit, not be on someone else’s schedule), so this was a great option for us and still very affordable (about $50/person including tip for 9 hours).

Our first stop was Maiden’s Cove overlooking the beautiful views of Camps Bay and the 12 Apostles Mountains.  Then, onto Chapman’s Peak Drive with the stunning coastline views. 

We stopped at an ostrich farm (who knew that was a thing?) and got to feed these crazy creatures! Clearly, I was not scared at all haha.

We then hit the very popular (and beautiful) Cape Point National Park to visit Cape of Good Hope, the most Southwestern point of the African continent.  

No Cape Peninsula tour would be complete without a stop to Boulders Beach to see the penguins (who have chosen a mighty nice spot to live, I might add).

For lunch, we visited La Colombe – a real treat for us! The things they do with food are insane!

Pro Tip: If a nice restaurant is also open for lunch, it’s usually a great way to get a killer deal on the same caliber of food. This meal was only $30 for 8 courses – whattttt?!

Afterwards, we walked off our meal at the Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens (literally, it’s built into the mountain side and quite hilly!) and I admired the beautiful protea, one of my very favorite flowers. 

In typical crazy Nikki fashion, we ended our tour, popped back to the hotel, did a quick change and off we went to the airport to start our next leg to Mauritius.

While this trip was filled with pure beauty, delicious food and amazing wine, there’s so much more to Cape Town. We only scratched the surface, asking our Guides as many questions as we could to learn about this country with so many juxtapositions. The end of Apartheid is still very recent – ending in the early 1990’s – and the disparity here is very real. It was intense to see – one minute seeing massive homes with giant electric and barbed wire fences and the next seeing the shanty towns barely standing.

As a wise man once said, “Travel isn’t always pretty. It isn’t always comfortable. Sometimes it hurts, it even breaks your heart. But that’s okay. The journey changes you; it should change you. It leaves marks on your memory, on your consciousness, on your heart, and on your body. You take something with you. Hopefully, you leave something good behind.” – Anthony Bourdain

I feel changed for the better after my time in Africa and honestly can’t wait to go back and experience even more in years to come.

Have you ever been to Cape Town? I’d love to hear about all of your favorite spots!

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