So after volunteering one month at the elephant sanctuary in Knysna I travelled to Cape Town for three nights to see what the famous city had to offer.
I have to admit the experience didn’t quite go to plan and to be honest you definitely need more than three nights to savour in everything Cape Town has to offer but par everything I still loved Cape Town and would absolutely love to go back one day.
Firstly, there was a mix-up with my hotel which had actually closed down, I was therefore moved to a different hotel. Very much looking forward to my sea front hotel with view of table mountain I was initially quite disappointed. However, it actually turned out to be the ideal location with easy access to everything I needed whereas my previous hotel was in a fairly remote area so I almost saw it as a blessing in disguise!
Arriving in Cape Town I was told that the cable cart to Table Mountain was closed for repairs which I was absolutely gutted about but I still had a Cape Town tour booked as well as Robbin Island which I was really excited for. You can actually hike up Table Mountain which I would have loved to have done but by the time I found people to do this with it was time to go home 😦 but it’s definitely something to consider.
My first day after landing in the morning I got my bearings and the best way to do this is a free walking tour. I do these almost everywhere I go now, they’re informative, you meet people and they help give you tips about where to go and places to see.
The next day I was meant to be going Robbin Island but unfortunately the weather wasn’t having any of it so the ferry could not go over. I was absolutely gutted as this was something I really wanted to do and unfortunately the waiting list to get another ticket was long.
It was by this point after my travel agency not making me aware of my hotel closure or the cancellation of the tour (I found these out myself), I decided enough was enough and I was going to do things my way. Luckily, just round the corner from me was a hop-on hop-off service where I bought a two day bus ticket and a canal ticket for £16! If you’re a solo traveller and want to get around cheaply then I highly recommend getting a bus service like this one. There were three different lines you could go on all stopping at different places of interest and what was really handy is on-board there’s a audio which tells you what you can do at each stop and a bit of history around the area.
I cancelled my booked tour and spent my next two days going all around the Cape Town area via bus and had a great time. I visited a number of lovely beaches, signal hill, a bird sanctuary, some interesting museums and the V&A waterfront which I especially enjoyed. I unfortunately never got round to doing penguin beach but I have heard this was really good.
Just one more thing I would like to touch on I went around Cape Town during the day on my own and I felt completely safe. I had so many people saying “oh but it’s so dangerous” but really it’s no different to any other city. Have your wits about you and be street wise like you would anywhere else.
Regardless of cancellations and stress I still loved Cape Town and it’s somewhere I would definitely like to return to. Everywhere you look and explore Cape Town offers something really beautiful. It’s different to any of city I’ve been to before and I think that’s what makes it so special.
Here are a couple of the highlights from my small time in Cape Town and places I recommend..
Inn on the Square
So this is where I stayed for my three nights in Cape Town and I really cannot fault it. Arriving all the staff were really friendly and they went out of their way to look after me and make me feel welcome. A buffet breakfast was included in the price and offered a good variety. I usually fuelled myself up for the day until dinner which also saved money. I ate dinner here a few times as well and the food was good especially the chocolate brownie!
I couldn’t have asked for a better location either. The hotel was very central with the hop-on hop-off bus stop a minute around the corner along with the walking tour and it also overlooked Greenmarket Square’s lively African market where you could really haggle yourself a bargain and get some genuine last minute souvenirs.
As Table Mountain was closed the second best thing was Signal Hill where you could overlook Cape Town, get a good view of Table Mountain and Lion’s head. Even with Table Mountain open I really do recommend going to Signal Hill if you have time because you can really get great photos of Table Mountain itself as well as Robben Island (if it’s a clear day!).
Hout Bay was by far one of my favourite places the bus stopped. There wasn’t really much to do there but some of the views were breathtaking and if you just want an hour or so to relax and recuperate then this is a good start. You can walk along the boardwalk which leads you out into the bay and that’s when you will really want your camera!
Just to make things that little bit more convincing they also serve some smashing fish and chips!
The V&A waterfront is probably the most tourist-y part of Cape Town I came across but I’m not surprised! There’s lots going on here, there’s a big shopping centre as well as other little market stalls and shops, restaurants, a food hall, an aquarium and the Nelson Mandela Museum which is also where you would get the ferry to Robben Island.
I would definitely encourage everyone to have a look in the Nelson Mandela museum there isn’t loads to look at but its free and I found it extremely interesting.
The aquarium I only went to because I needed to waste some time before my flight. It’s nice but its similar to any other aquarium in all honesty.
I loved the shops and because everything is so cheap you can really get some nice bits. Also, there is a really great food hall where you can get some really nice food and drink so definitely give it a try.
There is SO much to do in Cape Town and you really do need more than three nights to explore. My best advice is to always research somewhere before you go and have a rough idea in your head the things you would like to do and see. I hope this helps you a little bit with your Cape Town planning and I am sure you will love it as much as I did!
Want some more inspo? Take a look at this Cape Town Bucket list and see how much you can tick off.