The locals’ guide to Cape Town

A colourful fusion of culture, cuisine and effortless coolness, South Africa’s oldest city is well worth the trip

OUTDOOR ADVENTURES

Carlinn Meyer (pictured above) is a blogger and photographer who has a swoon-worthy Instagram feed. Here, she tells us how to make the most of the outdoors

What makes summering in Cape Town so special?

There is a certain energy in the air that I just can’t explain. Warm evenings are best spent watching the sunset from the powdery beaches or going out for cocktails at the happening bars in the city. The nearby bucolic towns of Franschhoek, Paarl and Stellenbosch are great for amazing lunches and you can take a stroll around Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden, watch movies under the stars at open-air cinemas or go for hikes under the moonlight. People love being outside and you can really feel the buzz everywhere you go.

What are your top five most picturesque spots in and around the city?

The view from Chapman’s Peak Drive, which was named one of the most beautiful coastal roads in the world. The top of Lion’s Head where you get a 360-degree view of the Atlantic ocean on the one side and the city on the other side. Llandudno beach with its clear turquoise waters, where you can almost always find surfers catching some waves. Cape Point with its stunning cliffs, ship wrecks and interesting history. Bo-Kaap with its colourful houses makes for stunning photos.

Besides Table Mountain – what’s a must-see attraction?

Go and visit the African penguins at Boulders Beach in Simons Town. You will definitely leave with a smile on your face and a camera full of photos.

Where is your favourite place?

I like to be up in the mountains where I can see the city from above. Whenever you reach the top it really does take your breath away to see the sheer drops leading to the sparkling ocean down below. There are also so many different trails to choose from that you will never get bored.

FOODIE FEASTS

Ishay Govender-Ypma is a ftravel and culture photojournalist, cookbook and guidebook author. Here, she tells us all about the Mother City’s foodie hotspots

What are your go-to restaurants for a laid-back lunch and a fine-dining dinner?

For a no-nonsense great value lunch or dinner prepared with in-season ingredients and cosmopolitan flavours, book a table at Black Sheep in Kloof Street or secure seats at chic The Shortmarket Club, which falls under the Luke Dale-Roberts umbrella, run by the very talented Wesley Randles. For special occasions, it has to be a table reserved three months in advance at The Test Kitchen in Woodstock. If I’m with friends who love company and want to meet others, Reverie Social Table in Observatory sees guests sitting at a single long table and fed a surprise five-course tasting menu.

Desert at The Test Kitchen
Desert at The Test Kitchen

How is the local food scene?

The complexity and variety of Cape Town’s food scene is comparable to many of the bigger food cities, just on a smaller scale. It’s intense, experimental and fun. You’ll find everything from genuine Neapolitan-style pizzas to hand-pulled ramen and fine-dining of the highest level. It’s a combination of demand (Cape Town has a reputation to maintain), creativity inspired by incredibly beautiful surroundings and the lifestyle which attracts top chefs and entrepreneurs, that sets the food scene apart from other local cities.

What’s trending food wise?

Fresh and easy seems to be the flavour du jour. Bone broth bars, poke bowls, and fancy tapas, as well as meals meant for sharing are all the rage. Now, we just need more Vietnamese and Thai restaurants.

Which food markets do you suggest?

If it’s your first visit, the granddaddy of food markets (remember, ours is a ‘new’ market culture), is the Neighbourgoods Market at the Old Biscuit Mill in Woodstock. Arrive by 10am and it’s best to get a ride or an Uber as parking is close to impossible. The Saturday Oranjezicht City Farm Market at Granger Bay (ozcf.co.za) near the Waterfront is a good introduction to small local farmers and great artisanal food products.

What are some of the must-try local dishes?

Try all the Cape Malay food you can, from koeksisters – pillow spiced doughnuts soaked in syrup and dusted in desiccated coconut to curries, bredies (stews) and bobotie (a spiced mince dish topped with savoury custard and served with raisin-flecked yellow rice). Also, you can’t miss a braai (BBQ), especially a fish braai in the summer.

SHOP THE CITY

Alexia Klompje is a ceramicist and stylist who promotes handmade South African design. Find her stoneware pieces at Klomp Ceramics before embarking on a shopping spree to her suggested spots below

Where do you find creative inspiration in your city?

Everywhere. Cape Town is a beautiful and vibrant place and it’s brimming with creativity. I draw inspiration from the nature that surrounds us and the characterful streets.

Where are the best areas to shop?

The local design scene is exploding and innovative items can be found at markets and concept stores. Head to Bree Street and Kloof Street in the CBD, Woodstock, and the Watershed at the V&A Waterfront for a good mix of products, food and great fashion.

Which emerging designers do you like?

AKJP Collective on Kloof Street and Convoy Shop on Bree Street both house some of our best local up-and-coming fashion, jewellery and accessory designers all under one roof. A few of my faves are Thalia Strates, Pichulik, Hannah Lavery, Steffany Roup, AKJP and Henriette Botha – who we’ve just collaborated with for her latest collection ‘Hommage’. I love Bofred for product and feature furniture design and I think Frans Smit’s art is incredible, especially his Silence collection. Find him at Eastside Studios in Salt River.

What are the must-buy souvenirs?

Anything made locally that is unique. South Africans have such a creative perspective and create boldly. It’s wonderful.

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