It is no secret if you read this blog that, for me, Cape Town in South Africa is one of the most fabulous places in the world to visit. It is a mixture of unique and breath-taking scenery, trendy, fun and great food and entertainment.
There is also so much to do. Some cultural, some indulgent and a lot relaxing.
As there is so much to do, I have now added 5 MORE GREAT AND AMAZING THINGS TO DO IN CAPE TOWN. This adds to my list of things you need to do on a first trip to Cape Town. here are 5 things to do when you perhaps have more time, or are trying to convince that you just have to go to Cape Town again…
You can read my THINGS YOU MUST DO IN CAPE TOWN posting by clicking on the link.
So here are my 5 more great and amazing things to do in Cape Town (in no specifc order!) if you have more time, or are going on a return visit….(which you should!)
1: BLOUBERGSTRAND: FOR THAT ICONIC VIEW OF TABLE MOUNTAIN
When you see a picture of Cape Town it is usually one that shows all of the iconic Table Mountain from a distance with a long stretch of deep blue sea lying in front of it. This is a view I had never seen despite going to Cape Town a few times. And so on my recent trip there, I decided it was time to correct this and bag myself a few of those trophy shots of Cape Town for myself.
The place to see the views from is a small town and growing area of developments is called Bloubergstrand.
The town is 25 km and so about 30 minutes drive from the city out past the harbour and round the bay you enter a series of seaside holiday resorts where Bloubergstrand seems to be the main one. It is packed full of new developments and seems to be growing very fast with new developments behind large walls. It is hard to figure out how many are full time homes or if they are holiday lets. But there certainly is a lot of them.
The beach has big rocks and the waves crash over them, and you have amazing views across to the city and over to Robben Island. The views really are worth the trip and a stroll along the beach with the views are impressive. Along one stretch of the beach to the west of the town is an area where there are people kite-gliding.
This seems to be a place that is popular as a relatively inexpensive place to take families and seems focused around this and then water sports.
We spent an hour or so checking out the view and soaking it it. The sea is, of course, really cold and so you don’t see much time in the sea!
Watch my video and the stunning views:
2: CHAPMAN PEAK DRIVE: STUNNING VIEWS
One of the most spectacular things to do while in Cape Town, is to take a drive (or tour) along Chapman’s Peak Drive. If you do, take some time, your camera and maybe some food to stop along the way and soak it all in.
The Chapman Peak’s Drive is a road that was started in 1915 (so during the First World War) based on a master plan by first administrator of the Cape (Sir Frederic de Waal) and was finally opened in 1922. The route runs from Hout Bay to Nooordhoek and is basically a shortcut from Cape Town to the South Peninsula of the Cape.
It is a remarkable drive that runs along the side of the mountains and the Atlantic Ocean. It spirals and turns it way around the mountain, with some of the road even being blasted into the side of the hills. It is 9km long and has 114 curves and turns!
Along the way are stops and picnic spots clinging to the side of the road, and offering the most stunning views across Hout Bay. In Winter it is also a popular spot for Whale spotting as they come into the bay on their migration.
The road was closed for 3 years from 2000 to 2003 following rock falls, and was finally re-opened as a toll road and is managed by a company that uses the funds to keep the road as safe as it can be from rock falls. All along the route you can see massive nets and other devices up the mountains and slopes to stop any major rock falls. But you are warned the road is take at your own risk. The toll is 30 rands each way (about £3).
On the weekends the road is very busy with visitors and bus tours, as well as large numbers of cyclists and runners. These must both be very fit and maybe a bit mad, as these are huge hills and slopes, and take some effort.
It is worth taking it fairly easy, and stopping at many of the rest stops. It is also important to stop at the very top as there is a viewing platform and stunning views into Hout Bay and out to the Atlantic.
I have done this drive many times, and you can and never will tire of the views and experience. It is a truly beautiful and amazing sight and experience
WATCH THE VIDEO OF SOME OF THE DRIVE AND THE PEAK ITSELF:
3: SANDY BAY NUDIST BEACH
You need to be fairly determined if you want to visit Sandy Bay, the nudist beach near Cape Town.
But if you are a nudist looking for a stunning spot to hang out, and determined this is a good spot to visit.
Why determined? It is not only about a 30 minute drive out of the city to the nearby Llandudno town, but you then need to find your way down to the small car park – and then there is a 20 minute walk along a path to the actual beach.
You know when you are at the car park, as there is a sign saying “NO nudity on the path” and usually people weighed down with rucksacks or holdalls heading off down the path. It is amazing how much stuff you need to take with you for a day of nudity!
This makes sense as once on the beach there is little shade, no one selling loungers to sit on, no food and drinks vendors – just a large white sand beach.
The beach itself is fantastic, as is the area. It is a large fine white sand beach, with the Twelve Apostles mountains behind it, and then large outcrops of rocks that jut into the sea that you can clamber over. The beach attracts a diverse group of people, though a large contingent of gay men. The very far end of the beach tends to be more gay, while closer to the end of the path is more mixed couples and groups.
Although we did not see any of the day we visited, some people (mostly women) have complained about men hiding in bushes and spying on them. We found the attitude relaxed and unobtrusive (assuming you find all shapes hanging it all out comfortable!).
The area Sandy Bay is in is undeveloped and wild, and so feels unspoilt and remote. The sea is a stunning dark blue and green, and very cold. It feels even colder than the sea closer to Cape Town like Clifton Beach.
Sandy Bay is probably not for the casual day-tripper as is quite a trek to get to and find, and which is why it is probably been successful as a nudist beach as (barring the odd reported voyeur) a place only people comfortable with nudism head.
4: CLIFTON BEACHES. BEAUTIFUL SCENERY AND PEOPLE
Clifton Beach in Cape Town is probably the most popular beaches in Cape Town. It is also one of the most stunning of them.
The beach, or in reality 4 of them connected together, is in one of the more expensive areas of Cape Town which have very expensive apartment blocks and huge house that rise up from the beach right up the slopes of the mountains that run along the coast. The premium due to the views out across the beach to sea. The Clifton area is after Sea Point and Bantry Bay and before the busy and buzzy Camps Bay area, also popular with locals and tourists.
Clifton is popular not only because it is so beautiful, with soft dazzling white sands but also because even in the windy mid summer months it is very sheltered from the winds. The sea, as it is the Atlantic is very cold and you need to be fairly brave to venture into it – although it is very inviting in colour and look.
You need to get to the area early as there is very limited parking along the roads above the beach. Then once there you will need to walk down the steps down the cliffs above the beach. These are steep and wind their way around the small (but stylish) beach houses that cling to the slopes. You need to be fairly fit as on the way up after a day on the beach they feel even steeper and longer!
There are 4 beaches that make up Clifton. The 4th Beach is the most popular and where there is a changing rooms, and has lifeguards unlike the other beaches. This is where both families and people posing and wanting to be seen go. Next to it, is Clifton 3rd beach which is the one that is most popular with gay men (but not exclusively). Clifton 2nd beach is becoming more popular and then the 1st is always the quietest of all of them. The beaches are split by boulders that jut into the sea.
On the 2nd, 3rd and 4th beach there are people renting out beds and umbrellas, but if going a lot it may be worth buying your own umbrella as to hire 2 beds and an umbrella is about 100 Rand a day (about £10). Vendors come round selling soft drinks and ice creams.
The views on the beach are great. Both out to sea, on the beach as many “body beautiful” people and then up into the cliffs and mountains.
WATCH THE VIDEO OF THE BEACHES I MADE:
5: DISTRICT SIX MUSEUM: EYE OPENING VIEW OF THE PAST
The forced removal of around 60000 non-white people from the area of Cape Town called District Six into the more remote and desolate Cape Flats during South African Apartheid, came to be one of the symbols of the injustices of the era. The area had been reclassified as a “white” area in 1966 despite generations, and the homes of those moved were bulldozed.
The museum was established in one of the few remaining buildings (an old place of worship) in 1994 as apartheid came to an end, both to commemorate the period but also to work to get compensation and the right to reclaim lost land by evicted residents.
The museum is a very popular place for tourists as well as visiting dignatories.
The museum consists of various documents, personal records, posters and other memorabilia from past residents. It is unexpected and colourful inside, and more of an experience and symbol than a traditional museum.
Personally, I would have liked it if they had explained the history and background a bit more as the museum assumes you know the background as for foreign tourists (and I guess the next generation who did not live through apartheid).
The museum is spread through the old hall of worship and around the balconies that run round the hall. There are then some rooms behind, and a rather tatty tea room.
The museum was not as informative as I had hoped, but it is designed to be a memorial, lobbying centre and celebration.
It is worth a visit, though brushing up on South African Apartheid history and the story is advisable to really appreciate it.
Websites and links: http://www.districtsix.co.za/ and the museum can be found at 25a Buitenkant Street in Cape Town centre.