Live it up in South Africa: Cape Town, Stellenbosch and Franschhoek

Advisor - Thomas Gosschalk
Curated By

Thomas Gosschalk

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  • South Africa

  • Cape Town

  • Active Travel

  • Adventure Travel

  • Beaches

  • Outdoors

  • Shopping

  • Local Food

A beach shore in front of tall cliffs during the daytime
Curator’s statement

Although my roots lie in South Africa, it wasn't until the age of 26 that I discovered Cape Town, a hidden gem that quickly became my sanctuary. In a life-changing decision, I embraced a sabbatical to immerse myself in the city's vibrant culture and majestic landscapes, volunteering there for an unforgettable three months the following summer. This transformative experience inspired me to establish my own volunteer agency, fostering a deeper connection with this enchanting country. Since 2009, I've been drawn back regularly, captivated by the gentle embrace of the winter sun, the awe-inspiring nature and scenery that seem to whisper tales of ancient times, and the warmth of its wonderful people. Each visit is a culinary adventure, offering a taste of the incredible local cuisine - a true feast for the senses. Cape Town, with its unique blend of natural beauty, rich history and resilient spirit, is not just a destination; it's my paradise on earth, a place where my soul feels most at home.

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Where to stay in South Africa

12 Apostles Hotel & Spa

A hotel at the very tip of Africa, poised above the Atlantic Ocean and flanked by the majestic Twelve Apostles Mountain range and Table Mountain National Park.

Fora Perks
  • $100 hotel / resort credit.

  • Breakfast daily.

  • Upgrade & extended check-in/out whenever possible.

Mont Rochelle

A stunning 26-bedroom hotel and vineyard spread over 39 hectares in Franschhoek, a town in the Western Cape Province of South Africa.

Fora Perks
  • $100 hotel / resort credit.

  • Breakfast daily.

  • Upgrade & extended check-in/out whenever possible.

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Things to do in South Africa

Penguins walking around a sea shore

Cape Town

Table Mountain:
Why: An iconic flat-topped mountain offering panoramic views of Cape Town and a rich biodiversity.
Tip: Hiking up Table Mountain is a must-do for adventure enthusiasts, but there's also the cable car for a more leisurely ascent.

Lion's Head:
Why: Provides a spectacular 360-degree view of the city, famous for sunrise and sunset hikes.
Tip: The hike is relatively short but can be steep in parts, so proper footwear is recommended.

Groot Constantia (Groot Constantia):
Why: South Africa's oldest wine estate, known for its quality wines and beautiful setting.
Tip: The wine tasting and cellar tour provide a historic and indulgent experience.

Table Mountain Aerial Cableway (Table Mountain Cableway):
Why: Offers an easy and scenic way to reach the top of Table Mountain.
Tip: Buy tickets online in advance to avoid long queues.

Robben Island Museum (Robben Island Museum):
Why: A historical site providing insight into South Africa's apartheid past.
Tip: Book in advance and opt for a morning tour for better weather conditions.

Camps Bay:
Why: Known for its stunning beaches, vibrant nightlife, and breathtaking views of the Twelve Apostles mountain range.
Tip: Spend a day relaxing on the beach and then explore the local restaurants and bars for a lively evening.

Day Trips:

Cape Point Nature Reserve:
Why: Offers breathtaking views, hiking trails, and the meeting point of the Indian and Atlantic Oceans.
Tip: Visit the old lighthouse and enjoy the ocean vistas; keep an eye out for baboons and other wildlife.

Hout Bay and Seal Island:
Why: Hout Bay is a charming fishing village with a beautiful beach and vibrant market, and a boat trip to Seal Island offers a chance to see hundreds of seals in their natural habitat.
Tip: Make sure to visit the Hout Bay market for local crafts and foods, and book a boat tour in advance for Seal Island.

Boulders Beach Penguin Colony:
Why: View African penguins in their natural habitat.
Tip: Visit early morning or late afternoon... at the end of the beach you'll see a tiny hole in the rocks... go through, climb over the next bunch and then enjoy the bliss of swimming with the penguins and without the tourists.

Stellenbosch and Franschhoek are jewels in the Western Cape's crown, offering a blend of natural beauty, rich history and a thriving culinary and wine scene. These recommendations will provide visitors with a comprehensive and enjoyable experience in these renowned South African destinations.

Boschendal Wine Estate (Boschendal):
Why: One of the oldest farms in South Africa, known for its award-winning wines and picturesque setting.
Tip: Enjoy a picnic on their expansive lawns or partake in a wine tasting.

Rust en Vrede Wine Estate (Rust en Vrede):
Why:
Specializes in producing premium red wines, with a serene and historic ambiance.
Tip: Dine at their estate restaurant for a memorable culinary experience.

Delaire Graff Estate (Delaire Graff):
Why: Known for its exquisite wines, stunning views, and impressive art collection.
Tip: Visit for wine tasting and enjoy lunch with panoramic vineyard views.

Franschhoek

Franschhoek Wine Tram (Franschhoek Wine Tram):
Why: A unique and leisurely way to explore the Franschhoek Valley's vineyards and wineries.
Tip: Choose a hop-on-hop-off tour for the flexibility to explore different wineries at your own pace.

La Motte Wine Estate (La Motte):
Why: Renowned for its exceptional Shiraz and beautiful setting.
Tip: Try their wine and food pairing experience for a culinary delight.

Ernie Els Wines (Ernie Els Wines):
Why: Combines fine wines with a passion for golf, offering stunning views of the valley.
Tip: Even if you're not a golf enthusiast, the view from their tasting room is a must-see.

Franschhoek Motor Museum (Franschhoek Motor Museum):
Why:
Showcases a fascinating collection of vehicles from over the last century.
Tip: Perfect for car enthusiasts; allocate enough time to enjoy the extensive collection.

Places to eat & drink in South Africa

A bottle of wine pouring into a tall wine glass

Cafe Caprice, La Petite Ferme, The Fat Butcher

Need to Know

This guide is part of our ongoing series on travel to South Africa.

For more travel tips, check out Fora Advisor Geraldine Whyte’s guide, An Immersive Guide to Cape Town, South Africa.

Advisor - Thomas Gosschalk

Travel Advisor

Thomas Gosschalk

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