10 romantic things to do in Cape Town

10 romantic things to do in Cape Town

South Africa’s most vibrant seaside city is full of romantic things to do on honeymoon – Gemma Noble guides you around

1. Take the scenic route

Make sure you hire a car! Cape Town is a huge, sprawling city and the cost of taxis will soon mount up. Hiring a car is the easiest way to get about and see everything, not just the tourist spots. Car parking is readily available nearly everywhere and some of the best views of the city can be seen from car.

First head towards Muizenberg and go for a drive up Boyes Drive where you may see whales or even sharks. Or you could take a trip up Au Kaapsiveg, a mountain pass which the famous Argus Cycle Race used to take, before it changed over to Chapmans Peak (another one worth driving). On the other side of Au Kaapsiveg, take a walk along Longbeach; if you take Chapmans Peak, head to Nordhoek for a romantic horse trail around the beach. Sleepy Hollow Stables offers trails for riders of all abilities.

2. Stand on the Table

Table Mountain is undoubtedly the most iconic of Cape Town's many attractions, so no visit is complete without a trip up the top. Park at the foot of the mountain and take a cable car up - the inside revolves so you get the best views. For the more adventurous, pack your trainers and hike to the top - the walk takes two to three hours. Make sure you pack layers and take water if you're hiking; Cape Town weather can be changeable and it gets chilly at the top of the mountain. If you really want to get your hearts pounding, you can abseil off the summit in good weather.

3. Go to the Gardens

Nestled at the base of Table Mountain are the beautiful Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens. You can easily spend the afternoon getting lost in the gorgeous gardens after a romantic picnic on one of the many lawns. The gardens also host outdoor art exhibitions and are held on Sunday evenings in summer at the outside Amphitheatre from some of South Africa's best artists; ask at the entrance for details.

4. Explore the markets and take to the waterfront

Head to Green Point market to snap up some bargains, you'll find everything here from clothes and souvenirs to local produce. Nearby China Town is great to pick up some quirky goodies and great food. The best time to go shopping is late morning so you catch all the markets.

The Victoria and Albert Waterfront has some of Cape Town's best shopping and restaurants. Visit the Red Shed for trinkets and head for the harbour to buy traditional African crafts (shop around for the best prices). The V&A is one of the few places you'll see traditional gumboot dancing from street performers - well worth a watch.

You can easily spend a day here, but it's also the place to take a harbour cruise or a trip to Robben Island. Book your tickets from the ticket office early on in the day if you want to visit Robben Island.

5. Spend the day at the beach

Cape Town has some beautiful beaches; my favourite is Camps Bay. The views are better from Camps Bay than the busy Clifton beaches which are only a ten minute walk away. Parking is easy, and it's close enough to a variety of bars and restaurants that when you're done, you can cross the road and grab a cocktail. You won't hit the surfers either - if you want to surf head to Muizenberg or Lladudno.

6. Party the night away

Nightlife in Cape Town is always good; the clubs are always busy and the drinks are cheap. Start your night in Que Passa in the city for a latin flavour (they'll even teach you the moves), before heading on to Hemisphere in the banking district. This club is situated in a high-rise and offers a stylish atmosphere and spectacular views - make sure you dress to impress!

7. Meet the penguins

Hang out at Boulders Beach in Simon's Town for a day. Boulders penguin colony is a protected space for the African penguin. Mingle with the locals (both the human and feathered variety) at the beach, just don't get too close, as penguins have been known to bite. Get there early to nab a parking space, and a good spot on the beach - otherwise you'll be scaling the eponymous boulders to find somewhere. Head into Simon's Town for some food; Bertha's on the pier does great cocktails and has lovely views of False Bay.

8. Something to Kalk about

If you like to spend your days pottering around quirky little shops, head to Kalk Bay. Here you'll find a strip of independent stores selling artwork, antiques and knick-knacks. Be sure to stop into the Ice Café for the best ice cream around, and take a stroll around the marina and see the seals come right up onto the decks. For a new dining experience go to the romantic Cape to Cuba at the end of the high street and eat by candlelight, or if you fancy some seafood go to The Harbour House - the views are unbeatable.

9. Explore the wine country

Located about an hour outside of Cape Town, the university town of Stellenbosch boasts some of the best wineries in the country. I recommend the Spier wine farm - it has more than enough to keep you busy! Moyo (at Spier) is my favourite place for a typical South African braai and buffet; eat in a beautifully decorated tree house and let the staff paint your face with pretty, traditional designs. After lunch go for a romantic walk around the estate, visit the craft market or visit the spa.

If you find yourself staying longer in Stellenbosch, head out to Paarl and visit Seidelberg Wine Estate. The estate is on a hill and offers stunning views of the winelands, and you can go wine tasting in the caves and eat in the award-winning restaurant that serves traditional Cape Malay food (try the Bobotie). Visit the on-site glassblowing studio and watch the artists working in front of you.

10. Go whale watching

Although whales are a common sight in Cape Town (just take a drive along Boyes Drive!), for the best views take a day trip to Hermanus. The best time is from August until October, but you can normally spot them from June through to December. You'll be able to see them from the clifftops, but if you want to get up close to the giants, take a boat or kayak trip from the harbour. Hermanus is about an hour and a half away from Cape Town, so if you have time stick around to explore this quaint seaside town.

Safety tips:

South Africa does have a bit of a reputation for crime, and Cape Town is no exception. Having said that, if you're sensible, you'll be as safe here as you are in any other big city - just remember to:

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