Option 1: Cape Town
If you are coming for a really short visit, you may want to go straight to Cape Town, and save the rest of South Africa for another visit!
Try to make peace with the Cape weather, and be prepared for all weather conditions. Dress in layers so that you can strip down to shorts and a t-shirt. Always pack sunblock, swimming costumes and towels, and warm layers. Never try to predict the Cape weather – it can change 4 times in a day. It is just best to be prepared for anything, and to go with the flow. Unexpected opportunities to take a swim often arise!
There are SO MANY incredible things to see and do in Cape Town! Definitely check out Cape Town’s official website: www.capetown.travel for some ideas and advice. Below are some of the things that we love to see and do – we hope this gives you some ideas!
Table Mountain, Cape Town City Centre, The Castle, Company Gardens, Iziko Museums, Mount Nelson, District Six, Woodstock
Definitely go up TABLE MOUNTAIN! It is a good idea to go early if the weather is good, because it can change – you never know. There is a nice restaurant up at the top for breakfast or lunch. You can buy tickets before you go on www.webtickets.co.za (between R90 and R330 per ticket) or you can buy tickets there.
In the city centre, visit the beautiful COMPANY GARDENS, feed the squirrels and see the Houses of Parliament. If museums are your thing, visit some of the Iziko Museums www.iziko.org.za in and around the Company Gardens – including the SOUTH AFRICAN MUSEUM, the NATIONAL ART GALLERY, the CASTLE and the DISTRICT SIX MUSEUM.
Visit LONG STREET and BREE STREET in Cape Town – restaurants, bars and some interesting shops.
If you’re feeling fancy, visit the iconic MOUNT NELSON HOTEL for a drink, meal or high tea www.belmond.com
We also love visiting WOODSTOCK, close to the city. The shopping at the OLD BISCUIT MILL is good (quirky, hand crafted stuff, art, a bit hipster) and there are other interesting shops and some great street art in the vicinity. www.theoldbiscuitmill.co.za
Lion’s Head and other hikes
Go for a hike up LION’S HEAD. Spectacular views.
For other hiking trails, visit www.insideguide.co.za and search for ‘the best hiking trails in Cape Town’.
DO NOT GO HIKING ON YOUR OWN – go in a group or with a guide.
Robben Island, V&A Waterfront, Two Oceans Aquarium, Silo District & Zeitz MOCAA, Seapoint Promenade, Bo Kaap
Visit ROBBEN ISLAND on a day when the weather is good. It is best to buy tickets beforehand on www.ticketweb.co.za,but you can also try to buy at the Nelson Mandela Gateway at the V&A Waterfront – this is where the ferries depart. www.robben-island.org.za
Then, before or after the trip to Robben Island, you can hang around the V&A WATERFRONT and do some shopping or have a meal. This mall is pretty touristy but still very nice! Also at the V&A Waterfront,www.waterfront.co.za visit the TWO OCEANS AQUARIUM (fantastic for kids of all ages…) www.aquarium.co.za
Another option is to visit the ZEITZ MOCAA ART GALLERY – at the V&A Waterfront, in the SILO DISTRICT. (Tickets – R190) We LOVE this gallery – even if you aren’t particularly interested in art, the building is worth a visit! There is a nice cafe on the top floor, and the roof must be seen! If you feel like spoiling yourselves a bit, go to the gorgeous SILO HOTEL next door for a meal or a drink – they also do a really good high tea.
Get some fresh air by taking a walk or bike ride along the SEAPOINT PROMENADE. Bikes are available from www.upcycles.co.za and there are also free outdoor gyms along the promenade. The SEAPOINT SWIMMING BATH is a great place for a swim on this side of town, as the Atlantic Ocean is freezing! Also lots of great bars and restaurants on the other side of the road!
The BOKAAP DISTRICT is on its way to being declared a heritage site, because of its historical and cultural significance. The small, brightly coloured houses that make up the area were originally leased to slaves from Malaysia, Indonesia and other parts of Africa in the 1700s. Visit the BoKaap Museum, do some shopping and eating, and take amazing photographs.
Noordhoek Farm Village, Beach Ride, Kommetjie, Imhoff Farm, Scarborough, Chapman’s Peak, Hout Bay
Noordhoek is a pretty, semi-rural area. Visit the NOORDHOEK FARM VILLAGE for coffee or a drink, and if you enjoy riding, plan a HORSERIDE ON NOORDHOEK BEACH. This can be arranged at the Imhoff Equestrian Centre at IMHOFF FARM.
Also at IMHOFF FARM, you will find a great food market, nice restaurants, a playground and petting zoo for the kids, and even camel rides. A nice afternoon visit, especially if you have kids.
Go for a drive to SCARBOROUGH BEACH one evening (around 6pm). Take a ‘picnic’ with you – some snacks, wine and coffee. Take the beach chairs and some blankets (cause it can get cold). Sit on the beach, chat, drink, and watch the MOST MAGNIFICENT SUNSET.
Take a drive around CHAPMAN’S PEAK on a magnificent mountainside road built by Italian POWs during WW11. First check if the road is open – it can be closed due to rock falls. Make a few stops along the way to enjoy the views – we have had incredible whale and shark sightings from the peak.
Stop at the CHAPMAN’S PEAK HOTEL for fish & chips, a beer and a great view. Or visit MARINERS WHARF in HOUT BAY for shopping and lunch.
Fishhoek, Kalk Bay and Muizenburg
Go swimming at FISHHOEK BEACH! This is a great swimming beach, and one of the only beaches with a shark net for your peace of mind! Eat ice-cream from the beach shop as you walk along Jagger’s Walk to the tidal pool.
Have breakfast or lunch at the STARGARDEN CAFÉ, in Fishhoek Main Road, just opposite the beach.
Go SHOPPING IN KALK BAY. Great little shops, unusual stuff. Fun to browse. Look out for the KALK BAY TRADING POST, BOHO SOHO, SKA, BIG BLUE and for a special piece of jewellery, ANPA.
Still in Kalk Bay, have lunch at KALKYS – in the harbour. The best fish, calamari, etc, and the prices are great! The old lady who takes your order is hilarious. Alternately, eat at one of the many good restaurants in Kalk Bay – OLYMPIA CAFÉ, HARBOUR HOUSE, LIVE BAIT. For breathtaking views, visit either TIGER’S MILK or the BRASS BELL – try to sit on the sea-side and watch the waves crash against the windows as you have a drink – spectacular settings.
MUIZENBURG is the next town after Kalk Bay. This is home to a famous surfer’s beach and the iconic colourful beach huts. There are a few quirky vintage shops, and a visit to BELLAMY & BELLAMY is really interesting. This fabric shop has a wonderful collection of vintage upholstery fabrics, and lots of beautiful things to buy.
At Surfer’s Corner, visit KNEAD for coffee, baked goods or a light meal, and check out the gorgeous art deco building. Also, if you want to take a surfing lesson, this is the place to do so! www.kneadbakery.co.za
For a more upmarket experience, visit CASIA LABIA in the main road of Muizenburg. The former residence of Count and Countess Natale Labia – it is now a combination museum and restaurant – very beautiful and the food is great.
Kirstenbosch Gardens, Constantia, Steenberg, Norval Foundation
On a nice day, visit KIRSTENBOSCH GARDENS. These are the National Botanical Gardens – really beautiful. There is an interesting tour that you can book for that takes about an hour. They drive you around on golf carts, so you don’t have to walk too far! Phone and check times if you want to do this. Kids love the ‘Boomslang’ (Tree Snake) – Tree Canopy Walkway. The Kirstenbosch Tea Room is great for breakfast or lunch – there are good vegetarian options and tasty meals.
You can also hike up TABLE MOUNTAIN from Kirstenbosch – the SKELETON GORGE ROUTE takes 3-4 hours. There are many guided tour operators who can facilitate this for you if you prefer using a guide.
There are fantastic wine farms to visit in Constantia and Steenberg. In Constantia, consider a visit to any of these: BUITENVERWACHTING, CONSTANTIA UITSIG, BEAU CONSTANTIA, KLEIN CONSTANTIA, GROOT CONSTANTIA, EAGLES NEST WINES, CONSTANTIA GLEN, SILVERMIST WINE ESTATE.
It is a good idea to book for lunch at one of the wine farms. We recommend:
BUITENVERWACHTING 021 794 3522 – you can book at the restaurant or the Coffee Bloc – more relaxed. Really good food at both!
BEAU CONSTANTIA – Chef’s Warehouse 021 794 8632 is a real treat!
Groot Constantia 021 794 5128 – you can book at Jonkershuis or Simon’s – more casual.
Silvermist Organic Wine Estate – book at the Green Vine – more casual, really nice! Or you can book at the well-known La Colombe (more upmarket and pricey)
It is not necessary to book for wine tastings. Sometimes wine tastings are free, but usually there is a small charge. Some estates do cheese or chocolate pairings.
Another option is to visit the STEENBERG VINEYARDS, also home to a great restaurant, Catharina’s – booking is essential.
Steenberg is also home to the NORVAL FOUNDATION, a wonderful new gallery housing a private collection and some interesting exhibitions. The SKOTNES RESTAURANT at the Norval is also very good.
Franschhoek and Stellenbosch
FRANSCHHOEK and STELLENBOSCH are the most well-known wine districts in the Cape. Only 30-45 minutes from Cape Town, you can safely Uber there. Once in Franschhoek, you can catch the WINE TRAM from farm to farm – this makes it fun for the kids too! www.winetram.co.za. Aside from the wine farms, the university town of Stellenbosch (Leon’s Alma Mater) has interesting museums and great shopping.
For a special experience, visit the gardens and have lunch at BABYLONSTOREN.
For more information visit
Whale Watching and Cape Point
February 2019 was a great time for whale and dolphin spotting in False Bay – hopefully Feb/March 2020 will be the same! The Simon’s Town Boat Company offer a good service from our side of town – www.boatcompany.co.za.They have a great Facebook page that is worth following – search for Simon’s Town Boat Company.
Then, another must do is to visit CAPE POINT. Again, try to go on a day when the weather is good. Decide before hand what you would like to do there. You can do the usual tourist thing, of driving through the reserve, taking the funicular to the point, and having lunch at the excellent Two Oceans Restaurant,www.two-oceans.co.za. Alternately, you could take your own picnic or braai, and go hiking and swimming in the reserve, which is remarkably beautiful. Braais are allowed in the designated spots of Buffels Bay and Bordjiesdrif.
Option 2: South Africa
If you are coming to South Africa for a longer period of time, South Africa has many diverse experiences to offer. Consider whether you want to cover a lot of ground and see everything briefly, or whether you prefer to spend more time in a few places. Also consider whether you prefer to join a tour group or self-travel.
Guidelines for self-travel
It is perfectly safe to travel alone as long as you are sensible. And, unless you visit really isolated, rural places, most people speak English.
Book your flights on
Book your car hire from any reputable company: Avis, Tempest, Budget, Europcar, etc.
Google Maps will get you where you need to go.
Good accommodation websites include:
For good itinerary ideas, see:
Make sure you have a car charger for your mobile phone, and always have airtime and data.
Take care when driving in cities, for instance: lock your car doors; don’t have your bag or mobile phone in full view; keep your windows mostly up; know where you are going.
Don’t go for hikes or walks on your own – go in a group or arrange a guide. (Speak to your accommodation hosts or book a guide online.) There are many websites offering travel advice and ideas for South Africa, or else, here are some of our itinerary ideas.
Most of these itineraries end in Cape Town for the wedding, but of course, they could be reversed – you could start in Cape Town, and then go exploring after the wedding.
Johannesburg, Pilansberg & Sun City, Cape Town
Start by exploring Joburg, then take a road trip to Pilansberg for a safari and bush break. The Pilansberg is an easy 3-hour drive from Joburg, it is home to the Big 5, it has a great range of accommodation, and it is malaria free. Right in the Pilansberg is Sun City, a resort complex with a great water park, hotels, pools, adventure centre and golf courses.
You may also choose to stay at Sun City, and self-drive or take Safari drives from Sun City into the Pilansberg. Return to Johannesburg and fly to Cape Town for the last part of your South African trip and the wedding.
Johannesburg, Mpumalanga, Kruger Park, Cape Town
Again, start with a Joburg experience, then road trip to see some of the sites of Mpumalanga, including Pilgrim’s Rest, Bourke’s Luck Potholes, God’s Window, the Three Rondavels, the Graskop Gorge Lift, the Blyde River Canyon, and many beautiful waterfalls. www.mpumalanga.com Visit the Kruger National Park for a safari experience – book park accommodation at www.sanparks.org or stay at one of the many private game lodges if you prefer, www.krugerpark.co.za is a useful site. Fly from Nelspruit or Johannesburg to Cape Town for the last part of your holiday and the wedding.
Cape Town, Garden Route, Port Elizabeth (Addo Elephant Park or one of the private game reserves), Hogsback
Fly in to Cape Town and experience this amazing city and the wedding. Then take a road along South Africa’s famous Garden Route www.gardenroute.co.za , stopping at places like Storm’s River www.stormsriver.com www.untouchedventures.com (adventure junkies), Wilderness, Knysna and Plettenberg Bay. Next, have a safari experience at an Eastern Cape game reserve like Addo www.sanparks.org, Shamwari, Pumba, Samara, etc. If time allows, visit the village of Hogsback in the Amathole Mountains. www.hogsback.co.za This is Georgia’s favourite place, and where Leon proposed. Return to Port Elizabeth and fly to Cape Town for the wedding.
Johannesburg, Drakensberg, Midlands, Durban, Hluhluwe-iMfolozi Game Reserve, fly to Cape Town
Experience Joburg and surrounds, then venture south by road. Visit the incredible Drankensberg Mountains, see www.drakensberg-tourist-map.com
Continue your road trip through the KZN Midlands, www.midlandsmeander.co.za.
Then, experience the city of Durban on the East Coast of South Africa. www.visitdurban.travel
Go north to Umhlanga, Ballito, Salt Rock or Zimbali for a great coastal holiday. www.zulu.org.za
For a KZN safari experience, visit the Hluhluwe-iMfolozi Game Reserve www.kznwildlife.com
Or, continue south to experience the Wild Coast. www.wildcoastholidays.com
Depending on where you end up, drive to Durban, East London or Port Elizabeth, and catch a flight to Cape Town for the wedding.
Joburg is our home and the heart of South Africa! It is a vibrant, friendly, crazy city and we love it. A good way to orientate yourself is to take one of the hop-on, hop-off red bus tours,
Good places to stay include Rosebank, Parkhurst, Parkview, Illovo, Maboneng or Sandton.
Interesting places to visit include:
Museums: Apartheid Museum; Constitutional Hill and Human Rights Precinct (the guided tour of the Old Fort and the Women’s Prison is particularly good); WITS Origins Centre Museum; Hector Peterson Memorial (combine with a tour of Soweto); Cradle of Humankind.
Galleries: WITS Art Museum; Johannesburg Art Gallery (go with a guide – look for a suitable guide on Trip Advisor); Rosebank – Keyes Art Mile; look for open days at August House, Victoria Yards Galleries; Living Artist’s Emporium
Shopping and Restaurant Districts: Maboneng; Braamfontein; 44 Stanley; Melville; 4th Avenue Parkhurst; Rosebank; Sandton City; Oriental Plaza; 1 Fox St – The Sheds.
Green Spaces / Outdoors Activities: Emmerentia Dam and the Johannesburg Botanical Gardens; Nirox Sculpture Park; Walter Sisulu National Botanical Garden; Cradle of Humankind; Johannesburg Zoo; Hiking - Melville Koppies or Suikerbosrand Nature Reserve; The Wilds.
Theatres: Johannesburg Theatre; The Market Theatre; POPArt Theatre; Teatro Montecasino; The Bioscope
Jazz: Marabi Jazz & Pot Luck Club (Maboneng); The Orbit (Braamfontein)
Views: Ponte Tower – for a spectacular city view, arrange a visit and sundowners through Dlala Nje www.dlalanje.org (take an Uber there) / for a gorgeous view of Joburg’s green belt, have a drink at the Four Seasons Hotel – The Westcliff
Amusement Park: In the south of Joburg, visit Gold Reef City for some fun rides and a trip down a mine shaft.
www.tsogosun.co.za (Gold Reef City is right next to the Apartheid Museum)
Adrenalin: Soweto Towers (Bungee; Freefall; Scad Jump; Wall Climb)
Our favourite bars and restaurants include:
Motee Bar www.motee.co.za (bar)
Streetbar named Desire www.streetbar.co.za (bar)
Pata Pata (FaceBook) (African)
Saigon Susie (FaceBook) (Asian)
DW Eleven-13 www.DW11-13.co.za (experimental cuisine)
Marble www.marble.restaurant (‘celebration of quintessential South African fare’)
Urbanologi www.urbanologi.co.za (locally sourced ingredients, tapas style)
Momo Baohaus www.momobaohaus.com (Asian fusion)
Troyeville Hotel www.troyevillehotel.co.za (Portuguese)
Hell’s Kitchen www.hellskitchen.co.za (bar and burgers)
La Santa Muerte (FaceBook) (Mexican)
Perron www.perron.co.za (Mexican)
Visit Lonely Planet and Rough Guide for pretty good guides to our city, or just ask us!