Five Things you HAVE to do in Cape Town

Claire Quinn
November 28, 2016

1.     Go to the beach

As a visitor, or better yet resident of Cape Town, you are lucky enough to have plenty of beautiful beaches within a 30 minute radius of the city. False Bay, Hout Bay, and Camps Bay offer beach goers fantastic and sprawling beaches with tropical scenes that look like photos from National Geographic. I would highly recommend Boulder’s Beach and Lundudno for the views (and the penguins), and Surfer’s Corner at Muizenberg for cheap and fun surfing lessons. Every beach within the Western Cape has it’s own charms that certainly warrant a visit, but regardless of the strong winds, possible torrential rain, and any other weather event that may fall on Cape Town in a matter of moments, you must visit the beaches surrounding Cape Town, rain or shine, summer or winter.

2.     Hike the Western Cape

I thoroughly enjoy the outdoors, and any activity that takes me somewhere new and exciting is always something I look forward too. Like the many beaches that surround Cape Town, there are also numerous hikes with views that might just blow your mind. If you are lucky enough to live in the city, and better yet get to see the city from the vantage point of the top of Table Mountain, you might just learn to appreciate 2 to 10 hour hikes for all of their glory and picturesque peaks. If you have the time, I suggest you attempt the “Three Peak Challenge” a hike that takes you across Devil’s Peak, Table Mountain, and Lion’s Head, a nearly 30 mile adventure that will give you a new appreciation for shoes with good ankle support. Many of my friends that completed the day long challenged finished off with a burger, fries, and even a tattoo of the three peaks they conquered. But for those that don’t want to be sore for the 5 days following the Challenge, there are plenty of other hikes that offer spectacular views, like Constania Nek—as seen below.

3.     Experience the vibrant culture of Langa Township

Langa is the largest township surrounding Cape Town. The lively culture and inviting people of this community can give you a history of the area that is unparalleled to any story you’ve heard of South Africa during apartheid. If you are lucky, a Mama might invite you into her home and tell you about her own family history, about her parents that lived in Langa before her, and the fantastic recipes, songs, and stories they left behind. To understand South Africa from a native’s perspective, you must look at it from the angle of the children of Langa, that are so connected to one another through their community and neighborhood. They will play ball with you in the street until 10 pm if you are willing to stay out there and see pure, innocent fun. Eat, shop, and learn from Langa and all of the amazing cultural experiences you might have while there.

4.     Shop and Eat at Old Biscuit Mill

Located in the up and coming neighborhood of Woodstock, which I think deserves a fun day trip in itself, is the Old Biscuit Mill. An awesome place to visit with friends a sunny Saturday morning, OBM (as it’s fondly referred to by the locals) is a great place to shop and eat. Many of the best food vendors in Cape Town come out every weekend and leave you with tons of food and drink options from paella and sangria to fresh curries, or a fantastic plate of fresh fish and chips. Anything your heart could dream up, they have it, and it’s all top rated, delicious food. After eating your way through OMB, you can shop around through the vintage stores, leather makers, and handmade jewelry stalls for some of the most fantastic and authentic South African gifts that you can get in the city. 

5.     Go for a night out on Long Street

No trip to Cape Town is complete without a trip to Long Street! Long Street is the social hub and location of most of Cape Town’s nightlife. With fun bars like Sargent Pepper, Beer House, and Dubliners, any kind of bar, or club style party is there for you to enjoy. With late night restaurants serving food until the early hours of the morning, and bars that close much later than you really want them to, you can dance the entire night away, and catch and Uber home for just a few bucks.  With music blasting nearly every night from 10 at night to 7 in the morning, Long Street always offers a fun, and interesting time for the bar and club crowd. Word to the wise: watch out for your smartphones! They seem to disappear faster than full pints do on the weekend.

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Claire Quinn

<p>My name is Claire. I am a thrill seeking millennial that is out to experience all the world has to offer. This blog will chronicle the greatest adventure of my life so far, a semester in Cape Town, South Africa. I have no idea what to expect, but my love for traveling and trying new things, as well as learning from the people around me has pushed me off the beaten path, and onto something completely new. Here&#39;s to the next six months of my life, I hope every moment is as unpredictable as I am.</p>

Home University:
Gettysburg College
Political Science
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