CAPE TOWN RECOMMENDATIONS?

With a little over a month until our wedding, Will and I are also counting down the days until our honeymoon two weeks after! We knew that we wanted to travel as far away as possible given that it will likely be a long time until we’re both able to take two weeks off from work, so we instantly narrowed it down to Africa and Australia. Then we were at our friends Douglas and Mia’s wedding in Ojai last summer and our friends Zach and Parker were raving about their third (!) trip to Africa and I was so riveted I wanted to pull out my phone and start taking notes on all their recommendations. So Africa it is! To say we’re excited is the understatement of the millennium. 🙂

design darling honeymoon cape town recommendations

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We are starting our trip in South Africa with four days in Cape Town and I’ve been researching like crazy. There is so much we want to squeeze into our time there, from climbing Table Mountain and seeing the penguins on Boulders Beach to sampling some of the many fabulous restaurants and making a day trip to the vineyards in either Franschhoek or Stellenbosch. We are staying at Ellerman House and of course I’ve already started my own city map to plan out each of our days! And since I know you’re a well-traveled bunch, I’d love to hear from any of you who have been to Cape Town as we continue planning our trip!

34 thoughts on “CAPE TOWN RECOMMENDATIONS?

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  1. For shopping from local vendors in Cape Town, I highly recommend The Watershed. Its a collection (kind of like the shopping part of Chelsea Market, but a lot bigger) of local artisans and vendors. We got all of our souvenirs there in South Africa. Once you get to a safari lodge, if that’s what your’e doing, there aren’t many places to buy keepsakes for yourselves or family.

  2. I agree with all the above recommendations but also don’t miss Robin island, the apartheid museum, and a township tour for a true sense of the history and culture in South Africa. Enjoy!

  3. Hi Mackenzie!

    So excited for you and Will. I was THIS close to moving to Cape Town last year for a job, so it definitely has a piece of my heart. One dinner recommendation: Black Sheep Restaurant – https://blacksheeprestaurant.co.za (very delicious and with local ingredients!). If you are looking for a fun wine tour, instead of going on your own, Wine Flies is a great company: http://www.wineflies.co.za. And while it might be filed with tourists, you must go to the top of Table Mountain. The views are breathtaking.

    Have an amazing time!

  4. Aside from the obvious, definitely take a drive around Chapman’s Peak and hike up Lion’s head. 100% take a trip to Langa Township, otherwise you won’t be able to truly appreciate the history and context of this beautiful city.

    I visited Cape Town for 3 weeks for a winter study abroad program and had the trip of a lifetime! I wrote about my favorites on my old blog if you want to hear a little more. Have so much fun! I love reading your blog and following along!

  5. I HIGHLY recommend Stellenbosch. It’s gorgeous – like breathtakingly. Cape Town is HUGE and there is so much to do. I love the Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden and the boomslang tree canopy walkway. If hiking table top seems like too much, wake up and hike lion’s head in the morning and take the aerial cableway to the top of Table mountain.

    it’s an amazing place. Take time to chat with the locals. Y’all will have a great time!

  6. We actually just left Cape Town this morning and flew to our first safari camp at Mala Mala in Sabi Sands.

    We are used to really good food in the South and loved The Potluck Club and Kloof Street House. We stayed at the Cape Grace Hotel. Great food is very inexpensive here. Our next safari camp is the Royal Malawane.
    Don’t count on any good shopping here though.

    We loved our all day tour with Gavin thru Africa Inscribed. They met us at the airport in Johannesburg and in Cape Town to walk us thru customs etc. Excellent service–highly recommend! Let me know if you have any other questions. Great choice 😜

  7. One of the most amazing trips I’ve ever been on. I would recommend without hesitation and especially going on such a momentous trip as your honeymoon to use a destination management company. Dragonfly Africa is probably the best one I’ve worked with over the years globally. I met them via a former role at work when I planned a lot of international meetings and offsites but they have a leisure travel division. I’ve referred a number of people to them including my dad when he was over there for business and wanted to tack on a personal trip and friends who like you were honeymooning. Without exception everyone has been over the moon about them, their service is unparalleled and they work with any budget. They are great at itinerary/activities/hotels/flights/transfers and are really hands on and accessible during the trip.

  8. My husband and I got married last September in Nantucket and also went on our honeymoon this past February in South Africa. Quite the coincidence 🙂 I have to say it was the trip of a lifetime and I’m sure you will have an incredible time.

    Highlights from our trip included our stay at Ellerman House (truly a special hotel, I hope you love it as much as we did), Safari (not in Cape Town, but worth doing if you can), and our time in Franschhoek.

    If you opt to go to wine country, I can’t recommend Franschhoek enough. While nothing like Nantucket in terms of style, it has a similar boutique historic feel – lots of little shops, galleries and restaurants, plus set against the backdrop of spectacular mountains. There is even a historic wine train that will take you out to many of the vineyards, which is hop on hop off and doable if you are short on time. We thought that this might be a cheesy tourist thing to do, but we actually really enjoyed it and thought the vineyards we had the opportunity to visit were lovely (Le Lude was my favorite – it’s bubbles only). In terms of dining, we ate at the Delaire Graff Estate in between Franschhoek and Stellenbosch which is worth it for the views alone. Tokara, across from Delaire, is also supposed to be amazing. As a more casual option, we really enjoyed a little brewery that was next to our hotel called Tuk Tuk (we actually ate there twice!).

    In Cape Town we liked Test Kitchen, Fork and The Potluck Club. Hiking up table mountain is so worth it, but I agree with the comments that you should go early and bring plenty of water.

    Best of luck with the planning!

    1. No way! What a small world that you got married on Nantucket AND stayed at Ellerman House! Kindred spirits for sure 🙂 We are going on safari after Cape Town — definitely the part we’re most excited about! Thanks so much for all your recs!

  9. My husband and I just got back in May from a 2 week trip to South Africa and Zimbabwe. We had and AMAZING Tour Guide in Cape Town who gave us a full city tour, as well as taking us to Cape Point, Boulders Beach, and the Cape of Good Hope. I highly recommend using a driver for your tours, as they are so knowledgeable and can help you skip some lines. I would also recommend spending a few hours in Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens – we saw some positively beautiful flowers there. We also stayed 2 nights in Franschoek which I cannot rave enough about that area – the wine tram is a great way to go to multiple vineyards in a day! Before we went to Cape Town, we went on safari in the Sabi Sands which I also highly recommend. The Sabi is a private game reserve that borders Kruger National Park, you are able to go off road to see the Big 5, cheetah, and wild dogs. Also the beauty of a safari lodge in the bush is unprecedented.

    Also, we went to an amazing place, Cheetah Outreach, near Stellenbosch that lets you pet Cheetahs – it is also heavily into Cheetah conservation, so it was great to learn about how they are working to save them as well.

    We used an awesome travel company (Anastasia’s Africa) to plan our trip, and I did TONS of research ahead of time. I can’t wait to go back at some point and see this beautiful country again.

    Restaurant Recommendations:
    The Shortmarket Club – Cape Town
    Kloof Street House – Cape Town
    The Food Barn – Noordhoek (on the way back to Cape Town from Cape Point)

    Winery Recommendations:
    Ernie Ells Winery
    Delaire Graffe Winery
    Mont Rochelle
    Le Lude (champagne!)

  10. Ahhhhhh I cannot rave enough about that city! My boyfriend and I went for 4 days a few years ago and these were the highlights of the trip:
    1. A wine tour. We went with Wine Flies and they were so lovely. I know there are a lot of great companies, but we were very happy with them!
    2. A photography tour with Cape Photographic Company- Not only did we grow so much in our amateur photography skills (which was great to put to use on safari later!) but also Pieter is an amazing tour guide. He took us to some places I wouldn’t have been comfortable exploring on our own. I HIGHLY recommend it!
    3. Skydiving with Sky Dive Cape Town- If Prince Harry did it there, it has to be safe 🙂 Amazing experience.
    4. Lunch at the Test Kitchen. We went for lunch and did the wine pairing, and three years later I am still dreaming about that meal. Plus, it’s incredible how affordable it is!
    You are going to LOVE it! I can’t wait to read about your adventures!

  11. Ah, this is so exciting! My husband and I took a big trip to South Africa a couple years ago. We spent 5 days in Cape Town before our safari.

    I highly recommend climbing Table Mountain — the views are out of this world. It’s actually a pretty rigorous climb! Wear sneakers :). You can also hire a private driver (we booked through MK Exotic Tours) for a day trip in wine country (we covered four or five vineyards in Paarla, Stellenbosch, Franschhoek). But the one vineyard to definitely go to is Spice Route! We also used the same private car company for day trip around the Peninsula (Camps Bay, Chapman’s Peak, Seal Island, Boulders Beach – the penguins!, Cape Point, Cape of Good Hope, Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens). It is seriously the most beautiful drive!

    In Cape Town itself, definitely spend time at the Waterfront. There are some really amazing shops and restaurants. The Company’s Garden downtown is also really beautiful! Take the ferry to Robben Island for a tour (buy tickets in advance!). Visit the District 6 Museum to learn more about the country and city’s history. For dining, try Hussar Grille, Mama Africa, and Paranga in Camps Bay (great at sunset).

    1. I was doing a little research yesterday to see if I could handle the climb up Table Mountain, ha! I think it’d be satisfying to climb it ourselves but we might be totally jet lagged and want to save ourselves some time. Thank you so much for all the recs!

      1. I thought it was totally worth the climb, even though it was hard. There are 3 different routes, and I think we took the medium one. But we took the cable car down 🙂

  12. I just went to Cape Town in June with my fiance, and we loved it! Here’s a few our highlights: the wine and chocolate tasting at Groot Constancia, The Potluck Club (get a reservation, especially if you want to go for dinner), Kirstenbosch Botanical Garden (SO beautiful), Boulders Beach (as a penguin lover, I was in heaven), and the Cape of Good Hope. We also spent a day/night in Stellenbosch wine tasting and loved it! We didn’t have a bad glass of wine our whole time in South Africa. 🙂

    We initially didn’t know if it was worth it to go all the way south to Cape Point in the limited time we had, but it ended up being our favorite part of our Cape Town sightseeing. Truly one of the most beautiful places I have EVER been and such an experience! We did Boulders Beach in the morning and Cape Point in the afternoon, and that worked out quite well.

    FYI, the hike up Table Mountain can be pretty intense – we ended up skipping it because we were tired (jet lag!), but the cable car is cheap and will save you a lot of time, and you still get the great views. We also found that Uber was the BEST way to get around – very cheap and super convenient.

    Also, I know this isn’t a traditional “honeymoon” activity, but I highly recommend carving out a few hours while in Cape Town to visit Robbin Island. South Africa is beauitiful, but much like the US, it’s also a very complicated place with a complicated history, and I think it’s important to do justice to that as well.

    Feel free to email me if you have any other questions! 🙂

  13. Amazing, you’ll have a blast!

    Capetown is amazing!

    Our favorite spots:

    -Fork (awesome for trying the local cuisine / shareables); the bars next door are casual / fun for a beer

    -Harbour House at the V&A waterfront (rose, oysters, sushi); such good people watching; sit outside (you’ll love the color palette)

    -Go to Table Mountain early – we went at 7 am on New Year’s Day and it was amazing. You can get a coffee up top and it’s not too crowded that early!

    -Test Kitchen (duh) – we couldn’t get in and we’re so sad

    -The Market at the Old Buscuit Mill (Saturday mornings) a fun / inexpensive way to try some of the local fare!

    -Willoughby & Co (worth the wait!)

    -Col’Cacchio (pizza) – sit outside ifor the view

    -Watch the sunset at Llandudno beach (bring drinks/snacks) – GORGEOUS views and really pretty houses built into the mountains

  14. Check out YouTubers Nicole Eddy, a Cape Town native, and her filmmaker boyfriend, Ben Brown. Both have created videos on life in Cape Town and things to do in South Africa more broadly. At the very least, their videos, alongside Casey Neistat’s Cape Town videos, will get you both very excited for your trip!

  15. My daughter has spent the last two summers in Cape Town and these are her recommendations. Have a wonderful time!

    Restaurants
    $$$$ Cafe Paridiso
    Kloof Street House
    The Potluck Club (if you’re going to have one nice dinner, have it here. A foodie’s paradise, with a relaxed vibe. The Tagine and the Buffalo Mozzarella Balls are great. I’m not usually a big dessert fan, but the mint chocolate ice cream cake may not sound sophisticated, but will change your life. It’s tapas so price can range depending on how much food you get)
    $$$ La Parada
    $$ Madame Taitous
    Neighborgoods market at the old biscuit mill (Saturday mornings)
    $ Big Momma’s in Obz

    Bars
    $$$$ Outrage of Modesty
    $$$ Mother’s Ruin
    The Gin Bar (Strongly urge you to check this little speakeasy out. Get the ambition or the hope. Drinks range from 50-70R. This is my favorite spot in Cape Town)
    $$ Sufer Rosa
    Sargent Pepper’s
    $ Obviously Armchair (stand up comedy Sunday nights at 9)

    If you’re in Cape Town on The first Thursday of the month, check out first Thursdays. A bunch of galleries stay open late and serve drinks.

    Would recommend going on a wine tour with Wine Flies

    The Crypt for live jazz.

    A garden route tour is worth it, and it can be very inexpensive. However you do get what you pay for when it comes to food and accommodations.

    Baz Bus day trip is a great way to see the Cape. Highly recommended.