Budget Travel

Your membership includes:

  • Access to our exclusive booking platform with private rates.
  • Newsletters with weekend getaways, trip ideas, deals & tips.
  • Sweepstakes alerts and more...
  • Don’t have an account?Get a FREE trial membership today. No credit card needed. Sign up now.
  • FREE trial membership. No credit card needed. Limited time only. Already have an account? Log in here.
    By creating an account, you agree to our Terms of Service and have read and understood the Privacy Policy
Close banner

Cape Town: City

updated February 21, 2017

Cape Town's urban area is small, with a compact Central Business District (CBD). Charming residential neighborhoods, like Gardens and Oranjezicht, creep up toward Table Mountain.

SEE Gold of Africa Museum
96 Strand St., 011-27/21-405-1540, goldofafrica.com
Dynamically curated exhibits that celebrate the history and artistry of African gold. Hundreds of gleaming artifacts from ancient African civilizations are paired with interesting narratives. There's also a lovely tea garden. Closed Sun. $3.30

EAT Ginja
121 Castle St., 011-27/21-426-2368, diningout.co.za (search: ginja)
Grain house turned restaurant with a strong foodie following. Dishes have original flavor combos, like prawns with chili and coriander foam. Outstanding spicy concoctions include crocodile curry with grilled langoustines. Dinner only. Closed Sun.

EAT Haiku
33 Church St., 011-27/21-424-7000
Busy, dimly lit Asian restaurant known for its dim sum, wok-fried veggies, and sushi. There's even a robata (Japanese open-flame grill), where you can cook your choice of marinated meats. Closed Sun.

EAT Melissa's
94 Kloof St., 011-27/21-424-5540, melissas.co.za
Urban deli near the top of steep Kloof St. It sells pain au chocolat and other pastries, a weigh-before-you-pay salad buffet, and mega sandwiches. Order the roast beef with red onion marmalade served on hearty ciabatta bread. Pick up picnic stuff for mountain hikes or sundowners on the beach. Open until 8 p.m. daily.

EAT Mt. Nelson Hotel Afternoon Tea Buffet
76 Orange St., 011-27/21-483-1737, mountnelson.co.za
No place captures colonialism in Cape Town better than the grand old hotel with pink exterior. Afternoon tea in the lounge or on the terrace is a must. It has a lavish spread of desserts, scones, and petite crustless finger sandwiches. It's a little touristy but worth doing for the ultimate colonial Cape experience. Served 2:30 p.m.--5:30 p.m. daily. $20 per person.

DRINK Caveau Wine Bar & Deli
50 Bree St., 011-27/21-422-1367, caveau.co.za
Cozy wine bar in the old Heritage Square cellar with an extensive wine list and many South African wines by the glass. Its unconventional descriptions of wines--by mood rather than varietal--are user-friendly. The deli can whip up an accompanying plate of local cheeses and cured meats. Closed Sun.

DRINK Relish
70 New Church St., 011-27/21-422-3584, relish.co.za
Enjoy the best view of looming Table Mountain over cocktails such as Relish Bull, made with Absolut Citron, pineapple and cranberry juices, and Red Bull. The city's trendiest like to gather at the triple-story glass-walled bar and restaurant for post-work unwinding. There's a gastropub menu, too.

SHOP African Music Store
134 Long St., 011-27/21-426-0857
No dreads required at the shrine to African music, which houses an impressive collection of mostly South African CDs. The store sells it all, from kwaito, the township hip-hop mix that has South African youth on its feet, to the Soweto String Quartet.

SHOP Atlas Trading
94 Wale St., 011-27/21-423-4361
An aromatic spice shop in Bo-Kaap, the city's old Malay quarter, that's the same as it ever was--full of local gossip, as well as masalas, curry powders, and other ingredients for the community's curry pots. Like most other Muslim-run shops, it's closed on Fridays noon to 2 p.m.

SHOP Imagenius
117 Long St., 011-27/21-423-7870, imagenius.co.za
Inviting boutique crammed with contemporary handcrafted goods in a riot of colors and off-the-wall designs. You'll find a range of iridescent-hued springbok-hide cushions, striking jewelry, bath goodies, and more.

PLAY Artscape Theatre
D.F. Malan St., 011-27/21-410-9800, artscape.co.za
Original South African plays, such as dramatic works by playwright Athol Fugard, and the earthy stand-up comedy of Cape Town's own Kurt Schoonraad, as well as familiar productions like La Bohème with an African twist. Tickets from $8.

SPLURGE Africa Nova
Cape Quarter Shopping Centre, 72 Waterkant St., Green Point, 011-27/21-425-5123
High-end Afro-gallery whose craftsmanship is unrivaled in the Cape Quarter. Finds include contemporary ceramics by South African artists such as Helen Vaughan and handmade potato-printed fabrics by Kudhinda. The central courtyard outside is a Capetonian favorite.



  • South Africans drive on the left side of the road.

  • Local drivers vigilantly adhere to the keep-left rule. Only drive in the right-hand lane if you are passing a car.

  • South Africans don't honk (or hoot, as they call it). Rapid flashing of emergency lights at your car can be either a sign of irritation or a gesture of thanks. If a car flashes lights behind you, it wants to overtake you, and you should move left. A repeat of flashing after it passes you means "thank you."

  • Leave a big gap between your car and any minitaxis; the drivers believe they control the roadways.

  • Gasoline, called petrol, is full-service everywhere. Always the tip the attendant at least a rand or two.

  • Parking on central Cape Town streets is controlled by licensed parking monitors who must show their ID. Rates are 25¢ for 30 minutes, 50¢ for an hour.

  • Everyone jaywalks in Cape Town, so beware of pedestrians.
    Keep reading