Jacada's Guide to Cape Town
Published on: January 5th, 2018
Last modified: July 27th, 2023
Cape Town is a bustling, vibrant city with so much to offer visitors.
Whether you're a foodie, oenophile, art lover or all of the above, the experts from our Cape Town office will steer you in the right direction.
Here's our guide to Cape Town.
How to do Cape Town like a local
Climb Lion’s Head at sunrise
Start early for a hike to Lion’s Head. This epic climb only takes 30-45 minutes (providing you are relatively fit) and it is the ideal way to see Cape Town, with incredible views of Camps Bay and the city bowl. The hike is a real must-do when the weather’s clear.
Explore the artisan coffee scene…
Cape Town has a big artisanal coffee scene, with loads of interesting places to stop for people-watching and a caffeine fix. Try Tribe Coffee: a trendy, laid back cafe in Woodstock with a great menu and its own roaster (famously called Bertha). You’ll feel like a local within minutes of sipping on your first fresh brew here. Plus, it’s the coffee of choice for the members of Jacada’s Cape Town office!
…And the craft beer scene
The craft beer scene is hot in Cape Town, and Devil’s Peak Brewery is a must-visit for anyone looking to get a taste of local flavours. One of the founders of the craft movement, they purchased the original beer kettles from a German brewery in Cape Town and make their beer according to the German Reinheitsgebot Purity Law. For the beer enthusiast that wants to enjoy some craft beer in the heart of trendy Waterkant, you can also head to Striped Horse.
And don't forget the art scene
The Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art in Africa opened in September 2017, cementing Cape Town’s status as the ultimate art hub in Africa. Celebrating the best art on the continent, it’s the largest museum of contemporary African art in the world, with over 100 galleries inside.
Mingle with locals at the markets
Ask your hotel or guide about what’s on while you’re visiting, but Old Biscuit Mill Market is on year-round in the Woodstock area, with an eclectic mix of people, food, drink and trinkets. This is a great way to experience the true Cape Town ‘vibe’. Watershed Market, on the famous V&A Waterfront is another must-see. Aside from live entertainment and exhibitions, you can potter around the market in search of textiles, ceramics, art, furniture and jewellery on sale from local vendors.
Plan ahead for touring the Cape Winelands
Because the Cape Winelands are extremely popular, it’s best to plan head. Speak to us about your wine preferences so we can arrange a great private tour of an estate, perhaps with the viticulturist, the winemaker, or both. This provides an exclusive and fascinating insight into the art of fine wine production. Enjoy lunch with breathtaking views at Jordan or spend your day at Meerlust, learning about history of the trade.
Or enjoy wine in the city
Or stay in town to enjoy the local wine. For the wine enthusiast who wants to experience some wines off the tourist radar and chill with the locals they can head to Publik Wine Bar in Cape Town. Or, live like a local and head to the trendy Bree Street in the afternoons to catch some rays and enjoy the Oyster and Bubbles specials at Sea Breeze.
Eat out in style
There are several different dining scenes in Cape Town and you can go as high-end or as authentic as you want: both ends of the spectrum provide amazing culinary experiences.
Right now, we’re liking Le Petit Colombe in Franschhoek, which is all the rage in the city at the moment. For a real “nose to tail” experience, head to La Tete. Or fir Wolfgat about 2 hours out of the city and true locals (in guests and flavours) experience.
Eat out like a local
Local spots like Biesmiellah, which is famous for its braai, are also great for giving you a good introduction into what Cape Town is really about. We love Mariam’s Kitchen for curry and gatsbys (Cape Town’s signature sandwich) – and traditional Cape Malay food. For awesome, “out the box” food enthusiasts and hanging out in a cool local scene, head to Hemelhujis.
Visit in winter
Cape Town has a bad reputation for not having the best weather during winter (between the end of May and August). Don’t get us wrong: prepare for some brisk, wet days if you do go over this season, but there are serious merits to visiting in winter. A sunny day in off-season Cape Town gives you the run of the city without the notable crowds: Lion’s Head, Table Mountain, and all the popular restaurants are generally much more accessible. Play your trip by ear and go wine tasting on the colder days! It’s well worth it.
Expand your horizons
Cape Town is a collection of towns, but most visitors generally only cover the city bowl area: just a tiny part. Spending a few days (even nights) in the surrounding areas, (the Cape Peninsula or Hout Bay’s) means you will get a far better understanding and appreciation of Cape Town beyond the usual tourist areas.