If you only have a weekend in Cape Town, I’m very sorry. It’s not enough time. But since you insist, I put together a neat little itinerary of what to do in Cape Town if you only have a weekend. I made this itinerary so it works with the shorter days of winter, but of course you can do it year round, you’ll just have more hours of daylight to play with! Please note: you’ll need a rental car for this itinerary.
Other note: This Cape Town itinerary does not include any wineries outside of the city proper. If you want to visit Stellenbosch or Franschhoek or Paarl, you’ll need to tack on an extra day!
Depending on what time you get into Cape Town, you could squeeze in a cultural activity or two. Maybe the District Six Museum or The Castle of Good Hope or just wander around the CBD doing some shopping. Keep in mind that most things close early and hours on google won’t always be accurate. Your best bet is to call if you’re not sure. Of course, places don’t always pick up their phones even when they’re open…this is Africa.
Dinner at Kloof Street House (this is non-negotiable)
Kloof Street House was honestly one of the best dining experiences I have ever had. I will take anyone here who comes to visit. Definitely make a reservation in advance!
Drinks at Bombay Bicycle Club
This eclectic bar is just bursting with character! Of course there are plenty of other bars you can pop into on Long Street, Kloof Street, and Bree Street.
Until 11pm: Jazz at the Crypt
Cape Town is the jazz capital of Africa, and listening to it in the crypt of a church is just cool.
7am – Hike Lion’s Head (if you’re not too hungover)
I know, I know, Lion’s Head is basically the busiest trail in Cape Town, especially on a weekend. But there is a reason for that. It only takes about two hours round trip and offers awesome views of the City Bowl, Signal Hill, Sea Point, and Camps Bay.
It’s the most bang for your buck if you don’t have a whole day to hike Table Mountain. There is a good bit of rock scrambling and some ladders and rungs to make it to the top, so it’s not for everyone. Bonus, if you’re starting at 7am you will definitely be beating the worst of the crowds.
Alternative: If hiking and rock scrambling isn’t your thing, or if you’re too hungover, you can opt to take the cable car to the top of Table Mountain instead. Great views without all the hard work!
9am – Breakfast somewhere in City Bowl (Dear Me, Clarke’s, Lola’s)
Breakfast is totally up to you, there are a million restaurants to choose from in the City Bowl. Some people may prefer to have some booze with breakfast and call it brunch, or you may just want something cheap and simple. No matter what, Cape Town has you covered. If you’re American like me and are really craving a bagel, try Kleinsky’s in Sea Point!
10am – Walk around Bo-Kaap & Greenmarket Square
Bo-Kaap is a neighborhood in the City Bowl famous for its multi-colored houses and rich, Muslim history. Walk around and take pictures, or stop in Atlas Trading Co. for some authentic spices.
11am – V&A Waterfront/Robben Island
I will admit that I haven’t yet done the Robben Island tour, I’m waiting for someone to come visit because I know they will want to do it and I don’t want to end up doing it like three times in the next year. But from what I’ve heard, it’s definitely worth it and it’s a very emotional experience.
The V&A Waterfront is one of the most touristy neighborhoods in Cape Town, but it’s definitely worth taking a stroll around and you will probably end up buying some art or souvenirs here. Quay 4 is a great place to stop for a drink and some yummy seafood as well!
3pm – Head to Constantia Wineries
If you don’t have the time to do a winery day in Stellenbosch, fret not! There are amazing wineries right in the heart of the Southern Suburbs. Constantia also happens to be where I live, so these awesome wineries are just a bike ride away for me!
One of the most historic wineries in Cape Town, founded in 1685.
Vinyards tucked into a gloriously beautiful valley. Side note, the Glen Five is my favorite wine I have had here so far. The Glen Three ain’t too shabby either.
Eagle’s Nest Winery
Less views, more secluded picnic spot. Their cheese and charcuterie platter is on point!
5:30pm – Sundowners at Bloubergstrand or Camps Bay
Obviously the best place to watch the sunset is anywhere on the West Coast! Camps Bay is closer than Bloubergstrand, but the latter has the most iconic views of Table Mountain. Take your pick!
You may be too pooped to do anything fancy after such a big day out, or maybe you’ll just grab something to eat in Camps Bay or Bloubergstrand. But if you’re back in the City Bowl, try Mama Africa for some authentic wild game and African beats. It’s touristy for sure, but hey, you’re a tourist! Addis in Cape is a cozy, charming and delicious Ethiopian place…I know we’re not in Ethiopia, but it’s still African!
Since you’ll be doing a lot of driving and walking on this day, bring a bunch of snacks along so you don’t get too hungry in between meals. Let me recommend the kudu biltong. Or actually, any kind of biltong. Also, don’t forget to actually pack your picnic breakfast before you leave!
7am start – Hout Bay, Chapman’s Peak Drive, and Misty Cliffs
Chapman’s Peak Drive is easily the most scenic drive in Cape Town and is a must-see for even the shortest visit. The route starts right near Hout Bay and there is a great picnic spot early on after you pay the toll. Pull over, layout your picnic spread, and enjoy the stunning views over Hout Bay!
After Chapman’s Peak ends, you can continue your journey down the western side of the peninsula. There isn’t much to see in Kommetjie or Ocean View, but definitely stop at Misty Cliffs to revel in the power of the might Atlantic.
9am – Arrive at Cape Point Nature Reserve
9:30am – Cape of Good Hope
10am – Cape Point
11:30am – Kanonkop Trail
Cape Point is a must-see for anyone coming to Cape Town. Which you will notice when you get to the point and it’s swarming with a million tourists. The Cape of Good Hope and Cape Point are where everyone stops, and they are definitely worth checking out. I, however, highly recommend doing the Kanonkop hike, which you can access from the Booi se Skerm parking lot. The hike is a quick 40 minutes up and offers great views of Buffels Bay and the point without ANY of the tourists. It’s a welcome respite after the crazy crowds of the point.
Pro Tip: Don’t just do the main path up to the lighthouse that everyone else is doing. There is a second trail to the smaller lighthouse further towards the point that was basically empty by comparison. It’s just an extra 30 minutes RT and totally worth it.
1pm – Lunch at Monocle & Mermaid
Simon’s Town is an adorable little seaside town, and you will surely be hungry after your busy morning at Cape Point. The Monacle & Mermaid is a great little burger/sandwich place with craft beers and friendly owners.
2pm – Boulders Beach Penguin Colony
No trip to Cape Town is complete without seeing the adorable Jackass Penguins, named for the donkey-like braying noise they make. Pro tip: if you want to save some time and some money, you can see the penguins for free on the beach below the parking lot, rather than paying the entry fee for the park down the road.
3:30pm – Colorful Muizenberg Beach Houses
Your coastal drive continues past St. James and Kalk Bay to arrive at Muizenberg Beach and the famous colorful beach shacks. If you’re visiting in winter, you probably won’t stay too long as it will probably be pretty chilly. If it’s summer, the beach is guaranteed to be packed!
Optional: Do Bailey’s Kloof hike in the afternoon before Cape to Cuba. The hike is only about 2 hours and offers great views over False Bay!
4:30pm – Live music & early dinner at Cape to Cuba in Kalk Bay
Cape to Cuba is easily one of my favorite places in Cape Town. The restaurant has a unique vibe and there is live music starting at 4pm on Sunday. The beach bar side is fully equipped with a floor made of sand, and the decor on the restaurant side is superb. The food isn’t anything to write home about, but it’s still delicious and worth it for the atmosphere alone. Also, if you’re ready for the spice, get the chili mango mojito. Soooo spicy, but sooo delicious.
After dinner you can either head back to your hotel, or grab a few drinks in Muizenberg at Tiger’s Milk or The Striped Horse if you’re up for it!