My most recent trip was to Cape Town in South Africa, where I flew and stayed with Emirates Holidays. Having visited Johannesburg a few years ago, Capetown has been on my list since then.
If you’re not familiar with Emirates Holidays, they pretty much organize and curate your whole holiday for you. I tend to spend months planning my vacations, so having a company like Emirates Holidays organize my whole trip is incredible — they take care of everything from your flights, car service to and from the airport, and accommodation. I received my itinerary two days before my trip and was impressed by how it was curated to my interests to include things I wouldn’t have necessarily read about in travel guides.
After approximately 10 hours of flying on the Emirates Boeing 777, we arrived in Cape Town and I was greeted by a representative from Emirates Holidays who helped me get a SIM card, briefed me on the schedule and took me to meet the driver.
I stayed at the One & Only Cape Town, and I really loved the hotel. I mean, I have never been to a bad One & Only, but this was just another level of beautiful. With modern, spacious views of Table Mountain (I got a room with the most incredible view), I was treated to a complimentary tea or coffee, and always left with a Lindt chocolate at turndown service. They are also home to renowned restaurants including Nobu and Ruebens. I must also say that I got to experience one of the best spas and spa treatments I’ve ever tried (and I try a lot!). If you do end up getting a treatment at the spa there, I highly recommend Milissa for a full body massage (who also gave me great tips for migraines.) Not far from the hotel, an 8-10 minute walk, you’ll find the V&A Waterfront, one of the largest malls in Cape Town, which has a ferris wheel right outside by a harbour and is home to some fab restaurants (including the original Tasha’s restaurant).
-Gold Restaurant, Cape Town
I went there on my first night, and it’s great for an African dinner experience. We were welcomed with a drumming experience downstairs, before taken upstairs for a tasting menu of Western African cuisine, accompanied by dance shows and African face-painting in between.
-Bo-Kaap District, Cape Town
Definitely a must-see with a beautiful backdrop of colored homes. Bo-Kaap is home to the Cape Malay community, brought in by the Dutch as slaves in the 17th century.
-Greenmarket Square, Cape Town
I didn’t do much shopping while in South Africa, but this is worth checking out. In the middle of the central business district, this is a market that sells traditional African goods. I got myself beautiful chokers made out of African beads.
-Table Mountain, Cape Town
Don’t leave Cape Town without going up the tram (or hiking up) Table Mountain. On World Environment Day in 98, President Nelson Mandela declared Table Mountain a gift to the earth. You will get to see some incredible views from the top.
-Old Biscuit Mill
This is the perfect plan for a Saturday, as they have the Saturday market on then — and you can buy everything from cold brew coffee, teas and food to handmade beauty products and flowers.
This is 6000km from Bueno Aires, and was part of my Peninsula tour. Cape Point is super scenic, and you can get some beautiful shots of land and water from the top.
-Robben Island Prison
I did Alcatraz in San Francisco less than a year ago and really enjoyed it. So doing Robben Island during my trip in Cape Town was a must. A small island, 12km from Cape Town, Robben Island is a notorious prison mostly known for Nelson Mandela spending most of his 27 year sentence there along with other political prisoners. One of the great things about this visit is the fact that your tour guide is always a former prisoner, so you really get to understand what happened there. I definitely got quite emotional.
-Boulders Beach, Simonstown
I love animals, and I wanted to see as many as I could during my stay. It wasn’t the right season to see the Great White sharks, so I ended up going to see the African penguins at Boulders Beach in Simonstown. I also got to meet a cheetah at the Cheetah Outreach, 45 minutes from the city.
-Coffee & Bakeries
An interesting fact: there are no Starbucks (yet!) in Cape Town and people there tend to enjoy speciality coffee from their local roasters. For some of the best coffee, I highly recommend Truth Coffee. Make sure to pick up a coffee and croissant from Jason Bakery as well (get there early in the morning as they sell out fast!)
For more info, and to use Emirates Holidays on your next vacation, contact them at www.emiratesholidays.com – I highly recommend them.