This past June I spent 3 days in Cape Town and it was enough for me. Cape Town is a beautiful coastal city with lots of history and numerous things to do, although the weather needs to be on your side for a lot of them and there aren’t many things to do that are cheap, which is why 3 days was enough.
I stayed 2 nights in the Gardens part of town and 2 nights in the city centre. I preferred the more relaxed atmosphere of the gardens compared to the busy city center.
My first day I was doing hotel inspections for work, so I got to see a lot of different price ranges of hotels. I stayed in the Saasveld Lodge, which is nothing fancy, but has great views of Table Mountain and a delicious breakfast. If wishing to stay in the city centre and not in a hostel the Tulip Inn would be a budget choice.
There aren’t a lot of cheap eats in Cape Town and it’s not the kind of place I would want to miss out on the food. Cape Town has great seafood and numerous great restaurants, the wine is also a must try and some of the most famous.
A great way to get around and see the city while learning about the rich history of apartheid is to take the big red city bus tour. It takes approximately 2 hours, but you can hop and off all day stopping at museums, markets and beaches along the way. It’s about $16 and is definitely worth it even if just using it to get around. The red bus even takes you most of the way up table mountain for great views of the city and robin island if your lucky with a sunny day. I wasn’t so lucky. I was also dying to take the ferry over to robin island for a tour, but the ferries don’t run if the weather is bad.
One of the most famous things to do in Cape Town is to go cage diving with the great whites. This is the best place to do it because most other places in the world take at least 2 days by boat to get out to see the sharks whereas it’s about a 2.5 hour drive from Cape Town to Hermanus Bay followed by 20 minutes by boat. This can cost anywhere from $150 – $200 depending on the operator you chose. I would recommend White Shark Project as they have a sustainable project set up to research and protect the depleting shark population. Also, I strongly recommend taking sea sick tablets before this one. It was the first time I was ever sick over a boat, but at least the crew said I probably helped to attract the sharks. We had 11 great whites around our boat, the biggest one being 4 meters. It was unreal to see these creatures up close and personal, but in the safety of a cage.
If you have extra days, there is a still lot to do and you can find most of it from riding the red city tour bus. Cape Town also has beautiful beaches, however the water is cold most of the year.
I would suggest keeping your time in Cape Town short, so you can get out of the city and see the real Africa.