Spending 24 hours in Cape Town

A one-day itinerary to help you get the most out of your visit to this beautiful, creative city.

Having beaten Dublin and Bilbao to the title of World Design Capital 2014, South Africa’s “Mother City” also bagged a place on the 2011 list of the Seven New Wonders of Nature with its iconic Table Mountain. A day is not nearly enough to enjoy everything that beautiful, creative Cape Town has to offer, but the following itinerary will help you make the most of those 24 hours.

Related article: Falling in love with Cape Town

8 am: Skip the queue by printing a web-ticket for the Table Mountain Cableway; it is a little cheaper, too. The revolving car provides 360-degree views as you ascend the mesmerising 60-million-year-old mountain. From the upper cableway station it is about an hour’s round trip hike to the 1,088m summit at Maclear’s Beacon.

9:30 am: Return to the city for breakfast at one of many excellent cafes, such as old favourite Manna Epicure with its coconut toast, eggs and avocado, or buzzing Jason Bakery (185 Bree Street) for espresso and croissants. When you are done, stroll along Long Street, lined with attractively restored Victorian buildings that house an eclectic collection of boutiques, shops, eateries and bars.

10:30 am: Pop into the lush Company’s Gardens, which began its cultivated life as a vegetable patch for the Dutch East India Company in the mid-17th Century. At the adjacent South African National Gallery there are always interesting exhibitions, plus a great gift shop stocked with plenty of local crafts.

Noon: That explosion you just heard is the Noon Day Gun being fired atop Signal Hill. On the east flank of the hill is the old Muslim quarter of the Bo-Kaap; have your camera ready to capture images of the photogenic pastel-painted Colonial period homes and the mosques that line the cobbled streets. There are more opportunities to buy local goods at chic coffee shop/boutique Haas, and premier craft shops Monkeybiz and Streetwires.

1 pm: Hail a taxi and head to The Kitchen, a fabulous deli where Michelle Obama lunched when she was in town. It is in the heart of the edgy Woodstock neighbourhood, where you can check out contemporary galleries such as Stevenson, as well as the abundant street art. In nearby Salt River there is more art at What If the World, a converted synagogue, and the Old Biscuit Mill, a fabulous collection of emporia. If it is Saturday, do not miss the Neighbourgoods Market that happens here, offering the cream of the region’s artisan food purveyors and product designers.

4 pm: Next to Green Point Stadium, Green Point Park is a beautifully designed urban oasis – with a fabulous kids play area – watered by streams flowing off Table Mountain. Meander along the promenade to Sea Point Pavilion where you can enjoy a cooling dip in the outdoor pools, or continue down to Clifton’s wind-protected beaches. They are divided by giant boulders; number three hosts a body-beautiful crowd catching rays.

7 pm: Time for sundowners. Prime candidates include cocktails and sushi on the deck at Wakame or sipping some lovely local bubbly at Tobago’s (Radisson Blu Hotel Waterfront, Beach Road).

8:30 pm: If you have been taking it easy on the food front (never an easy option here) indulge in a haute cuisine feast from Aubergine. Otherwise tapas and a few choice glasses of local vinos at French Toast is the ideal dinner solution.

After dark
There is no shortage of late night options for drink, dance and music, including The Assembly for DJs and local bands, and The Waiting Room (273 Long Street) high above Long Street with a fabulous rooftop view of illuminated Table Mountain.

The article ‘Spending 24 hours in Cape Town’ was published in partnership with Lonely Planet.

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