Cape Town welcomes millions of visitors each year, and so things understandably can get a little busy. If you have ticked off the major attractions and are after something a little more off the beaten track, explore the capital’s top five (slightly) more secluded spots. Outdoor enjoyment, hidden bars, and faithful restaurants – the Mother City is packed full of hidden gems just waiting to be discovered. These are just a handful of our favourites.
1. Explore: Battery Park – V&A Waterfront
Battery Park is a brand new urban park that forms the gateway to the V&A Waterfront. Through a series of winding pedestrian routes, the park connects CBD to the Waterfront, creating a scenic journey for visitors. Attractions include the Canal, where one can kayak, swim or Stand Up Paddleboarding (SUP), the Piazza, the gardens dotted with local fynbos, benches and eateries (ideal for picnicking), and the Playground, complete with skatepark and basketball court.
The site is also of archaeological importance as it still contains the rear ramparts of the historical Amsterdam Battery, one of the oldest structures in Cape Town! Grab a coffee and meander along the water’s edge, snap a panoramic pic of the Table Mountain or the V&A Waterfront, and get involved with the park’s many offerings and activities.
2. Feast: Aubergine Restaurant – Gardens
Capetonians love a new restaurant as much as any other city-dwelling urbanites. But it is only the best ones that stand the test of time. Aubergine is exactly that. While not necessarily hidden, this multi-award winning fine dining sophisticate (located in a reimagined historic home that dates back to 1830) lets their dishes do the talking, rather than dominating any media limelight.
The menu, inspired by both Eastern and Western influences, changes seasonally, but might include plump wild oysters, tender rock pigeon in red wine with ravioli, slivers of tuna tataki, masala-spiced fish, and succulent cuts of game, veal, and beef.
With their own wine cellar and house label, Aubergine is also doing their bit to revolutionise the concept of ‘house wine’. Especially created to complement chef’s distinctive cuisine, the team works with various cultivars and winemakers to bottle their own range, aptly named Aubergine Special Cuvee.
With mountain views, a summery courtyard, and some serious sommelier action, wining and dining at Aubergine is a Mother City must-do.
3. Sip: The Secret Gin Bar – CBD
The thing about secrets is that they travel fast. Such was the case with the now, little less clandestine, Secret Gin Bar. Located behind an unassuming door on Wale Street, the bar is actually fronted by Honest Chocolate – reason enough to visit.
Pop into the speakeasy-style courtyard after hours for an artisanal gin cocktail (the basil bash is moreish) and mingle with Cape Town’s trendy set, while enjoying the dimly-lit atmosphere, and eclectic decor (inspired by its history as a morgue).
4. Hike: Woody Ravine – Table Mountain
The front side of Table Mountain is home to the most famous and well-worn hiking paths, but those in the know head around the back to the Pipetrack on the Camps Bay-facing side. Just as beautiful, with sweeping vistas of the Twelve Apostles range, the Pipetrack offers a myriad of paths up the mountain. If you are up for something challenging, try the Woody Ravine route. Not for the faint of heart, the steep path (shaded by forest) emerges on the mountain plateau, where you can amble along and explore the other oddities like a old steam train, and even older cable car. Read more about it all here.
5. Adventure: Seal Snorkeling – Hout Bay
Cape Town might be renowned for the shark cage diving opportunities, but it is always a risk to head out, lest you leave disappointed. Instead, one might opt to swim and interact with the puppies of the ocean, and go seal snorkeling! Just off the Hout Bay coast, the colony of mom and pup seals are ever present, their gamboling a sheer delight to witness. The water is shallow and clear, the island just a few minutes off the coast, and the fun? Endless. Read more about our watery adventure here.
Blog post by: Tarah Darge