What to do if you have just 72 hours in Cape Town?

Don’t let anyone fool you. Being a seal is tough (Waterfront Boat Company)

What to do if you have just 72 hours in Cape Town?

A long weekend? A few days in the Mother City? This is what you can cram into a whistlestop tour…

What to do if you have just 72 hours in Cape Town?

Don’t let anyone fool you. Being a seal is tough (Waterfront Boat Company)

No matter what you do in Cape Town, you can’t make a bad decision: you’re spoilt for choice when it comes to food, drink, activities and places to take in breathtaking views.

It’s the type of place you could spend months discovering, or years re-discovering if you’re familiar with the Mother City. But if you’re in the mood for a whistlestop tour – or just fancy a whirlwind long weekend – that can also be arranged.

What to do in a short visit to Cape Town:

Day One

Your best bet is to get a flight that lands in Cape Town around mid-late afternoon. That way, you can get yourself checked in, rested, and all spruced up for your first night on the tiles. But we aren’t going to throw you into a restaurant straight away. Not before you visit Africa’s largest museum, anyway.

Silo Hotel and MOCAA Museum

What to do if you have just 72 hours in Cape Town?
(The Royal Portfolio)

Yes, the The Zeitz MOCAA (or Museum of Contemporary Art Africa) has over 80 galleries across nine floors of the former Grain Silo, which even boasts a rooftop sculpture garden. We can certainly think of worst places to take in a sunset over the Atlantic Ocean.

Move down a few levels, and you’ll encounter The Silo Hotel Restaurant: Its fine cuisine and extensive drinks menu will cap an evening of culture, sophistication and a belly satisfied with what’s it has had to eat and drink.

Day two

Now it’s time to get out and see the city. But why bother navigating your way through twisting city roads on your first morning? The best way to see the whole picture is to get the best view. Of course, we’re talking about Table Mountain.

Table Mountain Cable Cars

What to do if you have just 72 hours in Cape Town?
Suhas Dutta /flickr

It’ll cost R275 – R290 ($20) per adult to get you up to the top and back in a cable car, and we advise you book your tickets in advance. Queues for the cars can be tough going, so make sure you do your future self a favour before heading up.

Whilst ascending the mountain, you’ll glide gracefully to the 1,000-metre pinnacle. Visibility from the top is around 100km in any direction. In one mere 360 degree turn, you’ll have seen more of Cape Town in a few seconds than some people see in a lifetime.

Cape Town City Sightseeing Bus

You’ve had a glance at the suburbs outside of the Cape Town, now it’s your turn to venture to those places outside of the City Bowl. A ticket for the ‘hop-on, hop-off’ service will take you into the heart of Cape Town’s Constantia wine lands. You’ll have four gorgeous wineries to choose from, where you can sample the very best blends of the Western Cape.

Obviously, you’re going to need something to soak that all up, and cheese platters may not do the trick. Follow the bus route through to Hout Bay, and stop off at the harbour for the best fish and chips in town.

Once the catch of the day has given you your second wind, you’re ready to go at it again. If you’re here for a good time rather than a long time, then you have to make the most of Cape Town’s nightlife.

Cape Town’s Saturday Night Fever…

Long Street is the beating, neon-drenched heart on the city’s CBD. A proper Saturday night session is the name of the game here. If it’s style you’re looking for over substance though, give Kloof Street and Park Road a go up towards the Tamboerskloof / Gardens area. There’s more variety in terms of choosing from vibey, ‘cooler’ establishments or some stripped-back, mellow boozers.

What to do if you have just 72 hours in Cape Town?
Long Street comes alive at night (Getty Images)

Bree Street is a top option if you’re of the older generation, though. If you threw a dart at a map of that road, wherever it landed, you’d be guaranteed a great night out.

Day Three

Climb Lion’s Head

Hoping that a hangover hasn’t killed you off, you might need to brush those cobwebs aside. It’s time to get back on the horse… or lion, to be precise. The Lion’s Head hike is a thoroughly enjoyable, yet challenging climb that will whip you right into shape.

What to do if you have just 72 hours in Cape Town?
It’s a special view from the top of LH (Getty Images)

It takes about 60-90 minutes to hike up to the top, but coming down is an absolute breeze. The climb might ask a few questions of you, but you’ll know you’ve got the answers when you’ve conquered the trail and you’re treated to yet another stunning view of the Mother City.

Beaches to visit in Cape Town

Heading towards the afternoon, and you’ve already defeated a mountain. You deserve the feel of pure white sands between your toes, and cooling dip in the sea. Cape Town boasts some of the most picturesque beaches in the world, and whether you visit Clifton, Llandudno or Camps Bay, you’re guaranteed an idyllic setting to completely unwind.

What to do if you have just 72 hours in Cape Town?
Camps Bay is even more beautiful up close… (Andrew Pittaway/Gallo Images/Getty Images)

As for the evening, you must make your way to Seapoint for a dinner by the sea, as the sky succumbs to a hazy twilight. There’s a superb range of restaurants stretching across Seapoint Promenade, and into Mouille Point. Treat yourself to dinner with a view, as your last night in the city comes to an end.

Day Four

Home time already? Bah! Make sure you’ve got your packing done early, so you can sneak to the V&A Waterfront for one last intoxicating look at Cape Town. There are a range of nautical navigations to choose from, but our clock is ticking here.

V&A Waterfront boat rides

The harbour cruise provides a stunning panoramic view of the Mother City, as you reflect on a few days that were thoroughly well spent. You won’t be out more than half an hour, and it provides the perfect opportunity to get your last dramatic holiday snaps in.

What to do if you have just 72 hours in Cape Town?
All aboard! (V&A Waterfront)

Just one more thing. If you do get time, we recommend you head for lunch at Chef’s in St John’s Street, Gardens. Their menu is constantly changing, but not once will you leave this place disappointing. The food is of an exceptional quality, and it’ll help remove that bitter taste of having to leave Cape Town so soon.

What to do if you have just 72 hours in Cape Town?
The serving trays are a lovely little quirk of Chefs, too (Facebook)

But y’all come back now, y’hear? There’s nothing left to do but plan when you’re going to make your way back, and catch some Z’s on the plane home. After these 72 hours, you’ll be absolutely knackered.