Tips on travelling to Cape Town from Anya Klaassen
An American expat currently living in South Africa, Anya Klaassen has travelled widely as a musician and writer.
Where are you originally from?
I grew up in a small town in Minnesota, in the Midwest United States.
Where do you live now?
I've lived in Cape Town for three years now, although it sometimes still feels like I just go here!
How well do you know Cape Town?
I'm an active person who loves to explore and try new things, so I'd say I've gotten to know the city pretty well!
Why should I go there?
I honestly think that everyone should visit Cape Town! It's a family-friendly city with so much to see and do, including beautiful beaches, great restaurants, scenic winelands, great hiking trails, a vibrant arts community, and tons of other great points!
What time of year should I go?
Don't visit CapeTown in the winter (June-August) unless you like wind and rain! I love the city in November, and March and April are lovely. Summer is a lot of fun, but it can get very hot and crowded during December when local tourists from Joburg and Durban visit.
Anything special I should pack?
There's very little you can't get in South Africa, but you should definitely have comfortable walking shoes. Bring something nice to wear for dinners out as wellâ€¦ Capetonians are quite fashionable!
What is the first thing you do when arriving?
Whenever I come back, I like to go somewhere near the ocean to have a drink and soak up the sun a bit. It's my happy place! Some favourites include the Brass Bell in Kalk Bay, the V&A Waterfront, or and of the beachfront bars and restaurants in Camps Bay.
What's the best way to get around?
It's a good idea to hire a car, as many attractions are located out of town. However within town there is a good public bus systemâ€¦ the only caveat is that you need to buy a card and load money on it before you can ride, as they don't accept cash.
Where would you send a first-time visitor?
Straight up the cablecar to the top of Table Mountainâ€¦ you get the best view of the city from there! Other must-sees are Robben Island, the winelands around Stellenbosch and Franschhoek, the penguin colonies at Boulders Beach, and the fun nightlife of Long Street!
Anything I should avoid?
Chain restaurants! With world-class food all around, there's no excuse to eat at places like Spur, Wimpy, Dros, Mugg & Bean, Primi, or Panoratti's. I would also avoid spending too much time at the V&A Waterfront, as it's rather more touristy than authentic (and the prices are very high by local standards).
Where would you recommend staying?
I would suggest someplace within the â€˜City Bowl', which includes Gardens, Vredehoek, Tamboerskloof, Bo-Kaap, Greenpoint, Mouille Point, and Sea Point, in order to be centrally located and have access to public transport and a wide selection of restaurants and attractions. However, there are some very luxurious accommodation options in Camps Bay, Clifton and Bantry Bay that have spectacular views!
Where is the best place for lunch?
Sevruga has great sushi with a waterfront view, and the balcony at El Burro is fantastic if you make a reservation ahead of time. For a meal on the go, nothing beats a takeaway from Eastern Food Bazaar. Another fun option is I Love Laundry, where you can enjoy dim sum and a glass of wine while they do your laundryâ€¦ it even has free wifi, which is rare in South Africa.
Where is the best place for a drink?
Neighbourhood has a great cocktail menu, and overlooks vibey Long Street, or if you're into craft beer, stop at &Union in Bree Street.
Where is the best place for dinner?
The Top of the Ritz is a revolving restaurant in Sea Point that gives great views of the city while you eat; the decor is a little dated but the food is good. Col Cacchio has gourmet pizza in a different league than Pizza Hut, and Den Anker has wonderful Belgian food and beer.
What should I bring home?
Wine makes a fantastic gift from Cape Town, as the quality is amazing and very cheap compared to other countries (just check your home country's duty-free allowance). I also have a collection of traditional African masks, which make great souvenirs and can be found among the stalls in Green Market Squareâ€¦ make sure you bargain though!