Well hello Cape Town.
There is a fairly good chance that your 48 hours in Cape Town in winter will be on the cold side and could include a fair amount of rain. Pack a fold up umbrella and some colourful wellies, a warm jacket and something waterproof. Layered outfits work here in winter as we are known for having four seasons in one day. During June, July and August the average temperature is 18 degrees C and 12 to 14 days of each month will have some rain.
The best way to see a city is to walk it. Walking is also a good way to warm up, so dress up and get moving and take to the streets. Voice Map audio tours are self guided tours that are location specific. Simply download the app onto your smart phone or tablet, and select the tour you want. A map displays your route and the audio gives directions and tells the story at the relevant landmark. Text can be viewed as well.
The Bo-Kaap is the most popular tour, so why not absorb a little history, lots of stories and take some colourful pics. The walk will warm you and unless we are have one of our Cape of Storms moments, an umbrella will protect you from a little rain. The duration of this walk is 20 minutes and the distance covered is 1.3 km. Voice Map offer a wide variety of tours including Woodstock Street Art, eating and entertainment in Kloof Street, Secret Tunnels in Cape Town, a Newlands Brewery tour and the Seapoint Promenade. Click here for all the options. Each tour displays the duration and number of km at the top making it easy to choose a tour that fits in with the time you have available.
The Cape Wheel is a fun way to orientate yourself to the Waterfront and parts of the city. At the top you are 40 meters above the ground and the sights you miss on the first revolution you will see on one of the next three turns. The ride takes around 20 minutes and the Wheel still operates when it is raining but shuts down if the wind is too strong.
If the Cape Wheel is not high enough for you then take to the skies in a helicopter with NAC Helicopters Cape Town. The staff will advise you regarding the weather conditions as safety is paramount, but your enjoyment is also important to them so do ask them for advice if it looks overcast or is very cloudy. Allow an hour for the 15 minute flight. You need to be there half an hour in advance to enjoy a coffee on the deck next to the water, get weighed and listen to the safety briefing.
I needed a little extra time after we landed to gaze at the views and to allow myself time to mentally come back down to earth.
Our helicopter was a Robinson 44, just big for 3 passengers and the pilot. From the moment we hovered a centimetre off the ground until a few hours after we landed, I had a stupid grin plastered all over my face. Nothing beats flying in a helicopter, and doing it over a city as spectacular as Cape Town is mind-blowing.
Take to the waves without getting wet on the Mirage 760, a 76 foot luxury catamaran docked at the V& A Waterfront. Rain does not stop this baby as the lower level is fully enclosed on three sides and you can sit on soft white couches sipping a cocktail or stand up top with the spray in your face and the best views in the world. Marvel as you look back at Table Mountain and forward towards Robben Island or Clifton Beach, this really is the life.
The Mirage 760 is like a floating dream world, complete with grills for making snacks, a full kitchen and a bar. Regardless of the weather, you will be comfortable. Big enough to accommodate 120 people the Mirage is available for day or sunset cruises from 2 hours or longer. Click here for all the options and details and please note that you must book in advance. It is certainly worth it.
Raise your glass as you can’t visit Cape Town without experiencing a wine farm and the closest one to the city is the oldest and most historic, Groot Constantia. Just 18 km from the city centre, Groot Constantia offers a museum, wine tasting, great food at Jonkershuis or Simon’s , walks under the oaks and views to die for from the slopes of Table Mountain. The newly opened info centre on the premises can give you information on the other wine estates that make up the Constantia Wine Route.
I highly recommend Jonkershuis for lunch or an early supper, it closes at 9pm on weekends, and 7pm during the week. You can’t leave without sampling the award-winning Grand Constance, favourite tipple of Napoleon Bonaparte. I am not much of a wine drinker but I finished off a bottle of this in a week. Smooth, golden, slightly spicy and ideal to take the chill out of a winter’s day. Well, that was my excuse.
If the rain looks like it’s here to stay then get to the Grandwest Casino and Entertainment Centre. You don’t have to enjoy gambling to have fun at GrandWest, it has so much to offer under one roof.
Snow World, now on until the 31st July at GrandWest. Find your inner child and just laugh and scream a bit for an hour or so. The Ice Box is a chilly – 3 degrees so dress warmly. This is where you will race down the ice slides in a round tube and learn to snow board under the expert guidance of Mark. Booking online for the snow boarding is recommended as this is a very popular activity, and not as easy as it looks.
After snow boarding and an ice slide or two, you need to pop off for a Jaegermeister in the Ice Bar before heading back into the normal temperatures of the rest of the area.
Walk past the Woolley mammoths, dinosaurs and other ice age animals, climb to the top of the large ice slide and hurtle down in a blow up boat, or just make a snowman with the little people in the snow pit.
Go ice skating, or bowling, if you can bear the noise of shrieking kids and a million electronic games beeping and exploding, or check in advance for the live shows and book your tickets to The Manhattans, Disney on Ice, or even Dora the Explorer if that’s your thing. All show details are available here.
Make a night of it at GrandWest . After dining at one of the 12 restaurants, (I love Bukhara and the Cape Town Fish Market) head over to Hanover Street for live music or to the Jackson Hall if you are a Blues and Jazz fan. All are located in the city street themed area called The District in the GrandWest complex.
We have culture and it’s easy to find and a great way to get out of the rain and cold weather. Musical extravaganzas, ballet, opera, theatre and comedy, you can find it all right here in the city. After all we don’t want you driving in our crazy traffic in the rain. Dress up or go comfortable to the wonderful Artscape, I have my ticket to My Fair Lady and I can’t wait.
If an intimate setting for theatre is more your style the Fugard has a great line up over the next few months including “The Voice I cannot Silence” and “Clybourne Park”.
The Labia Theatre is the oldest Indie theatre in South Africa and screens art, classic and independent movies. With four theatres each showing 4 to 5 movies a day you are sure to find something you just have to see.
If it’s not raining, it is often cloudy and this means great sunrises and sunsets.
Sunrise is at a reasonable hour of around 7:30 to 8am at the moment and sunset happens between 5:30 and 6pm. It is worth getting up early for sunrise, and definitely consider a City Sightseeing Sunset drive to the top of Signal Hill, the views are spectacular. The bus departs from the Waterfront.
If you are dead set on seeing the Cape Town Icons, check out Cape Town Big 7 and good luck. I really don’t think you can do them all properly in 48 hours but if you do want to try then definitely check the Table Mountain Cable Aerial Cable Way for weather updates and queuing times.
Cape Town traffic is horrible so plan to always be going against the traffic during the week. If you need to come in to the city do it before 7am or after 9:30 am and don’t even think of trying to leave the city between 4 and 6pm.
Come and say #HelloCapeTown
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