Molweni (hello in xhosa)!
As I write this I’m on a bumpy flight leaving Cape Town, South Africa, but when you read this I’m in a different place altogether. The past year or so I’ve been moving and shifting, never really gathering my thoughts in one place for very long. At this point in time I’m making plans for more permanent living and whilst that can be exciting it can also be a little daunting to make choices and commitments. I consider myself very lucky to be able to choose in the first place though and whilst South Africa is not really on my list of options I hope that one day I get to spend an extended period of time in the beauty of that country.
This post is going to mainly deal with places to go to eat and explore during a visit in Cape Town but in general I’d urge you to just observe and take in the diverse nature of the city and it’s surroundings. Both in nature but also in people. It’s not an easy place to live for all Capetonians as life seems very unfair in this polarised environment but it’s a very interesting place to be observant. Maybe especially because I’m from Sweden which is just a completely different place. Embrace the diversity! And really enjoy the beauty of hills and mountains, the sea with all its beaches, the buzzing and trendy city life and ultimately salute the sun when it’s there – I hear it can get pretty rainy.
I guess I should mention that you need to have your eyes and ears open walking the streets of Cape Town as there are many people less fortunate than you and I walking them too. This means that you might want to keep your phones and cameras in your bag and make conscious decisions about where you use the ATM. I’ve been told not to walk around in certain areas but I’m not enough well-informed to give you advice on that. At the end of the day I believe that you should celebrate your days in Cape Town as it is a truly stunning place and not e too worried about safety, just be aware of your belongings and where you’re walking at night. The uber service is a fantastic in Cape Town and will work as a life line for those moments when you’re not sure whether you’re in a safe place or not.
Now let’s move on to more fun things as I want to share all the things that brought me large smiles during my visit. I hope you’ll find this informative and fun, whether you’re going to visit yourself or not one can always dream and feel inspired for the future. And if you are going – lucky you! x
ps. there’s a video on my youtube channel where you can see in action what we got up to on our trip and trust me Cape Town looks stunning in motion, watch it here!
If you’ve been to Cape Town yourself please share with us your favourite places in the comments and if you’re going and have questions fire away in that space too!
1-3, Plant. 4-6, Addis in Cape.
FOOD AND DRINK
8 Buiten St.
Rob and I ended up eating here several times as we wanted to take advantage of their full menu. They offer breakfast, lunch and dinner as well as a selection of desserts. It really is an all day restaurant that also comes with craft beer, a wine list, smoothies, juices, kombucha and the list goes on. Many dishes will remind you of the ones you had prior to going vegan; omelette, scramble, burgers but there’s also salads and summer rolls to balance out the heavier side. This lace comes highly recommended.
190 Bree St.
Busy and buzzy place where hipsters meet hippies, al looking for a health conscious vegan lunch and a fermented veg jar to take home. This place focuses a lot on foods that are rich in probiotics such as fermented vegetables, tempeh and kombucha and on the side of that in the self-serve buffet was leaves and massaged kale, a cold dahl, coleslaw with chickpeas and a bunch of fresh sprouts. Not for the junk food vegan but well worth a visit with a lovely interior and great people watching.
41 Church St.
This Ethiopian restaurant has a whole separate list of vegan dishes and other dishes are called ‘non-vegetarian’ in the menu which is novel. It is a lovely experience with traditional tables and serving style. We had the tasting menu which I would recommend to make sure that you get to have a little bit of everything as you dip away with your injera, a fermented flat bread completely free from gluten. This place gets busy so it might be an idea to book for dinner.
167 Long St.
A quirky place with a separate vegan menu including some creative lassis and masala chai. Choose between a variety of traditional starters, two dosas, a thali, simple curry with rice (a choice of three) and some salads too. We enjoyed the thali and the traditional dosa which comes with curried potatoes, sambar and coconut chutney. Also give the dessert dosa a try – it’s like a nutella crepe, yum!
ps. great for the budget traveller.
1-3, Sexy Food. 4-8, The Kitchen.
111 Sir Lowry Road.
I completely fell in love with this place as we walked in during the lunch rush on a particularly sunny and gorgeous day. Enjoy the buzz and the great staff which comes together in a lovely community atmosphere. Dig into the collection of salads and create your own plate choosing three or five of the dishes. Including rice dishes and various fresh and roasted vegetable concoctions. You can also add on delicious lentil falafel and houmous or avocado to top off your dream buddha bowl.
300 Albert Rd.
Enjoy giant cacao superfood smoothies and raw vegan tapas plate galore. Their green sushi with creamy avocado is fantastic too. I wish we had been able to come back to try more of the smoothies on offer here and again there’s a lovely buzz in this place, at least on a Saturday which was when we visited.
Stellenbosch Kloof Rd.
This place is a fine dining restaurant attached to the Jordan vineyard in Stellenbosch. All Jordan wines are vegan and the chef at the lovely restaurant offered Rob and I a lovely two course meal using fresh seasonal vegetables. Simply let them know ahead and they’ll take care of you. I’d definitely recommend taking the drive out to the vineyards and why not combine it with a special dining experience.
1-4, Raw and Roxy. 4-10, Jordan by George Jardine.
64A Wale St.
Our first encounter with Honest Chocolate was at the Neighbour Goods Market where we bought two yummy slabs. But what I’d really encourage you to do is visit their beautifully designed cafe in the city centre where you can try their truffles and tarts, buy their slabs to take home and enjoy a selection of beverages. You can even try a sweet bunny chow here. Bunny chow being a Durban dish originally of which you hollow out half a bread loaf and fill it with curry. However the sweet version is made with a vegan banana bread muffin and dairy free ice cream.
Connected to the Honest Chocolate Cafe if you walk to the court yard at the back you’ll find a beautifully dingy (in a trendy way) gin bar opening in the afternoons until 2 am Tues-Sun. They serve four or five different creative gin cocktails using local ingredients. Even I tried one and it was really good!
211 Long St.
I had the most delicious yellow smoothie here full of pineapple, clementine, turmeric and all other things yellow. This is a great juice and smoothie bar that also offer light breakfast and lunch items with a few vegan options. The menu is clearly marked so you never need to get confused and the location is great as it’s located on Long Street which probably is the most central street and where a lot of restaurants are gathered around.
50 Kloof St (and more).
This chain offers a selection of fresh juices as well as yummy smoothies. Try the ‘Nut Milk’ smoothie without the honey it’s like a yummy milkshake. They also offer a variety of lunch foods that can be adapted for us vegans, although I have not tried these myself.
36 Buitenkant St.
Even though I don’t even drink coffee I had a blast at this steam punk inspired cafe. They really go all in with their theme and all the waitors are in costume, just check out the photos. If you’re into coffee this is a fantastic place to go whether your into the theme or not though as Rob had is best coffee experience in Cape Town here. You can also see the roasting process in action which is pretty cool!
1-5, Honest Chocolate. 6-7, The Gin Bar. 8-10, Orchard on Long.
DO AND SEE
Wine Tastings and Vineyard Tours
I don’t even drink alcohol but will still recommend going on a drive through the Stellenbosch area to learn about one of South Africa’s most appreciated exports; wine. My absolute favourite out of the four vineyards we visited was Reyneke, an organic and biodynamic farm which had such a down to earth approach. The main man Johann showed us around tightly followed by the Boerboel guard dog Charlie and her much smaller friend Princess. Johann taught us a bit about bodynamic farming and he let us try grapes and not yet completed wine as we went along. I actually felt touched by the community feel at the farm.
Another place i’d like to point you to Jordan Wine Estates because all the wines produced there are vegan and you can enjoy a gorgeous lunch here, simply ask them nicely to make you a vegan menu when you book.
A drive up and around Chapman’s Peak is breathtakingly beautiful and you can take this route on your way to Boulders Beach which you can read more about in my nest recommendation.
1 Kleintuin Rd.
Enjoy seeing South African penguins in their natural habitat at Boulders Beach. Unfortunately they’ve built the wooden pathway very close to the area of the penguins so you do feel like you’re a it of an intruder but the penguins seemed at ease. When we visited they were hatching their eggs and I felt so lucky to get to see the little ones huddle close to their mamas.
25A Albertus St & Buitenkant Street.
Rob and I only went to two museums during our stay and this was my favourite. The museum deals with the displacement of the people living in district six prior to the Apartheid regimes decision to ‘cleanse’ the area. If you would like to learn more about the realities of people’s lives during Apartheid this place will give you plenty of insight. Find factual information, personal stories and an array of photographs and items which will illustrate the oppression of ‘non-whites’ and the flattening of their homes.
1-3, Reyneke Wine Farm. 4-6, Boulders Beach. 7-8, District Six Museum.
This was the second museum we visited, and yes the whole island is considered a museum today. Visit the prison island where Nelson Mandela was imprisoned along with many other male freedom fighters of South Africa. You’ll have to make your way to the docks at the V&A waterfront to catch the bumpy ride to the island before a bus with a guide will take you an a brief excursion on the island. If you are only in Cape Town for a few days and have a busy schedule I’d skip this tour and try some other museums on the main land instead as the tour is rather brief. With that said it is truly special when at the end of the tour you get to meet one of the ex-prisoners who share the stories of the prison.
Cape Town’s nature is truly stunning and Table Mountain is really the epitome of that. Grab the cable car up the side of the mountain or take a hike up if you’re feeling brave – you won’t regret it!
This is a very popular Cape Town beach and it is gorgeous with crystal clear sharply blue water. I didn’t swim though as the temperature was roughly ten degrees celsius. And that was in the summer!
15 Wandel St.
If you are as hooked on yoga as I am and want to enjoy a sweaty flow in a lovely studio this is the place to come. Rob and I came here multiple times during our stay and always left very satisfied and full of light. You can also enjoy their small cafe with smoothies and salads before you head of to your next sight.
1-2, On route to/ on Robben Island. 3, V&A waterfront (Robben Island ferry port). 4-6, Table Mountain. 7-11, Shala Yoga Studio.
373 Albert Rd.
In the Woodstock area, a now up and coming hip part of Cape Town, you’ll find the Neighbourgoods Market on Saturdays. Lots of locally produced food, both to take home and to eat there along with a bunch of vendors selling other goods. A few vegan options are available but you don’t need to come for the food – just turn up for the festive atmosphere and enjoy browsing what Cape Town has to offer.
66 Albert Road.
In the same area as the Biscuit Mill you’ll find this hip and industrial looking shopping complex where you can enjoy a laid back cup of tea at Lady Bonin’s Tea Parlour, go shopping for vegan chocolate at the Honest Chocolate store and buy some unique shoes made from recycled materials at Grandt Mason Originals. All this and much more, a fun place to hang out for a morning or afternoon. I also saw that they have a yoga studio upstairs!
Long Street and Bree Street
If shopping is your idea of fun you can hop in and out of fun shops on these two streets in the city centre. As this is not really my forte I don’t have any particular favourites myself but I enjoyed simply cruising up and down these streets window shopping and was told this is where the shopping magic happens.
Lifestyle on Kloof, 50 Kloof St.
If you want to experience health food store deluxe head to the Wellness Warehouse Kloof for some serious health food retail therapy. You can also enjoy some food and a juice/smoothie etc at the in house cafe, unfortunately I didn’t get to try the food myself but it looked cheerful.
1-5, Biscuit Mill / Neighbourgoods Market. 6-9, Lady Bonin’s Tea Parlour. 10, Woodstock.