The long-awaited Cape Town summer season is finally here and we’re loving it! Summer in the Mother City means sun, fun, delicious food & celebrating the holidays with friends and family. Here are some of our favourite places to go and things to do to experience Cape Town’s vibrant summer season like a real local. Because if there’s one thing that Capetonians know how to do, it’s to celebrate summer all the way through to the end! And we can’t wait for you to join in on all the fun, food and festive vibes!
Enjoy a scoop of ice-cream at Unframed Ice-cream Parlour – Rated the Best Ice-Cream Parlour in the World by Big 7 Travel
If there’s one thing we can all agree on, it’s that summertime is ice-cream time! But if you’re a head-over-heels ice-cream lover, you’re in for quite a treat as Cape Town is home to the best ice-cream parlour in the world as rated by Big 7 Travel – Unframed! With stores in Woodstock, Gardens and the V&A Waterfront. Unframed is an artisanal ice cream maker that makes healthy ice cream from scratch from real and sustainable food. From traditional old-school classic flavours to unique and daring flavour combinations, there’s something for every ice-cream lover to enjoy. And even if you don’t consider yourself to be much of an ice-cream fanatic, Unframed might just convert you once and for all. Besides Unframed, some of our other favourite ice-cream spots include The Creamery, Moro Gelato, The Dairy Den, Ice Dream, Venezia Ice Cream, Cookies and Cream, Sorbetiere (for all the Sorbet lovers) and Ice Café in Kalk Bay.
Explore Cape Town’s wine bar scene – Because summer is the perfect time to sip on some sensational Cape vino!
Home to the largest wine-producing region in Africa, the Western Cape is any wine lover’s dream come true. But besides incredible wine routes and stunning Wine Estates, Cape Town has taken its wine love affair a step further with a variety of unique and exciting wine bars sweeping the city. There really is no reason for you not to join in on the wine fun! Especially at one of its cool and trendy wine bars. Some of our favourite wine bars that absolutely deserve a prime spot on every wine-lovers bucket-list includes Openwine (we love this one so much, we’ve even included it in our Food & Drink Safari Tour), Publik Wine Bar, La Parada Tapas and Wine Bar, Frogitt and Vonkel, Grub and Vine, Tamboers Winkel, Proof Wine Bar, Montegray and & Independents and Bartinney Wine & Champagne Bar.
Enjoy some local fish & chips or a delicious seafood meal – A true local Cape Town summer staple
Fish and chips form part of our local staple diet. You therefore absolutely cannot come to Cape Town during summer and not enjoy a traditional harbourfront fish and chips. Paired with a beautiful seafront view, a hefty dose of salt and vinegar seasoning and a cool and refreshing local beer to go along with it, it’s pure summertime bliss. Kalky’s in Kalk Bay, The Salty Sea Dog in Simon’s Town and Fish on the Rocks and Snoekies in Hout Bay are just four of our favourite local fish and chips spots. But if you’re in the mood for a little road trip up the False Bay Coast, Ooskus Fisheries in Gordon’s Bay is well worth the drive. Plus, you’re bound to discover plenty of hidden gems along the way too.
In addition to enjoying some local fish and chips, indulging in a summer seafood feast should absolutely be on your summer food list. Besides the fact that Cape Town is home to top seafood restaurants such as Wolfgat, located in the stunning seaside west coast village of Paternoster, which has claimed the title of Best ‘Off-map Destination’ and the coveted ‘Restaurant of the Year’ title in the internationally-acclaimed 2019 World Restaurant Awards, the Mother City has a variety of sensational seafood spots to choose from. With Beluga and Den Anker being two of our absolute favorites – Both of which we’ve included in our Essentials Food Tour!
Visit a local market & embark on the ultimate summer market-hopping adventure!
Exploring the Mother City’s exciting market scene is definitely one of the top things to do during the summer. Cape Town’s range of vibrant markets has fast become the ultimate hubs of food, art, culture, entertainment and everything in between. It’s, therefore, no surprise that going on the ultimate market-hopping adventure through the city has become one of the best things to do when visiting Cape Town. Here are some of our favourite markets you absolutely have to visit this summer – The V&A Food Market, The Watershed at the V&A, The Bay Harbour Market, Oranjezicht City Farmer’s Market, Root 44 Market, Cape Point Vineyards Thursday Night Market, the Old Biscuit Mill and Neighbourgoods Market.
Have a traditional South African braai – Because in Cape Town any excuse is the perfect excuse for a braai, especially in summer!
There is nothing more authentic to South African culture than enjoying a braai with friends and family to celebrate the summer season in true local style. A braai (barbeque) is the perfect excuse to get all your friends and family together, chuck some meat and boerewors on the braai, have a few drinks, have some fun and just celebrate the beautiful summer season with the people that matter most. Locals would say, any excuse is a good excuse to have a braai! Here are some of our favourite local braai spots in and around Cape Town to make the most of your summer trip to the Mother City: Oudekraal Beach, Buffels Bay Cape Point, Little Bay in Bloubergstrand, Tokai Forest, Newlands Forest, Helderberg Farm, Wynberg Park and Miller’s Point Resort. But, if all else fails, any Cape Town local will be more than happy to welcome you to their braai with open arms. The more the merrier right! For good Braai, meat pop in at The Butcherman in Green Point.
Enjoy a summer picnic – Because beautiful Cape Town weather calls for an amazing picnic with friends and family!
Summer is the absolute best time of year to enjoy a picnic with friends and family. Sun, fun, food, a beautiful setting and a lekker vibe, what more could you ask for? And with so many incredible picnic spots to choose from, the only thing you’ll have trouble with is deciding which one to try first. Beach, boulders, nature reserves, mountain tops, Winelands and lush lawns, there truly is a picnic spot for everyone! And the fact that the whole family can join in on all the summer picnic fun and games, makes it all the more special! Here are some of our favourite Cape Town picnic spots we hope you guys will love just as much as we do – Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens, the Company Gardens, Green Point Urban Park, Maiden’s Cove, Oudekraal Beach (they have a super cool braai area too), Signal Hill, Silvermine Nature Reserve and Cape Point. Yes, we told you there are a lot.
Sit back, relax & sip on a cocktail, craft beer, gin or cool Cape Town concoction
This time of the year gives you the perfect excuse to sit back, relax and savour the refreshing taste of a sunset cocktail, local craft beer, gin or exceptional glass of wine. Plus, there’s nothing quite as satisfying as enjoying a cool refreshing drink on a beautiful summer’s day in the Mother City while admiring the scenery and soaking up all the fun-loving summer vibes that fill the air. Cape Town definitely doesn’t disappoint! Here are a few of our favourite spots:
- Rooftop Bars: Tjing Tjing Rooftop Bar, The Waiting Room, The Sky Bar.
- Cocktail bars: Cause & Effect Cocktail Kitchen, The Gin Bar, Harrington’s Cocktail Lounge, Orphanage Cocktail Emporium, The House of Machines, Botanical Bar or Café Caprice situated on the famous Camps Bay sunset strip.
- Beer & Craft Beer spots & breweries: Beer House, Café Extrablatt, Jack Black’s Brewing Company, Darling Brewery, Devil’s Peak Salt River Tap Room, Cape Brewing Company (CBC), Woodstock Brewery.
Immersive yourself in Cape Town’s culture, art & history – Because summer is meant for exploring, adventuring & discovering.
Known as one of the most culturally diverse cities in the world, Cape Town is a magnificent melting pot of people, cultures and traditions. Exploring the City’s vibrant cultural diversity through her various renowned historical landmarks, museums, attractions, art galleries, cultural experiences, influential neighbourhoods and colourful cuisine is something absolutely everyone should do on. From world-renowned art galleries, the colourful and culturally diverse Bo-Kaap, the iconic Zeitz MOCAA Museum of Contemporary Art Africa and the Slave Lodge to the Iziko South African Museum, the Labia Theatre, District Six Museum and the vibrant Woodstock street art scene, there is something for every art, culture and history enthusiast to enjoy.
Enjoy a coffee, brunch or lunch at one of Cape Town’s cool cafés
When strolling the streets of Cape Town, there’s nothing better than popping into one of its trendy cafés for a quick bite to eat or a cup of coffee to re-charge you for the rest of your adventures ahead. But here in the city, living the cool café lifestyle is more than just coffee, croissants and colourful plates of food, it’s about the vibe and people too. The city certainly has that down-packed with its wide variety of cool cafés to choose from. Not only are we home to the 13th most Instagrammable café in the world as rated by Big 7 Travel, Nourish’d, but a variety of other trendy café spots too. Origin Coffee Roasters and Café Charles (two of our absolute favourites included in our Essentials Food Tour), Molten Toffee, Truth Coffee Roasting Café (which was rated the best coffee shop in the world in 2016 by the UK based publication The Daily Telegraph 2 years in a row), Clarke’s, Yours Truly and the Loading Bay are just a few of our favourite cool café spots to visit.
Try all of Cape Town’s unique local dishes on an authentic tour through the influential and culturally diverse city of Cape Town
Your trip would not be complete without trying some of its authentic local dishes. It truly is the only way to completely immersive yourself in the food, history and cultural diversity of this vibrant and influential city. And trust us, you are in for quite the culinary and cultural treat! From traditional favourites like Biltong, Boerewors, Bobotie, Bunny Chow, and the Gatsby Sandwich to diving deeper into the diverse Cape Malay culture, the thrilling coffee culture, love of seafood and thriving wine, craft beer and gin scene, we definitely don’t disappoint when it comes to its local food culture.
Top safety tips for exploring Cape Town this summer:
On our food and culture tours, we often get asked about the safety of Cape Town. How safe is it really? Is it safe to explore Cape Town on your own? Where are the no-go regions and which neighbourhoods should you avoid at night? Known as one of the most beautiful, exciting and culturally diverse cities in the world, Cape Town has undoubtedly established itself as a top travel destination in every way. But as with any other global city and tourist destination, it is always important to be aware and vigilant. Here are a few safety tips to keep in mind when visiting Cape Town:
- Always be aware of your surroundings: With a city as beautiful and unique as Cape Town, it’s easy to get distracted by its beauty and vibrant energy. However, always be aware of your surroundings and what is happening around you, trust your instincts and be vigilant of anything that seems out of the ordinary.
- Stay in a group: As the age-old saying goes, there is safety and strength in numbers. It’s always better to explore Cape Town and all its vibrant neighbourhoods, top attractions and must-visit local spots in a group. Its therefore not advisable to wander off on your own, especially into areas and neighbourhoods you’ve never been to before. But what if you’re a solo traveller? Cape Town definitely has your back! Offering a variety of thrilling adventures and exciting tour options like our walking food and culture tours, the Essentials Food Tour and Food & Drink Safari, you’ll be able to explore the Mother City like a real local with a group of people and knowledgeable and street-savvy tour guide to lead the way. Thereby making it a great, and incredibly fun & exciting, way to explore and experience everything the vibrant and diverse city of Cape Town has to offer without having to worry about your own safety when exploring it on your own. Plus, you get to meet some REALLY cool people too!
- During both the day and night it is important to stay clear of dark and isolated areas and stick to exploring well-lit and busy streets.
- When exploring Cape Town on foot, only take the essentials along. Exploring Cape Town on foot is one incredible adventure, but that doesn’t mean you need to take all your worldly possession along for the ride. It’s therefore important to plan your trip/route carefully and take only what you need
- Be aware of the “friendly helper” many of who looks homeless or high, their help comes with a price at times.
- If you get lost a policeman, traffic officer or restaurant employees will be glad to direct you.
So dear reader stay safe, enjoy Cape Town and feel free to let us know if you have any questions regarding your stay with us in the Mother City.
Cape Town Culinary Tours team