48 hours in Cape Town Itinerary: The Best Bits & More

What a treat!! You have 48 hours in Cape Town to enjoy the most amazing city on the African continent. There’s a LOT to do so you better start early in the morning to cover as much as possible.

Take our advice and follow our 2 days in Cape Town itinerary.

Day 1

Morning

In case the cable car to the top of Table Mountain is open we suggest that you head up there first. The views from the top are amazing and you will get a good feel for the city. You can easily spend a few hours up there and they offer free guided walking tours as well. In case the cable car is closed, a hike up Lions Head is what we recommend. It’s one of many favorite things to do in Cape Town for Capetonians and offers equally stunning views of Camps Bay, Robben Island, The V&A Waterfront, Table Mountain and the CBD.

lions head cape town

The epic Lions Head

Now that you’ve probably worked up quite a bit of appetite, Cape Town is a great place to enjoy fantastic food. If you head down to Kloof Street you will find many restaurants in walking distance from each other. Manna Epicure, Café Paradiso and Tamboerskloofwinkel will not disappoint you.

After lunch, you can walk down to the Company Gardens which is a beautiful city park, see the government buildings, the oldest planted tree in South Africa, feed the squirrels and enjoy some free WiFi in the middle of the park. Most of Cape Town’s museums are situated around the park so if the weather is not with you, perhaps plan a museum visit. 

Afternoon

3pm is the last departure for the excursion to Robben Island, the island where Nelson Mandela was incarcerated for 18 years. You can buy a ticket online. It is a 4-hour excursion and if you’re interested in South Africa’s history, you will enjoy the stories of the ex-prisoners that conduct the tour. In case the boats are cancelled because of bad weather there’s a fantastic little museum at Getty 1 by the Table Bay Hotel, not many people know about it (I only discovered it after living here for 15 years.. my bad). It used to be the old waiting room for the prisoners and visitors to Robben Island. Here you will find many stories of the prisoners, censured letters that were sent by the family members and usually there’s also one of the former prisoners to share stories. Really a great find.

robben island cape town

Robben island from above

Now that you’re in the V&A Waterfront already anyway, you might as well enjoy some shopping and sample some delicious South African cuisine in one of the many restaurants. For shopping South African designer stuff you absolutely need to go to The Watershed. You will find beautiful clothes, shoes, bags, kiddies stuff and much more. Next door is the V&A Food Market which is a great place to buy biltong, a true South African delicacy of cured, dried meat which goes than well with a beer or cider.

Day 2

Morning

After a busy day yesterday, perhaps today, the last of your 48 hours in Cape Town, you would like to enjoy the beach for a bit in the morning when it is usually not so windy. The most accessible beach is Camps Bay which is also the most touristy beach with a restaurant strip, hotels and a supermarket. You can rent beds and umbrellas and even have a massage on the beach. In case it is windy, go to one of the Clifton Beaches, there’s 1 – 4. They’re all equally stunning but nr 4 has the least steps to get down to the beach.

camps bay beach cape town

The beach at Camps Bay

Cape town is famous for surfing and in case you would like to surf, you will need to go to Muizenberg Beach. If kitesurfing is more your thing, then Blouberg beach is the place to be. Check out this list of 10 ultimate Cape Town adventures if water sports are your thing. Either way, Cape Town is surrounded by many gorgeous beaches and I’m sure there will be one that suits your needs. 

In Camps Bay, you can enjoy one of the many restaurants OR you can try to make a booking at the beautiful Camps Bay Retreat which is only a stones throw away from the hustle and bustle of the busy strip and their food and service is fantastic. 

Afternoon

Another option is to first freshen up at your hotel and then head to the Constantia Wine Valley for lunch. It is only a 15-minute drive from the city centre so it’s not going to take away too much time from your 48 hours in Cape Town, and Uber is available everywhere. The Chef’s Warehouse at Beau Constance is one of the top restaurants in Cape Town. You can have it all! Delicious wines, top class food and gorgeous views from this contemporary wine estate.

constantia wine valley cape town

Constantia Wine Valley

There are about 15 wineries in this valley so in case you’re up for it, after lunch you could enjoy another tasting somewhere. Groot Constantia is one of the oldest wine estates in beautiful Cape-Dutch building style. It is from here that Napoleon ordered his Vin de Constance when he was banned to St Helena island. Quite an interesting fact that the French emperor preferred South African wines.

Cape Town boasts one of the most beautiful Botanical Gardens in the world, Kirstenbosch. You HAVE to see this. In case you’re visiting in Summer and can visit on a Sunday afternoon, make sure to have a ticket for the summer concert and encounter one of the most spectacular concert areas in the world. It’s the best experience anyone can have during their 48 hours in Cape Town.

Evenings

The Cape Town city centre had many fantastic restaurants so it will be hard to choose with just 48 hours in Cape Town. Our current (feb2018) favorites are: Villa47 in Bree Street and Fork in Long Street. On the Atlantic Seaboard we love La Bohème in Main Road Seapoint, El Burro on Main Road Greenpoint, Lily’s on Beach Road. Greenpoint and Seapoint have quite a lot of good restaurants where Capetonians love to dine as well.

v&A waterfront cape town

The V&A Waterfront

Another fantastic new addition to the V&A Waterfront is The Silo District with the Zeitz-Mocaa Museum (oh dear, totally forgot to mention this amazing place of wonderful art, MUST-visit, even if it is just to see the architecture inside).

The Silo District has a few good restaurants with outside seating areas and it seems to be the new ‘in’ place at the moment (Feb2018) so do check it out.

There you have it, all packed into 48 hours in Cape Town!

Other useful resources:
– Check our comprehensive Cape Town guide for more useful information on the city.
– What’s it like to live in Cape Town? Find out from someone who knows here.

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Do you have only 48 hours in Cape Town? There's a lot to see but by following our 2 days in Cape Town itinerary you'll see all the highlights and more!

Do you have only 48 hours in Cape Town? There's a lot to see but by following our 2 days in Cape Town itinerary you'll see all the highlights and more!

About the Author

Jessy and her daughter Rosie are Planet Pilgrims. They explore together as much as possible. Jessy creates experiential travel experiences for (single parent) families, university groups and other special interest groups. Both mother and daughter enjoy learning languages, good food, playing in the pool and going on South African road trips. Follow them on Facebook and Instagram.

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