Postcard-ready beaches, warm-hearted people, affordable prices, rich culture, cute penguins, majestic mountains, and incredible food make Cape Town utterly unmissable. It’s also a place that requires preparation. The Mother City isn’t somewhere you go and just “wing it.” Perhaps, you could get away with flying by the seat of your pants in Paris or Tokyo, but when it comes to Cape Town, careful planning yields the most memorable results. That’s not to say that every moment needs to be scheduled, but putting together an itinerary (or having an award-winning travel company like Scott Dunn handle the logistics) will serve you best in this distinctive and utterly irresistible destination.
If you’re still on the fence about honeymooning in Cape Town, here are 10 reasons why it’s the ideal spot to spend your first getaway as husband and wife.
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Almost everything in Cape Town lives in the shadow of the iconic Table Mountain. The hike to the summit necessitates stamina, but couples who complete the quad-blasting trek are rewarded with once-in-a-lifetime panoramas—and bragging rites. Alternatively, if you’re seeking views without the exhausting effort, consider taking the cable car. (Just be sure to book tickets in advance.)
A melting pot of influences and traditions, Cape Town is a dynamic destination brimming with culture. Immerse yourself in the vibrant heritage of the Mother City by booking a street art tour or watch performers dance and sing in front of the V&A Food Market. Then head to the Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa and Jetty 1, which acts as both a departure point and historical information center for Robben Island. Of course, a trip to Bo-Kaap should be at the top of every must-do list. And if you just so happen to be in Cape Town the first Thursday of the month, it’s a stellar opportunity to mingle with Capetonians at the many galleries, boutiques, bars, and pop-ups that remain open until 9 pm in the City Bowl District (CBD).
A favorite among locals and out-of-towners, Clifton 4th showcases powder-fine white sand and gentle turquoise waters. You can rent two chairs and an umbrella for under $12. All of this goes down under the shadow of Table Mountain, which watches over the beach from above. An hour drive away, toward Simon’s Town, Boulder’s Beach is famous for giving visitors a close-up glimpse of cute, fluffy penguins.
When it comes to cuisine, Cape Town is beyond reproach. Start your morning with a cup of joe at Truth Coffee Roasting. Swing by Hemelhuijs, a chic café with citron-hued walls, for brunch or lunch. Standout dishes include seared scallops, African pepper-dusted calamari, and baked garden vegetables. The fresh-pressed juices and home-brewed coffee are a hit, too. Open seven days a week, the V&A Food Market is filled with a delicious mix of local and international street food vendors. The most coveted dinner reservation? Located The Old Biscuit Mill in Woodstock and helmed by celebrated chef Luke Dale Roberts, The Test Kitchen wows diners with exceptional tasting menus paired with South African wines. (Insider tip: Request a seat facing the open-air kitchen.) The candle-lit ambiance, inventive cocktails, and eclectic bistro fare make Kloof Street House another excellent pick for a romantic night out. And the small-batch ice cream at Unframed, which has several locations around Cape Town, is guaranteed to tickle your palate with flavors like turmeric latte and chocolate sea salt.
Cape Town is one of the most colorful cities in the world, and Bo-Kaap factors into that in a big way. The vibrant area formerly known as the Malay Quarter lures visitors with its heritage and rainbow houses. What’s more, wandering around this photogenic neighborhood, soaking in the history, and capturing that superlative shot for Instagram won’t cost a dime.
Oranjezicht City Farm Market
For many couples, the perfect weekend morning begins with perusing the local farmer’s market, followed by brunch. Oranjezicht City Farm Market combines both those treasured rituals. Held Saturday and Sunday in Granger Bay, the highly anticipated weekly event brings together local farmers, artisans, and food vendors. Sample everything from fresh-shucked oysters and barbecue to protein-packed pumpkin flapjacks with cashew cream and decadent vegan desserts. Hopefully, you left room in your suitcase to bring back a few handwoven baskets and indigo-dyed caftans.
Thriving booze scene
After all that wedding prep, it’s nice to let loose a little. A laid-back afternoon sipping adult beverages with your better half should do the trick. From wine straight produced in the neighboring regions of Stellenbosh and Franschhoek to gin distilleries and craft breweries, Cape Town has plenty of hip spots to quench your thirst. And that’s not even counting the numerous bars such as The Commissary and Orphanage Cocktail Emporium.
Kirstenbosch National Botanical Gardens
Not sure what’s more magnificent, the plants or the backdrop. Set at the foot of Table Mountain and sprawling 528 hectares, Kirstenbosch National Botanical Gardens draw visitors from across the globe. Travelers can admire fynbos, proteas, cycads, fragrant flower beds, and groomed hedges. The picturesque Tree Canopy Walkway (known as the “Boomslang”) is another highlight. On the weekends, locals turn it into a full-day affair by packing picnic baskets and blankets to enjoy hours of leisure time on the manicured lawns.
Not only does the USD to ZAR (South African Rand) conversation rate set you up for success, but things—food, drinks, souvenirs—are just less expensive. Plus, you’ll find a slew of wallet-friendly activities. Admission to the world-famous Kirstenbosch National Botanical Gardens only costs $2.70. Newlyweds will have a blast hiking Table Mountain and sunning on the sandy beaches for free.
You can score great deals on pretty much everything, including hotels. Since you’re already saving so much, why not splurge on snoozing somewhere absolutely fantastic? The Silo boasts a prime location in the V&A Waterfront as well as stylish interiors, a rooftop pool, and a glamorous bar. Beloved for its intimate atmosphere and exemplary service, Ellerman House features 13 individually designed rooms, jaw-dropping South African art collection, and sweeping ocean vistas. And for couples who want to stay in the heart of the CBD, the newly opened Labotessa is a fabulous option.
Bonus: access to wine country and game reserves
The Mother City is also the gateway to the Cape Winelands and the bush. A few days of urban adventure in Cape Town, followed by tasting vino in Stellenbosch, capped off with wildlife peeping and shacking up at a luxury safari lodge (hello, Saseka Tented Camp)—now that’s the ultimate honeymoon!
Read More: Why Cape Town Is the Ultimate Honeymoon Destination