Cape Town is an easy place to travel. If you don’t have a budget for guided tours, it is possible to explore the city on your own. With the use of Trover app, I found a Cape Town itinerary for a day by using the nearby feature. By checking what main attractions in Cape Town were close by, I managed to come up with an itinerary that didn’t only save me time but also helped me find hidden gems recommended by locals.
To explore Cape Town, it is recommended to have your own car. Car rentals in Cape Town are fairly affordable. For US$20-50, you can rent sedans for a day. But if you can’t drive like me, there are other options such as Uber or MyCiti bus. There’s also a hop-on and hop-off bus for tourists. The only problem with the tourist bus is they have limited stops. So if you are someone who is not into very touristy stuff, taking an Uber or the MyCiti bus might be a better option.
To start my self-guided tour in Cape Town, I woke up early to make sure I could visit as many places as possible.
7:10 am – Take a sip at the best coffee shop in the world
I decided to start my day at a coffee shop. And where was the best place to get my coffee? At one of the best coffee shops in the world – Truth Coffee! Truth Coffee was named by the Telegraph as one of the best coffee shops in the world for 2 years in a row.
Known for their artisan coffee and quirky decor, this cafe is also well-known for the hand-roasted coffee beans they supply to the majority of the top hotels in South Africa. For R35 (or US$2.4), I got a flat white and for R20 (US$1.3) a croissant to start my day.
Address: 36 Buitenkant St, Cape Town City Centre
Opening Hours: 7am-6pm during weekdays, 8am-6pm on Saturday, and 8am-2pm on Sunday
Total Expense: R70 (US$4.7) for food and tip
8:15 am – Enjoy the view and beach in Camps Bay
After breakfast, I took an Uber from Buitenkant St to Camps Bay beach. Camps Bay is one of the best beaches in the city and is also known as the place to be seen if you are in Cape Town. It is a trendy place with several shops, restaurants, and bars around. Early in the morning, the beach is quite empty so I decided to enjoy this rare opportunity to lie down on the beach sans the big crowd.
The temperature was still not ideal to swim here in Cape Town. Although the winter is over and spring has just started, the temperature still drops to single digits at night and the wind is still chilly. But it doesn’t mean that you can’t enjoy the beach.
You can play volleyball and water sports, even during winter. Or have a beach picnic, hang out with friends and enjoy the view. For Camps Bay, it is the perfect place to just enjoy the view. It is a lively beach in a scenic setting with Twelve Apostles in the background.
Twelve Apostles is part of the Table Mountain Plateau and is the Atlantic side of the so-called “Back Table”, a rugged but beautiful plateau that extends up to 6 km to the Constantia Nek–Hout Bay valley. Victoria Road, where Camps Bay beach is, is also considered one of the most scenic roads in the world.
Total Expense: R70 (US$4.7) for Uber
As an alternative to Uber, you can also take the MyCiti bus. Each trip costs between R6-13 depending on the distance. Just walk towards Groote Kerk station. It is about 700 meters (9 minutes) from Buitenkant St. Then take the 107 bus towards Camps Bay (about 15 minutes) and walk towards Camps Bay for another 300 meters. This might take between 40-60 minutes though but it can save you money if you are travelling Cape Town on a budget.
9:30 am – Get an ice cream in Sea Point and take a walk on the promenade
After getting my vitamin D in Camps Bay, I was off to get an ice cream in one of the awesome ice cream shops in Sea Point and then walked along the promenade.
Sea Point is an affluent suburb in Cape Town. It is famous for its lively social scene. Like Camps Bay, there are several bars, restaurants, and markets around the area. Sea Point promenade is also a popular walking route among locals.
Total spent: R95 (US$6.4) – R55 for Uber and R40 for a double scoop of ice cream.
10:15 am – Shop, eat and take a stroll at V&A Waterfront
Taking a bus from St. John’s Road station in Sea Point to go to V&A Waterfront is easy so after finishing my ice cream, I took the first bus. The bus ride only took about 10 minutes.
V&A Waterfront is the most visited South African destination. With over 24 million visitors annually, this waterfront in Cape Town is considered as one of the must-visit places and one of the most iconic spots in South Africa. Aside from the charm of the harbor and European architecture, the complex boasts the magnificent background of mountains and ocean. The entertainment harbor complex boasts world-class shopping malls, museums, restaurants, bars, tourist attractions, and the gateway to boat cruising activities in Cape Town.
After window shopping and eating lunch at Harbour House restaurant, I decided to leave to learn a bit of Cape Malay history.
Total Expense: R260 (US$17.5) – R10 for MyCiti and R250 for the lunch. Please note that you can get lunch for way less by going to cheaper restaurants. I just wanted to try Harbour House this time.
1:30 pm – Explore the culture in Bo-Kaap
Bo-Kaap is known for its colorful homes and cobbled stone streets from the 18th century. But this heritage site is more than these cute houses and steep roads. It used to be the center of Cape Malay culture – a term used for the early members of the community of foreign slaves that were brought to Cape Town by the Dutch between mid-17th century to early 19th century. There’s a museum in Bo-kaap where you can learn more about the history of Cape Malay culture.
You can get to Bo-kaap from the Waterfront via a short Uber ride. It is only around 2.5km and it takes about 3 minutes. You can also walk but if you are not familiar with the place, it might take you around 20 minutes to get to your destination.
Address: 71 Wale Street, Bo-kaap, Cape Town
Museum Opening Hours: Monday – Saturday from 9:00 am to 4:00 pm
Museum Entrance Fee: R20 (US$1.3) for Adult and R10 (US$.70) for 6-18 years old
Total Expense: R50 (US$3.4) for Uber (R30) and museum entrance fee (R20)
2:30 pm – Take a cable car up Table Mountain
Your trip to Cape Town is not complete without going to the top of Table Mountain. Table Mountain is a flat-topped mountain forming a prominent landmark for the city of Cape Town. If you are an avid hiker and if you have enough time, locals recommend hiking all the way to the top. However, if you are pressed for time, taking a cable car up Table Mountain is also a good alternative.
The cable car gives you 360 degree view of the city while going up. It only takes about 10 minutes to get to the top. From the top of Table Mountain, you can enjoy the view of the entire city or explore the fynbos – a wild vegetation endemic to Western Cape.
Cable car fees: R150 (US$10.2) for one way and R275 (US$ 18.7) for a round trip if you go in the afternoon. Morning rate is more expensive at R290 (US$19.7) for a round trip.
Total Expense: R325 (US$22), for cable car (R275) and Uber ride to Table Mountain (R50)
5:20 pm – Watch the sunset from Blouberg
A personal favorite, Blouberg beach is one of the most amazing places to watch the sunset in all of Cape Town. It is outside of the main attractions in Cape Town so mainly locals come here. The beach is also famous for kitesurfing, windsurfing, surfing, and other water sports. The best thing about Blouberg is the amazing view of Table Mountain from afar.
You can’t find any place in Cape Town with an unobstructed view of the Table Mountain and the ocean. So while a lot of tourists go to Signal Hill to watch the sunset, a lot of locals go to Blouberg to watch from the beach. There’s nothing more magical than watching the sun set beside Table Mountain while sun rays bathe the famous mountain. This is an amazing way to end a busy day.
Total Expense: R185 (US$12.6) for Uber
If you want to save money from riding Uber all the way to Blouberg, you can take an Uber to the Waterfront or Civic Center from Table Mountain. Then from Civic Center or Waterfront, you can take a bus that goes to Table View. Alight in Table View and change bus. Take the bus that goes to Marine Circle and alight at Marine Circle. From Marine Circle, you can just walk to the beach. Please note that Blouberg is around 20km from the city center so it might take between 1-1.5 hours. So plan your time wisely if you want to catch the sunset from Blouberg.
If you want to check more of our Cape Town discoveries, we’ve embedded the list below to help you plan your own self-guided tour in Cape Town.
Cape Town discoveries – a photo list by Christine Rogador
This post was brought to you in partnership with Trover.
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I love this itinerary! I had a guide the whole time I was in South Africa but I’m so keen to go back, and now I know exactly how to get myself around thanks to this article.
Great post! Bo-Kaap sounds like a fun place. Pinning this for my reference!
Stunning views, especially the sunset! Can’t wait to visit South Africa one day 🙂
Thank you for the very detailed itinerary. I feel like I could attempt to this trip on my own now! I especially appreciate that you included the Trover and Uber tips. Uber is my preferred way to travel (in cities that have Uber.) I prefer to not rent a car even though I can drive.
Great list of things to do in Cape Town but you had me at best coffee in the world! It certainly did look pretty good and I love the pattern they gave you.
The 12 apostles mountains are beautiful as a backdrop to that dreamy beach! Stunning photos.
Thanks for sharing detailed itinerary for Cape Town and it is great to know that renting a car is very affordable option here. I loved the colorful house of Bo-Kaap and I would take numerous pictures there.
SOme gorgeous captures there! Loved the sunset view of the Table mountain from Blouberg 🙂
You got me at coffee. The best coffee store in the world sounds like the top of my bucket list. I love the vibrant colours of those buildings in Bo-Kaap.
Such a great itinerary. I’ve wanted to visit Cape Town since one of my best friends lived there when she was young. Blouberg beach is simply beautiful!
Cape Town is a beautiful city and you have captured it beautifully. Your itinerary and recommendations of Trover are also on point. We would love to see the cable car view and sunset in person. Maybe one day we will follow in your footsteps.
Thanks for sharing, keep travel blogging, adventure is better shared with friends!
This is the best day planned, I love that cute coffee though. I also have always wondered where the colourful part of Cape Town is. The best part is you’ve explained how to save money and self-guide your own tour.
Its a dream of ours to visit Cape Town and we believe that doing it self guided is such a better way. You packed a lot into the first day for sure. I love those colourful buildings and that sunset is a great way to end the day!
Camps Bay looks like a bucket list beach for me! The scenery there looks absolutely incredible!
Thanks for the article! I heard Cape Town is a really safe city. I need to go!
This itinerary is so helpful! I am totally adding all of these things to the list, especially the sunset at Blouberg! 🙂
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