How to spend 48 hours in Cape Town

DANA GIVENS | 8/23/2018, 3:22 p.m.
It is a special time to visit South Africa. The country is celebrating the centenary of the honorable Nelson Mandela, ...
View from Table Mountain Dana Givens

It is a special time to visit South Africa. The country is celebrating the centenary of the honorable Nelson Mandela, who would have turned 100 years old this year. And with the recent death of his former wife, Winnie Mandela, earlier this year, the country has created numerous initiatives to help tourists come and take part of the celebration to honor the legacy of Mandela.

Earlier this year, I seized an opportunity to travel to South Africa and go to the cities of Johannesburg, Durban and Cape Town, learning something about Madiba’s legacy along the way. There was a lot to see and take in on my journey following the footsteps of Mandela—from visiting his primary home in Soweto, Liliesleaf Farm, where he and his comrades would gather, his capture site just outside Durban, to seeing the remnants of apartheid’s brutal oppression in Cape Town—so much so that by the end of my trip, I realized I had only two days for myself in Cape Town. It’s not an easy task to try and get the best of this wondrous city in just two days, but somehow I was able to catch all the highlights before I got on a plane to head home.

Day One

Check-in begins at the Cape Grace Hotel.

There are many great sights to take in during your stay in Cape Town, with its gorgeous views of mountain views hovering over the city against its beautiful clear skies and many hotel options throughout the city. The Cape Grace Hotel is located right next to the waterfront, with a variety of shops and restaurants to enjoy. The hotel is as elegant as its name, with timeless décor, lavishly plush rooms and sweeping views of Cape Town’s beautiful bay.

Catch the sunset at the waterfront.

Take a stroll during the sunset for the perfect picture down the Victoria & Alfred Waterfront, one of the most scenic places in the whole city. Along with an aquarium for tourists, you can also visit one of the many markets, restaurants and wine shops, where you’ll be able to stock up on a couple of bottles before you head to the airport.

Have dinner at Kloof Street House.

A wonderful introduction to Cape Town’s chic restaurant scene is Kloof Street House. Named after the street on which it’s located, the Victorian-style house has a garden area in the front with dim lights hanging in the air. The interiors are filled with opulent chandeliers and paintings, but it’s their eclectic menu that is the real star. The house bar makes the drinks strong and decedent, and the menu ranges from pan-fried Patagonian calamari, chalmar beef with smoked marrow bone, ostrich fillet, to butter chicken curry.

Day Two

Take a walking tour of Mandela’s footsteps.

After breakfast at the hotel, you can elect to take a walking tour to get familiar with the city. The Footsteps to Freedom Tour gives visitors the chance to learn about the history of South Africa and Mandela’s role in its reformation, and it takes them past most of the city’s famous haunts. Once the tour is over, you can go shopping in the Greenmarket Square for African fabrics and small gifts.