Our trip to Cape Town marks the beginning of our new monthly content series, “My City, My Flow”, where we bring a street-level perspective to amazing cities, deepening our connection with people and places, and exploring like never before! And you can probably guess which mode of transport we used for our “street-level perspective” (if you can’t, do yourself a favor and click on the home page up in the corner there).
You might be wondering, “Why would a California company start their travels all the way in South Africa?”, or more simply, “Why Cape Town?”, and you wouldn’t be alone. But Cape Town is a very special place, with just about everything to offer; from skating, surfing, and any other adventure sport you can imagine, to world class beaches and mountains, to incredible culture and nightlife. So maybe what you should be asking is, “Why not Cape Town?”. Below is our Location Guide, where we’ll walk you through some of our favorite spots in Cape Town, many of which were featured in our latest video.
Cape Town’s inner city is geographically sculpted by Table Bay on one side, and the dramatic heights of Table Mountain, Devil’s Peak, Lion’s Head, and Signal Hill forming the edges of the “City Bowl”. Our M1 day trip began on the edge of the bowl, if you will, kicking off with a legendary Signal Hill sunrise before cruising to Kloof Nek, where you can turn down into the city, or down to the Atlantic beaches (more on those later).
We barreled down into Bo-Kaap, the well-preserved Cape Malay community in which the buildings are almost as diverse and colorful as their residents. The Bo Kaap is home to some incredibly unique restaurants, representing a mix of African ingredients and South Asian flavors. Below Bo Kaap lies the downtown region of Cape Town, where food and nightlife abound on (and in between) the Mother City’s most famous streets; Kloof St. for the upscale and trendy (think wine and tapas), Bree St. for the hip and healthy (think kombucha bars), and Long St. for... long nights (The Beerhouse has literally 99 bottles of beer on the wall, and they’re all for sale). And after taking in the nightlife, you might find yourself with quite an appetite, and only a few Rand in the pocket; look no further than the Eastern Food Bazaar, a former warehouse brimming with naans, biryanis, kebabs, and more.
Coffee and pastries abound in the City- we hit Origin on the day in question, but Truth Coffee, Yours Truly, and Bootlegger (among many others) can surely satisfy your caffeine cravings. And for those of you with nut allergies, get your Epi-Pens ready, because the almond croissant from Jason Bakery is entirely worth it.
For the adventurous, there are an almost infinite amount of hiking routes in and around Table Mountain, with almost as many “alternative” methods of getting down, whether it be paragliding, parasailing, abseiling, or ziplining. If the M1 is all the thrill you need, the cable car will do.
From the city, our boys hopped on a train to Muizenberg, the birthplace of surfing in South Africa. As expected, the beachfront town still boasts more surf shops than could possibly be necessary, but you won’t hear any complaints from us! While technically not on the Indian Ocean, the water on the False Bay side is significantly warmer than that of the Atlantic side, so feel free to abandon the wetsuit. Long rolling waves make Muiz a perfect spot to learn how to surf, before making the trip out east to the legendary tubes of J-Bay. Tiger’s Milk is the place to be, whether for a protein-packed breakfast while scanning the swells, or for a necessary “Klippy & Coke” at the end of a long session.
Beyond Muizenberg, the False Bay coast has plenty else to offer. One of the many quirky harbor towns is Kalk Bay, home to the delicious, entertaining, and slightly socialist restaurant and bar, Cape to Cuba (we went for the Pork Rib special, a.k.a. The “Bay of Pigs”). Also in Kalk Bay is the Brass Bell, famous for wild karaoke nights and excellent oysters, two things that rarely go hand in hand.
Further along the peninsula, you can find Boulders Beach, a well-sheltered swimming spot, great for children, the elderly, and post-Klippy flotation sessions. But what you might not expect, is to have to share the water with the local population of African Penguins. Commonly known as “Jackass Penguins”, they absolutely live up to their reputation. But how often can you see wild penguins, while laying in the sand?
Let’s rewind (insert VHS sound here); say we took a left on Kloof Nek earlier this morning and headed down the Atlantic Coast, known to Capetonians as the “Atlantic Seaboard”. With the ocean breeze in our faces, but not in our hair (wear your helmets people), we’d first encounter the incredible Camps Bay, home of beachfront bars, life-changing calamari, and some of the best swimming beaches in Africa.
Avoid the Clifton-bound beachgoers by heading further south to more secluded spots like Bakoven and Llandudno. If you’re feeling fancy, hit The Bungalow in Clifton for dinner and a “sundowner”, but Cape Town’s famous affordability does not apply out on the Seaboard. Further south, you’ll encounter the Hout Bay Harbour Market (as long as it’s the weekend!), where you can sample a huge variety of foods, try on clothes, and fetch yourself an artsy gift or souvenir.
The Atlantic Seaboard embodies the idea that “the journey is the destination”, because connecting all of these beach towns is the epic Victoria Rd., Cape Town’s PCH equivalent. There are few better places for an M1 commute, but keep your eyes on the road for cyclists and rock dassies (seriously, those little guys are hazardous).
That about does it for our lekker day trip, but we’ve just barely scratched the surface of things to do in Cape Town. Head north to Bloubergstrand for epic kitesurfing, east for the Winelands of Paarl and Stellenbosch, and further east along the Garden Route to bungee jump 720 feet off of Bloukrans Bridge. Or stay right in the city and spend time uncovering the hidden secrets of the Mother City. We’ll drop you a lead on one of our favorites; known as “The Dog’s Bollocks”, it’s a pop-up burger stand in an alleyway in Gardens, serving up just 50 a night with a randomly rotating menu.