Sunglass glares, ice-cold rose’ and unfiltered tans… Cape Town’s summer is, indeed, a spectacle of grandeur. Cape Town’s “peak-season” has been both idolized and scrutinized, but rarely anybody praises the real charm of this coastal treasure throughout the rest of the year.
Yes, winter is not the common favourite season, but along with the silver rain clouds, come the wonders of this dynamic, flavourful city, filled with an abundance of adventure!
The rainy season is short and sweet, inviting you to snuggle in your warm bed and guiltlessly watch Netflix for hours on end. On the lesser rainy days, the cold is no excuse to not get out! The countless hiking trails display an array of landscapes that are more beautiful than ever; the clouds add spectacular drama to each view and decorate every evening’s sunset painting with deliciously textured hues.
Besides for the hiking trails, from riding bikes on the promenade to jumping off of the mountain, the excitement and opportunities are waiting for you, at your doorstep. Even a mere stroll by the sea presents a sense of LIVING. Throw on your bomber and beanie, take a flask of tea (or something yummy), and GET OUT. Enjoy the warmth of your body, the puppies running around you, the salty ocean particles landing on your lips and the smell of wetness landing on all sorts of nature, entering your air passages, reminding you of your soul, and just FEEL it all.
On the wetter days, the cozy, indoor selection is constantly growing and advancing, as new places open seasonally and trends are ever-changing. Underground Gin bars, cocktail emporiums, and restaurants ranging from elegant grill houses to chilled out burger joints… Where food and beverage are concerned, Cape Town is IT. ANY cuisine that you may fancy, from anywhere on the planet, CT owns it. And yes, the service is better than in “season”.
Seeking more of an indoor adventure for a damper weekend? Not a problem. There are hundreds of wine farms with covered fires and lounges where you can sip on the best wines and have a laugh with your loved ones. Chocolate and wine pairing, Saturday wine and pancake pairing (I know!), olive oil tasting, beer tasting… It’s all here, often accompanied by mountain views that literally draw the air right out of your lungs!
The coffee shops in Cape Town offer the comfiest atmospheres perfect for a good catch-up or an indulgent little time-out. The creative coffee-accompanying treats are all over the city and the coffee…. Well… mind-blowing. Origin, Truth, Hard Pressed Café and Jason’s are some of the many yummy, snug spots that serve exceptional coffee in an environment that warms the heart before taking a sip.
On a more social note, First Thursdays opens the streets of Cape Town for the young and old, local and foreign to enjoy! Restaurants, bars, vintage markets and art galleries are all open ‘til late, creating a soulful vibe worth looking forward to.
If you enjoy meandering about looking at different little “Tzatzka’s” while listening to live music, get your fix at the markets of Cape Town, which just never seem to get old. The Bay Harbour Market, (the new) Mojo Market, The Biscuit Mill and SO many other markets surrounding Cape Town, offer the tastiest comfort foods and so many unique items and products to buy and/or have a look at.
The V&A Waterfront is also always an option that is expected to be predictable but often presents entertainment opportunities that you wouldn’t even think of. The 2 Oceans Aquarium, The Watershed, The Ferris Wheel, The Cape Town Comedy Club, The V&A Food Market and, of course, the general shopping experience are all activities that satisfy the senses all year round.
For the more cultural types, there are several events that are popular during winter, like shows at the Fugard Theatre or The Kalk Bay Theatre. There are historical museums and other educational experiences all over the Western Cape waiting to teach and intrigue you! Discover the historically rich land of Simon’s Town through a guided tour or learn about the complexities of diamond cutting at The Diamond Work while enjoying sipping on some bubbles.
Another touristy activity that Cape Town is famous for is whale watching. The chances of seeing these fascinating animals in the winter are far greater than in the summer. Book a guided trip in Mossel Bay or Hermanus (and plenty of other areas) and watch these mesmerizing creatures, in all their wonder, breathing above the wild surface, waving their iconic fins as though straight out of a Nat Geo scene.
I could seriously go on and on listing all of the different winter activities, but they really are simply endless.
At the end of the day, winter in Cape Town is really just… not that bad. It is, in fact, an essential experience to add to the bucket list.
Welcome to Cape Town… where a spontaneous drive in any direction will set you up for an adventure, especially if you’re open to it.