48 Hours in Cape Town

Posted on 29 March 2016

From the craggy cliff tops and sparkling shores that make up the city’s landscape to the vibrant street art and buzzing nightlife, Cape Town has a lot to offer backpackers and travellers on a budget. Even if you only have 48 hours in this diverse city you’ll still be able to get a good taste of its melting pot of culture and scenery.

Heading up to the dizzying heights of Table Mountain will let you stretch your legs and help you keep the jet lag at bay. One of the city’s most iconic landmarks, this flat-topped mountain has around 900 hiking and climbing trails. For those who don’t have a head for heights, the surrounding national park offers gentler walks and other activities including bird watching, abseiling and mountain biking.

Between Table Mountain and the coast you’ll find another of the city’s famous mountains, Lion’s Head. It’s a 45-minute hike up to the top, and the summit is one of the best places in the city to take in a picture-perfect sunset – many locals take the trip whenever there’s a full moon.

After watching the day end from up high, it’s time to head downtown for the evening. No trip to Cape Town is complete without a stroll down lively Long Street, especially once the sun goes down. This once down-and-out area still has a grungy edge, but it has become extremely popular with the city’s young crowd. It’s also conveniently close to many city centre hostels. The colourful Victorian buildings are now home to many dive bars and cheap watering holes, including Fiction, a nightclub featuring a first-floor outdoor terrace that looks down onto the bustling street below.

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© Copyrights: Cissi Bäckman

Any next-day hangovers can be swiftly taken care of with one of Beleza’s budget breakfasts. Just a short walk from downtown, this charming Portuguese-Italian café serves hearty Mediterranean dishes and is particularly famous for its Bloody Marys.

Once you’ve had your fill it’s time to head downtown for a dose of culture. Cape Town is known for its bright street art and you’ll often stumble across colourful murals on walls and buildings. The Woodstock neighbourhood is where you’ll find most of the street art, and there are many walking tours that take in some of the area’s most famous pieces.


After a morning of pounding the streets, lounging on the sugar-white sands of Camps Bay is the perfect end to your 48 hours in Cape Town. The tranquil bay is quieter than the touristy beach at Clifton so there’s plenty of space to spread out and sunbathe, or even set up a game of one of South Africa’s most popular sports, cricket.