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Muizenberg cabins

3 Most photogenic places in Cape Town

by Emiel Van Den Boomen

As a photographer I tend to always look around for the most photogenic places. Don’t expect me to just walk and enjoy the scenery. No way. My mind is always trying to frame the things I see: how would this turn out as a picture? So how did I look at the city of Cape Town? Here are my 3 most photogenic places in Cape Town!

Cape Town South Africa

Cape Town is an amazing city! It has a true cosmopolitan look and feel and its location is one of a kind (just wait until you get on top of Table Mountain…). We spent 4 days in and around the city but that could have easily been a full week just to get acquainted! A rental car is a must if you want to get out of the city (for example to visit the Cape peninsula).

Also in Cape Town I was actively looking for the most photogenic places and I have selected my Top 3. They will not come as a surprise to many of you, but when you are in the early phase of booking your trip to Cape Town this will definitely help!

Bo Kaap Cape Town

1. Bo Kaap (and a quirky coffee house)

In the centre of Cape Town you find what I think is one of the most colorful neighborhoods in the world: Bo-Kaap. Bo-Kaap, formerly known as Malay Quarter, has been the traditional home of the Cape Town muslim population. The first of these houses were built in the 1760s to serve as rental houses for slaves. After the emancipation of the slaves in 1834 more houses were built for the freed slaves, most of them Muslims. (source: Cape Town History)

Bo Kaap Cape Town

Bo Kaap Cape Town

Bo-Kaap is famous for its unique architecture, colors and cobblestone streets. Some areas became a monument in order to protect it from deterioration of over-active real estate managers. Luckily the whole area is under continuous rehabilitation by the City of Cape Town.

Bo Kaap Cape Town

There are multiple ways to discover the area. We just parked our rental car and discovered the area by foot ourselves. Perfect way to also get in touch with residents. They were happy to chat even though they have seen an influx of tourists and property hunters.

Bo Kaap Cape Town

Bo Kaap Cape Town

You can also take part in organized walking tours (like this free example) or go for a cooking tour. Bo-Kaap is famous for its Malay kitchen! We have neither been on any of the organized tours, just so you know. This is only to give you a flavor of what’s available, kind of a lead in your search for things-to-do in Cape Town.

After your visit to Bo-Kaap it’s time for a coffee. What about a coffee in a steampunk world full of copper pipes and old metal? Say what? Well, go and have a look for yourself: Truth Coffee Roasting, 36 Buitenkant St. Have fun!

Truth Coffee Roasting

2. Table Mountain (incl. Lions Hill and Signal Hill)

Table Mountain

A stay in Cape Town is not complete without a visit to Table Mountain. The views from Table Mountain are spectacular. Sometimes the mountain is covered with a blanket of clouds (also called the table cloth). There are a lot of myths about this blanket of clouds, but the truth is less fantastical; it’s all about a specific cloud formation high up in the air, a south-westerly wind and condensation. Read all about it here.

Table Mountain view

Table Mountain cable car

The blanket of clouds comes and goes within 20 minutes, as we experienced. Suddenly you have the perfect view and minutes later you’re completely covered in clouds. Here are some quick tips to plan your trip.

Table Mountain view

When driving down again after our visit, we went to nearby Signal Hill (at the end of the lower mountain range near the sea). From Signal Hill you have a great view on Table Mountain too. And for you daredevils, this is where paragliders start their journey down to the beach…

Table Mountain view

Table Mountain

3. Cape peninsula: Chapmans Peak Drive, Muizenberg and Cape of Good Hope

Reserve a full day to circle the Cape peninsula south of Cape Town. Start at Muizenberg with its colorful beach cabins. Muizenberg is a famous beach destination for South Africans, but the iconic Victorian bathing huts give the whole place a retro feeling. I read that they are really early 20th century Edwardian (architecture style from the United Kingdom) beach houses.

Muizenberg cabins

Muizenberg cabins

After having shot dozens of pictures from these cute beach huts, continue towards Simon’s town. Some nice coffee shops can be found around the train station. Nearby is famous Boulders Beach with its huge penguin colony. We already had our share of penguins earlier (at Betty’s Beach) but if you haven’t, go take a look if you like these little fellows.

Further south you enter Cape of Good Hope Nature Reserve. Cape of Good Hope is not the most southern place of South Africa, mind you. But it’s an important historical place. The first European to reach the cape on his way to the Far East was Portuguese explorer Bartolomeu Dias in 1488. He named it Cape Storm. It was renamed Cape of Good Hope later because of the great optimism it caused: it kind of opened the sea route to India and the Far East.

Cape of Good Hope

The walk all the way to Cape Point is a nice one but know that you are not the only one…

Heading north back towards Cape Town you pick the western part of the peninsula. Here you will experience one of the most scenic drives of the country: Chapman’s Peak Drive. At the end of the day the sun will start to set, spectacularly illuminating the mountains. Make sure the drive is open by checking this website.

Chapman's Peak Drive

The only advice about Chapman’s Peak Drive that I can give you is to stop every time you think there is a photogenic opportunity! Just quickly make the decision and stop. There is no easy turning on this road and after each bend the scenery looks different (spectacular) again.

Chapman's Peak Drive

So there you have it: my 3 most photogenic spots in or near Cape Town. Feel free to add your personal favorite; what’s your most photogenic place in Cape Town?

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