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Cape Town: An Insider’s Guide

By Bidvest Bank
Cape Town is no longer a best kept travel secret. Far from it – these days the Southern tip of Africa is one of the world's hottest tourist destinations and its popularity continues to grow. With a backdrop of pristine beaches, lush forests and iconic Table Mountain, Cape Town's natural beauty is its main claim to fame. However, the city also has an exploding cultural scene embodied in its new status as the 2014 World Design Capital. This, along with a slew of new restaurants, craft beer bars and artisanal coffee houses, makes travelling to Cape Town a truly cosmopolitan experience.

While Cape Town's main tourist attractions are alive and kicking, going slightly off the grid is the key to uncovering the city's true essence. Experiencing Cape Town as a local means you'll discover a place that's not just postcard beautiful, but that's also bubbling with originality, creativity and soul.

To help you find your own authentic Cape Town, here are our travel recommendations for local favourites when it comes to eating, drinking and everything in between:

  1. Hallelujah bar: A hole-in-the-wall food and champagne bar offering Asian-inspired street food with a dash of gourmet for good measure. http://www.hallelujahhallelujah.co.za, 11 Kloof Nek Road; 079 839 2505.
  2. La Boheme Wine Bar & Bistro: A simple bistro offering hearty meals, tapas-style food and a great wine list. www.labohemebistro.co.za, 341 Main Road, Sea Point; 021 434 8797.
  3. Lefty's Dive Bar: No-fuss, simple street food including Southern comfort dishes like chicken waffles, coffee barbecue beef brisket, pork ribs, and solid burgers with matchstick fries. 105 Harrington Street; 021 461 0407.
  4. Downtown Ramen: Upstairs from Lefty's and run by the same owners, the small interior of Cape Town's first authentic Japanese ramen noodle joint makes for an intimate, laid back experience. 105 Harrington Street; 021 461 0407.
  5. Haas Coffee Collective: Take your pick of rare and exotic single-origin coffees all roasted in-house. Either buy freshly packed blends to take away, or savour a cup while you enjoy their selection of baked goodies. www.haascollective.com, 19 Buitenkant Street; 021 461 1812.
  6. Clarke's Diner: Inner city diner offering free range, organic fare and grass fed meat. Good for breakfast, brunch, lunch and dinner. www.clarkesdining.co.za, 133 Bree Street; 021 424 7648.
  7. Jason Bakery: Join the throngs of good-looking hipsters at this artisanal bakery for your morning coffee and pastry, or for pies and sandwiches at lunchtime. www.jasonbakery.com, 185 Bree Street, Gardens; 021 424 5644.
  8. The Roundhouse: Lounge on the lawns overlooking Camps Bay beach and the Twelve Apostles while enjoying sundowner cocktails, pizzas and tapas. www.theroundhouserestaurant.com, Round House Road, Camps Bay; 021 438 4347

  1. Oranjezicht City Farm: Buy veggies, fruit, organic dairy, free range eggs, plants, seedlings and more at the OZCF Market Day held weekly by independent local farmers and artisanal food producers. http://www.ozcf.co.za, Upper Orange Street, Oranjezicht; 083 628 3426.
  2. Montebello: Situated in the old farm buildings of the historic Montebello Estate, Montebello Design Centre is today a working creative co-op featuring designers, artists, jewellers, filmmakers and landscapers. www.montebello.co.za, 31 Newlands Avenue, Newlands; 021 685 6445.
  3. First Thursdays: On the first Thursday of every month, the art galleries, shops and restaurants of Cape Town's central city stay open until late. Sample free wine, eat on the go and soak up the creativity as you browse the art on offer. www.first-thursdays.co.za, Strand to Buitensingel Street, CBD.

  1. Cape Point Vineyards: Enjoy 360-degree views of mountains, fynbos, vineyards and sunsets over the Atlantic Ocean as you sip their signature Sauvignon Blanc. www.cpv.co.za, Silvermine Road, Noordhoek, 021 789 0900.
  2. Beau Constantia:The vines on this boutique wine farm are planted to an elevation of 350 metres above sea level on some of the steepest agricultural slopes in the Cape. Sample their range of wines while enjoying panoramic views of False Bay and beyond. www.beauconstantia.com, Constantia Nek; 021 794 8632.
  3. Power and the Glory: Spend an afternoon people watching as you sip craft beer and munch on hot dogs and sandwiches in this grungy neighbourhood bar intent on keeping the yuppie crowd out. Corner Kloof Nek and Burnside Roads, Tamboerskloof; 021 422 2108.
  4. Devil's Peak Brewery: Visit the Taproom with its beautiful mountain views for the latest craft beer creations from the Devil's Peak Brewing Company. http://www.devilspeakbrewing.co.za, 95 Durham Ave, Woodstock; 021 200 5818.

Planning to travel to Cape Town? Order your forex through Bidvest Bank and take advantage of our established presence in South Africa with our network of branches nationwide. For even more convenience and added safety, our South African Rand Currency Card lets you preload funds onto your card that you can draw as cash from a VISA ATM, or pay with a simple swipe at any VISA merchant.