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Zebee City Guide Series: Cape Town, South Africa

Big Shout out to Alex Floyd-Douglass for this awesome Cape Town City Guide. If you want to check out some seriously stunning photography give her a follow on the gram @theafricanrose_


TELL US ABOUT YOUR FAVOURITE AREA OR HIDDEN GEM


WOW. There is just so much to fit into this little box! Having lived all over the city, I'd say my favourite area has to be Observatory (locally known as "Obs"). Historically during South Africa's apartheid, Obs was the only "grey" area were many South Africans could mix together. Today, it is a huge creative hub, mixed with student and traveller alike. On every corner, there is either an old favourite or a brand new pop up store. There are loads of bars, restaurants and vintage shops along the infamous Lower Main Road, and an amazing bunch of humans to people watch. The hustle and bustle there is like nothing I've ever experienced before, and it becomes so easy to immerse yourself in this tiny little subculture of Cape Town. If you're visiting, I'd recommend staying at Bohemian Lofts - it overlooks the entire "strip" and they have some truly amazing people there (yes, once upon a time I actually worked there!)


WHAT'S YOUR FAVOURITE BAR OFF THE BEATEN TRACK?


Oooh, that's a tough one. My local favourite will ALWAYS be Stones in Obs - an extremely sociable pool bar where most of the evening is spent on the balcony meeting new humans to make drunk plans with! I have legit found work and collaborations on this balcony! However, to get off the beaten track, I would have to say head down to St James on the train, and check out the Octopus Garden or Cape to Cuba - both super vibey and have some delicious food with gorgeous views of the ocean!


3) WHAT'S ONE PIECE OF ADVICE YOU'D GIVE A NEW VISITOR TO THE CITY?


South Africa as a whole (sadly) has a bad reputation for petty crime and lack of safety. While this is true in many cases, being streetwise will help reduce this potential considerably. At 19, I travelled SA on my own for six months and you learn quickly that walking around cities with your gadget out makes you an easy target, and it's far better to do this in groups. As a solo traveller, I find the towns and villages far safer than the cities of South Africa (though I'm sure this is the same in most countries). In Cape Town, people are very friendly, which can be to its own detriment as opportunists will use this to their advantage. Watch out for scammers at ATMs who ask to "help you work the machine", and people asking for money. Homelessness is rife in the cities, but there are also many scam artists. Use your instinct to decide what you feel is best, but if you say no, be firm and walk on. Night time walking is fine in groups, but don't do it on your own - it is not worth the risk. This may sound a little scary, but keeping your wits about you is important in any travel scenario, and it is good to remember this :)

WHAT PLACE PROVIDES GREAT SERVICE BUT WITH INEXPENSIVE PRICES?


Jamaica Me Crazy - a Caribbean dream with local fusion, on a gorgeous rooftop looking over the city.



WHAT'S THE ONE FOOD DISH YOU HAVE TO TRY?


The South African Braai - wherever you are, just DO IT. And to really experience it, please go to a township with some locals and check out Mzoli's or GQ. Both amazing braai spots, with African beats (google Gqom) and a lot of happy (& boozy) humans!


WHAT'S THE NUMBER ONE TOURIST TRAP YOU'D RECOMMEND AVOIDING?


"I like your shoes" - this is a scam tactic used when someone is planning to pick pocket you - ignore it and walk on.



HOW TO DO THE TOURIST SIGHTS WITHOUT BEING A TOURIST?


Go to local bars - meet locals and explore with them in the true, "Capetonian" way. As Cape Town is such a creative hub, there is always something going on. Check out First Thursday's, Last Friday's and local events on Cape Town Magazine. Go beyond the Lion's Head hikes with a tour guide (though it must be done!, and the penguins in Simon's Town. They are all things to tick off, but there is so much more our beautiful city has to offer. Also, PLEASE PLEASE never to do a township tour. These are people's homes, and it is not a human zoo. Find another way to go to a township - offer to volunteer, support a local business (Mzoli's) or go with some locals on a braai day. Trust me, you'll thank me later.



FINALLY, ANYTHING ELSE YOU'D LIKE TO ADD? :-)


Feel free to contact me if you want to meet a local in Cape Town, or need any further tips or advice. If I'm not there, I have friends and family who would love to help bring your Capetonian adventure to life and show you more of our incredible home. PS. WEATHER! Thankfully, Summer runs for almost 8 months of the year in SA, starting in September and ending in May, but peak times are between December and February. If you are a heat baby like me, get to Cape Town for this period, as though it is very hot, we are blessed with a wind that just won't quit. Worst time of year to come: June - July.


Love & light humans.

Alex

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