A $1,000 Day in Cape Town for $100

Morning Activity


From a Three Bays Tour helicopter ride, which offers unhindered panoramas of the city, some of its vineyards, and imposing Table Mountain.

Joao Silva/The New York Times


Mr. Buys would book our theoretical big-spender on a private helicopter tour of Cape Town and some of the city’s grandest neighborhoods and seemingly endless coastline. A mere 6,450 rand will get you on the Three Bays Tour, a helicopter ride with unhindered panoramas of the city, some of its vineyards and imposing Table Mountain.

The tour starts by curving around Green Point, home to Cape Town Stadium, and then following the west side of the Atlantic seaboard to Camps Bay. Passing the Twelve Apostles (the mountains, as well as the hotel), our guest would swing up into Hout Bay before cutting over to Muizenberg, a beach community on False Bay, and pass Constantia, a suburb known for its wine production and wealthy residents (including, at one point, Charles Spencer, Princess Diana’s brother), on their way home.



A cable car descending from Table Mountain.

Joao Silva/The New York Times

I also wanted a survey of Cape Town’s natural wonders. Instead of booking a chopper, I tackled two of the city’s most recognizable natural monuments: Lion’s Head and Table Mountain. The first spot, so named because of its head-shaped outcropping, which gazes out majestically over the city, isn’t nearly as tough to conquer as its name might imply.

The hike, which takes around two hours round trip, is easy for the first two-thirds and moderate near the end, when the climb becomes distinctly more vertical. All the same, it is a good warm-up for the day for those who are in moderately decent shape — I saw people of all ages and sizes making their way up and down the 2,195-foot mountain.

Table Mountain is a different story. It is a longer and tougher hike, but you can still conquer it and Lion’s Head and be back in the city before lunchtime — provided you cheat a little and take the cable car. After descending Lion’s Head, it was just a five-minute Uber ride over to the Table Mountain cable car station. A round-trip ticket on the aerial tram, is just 290 rand and a fun ride that gives a great vantage point on the city. Once at the top, I…

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