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A Traveling Content Creator’s Adventure Guide To Cape Town, South Africa

If there’s one place that packs adventure, incredible views, an epic food scene, and once-in-a-lifetime experiences all in one, it’s Cape Town, South Africa. Deservedly recognized for its jaw-dropping landscape, where mountain meets ocean in full view from almost everywhere in the city, this is one city that deserves a spot on everyone’s bucket list. At least, that’s according to someone who should know, Jonathan Morgan.

As a model and content creator based in New York, Morgan has had ample opportunity to see many of the world’s must-visit destinations. “Travel has always been a part of my life and has always felt natural to me,” Morgan tells UPROXX. “I’m very fortunate that my success in the modeling industry has allowed me to travel and have some unforgettable experiences around the world. Travel is both my self-care and my inspiration.”

Social media has given him the chance to document his travels and to inadvertently inspire others, to travel and go beyond the borders of their hometown. “It’s really rewarding to wake up to messages from people all around the world who tell you that they’re inspired by your travels and look forward to your posts,” he says.

Among all his travel experiences, Morgan says, Cape Town stands out. Its natural beauty and endless supply of adventure keep calling him back for more.

To get the inside scoop on all of the best things to do, eat, see, and experience the South African hotspot, we asked Morgan to give us his full guide to Cape Town. Read on for his top recommendations and tips for an unforgettable trip.

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WHY CAPE TOWN?

The first thing that blew me away was the physical beauty of Cape Town and South Africa as a whole. The city is nestled between mountains, lined with beaches and there are some epic views pretty much everywhere you look. It’s definitely an “outdoors” destination. It’s not somewhere you’ll be spending all your time in museums or sitting in cafes, especially when there’s so much natural beauty around you.

Cape Town, South Africa
Jonathon Morgan

What’s one thing that every first-time visitor should see or do in Cape Town?

The first thing you’ll see when leaving the airport in Cape Town is Table Mountain and Lion’s Head standing watch over the city. Cape Town is a hiker’s paradise, with more hiking trails than you’ll know what to do with. You can’t go to Cape Town and not climb Lion’s Head. It’s a moderate-level hike and the views are INSANE. It will take you about two hours. Table Mountain is a longer, more difficult hike, and can be a bit harder to navigate, but it’s pretty epic when you get to the top. Most people just opt to take the cable car to the top. Either way, it will all be worth it when you get that perfect photo with Cape Town and the ocean in the background.

What’s your absolute favorite meal you’ve had in Cape Town?

Cape Town has a great food scene, due to its international influence. One of the best experiences you can have is going to The Old Biscuit Mill in Woodstock on the weekends. It’s an open-air food festival with stalls serving amazing food and even a cocktail bar. There’s a live DJ too. It’s an afternoon thing and ends at around 4 p.m., but it’s definitely a must-see. It’s a quick five-dollar Uber from most places in Cape Town.

South Africa has a traditional dish called “BRAII,” which is kind of what we call BBQ. It’s usually done with a mix of different meats and side dishes, but in South Africa, you MUST try a KUDU steak. It’s the mother of all steaks!

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What are some of the best nightlife spots in Cape Town?

Having worked in nightlife for many years, I now avoid nightclubs like the plague. Also, when I travel, I usually have some amazing adventure planned for the next day and need to be up early and fresh for the day. There are tons of bars in Cape Town with the most “touristy” ones being in Camps Bay, right on the beach.

On the first night, I arrived pretty late and the only place that was open to eat was a bar/club called Harringtons in the CBD area. It had a pretty nice vibe and the drinks were really good, especially after a long flight. I would advise that Cape Town and South Africa as a whole isn’t the kind of place to stroll around at night looking for a place to go. I’ve never had problems with safety, but I prefer people to be cautious whenever I talk about traveling. Ubers are so cheap, so take an Uber to and from your destinations.

Cape Town Travel Guide
Jonathan Morgan

What’s the best way to spend time in nature in Cape Town?

You can’t NOT see views in Cape Town. With so many hills and being built on different elevations, it seems like everywhere you look there’s a view of the mountains or the ocean. But if you really want to see some EPIC views, rent a car and hit the road. The famous “Garden Route” is known as one of the best drives in the world.

If you want to stay relatively local, just take the drive to Chapman’s Peak or Simon’s Town (the place with the African penguins). You’ll be pulling over every two seconds to take pictures. Also, the Western Cape has a big camping/cottage scene. There are even “glamping” options. I spent two nights at a cottage in Greyton called Bokrivier Cottages. There are epic hikes on the property, a small waterfall, and even a small lake with paddleboards. Then you get to come back to a wood-fired hot tub with the mountains as a backdrop.

Cape Town Travel Guide
Jonathan Morgan

What’s the best outdoor excursion or adventure activity to do in Cape Town?

I’ve already talked about the hikes, but Cape Town has so much more to offer. Swimming with the sharks isn’t my kinda thing (lol), but I definitely wanted to see some animals. There are tons of day safaris and overnight safaris around two hours from Cape Town where you can see “The Big Five” and have a great safari experience. Some of them are better than others so definitely check the TripAdvisor reviews. I went to one called INVERDOORN because they had a great sale going on and I read that they had the largest number of animals in the region. We went on both a sunset and sunrise safari and were able to see all of the Big Five and more. Even got up close with a couple of cheetahs. The grounds and amenities were beautiful and the staff was great. The drive to the reserve was amazing as well and was an adventure in itself.

What were your favorite hotels or picks for the coolest places to stay?

I did an Airbnb on this trip because the value for money is just unmatched. I got an amazing place with a pool and security for the same as what you’d pay for PARKING at some European hotels! That’s not to say there aren’t cool hotels though. One of the most impressive is probably The Silo Hotel. It’s an old factory converted into a hotel and it’s pretty incredible. It is kind of on the expensive side, though. There’s a pool bar on the roof with panoramic views. You can visit for a drink and sunset, but the pool is only for guests.

I have to say that the selection of Airbnbs in Cape Town is pretty amazing. I was honestly surprised at the quality. There are some really unique places, many of which have pools or great views of the ocean.

Cape Town Travel Guide
Jonathan Morgan

What’s the best time of year to visit?

February and March is a great time because the summer rush is coming to an end but it’s still hot enough to have a good time. Even though the weather report said it wasn’t that hot, I came back with a killer tan and even a sunburn.

Cape Town Guide
Jonathan Morgan

Any last tips for visiting Cape Town?

Cape Town is just a small part of the amazing country that is South Africa. It’s impossible to see and do everything in one trip so having a plan is KEY. Luckily, you can have a great time just staying in Cape Town and the Western Cape. Uber is super cheap and reliable. There are tons of tours that will pick you up and drop you off. I didn’t mention the wineries, but that is a quick and easy day trip that everyone seems to love. If you weren’t a wine lover before, you will be after!

The roads and highways surrounding Cape Town are very well maintained, making for some great road trips. That is, once you get used to driving on the other side of the road. When you need a break from the hustle and bustle of Cape Town, plot a course to hit some epic spots along the coast and then bring yourself back to Cape Town. Also, keep in mind that most rental companies have manual transmission vehicles. We did get lucky and find an automatic. So if you do plan on doing a little road trip, make sure you brush up on those gear change skills!

The weather in Cape Town can be confusing. You can wake up and look out the window and see gloomy skies… but an hour later it’s blasting sunshine. Don’t go canceling plans too quickly. Also, the weather is different on “the other side” of the mountains. While it may be raining in Cape Town, it could be a perfect day in Muizenberg or at the wineries.

Before going to South Africa you might hear a lot of things about crime and safety. This is really frustrating to me because it paints the whole country with such a broad brush that I feel is a bit unfair. This was my second time there and I felt safer than I do in some places in America. Obviously, you have to exercise the same common sense that you would anywhere you go. Don’t unnecessarily make yourself look like a target. It’s great to dress up and go to a nice dinner in Camps Bay, but I wouldn’t stroll around in certain areas in my expensive Louis Vuitton jacket, just like you wouldn’t do in certain areas of Chicago or Los Angeles.

It might be a hectic flight from most places, but I assure you Cape Town is worth it. I can’t wait to go back and explore other parts of the country. The views, the wildlife, and the wild ocean make it such an epic destination. If Cape Town isn’t on your bucket list, it should be!

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