Cape Town, the most beautiful city in the world, has, in recent years, become a travel photographer’s dream destination; following a boom in luxury travel trends shaped by the wanderlust of our millennials. Not only scenically exquisite with pristine beaches, immaculate skylines, deep forests, high mountains and an abundance of rare fauna and flora, it’s a city on the cosmopolitan horizon these days and competes fiercely with metro-centres.
Home to all three of The Last Word Intimate Hotels, Cape Town is vast and varied and subtle beauty can be found in the most unexpected of locations. Because we love photographs, Cape Town and sharing information with potential guests we’ve put together a list of the most incredible sights to experience and photograph in the mother city. Whether you’re a professional photographer with state of the art equipment or an i-phone enthusiast with Instagram filters and add ons, these locations shouldn’t be missed on your exceptional South African holiday:
THE CITY THAT NEVER SLEEPS
LONG EXPOSURE AND TIME LAPSES FROM INCREDIBLE LOOKOUTS
If you’re a photographer serious about low light and long exposure photography you’ve probably heard of Cape Town based expert, Eric Nathan who’s the man behind some of the city’s most incredible low-light time lapses and long exposure landscapes on the internet. He captures epic snaps of Table Mountain and surrounds in silky mist, dotted with a jewellery box of stunning city lights that twinkle as the sun sets; and has even delivered some incredible visions of astro light spirals in the night skies above.
You too can capture nightscapes as exquisite as photographers like Nathan. Cape Town provides so much opportunity when the sun goes down and compared to Johannesburg and Pretoria can be relatively safe to wander around when the light fades; provided you keep your wits about you and travel in groups.
Try Signal Hill, Lion's Head, Ou Kaap se Weg and Chapman's Peak for stunning aerial views of the city and surrounding mountains. You won't be disappointed once the sundowners come to an end.
COCKTAILS AND LIGHT TRAILS
CREATIVE LIGHT PATTERNS WITH VEHICLE TRAIL LIGHTS
Everyone in the mother city curses the ceaseless stream (or lack thereof) of bumper to bumper traffic during rush hours in the central areas and suburbs. Despite the government's plan to upgrade transport routes and public transport infrastructure, most residents and tourists travel by private vehicle in Cape Town; resulting in unpleasant peak 'rush hours' in the early mornings and evenings as students and employees commute to and from locations. There is a short window period for these hours and they provide the perfect opportunity for long exposure shots of magnificent and colourful light trails like the image featured above. Grab your tripod, shutter release cable or simply your i-phone with Hyperlapse and Boomerang apps and create stunning light paintings in locations like Seapoint and the CBD.
If you're amateur or a 'newbie' to digital photography and long exposure then follow the link to this article on How to Shoot Light Trailsfrom Digital Photography School. For the professionals out there - we're preaching to the converted!
LUSH FORESTS WHITE SANDY BEACHES AND BURNING SUNSETS
Cape Town by day is the perfect place to take advantage of the Sunny 16 rule and to produce beautiful daylight photographs as well. An abundance of pristine, white, sandy beaches line its coasts. Try Llandudno, Clifton and Kommetjie (home to The Last Word Long Beach) in the early mornings or just before the sun sets. Weather and wave forecasts can be found on various websites like Magic Seaweed. Cape Town's mystical forests at Tokai and Newlands are another scenic anomaly not to be missed while its mountain peaks such as Lion's Head, Devil's Peak, Silvermine Nature Reserve and Elephant's Eye provide equally enthralling aerial photo opportunities for professionals and enthusiasts alike.
PENGUINS, OSTRICH AND CHEETAHS
The Mother City's abundance of ideal locations aren't void of interesting photographic subjects. You'll find various rare and exotic African animals, birds, insects and flora on the beaches, in the forests and on the mountains that you might already be planning to explore with your camera. Boulders Beach in Simonstown is home to the famous little black and white penguins sought out by many tourists while ostrich can be visited en route Kommetjie and cheetahs and birds of prey take sanctuary in the Stellenbosch winelands just outside of the city at Spier Wine Estate and Restaurants.
For macro, flower photography you'll want to visit Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens just outside of the city which is also home to a variety of interesting insects, small critters and birds.
THE LOCAL MARKETS
CULTURE - NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC STYLE
There's no better way to get to grips with the cultural phenomenons of Cape Town and surrounds than to immerse oneself and one's lens in the local traders' services and goodies. Artisanal and contemporary African markets are in abundance in the Cape and provide the opportunity to produce beautiful 'Nat Geo' style photographs of local people, food, crafts, crowds, stalls and sensations hard to imagine anywhere else. Grab your 50mm and zest for flavour and dive straight int the Flea Market at Muizenberg, The Old Biscuit Mill in Woodstock, Green Market Square in the city centre or even the Earth Fair Market near to The Lat Word Constantia. There are so many markets to choose from, you could snap one every weekend for a year. Visit Cape Markets.co.za for a full guide of where to shop, eat and snap in the Motherhood.
"From sipping regional rosé on Table Mountain to scarfing hake and fries at Kalky’s, there’s a breezy simplicity to Cape Town’s iconic eating experiences. To taste the Mother City’s more refined side, book a table at modern food lab the Test Kitchen—yoghurt snowballs, anyone? If you can't get a table, the Pot Luck Club across the way at the Old Biscuit Mill serves a fairly amazing tapas-style menu that does something for every taste bud (sweet, salty, even umami); come on the weekend to try some of the best small bites from around the city at the Neighbourgoods Market. End the evening on the cool courtyard at the Gin Bar, where bartenders mix drinks using small-batch spirits flavored with local flora."
What do we have to say? Well being located in two of the most prime culinary locations in South Africa (Constantia and Franschhoek) we've got a few ideas about the finest restaurants to eat at in the Cape. These include La Colombe and The Greenhouse in Constantia and Foliage, Ryan's Kitchen and The Tasting Room at Le Quartier Francais. These wonderful culinary experiences aside, if you're a foodie photographer looking for some sizzling action you're better off hitting the local street stalls, markets and hidden gems in Cape Town's thriving urban culture. The Thursday Community Market at Cape Point Vineyards is an excellent photographic opportunity. You'll feel at ease with a glass of chilled wine in a casual, Woolworths' Taste Mag atmosphere - the golden hours before an epic Noordhoek sunset.
You'll want to visit Eastern Food Bazaar near Parliament in the CBD for that spicy yet down to earth, Indian/Asian atmosphere. Be sure to take an external flash with you or make use of high ISOs to really grab the image you want in the low evening light. Bakeries and cafes are innumerous in town and surrounds and serve selections of cakes, pastries, fresh tarts, salads, sandwiches and raw juices, smoothies and coffees which could yield artsy, artisanal images for those food bloggers and lifestyle photographers. We recommend The Kitchen by Karen Dudley in Observatory for a rustic 'Jamie Oliver' lunch or The Foodbarn Deli in Noordhoek village by Frank Dangereux for upmarket farm style breakfasts, tapas and light meals.
Astounding photographic opportunities are not limited to Cape Town and surrounds . Think 'Country Life' and 'Getaway' magazines and a whole new range of luxury road trip and retreat experiences will open up for you in areas like The Overberg; along the famed Garden Route up the East Coast, through the Tanqua Karoo, where annually anticipated Afrikaburn takes place, or even via a quaint escape up the Breede River Valley.
There are so many inconceivable sights to witness and capture in Cape Town that you're sure to make unforgettable memories on your unique South African holiday. We'd like to help you store up those memories, at The Last Word Intimate Hotels. Stay with us while you photograph our exquisite home.
We promise the best rates, most luxurious comforts and assistance with your tours, agenda and intimate fancies at the drop of a hat.
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