Summer in Cape Town sees up to 14-hours of daylight, with the sun setting at about 8pm at the height of the season when temperatures regularly hit the 30s Celsius (90s Fahrenheit). And what a sunset it usually is: the sky streaked with candy floss-pink clouds and the sun slipping beneath the horizon as it bathes all in a soft, golden light.
Whether you prefer the soft silhouette of rolling mountains or the gentle lapping of waves at your feet, the Mother City has some sublime spots to salute the end of the day. So charge your camera, grab a blanket, pack a picnic basket and look west: here are some of our favourite spots to watch the summer sunset.
IN AND AROUND THE CITY
The Strip, Camps Bay
Nestled below the majestic Twelve Apostles mountain range, Camps Bay’s trendy palm-lined beachfront with its ivory white sands and ice blue waters is a playground for the Mother City’s rich and famous. Chic sidewalk cafés, bustling restaurants and buzzing beach bars serving cooling appetizers attract the fashionable set at sunset. Rub shoulders with celebrities at the chic Café Caprice, enjoy pure Mediterranean-style meze platters at Mezepoli or relax in style at the glamorous Bungalow restaurant and lounge. Our best recommendation: strolling the length of The Strip with a heavenly lemon or pistachio gelato from Sinn’s ice-cream parlour.
Tobago's Bar @ Radisson Blu Waterfront Hotel
Perched right on the edge of Granger Bay with magnificent views of the V&A Waterfront and Table Mountain, Tobago’s Bar at the Radisson Blu Waterfront Hotel is one of the city’s finest spots to catch the sunset. A large sun-drenched deck and rim-flow swimming pool seem to float right into the bay - the perfect place to soak up the view as you sip on a Sweet Melon Margarita or a glass of wine from their well-stocked cellar.
The Grand Café and Beach
St Tropez meets Cape Town cool at The Grand, a laid-back, chic seaside café. Nestled on a tiny beach in Granger Bay, next to the V&A Waterfront, this glamorous spot is where the jet set come out to play – even Prince Harry has been spotted nursing a beer or two here. Boasting a private beach and waterside wooden deck, guests relax with drink in hand and feet in the sand as they watch the last rays of the sun sparkle on the water. An extensive cocktail menu and wine list are on offer, as well as an array of delicious fare including fresh salads, seafood and crispy wood-fired pizzas.
Breathtaking views across False Bay to the Helderberg Mountains and beyond make for perfect summer evenings along the Cape Peninsula.
Brass Bell Restaurant and Pub
One cannot think sundowners without The Brass Bell popping into mind. This ever-popular and well-loved Kalk Bay institution has been wooing patrons for years with its exquisite seaside locale, breathtaking views over False Bay and vibrant atmosphere. Best for long sundowner sessions are the Water’s Edge restaurant and Bikini Deck, where you can watch the waves crash against the windows as you toast the setting sun with a classic Pina Colada or Strawberry Daiquiri. Snack on succulent seafood fresh from the sea or generous wood-fired pizza as you soak up the vibe with some live music.
Just a stone’s throw away from the crashing waves and built overlooking the rocks in Kalk Bay’s harbour, Harbour House is an exceptional fine-dining restaurant with its enviable location making it the spot for a stylish sundowner. Sip on a chilled glass of bubbly or a refreshing cocktail while you peruse the menu, and then tuck into freshly-caught linefish or share a seafood platter between two. This romantic spot has exceptional views across False Bay extending to the Hottentots Mountain Range.
BACK TO NATURE SUNDOWNER SPOTS
While the Mother City offers some amazing places to toast the soft light of the sinking sun, there is also an array of beautiful and budget-friendly spots for those who really want to get back to nature.
From Clifton, Camps Bay and Llandudno, to Hout Bay, Noordhoek and Kommetjie, Cape Town has a myriad of magnificent beaches from which to watch the sun sink below the big blue horizon. One little note: drinking alcohol on public beaches is illegal in South Africa, so rather enjoy your sundowners at a bar or cafe overlooking the beach. One other important note: in South Africa, the legal blood alcohol limit is 0.05g per 100ml. The rule of thumb is this: an adult weighing 68kg can process a maximum of one unit of alcohol per hour. One unit is two thirds of a beer or spirit cooler with 5% alcohol content or 75ml of red or white wine per hour with an alcohol content of 12%. We rather recommend that you rather make use of one of the city's very reliable taxi cab services.
Head for the hills
For the more active and adventurous, another option is to pack a picnic and head for the higher peaks that overlook Cape Town, many of which offer spectacular views over the peninsula and city. Enjoy a cable car ride up Table Mountain (check out their website for half-price ‘sunset specials’ after 6pm) where you will find a well-stocked café at the top and incredible views. Hike up Lion’s Head where the 360-degree views from the top are absolutely breathtaking (join locals on a ‘Full Moon Walk’ to see the city by night) or climb up to Paarl Rock to see the rolling Winelands at their best. Signal Hill is also a popular spot and is accessible by car for those who prefer to drive.