As the days grow warmer and longer, Capetonians begin to emerge from their winter hibernation to revel at the start of summer. And what better way to celebrate than with a colourful cocktail or frothy beer and a breathtaking sunset?
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 soak up the sinking sun…
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 azure (although icy) waters is a playground for the Mother City’s rich and famous.
Chic sidewalk cafés, restaurants and beach bars serving cooling appetizers attract the beautiful people and are ideal for both people and sunset watching.
For a more relaxed, laid-back vibe, join the locals on the beach with a picnic supper as you watch the sun sink below the horizon.
Rub shoulders with celebs at the chic Café Caprice; enjoy Mediterranean-style meze at the cosmopolitan Mezepoli or relax in style at the glamorous Bungalow restaurant and lounge (formerly La Med).
Tobago’s Bar at Radisson Blu Waterfront Hotel
Perched 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. It’s the perfect place to soak up the view as you sip a sweet melon margarita or a glass of wine from their well-stocked cellar.
Radisson Blu Waterfront Hotel, V&A Waterfront, Beach Road, Cape Town; 021-441-3414
The Grand Café and Beach
St Tropez style meets Cape Town cool at this laid-back, shabby-chic seaside café. Nestled into Granger Bay next to the V&A Waterfront, this glamorous spot has its own private beach and waterside wooden deck.
Guests can lounge with a 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 delicious fare including salads, seafood dishes and wood-fired pizzas.
While prices are high at this stylish and sophisticated Cape Town hotspot, the exclusive beachside experience is well worth a visit.
Granger Bay Road, Granger Bay, Cape Town, 021-425-0551
WESKUS APPEAL AS THE SUN GOES DOWN
For picture-postcard panoramas of Table Mountain, Robben Island and the sparkling ocean, head slightly out of town, up the coast, where you will find a plethora of perfect sundowner spots.
Maestro’s on the Beach
Located amidst the rolling dunes of Milnerton Beach, this Italian-inspired, family-friendly eatery is a favourite among locals and foreigners alike. A wide alfresco deck embraces panoramic West Coast and Table Mountain views, and is the perfect spot to relax on a warm summer evening.
Toast the sunset with a wide range of standard cocktails from tequila sunrises to Singapore slings before tucking into delicious Italian fare. Designated drivers can enjoy non-alcoholic creations such as the Nojito or Safe Sex on the Beach.
Bridge Road, Woodbridge Island, Milnerton, Cape Town, 021-551-4992
Following in the footsteps of their popular African-inspired restaurants, Moyo Blouberg is a welcome coastal addition to the family.
Featuring authentic beachy elements such as an outdoor timber deck with surfboard-style tables, comfy couches and a small splash pool to soak up the view from, this stylish and relaxed seaside locale is an ideal sundowner spot.
The cocktail menu won’t disappoint but do try the extensive selection of South African-style snacks like fresh Saldanha mussels, “viskoekies en tamatiesmoor” (fish cakes and tomato sauce), cheese-and-onion samoosas and boerewors rolls.
Shop 50, Eden on the Bay Shopping Centre, Corner Otto du Plessis and Sir David Baird Drive, Bloubergstrand, 021-554-9671
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 coming to mind. This popular, well-loved Kalk Bay institution has been wooing patrons for years with its exquisite seaside location, breathtaking views over False Bay, and warm and vibrant atmosphere.
Best for long, languid 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 or wood-fired pizza as you soak up the vibe with some live music.
Main Road, Kalk Bay, Kalk Bay Station, 021-788-5455
Cape to Cuba
This iconic Cuban-themed restaurant and bar would be right at home in the Caribbean. An idyllic seafront location, quirky offbeat décor and the laidback ambience all contribute towards a perfect spot to toast the setting sun.
Enjoy Cuban cuisine in the formal restaurant or soak up the views from the Che bar as you try the comprehensive array of cocktails, among them Cuban classics like the Cuba Libre and the Cuban Sunrise. Don’t go home without trying the mojitos for which they are renowned — Cape to Cuba holds the record as the bar to sell the most mojitos in Cape Town!
165 Main Road, Kalk Bay, 021-788-1566
Harbour House Kalk Bay
Just a stone’s throw away from the crashing waves and built on the rocks in Kalk Bay’s harbour, this vibrant cocktail lounge is a stylish spot to soak up the spectacular sunset.
Floor-to-ceiling windows embrace magnificent views and the shabby-chic décor is ideal for lounging with a cool cocktail in hand. An extensive wine list can be tried by the glass, and mojitos and classic champagne cocktails are favourites among the cocktails on offer.
Kalk Bay Harbour, Main Road, Kalk Bay, 021-788-7162
BUDGET-FRIENDLY 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 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 sunset as a perfect, budget-friendly sundowner option.
Remember though that openly drinking alcohol on South African shores is illegal, so either go virgin or try to be discreet.
HEAD FOR THE HILLS
For the more active and adventurous, another inexpensive 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 half-price sunset specials after 18:00) where you will find a well-stocked café at the top and incredible views. Or, hike up Lion’s Head where the 360-degree views from the top are breathtaking (join locals on a full moon walk to see the city by night).
Another option is to climb up to Paarl Rock to see the rolling Winelands at their most beautiful.