Freelance Writer - Instagram.com/andrewthompsonsa12 January 2018
There’s nothing quite like an all-Capetonian sundowner. Traditionally, it’s a drink taken with a great view of the sunset, surrounded by family or friends, either at a bar or somewhere outdoors.
Regardless of your preferences when it comes to consuming a beverage as the sun slips away, one of these options should have you covered for a perfect way to reflect on another incredible day in Cape Town.
The summit of Lion’s Head may just be the most cliched location for your Capetonian sundowner but when you consider the incredible 360-degree views and the fact that you’ve just earned them by climbing 669 meters, there are few better places in which to bid farewell to the day. Considering you’ll still have to climb back down after the sunset, it’s best to lay off the booze, and to pack a head torch and a jacket, just in case the weather turns.
If Lion’s Head sounds like too much effort for you, then Signal Hill, just down the road, is the perfect option. Though you may have to battle throngs of like-minded tourists for a good spot, there’s plenty of space to spread out and the views from here are always incredible. On busier days parking can be a nightmare, so it makes sense to either get there nice and early or to avoid the parking lot altogether and factor in a bit of a walk.
This iconic spot in Cape Town has survived several name changes and a mixed bag of reviews to remain one of the best bars from which to engage in a traditional sundowner. Walking a fine line between accessible and pretentious, and just adjacent to Clifton beaches, there are few better establishments to visit following a long day on the beach. Seats in the outside area are first prize, so if you don’t know a manager who can pull some strings in your favor, it’s best to get there nice and early to claim your spot.
Opposite Lion’s Head and a short way up Table Mountain is a (largely) hidden gem of a sundowner spot in the form of Kloof Corner. Though hardened hikers will laugh at you referring to this short hike as “the” Kloof Corner, it’s perfectly excusable to venture up the short but steep path from Tafelberg Road to this idyllic lookout. Factor in at least a 30-minute walk to the viewpoint. Once there, you’ll share the view of Lion’s Head, Camps Bay, and the Cape Town City Bowl with a handful of equally satisfied locals.
Table Mountain is a goldmine of fantastic sundowner spots, and there’s really no limit to where you can head come dusk. But if you’re feeling a little lazy but still want the epic views, hop aboard the cableway and head right to the top. The cable cars run—weather permitting—until just after sunset, and if you forget your drinks you can pick some up at the top—just be prepared to pay the high-altitude markup.
View of Lion’s Head and Cape Town from Table Mountain | Courtesy of South African Tourism
Located in a clearing among the trees on the slopes of Lion’s Head, The Rumbullion at the Round House is a pricey spectacle worth visiting for at least one sunset drink while in Cape Town. During summer the picnic tables on the lawns offer an incredible view of the ocean and any imminent sunset, and if you’re feeling a bit peckish there’s a selection of snacks and pizzas to fill the gap.
Very few people sit on the fence when it comes to Camps Bay’s Café Caprice. This “love it or hate it” establishment is a bit of an institution when it comes to scenic sundowners and late night Sunday parties. Drinks may not be cheap, and the entrance requirements somewhat dated and draconian, but when you consider the location right on the Camps Bay strip, you can almost excuse them.
Along with Lion’s Head and Signal Hill, Cape Town’s beaches are the most popular spots to enjoy a sundowner in Cape Town. If you’re looking for the best sunset views, any beach along the Atlantic Seaboard will do, but Clifton in particular benefits from stellar sunsets and an electric atmosphere. Keep in mind that drinking alcohol on beaches is prohibited, so if the cops spot you sipping that beer it might turn into one of the more expensive beverages you’ve decided to sip on.
Though equally pricey and somewhat pretentious, the tranquil Leopard Bar at the Twelve Apostles Hotel and Spar is a great option for a romantic sunset cocktail. As the only building along that stretch of the Atlantic Seaboard for some distance, any occasion at the 12 Apostles feels like an exclusive affair, and that’s before you’ve laid eyes on the extensive cocktail menu.
If laid-back and unpretentious is what you’re looking for, then head for the Blue Peter Hotel in Bloubergstrand. The venue benefits from lush lawns and dozens of picnic tables from which to soak up the archetypal view of Table Mountain across the bay. It’s a venue that embraces local mainstream beers over craft, and will probably frown at you if your cocktail is anything more complicated than a Long Island Ice Tea. But for most patrons, that’s precisely the reason to visit.