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Observatory Map

About Observatory

Observatory can be described as urban, breezy and arty. Its rich cultural story centered around the well-known apartheid era, tells a tale that so many throughout history share. However, today it’s home to a culmination of cultures, lifestyles and ethnicities. It truly is a fusion of all... read more

Accommodation Types:
jacuzzi, pet friendly, fireplace, apartments, backpacker, bed and breakfast, cottages, guest houses, guest lodge, holiday homes, self catering.

More info about Observatory

Observatory can be described as urban, breezy and arty. Its rich cultural story centered around the well-known apartheid era, tells a tale that so many throughout history share. However, today it’s home to a culmination of cultures, lifestyles and ethnicities. It truly is a fusion of all things fun, exciting, trendy and entertaining.

‘Obs’, as it’s affectionately called by those who inhabit it, is well-known for its nightlife, quaint roadside coffee shops; bars; second hand shops; and close proximity to just about everything. There is something for everyone.For those planning to stay in the area, they’ll discover its rustically charming residential side; many houses are semi-detached filling the streets with flashes colour. They may appear to be small on the outside but they actually extend quite far back giving way to ample gardening space.

 

Things to do

 

Every child dreams of being a doctor at some stage. Many of us forge very different paths for ourselves as young adults; if the thrill of the operating table still gets you excited, why not take a trip to the Heart of Cape Town Museum.The first heart transplant was performed at Groote Schuur Hospital on December 3, 1967. This event made world history and visiting this memorial site makes for an excellent school or exploratory trip. The tour is very affordable; students pay R50, international visitors R200 and South African citizens R100. International visitors can even be picked up by a shuttle from their hotels for an additional R50.

Holidays give you the opportunity to unwind and relax; they also provide the perfect time to work on your swing. Why not head down to The River Club and play a few rounds of golf. This is a great course for both fledgling and seasoned golfers. It offers a 9-hole mashie course and a 90 bay driving range. The spectacular view of Table Mountain cannot be missed and you are sure to get an undeniable South African tan; make sure you use sunscreen as Cape Town’s summer season is known for its blistering heat. The best part of a trip to the golf course is the ice cold reward waiting for you at Players Cafe and Bar situated at The River Club.

Observatory is home to the South African Astronomical Observatory (SAAO)- which is how it got its name. The SAAO conducts research into astronomy and astrophysics. From Monday to Saturday there are 2 guided tours per day and if you wish to take in the beauty of the glistening stars at night, they offer night tours as well. Bookings are essential as these tours fill up quickly and only 20 people are allowed per tour.

There is nothing better than pushing the limits and conquering a fear or better yet, breaking your own personal records. cityRock is the perfect place to do just this. It’s an indoor climbing gym and is certain to get the blood pumping. This is an excellent venue for a family trip and has climbing walls that vary in difficulty; making it perfect for all ages. If you get bitten by the climbing bug and wish to learn more about this sport, cityROCK offers beginners courses 3 nights per week. They also have excellent deals and specials on birthday parties and a variety of climbing walls and caves for children.

Booking a holiday is like purchasing a blank canvas. You buy it with the intention of filling it with something; be it memories or paint, we want to have something to look at and remember. Obs is home to many arty people and places but it wouldn't be complete without The Drawing Room Cafe and Art Gallery. A husband-and-wife team decided to combine their strengths and create this artistic multipurpose space which serves as more than just an art display venue. You can also enjoy some simple eats and treats while admiring and taking in unusual and breathtaking artworks. The menu is inspired by the couple's travels and you can taste their inspiration for The Drawing Room in every bite. They’re very well priced and cater for locals and foreign visitors. A cup of culture has never gone down so well.

 

Where to Eat

 

Let your hair down, put on something casual and get down to Sticky Fingers BBQ for some mouth watering meals. We live in the age of protein shakes and supplements but I’m sure that most would agree that the tastiest form of protein is in the form of a juicy piece of meat prepared South African style. This is a great venue for the whole family and the easy-to-eat meals makes ordering for children a lot easier. Sticky Fingers BBQ is a great way to ease into the Obs atmosphere and acquaint yourself with the relaxed crowd.

You haven’t experienced Obs if you haven't been to Obz Cafe. Obz cafe can be found on the popular Lower Main Road. It has been an iconic landmark for 20 years but the new Obz Cafe opened in 2011. It has an intimate seating arrangement and the decor is inviting and cozy yet trendy; it reminds you of a bistro somewhere in the heart of New York. The menu has everything from scrumptious seafood to simple sarmi’s and craft beers; their portions are very generous too.

Reverie Social Table is an excellent example of the refined quirkiness Obs has to offer. This gem is proudly South African. It is a chef-owned restaurant and you are welcomed in and seated by the head chef herself. She encourages visitors to put away all of life's distractions and talk, eat good food, laugh and taste delicious wines which certainly makes all the social interaction even more doable. She offers a 5 course meal tailored to her guests who can book, pay for their meals and submit any meal requirements online. This restaurant is for those who love mingling as the seating arrangement encourages interaction. A night out at Reverie requires you to loosen your purse strings a little; everyone deserves a treat though, right?

Mangos are sweet and delicious; ginger is flavorful and and earthy. Imagine all of these flavours exploding in your mouth. That is what you will experience at Mango Ginger. This popular coffee shop is best known for its delicious baked goods and healthy treats; that's right, I said healthy and treats in the same sentence. They use organic ingredients to produce the highest quality meals and treats. While the rest of us are still catching up on some beauty sleep, they are baking away to create an array of pastries for their 7:30am Coffee rush. If you don’t have the time to take in the sit-down experience, you can also grab a quick take-away.

Ponchos is a popular Mexican restaurant which can be found on Lower Main Road. They serve a variety of authentic Mexican dishes. Their portions are generous and the general ambiance is always fun and relaxed. It’s a great Family restaurant but it’s also great if you just want to hang out with some mates.

Trenchtown is where students and locals go to let their hair down. It’s Jamaican theme run strongs and the vibey music transports your mind to a white beach somewhere out in the caribbean. Trenchtown attracts a large student crowd with it’s generous happy hour and easygoing menu.

 

Where to Stay

 

Obs is the heart of backpacker lodges. It’s no secret that Obs is quirky, rustic and bohemian; this theme also runs strong in the accommodation options.

Backpackers: Lower Main Road is where it all goes down. If you wish to be close to the action, you can stay at Observatory Backpackers. All your bookings can be done online saving you time and effort. You can also try Obviouzly Armchair Backpackers and Pub. It’s situated on Lower Main road and allows you to see and enjoy Obs for what it is. If you’d prefer a little less hustle and bustle, try booking into the Lighthouse Farm Backpackers. It’s still quirky and eclectic but the view is a lot more serene and quiet. It’s situated on Alexandra Road, Observatory and the lovely open grounds allows for horse riding and even feeding the ducks; there is also a gorgeous view of Table Mountain, Devil’s Peak and Lion’s head. What a great way to experience Cape Town.

 

Guesthouses: The Bay Leaf Cottage is a victorian style, self catering lodge. You might even end up wanting to live there permanently because of how convenient it is. The facilities include wifi, TV, an alarm system, a washing machine and a fully equipped kitchen. This sounds like a home away from home but I assure that there is an element of luxury; it has stunning cast iron victorian style baths and showers which are perfect for lounging in after a day of sightseeing. You may prefer a holiday home to make you really feel like part of Obs. Try staying at Obs Palm House. The decor is fresh, funky and contemporary. It features wifi,aircon and an outdoor swimming pool which you will definitely need during the long, hot summer days.

 

 

Transport

 

AirCape Town International Airport is just 13 km from Obs and you can call a taxi or Uber to take you there at any time.

Getting around:The beautiful thing about Obs, is how close everything is. You can literally walk to wherever you need to be. St. Peter’s Square is situated on the Main Road and this houses a variety of stores. You can do some shopping or you can visit the quirky shops lining the streets of Obs and simply walk back to your accommodation.

Taxis: There are taxi services available in Bo-Kaap. Traditional cabs can be quite expensive if you plan to leave the comfort of the city Center. We suggest using Uber taxis as they are generally always available and more affordable especially if you plan to do a lot of sightseeing.

Trains/Buses: Observatory train station is within walking distance of Lower Main Road and provides an easy and generally safe way to get surrounding areas. Train tickets are affordable; a Metroplus return ticket is about R23 depending on far you are going. If you walk up to the Main Road, you can take a bus and get out anywhere along the way. Bus tickets can be bought on the bus and range in price depending on the time of the day and where you are going to.

 

Did You Know?

 

Observatory is often referred to as Obs or Obz.

The suburb of Observatory was named after the Royal Observatory; Cape Of Good Hope, which houses the famous Mclean telescope.

During the apartheid area, Obs was one of the few “grey” areas where mixed races lived together.