Calling all bookworms! Leaving home for a vacation and traveling around a different city does not mean that you do not have time to read. Book lovers all around the world will find themselves delighted with the wide variety of eclectic and unique bookstores found within the Mother City. In just a few minutes of reading, find out about the top 10 bookshops to visit with your car hire Cape Town vehicle.
Visit Reader’s Den Comic Shop in Claremont with your car hire Cape Town vehicle
Coming in hot at the top of the list is a favourite of many youths and collectors who visit Cape Town. From series like Batman, Catwoman, Spiderman and a plethora of manga – Reader’s Den has it all. Some titles even date back to the 60s! The shop is not completely book-oriented, however, as visitors can find posters, lively action figures of their favourite heroes and villains as well as games and interesting collectables.
The store can be found in Claremont’s well-frequented Stadium on Main centre, and is renowned for its vibrant and colourful atmosphere which keeps the store busy no matter the time or day. You may find a host of like-minded individuals when you visit this carefully curated comic book haven. If you do not wish to travel to the Southern Suburbs for your fix of comic books and other cool items, the store has a functional online portal for your convenience.
Reader’s Den often hosts a mini Comic-con, much to the delight of comic book fans around Cape Town – and details of their events can be found on social media channels such as Facebook. The store is open from Mondays to Fridays between 10am to 5pm, as well as Saturdays from 10am to 2pm. It does not operate on Sundays or public holidays.
Visit The Book Lounge with your car hire Cape Town vehicle
No book-lover visiting the city and using car hire Cape Town as their mode of transport should forgo a visit to the Eastern precinct’s Book Lounge. The two-storey store has a plethora of genres and compelling titles, as well as boasts an enticing array of events for bibliophiles that should not be missed if you are in the area. The store shines a particular lens on South African nonfiction and fiction – highlighting the power of our local talents and literary achievements. If you pop by the Book Lounge after a long day of driving in your car hire Cape Town vehicle, you will find a most comfortable lounge (as suggested in the store’s name) in which you can rest for as long as you need.
Coffee, tea, milkshakes, hot chocolate and a few snack selections are on offer for any peckish visitors. If you are travelling with children, plan to visit the store on a Saturday at 11am, as the shop hosts a story time event this time each week. Another reason The Book Lounge is unique is can be attributed to the store founding the anticipated Open Book Festival, which continues to gather crowds of book-lovers from across the country. The Book Lounge is open from Monday to Friday between 8:30am and 7:30pm – Saturday from 9am to 5pm and Sunday from 10am to 4pm.
Check out Select Books in your car hire Cape Town vehicle
Over 29 years old, Long Street’s Select Books is charming and quaint, serving the community and travellers alike with rare out-of-print books (some of which have even been signed by the authors). With literal floor to ceiling shelves, the store is a Beauty and the Beast library dream come true! The store focuses largely on the African genre, with titles referring to South Africa’s art, sport, hunting, flora and fauna and the historic war. The store’s owner has an in-depth knowledge of the titles in the collection and is therefore quick to help with any queries and searches.
Visitors can find a trolley outside the store filled to the brim with interesting titles that can be purchased for a smaller fee. Select Books welcomes visitors during Monday to Friday between 10am to 5pm.
Kalk Bay Books
Located in the beautiful seaside town, Kalk Bay Books can be found in a gorgeous stone building that was once-upon-a-time a sailor’s pub. With genres such as history, fiction, science fiction, cookery and African literature, it is no wonder why the store sees such heavy foot-traffic. Visitors can browse book selections while at the same time gazing across the Kalk Bay Harbour, which has a delightful population of seals that have become a tourism favourite. Further, the bookstore hosts various book launches and meet-and-greats with talented authors (as well as allows for visitors to host their own book clubs within their walls).
Kalk Bay Books is close to a series of outstanding restaurants with unrivalled views, meaning that you can easily add a visit to the store to your itinerary as you travel the cost in your car hire Cape Town vehicle. The store is open from Monday to Sunday between 9am and 6pm – except during the winter months when it closes at 5pm instead.
Based in the suburbia of Kenilworth, Fortunate Finds boasts a curated collection of second-hand books, focusing on titles pertaining to fiction, philosophy, gardening crafts and pretty much anything else you could imagine. In fact, the bookstore has the largest selection of military history titles in the entirety of Cape Town – which stands testament to its uniqueness. Those who take their research history will be happy to know that Fortunate Finds is likely the place where your search for that particularly rare book will come to an end. The store welcomes customers from Monday to Friday between 9am and 5pm – and Saturday between 9am and 1pm.
Clarke’s is a community favourite, and has a history spanning decades back. Found on Long Street, it is well-known for being a calm and quiet sanctuary for the avid reader and collector. With over two storeys of books, topics of titles range from slavery, gender, art and music. Those traveling in their car hire Cape Town vehicles with children will be thankful to know that this store boasts an impressively vibrant children’s section.
Visitors can also find and purchase extraordinary maps that date back to the 1600s! You can sit back on the well-aged leather chairs and open up your newest buy for the full experience. Clarke’s often hosts poetry sessions and other interesting events. The store operates on Monday to Friday between 9am and 5pm – and on Saturday from 9:3am to 1pm.
Bikini Beach Bookstore in Gordon’s Bay
If you are a bookworm and find yourself traveling near Gordon’s Bay in your car hire Cape Town vehicle, you simply must pop in. This old-school bookstore refuses to let technology get in the way, and as a result they do not have a telephone in their store. If you wish to make inquiries, you have to go in and do so at the desk. The store is located on Bikini Beach, and is filled with titles addressing travel, fiction, non-fiction and more.
Most books in this store are second-hand, which means they will come equipped with that wonderful old-book smell as well as lower prices – perfect if you are sticking to a budget. The store operates form Monday to Saturday between 8am to 10pm.
Quagga Shop bookstore
Another alluring location in Kalk Bay, Quagga Shop is a must-see if you find yourself adventuring along the coast in your car hire Cape Town vehicle. The bookstore is stocked full of antique books (some of which are even leather-bounds from the 1700s). The genres of poetry, art, anthropology, botanical as well as food are available in the store amongst many other titles and genres. Avid collectors will be excited to know that artefacts, tribal art and old maps are available to be purchased at this eclectic store.
For those who cannot squeeze this bookstore into their Cape Town itinerary, Quagga Shop hosts an online book auction every month, featuring selections of between 20 to 50 books. The store welcomes customers from Monday to Friday between 9am and 5pm – and Saturdays between 10am and 5pm.
The Armchair Explorer is a bookstore located in Franschhoek, an area considered to be one of the Cape’s culinary capitals. This odd bookstore is mainly filled with European and African military history, making the store a dream come true for any keen historian. The store also boasts a collection of historical artefacts like military hats and swords, taking visitors back in time. This store is also frequented due to its bookbinding services which allow customers to have their favourite books restored.
If you find yourself in the area enjoying some of the best food Franschhoek has to offer, pop into Armchair Explorer from Monday to Sunday between 10am and 4:30pm.
The Book Shoppe
Last but certainly not least, The Book Shoppe is unique for its constantly changing shelves. The store was established in Tokai in 2004, and has been selling, buying and restoring pre-loved books since. Both adults and children can find a haven in this unique store, which is renowned for its plethora of genres and titles. Visitors are received from Monday to Friday between 9am and 6pm – Saturday between 9am to 5am – and Sunday between 9am and 2pm.
South African book recommendations for your car hire Cape Town journeys
If you and your travel-buddy take turns while driving your car hire Cape Town vehicle around the Cape (and you can stand to take your eyes off the view for more than a few seconds) reading is a great way to bide the time between locations. When in a new country, you should always take the time to read some of its renowned literary pieces. The following are some titles you may be interested in reading:
“Grace” by Barbara Boswell
Though a heart-breaking story, this fictional account of a Cape Flats family suffering from domestic violence is a painful reality for many families across the world, and shines light on an important message in doing so.
“Born a Crime” by Trevor Noah
The newly internationally acclaimed South African comedian, Trevor Noah, delivers a humourous yet serious tale focusing on the struggles of growing up in South Africa during apartheid as a citizen of colour.
“Long Walk to Freedom” by Nelson Mandela
The late freedom fighter and first black president of South Africa, Nelson Mandela, documents his life and journey which led to the first democratic election in 1994 and the meaning of hope, charity and true forgiveness.
“Cry, the Beloved Country” by Alan Paton
Framed by a land under white rule, Paton’s tale follows a Zulu pastor and his son who are embattled with racial inequality and injustice. The novel has been described as a work of courage, love, endurance and an interesting take on the dignity of man.