There always have to be safety considerations in South Africa and that includes Cape Town. An article in the current Wanderlust magazine describes a couple being accosted just one street back from a tourist area. They had followed a trail down from Table Mountain and ended up in the “wrong” part of town.
If you want to see the “rough” side of town, then you really must do it via a tour operator. You will see townships as you travel into CT from the airport but you cannot just wander around because you feel like a bit of charity in action viewing. Why don’t you actually contact a charity?
The best things to see are all in guides like Lonely Planet. There are very rich areas in Cape Town and around and you will see there is a very large gap between rich and poor.
For sleeping, Bed and Breakfasts and Guest Houses are fantastic and they help you plan your days. They recommend restaurants and the hosts are very knowledgeable. They are more personal than hotels.
Further afield, you can visit the wine region of Stellenbosch and Franschoek and staying there is a treat. You can also head down to the Cape for flora. Whales abound in our autumn but I’m not sure if they are around in Feb. Hermanus provides a great vantage point if they are. There is also shark diving in this area too.
You can drive further along the coast to Knysna where there are fabulous coastal walks and then go into the Little Karoo over the amazing mountain passes. Die Hell is hard to get to and you won’t find too many tourists there. Check it out!
You can find off the beaten track areas but you need to plan an itinerary and be careful. Wandering off on your own is not recommended and any South African host will warn you against it.