Africa South Africa

10 Things to do in Cape Town

The oldest city in South Africa, Cape Town is situated right between a giant mountain and the ocean making it one of the most picturesque cities in the region. Explore the wildlife, visit some of the finest museums in South Africa, and enjoy panoramic views from the Table Mountain National Park. One thing’s for sure: Cape Town is a city that has a lot to offer and even more to give.

  1. Explore the Table Mountain National Park

The most photographed landscape in South Africa, Table Mountain National Park is home to over 1500 flower species, as well as a number of animals including baboons and caracals. This 600 million-year-old mountain offers magnificent views of Cape Town and the surrounding areas and is definitely a tourist attraction worth visiting. The best way to reach the top of Table Mountain National Park is by a cableway that covers the distance of over 1000 meters and the ride lasts around 7 minutes. If you wish to avoid long lines, we suggest booking tickets for the cableway online. Visitors will find a great café with a terrace at the upper station of the cableway where they can grab a refreshing drink or have a snack. Those who wish to climb the mountain on foot can choose from hundreds of routes. The climb usually takes between 2 and 4 hours.

 

  1. Take a Walk through the Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden

With over 29 acres of land, Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden houses over 7000 species, from which some are threatened or rare. You will also get a chance to see a couple of amazing sculptures in this lovely botanical garden. Visitors can pick up a map from the nearby Kirstenbosch office and explore the walking paths and trails that are well-maintained. Admission is around $5 for adults and $1 for children who are 6 to 17 years old.

 

  1. Visit the Lion’s Head

A popular spot for many hikers, the Lion’s Head is easily reachable from the center of the city by car and the trail starts just hundred meters from the parking lot. Keep in mind that the walk can be a bit steep, but those who make it to the top will be rewarded with amazing views of Table Mountain, Atlantic Bay, and Cape Town. The good news is that there are a series of chains and ladders to assist visitors on the steep sections of the route. Also, make sure to dress warmly as it can be quite cold on the top.

 

  1. Head out to the Cape Point

Located just a short drive from Cape Town, Cape Point is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the most attractive areas for tourists who live for nature and love the wildlife. There are over 200 species of birds on this soaring sea cliff, as well as many reptiles, zebras, and baboons. Some of the activities here include whale watching and nature walks. If you want to take pictures and enjoy views of the mountains from the Cape Town Lighthouse, there is a Flying Dutchman funicular that transfers passengers to the top. Make sure to visit Cape of Good Hope which is the most south western point of African continent.

 

  1. Go to the Victoria & Alfred Waterfront

Originally a fishing harbor, Victoria & Alfred Waterfront is a vibrant entertainment quarter with a number of old restored buildings and many venues, restaurants, theaters, cinemas, and hotels. Thousands of visitors come here each week to enjoy a rugby match at the Springbok Experience Rugby Museum or to visit the Two Oceans Aquarium that has over 300 species of fish from the Atlantic and the Indian Ocean. There is also the beautiful Green Point Urban Park with its magnificent garden where both locals and tourists come to talk long walks and have picnics over the weekends.

 

  1. Watch African Penguins at Boulders Bay

Located just 3 kilometers from Simon’s Town, Boulders Bay is one of the most popular sightseeing spots in the country. This picturesque area is home to over 2000 African penguins and the interesting fact is that this colony of penguins has grown from just two pairs back in 1982. There is a boardwalk that runs to the Boulders Beach from the Boulders Visitor Center. Once you arrive on the beach, you can mingle with the cute penguins; however, you should not pet them since they have sharp beaks. If you are looking for parking, you will find in on Seaforth Road where you can also dine at one of the restaurants.

 

  1. Take a Guided Tour of the Robben Island

Did you know that Robben Island was a very scary prison where Nelson Mandela was serving time in a small cell during the apartheid era? Luckily, Robben Island is no longer a prison; it is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and a place that is really important in South African history. Visitors can take a tour that includes a visit to the Nelson Mandela Gateway and starts in the city center. The boat ride usually takes less than an hour and the next stop on the tour is the cell where Nelson Mandela was kept. What makes this tour unique and interesting is that all of the guides are former prisoners of Robben Island who offer insight from their own experiences into the life in the prison. Make sure to book these tours in advance.

 

  1. Visit the Bo-Kaap Neighborhood

Located above the city center on Signal Hill, Bo-Kaap is one of the oldest neighborhoods in South Africa that is famous for its rich heritage and brightly colored houses.  Take a walk to the Craft Market to buy souvenirs or try the authentic dishes such as bobotie, koeksisters, and bredie. You can also take a Cape Malay cooking class and learn how to make some of these delicious dishes. The residents of this lovely neighborhood are friendly and welcome visitors with open hands.

 

  1. Explore the Clifton Beaches

Split into 4 beaches by boulders, Clifton Beaches is a favorite place for both locals and tourists. Although the water is usually cold, there are many surfers and people who come here just for the view and the amazing restaurants that are located by the shore. The entrance to all beaches is free of charge and you can purchase refreshing drinks and ice creams from local vendors. Of course, sun loungers are available for rent; however, there are no public toilets on the beaches.

 

  1. Visit the District Six Museum

If you wish to understand the history and the people of District Six, this is the perfect place to go while in Cape Town. District Six was declared a white neighborhood in 1996 when apartheid in the country was strong and many people needed to move from this district to more remote locations in the city. The District Six Museum tells the stories of these people and features a number of exhibits from that period.

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