10 Things To Do In Cape Town
Cape Town is a city to be on your travel list. It offers the combination of history and nature in one place, in this list we have selected the 10 things to do in Cape Town and that is just the beginning. Discovering the city will be like getting into a new world ready to be discovered by you.
South Africa has suffered one of the most important scenarios in its past, from 1948 to 1991 the Apartheid was a racial segregation system that affected the country causing scars up to today.
The city offers attractions where the impact of history is still alive and it keeps surprising with another topic the African continent is also famous for, nature. It is in this scenario with a mixture of beautiful nature and impressive history that Cape Town is. Add to this equation great food and cosmopolitan places like the Waterfront area, and you will have a complete destination just waiting for your visit.
After reading the 10 things to do in Cape Town, start planning your trip by booking your flight with us to get the best deal and don’t forget to share your pictures with the #flyustocapetown, we are looking forward to seeing them. Enjoy!
1. Go To The Top Of Table Mountain
Table Mountain is a frame for Cape Town as it rests beautifully in its land providing a breathtaking view of the city, and it is also an attraction that should be visited.
The mountain is the main attraction of Table Mountain National Park which is the home of more attractions in Cape Town, as you will notice on the next topics. An access by cableway brings you straight to the summit, being an easy way to get to the view. Make sure you buy tickets from official stands to get there safely, information is available here. On the other hand, if you are more adventurous it is possible to hike the mountain and get different angles.
On the other hand, if you are more adventurous it is possible to hike the mountain and get different angles.
Even though the park indicates five routes, the Platteklip Gorge is the most popular. This one goes all the way up with its approximately 6 kilometres round trip, the hike can be 3-6 hours, but here is a tip just in case: it is also possible to take the cable car back to the bottom. Another popular hike is Lion’s Head, despite the fact that is not a hike to Table Mountain itself, this peak provides a 360 view from Cape Town in a 4
Another popular hike is Lion’s Head, despite the fact that is not a hike to Table Mountain itself, this peak provides a 360 view from Cape Town in a 4 kilometres round trip, approximately.
If deciding hike to the top some tips are advised: don’t hike alone, use waterproof clothes, bring a hat, wear sunscreen and have enough water and food. When planning your hike, add some extra time for appreciation.
Due to its size, the authorities of the national park cannot promise full safety in the trails, and in this case, it is highly recommended to do it with a travel agency. Either way, the park offers an emergency number (086 110 6417) and advises to hikers to carry a fully charged cell phone all the way.
2. Spend An Afternoon In Bo-Kaap
Those who see this colourful neighbourhood most of the time cannot imagine how important this area was for Cape Town’s past.
It was here that the Dutch empire brought the imported slaves from other African countries, India, Sri Lanka,
Indonesia and Malaysia. Further back in time, Muslims arrived in the same area. A multicultural place that keeps alive its traditions offering activities and flavours only experienced here.
Prepare your camera to snap pictures of colourful houses and the Auwal Mosque, the first mosque constructed in South Africa and located in Bo-Kaap. In order to go deep into history, visiting Bo-Kaap is a must do as it presents the importance of Muslim culture in the town.
A walking tour is also a good idea and Nielsen Tours offer it for free.
A visit without trying the traditional Cape Malay cuisine is not a real one, so you can choose to eat at Marco’s African Place or try Bo-Kaap Kombuis, where at either one you will experience traditionally flavorful food.
3. Live The History At Robben Island
In order to understand a little bit about South Africa, a visit to Robben Island is a must-do experience while in Cape Town.
This UNESCO World Heritage site used to be a prison until 1996, where political prisoners who fought Apartheid had been kept, including Nelson Mandela.
During the 1960’s and 1970’s, innumerous men opposing Apartheid were sent to Robben Island, but nowadays it is a memorial and is possible to visit this place full of history.
As it is an island, the memorial is only accessed by ferry which departs from Nelson Mandela Gateway at Waterfront area. Buying tickets in advance is strongly recommended as it is one of the main attractions in the city, the tour is 3.5 hours long including the round-trip ferry ride.
The tour runs Monday to Sunday three times a day (9am, 11 am and 1 pm) weather permitting. When in the island the guide will be a former inmate presenting in that way the real experience, the tour also gives access to Nelson Mandela cell.
There is nothing quite like having the explanation from someone who really lived there. Before you go, start your tour from home by watching ex-prisoners interviews here. You are sure to be touched by this place.
4. Discover The Events Behind The District Six Museum
In 1867, this area was known as Sixth Municipal District of Cape Town home of a mixed population of freed slaves, artisans and immigrants.
It was a multiracial area destroyed during Apartheid, making the white minority priority in the country and removing the population from there.
The museum plays a great part in keeping this history alive. Offering more than exhibitions, it has also recreated spaces like the Little Wonder Store. What was a bookstore in the former district has become real again in the museum providing books today about District Six.
The tours are another special experience as it can be guided by a resident from the destroyed district, which is available Monday to Friday four times a day. If you just have Saturday to visit, it is possible to pre-arrange this type of tour.
When planning your visit, keep in mind the museum opens Monday to Saturday from 9am to 4pm, Sundays are open only by appointment. An extra tip when you are in the museum is to stop at the coffee shop to try an authentic koeksister, a deep-fried dough with honey and syrup. Don’t miss the opportunity to understand this chapter of Apartheid and how it impacted the African population if you are a big fan of history you will not regret. Additional information, including tickets available here.
Don’t miss the opportunity to understand this chapter of Apartheid and how it impacted the African population. If you are a big fan of history you will not regret the time spent here. Additional information, including tickets, is available here.
5. Experience African Cuisine
South Africa is famous for its wildlife, where it is possible to see animals that you cannot encounter anywhere in the world. That is the reason why finding some wild menus offering springbok, kudu, ostrich and venison meats, for example, are common and here is the place to experiment them.
Mama Africa restaurant is one of those places where you can experience these flavours. Already noted on this list, Marco’s African Place also presents some intriguing dishes like Madagascar springbok or crocodile carpaccio.
However, its cuisine isn’t minimized to only wild meat. You will be surprised by the options encountered in Cape Town, from Ethiopian food to Cape Malay cuisine you are sure to experience something new.
The Cape Malay tradition brings back a time from before Apartheid when Malay slaves arrived in Cape Town, specifically in Bo-Kaap neighbourhood. Nowadays this cuisine is widely known in the city.
Another must go place for foodies is the V&A Food Market in the Waterfront area, which offers the combination of African ingredients in a cool atmosphere.
6. Explore The Wineries
If for any unlikely reason you have never heard about wines of South Africa, you will be amazed by its wineries.
Cape Town is located close to some of the best wine routes in the country and here are some of them;
Even though Stellenbosch can be considered the most popular among tourists, basically due to the fact that was the first wine route established in the country, Constantia is the place where Groot Constantia, the oldest winery in South Africa is located. This special winery is dated from 1685 and its building is a great historical surprise.
This special winery is dated from 1685 and its building is a great historical surprise.
Durbanville has 12 wineries and will provide great landscape just 20 minutes North of Cape Town. Franschhoek brings a French finesse to this area not only with its gardens but also in its wineries. An example is La Motte where it is impossible to not notice the fancy and yet cozy style.
After all that, we cannot forget about Helderberg reputation of making white wines on the spot, especially Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc. This experience will change the way you look at South Africa wines and is sure to impress any traveller looking for great products in amazing landscapes.
7. Visit The Cape Of Good Hope
Here is where the Indian and Atlantic oceans meet making it special just for that reason. A great 2 in 1 destination, while visiting Cape of Good Hope you will also be able to visit Cape Point as they are really close to each other.
Both are located in a section of Table Mountain National Park that presents the best combination of sea and mountain.
The wildlife here is really quite amazing with baboons, ostrich and over 250 bird’s species to find and see. Make sure to stop at Buffelsfontein Visitor Center to discover the species you will find here.
While in there snap a picture at the famous Cape of Good Hope sign and also visit the lighthouse dated from 1860 at Cape Point, where you can access it by taking the Flying Dutchman Funicular from the Two Oceans restaurant.
This area offers plenty of activities for its visitors making it possible to visit it with a tour, by bike or hiking. Tours can be booked through a travel agency or volunteers who offer a free guided walking tour on the 2nd Sunday of each month.
You will also find beautiful beaches and picnic areas, and as always when visiting nature areas around Cape Town, make sure to drink plenty of water and wear sunscreen. An extra tip comes with orientation, a use of a map or handheld satellite navigation system can be a life safer, as signs are not available all the time.
8. Run The Two Oceans Ultra Marathon
So far Cape Town has brilliantly shown its potential to be your next destination, and if you are an athlete here is one more reason to go there.
Considered to be one of the most beautiful running races in the world, the Two Oceans Ultra Marathon
provides you with the sensation of running in a special corner of the world.
It is true that this ultra-marathon is not for amateurs as it is necessary to have some long distance running experience to complete its 56 kilometres (34.8 miles).
The race usually happens by the end of March, and in 2018 will happen in Easter Saturday – March 31st. If you don’t feel like doing the full marathon yet, it is possible to run the half marathon (21 kilometers) that happens on the same day.
On Good Friday, March 30th, the organisers will hold a trail run with two tracks, 12km and 24km. In this case, there is a running race for any athlete.
9. Go On A Tour
Cape Town offers so many attractions it is sometimes difficult to make a choice and it also provides different ways to visit them.
A bus tour with City Sightseeing South Africa offers a hop-on/hop-off kind of tour with different themes such as exploring downtown, wine routes, sunset and township, just to name a few and this can be a good option if you are struggling to make up your mind.
For the adventurous travellers, Awol Tours not only offer bike tours but also hiking ones, and this could be a good way to visit the Cape Point, for example.
If your preference is wildlife, maybe swimming with White Sharks is your thing and in this case, the Shark Diving Unlimited Company can organise the activity for you.
If you are into discover South Africa culture, some options are also available for you. Coffee Bean Routes offers a jazz, art or food tour. A township tour is offered by Siviwe Tours aimed for those who want to understand more of the ethnic side of Cape Town.
Boat tours are also an option and you can pick your style here. Many companies present tours to outside Cape Town attractions like to Addo Elephant National Park or even Kruger National Park, both far from the city but great South African attractions.
Choosing a tour can provide a new perspective while giving a practical way to visit the city.
10. See African Penguins
Make a note about Boulder Beach, not only a clean beach to swim but also home of African penguins.
The South African National Parks are responsible for protecting the species and at the Boulders Visitor Center, you will be able to understand more about these cute animals before your visit.
In this area, it is possible to see penguins throughout the full year, but from September and October, they tend to spend more time in the sea feeding. A visit during January can provide a view of juvenile penguins on the beach.
A visit during January can provide a view of juvenile penguins on the beach.
Boulder Beach is also part of Table Mountain National Park, located approximately 40 kilometers from the city of Cape Town. A day at the beach, including digging into the penguin’s habitat can be a good choice for a particular day of your holiday here.
During your visit, you can walk along a boardwalk being able to stay really close to the animals, definitely an attraction for animal lovers, including kids. Just be careful and respect the penguin’s space and you will enjoy an incredible time with family.
Check out this great drone video to get some idea of the beautiful landscape around Cape Town.