12 Things You Should Do When Visiting Cape Town

Cape Town is a favourite among travellers from around the globe. They’re drawn to the abundant beauty, fine fare, excellent wine, and amiable people, but mostly they come to experience some of the amazing things to do in Cape Town.

If you’re on the way to the Mother City soon, be sure to put these attractions and activities at the top of your to-do list:

1. Go Down Table Mountain

Most people want to get to the top of Table Mountain to experience the wonderful views, quaint shops, and unique dining experience. You can go up via Cable Car or even walk up these challenging slopes, but why not take a novel way down?

An adrenaline-inducing abseiling experience opens up a whole new world of views from this scenic landmark. As you inch your way down the cliffs, you’ll notice the vast blue ocean approaching ever closer. Panoramic views on every side will surround your visual senses, with Camps Bay, Lion’s Head, and the Twelve Apostles taking centre stage.

This is the world’s highest commercial abseiling adventure, so it will earn you excellent bragging rights, although experienced guides are there to lend a hand.

Cost: Refer to Abseil Africa website
When: Monday to Sunday from 9am to 2pm
Duration: 1 hour
Where: Top of Table Mountain next to the Cable Car

2. Explore Robben Island

Robben Island isn’t just a ‘chunk a land’ off the coast of Cape Town. It’s an iconic representation of years of turmoil, and a vital part of South Africa’s history. This place was instrumental in shaping one of the greatest leaders of our time, Nelson Mandela, and is a must-see destination for all visitors to Cape Town.

A tour to this desolate spot will open your eyes to what was and what might be for the country. It’s an eye-opening tribute to the human spirit in times of adversity.

Cost: Refer to Robben Island website
When: 9am, 11am, 1pm and 3pm
Duration: 3 hours
Where: Departs from the Nelson Mandela Gateway, V&A Waterfront

3. Discover the Wine Lands

There are countless ways to experience the many wine routes of Cape Town, but the Franschhoek Tram is one of the best ways to get around this verdant hub of excellent food, wine, and outdoor activities.

The tram explores the many delights of Franschhoek, stopping off at some of the country’s most outstanding wine estates and acclaimed restaurants. You can opt for a hop-on-hop-off experience or take part in curated tours of the area.

Cost: Refer to Franschhoek Wine Tram Hop-on-hop-off website
When: 9:30am & 1:30pm
Duration: Full day or according to tour
Where: Franschhoek or Groot Drakenstein terminal (Pick up locations scattered across Cape Town)

4. Hang Out with the African Penguins

A beautiful white sand beach, cool ocean waters, iconic creatures… who could ask for more? A trip to Boulders Beach delivers all these in abundance and is a highlight of any trip to False Bay.

For a closer look at the penguins, you should head to Foxy Beach, where the visitor centre provides information on the iconic African penguins, and three boardwalks let you get a closer look at them.

When you’re finished admiring the birds, you can spend time lapping up the beautiful coastal environment of Boulders Bay while you enjoy a picnic on the sands.

*Catch an early insight of these adorable birds in the light and humorous 8-part docuseries ‘Penguin Town’ first shown on Netflix in 2021.

Cost: Refer to SAN Parks website
When: 10am to 4pm
Duration: Full day
Where: Boulders Visitors Centre, Foxy Beach

5. Hike Cape Point

Cape Point writhes with natural beauty and historic attractions. You can take one of the many trails in this nature reserve to discover abandoned shipwrecks, indigenous animals, and abundant birds.

Beautiful fynbos is a highlight of any trip to Cape Point, and a walk or a ride on the funicular to the top of the lighthouse is a must do activity while you’re there. You can also cool off in the tidal pools, relax on the beach, or visit the nearby wine farm.

Enjoy lunch overlooking the turbulent Atlantic Ocean or order a picnic to enjoy at your leisure.

Cost: Refer to Cape Point website
When: Monday – Sunday, 6am – 6pm (October – March); 7am – 5pm (April – September)
Duration: Full day
Where: Cape Peninsula, Cape Town

6. Relax at Kalk Bay

During 2018, Forbes magazine named Kalk Bay one of the 12 coolest cities in the world, and it hasn’t become any less popular since then. It’s a wonderful place to enjoy the bustle of a small fishing harbour overlooked by an iconic red and white lighthouse.

Kalky’s is famous across the land for its fantastic fish and chips, harvested from the ocean right in front of you. It might not be haute cuisine, but no trip to the Mother City is truly complete without sampling these succulent morsels and crispy carbs. Those with more adventurous tastes can enjoy calamari, snoek, or crayfish.

You can enjoy your comfort food onsite while admiring the seals at play or take a stroll along the popular seashore while you eat up.

Cost: Refer to Kalkys Facebook page for latest menu and pricing
When: Every day 10am to 8pm
Duration: Various
Where: Main Road, Kalk Bay

7. Cook Up a Storm in the Bo-Kaap

The Bo-Kaap bustles with diversity and colour, as well as a wealth of flavours reminiscent of its links with the Malay people. It’s home to the Bo-Kaap Museum which pays homage to the slaves that once inhabited this area and also offers a unique chance to immerse yourself in local culture.

These DIY dining opportunities start off with a lesson in the delicious art of Bo-Kaap cuisine and culminates in a chance to enjoy lunch in an informal setting with your host.

If you want more, you can join in a walking tour of the area and get to explore the local spice store, Atlas Trading, that forms the backbone of these unique flavours.

Cost: Refer to Bo-Kaap Cooking Tour website
When: Tuesday, Wednesday & Thursday, 10am – 2.30pm
Duration: Half day
Where: Auntie Zanie’s House, Bo-Kaap, (pick up from Cape Town)

8. Marvel at African Art

The Zeitz MOCCAA is a bastion of fine art, fabulous design, and incredible architecture located at the V&A Waterfront. Here you’ll get a look at some of Africa’s better known artists creations as well as the work of some up-and-coming talent from across the continent.

Immerse yourself in 6 000 square metres dedicated to sculpture and paintings before heading to the rooftop bar where you can lap up the views over the Atlantic while sipping on a sundowner.

Cost: Refer to Zeitz MOCCAA website for pricing and tickets
When: Thursday – Sunday, 10am – 6pm
Where: Silo District, V&A Waterfront

9. Catch a Movie Under the Stars

Drive-in movie theatres never went out of fashion in Cape Town, they simply evolved. The Galileo Open Air Cinema takes place at a different location every week, presenting one of the only opportunities to catch a movie while practicing social distancing.

You can pre-order a selection of snacks to enjoy during the show including popcorn, pizza, sweets, and drinks. You can collect your stash when you arrive and enjoy it in the comfort of your car once you’ve found a suitable parking spot.

Cost: Refer to The Galileo website for movies and tickets
When: 28 May – 24 September 2021, from 5.30pm
Duration: 2 hours
Where: Various locations in the city

10. Spend a Day at the V&A

The Victoria and Alfred Waterfront is one of Cape Town’s most visited sights for good reason. This hub of entertainment, enlightenment, and fine dining has something for everyone to enjoy.

You can explore the museums, visit the Two Oceans Aquarium, and grab a snack from one of the market vendors, or enjoy some of the city’s finest restaurants while you’re there.

If your preference is for adventure, a range of exciting activities such as sunset cruises, helicopter flips or a ride on the giant observation wheel are just some of the memorable experiences on offer at this iconic destination.

Cost: Refer to V&A website for more information
When: Year-round
Duration: Full day or more
Where: Dock Road, Cape Town

11. Revel in the Kirstenbosch Botanical Garden

This 36-hectare World Heritage site at the foot of Table Mountain is world famous for its beautiful and diverse specimens. The gardens are home to over 7 000 different plant species as well as many indigenous birds and animals.

It’s the ideal place to relax and reflect, enjoy a picnic, or explore the views from the Boomslang aerial walkway which stretches among the forest canopies.

The Kirstenbosch Summer Sunset Concerts usually run from November – April each year and are perhaps one of the best ways to enjoy a leisurely Sunday afternoon.

Cost: Refer South African National Biodiversity Institute Website for Garden Entrance Fees  or the SANBI Events page for Kirstenbosch Summer Concert Series and other events and exhibitions
When: Monday – Sunday, 8am – 7pm (September – March)
Monday – Sunday, 8am – 6pm (April – August)
Duration: Full day
Where: Rhodes Drive, Newlands, Cape Town

12. Get Active in the Ocean

The ancient art of stand-up paddle-boarding has become a popular activity wherever there’s water and Cape Town’s no exception.

You can try this novel activity among the canals of Cape Town’s V&A Waterfront. Your guide will explain everything to you before you set out and all equipment is supplied.

This activity traverses a 3km loop among these waterways and offers a novel opportunity to see the Waterfront from another perspective.

Cost: Refer to Stand Up Paddle Boarding website
When: Monday – Friday, 10am – 3pm; Saturday & Sunday, 9am – 2pm (April – September)
Monday – Sunday, 8am – 6pm (October – March)
Duration: 2 hours
Where: Battery Park, V&A Waterfront – off Alfred Road

See More of South Africa

These are only a small sample of the things to do in Cape Town during your visit. Like it’s people, the Mother City offers up a diversity of activities and entertainment and you’re bound to discover many more options once you arrive.

Are you ready to explore all your options when it comes to your trip to South Africa? Check out our pages for more exciting things to do in Cape Town, and across the country or get in touch for more information.

Disclaimer

Please Note: The details shared herein around products and services, are correct at the time of publishing. However, with time some of this information may change. We recommend confirming information with suppliers prior to making final travel arrangements. If you do happen to find an issue with any information we’ve shared here, please feel free to contact us so that we can make the relevant changes.

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