If there is one city in the world I am dying to return to, it’s Cape Town. It’s a city too beautiful for its own good. One can get easily lost in the depths of nature and still have dinner at any sushi, tapas, or bistro, they want later that night.
There are so many things to do in Cape Town it’s hard to optimize your time there unless you have a full year. We have spent months in the city and always feel like we barely scratch the surface of what the city offers.
Still, we like to think we hit many Cape Town hot spots and delve a little deeper into the city. From activities like climbing the iconic table mountain to sipping some delicious Pinotage while overlooking the tip of Africa, Cape Town is enchanting.
If you find yourself in a South African city,
don’t tell me because I will be jealous. Here are a few fantastic things to do in Cape Town.
Unique Things to do in Cape Town
Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden
Visiting Kirstenbosch is one of the best things to do in Cape Town on a sunny day. Boasting nearly 100 acres of beautifully cultivated gardens, the National Botanical Gardens hosts thousands of visitors worldwide.
Near Table Mountain, with nearly 7,000 species of plants, trees, and flowers, you’ll be amazed that so many different species can all grow in the same place. Scattered through the grounds are seating and viewing areas, explanatory plaques, and of course, the many insects, birds, and critters that are drawn to such a place.
Remember to get a map, as the grounds are extensive, and plan on setting aside at least a few hours, which will be ample time to get your fill. The hours of operation change with the seasons, so ask around or check online before you go. Rates vary depending on if you are a South African resident or an international visitor.
Take the Cableway Up Table Mountain
There are a few ways to get on top of Table Mountain, but the most popular by far is to take the cablecar up into the clouds. One of the best things to do in Cape Town is enjoy the epic views from Table Mountain. On a clear day you can see all the beautiful views.
The unique Aerial Cableway has compartments that rotate 360 degrees so that everyone gets the panoramic view of the picturesque city, sea, and mountain.
Taking the cableway up Table Mountain is easily the most popular thing to do in Cape Town, and on a beautiful sunny day you can expect the experience to be busy. It’s worthwhile to either be an early riser or go in the evening if this is the case! A return ticket will run you R390, but if you are short on time you can pay a bit more for the “skip the queue” option.
Woodstock Street Art Tour
Woodstock is a hip neighborhood in Cape Town undergoing serious gentrification. What does that mean? Well lots of things, but for one – amazing street art in the city!
We enjoyed an afternoon of walking around and snapping photos of all the impressive street art in the area together. There are plenty of cafes to duck into, including the Old Biscuit Mill, which is best visited on Saturdays.
The Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa (Zeitz MOCAA) is a contemporary art museum that houses the largest showcase of art on the continent. It’s fairly new as it was established in 2017 and is housed in the historic Grain Silo complex at the Victoria & Alfred Waterfront.
The museum has a collection of over 100 contemporary artworks from Africa and its diaspora, as well as temporary exhibitions of works by both emerging and established artists. Touted as Cape Town’s very own MoMa, the museum’s mission is to promote the understanding and appreciation of contemporary art from Africa and its diaspora, and to support the development of the contemporary art scene in Africa.
The Old Biscuit Mill
The Old Biscuit Mill is a complex of buildings in Woodstock that houses a range of creative businesses, including galleries, studios, and design and fashion stores.
Its name comes from the fact that the complex is located in an old biscuit factory built in the late 19th century. It has been refurbished and transformed into a hub for the creative arts. It’s well worth a visit on a sunny day out, especially on weekends when they have the Neighborhood Market!
Cape Point and Cape of Good Hope
Named by mariners who hoped that good fortune lay beyond its treacherous waters, the Cape of Good Hope is part of Table Mountain National Park and one of the most iconic things to do in Cape Town. There are plenty of walking trails leading throughout the park and many fascinating African animals calling the park home, like ostriches and baboons!
Cape Point is a narrow isthmus of land protruding into the Atlantic, which isn’t officially the southernmost point of the African continent, but standing on it, experiencing the view, wind, and surf, it’ll sure feel like it.
The drive from Cape Town is nearly an hour, but the breathtaking experience will more than speak for itself. Plus, the drives a gorgeous one! The entrance fee is quite steep for South Africa at 360 Rand for foreigners, but when you see where the money goes, you’ll be happy that you could do your part to contribute.
Visit an Alpaca Farm
Just outside the Cape Town city center is a place where you can interact, go on walks, have coffee, and even adopt an alpaca. The Alpaca Loom is a farm suited for kids, families, couples, or friends to go on a nice day in Cape Town.
There is a petting area, weaving studio, and tons of information about breeding alpacas. It’s a fun and affordable activity in Cape Town at R150 per person.
Hikes To Enjoy In Cape Town
Cape Town is a hiker’s dream paradise, which is not something you can usually say about major cities in the world. There are tons of hikes all within a short drive of the city center, and we spent many evenings getting out on a beautiful Cape Town hike.
Hike Lion’s Head
Sitting squarely between Table Mountain and Signal Hill, hiking Lion’s Head Mountain is one of the most popular things to do in Cape Town for locals and visitors alike. The view from the top will take your breath away – and getting there will burn some calories. Rising 669 meters above sea level, it’s a popular place to hike, especially at sunset and during a full moon.
In the summer, around sunset in particular, it gets crazy busy. Sunrise is the best time to avoid crowds. The vistas, rock formations, and varied plant life will make the trip more than memorable. You may see colorful paragliders circling about, as the mountain is a favorite departure area for these brave souls.
The Pipe Track
The Pipe Track from Kloofnek is one of the best hikes in Cape Town that follows the contour of Table Mountain. It’s a nice easy hike and is where you’ll find many locals walking or running on a beautiful day. You’ll have stunning views along the coast and down to Camps Bay along the entire hike, and get views of the mammoth Table Mountain always ahead of you.
This is a rocky and rooty trail, but it’s not steep and is suitable for all visitors to Cape Town. You can turn back anytime you want or hike as far as you would like! All in all, it’s a great 2-3 hour hike to enjoy after you have completed Lions Head.
Chapmans Peak Hike
If you are up for one of the best views in Cape Town that isn’t the typical hike you have to make it to the top Chapman’s Peak! Doing this hike was one of our favorite days in Cape Town as the views of Hout Bay from the top were absolutely stunning!
The best part? This is one of the quieter hikes in Cape Town, and I’m happy to report that even after completing this hike on a beautiful summer weekend day we only saw one other hiker.
To start this hike, you’ll drive along Chapman’s Peak and pull off just before they start checking for receipts, park, and follow the trail to the top. You don’t have to pay the Chapman’s Peak toll road fee if you tell the attendants that you plan to hike this trail!
Hike Up Table Mountain
Watching the sunset from Table Mountain is one of the best to do in Cape Town. Cape Town’s iconic landmark, Table Mountain, is a magnificent feature that hovers over the city, making it another one of those things to do in Cape Town that shouldn’t be missed. Now of course you can take the cablecar up, however for those fit and fearless travelers who relish a challenge, it’s possible to hike to the top of Table Mountain via multiple routes. The two most famous ones are Platteklip Gorge and India Venster, we did both and they are wildly different hikes.
Pletteklip Gorge is certainly the safer one, albeit a little less exciting. This one will have you climbing 700 meters in 3km and is the oldest and most direct hiking route up Table Mountain, and involves what feels like a zillion steps.
The other, India Venster, is a more difficult route that involves a bit of scrambling and “don’t slip here” moments. Certainly more exciting but not for the faint of heart or those afraid of hikes. If you think this is you then don’t try to go the India Venster way, as it will be tough to turn around and descend. Every year there are deaths from hikers on Table Mountain so stick to your capabilities (and wear proper footwear).
Keep in mind the weather on Table Mountain can change without much warning, so take a few spare items of clothing and a windbreaker just in case (and lots of sunblock!).
This is one of the easiest hikes around Table Mountain and is an excellent go to choice for sunset. The hike up to Kloof Corner takes just 20-30 minutes and is a fun way to get your heart pumping (there are still (approximately 215 stairs to climb) before having a sundowner watching the sunset over Camps Bay.
Signal Hill Loop
If you arrive at Signal Hill you’ll immediately notice a trail that takes you toward Lion’s Head. This is a nice walking or running trail that many people use each day, and we enjoyed this trail many evenings when we were seeking a bit of outdoor time in the city.
Lions Head Contour Loop
A fantastic alternative hike to Lions Head, this loop around the base of Lions Head can be done clockwise or anti-clockwise. It’s great for walkers, trail runners, and dog walkers and offers a bit of elevation, technical parcours, and 360 degree views!
Things to do in Cape Town with Kids
What if I told you there was a place near Cape Town where you could watch thousands of penguins waddle, dance, and talk to you? Well, there is! Okay, they aren’t really “talking” to you, but they do make that noise that penguins make.
A half-hour drive from the center of Cape Town is Boulders Beach, a beach where humans can observe wild African penguins at a ridiculously close range. This is one of the most fun things to do in Cape Town, South Africa, for couples, kids, and families.
Boulders Beach – named for the massive rocks that dot the sand – consists of wonderful, semi-private areas formed by the giant boulders. There’s a raised boardwalk here so you can observe the massive colony of penguins on the beach without disturbing them.
If you’d like to take a photo or two near them, fear not, they are pretty accustomed to people, but please don’t try to feed them or get too close; they are wild animals, after all, and will bite.
If you decide to go for a swim nearby, you’ll find the water here pleasantly warm compared to those beaches on the Atlantic coast.
The Boulders Beach entrance fee is R176 for adults and R88 for children for foreign individuals. For South African citizens, it is R44 and R22 respectively, and for SADC nationals, the price is R88 and R44.
Most of the money goes back to the conservation of the penguins. The beach opens bright and early and closes at different times, depending on the season. This is one of the things you can do in Cape Town for cheap.
Finding kid-friendly activities can be challenging, especially when in a strange place. As if they were reading your mind, the people at Bugz Playpark have created a one-stop-shop where your kids will get exercise and smiles on their faces all at once.
Brimming with hoops, balls, swings, boats, bells, and jungle-gym equipment of nearly every make and model, Bugz has a little something for everyone.
At eight o’clock that night, when they’re zonked out in their beds, leaving the hotel room perfectly quiet, you’ll thank your lucky stars for taking them there in the first place. Snacks and refreshments are available, and there’s a restaurant, too, if you want to replenish all those expended calories. This is one of the best things to do in Cape Town for families. Check their website for opening hours.
Le Bonheur Reptiles and Adventures
Don’t let the French-sounding name fool you. Le Bonheur Reptiles and Adventures is South African to the core. Full of crocodiles, snakes, and lizards, you need to check your pulse if the hairs on the back of your neck don’t stand on their end. There’s even diving with crocodiles available for children nine and older, but if it sounds dangerous, don’t worry, only 1 out of 17 children are eaten. 😉
There’s even a place you can fish for bass once you’ve had your fill of hanging around deadly reptiles. This is one of the more unusual things to do in Cape Town and is great for all ages!
Nothing captures the soul of South Africa more than a good game of glow-in-the-dark mini-golf, right? OK, I just made that up, but if you’re inclined to try it, you’ll never again think of one without the other. Glowing Rooms SA, in the town of Milnerton, is open to everyone regardless of age and isn’t too expensive either.
Go on a Hop on Hop Off Tour
Only have a few days to explore Mother City? Perhaps taking a sightseeing bus tour of the city is the best bang for the buck. It may not seem like one of the most exciting things to do in Cape Town, and I know sometimes these tours seem a little touristy.
However, it is a great way of getting around the city and visiting all its notable sites in one day!
Romantic Things to do in Cape Town
Have a Romantic Dinner in Cape Town
If you are trying to enjoy a date night in Cape Town, you are spoilt for options. There is something to eat for everyone in Cape Town. From sushi to Ethiopian cuisine to a multicultural show with an African flair, there is no way you will go hungry in this city. So enjoy a romantic dinner out at one of the many nice restaurants in town.
The best part about dining out? Dining in Cape Town is incredibly affordable internationally – so go ahead and get that extra glass of delicious Stellenbosch wine! Make sure to see the bottom of this post for our food recommendations.
Galileo Open Air Cinema
Watch a movie under the stars! The Galileo Open Air Cinema experience is one of the best things you can do in Cape Town on a budget at night. It’s a wonderful way to relax with a loved one. Most of the showings are at the Kirstenbosch Gardens, but there are a few others around the city too. Check their schedule for movie times, locations, and showings.
Victoria and Alfred Waterfront
A hive of activity night and day, the V & A Waterfront was built by Queen Victoria’s son Alfred – hence the name – in the late 1800s and was an important port, especially during the colonial era.
It’s also an excellent place from which to view Table Mountain, the ocean, and sunset. The perfect spot to take in the vibe of Cape Town. As the sun fades, the waterfront comes alive with music, laughter, and tasty adult beverages served at the many bars and cafes you’ll find here.
There are roving street performers that are sure to fascinate and enchant, and plenty of shopping too. The V&A Waterfront is where we enjoyed many date nights together.
There is a movie theatre here and a plethora of excellent restaurants, or you can hop on a sunset cruise around the harbor with a glass of bubbly. Heading to the V&A waterfront is one of my favorite things in Cape Town in the evening.
Take a Helicopter Ride
Cape Town is such a beautiful city; we just had to explore it by air. We’ve each wanted to ride in a helicopter since we were teased in Seychelles earlier in the year so we knew we had to book with NAC Helicopters.
NAC offers a few different routes. We went with the Atlantico tour that took us around Hout Bay. The mountains, city bowl, and crystal clear waters all together barely look real and are something that should be seen in person by everyone traveling to Cape Town. I’m not sure there is a better city in the world to splurge on a helicopter ride in.
Stay at The Tintswalo Atlantic
Due to its charm, class, level of service, intimacy, character, and stunning location, The Tintswalo Atlantic is one of the best places to stay for real romance in Cape Town.
We loved our room so much that we never left them except for a quick dip in the heated pool and to have dinner. With only eight individually designed rooms, the hotel is charming and intimate. Rooms have features such as tubs with views over the bay and a wood stove for when the winter winds blow.
Evenings at the Tinstwalo feel like a dream with sunsets over in Hout Bay, bubbles, plush bathrobes, and some evening canapés. To give it that final boost to the top, it’s the only accommodation in Cape Town located inside Table Mountain National Park. In the end, though, the intimacy separates the Tintswalo from the other hotels in Cape Town.
Cheap or Free Things to Do in Cape Town
Sunset at Llandudno Beach
Llandudno Beach is one of the Cape’s most naturally diverse beaches; surrounded by large granite boulders and overlooked by mountains, it’s the perfect spot to head to for sunset with a picnic and a cold beer in the cooler.
This small, exclusive beach is located between Hout Bay and Camps Bay and has stellar views of the Atlantic Ocean. It’s popular with locals for surfing and swimming. Though you’re likely going to want a wetsuit to participate in those activities!
Drive Chapman’s Peak
If you are without a car in Cape Town, I highly recommend renting one for at least the day so that you can drive Chapman’s Peak. This is one of the world’s most scenic drives in the world and is definitely worth the R57 toll to drive on this beautiful road together.
Make sure to stop at Tintswalo Atlantic (mentioned above) for a view and lunch (reservations required) – it’s hidden along Chapman’s peak!
Catch Sunset On Signal Hill
If you are looking for a great spot to watch sunset in Cape Town, look no further than Signal Hill. Signal Hill is a small mountain in Cape Town located near Lion’s Head. You can drive right up to it for sunset and enjoy views over the city, Table Bay, and the Atlantic Ocean.
It’s a popular spot for locals and tourists alike and there’s a nice walking/running patch around so you can take in the nature from many different views.
The hill is also home to a number of historical landmarks, including a cannon that was used to signal the arrival of ships in Table Bay, and a beacon that was used to communicate with ships at sea (hence the name).
Stroll Around De Waterkant
The De Waterkant neighborhood is often compared to the SoHo neighborhood in New York City and is considered one of the trendiest neighborhoods in Cape Town.
It is a small neighborhood located in the city’s central business district and is a popular destination for tourists and locals alike. Come here to stroll cobblestone streets, 19th-century houses, eat at trendy restaurants, do hot yoga at Yoga Life, enjoy the vibrant bars, and cafes.
There is a diverse LGBTQ+ scene here as well as several art galleries, boutique shops, and gay bars like The Pink Candy Night Club.
Oranjezicht City Farm Market
The Oranjezicht City Farm Market is one of the best open air markets in Cape Town. Within walking distance to the V&A come here on weekends and Wednesday evenings to shop for artisan products, fresh produce, baked products, and so much more.
There’s a shopping area here as well as a food vendor set up, so come hungry!
The OZCF Market is open:
- Saturdays: 8:15 am-2pm
- Sundays: 9am-2pm
- Wednesdays: 5pm-9pm
Take a Cold Dip
There’s really nothing more refreshing than jumping into the freezing cold ocean. Although it may look warm the ocean waters around the Cape are anything but, especially in the winter.
Brace yourself and jump in without a wetsuit for a real shocker – we promise you’ll feel great afterwards!
The warmest water temperature in Cape Town is in January with an average around 66°F / 18.9°C, while the coldest month is August with an average water temperature of 59.4°F / 15.2°C.
Kitesurf on Bloubergstrand Beach
About 30 minutes outside of Cape Town city center is Bloubergstrand Beach. This beach is popular for swimming, kite surfing, and windsurfing. From here you get absolutely insane views of Table Mountain, especially as the sun goes down.
Bay Harbour Market
Every weekend at 31 Harbour Rd, the town of Hout Bay takes on some of the finest bakers, artisans, artists, and food creators in Cape Town. You can go to the Bay Harbor Market to get just about anything to eat, but perhaps the fish is what many of the booths specialize in.
Don’t come full or with an empty wallet because everything in sight looks delicious, and the handicrafts are unique.
If you’re on Instagram, then chances are you have seen photos of the Bo-Kaap neighborhood of Cape Town. The brightly colored buildings of this Cape Malay neighborhood make it a popular stop for tourists with cameras and one of the best places to go in Cape Town for a few hours.
Bring your camera and a cute outfit as you’ll likely go photo crazy here. This is a residential neighborhood, so please be respectful of people’s homes. While visiting, do yourself a favor and try the Bokaap Deli!
Take a Walk on the Sea Point Promenade
If you’re in the mood to take a walk somewhere, there is no better place in Cape Town than the Sea Point promenade. The promenade stretches for 11km around Seapoint, overlooking the beautiful ocean.
Along the way, there are outdoor fitness parks, installation art, and swimming pools—perfect place to come for sunrise or sunset in Cape Town.
If you’ve spent the day on Robben Island learning about heavy issues like imprisonment and apartheid perhaps a day at the beach would be a nice change of pace. The sun and sand will enthrall you, but don’t bother bringing your swim trunks, because the icy Atlantic water at scenic Camps Bay may be too cold for swimming unless you’re a penguin or have a wetsuit on hand.
Camps Bay, however, a great place to relax, take a long walk, or enjoy some refreshments while indulging in a little sunset or people watching.
There’s no fee to use the beach, and it’s easily accessible from Cape Town. Camps Bay is one of the ritziest areas of Cape Town and is one of our favorite spots to relax in the whole city.
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Camps Bay Tidal Pool
Camps Bay Tidal Pool is a man-made pool located on the beach in the suburb of Camps Bay. It’s a great spot to take a dip, especially with families with young children as it’s much safer than the open water.
The pool is filled with seawater and is separated from the ocean by a wall, providing a safer and more sheltered place to swim.
I mentioned that Camps Bay was one of the nicest areas of Cape Town, but Clifton is even more bougie! Instead of admiring all the cliffside mansions, head to Clifton Beach instead.
This beach is made up of four small, sheltered coves, each with its own unique character. The white sand and crystal-clear water make it a great spot for swimming and snorkeling.
Historic Things to do in Cape Town
If a place that has been a fort, leper colony, and mental institution pique your interest, then a trip to Robben Island is one of the things to do in Cape Town that you won’t want to pass up. A UNESCO World Heritage Site and the place where anti-apartheid crusader Nelson Mandela was imprisoned, probably no other place like it captures the essence of South Africa and its troubled past.
The museum will give you a fascinating and macabre look into South Africa’s history; some of the tour guides are former prisoners, so their accounts will be all the more chilling.
Since it’s an island, you’ll need to take a ferry to get there from the V&A, but it’s included in the cost of admission, which is R600 for adults and R300 for children. The tours take about 3 ½ hours and start every two hours, beginning at 9:00 AM and ending at 3 PM.
District Six Museum
In the city’s center, The District Six Museum – like Robben Island – is one of the things to do in Cape Town that you shouldn’t skip as it provides insight into the city’s past.
Giving another glimpse into the country’s apartheid years, District Six is a part of the town that was declared ‘all-white’ in the ’70s and from which over 60,000 blacks were forcibly relocated to Cape Flats – an impromptu settlement of rag-tag shanty homes that was not surprisingly a hotbed of anti-white sentiment among the persecuted blacks.
Although it’s possible to tour the museum on your own, you may get more out of it with a local tour guide, many of whom will be able to give you first-hand accounts of what life was like during apartheid. The hours of operation vary on different days, so check out their website.
Conveniently situated only a short walk from V & A Waterfront, Greenmarket’s disturbing beginnings were as a market for slaves bound for the New World. The square’s old streets are home to many vendors selling all manner of goods for locals and tourists alike.
There is also a band of roaming street performers who’ll keep you amused between stalls.
Adventurous Things to do in Cape Town
Snorkle with Cape Fur Seals
I’ve said it before, and I’ll repeat it, but there are some seriously adventurous things to do in Cape Town. From Seal Snorkeling to Canyoneering and even bungee jumping off the world’s highest bungee bridge there is no way you will go bored in this city. Out of all those adventures in Cape Town, one of our favorite days was when we went swimming with Cape Fur Seals.
The Cape Fur Seals are massive, smell pretty bad, and can outswim a boat. Regardless any marine fan and even divers will love the experience of snorkeling with them and having a great adventure in Cape Town. Hout Bay has long offered tourists the chance to take a big boat out to a small island outside the harbor where 15,000 Cape Fur Seals reside.
The brave can now jump into the chilly waters of the Atlantic and go swimming with the furry animals. Wetsuits are provided as the water is generally bone-chilling cold.
If you haven’t heard of canyoneering, it is a must for any outdoor sports addict. It’s one of those great Cape Town experiences that can’t be missed. The basic premise is to find a canyon full of water and follow the flow.
We went with Frixion Adventures, which operate around the Cape Town area. Brett, the owner, has been doing this for over two decades. It’s impressive how fast he can move down a waterfall, which you’ll be doing a lot of.
Canyoneering involves cliff jumps, hiking, swimming, and lots of abseiling. Dropping off the face of a waterfall with a rope is an experience we’re not likely to forget anytime soon. When you lean back in your harness and jump off a 65m tall waterfall, you won’t forget either. I can’t think of a better way to experience a waterfall. Descending one with water pounding into your chest and your feet on the rock wall. It rocks, literally!
The canyons around Cape Town itself make for a beautiful day of hiking. Everyone will get a light breakfast, lunch, and plenty of hot soup to warm back up from the chilly river water on a personalized tour.
Kayak in Hout Bay
One of our favorite mornings in Cape Town was when we took in the views of Hout Bay from the water. Book a guided kayak trip and enjoy the views and stories of beautiful Hout Bay.
While kayaking you’ll even likely get a visit from a cheeky Cape Fur Seal!
Scootours is a fun way to explore the city. This is where you’ll jump on a Monster Mountain® Scooter and Freewheel into the city for two hours! It’s a fun adventure to have with the family!
Surf in Muizenberg
Muizenberg is right outside Cape Town and is the heart and soul of surfing culture in South Africa. The vibe is even more laid back here than in Cape Town. There are dozens of cafes, yoga shops, and beach shacks to wander into.
If you’re feeling adventurous, then rent a surfboard and wetsuit and try a hand at surfing. Better yet, book a beginners lesson to get a lay of the land. Surf Emporium is one of the best places in Cape Town to get lessons or rent a board from!
If you aren’t into surfing and getting wet, Muizenberg is still a fantastic place to hang out. Head here to take photos of the instafamous colorful beach huts!
So what is coasteering you ask? Coasteering is an adventure sport that involves exploring the coastline by swimming, climbing, and jumping into the sea! On one of these tours with Gravity Adventures you’ll rock climb, scramble, and cliff jump into the seas below.
People of all abilities and ages can do the sport, but it is generally recommended for those who are physically fit and confident in the water. It’s a thrilling experience and one of the best things to do in Cape Town if you’re looking to get your adrenaline pumping.
Abseil Table Mountain
Standing on top of Table Mountain and looking down on Cape Town is an experience every visitor should have. After all, the cable car up to the top is the most visited tourist attraction in Africa.
However, for those who like an adventure standing near the edge and looking down on the city isn’t going to cut it. Abseil Africa will happily “throw” tourists off Table Mountain from 1000m up.
Abseiling off of Table Mountain offers some of the best views possible. The abseil is about five to ten minutes of dizzying heights as you look down on the Atlantic Ocean and Camps Bay.
It’s a much different experience than canyoneering, seeing as it is a dry rope at a much higher altitude for a shorter amount of time. We loved the experience even if we were scared out of our minds leaning back with no hands.
Paraglide off Signal Hill or Lion’s Head
Take to the sky and enjoy a paraglide over the beautiful Mother City! Typical glides depart from either Signal Hill or on the Lion’s Head trail, but when you book your paraglide they’ll let you know the best destination to take off from according to the weather.
CityRock Cape Town
One of the best things to do in Cape Town on a rainy day is go rock climbing at CityRock. CityRock has world class rock climbing equipment suitable for beginners to advanced climbers. Here you can rent climbing shoes and a harness, and hit up the routes that have a self belay system.
Or you can take an Intro to Rock Climbing course, enjoy the fitness center, or take a pilates class. Day passes are less than R200 and offer a range of activities in that fee! See more pricing options here.
What to Do in Cape Town? Day Trips
Cape Peninsula Road Trip
Best combined with your drive along Chapman’s Peak and visit to Boulders Beach, The Cape Peninsula drive is one of the most spectacular routes in the world! It’s best to save this drive for when you have an entire day to dedicate to it.
Along this route you’ll hit Chapman’s Peak, the Cape of Good Hope, Simon’s Town, Boulders Beach, Kalk Bay, and Muizenberg!
Franschhoek Wine Tram – Franschhoek
Just an hour from Cape Town is the beautiful and quaint town of Franschhoek. It’s where you can find plenty of wineries and vineyards among the Mont Rochelle Nature Reserve.
The Franschhoek Wine Tram is one of the most popular things to do here. This is a hop-on hop-off tram tour that takes visitors through the Franschhoek wine region. The tour includes stops at several wineries, where visitors can taste local wines and learn about the winemaking process, without having to drive.
The tram travels along a set route through the valley and includes commentary from a guide, who provides information about the history and culture of the area. If you start early in the morning like we did you might be a bit drunk by lunch. The wine tastings at these vineyards don’t skimp you on wine!
Shark Cage Dive – Gansbaai
One of the top adventure activities in Cape Town is seeing a great white! Ever since the movie Jaws, the fear of the Great White Shark has been palpable. It is, after all the shark responsible for the highest number of recorded shark-caused human fatalities. Near the southernmost point of Africa is “Shark Alley,” a strait between an island and beach home to thousands of Cape fur seals.
Here, the Great Whites come for a feeding frenzy. You’ve probably seen it before in a nature documentary where the sharks are jumping out of the water with a seal in their teeth. It is here that you can have one of the most surreal adventures in the world, and that’s why it is one of our top adventures to have in Cape Town.
Jump in the waters with these giants of the ocean and come face to face! We spent some time doing our research about the best provider given that it can be considered a controversial practice and found that Marine Dynamics is the company to go with,
Our tour kept us well fed, warm, had a professional staff, a marine biologist on board, and they made sure to put the client first. They’ve even won several responsible tourism awards – a big deal to us – and are very, very very active in the conservation of these incredible animals. They are truly majestic in the water, and if you don’t have respect for them before you go, then you will undoubtedly walk away changed.
The sharks themselves are massive – close to 5m long – and their sheer size is awe-inspiring. However, most shocking is how calm things seem in the water as they swim by. While sitting in the cold ocean water surrounded by a metal cage, you can hear the famous soundtrack to jaws playing in your head.
Whale Watching – Hermanus
Hermanus is considered to be the world’s premier site for watching whales, and it’s just 1.5 hours drive from Cape Town! You can book a trip with Whale Watching Hermanus, that operate daily. Prices start at R 1020 per Adult.
To see migratory southern right or humpback whales, it’s best to visit between June and October. If you happen to be visiting between late September/October, keep an eye out for events with the Hermanus Whale Festival.
Head to Stellenbosch
Just a 45-minute drive away from Cape Town lies one of the best wine regions in the world. Of course, many travelers get caught up with names like Bordeaux, Tuscany, and Burgundy, but don’t forget about the fantastic New World wine regions in the Southern Hemisphere.
The wines around the Western Cape are just as quality and at a fraction of the cost. South Africa has many crown jewels, and the stunning Stellenbosch wine region happens to be one of them. The wine region has a rich heritage, splendid landscapes, a lively university, and of course, fine restaurants paired with beautiful wine. Make sure to try the Pinotage and Chenin Blanc.
Let’s face it, in years past; South Africa wasn’t exactly known as a place where great wine was found. But as far back as the 1800s, grapes were transplanted here specifically for the country’s blossoming wine industry.
The valley is about 10 miles from Cape Town and is as rich in charm and history as it is in wine. The oldest winery is Groot Constantia, which offers tours of its stunning grounds, a glimpse into its history, and a post-tour tasting that’ll make you wonder why you haven’t tried a South African wine before.
All-inclusive, guided wine tours are available, or if you’ve rented your own car, you can drive around the area and see what interests you. Remember that each winery has its own schedules and entrance fees if you’re not part of a tour.
Bungee Jump – Plettenberg Bay
This adventure is not in Cape Town, in fact, it’s pretty far and is a long day trip. However, at just six hours’ drive outside of Cape Town sitting on the famous Garden Route we’re still adding it to the list. The drive itself is stunning and an absolute must when visiting South Africa.
This is also one of the most thrilling things you can do in Africa. The experience of bungee jumping will give even the bravest an adrenalin rush. No “manning” up here – the jump is high.
Face Adrenalin has been throwing people off the Bloukrans bridge since 1997 and has every intention of remaining fatality-free after 25 years as a bungee company. You’re in safe and capable hands, unlike here. The bridge is 216 meters high, or 708ft, making it the highest bungee bridge in the world, which is a fun South Africa fact. At one point, it held the world record for the highest commercial bungee in the world. If doing a bungee jump has been your dream, there is no better place to do it than with Face Adrenalin off of this bridge.
Be forewarned! The moment you jump off the bridge and see an open 216m below you, the thought “I’m going to die” will cross your mind. It is terrifying, but an overwhelming adrenalin rush follows it.
Just live by their motto when you’re standing on the edge, “fear is temporary, regret is permanent.” I’m scared of heights, but if given the opportunity 100% jump again.
Foodie Things to do in Cape Town
Sushi at Sevruga
Dine in the V & A Harbour at Sevruga, in a perfect location overlooking the water. Sevruga is an elegant restaurant that specializes in sushi and dim sum. Their rolls are massive, and we had to bring a couple of pieces of sushi home with us from Sevruga for the first time ever. Even if you’re not in the mood for fish, the menu features entrees like Springbok Carpaccio, Mozzarella Salad, and Potato Gnocchi.
We would suggest making reservations on weekends; good food and a waterfront location means this place fills up fast! Check them out on Facebook and find yourself at one of the best sushi restaurants on the waterfront in Cape Town.
Get Entertained at Gold Restaurant
Oh my, we had a fun at night at Gold Restaurant. Gold brings African cuisine to a whole new level every night. Start your night with a 30-minute drum story, followed by a hand washing ceremony before being graciously led to your table for the evening. For the next two hours, you will engage with the entertainers and waitstaff from all over Africa while trying delicious drinks and African-inspired cuisine from around the continent.
The performers have many dance and song numbers throughout dinner, so there is never a dull moment. It may seem a little bit touristy, and although we are usually not up for that, our night at Golds went above and beyond our expectations and was some of the best African food in Cape Town.
Have a Drink at Den Anker
Set in the heart of the V & A Waterfront, Den Anker specializes in Belgium beers and seafood. It’s a great place to catch a quick bite to eat on a beautiful day before making your way to a movie.
Coffee at Truth Coffee
It’s hard to say coffee and Cape Town in the same sentence without mentioning Truth Coffee. This steampunk-style coffee shop has won numerous awards throughout the world of coffee, and when we stepped in, we saw why. Everything at Truth is combined for a top-notch cafe experience from the decor to the service to the coffee.
Have a Sweet at Charly’s Bakery
Charly’s Bakery is somewhat of an institution in Cape Town, and for good reason! Charly’s has been specializing in cakes since 1989 and is located in District 6. Not a cake fan? Don’t worry! There are plenty of cookies, brownies, and chocolate to go around!
How to Get Around Cape Town
We came to Cape Town thinking it would be a big city with big city transport options available. This was NOT the case, and there really is no efficient way to get around Cape Town.
The best way to see all the amazing things this city offers is by car. There are many options to rent in South Africa for an affordable price. A rental car is a great way to see South Africa and Cape Town.
Trust me you will want a car if you visit the city and want to get to places like Cape Point and Muizenberg. Check out a few of our rental car tips here. Thinking about diving around South Africa? Here’s a perfect South Africa road trip itinerary.
Uber is also a really popular and safe option in the city and is incredibly affordable. If you are on a major budget, then the MyCiti bus is always available to get you to your destination. Is it your first time driving abroad? Check out our tips!
Is Cape Town Safe?
Is Cape Town safe to travel? Yes, but with vigilance and common sense. Don’t flash any fancy items in the wrong places, don’t look like a complete tourist, and don’t walk around foreign areas at night. The last one took some time for us to adjust to because we walk everywhere, but in Cape Town, we used an Uber or a trusted car when we had to get around at night.
Many people go to Cape Town and are lured by its attractiveness as a posh upscale city, but South Africa is still a country with lots of crime, especially at night. It’s still a safe place to travel, just don’t let your guard down by the sense of security the city can give you.
Travel Tips for Cape Town, South Africa
- Languages Spoken: The most widely spoken language is Zulu and Xhosa, followed by Afrikaans. However, just about everyone speaks English.
- Capital: South Africa has no legally defined capital city. Instead, there are three South African capitals. They are Pretoria (executive capital), Bloemfontein (judicial), and Cape Town (legislative).
- Currency: South African Rand (ZAR).
- Visa: Some nationalities are issued a 90-day visa on arrival. Check with your embassy for the best information. The visas are consecutive, not concurrent, don’t be like us and get kicked out.
- What to Pack: Depends on the season and where you are at. Definitely bring hiking shoes, a bathing suit, and a jacket.
- Malaria: Not a major threat in Cape Town.
- Stay Connected: Vodacom, Telcom, OneCell, and MTN are cell and internet providers. Check here for more information.
- Adaptor: You’ll need this adaptor in Southern Africa.
- Tipping: This is a tipping country, and visitors should expect to tip for anything from a lunch out, to gas station attendants, to security guards in parking lots. Tips to car guards can be anything between 2 and 10 ZAR, while 10%+ is the norm for waitstaff.
Book A Safari Near Cape Town
Traditionally if you wanted to book a safari, you’d have to go to a travel agent and have them book your safari for you. They suggest camps and lodges then present you with a large bill. Most of the industry still operates in this fashion.
However, Timbuktu is a new platform that allows you to select the lodges you’d like and see the pricing per day, and you can select the best itinerary for yourself. They will then contact the lodges and help you through booking your safari. Experts on staff can also provide suggestions and arrange the little details like a travel agent.
When is the Best Season to Travel to Cape Town?
High season (November and March): This is the high season in Cape Town, and it’s also the best time for great weather. Though keep in mind the weather in South Africa really starts to warm up starting in November. Some may say it gets unpleasantly hot in some places. December and January are particularly busy because of the holidays. If you can manage it, I would generally try to avoid travel during the holidays.
Shoulder Season (April-May and September-October): The weather throughout most of South Africa is pleasant during this time. Not too hot and not too cold.
Low Season (June-September): This is South Africa’s winter season meaning low numbers of tourists and cooler weather. In Cape Town that means the weather is cool, and possibly rainy.
Plan Your Trip to Africa
- Travel Insurance: We don’t travel without travel insurance and neither should you. You never know what can happen while traveling so it’s best to be prepared. HeyMondo provides excellent short-term and long-term travel insurance plans.
- Travel Waterbottle: When we’re uncertain about the water supply we use our Grayl Purifier. It’s come in exceptionally handy around Africa.
- Camera Gear: Chances are you’ll want a camera for your trip to Africa. We love the Sony RX100V for a pocket-size camera and the Fujifilm XT-4 for a professional camera. Check out our favorite cameras for Africa.
- Safari Clothes: Lightweight, beige, and moisture-wicking clothing are great for traveling Africa. See our favorite safari clothing here.
- Safari Hat: A good hat is both stylish and functional.
- Safari Bag: A durable bag is ideal for traveling around Africa.
- Safari Pants: We recommend neutral-colored pants as they’re great at hiding dirt and can match most shirt colors.
- Safari Shirt: Shirts like these are lightweight and keep the bugs away!
- Boots: While you don’t need to wear sturdy shoes every day, at least one pair of safari boots will make your trip nicer!
- Travel Adapter: You’ll need a special travel adapter for traveling Africa. Get one before you get there so you don’t pay a premium on the ground.