The Best Things To Do In Cape Town
Situated near Table Mountain National Park, Cape Town is the jewel of South Africa. It’s diverse culture, range of cuisines and breathtaking sites make it one of the top destinations in Africa. The location of Cape Town right on the water and surrounded by a national park means that there are countless natural landscapes to visit during a trip to this region. Beautifully cultivated gardens such as the Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens and the Company’s Gardens, a historic spot in Cape Town, provides visitors with a relaxing escape after exploring the urban layout. Its proximity to the ocean as well as Table Mountain National Park means that you can go surfing early in the morning and then hiking or biking throughout the hills and mountains in afternoon. Whether you like to get outdoors and participate in recreational activities or you prefer a more urban setting such shopping and dining, Cape Town caters to nearly every world traveler.
The art and culture scene in Cape Town is equally as mesmerizing. From brightly colored façades and African influence, this city uniquely blends a variety of creative arts into one cohesive atmosphere. The city also features a range of socioeconomic and income levels, which creates quite a visible contrasts between downtown and the settlements of Cape Flats. However, no matter where you visit, each neighborhood has its own ambience and charm — whether it’s picking up fresh produce from the organic market or browsing the various shops to pick up a souvenir.
Like many other countries on the continent, South Africa — and Cape Town in particular — has a blend of religious and cultural lifestyles that are evident no matter where you go. The city’s long history, which dates back to European and Afrikaner descent, is still prevalent throughout many communities and neighborhoods — these different blends of cultures and migrants allow Cape Town to be diverse in its cuisine, religious lifestyle and arts.
Cape Town in recent years has grown to be a world destination for wine and vineyards — two of the most popular estates being Franschhoek and Stellenbosch, which are both a short drive away from the city.
HERE ARE OUR PICKS FOR THE BEST THINGS TO DO IN CAPE TOWN…
Take a tour to Robben Island – seven kilometres off the coast of Cape Town – and learn about the mixed history of this amazing country. Whilst the island has a history going back centuries, it is infamous for holding political prisoners, including Nelson Mandela, who called the prison home for eighteen years. Interestingly, three of the former prisoners have become the President of South Africa! The tour will visit all the important historical sites, and the museum will relive the experiences of the freedom fighters held here.
Table Mountain and Cableway
The iconic Table Top Mountain is on the list for every visitor to Cape Town; it just wouldn’t be the same if you missed it! While you can hike or drive to the top, why not take the cableway, and save your strength for the magnificent walks on offer when you arrive at the peak? With beautiful scenery, each walk is spectacular, and offers countless photo opportunities of the local wildlife.
Chapman’s Peak Drive
Just twenty minutes from Cape Town is the spectacular Chapman’s Peak Drive. Head to Hout Bay, where you can explore the boutique shops, visit the harbour, and start the amazing 5.5 mile drive towards Noordholt. The road hugs the cliff and the views are just amazing! There are plenty of stops along the way, so take your time and soak up the natural beauty of this land. Once you arrive in the artistic town of Noordholt, meander through the streets and grab a bite to eat before you return home.
Cape of Good Hope Nature Reserve
For a smorgasbord of outdoor fun and spectacular views, head to the Cape of Good Hope Nature Reserve. Visit the Buffelsfontein Visitor Centre to plan your day and take in some of the magnificent views, and then as you explore the park, discover a diversity of wildlife such as zebras, eland and even baboons. There are lots of outdoor activities to enjoy, including hiking, fishing, surfing, and for divers, the shipwrecks are a favourite! Then take in the lighthouse and explore Cape Point, where there are great restaurants to enjoy when you need a break – it is after all a big day out!
Aquila Game Reserve
Only two hours from Cape Town, the Aquila Game Reserve combines the thrill of a safari with luxury you can only dream about. With tours by vehicle, horseback, and quadbike – all available – be in awe of the elephants, rhino’s, lions, leopards and buffalo in their natural environment, as you get up close with the supervision of your guide. Keep an eye out for the plentiful birdlife, and share stories of the day in the luxury of your lodge, or back at your accommodation in Cape Town.
Castle of Good Hope
Built in 1679, the castle of Good Hope was initially a military supply station, but then evolved into the military headquarters and seat of the administration. It is the oldest remaining building from the colonial era. Today, the museum recognises the colonial era, and also those who resisted its expansion. Explore the paintings, artefacts and furnishings, and take time to study the statues of the four heroes who resisted the colonial conquests.
Victoria & Alfred Waterfront
When you have finished exploring the museums and attractions that surround the Victoria & Alfred Waterfront, take time out to just relax. Spread over 120 hectares, what was originally a jetty back in the 1600’s, has evolved into a complex of harbours, shops, restaurants and pubs. Stroll through the markets and join the locals; soak up the views and people-watch as you enjoy a meal and a drink, or two!
Cape Point Nature Reserve
Just 60 kilometres from Cape Town, you will find the beautiful scenery of the Cape Point Nature Reserve. Spread over 16,000 acres – and boasting 25 miles of coastline – take one of the many trails to explore the tidal pools, and soak up the magnificent coastal scenery as you watch for whales migrating between June and October. The park is a kaleidoscope of birds and plants, with zebra and eland calling it home. And make sure you visit the lighthouse, taking the funicular railway to the top of the cliff on which it sits!
Kirstenbosch National Botanical Gardens
Set on the slopes of Table Mountain, the splendour of Kirstenbosch National Botanical Gardens is as striking as it gets. As you wander through the gardens exploring the feast of plants on display, enjoy the many sculptures that are scattered throughout the park. In addition to the many hiking trails, you can also take the tree canopy walk and experience the magnificent views, as you meander through – and above – the trees.
Langa Township is the largest, and one of the oldest townships in Cape Town. Established in 1927, it was a centre of the resistance to apartheid! Take a guided tour and experience the culture, learn about the history, and better understand the challenges the locals face, as you visit locations and monuments that remember those who resisted oppression.
For magnificent views of Cape Town, with Table Mountain as a backdrop, you can’t go past Signal Hill. The summit is 350 metres high, with travel photographers from around the world flocking here for that perfect sunset shot. Once you reach the top, enjoy the 360 degree views, and keep an eye out for the guinea fowls that call the mountain home. If you’re lucky, you might just catch the locals taking a break for some paragliding!
The next time you visit Cape Town, make sure you take some time to explore the nearby Camps Bay, a trendy suburb with a village atmosphere, where a great beach of soft white sand is complemented by boutique shops and splendid restaurants and cafes. It’s a great place to relax while you admire the striking Twelve Apostles Mountains, and you can even stay to experience the beautiful sunset from the beach. Not far from Camps Bay you will also find Oudekraal Beach, which is often quieter and has plenty of nice picnic spots overlooking the water!
Located just a short drive north-east of Cape Town, the South African region of Cape Winelands is one that should be at the very top of any visitors to-do list! As the name suggests, Cape Winelands is most well-known for its beautiful vineyards, and with so many amazing wineries on offer, it’s hard to know exactly where to start. There really is only one way to experience it though, and that is to dive right in, head-first! Explore the many picturesque villages and towns throughout, learn about the fascinating history of this incredible region, and take in the abundance of delectable food and wine until you burst with pure happiness and joy – that is indeed what travelling is all about!
The Atlantic Coast
The Atlantic Coast near Cape Town is dotted with wealthy suburbs and small, seaside villages. You’ll find a variety of ocean activities; many of the small villages are the gateways to secret surf spots. Within these communities, you’ll find vibrant nightlife, art galleries and trendy hotspots – gourmands take note, as some of these suburbs have high-end restaurants waiting to astound your palate.
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