10 Things To Do in Cape Town

Published 05 April 2016

Elle Croft

Elle Croft

When you think about South Africa, you might just picture a safari – and while that’s an incredible experience that you’ll never forget, no one should visit South Africa without stopping into Cape Town for at least a few days. Here are just 10 things to do in Cape Town – but this is by no means a definitive list!

A beach in Cape Town with Table Mountain in the background

See Table Mountain from the top

Cape Town is instantly recognisable for the flat-topped mountain that towers over the city. It’s one of the 7 natural wonders of the world and it’s easy to see why. The dramatic table-shaped mountain is often covered in a white cloud that drapes across the top and spills down the side, lending it the nickname of ‘the tablecloth’. Although looking at Table Mountain is breathtaking, hopping on the revolving cable car and checking out the views from the top is equally rewarding.

Top tip: get there early to beat the crowds (and the clouds).

A Cable Car with Cape Town in the background

Climb Lion’s Head

Make sure you pack your hiking gear for a holiday to Cape Town – if you’re in the mood for an energetic challenge, be sure to climb to the very top of Lion’s Head, the smaller mountain that nestles in Table Mountain’s shadow. The hike is vigorous, and involves clambering over boulders and using chains to pull yourself up some vertical areas – so it’s not for the faint hearted, but the 360 degree view from the top is worth the challenge!

Check out the views from Table View

You know that iconic Cape Town photo (the one at the top of this post)? It’s taken from Table View, an area of Cape Town where the views across the water to the city and the famous mountains are a photographer’s dream. Take a stroll along the beach, stop for a delicious lunch and enjoy the world-class views.

Spot penguins at Boulders Beach

Boulders Beach in Simon’s Town – apart from being a stunningly beautiful piece of coastline – is the only place in the world where you can get up close and personal with a colony of African Penguins. These tiny birds can be viewed from a number of boardwalk areas and there is a visitor centre where you can learn more about the penguins and their habitat.

Penguins on Boulders Beach in Cape Town

Spend a day wine tasting

The Stellenbosch wine region is just an hour away from the city of Cape Town, and here you can spend a day hopping from winery to winery (or ‘wine farm’ as they’re known locally) to taste locally made, world renowned wine and to marvel at the beautiful views. There is more to do than just wine tasting though; there are sprawling grounds to explore, delicious food to taste and even wildlife to watch. Set aside a day to really explore the beautiful region of Stellenbosch.

Tip tip: for even more great food & wine, head to the nearby area of Franschhoek

A house in the Stellenbosch wine region

Eat on Kloof Street

Admittedly one of the most hipster areas of Cape Town, Kloof Street is jam-packed with boutique shops, art galleries, independent restaurants and colourful street art. Spend a day strolling up and down this popular street, stopping for food, coffee and a generous helping of people watching.

Wander the Waterfront

The Victoria and Alfred Waterfront is a destination for food, shopping and a great vibe. Check out street performers, sculptures and the amphitheatre where you can watch everything from live music to rugby matches. As you browse the boutique shops and food markets, keep your eyes peeled for the seals that sometimes swim through the waters of this picturesque harbour.

Cape Town water front

Shop in Canal Walk

If you’re serious about your retail therapy, head straight to Canal Walk, a huge shopping mall packed with labels from South Africa and beyond. Here you’ll find brands from all around the world as well as department stores, speciality stores and a huge food court. And if you’ve got kids? Send them to Ratanga Junction, the adventure park next door along with any other non-shoppers, and you’ll be left in peace to shop till you drop!

Get some history on Robben Island

Did you know? You can visit the prison where Nelson Mandela was held captive for almost 20 years of his life. Robben Island is a short boat ride away from the Waterfront, and tours leave a few times each day. Spend half a day exploring the prison and the quarries where prisoners were forced to work, and learn a little of the history of the country and one of the world’s most important leaders.

Have you been to Cape Town? What would you add to this list?

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