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Things You Have to Do in Cape Town Before You Die

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Things You Have to Do in Cape Town Before You Die

Things you have to do at least once (or every once in a while) as a visitor and local

Last Update: 12 December 2017

This is our essential checklist of 56 things to do in Cape Town, for locals and tourists, adults and kids.  

THINGS YOU HAVE TO DO IN CAPE TOWN BEFORE YOU DIE

1. Take a personal pilgrimage through the the peninsula by walking the Cape Camino – the sacred walk of approximately 200km takes between seven and nine days on foot. It’s a wonderful opportunity for reflection as you explore beautiful Cape Town.

2. Go wine tasting, of course. But there are over 2000 vineyards and wine estates in the Western Cape, so where to start? Book a wine tour with Wine Flies, the boutique touring company invites you to explore the province through wine. You can visit up to five wine estates a day – and even more if you choose to go on a weekend away.

3. Visit the Zeitz MOCAA Museum, which houses the largest collection of contemporary African art. Marvel at the architecture, get lost in the art or just explore the Silo District at the V&A Waterfront where the museum building is located.

5. Soak up Cape Cape Malay culture and history through the sensational  food by taking a Malay cooking course.

6. Be a beach bum. We have gorgeous stretches of sea and sand at every turn. Or opt for a thrill of a different kind and take a dip in one of our natural rock pools, dotted around the city and surrounds.

7. Take a Hop On Hop Off City Sightseeing Bus – this service is a tried, tested and very fun way of seeing the city’s main attractions. Or take an  urban tour with Kiff Kombie.

8. Treat yourself by camping in comfort – or glamping, as it is known – with AfriCamps for a boutique camping experience. Currently AfriCamps offer three campsites in three different locations.

9. Langebaan is a popular weekend destination for relaxing and unwinding. Rather than the usual holiday home accommodation, why not spend the weekend (or longer) living on a house boat in the West Coast National Park.

10. Join the Mother City’s favourite weekday past-time, First Thursdays when, on the first thursday of every month, city sights, particularly art galleries, restaurants and shops, stay open late into the night for all to enjoy the urban vibe after dark.

11. Sundays are about long lazy brunches and driving along our 9km stretch of paradise, namely Chapman’s Peak – it’s a must-do with breathtaking views.

12. Wile away the day at a tshisanyama, there’s a spot in any one of our townships. It’s where locals go to eat good meat, listen to music and chill with friends.

13. Collect a few of your friends to visit  some of the very interesting caves we have around the city. To get you started here are 12 Caves To Discover This Summer in Cape Town and Surrounds.

14. Soak up the urban creativity on a street art tour in Woodstock. This trendy neighbourhood boasts a number of walls adorned with art in an array of colours and designs.

15. Spend a day at one of the best nature reserves in South Africa, Cape Point.

16. There is a little walk that winds its way between Muizenberg and St. James, which is perfect for a gentle stroll with family and friends. Interestingly, this coastal stretch used to be known as Cape Town’s Golden Mile.

17. Give the Mystery Ghost Bus a go. This ride takes you to the Mother City’s oldest, spookiest venues, including the Kimberley Hotel and the Castle of Good Hope.

18. See the Garden Route on the Blue Train. This classic form of travelling is the epitome of elegance and luxury.

19. Try a Gatsby – Cape Town’s signature super loaf, which is usually stuffed with slap chips and a range of other fillings like polony, steak, atchar, and much more. It’s delicious.

20. This is a no brainer: You have to go up Table Mountain – it’s one of the New 7 Wonders of Nature.

21. Take an ever-awesome hike up Lion’s Head.

22. Spend a day exploring Simon’s Town (and be sure to travel there by train). It is home to the South African Navy’s largest naval base, and an authentic wartime submarine can be seen there.

23. Check out the Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens – The stunning garden was named “International Garden of the Year” by the International Garden Tourism Awards Body in 2015. There’s also a great treetop canopy walkway called the “Boomslang” that was declared the Most Beautiful Object in South Africa at the 2015 Design Indaba.

24. Getting a haircut might seem too vanilla for a bucket list but when you know that Swordfern occasionally does blindfolded haircuts your inner thrill-seeker might get excited. This edgy, environmentally-conscious health and beauty salon also has a weekly ‘bring a bro’ special and offers gender neutral cuts so ladies and lads pay the same price for a wash or chop.

25. Take advantage of the wonderful Signal Hill. You could paraglide off the famous mound with Parataxi, or soak in the views of the cool and calm Atlantic Ocean below, or just take a moment to watch the sunrise or sunset.

26. Check out the Old Biscuit Mill in Woodstock. This hotspot is home to the Neighbourgoods Market, the weekly Saturday market with artisanal food and drink, as well as a number of great clothing stands.

27. If you’re keen to check out “Cape Town’s most loved group activity”, challenge yourself and a group of your friends with Hint Hunt; the most exciting live escape game to hit the city.

28. Visit Boulder’s Beach in Simon’s Town. It is here where you will find a colony of penguins that settled there in 1982.

29. Take a trip to the historic Robben Island, home to the prison that housed many political prisoners under apartheid, the most famous being Nelson Mandela.

30. It is imperative that you check out Cape Town’s famous Long Street. The CBD roadway is known for its endless offering of clubs, pubs, bars, restaurants and more.

31. Head to the quaint seaside town of Kalk Bay for its beautiful views of the False Bay coastline, its charming little shops and the much more.  It is also a top spot for getting tasty fish and chips at the well-known fishery, Kalky’s.

32. Get inked. Tattoos are like potato chips; you can’t just have one. Consider the hand poke technique for your next piece. Palm Black Tattoo Co. is one of the only tattoo studios in the city that offer this interesting alternative to the conventional tattooing technique.

32. Make sure you visit Muizenberg beach. The popular sandy shoreline is a prime spot for surfing and features those well-known colourful changing booths that appear in many Cape Town tourist photos.

33. Check out Rhodes Memorial, which is located on the slopes of Devil’s Peak Mountain (at the University of Cape Town). This location offers great views of the city, and is also a chilled spot for selfies and relaxing with friends.

34. Go shark diving in Gansbaai. Just two hours away from Cape Town, this location is known as the Great White Shark capital of the world.

35. Go on a helicopter ride. This is one of the best ways to see the beautiful Atlantic, as well as majestic landmarks like Table Mountain, Robben Island, Lion’s Head, Signal Hill, as well as the budding vines of the Cape Winelands if you opt to head that far out.

36. Check out the Bay Harbour Market in Hout Bay. This weekend shindig has over 80 trader stalls filled with delightful goods and also features live music and much more.

37. Marvel at the magic of our Milky Way at the Planetarium. This popular cultural institution hosts themed shows, the schedule of which is available on their website.  

38. Watch the sunset from the back of an electric bicycle with GONOW. This is perfect if you want to culture-up your Instagram account, as the two-hour trip includes four to five photo opportunity stops at the Lionel Smit artwork in Sea Point.

39. Take a stroll through the Company’s Garden – you can picnic in the garden or read a book in the sun while the playful squirrels scurry around you. The delightful restaurant in the garden is worth visiting too when you get peckish.

40. Cycle through parts of the CBD with Moonlight Mass. The popular event takes place every full moon and invites both Capetonians and tourists to see Cape Town streets in a different, er, light.

41. Watch the Mother City wake up at a secret sunrise. We could say more, but it’s a secret.

42. Visit the Pan African Market on Long Street. You'll find beautifully crafted artwork here, from the eclectic to the historical. It’s the ideal place to shops for gifts and souvenirs.

43. View over 3000 creatures at the Two Oceans Aquarium. Perfect for kids and curious adults alike, this spot is home to thousands of aquatic species and even hosts children's birthday parties.

44. Explore the Cape of Good Hope. This rocky headland is on the coast of the Cape Peninsula and is known as one of the great capes of the South Atlantic Ocean.

45. Enjoy morning or afternoon tea at the Mount Nelson Hotel. This activity has been a firm favourite among Capetonians and travellers alike for years and is really worth a try (if you’re not already a regular). Tea at the 12 Apostles Hotel is as delightful. Here the view alone will keep you entranced for hours.

46. Take a walk on the Sea Point Promenade. This stretch of path on the Atlantic Seaboard is a great spot for casual cycling, a workout (there's an outdoor gym) and is ideal for taking your pet out for a walk.

47. Visit the V&A Waterfront. Tourists and Capetonians alike love it for its restaurants, local and international shops, and endless variety of entertainment. The Silo District has become one of the most popular spots at the V&A. Wander there too.

48. Go for a swim at Long Street Baths. This facility has been a favourite spot for Capetonians to cool off for more than over 100 years. It features a large indoor pool and Turkish steam baths.

49. Check out St George’s Cathedral (which was designed by Sir Herbert Baker). It is the oldest cathedral in Southern Africa and is the mother church of the Anglican Diocese of Cape Town.

50. Visit the Iziko Slave Lodge, one of the oldest buildings in Cape Town. This museum has been renamed multiple times over the years, and now explores the history of slaves in South Africa.

51. Discover the Lookout Hill in Khayelitsha. Situated just 30kms from Cape Town, this attraction is built on the largest sand dune on the Cape Flats and boasts stunning views of the surrounding area. Don’t forget about the 18 Gangster Museum.

52. Revel at South African art at the Irma Stern Museum. The former home of the famous South African Expressionist painter Irma Stern (1894 - 1966), the space features a permanent exhibition of the artist's paintings, drawings, ceramics and sculptures, as well as her private collection of early European furniture, African and Oriental art.

53. Take a step back in history at the District Six Museum. Located in the former inner-city residential area of District Six, where more than 60 000 residents were forcibly removed under the controversial Group Areas Act in 1966.

54. Sip and swirl top-class wine in Constantia, where some of South Africa’s oldest wine producing estates can be found, including the popular Groot Constantia. But there’s more, in the CBD you can enjoy Open Wine in a wine bar.

55. Check out the World of Birds. This is Africa’s largest bird park with over 3 000 birds and 400 different species spread over four hectares of land.

56. While visiting the Mother City dare to try “the world’s strongest coffee” by Black Insomnia Coffee Company. Available online and at a number of coffee shops in Cape Town, including Shift Espresso Bar and Hard Pressed Café, the local java brand has just over 6% more caffeine than its closest competitor’s product in the USA.

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Besides this list, Cape Town has a plethora of unique things to do leaving you open to explore the parts unknown. We did not forget about you foodies, there are awesome experiences to choose from, trust us, you’ll like it. But sometimes you have to treat your kids too by entertaining their adventurous side.

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Cape Town Events Calendar
January 2018
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Shimmy Beach ClubBeach House Sundays at Shimmy Beach Club

Sun, sand, sea and glitz – the weekend isn’t over until you’re relaxing at Shimmy Beach Club

A Touch Of Madness Burgers and Beers 5Saturdays are for Sunny Daytime Parties at A Touch of Madness

Touchdown Saturdays’ DJ, drink specials and sunny courtyard are ideal for summer afternoons

Waterless dinner 2Waterless Dinners Are Coming to Cape Town

Enjoy a guilt-free meal comprising of crops farmed using salt-water agriculture

Pizza Sgt pepperDouble Tuesday Pizza Special at Sgt Pepper

Let the good times roll at this favourite Cape Town music haunt

Roast and Co 22-for-1 Drink Specials at Roast & Co

Every day “on your way” at Roast & Co. - enjoy 2-for-1 drink specials and discover the coolest mugs

Oude 2Enjoy a night of entertainment with the family under the stars at Oude Libertas Amphitheatre

Picturesque views form the backdrop to this open-air Oude Libertas theatre. It’s just waiting to host you and your family for a night of delight

King Kong MusicalKing Kong is back in Cape Town for its Final Run

Celebrate the comeback of this historic musical. WATCH: Video footage of the original King Kong Musical

Galileo - BlaauwklippenA Weekend Spent with The Galileo Open Air Cinema

Start your weekend with a little inner-city or wineland movie screening

Galileo - NooitgedachtDurbanville Get Ready for The Galileo Open Air Cinema

Celebrate summer with The Galileo Open Air Cinema’s new venue; Bloemendal

Queen in Exile 2Athi-Patra Ruga's Queens in Exile at WHATIFTHEWORLD

The renowned artist’s latest body of work is about telling better stories, ultimately creating a world where the exiled can reign again (watch trailer)

Kaapse Stories at The Rockwell TheatreDinner and a Show with Rockwell Theatre

What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas. What happens in Cape Town gets told to your mom, dad, tannie, ouma, second cousin and neighbour down the street

whale wine and wors wine flies logoWhale, Wine and Wors Tours with Wine Flies

Hop on board a fun-filled minibus and explore the hidden gems of the Western Cape

Boy Girl HairHaircut Special at Boy Girl Hair Salon

Marry a tip-top cut with any of this edgy salon’s other services and save

FOREX Pub Quiz 2016 2Trivia Night at The Forex Bar

Test your general knowledge at this Observatory-based haunt’s Tuesday pub quiz

The Piano Bar Burger and Beer Special in Cape TownBurger and Beer Special at The Piano Bar

Visit this jazzy eatery and bar on any Tuesday for a burger (or pizza) and free beer

HintHunt Escape Game LogoCape Town’s Most Mysterious Tourist Attraction: HintHunt

Be sure to add this exhilarating live group escape game challenge to your Mother City bucket list

Battlefield Live SA Laser Tag Team Building Cape TownTeam Building with Battlefield Live SA

Corporates become commandos in this adrenaline-inducing, morale-boosting laser tag activity

AquilaConferences and Corporate Functions at Aquila Game Reserve

Bring your corporate family along to experience team building and business functions featuring the Big 5

The Village Idiot Restaurant & Bar in Cape TownTuesday Mates and Dates Restaurant Special at The Village Idiot in Cape Town

Bring a partner for a two-by-two weekly special at this popular inner city neighbourhood haunt

Boschendal Wine FarmPicnic Lunches at Boschendal Wine Farm

Delight in an alfresco feast at one of the most picturesque wineries in the Cape Winelands

mischuFree Coffee Beans and Capsules at mischu Coffee Shop in Sea Point

Simply mention CapeTownMagazine.com while placing an order of coffee beans or capsules today and score a freebie

Dizzys Camps BayDizzys Tight Ass Tuesday Karaoke Nights

'Bray' the night away with some super specials to lubricate your lungs

Excentric HairTransformation Tuesday at Excentric Hair Salon

First-time clients will receive complimentary Olaplex treatment when booking a single or double colour process, cut and blow-dry

HQ Date performerTuesday Romantic Date Night at HQ Restaurant

Treat your loved one to an evening of succulent steaks, red wine and romantic ambiance at this Parisian-inspired Cape Town steakhouse’s #HQDateNight special

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