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The ultimate Cape Town bucket list

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The ultimate Cape Town bucket list

The 51 things you need to do, see and experience in Cape Town

Last Updated: 1 December 2020

Magic gardens, hidden play parks, waterfalls and a castle. Celebrate  South African art and heritage museums, including one dedicated to southern Africa's oldest inhabitants. Plus find once-in-a-lifetime adventures and things to do across the Western Cape. Local or visitor, you must add one (if not all) of these experiences to your bucket list.

WAKE UP WITH THE SUNRISE

Start your day off on a high note by joining in a silent guided dance and meditation experience with Secret Sunrise.   

EAT ONE OF CAPE TOWN’S MOST ICONIC DISHES

It’s such an important part of the Cape’s food culture that we asked our readers to recommend the best restaurants and cafes. Here’s your pick of the best gatsby in Cape Town, according to locals.

VISIT THE BOTANICAL GARDEN OF THE CAPE SOUTH COAST

Waterfalls, colourful fynbos and a lush indigenous forest are waiting to be discovered at the Harold Porter Botanical Gardens, a protected reserve near Betty’s Bay. 

GO SHARK CAGE DIVING

Just two hours from Cape Town, Gansbaai is known as the Great White Shark capital of the world. If you’re brave enough, shark diving in Gansbaai is a must.

SWIM WITH THE CROCS

Shark cage diving doesn’t thrill you? We dare you to swim with the crocodiles instead at Le Bonheur in Paarl

VENTURE OFF THE BEATEN PATH NEAR SIMON’S TOWN

Just past Boulders Beach near Simon’s Town, you’ll stumble upon Windmill Beach where you can frolic in the natural pool and soak up views of the False Bay coastline.

CAMP AMONGST THE FLOWER

For the ultimate glamping experience, visit Namaqualand’s annual spring flower display in August and September and spend the night surrounded by a plethora of colourful blooms in the luxury Namaqua Flower Camps.

THE GREEN JEWEL OF THE NORTHERN SUBURBS

Magik Forest is a green space bordered by Durbanville, Bellville and Welgemoed. The series of connected paths is the perfect way to enjoy a peaceful stroll.

DISCOVER A HIDDEN WATERFALL

Walk for 30 minutes through the south-eastern part of the Silvermine reserve and you’ll stumble upon the hidden gem that is the Silvermine Waterfall.

VISIT THE WORLD'S 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 around the Zeitz MOCAA Museum.

TAKE THE TRAIN TO MATJIESFONTEIN

Go on a two-day rail adventure to this historic town. With just one hotel and bar, a post office and a restaurant. Get transported back to a simpler time when you take the forgotten route to Matjiesfontein.

TAKE A HARBOUR TOUR

Get up close with Cape fur seals, take in history and get epic pictures on a gentle cruise around the V&A harbour with Cape Town City Tours.

TAKE A TRIP ON THE BLUE TRAIN

The perfect mix of luxury and old-world charm, the Blue Train will take you on a slow meander along the Garden Route from Cape Town to Port Elizabeth.

VISIT THE WINE CAPITAL OF THE “DEEP SOUTH”

If you love the ocean and good wine, enjoy both at Noordhoek’s winery by the sea. After your tasting, book a picnic on the lawn and delight in the breath-taking views Cape Point Vineyards is famous for.

GO WINE TASTING ON AN E-BIKE

Go on a guided tour of Banhoek, Franschhoek or Stellenbosch through safe, scenic routes, tasting each farm’s delicious wines with Vinebikes, who guide wine tasting adventures on an e-bike. 

GO WINE TASTING ON HORSEBACK

Horse trails, quad trails or wagon trails – take your pick at Rhebokskloof Wine Estate in Paarl. Plus, there’s wine tastings on offer too at Wine Valley Adventures guided tours. 

TAKE TO THE WATER WITH KASKAZI KAYAKS

Explore Cape Town on a kayak? Meet some of the city’s most loved residents, from penguins and Cape fur seals to dolphins with Kaskazi Kayaks.

SPEND THE WEEKEND ON A HOUSEBOAT

Escape to Langebaan and spend a leisurely weekend in the West Coast National Park onboard a luxury house boat.

TAKE A TRIP TO THE SEASIDE

Beautiful views, quaint shops dotted along cobbled streets and the best fish and chips, there are a host of fun things to do in the charming seaside town of Kalk Bay.

PICNIC IN THE COMPANY’S GARDEN

Home to the South African museum, the Cape Town Holocaust Centre and the South African National Gallery, get lost in the beauty and history at the Company’s Garden.

EXPLORE SIMON’S TOWN

Stop off at the South African Navy’s largest naval base and enjoy a meal at one of the many charming eateries in the historic Simon’s Town.

VISIT THE PENGUINS

While you’re in Simon’s Town, be sure to visit the colony of penguins who settled at   Boulder’s Beach in 1982.

TAKE ON A TUNNEL TOUR

Venture below ground to discover Cape Town’s early history and its close connection to water with a truly unique tunnel tour

EXPERIENCE TSHISANYAMA

It’s not just about the meat, it’s a lifestyle. A place to party, see the hottest local artist or just chill with friends a tshisanyama

CLIMB TABLE MOUNTAIN

This is a no brainer: It’s one of the 7 Wonders of Nature. Whether you walk it or take the cable car to the top, you have to go up Table Mountain.

HIKE UP TO KNIFE’S EDGE ON DEVIL’S PEAK 

Challenge yourself to a hike up Knife’s Edge – the views of the city will be worth it.

VISIT THE BOTANICAL GARDENS

Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens is known for its pretty picnic spots, but don’t miss out on a meander along the ‘Boomslang’, their treetop canopy walkway.

VISIT ROBBEN ISLAND FOR THE DAY

Home to the prison that housed many political prisoners under apartheid, the most famous being Nelson Mandela, experience history with a tour of Robben Island.

EXPLORE THE BEST OF THE V&A WATERFRONT

From the kiddies indoor play area to artisanal street food at the soon-to-be-launched Makers Landing, there’s something for everyone at the V&A Waterfront
 

GO SIGHTSEEING ON THE BIG RED BUS

Spend the day on an open-top bus. With 30 stops, you’ll get to experience all the city’s main attractions with the Hop on Hop off City Sightseeing tour. 

SHOP THE HOUT BAY MARKET SCENE

With over 60 trader stalls filled with quirky goods and live music, you’ll enjoy hours of entertainment at the Bay Harbour Market in Hout Bay.

SUPPORT LOCAL AT A CITY MARKET

Spend your Saturday feasting on artisanal fare and shopping locally-made goods at the Old Biscuit Mill in Woodstock’s vibrant Neighbourgoods Market.

A SLICE OF ANCIENT GERMANY IN HOUT BAY

In the heart of Hout Bay and owned by a secretive Russian billionaire, lives a castle – an exact replica of the German Lichtenstein Castle.

LEARN ABOUT HISTORY AT THE IZIKO SLAVE LODGE

Explore the history of slaves in South Africa in one of the oldest buildings in Cape Town at the Iziko Slave Lodge.

SPEND THE DAY IN DISTRICT SIX

Learn about the 60 000 residents who were forcibly removed from their homes in District Six during apartheid at the District Six museum.

STAND ON THE LARGEST SAND DUNE ON THE CAPE FLATS

Situated just 30kms from Cape Town and built on the largest sand dune on the Cape Flats with stunning views of the surrounding areas is a hidden gem, Lookout Hill in Khayelitsha.

GO BIRD WATCHING

With over 3 000 birds and 400 different species spread over four hectares, nature lover’s must make a turn at Africa’s largest bird park, the World of Birds

VISIT THE OLDEST CATHEDRAL IN SOUTHERN AFRICA

The mother church of the Anglican Diocese of Cape Town and designed by Sir Herbert Baker in 1847, St George’s Cathedral is a must-see for history buffs.

EXPLORE THE MAJESTIC COASTLINE ON A MOTORBIKE

Forget a limo – enjoy a unique chauffeur experience on the back of a Harley Davidson and take in the views along the city’s spectacular coastal roads with Cape Bike Travel.

EXPLORE A HIDDEN PLAYPARK

A hidden gem in the heart of suburbia, this park is magical. Wood-carved planes and cars, a towering tree house and a stream to frolic in ensure Paradise Park lives up to its name.

MINIATURE 7DE LAAN

Take a trip to 7de Laan – the miniature version that is! After 15 years’ hard work, a super fan couple from De Kelder transformed their backyard into a mini 7de Laan. 

TAKE A DRIVE OVER CHAPMAN’S PEAK

Wind your way between Noordhoek and Hout Bay on what some say is one of the most spectacular coastal drives in the world. You gotta do Chappies.

SAMPLE THE BEST FISH AND CHIPS IN TOWN

Housed in a former fish market built in 1925, Salty Sea Dog in Simon’s Town is the best spot to enjoy fish ‘n chips with a view. 

ENJOY LUNCH IN A SECRET GARDEN

Its quaint furniture dotted in a pretty garden coupled with its homestyle food are some of the reasons suburban foodies flock to Starling’s Café.

GO GLAMPING IN THE WINELANDS

Explore some of South Africa's most beautiful farms, estates and reserves while staying in absolute comfort at one of 11 Africamps boutique glamping camps.

LEARN ABOUT GANG CULTURE AT THE 18 GANGSTER MUSEUM

Learn about Cape Town’s gang culture with an educational and interactive tour at the 18 Gangster Museum in Khayelitsha.

 

VISIT THE HERITAGE MUSEUM DEDICATED TO THE SAN

Explore the first education centre dedicated to the culture and history of southern Africa's oldest inhabitants at the !Khwa ttu San Heritage Centre

TRY A LOCAL DELICACY 

Bokkoms aka fish biltong (salted, dried pieces of mullet fish) is a well-known Cape delicacy. Try it at Die Vishuis in the town of Velddrif.

HIKE TO THE TOP OF ANOTHER LANDMARK NAMED AFTER A CAT (NOT LION'S HEAD)

For just R13 per person, you can enjoy 13km of self-guided hiking trails boasting magnificent views overlooking the northern and southern suburbs  at Tygerberg Hills.

VISIT THE REDWOOD FOREST AT GROOTVADERSBOSCH

Tucked away in the mountains between Swellendam and Heidelberg is the Grootvadersbosch Conservancy, a reserve which is home to the tallest species of tree in the world.

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We also have bucket loads in things to do with kids.

From secret hideaways and birthday freebies, there’s a treasure trove of free things to do

And more specifically free and cheap things to do with kids.

For adults here’s our list of wine tastings with a difference.

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Use our events section for an up-to-date overview of what’s happening in the city, ‘burbs and dorpies. Join our newsletter and get quick access on the go by adding us to your mobile home screen for the ultimate guide to discoveries in Cape Town.


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Cape Town Events Calendar
December 2020
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Maker's LandingMaker’s Landing, the Waterfront’s ...

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One&Only A glamorous escape at One&Only Cape ...

A resort holiday with special experiences for less than ever

Distillers & Union Make your unique brand of gin

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africamps7Discover South Africa with these great ...

From the pet-friendly Stanford Hills to a camp located on a large fishing dam in Limpopo

Station on Bree Mini Gin FestThe Station on Bree: Mini Gin Fest

Award-winning gins, fruity garnishes, live music and a tapas special for two

café rouxCafe Roux Noordhoek has an exciting ...

See Matthew Mole, The Kiffness, Fintry and more live at Café Roux this month

trail fit sa Discover a new Western Cape hiking ...

Find a secret waterfall or meet sleeping bats in a 150m long cave

virtual_garden3Discover the McGregor Magic Virtual ...

Explore South Africa’s amazing biodiversity without leaving home

Watershed 2Known favourites and new discoveries at ...

825 square-meters of the best in African art, craft, design, and now beauty

Biscuit MillSay hello to the new Neighbourgoods ...

Fresh produce, handmade jewellery, locally designed clothes and delicious food

cape point vineyard 3Enjoy an idyllic weekend walk at Cape ...

Get a 360-degree view of the mountain, the fynbos, the vineyards and the ocean

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Robin Hood in Kloof Street has basket lunch deals every day

The grill father The Grillfather is back with a hearty ...

Enjoy their 2.8kg pure beef patty and backyard braai vibes

Flea MarketMilnerton Flea Market: a treasure trove ...

From antiques and trinkets to a variety of second-hand items

spring_2Bradwell Spring: Vredehoek’s fresh ...

It’s the second formalised spring water collection point built by the City

spring_1Newlands Spring: Cape Town’s ...

Rules are in place to ensure everyone’s safety

Biscuit MillYour favourite Biscuit Mill vendors are ...

Browse your favourite vendors for food, crafts and clothing at the weekly market

VW_October_promotions4Barons Cape Town VW is open to the ...

Quicker services and courtesy cars for essential workers

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