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Cape Town’s Must-See Attractions
Some of Cape Town’s top attractions and the best things to do in the surrounds
Last Update: 20 October 2017
Cape Town’s top attractions capture the city’s vibrant spirit and culture. From free outdoor entertainment, history, culture and nature to luxury tours and world class restaurants, we bring you the best things to do in Cape Town. Make sure you take part in at least one of the greatest things to do in the Mother City and its surrounding areas...
A Historical Adventure
Start your Cape Town adventure with an educational trip to Robben Island! Jump on a ferry and tour one of the most historic sites in the country. Throughout the 17th to the20th century, Robben Island housed political prisoners and served as a place of punishment in terms of banishment, isolation and manual labour. Renowned figures such as Nobel Peace Prize recipient and former South African President Nelson Mandela, Walter Sisulu and many others spent a large portion of their lives there. The tour is guaranteed to be one of the most memorable experiences, and gives you a deeper understanding of the price of freedom for South Africa. Whether you are South African or not, this will be a worthwhile encounter. Tours run from Monday to Sunday (weather dependent) and you visit at one of the three time slots; 9am, 11am or 1pm.
For more information, call the Robben Island tour group on +27 (0)21 413 4200.
Iziko South African National Gallery
Spend a day experiencing the historical and cultural side of South Africa by visiting the Iziko Gallery. The gallery located in the city centre will give Capetonians and visitors to the Mother City insight into the phenomenal range of aesthetic production in South Africa, the African continent and further afield. The museum showcases paintings, photography, sculptures, textiles and architecture and is enjoyable for the whole family to witness.
Another interesting part of your expedition to the gallery could be a visit to the Slave Lodge. Dating back to 1679, the Slave Lodge is the second oldest building in South Africa and was part of the housing system for slaves under the Dutch East India Company (VOC). The lodge houses collections of ceramics, toys, silver and textiles as well as artefacts from ancient Egypt, Greece and Rome. You are bound to be intrigued by the captivating history. Don't think you won't have fun, because there is a historic courtyard where you can sit in the shade and chill with a cocktail or luncheon at the Iziko Slave Lodge.
Feeling a bit starry-eyed? Get yourself to the Planetarium which was opened in 1958 for all star-lovers. It offers an amazing encounter for those who want to enjoy an epic audio-visual experience. The planetarium offers you the opportunity to learn about the constellations that we are able to see and not see. Get some yummy snacks there and enjoy a day of learning and fun!
Slave Lodge: Corner Adderley and Wale Streets | City Centre | Cape Town | +27 (0)21 460 8242
Planetarium: 25 Queen Victoria Street | Cape Town
District Six Museum
District Six Museum aims to keep the memory of the 60 000 South Africans, who were forcibly removed when the area was declared white only in 1966, alive. The museum was erected in 1994 and offers a glimpse into the lives of the residents who were evicted from District Six. It is a worthwhile experience in order to learn about the history of area’s and people of South Africa.
Opening times: Monday: 9am - 2pm, Tuesday - Saturday: 9am - 4pm, Sunday: by appointment only.
25A Buitenkant Street | District Six | Cape Town | +27(0)21 466 7200
Both South Africans and tourist alike love jumping on board a Township Tour because it gives everyone a bit of insight into different cultures, traditions and norms of life in townships. It is always eye-opening to experience how people spend their daily lives. If youre in the mood for a learning experience while enjoying good vibes and food then spend a day with the Township Tour. The memorable exhibition is truly a worthwhile one and is enjoyable for a group of friends to do together, as well as a family activity to do on a weekday or weekend.
Being the last remnant of Walendorp, this area gives visitors an opportunity to explore Muslim cultural history and heritage. Trod through the beautiful cobbled streets of Bo Kaap with its the eccentrically coloured houses from the 17th and 19th century where you will also find South Africa’s first Muslim mosque. The Bo-Kaap area is a must-see for a day of fun and exploration into the diversity of this rainbow nation's history.
71 Wale Street | City Centre | Cape Town
If you’re feeling a bit lazy but are dying for an adventure - Table Mountain is your friend. You can catch the extremely efficient cable car up the mountain and enjoy the phenomenal views at the top. Treat yourself to an ice-cream and watch the scenes from the peak. If however, you are feeling active and want to burn some calories, you have 76 hiking routes to choose from. Take a group of friends and traverse one of the routes for a day of sunshine and fresh air. One of our favourite routes is Skeleton Gorge which will lead you up a challenging yet rewarding section of the mountain with a revitalizing damn at the top. Remember to pack sunblock and water.
You don’t need to wait for a full moon to go up this beloved Cape Town landmark. The hike is suitable for all beginner hikers and experienced ones alike. It could be fun to take a group of friends up with you so you can sit at the top and speak nonsense for hours enjoying the view. Sunsets on the mountain are magnificent and the cool breeze is divine. A cool idea is to take up a small backpack with some snacks to have whilst admiring the view - remember to take your rubbish down with you to keep this site pristine!
Wally’s Cave on Lion’s Head
PLEASE NOTE: The pathway to Wally's Cave is under construction, meaning that you are currently unable to access the cave. We will update this space once it has reopened.
Finding this gem can be a little tricky, but the photos you can take up there are exquisite. Plus you can sit in a cool shaded area and watch the beauty that is Cape Town. We are helping giving you a few pointers to find the cave, because let's face it - we keep seeing the photographs, but have no idea how to get there. So we’ve got your back!
There are two routes you can choose from, one goes up the circular route and the second is the old path to the top of Lion’s Head. We will give you directions for both, so you can be the leader of your group going up next time. Just before you hike up, be aware that both routes are a little tricky because of the rocky terrain, so be careful!
Path One: The path via the circular route is probably the simplest way to get there because it is not as strenuous but it does take a bit longer than the alternate route. This is ideal for an active group of friends that want to have a group hang. Start at the boom and head up the jeep track past the paragliders launch point and make your way up the stairs and rocks until the first ladder. Don’t go up the ladder, rather go around the small fence on the left and be careful of the barb wire. Follow the path until you’ve reached the old bench on your right, then look for a path which leads to a lower path. Make sure you go to the lower path route because if you go along the higher path you are going to get stuck above the cave! When you get to a split stay right and then hike until you get to boulders on your right and the cave will be a small climb up, on top of the rocks.
Path Two: Now, the second path via the old path starts the same way. However, when you get halfway between the second bench and the paragliders launch point head up the path leading up to the right (it is a little hidden so keep an eye out). This route is going to give you a real workout so be prepared! Follow the path up until you get to a massive rock and rubble from the old structure that was previously there. After this go left and carry on the same as the previous path until you reach a corner with rubble. Then you will know where you need to go. Enjoy and be safe!
Kirstenbosch National Botanical Gardens
Discover the fynbos floral kingdom, the smallest but richest floral kingdom in the world and unique to the Western Cape. Enjoy a stroll or picnic amongst the rolling gardens and many species of birds. This is the best place to spend lazy afternoons with friends or loved ones just enjoying the nature around you and perhaps a yummy picnic too! For information on how to get there read up on Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens for the greatest outdoor day!
Cape Point Nature Reserve
Cape Town is home to many world favourites such as Table Mountain, Lion's Head and beautiful sandy beaches. Another experience you are guaranteed to enjoy is visiting the place where two oceans meet. This will be an activity that will keep the whole family entertained. You can easily spend an entire day exploring nature, doing extreme sports, fine dining, enjoying luxury shops and keeping the kids entertained with children’s entertainment. Visit the beautiful natural phenomena, and be captivated by the exquisite scenes you will witness. You can also visit one of the newer additions to this attraction, the Flying Dutchman, for a fabulous time while there.
Memorable Beaches to Visit
There aren't many people who don’t enjoy a good view of the sea on a beautiful warm day. Well, we will let you in on a little secret as to how it gets better - PENGUINS. Yup, you can’t have a bad day looking at those fancy little suite-wearing creatures. Make your way over to Simon's Town for a day of laughter and fun looking at the playful silliness of them. You’ll have a great time taking photographs and it really is the easiest way to get the whole family involved in a selfie with some beautiful scenes as your background.
Simon’s Town | Cape Town
Grab your sunnies, colourful towel and your sunblock and head to Beta Beach, where the beach is just better. Too cheesy? We thought we should keep it cheesy enough for you to get your summer selves to the beach to have some sunny relaxation at one of Cape Town cosiest areas. You might know it as Charles and Marilyn's beach because it gives beachgoers a view which faces Camps Bay, Lion's Head and The 12 Apostles - stunning right? This paradise is away from the overwhelming crowds of main beaches but not at all private and exclusive so make your way there for a fabulous day in the Mother City’s warmth!
Bakoven | Cape Town
We’re going to let you in on another secret gem in the Mother City...Oudekraal beach! This refreshing part of the Table Mountain National Park area is tucked away in a cove and gives all beach lovers a different experience of a sea day. The natural layering of the scene means that views are not interrupted and each section is kept private by the calming swaying of the milkwood trees. Visit the Oudekraal small sandy beach for some gentle swells to relax in.
Cape Point | Cape Town
Feel like a day of sunlight and sandy delight, but don't feel like the hustle and bustle of main beaches? Well make your way to Smitswinkelbaai nestled next to the Cape Point Nature Reserve. The secluded area can be reached only by foot and is fabulous for snorkelling, diving or to do some casual fishing. It is definitely worth the little stroll up. You’ll be sure to enjoy the view of False Bay whilst tucking in to a picnic with a group of friends, family or a special occasion with your special person… Smitswinkelbaai is definitely the ideal setting for this.
It is approximately 25 minutes from Simon’s Town, a couple of kilometres before the Cape Point entrance gate. You have to park your car and then walk down a steep path towards the beach.
Close to the fishing village of Paternoster, this beach is a definite getaway treat. The nature reserve of Cape Columbine is on the West Coast and covers 263 Hectares of rocky coastline. The reserve has the last manually controlled lighthouse in South Africa, and you would be amiss not to see it if you were in the area, or if you feel like a drive up the coast for a weekend.
One of the most beloved beaches in South Africa lays just 25-minutes outside Cape Town’s City Centre. The dark blue ocean and the cool breeze that you are bound to experience on that side of the mountain will have you driving out every weekend for beachy fun days. While you are in the area, pop over the Blue Peter for a drink overlooking the magnificent Table Mountain.
Adventure Activity Time
Horse riding on the beach
Looking for a day-time activity with friends, family or loved-ones? Noordhoek is your best bet! Horse riding is great for some outdoor fun; it lets you explore the beach from a whole new perspective. It’s fabulous as a bonding experience with a picture-perfect stretch of sand and sea which hugs the coastline around the Chapman's Peak bend. It is the quintessential setting to celebrate special moments. Take a partner or loved one with you on a romantic afternoon ride.
Sleepy Hollow Lane | Noordhoek | Cape Town | +27(0)21 789 2341
Below the Surface (Figure of 8)
If you are looking for a unique urban adventure which has a strong historical and environmental significance then Below the Surface is the best option for you! The exhibition will lead you down a tunnel that used to have a river flowing from Table Mountain to the ocean, feeding the early Van Riebeeck settlement. You’ll be sure to have a fun-filled learning experience in Cape Town.
Buitengracht | Cape Town| +27(0)21 439 3329
Treetop Canopy Walkway at Kirstenbosch Gardens
This addition to the Kirstenbosch Gardens is a surreal experience that family and friends can enjoy together. Weaving its way between the branches of the thick woodlands above the concert lawn, the 130m-long timber and steel pathway gives participants a new way of looking at the gardens. The walkway has a natural colour scheme and has been cleverly curated so that the sky-high fixture is not obtrusive and blends in beautifully with its surrounds. The view will make the walk completely worth it as you will be able to see the slopes of a sun-kissed Table Mountain and gives explorers a different vantage point to take stunning new photos for you and the family. Head to experience walking tall in the Treetops at Kirstenbosch as soon as you can!
Kirstenbosch National Botanical Gardens | Rhodes Drive | Newlands | Cape Town | +27 (0)21 799 8783
Two Oceans Aquarium
We LOVE aquariums! The peek at how sea animals swim around and interact with each other is fascinating to watch. Also - we want to go to the photograph section because we’re jealous of all the really cool pictures that everyone keeps getting from inside! Make your way down to the V&A Waterfront, not only for a shopping or dining experience but for a family and friends activity that will get you even more excited to go swim in the ocean afterwards (we’re dying to go for a swim at Clifton beach and then hope a dolphin swims with us too!). Get some snacks and have a fun-filled adventure day, especially if you are looking for something different to do.
Dock Rd | V&A Waterfront | Cape Town
Looking for a day filled with some good ol’ competition and fun? Make your way to Muizenberg for an exciting adventure with three wheeled buggies and a sail. Unlike kiteboarding and windsurfing you only need a five minute briefing to learn how to do it and anyone can fit into the comfy sling seats and take control of the steering bar. You’ll be gliding happily along the Muizenberg beach car park, and after your adventure you can even make your way to the beach for a refreshing dip in the ocean. The activity is perfect for anyone between the ages of eight and 99 and you will be given the right vehicle for your size - so don't worry they have got your safety covered.
Harness wind and water and launch yourself into the thrilling kitesurfing culture in Cape Town. A mere 25-minutes outside of Cape Town, you’ll be able to take advantage of this kiff opportunity to get a handle on one of the world's fastest growing extreme water sports under the guidance of an International Kitesurfing Organisation (IKO)-approved school in the Mother City.
Be warned though, once you’ve had a taste (and felt the rush) of the high-thrill water sport and the incredible hospitality of High Five kiteboarding school, you’ll be craving for your next fix in no time!
68 Beach Boulevard | Table View | Cape Town | +27(0)72 902 7899 | +27(0)84 5543262
Feeling like a sandy adventure today? Well grab those sunnies and sunblock and make your way to the Cape Peninsula and experience miles of soft sand gliding beneath you! Grab a board and experience a completely different sensation in South Africa. You’ll glide so speedily it will enthral adrenaline junkies and excite beginners alike! Grab a group of your friends and enjoy an exhilarating day of outdoor fun while Sandboarding in Scarborough.
Beach Road | Muizenberg | Cape Town
We are just going to say what you're thinking… this is the most ideal activity for a date with your loved ones, or better yet for a family outing. We are obsessed with Cool Runnings! The cool breeze running through your hair as you whizz down the course at exhilarating speeds will bring out your inner thrill-seeker. The toboggans run up and down steel tracks to provide an out of this world ride you won’t forget. Starting at the foot of the hill you, and your toboggan, are hauled up the mountain by re-enforced steel cables. Be sure to make your booking as soon as you can for a memorable day of fun!
Bellville | Cape Town | +27(0)21 949 4439
By Tarina Meiring
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