Cape Town is surrounded by the ocean, mountains and dreamy beaches and is one of those rare cities that has it all – a city that will run you ragged from touchdown to take-off and you will quickly feel hard pushed to cram it all in.
If you are planning on visiting Cape Town – you will most definitely need more than 5-days to experience what this awe-inspiring city has to offer.
There are various ways of exploring the city, but my advice would be opting for either 1) Guided Tours which are conducted under the expert guidance of local companies or 2) Hiring a car from a reputable car rental agency and spend your days discovering what this great city has to offer. – at your own pace.
I have listed below unmissable things to see and do whilst in Cape Town – making you fall completely in love with this cosmopolitan peninsula at the tip of Africa.
Exploring Table Mountain
Rising 1,087m south of city centre, Table Mountain is the most photographed landmark in South Africa and a constant reminder that nature is queen.
A layer of clouds, called the “tablecloth” frequently cloaks the mountain’s peak, but when the clouds clear, visitors can enjoy spectacular views of Cape Town and the entire Cape Peninsula from the summit.
You can reach the summit by a revolving cableway which climbs to the summit. The cableway runs daily – except in high winds – so it is a good idea to check the website or call for current conditions before heading out.
To avoid long lines, try booking your tickets online.
For those who are a bit more energetic can reach the summit on foot and can choose from several routes available – varying in difficulty. Depending on the starting point, the climb can take between two to four hours.
For superb views of Table Mountain and the best vantage point to photograph this iconic landmark – hike or drive up Signal Hill or Lion’s Head – both offering spectacular views from their summits.
Kirstenbosch National Botanicall Gardens
Kirstenbosch Gardens is one of the most famous places to visit in Cape Town and, quite rightly so – this garden is one of the most beautiful in Africa and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2004.
Few gardens can match the sheer grandeur of the setting of Kirstenbosch – against the Eastern slopes of Table Mountain.
The gardens are huge and a wonderful setting for a picnic on a sunny day. It is a venue for outdoor concerts, art exhibitions and more.
Free guided tours of the garden leave from the Visitors’ Centre (Gate 1) at 10h00, 11h00 and 14h00 Monday to Friday and at 10h00 on Saturdays. Free guided tours also depart from the Garden entre (Gate 2) at 10h45 Monday to Saturday – with no tours on Sundays.
Tours are free, but Garden entry fee applies. All tours are approximately 90 minutes long.
The Centenary Tree Canopy Walkway is a curved steel and timber bridge that winds and dips its way through and over the trees of the Arboretum. The walkway takes guests from the forest floor into and through the trees and bursts out above the canopy, giving spectacular panoramic vistas of the surrounding mountains and garden.
Explore Cape Point Peninsula
Leave the city centre, and you will see that much of the beauty of Cape Town is located along its peninsula – this should be one of your must-do trips in Cape Town.
The Cape Peninsula is an essential part for anyone visiting Cape Town. As much a part of the city as Table Mountain is, Cape Town’s coastal regions boast some of the city’s most sought-after addresses and some of the best sunsets.
So what is The Cape Peninsula? It is a spectacular region that stretches from Cape Town to the Cape of Good Hope, hemmed in by the Atlantic Ocean and False Bay, where you will experience magnificent scenery, quaint towns and beautiful beaches.
Include a stop at the famous Boulders Beach. Boulders Beach shelters a breeding colony of more than 2 000 endangered African Penguins. Visitors can enjoy close-up encounters with these charismatic creatures, all in a stunning setting with giant granite boulders, rock pools, calm bays and uncrowded patches of gleaming sand.
Walk around Bo-Kaap
Put on your walking shoes and take a stroll through Bo-Kaap. This neighbourhood is located at the foot of Signal Hill land is famous for the bright coloured houses and cobblestone streets – here visitors are welcomed in the Cape Malay (commonly referred to as Bo-Kaap) neighbourhood.
The area is scattered with cafes and restaurants, which serve a variety of Malay food – an exciting fusion of local and Malaysia flavours.
Wine, Wine and more Wine
If you have been rushing around touring Cape Town and need time to “chillax” – head on over to the Winelands for a day or two or three of wine-tasting. Explore local vineyards and enjoy awe-inspiring food – this is most definitely one of Cape Town’s most beloved activity for visitors and locals alike.
Wine estates are a dime a dozen, and it can be challenging to know where to start – I have listed below some of the more-popular wine routes.
- The Constantia Wine Route
- The Stellenbosch Wine Route
- The Helderberg Wine Route
- The Durbanville Wine Route
- The Franschoek Wine Route
The V&A Waterfront is one of Africa’s most visited destinations. It is situated in the oldest working harbour in South Africa, with the iconic Table Mountain as its backdrop.
You will find more than 80 eateries bringing a fusion of both international and local cuisine, from rustic al fresco to fine dining. YUM!
With over 500 retail stores – a diverse offering of local and international brands that guarantees something for everyone shopping in Cape Town – irrespective of taste or budget.
Enjoy live entertainment 365 days a year showcasing the best local music. You will also find a wide variety of attractions and activities like sunset cruises, helicopter flights, Two Oceans Aquarium and so so much more.
For the kids – there is plenty on offer – from play areas and themed boat rides to fun-filled holiday programmes, this is one place kids will always have fun and adventure.
Where to Stay
If you are looking for a unique experience – Mariner Guesthouse in Simon’s Town is the ideal base from which to explore the city of Cape Town.
Mariner Guesthouse is located on the mountainside in historical Simon’s Town and is an award-winning 4-star guesthouse offering breathtaking views across False Bay and ideally located near restaurants and beaches.
The spacious and well-appointed en-suite bedrooms offer world-class accommodation for Bed and Breakfast or self-catering.
The beauty of Cape Town is unparalleled along with vibrant, talented, inhabitants and every tasty food imaginable.
Cape Town is for everyone under the sun – from the lazy to hardcore adrenaline junkies. You can find your fix of hiking, abseiling, coffee shop lazing, party rocking, sunset picnicking, surfing, boat cruising and gallery browsing all within a few minutes of each other.
Welcome to Cape Town – Enjoy the Party!