There are many things to do in and around Cape Town. It’s a vivid area and famous for the Table Mountain and of course the South African penguins. Make sure you have seen those two.
In this blog I will talk about 16 things that you can do in and around Cape town. There is much more to do but you must visit these places:
- Waterfront Cape Town
- City center of Cape Town
- Bo-Kaap with colorful houses
- Hiking Lion’s Head
- Relax on Clifton beach
- Table Mountain
- Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden
- Chapman’s Peak
- Surf and colorful houses at Muizenberg beach
- Boulders Beach Penguin colony
- Cape of Good Hope
- Cape Point Nature Reserve
- Prison site Robben Island
- Drink wine at Stellenbosch or Franschhoek
- Whale watching at Hermanus
- Extra: drive the Garden Route
If you want to know more about South Africa read the blog What to know about South Africa. When you are planning to do a road trip in South Africa you should read the blog The ultimate road trip in South Africa so you don’t forget to visit the best places.
Waterfront Cape Town
V & A Waterfront is the harbor of Cape Town. From here you take the ferry to the prison site Robben Island. Besides taking a boat there are many places to eat and drink something here and there are many events.
The best thing to do is wander around the area and discover the history of this harbor. Another thing you can do is shop for arts and crafts because there are many shops here. You will also find an Aquarium that you can visit or book a sightseeing cruise to be on the water instead of under it.
City center of Cape Town
When you explore Cape Town, you must walk on the Long Street. Here there are many restaurants, and you will walk along Victorian buildings which are beautiful. If you want to find some handmade local gifts, then St. George Mall is the place to be. This area is crowded so be aware of your belongings. Another place to go is the Green Market square where you have the Old Town Hall, and you will find many coffee shops.
Another place you should pass by is Cape Town City Hall, there you have an amazing view over the Table Mountain. On that square you will also see the Castle of Good Hope that you can visit.
I suggest you get lost in Cape Town and find the best views over the Table Mountain. For the street with big buildings, you should pass by Adderley Street.
Tip: go to Southern Sun Cape Sun Hotel at Strand Street and go up to the highest floor. You will have the most beautiful view over the city and the Table Mountain.
Bo-Kaap with colorful houses
This is the most colorful area of Cape Town. During the racial separation it was forbidden to wear colorful clothes. This Islamic neighborhood painted their houses colorful to celebrate the end of the racial separation (Apartheid). Now every year after Ramadan they paint their house again.
In this area there is the Bo-Kaap Museum that you must visit to discover the history of this special neighborhood.
Hiking Lion’s Head
Hike up the Lion’s Head to have the most beautiful view over Cape Town. Hiking to the top takes around 1 hour and it’s worth the hike.
Tip: go watch a sunrise or sunset from this point but don’t forget to bring a headtorch.
Relax on Clifton beach
The beaches of Clifton (1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 4th) are breathtaking. You immediately get why they are ranked in the top ten of the most beautiful beaches in the world. Bring your picnic and relax on the beach.
Tip: watch a sunset because they are epic from here!
You must go on the Table Mountain, it’s one of the oldest mountains in the world and it’s 1,085 meters high. There are two options to go on this mountain. You can hike up the mountain or take the cable car up.
If you decide to hike up, then you need to know that there are many different hiking routes.
- The easiest route is the highway to the top, Platteklip Gorge. This hike starts at the bottom of the cable car. It’s 3 kilometers going up and depending on how fast you go it’s 1 to 2 hours hiking.
- The Skeleton Gorge or Smuts Track is the best option if you want more adventure. This hike starts at Kirstenbosch Botanical Garden. It’s around 6 kilometers hiking and takes around 3 to 4 hours.
There are many more hikes you can do up the Table Mountain. You can easily do the hikes yourself or book a guide if you don’t like hiking by yourself. You can book a guide on Hike Table Mountain. On this website you can also see which other hiking routes there are that you can do alone.
If you like something adventurous it’s even possible to climb your way up to the Table Mountain. There are many tour operators that offer to climb your way up the Table Mountain like vertigo adventures.
Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden
This is the largest botanical garden of South Africa so definitely worth a visit. There is a nice bridge which you would walk on for some stunning views. During the summer months there are many concerts in this botanical garden. Find out if there is a concert while you are there on the official guide of Cape Town.
This is one of the prettiest routes along the coastline. It’s also called the nine most beautiful kilometers of South Africa. The road connects Hout Bay and the Noordhoek.
Tip: it’s only possible to drive this route with a car or bike, it’s not possible to hike. You must know that it’s a toll route, so you pay a fee to drive on this road. There are different picnic spots along the road.
Surf and colorful houses at Muizenberg beach
Muizenberg beach is one of the best places to go surfing. Besides surfing it’s a must visit because of the white sand and the beautiful colorful houses on the beach.
If you always wanted to try out surfing this is your chance. There are many surf schools in this area. I suggest you read some reviews and pick a surf school that matches your values.
Boulders Beach Penguin colony
On Boulders beach you will find the African penguins and you can swim with them. To enter you need to pay an entrance fee. Boulders beach is a beautiful place that you must visit but please have respect for the penguins. Leave them alone and just watch them in their natural habitat.
Tip: nearby there is a hotel where you can book an affordable room called Boulders Beach Hotel. Ask for room number one so you have a view. It can happen that the penguins wander around outside your room. I recommend also to hike around the area. When you stand in front of the parking lot here you should go to the right. There is a path along the water where you can spot the penguins for free.
Cape of Good Hope
This is the Southeast point of the African continent and it’s where the Indian Ocean and the Atlantic Ocean meet which you can see by the color of the water. This place used to be a crucial place in trading of South Africa. There are many shipwrecks scattered in this area. It’s a rocky headland and nice to walk around the area.
Cape Point Nature Reserve
Cape Point is the most Southeastern point of the African continent. You will see towering stone cliffs, breathtaking bays, and beaches. On the end of the point, you will find a lighthouse. It’s nice to walk around the area and enjoy the stunning views.
Prison site Robben Island
Robben Island is a prison site and is worth a visit. Many well-known politicians were imprisoned here. You can only get there by ferry which departs from the V & A Waterfront in Cape Town. You can read more about this place on the blog The ultimate road trip in South Africa.
Drink wine at Stellenbosch or Franschhoek
Stellenbosch or Franschhoek are the perfect places to enjoy some good South African wine. If you’re a wine lover this is the place to be. It’s only around a half hour to one hour away from Cape Town and it’s easily accessible by car, train, or bus. You can book your transfer on Rome2rio. More about these places you can read in the blog The ultimate road trip in South Africa.
Whale watching at Hermanus
At Hermanus there are many tour operators that take you whale watching. Hermanus is only around one hour and a half away from Cape Town. If you want to know more about this, you can read the blog The ultimate road trip in South Africa.
Extra: drive the Garden Route
If you have time enough, you should drive the Garden Route called Tuinroute. You will start the route at Mossel Bay and stop at Storm River. For this route you will need 3 to 14 days depending on how many stops you take and how long you stop. More about the Garden route you can read in the blog The ultimate road trip in South Africa.