South Africa has easily become one of my favorite destinations for many reasons, particularly the city of Cape Town. The culture of Cape Town is anything but static. It’s a city with many stories; some told, some untold, and some that remain hidden. Cape Town’s richness, natural beauty, and vibrant spirt will easily get under your skin, proudly living up to it’s name, The Mother City. When visiting Cape Town, here are 15 great things to do that will surely create an unforgettable experience.
1. Table Top Mountain
Table Top Mountain is South Africa’s best-known landmark, and most visited in Cape Town. It’s remarkable rock formation and unrivaled views of Cape Town, Robben Island, and the Peninsula easily welcomes you to the Mother City. Five things to know prior to going: 1. Go early to avoid the crowds; 2. Purchase your tickets online in advance; 3.Check status prior to going – windy/foggy conditions will cause cable car delays; 4.wear comfortable shoes; and 5. Go on a guided walk.
Purchase tickets here.
If seeking a different way to explore Table Top Mountain, explore it’s beauty on foot with a guided walk. I recommend Table Mountain Walks with Margaret. Margaret provides comprehensive and intimate knowledge of Table Top Mountain’s beauty allowing you to feel, smell, and hear all the wonders in your surroundings – well worth it!
2. Robben Island
Nelson Mandela spent 18 of his 27 years in prison on Robben Island. It’s a remarkable journey that speaks volumes about South Africa’s past and is one of Cape Town’s most significant sites.
3. Langa Township/District Six Museum
You cannot rightfully say you have seen Cape Town until you’ve experienced township life. The Langa Township paints a very different picture, drifting away from the glitz and glam of Cape Town’s city center. A visit to the township builds a personal connection with the people, culture, and history of those who live there. It’s truly an unforgettable experience.
Enroute to Langa, a stop at the District Six Museum dives deeper into South Africa’s past and struggle with apartheid.
You can do the Langa Township and District Six Museum in conjunction with Robben Island via Inkululeko Tours.
4. Cape Point Peninsula
Experience breathtaking bays, beaches, and lush greenery along South Africa’s most southern tip!
Photo courtesy of Cape Point Ocean House
5. African Safari
No trip to any parts of Africa is fully complete without an African Safari. If time is of the essence, permitting you form visiting the famous Kruger National Park, a visit to the Aquila Game Reserve Big 5 is a great choice – only 2 hours from Cape Town. Aquila provides a unique opportunity to see lions, rhino, buffalo, elephants, and more through various transportation methods. I recommend the ATV tour. Transportation, food, entrance fees, a sparkling welcome drink, and a gorgeous property to use at your leisure can all be found at Aquila’s private reserve.
6. Great White Shark Experience
The great white shark, one of the most feared creatures in the world, is a must see when visiting South Africa. Stepping into the cage, submerging yourself into their territory, and getting a personal eye-to-eye encounter is such a thrill and will surely get your adrenaline going. I highly recommend Great White Shark Tours. They provide personalized attention, the staff are professional and experienced, and most importantly, they offer a full refund if no sharks are seen. The best time for maximum visibility is March through September.
7. Long Street
Long Street is Cape Town’s most popular street busy with bars, restaurants, and clubs plastered on every corner. Be sure to enjoy an amazing meal at Mama Africa before getting the night started.
While in the vicinity of Long Street, be sure to visit the district of Bo Kaap, situated on the slopes of Signal Hill. Cobblestoned streets and brightly painted houses, used as a form of emancipation from former enslaved people, makes Bo Kaap a hidden treasure worthy of a stroll.
8. Explore The Beach Scene
Camps Bay is the beach to see and be seen! During the day, experience the turquoise colored sea – be warned, the water is ridiculously freezing! At night, Camps Bay turns into the trendiest place to be seen in Cape Town.
A few short miles down, is another beautiful beach, Clifton Beach.
9. V&A Waterfront
Shopping, restaurants, bars, and a scenic backdrop of Table Top Mountain can bee seen from the V&A Waterfront. If time permits, grab a glass of Rose and be entertained by the up-tempo beats of the African Dance Theater.
10. Signal Hill Sunset
Before starting your night at Camps Bay or along Long Street, head up to Signal Hill, with a bottle of Champagne, and take in Cape Town’s beautiful sunset! Tip: I took the hop on hop off tour bus up/down the mountain. It can be very hard getting a taxi once ready to leave.
11. Stellenbosch Wineries
Food and wine lover’s paradise, Stellenbosch is the place to be to experience some of South Africa’s best wine. It’s definitely a day well spent.
12. Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens
Acclaimed as one of the world’s greatest botanical gardens, escape the fast-paced life of Cape Town and enjoy a peaceful stroll at the Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens.
13. High Tea at Mount Nelson
If you’re in the mood for filling savory afternoon treats, easily digested by several glasses of champagne, Afternoon Tea at Mount Nelson Hotel is the place to be! Enjoy a vast selection of tea, coffee, finger sandwiches, soft buns, warm scones, and pastries. Spoil yourself!
Photo courtesy of Mount Nelson
“A glamorous celebration of African identity and the transformative power of creativity” sums up Cape Town’s Carnival. Experience it!
15. Green Market Square
If you’re in search of great African fare, buy it at Green Market Square. There’s an abundance of local crafts, but you MUST bargain!
Photo courtesy of CN Traveler
For some of Cape Town’s greatest eats, click here!