What Are The Best Things To Do in Cape Town?
If you are a tourist to Cape Town and looking for the best things to do in Cape Town, then this blog post is for you!
There are many different activities that tourists can enjoy while visiting.
You could visit one of the most famous landmarks such as Table Mountain or Robben Island.
If it’s your first time here, be sure not to miss these places! The locals will recommend some of their favourite spots, so don’t forget to ask around and try everything out. No matter what type of traveller you are -family vacationer, foodie, outdoorsy person- there’s something for everyone in Cape Town!
Here are my top best things to do in Cape Town.
Obviously, there are many things to do but let’s look at Chapmans Peak drive, Boulders penguins, Cape Point, Kirstenbosch, whale watching, Table Mountain, V&A Waterfront, Zeitz Mocaa Museum, Kalk Bay and Lions Head. More details are below.
1. Drive Chapmans Peak
For me Chapman’s Peak is one of my favourite routes to travel along. It is a scenic drive that takes about an hour and a half from the city centre of Cape Town. It has amazing views of the ocean and mountains all around it. So if you’re looking for something to do outside of Cape Town, this is definitely one option!
Chapmans Peak (map). Take a day. Stop along at various suburbs. And explore. (Video)
2. Visit the Penguins at Boulders Beach Simonstown
If you’re looking for a quick, fun and free or paid activity to do while in Cape Town, this is the one. I was so excited when I first learned that there are penguins near Cape Town. Penguins! In Africa! How cool is that?
You can’t miss them if you visit Boulders Beach Simonstown about an hour outside of Cape Town.
The penguins are such a delightfully cute site to see as they waddle around their habitat with their little flippers and bright orange beaks peeking out of the water every now and then. They make funny braying noises like a donkey.
3. Visit Cape Point Reserve
Cape Point is a beautiful reserve located 30km’s from Cape Town.
There are many types of animals that live there including zebras, baboons, ostriches and more! You can also hike or have a picnic here. This is a great way for tourists who come to Cape Town for holidays or work from around the world to experience something out of their comfort zone.
It’s important not only to see game but nature as well, the wildflowers, for example, are great, because it changes your perspective on life while exploring these beautiful landscapes and taking in the fresh air. So when visiting Cape Point Reserve keep your eyes open and take in the beauty.
The views are breathtaking and you’re sure to get some great photographs! There is plenty of space for picnicking with your family or friends when visiting this reserve.
Get up close and personal with animals at Cape Point. (Cape Point Map). You can drive there or arrange any of these tours here. The hop on hop off bus is great.
4. Have fun at Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens
Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens is a must-see for any tourist to Cape Town.
This botanical garden has been around since 1913 and sits on the slopes of Table Mountain.
You can spend hours wandering through this beautiful place.
With over 7 000 species in cultivation today, the garden forms the perfect display of fynbos and forest that is easily explored and enjoyed by locals and tourists via a number of walks and trails.
There are also plenty of picnic areas where you can enjoy lunch or just relax under a tree while taking in the scenery.
Have fun exploring these amazing gardens!
Botanical Gardens (map), one of South Africa’s most renowned gardens for its variety of plants from all over the world. The Hop on Hop Off Bus is a great option but other tours are available. More here.
5. Whale Watching in Simonstown or Hout Bay
Watch whales breach off False Bay or take an evening boat tour to spot them in their natural environment.
Whale watching in Cape Town is a great way to see these gentle giants in the waters they love.
Simonstown and Hout Bay are two locations where tourists can go whale watching from a boat or even spot them from the shore. The best thing about whale watching is that you’ll get to see them up close and personal without risking getting too close!
The most popular whale-watching time is July to December. With the Southern Right whales between August and November. Simon’s Town Boat Company is a great option in Simonstown.
Go Up Table Mountain
Sitting atop Table Mountain is a must-see for any visitor. The hike to the top can be arduous, but thankfully there are options, and one that doesn’t require any physical exertion: take the cable car! It will give you panoramic views without all the hard work.
The Table Mountain Cableway – goes all the way to 1086 meters above sea level!
The Table Mountain hike is a must-do in Cape Town. The views are fantastic and the vibe on top of the mountain is unbeatable. There are various routes and depending on your fitness you can choose the best route.
It was well worth it – you get a great view of Cape Town from above and see some amazing wildlife as well.
7. Experience V&A Waterfront
V&A Waterfront is one of the favourite attractions for tourists and locals alike. One of the most popular visited by tourists. Lots to do, see, shop, eat and enjoy. A fun place. It offers shopping, restaurants, fun activities and so much more! There are many things you can do while visiting this area on holiday or even if you live in Cape Town. Cruise the waterfront, go on the Cape Wheel or just walk and explore.
Enjoy the V&A Waterfront (map).
8. The Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa (Mocaa)
Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa is a museum that offers new perspectives on the African continent and its diaspora.
With five floors, it houses contemporary art from all over the world. The first two floors present artwork by artists. The third floor is dedicated to galleries and exhibitions with a focus on emerging talent from Southern Africa. The fourth floor showcases how artists have responded to social change in Africa through their work. Lastly, the fifth floor has an auditorium for film screenings that also doubles as a space for events such as debates about current affairs or talks with curators of the museum’s collection.
You’ll find artists from across Africa are well-represented for example Frances Goodman, Mary Sibande, and Athi-Patra Ruga from South Africa; Cyrus Kabiru from Kenya; Ghada Amer from Egypt; Julien Sinzogan from Benin, Kudzanai Chiurai from Zimbabwe; Nandipha Mntambo from Swaziland; Njideka Akunyili Crosby from Nigeria; and more.
9. Walk Through Kalk Bay
Kalk Bay (map). Visit the “South Of France”. A suburb with colourful shops all along the main road. Great cafés and a working harbour. Lovely.
Kalk Bay is a small fishing village on the False Bay coast of Cape Town. It’s a great place to visit if you want to see also has some great restaurants, shops and fresh fish at the harbour.
There are lots of places worth visiting in Kalk Bay – one of the most popular is Kalky’s where they serve up delicious fresh fish straight from their boat at low prices.
10. Lion’s Head
If you’re visiting Cape Town for the first time, it can be hard to know what to do and where to go. One of the most popular tourist attractions is Lion’s Head, which offers breathtaking views of the city. But how will you get there? On foot or by car? Here are some things I learned about my recent visit that might help:
The hike up is a little steep in some parts but not difficult enough to dissuade people from making this amazing trek. And once at the top, visitors can enjoy various lookout points with different perspectives on Cape Town – including one spot called The Devil’s Peak.
If you want you can do a tandem paragliding flight from Lion’s Head.
Lion’s Head (map). The views. A Hike, cycle or drive with 360-degree views. Great for picnics.
You can also travel further along the road by car to Signal Hill where many watch the sunset.
11. Robben Island
Another popular destination is Robben Island, which was home for many years to Nelson Mandela.
Visitors can take a boat ride from Cape Town harbour (1 hour). The tour includes an informative presentation about life on Robben Island before, during, and after apartheid as well as time for walking through the prison where Mandela spent 18 years of his 27-year sentence. Various options to get there exist.
Ultimate Guide To The Best Places to Stay in Cape Town +20 Suburbs
There are many more things to do in Cape Town than we can mention here, but these are some of our favourites. Have you been able to go on any of these adventures yet? Which one is your favourite and why? Let us know what else you’ve done while visiting Mother City by leaving a comment below!
I have shared my best things to do in Cape Town. What about yours?
Why not tell me what is your top things to do in Cape Town?