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33 of the Best Things to Do in Cape Town

Leyre Paniagua

Basque Country, Spain

Cape Town: a coming-together of landscapes, cultures and cuisines. This unique, mesmerizing city —crowned by the magnificent Table Mountain National Park—continues to enchant everyone who visits. The Mother City has a lot to offer, from gorgeous natural getaways to multicultural city streets. If you’re looking for a perfect Cape Town itinerary (but not sure where to start), don’t worry, we’ve got you covered. Here are 31 of the absolute best things to do in Cape Town:

Stroll along the Sea Point Promenade

Sea Point Promenade, Cape Town
Sea Point Promenade, Cape Town, South Africa.

One of the city’s liveliest attractions, the Sea Point Promenade is one of Cape Town’s best multicultural landmarks. Each day, it brings together skaters, joggers, dog-walkers, cyclists (and everyone in between). The Prom, as the locals call it, is probably one of the best places in the world to watch the sunset.

Groove to live music at the waterfront

V&A Waterfront, Cape Town, South Africa.

Feel the beat of Africa when you walk around the V&A Waterfront. The live performances that take place every weekend keep the mood cheerful and bright. Dance to the sound of marimbas and African drums while enjoying the best of Cape Town’s food, drink and dramatic scenery. 

Hike it to the top of Lion’s Head

Lion's Head, Cape Town
Lion’s Head, Cape Town, South Africa.

This giant, unique outcrop offers 360-degree views of Table Mountain, the Atlantic Seaboard, Camps Bay, the City Bowl, and Robben Island. Lion’s Head, located next to Signal Hill, peaks at 669 metres above the sea level. The 2.6 mile Lion’s Head Trail loop is moderately rated, heavily trafficked, and guarantees to leave you speechless.   

Blossom at the Kirstenbosch Botanical Garden

Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden, Cape Town
Kirstenbosch Botanical Garden, Cape Town, South Africa.

Praised as one of the greatest botanic gardens of the world, Kirstenbosch Botanical Garden is a favorite among both locals and visitors. Known for its Insta-worthy Tree Canopy Walkway, summer concert series, and breathtaking biodiversity, you could spend days at Kirstenbosch and never get bored. While the gardens are open all year round, we recommend visiting sometime between August and November so you can see the park’s famous fynbos flowers in bloom.

Waddle with the African Penguins at Boulders Beach

Boulders Beach, Cape Town
Boulders Beach, Cape Town, South Africa.

Boulders Beach is one of the few places in the world where tourists are actually allowed to swim and interact with penguins. These endangered birds —which are native to South Africa and Namibia— are naturally curious, so you are likely to find them hanging out where people are. The boardwalk above the beach provides visitors with an elevated perspective of the penguins playing, fishing, resting and breeding.

Eat, shop & drink at the Bay Harbor Market

Bay Harbour Market, Cape Town
Bay Harbor Market, Cape Town, South Africa.

This genuine old fish factory comes to life every weekend with the hustle and bustle of a vibrant marketplace. Located in the iconic Hout Bay Harbor, the Bay Harbor Market brings artists, craftsmen, cooks and musicians together. Pop in to see people of all ages and cultures gathering to celebrate life. 

Take a stroll at one of the oldest Cape Dutch farms

Babilonstoring, Babilonstoring
Babilonstoring, South Africa.

The 3.5-hectare garden is probably Babilonstoring’s main attraction, which paths provide visitors with hours of walking pleasures. The farm also offers unique accommodation and superlative food. On top of that, the wine tasting centre maximizes the breathtaking views of the surrounding mountains — making it one of the best things to do in Cape Town.

Pose like a pro in the colorful Bo-Kaap

Bo-Kaap, Cape Town
Boo-Kap, Cape Town, South Africa.

This multicultural area consists of brightly colored houses built in the seventeenth and nineteenth century. Also known for its cobble stoned streets, Bo-Kaap is the oldest surviving residential neighborhood in Cape Town. Its unique architecture attracts thousands of tourists every year. 

Cruise along Chapman’s Peak

Chapman's Peak, Cape Town
Chapman’s Peak Drive, Cape Town, South Africa.

One of the most Insta-worth spots in Cape Town. Chapman’s Peak Drive is a 9-kilometre road snakes around over 114 curves that offer wonderful views of the ocean below. The Oscar-winning documentary film Searching for Sugar Man was shot in this world-renowned coastal street.

Dance your heart out on Long Street

Long Street, Cape Town
Long Street, Cape Town, South Africa.

Long Street is the oldest party street in Cape Town. Despite its somewhat-shabby appearance at night, Long Street continues to attract large crowds of people looking for a good time. If you’re looking to get down, a few of our favorite clubs and bars are: Beerhouse, SGT Pepper, Fiction and The Dubliner.

Sip coffee with alpacas at the Alpaca Loom

The Alpaca Loom Coffee Shop and Weaving Studio, Paarl
Alpaca Loom Coffee Shop and Weaving Studio, Southern Paarl, South Africa.

Enjoy mouth-watering cakes and a cup of freshly brewed coffee at the Alpaca Loom Coffee Shop and Weaving Studio…while watching an alpaca herd? Sounds strange, but that’s not all: visitors are allowed to feed the animals and interact with them in between coffee sips.

Visit an authentic African craft market 

Pan African Market, Cape Town, South Africa.

Situated in the heart of Cape Town City Centre, the Pan African Market offers hand-made souvenirs, tribal masks, drums, paintings, decorative pieces and any other kind of collectables. Its friendly traders come from all over Africa, giving you a taste of the entire continent without ever leaving Cape Town.

Go seal snorkeling in Hout Bay

Hout Bay, Cape Town
Hout Bay, Cape Town, South Africa.

Dive into the cool waters of Cape Town’s Hout Bay and experience a close-up encounter with some of the friendliest creatures in the world. That’s right, Duiker Island is home to thousands of Cape Fur Seals. To get there, book this tour.

Hop on the ferry for a slice of history at Robben Island

Robben Island, Robben Island
Robben Island, South Africa.

Declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site, this is a must-add on the itinerary of every Cape Town tourist. The country’s first democratically elected president, Nelson Mandela, spent 18 years of his life in the Robben Island prison. However, he was by no means the only political prisoner. To learn more, grab a formal guide, or stop by on your self-led Nelson Mandela South Africa tour.

Pick a milkshake at Gibson’s

Gibson’s Gormet Burgers and Ribs, Cape Town, South Africa. Credit: @gibsons_capetown

If you have a sweet tooth, Gibson’s Gourmet Burgers and Ribs is our go-to. Located at the popular V&A Waterfront, this restaurant offers more than 100 milkshakes that include delicious combinations like salted caramel, peanut butter brownie, chocolate and coconut, sweet and salted popcorn, and so. many. more.

Get a tan at Clifton 4th Beach

Clifton 4th, 4th
Clifton 4th Beach , Cape Town, South Africa.

Get your Vitamin Sea fix at one of the most popular spots in Cape Town. Of all four magnificent Clifton beaches, Clifton 4th is the best for playing volley, people-watching, and sunbathing. Its sugar-white sand is often packed with beautiful people. If you are brave enough to venture into the freezing water, you will find some nice waves for bodysurfing. 

Try tandem paragliding from Signal Hill

Signal Hill, Cape Town, South Africa. Credit: @flyskywings

Weather permitting, there is never a bad day to admire the beauty of Cape Town from the sky. Take off from Signal Hill and soar over the buildings while appreciating the stunning views of Table Mountain and Clifton. With an expert pilot behind you (we love Skywings Paragliding), all you have to do is sit back, relax, and fly. 

Sneak into a secret gin bar 

The Gin Bar, Cape Town
The Gin Bar, Cape Town, South Africa.

A whole bunch of gin is the last thing you’d expect to find in a chocolate shop, but tucked away behind in the courtyard of Honest Chocolate is Cape Town’s first and only Secret Gin Bar. This exclusively gin-serving spot is located on Wale street and boasts an impressive collection of more than 40 crafted drinks. In addition to being completely hidden, The Gin Bar is rich in history: despite being a glamourous space now, the bar used to be part of mortuary!

Get wine drunk on the Franschhoek Wine Tram

Franschhoek Wine Tram, Franschhoek
Franschhoek Wine Tram, South Africa.

This hop-on hop-off tour on the Franschhoek Wine Tram is one of the best ways to explore the dramatic scenery, the picturesque vineyards and the world-class cuisine and exquisite wines of the Franschhoek Valley. Visitors can enjoy the experience at their own pace, as they simply need to hop on whenever they want to resume with the tour. Cheers!

Surf the best waves in Muizenberg

Muizenberg, Cape Town
Muizenberg, South Africa.

This small town outside Cape Town is famous for being the most popular surfing spot in South Africa. Whether you are a newbie or an expert, there is room for everybody in Muizenberg. Although the beach is the main attraction, there is more to this place than sand and water, like beachfront restaurants, surf shops, and cute cafés.

Spot safari animals at Aquila Safari

Aquila Private Game Reserve, Touws River
Aquila Private Game Reserve, South Africa.

Want to safari but don’t want to fly all the way to Kruger Park? Aquila Safari, located 2 hours from Cape Town, offers 7500 hectares of Africa’s best wildlife. Lions, elephants, leopards, rhinos and buffalo wait for you at this private game reserve. Cheery on top? Aquila’s commitments to responsible practices, ethical tourism, and anti-poaching

Kayak with dolphins in the Atlantic Ocean

Atlantic Outlook, Cape Town, South Africa. Credit: @atlanticoutlook

One of the most magical ways to explore Cape Town is by sea. The Atlantic Ocean is home to a wide array of creatures, including everyone’s favorite: dolphins! When you join a tour with Atlantic Outlook, you kick off from the V&A Waterfront and cruise the Atlantic Sea Board coastline. Don’t forget to grab your camera and prep yourself for an unforgettable experience.

Discover a creepy abandoned waterpark

Macassar Beach Pavilion, Cape Town
Macassar Beach Pavilion, Cape Town, South Africa.

The Macassar Beach Pavilion is one of Cape Town best kept secrets. Believe it or not, most locals have never heard of it. This abandoned waterpark lies hidden amid scraggly vegetation and has been overtaken by the dunes. Built in 1991, this creepy spot was once a popular summer resort.

Visit the Old Biscuit Mill Market

The Old Biscuit Mill, Cape Town
Old Biscuit Mill, Cape Town, South Africa.

This vibrant market is situated in the heart of Woodstock. Once an old 19th-century factory, the Old Biscuit Mill is now an emporium of casual Cape Town restaurants, craft shops and designer stores you want to tick off your bucket list. If you happen to visit on a weekend, save your Saturday for the Old Biscuit Mill. 

Spend a night under the stars at Cederberg

Cederberg Wilderness Area, West Coast DC
Cederberg, South Africa.

The Cederberg Mountain range, located only 2.5 hours drive from Cape Town, is the perfect stargazing spot. If you want to spend a night perched under the stars while building memories around the fire, the Gecko Creek is our go-to. This fantastic lodge offers accommodation overlooking the valley and is surrounded by stunning hiking trails.

Explore Khayelitsha Township

Khayelitsha Township Tours, Cape Town
Khayelitsha Township, South Africa.

Township tours are a must for those willing to experience the real South Africa. Although Township tourism does prompt important ethical questions, non–invasive tours are beneficial for the communities and offers both visitors and locals the opportunity to learn from each other. We recommend the guided walking township tour with Khayelitsha Township Tours.

Dip into Dalebrook Tidal Pool in Kalk Bay

Dalebrook Tidal Pool,

Dalebrook is an extremely popular, but quiet, natural pool located halfway between St. James and Kalk Bay. Visited by locals for generations, this charming spot by the railway is safe and warm. If the weather isn’t on your side, you can always have a warm cup of coffee or ice cream on the opposite side of the street.

Grab a drink in the clouds at Cloud 9 Rooftop

The Cloud Nine Boutique Hotel, Cape Town
Cloud 9 Rooftop Bar, Cape Town, South Africa.

Located in the heart of Tamboerskloof and officially voted one of the best rooftops in Cape Town, Cloud 9 offers 360-degree views of Table Mountain and its surroundings. But that is not all: the lower deck is equipped with a crystal-clear pool that’s open to the public.

Attend a gospel church service

Gospel Church, South Africa.

Church is an important part of social life in South Africa, and also a great reflection of the existing cohesion between communities. The warm voices of the congregation will echo in your heart long after you have left the country. This half-day gospel tour with Camissa Travel is nothing but a one-in-a-lifetime experience. 

Snap up a good bargain at the Milnerton Flea Market

Milnerton Flea Market, Cape Town, South Africa.

Despite its name, this diverse, outdoor weekend market is not located in Milnerton anymore, but in Paarden Eiland. At the Milnerton Flea Market, enjoy exquisite views of Table Mountain while wandering around the more than 250 stalls and smelling the sea wafting through the air.

Watch some whales in Hermanus

Hermanus, Hermanus
Hermanus, South Africa.

Recognized by the World Wildlife Fund as one of the best whale-watching destinations in the world, Hermanus is a non-negotiable part of your itinerary. September, when the Hermanus Whale Festival takes place, is the best month to spot these magnificent creatures, as they return from their feeding grounds in Antarctica.

Try the best sushi in town at Active Sushi

Active Sushi, Cape Town
Active Sushi, Cape Town, South Africa.

Pick up your chopsticks and get ready for the most delicious sushi in town. The good news: you can actually get enough of it. Active Sushi, located in Hudson street, offers a fantastic all-you-can-eat special that will leave you satisfied.

Get face-to-face with sharks in Gansbaai

Gansbaai, Gansbaai
Gansbaai, South Africa.

Gansbaai, also known as the capital of the Great White Shark, is located less than 3 hours away from Cape Town. Shark cage diving tours generally offer transfers to and from the Mother City, so you don’t miss the opportunity to explore the wildest side of the Atlantic Ocean.