What to do in Cape Town? The answer to that question is very easy… Many! Because this city in South Africa has a rich nature, culture and history that ensures that you can only love this city. We ourselves stayed here 3 weeks to fully explore this city at a slow pace. Are you doing a tour of South Africa? Then you’ll be in Cape Town for a week to see the best sights.
What to do in Cape Town?
1 Make helicopter flight
The most beautiful and special way to get a good overview of Cape Town and the surrounding mountains such as Cape De Good Hope and Lion’s Head, is by helicopter flight. An experience that will definitely stay with you and also give you a different view of the city. We booked this trip through GetYourGide and paid 170 euros per person for half an hour. Not cheap so but worth every euro for an unforgettable experience. On Airbnb you can already book a helicopter ride for 100 euros. Although there are several possibilities in Cape Town. You can find this here.
2 Two Oceans Aquarium
The Two Oceans Aquarium is definitely recommended if the weather is bad and you stay in Cape Town for a longer period of time. In all other cases there are several trips that are more rewarding. What makes this aquarium special in front of many other aquariums are the 3 large tanks with lots of special fish and plants that you will not have seen often in your life. You pay 185 Rand (South African Rand is the currency of South Africa) for what is almost 12 euros. You’re around here about a good hour.
3 Food Market and Watershed
Do you like good food like us? Then you should definitely take a look at the Food Market. Here you will find African as well as European dishes for a small amount. Even if you don’t have to eat anything here, just walking around there is already cozy. When you come out of here you should also take a look at Watershed that is just around the corner. This is a warehouse where you can buy handmade clothing and art from local artists and designers. These two spots are completely free to visit in the Waterfront region. Definitely recommended in this ‘what to do in Cape Town’ list.
4 Shopping in the Victoria Wharf
Anyone who thinks you can’t shop in South Africa is cheated. Because in the Victoria Wharf shopping centre you can do this like no other place. In addition to a few nice local shops, all the major Western brand chains are also present. So you can walk around here for a while. When you’re done shopping, you can eat at one of the restaurants at victoria & Albert Waterfront. This is a cozy waterfront neighborhood.
5 Cape point National Park
If you’re in Cape Town, a trip to Cape Point National Park should definitely not be missed. You have a beautiful view of The Cape of Good Hope here. And not just a sight, because you can even hike on the famous cape. You leave upstairs and end downstairs, vice versa is also possible, but much heavier. A huge plus on this route is that you can also encounter wild ostriches, wildebeest and baboons. Although you shouldn’t dwell on the latter for too long. These can be very dangerous and aggressive.
You can also drive to Cape Point and then you only pay 300 Rand per person at entrance (about 19 euros), unless you also want to take the train up. This train costs 80 Rand, but in our opinion is lost money. But you can also book a tour that takes you past all the beautiful points in this park. The prices for this are very different from each other but for 40 euros you can already book a very good tour. A tip: Always choose a seat on the right in the tour bus, you will be able to see much more along the way.
6 Penguins Spotting in Boulders Beach
The next on the list of ‘what to do in Cape Town’ is perfect to combine with Cape Point because they are close to each other. That’s why these excursions are often offered together on tours. And frankly that’s a good thing, because a trip to the penguins alone isn’t really worth it. Because even though these penguins are here naturally, you feel like you’re walking around a zoo. And that’s mainly because of the many tourists. We would therefore advise you not to buy an entrance ticket of 150 Rand for the small park itself. But go to one of the nearby beaches, here you can also find penguins. Of course there are not as many as in the park but the number of tourists here is also much less. And a plus is that these beaches are often beautiful.
7 South African wine tasting
With 120 000 hectares of vineyards, South Africa is a real wine country. This is due to the Netherlands and Belgium, which introduced wine here in 1652. Reason enough to try these quality wines. You can plan this from Cape Town yourself by car but then there is always someone who can not drink because he has to drive. A better plan is to book a tour with, for example, getyourgide. You can already find tours from 60 euros for a whole day. Please note that you are having a good breakfast, because the wine flows profusely. So we were served 15 different wines during the course of the day. More than enough!
8 Colorful Bo-Cape Visit
One of the most famous places in Cape Town (partly by Instagram) is Bo-Kaap. In this oldest part of the city you will find colourful houses, which makes it very special to walk through. You’ll be around here in half an hour. Unless you’re booking a guided tour to learn about the history of this neighborhood. Because this one is quite interesting, because it is one of the only parts of the city that has survived apartheid in this country. A tip: In Bo-Kaap you have a nice restaurant Harvest Café & Deli and here you can have a delicious (healthy) breakfast with a view of the colourful neighbourhood.
9 Sailing on Table Bay
You can see Cape Town from the air by helicopter but also from the water. You can do this with different types of boats. With a yacht, speedboat, catamaran and sailboat. We chose the latter because we thought it was exciting. And it was, an unforgettable trip. Especially since we were able to spot wild penguins and seals during this trip. You can already book these tours from 15 euros per person at the Bay of Waterfront. A tip: if you wait long enough, the sellers of these tickets will give firm discounts half an hour before departure. For example, there were people who could make this trip for 50 Rand, which is just over 3 euros (this only works in the off-season).
10 Table Mountain
You can also walk table mountain yourself. But this requires a good condition, because this mountain is no laughing matter. It is therefore recommended not to climb this mountain without a guide. Also because some routes are not always safe, and of course you want the safest route. Do you want to do a route but not all that climbing? Then you can also just take the cable car up and come down on foot. For the adventurers there is also the possibility to climb table mountain or abseil.
The third most popular tourist trip in South Africa should of course not be missing from this list of ‘what to do in Cape Town’. Table Mountain is listed in the list of the 7 new natural wonders of the world. And that’s not surprising because it’s a breathtaking place. Something we think you can compare to the canyons in America. You can visit the top of Table Mountain with a cable lift. For this you pay 190 Rand for a one-way ticket and 330 Rand for a return ticket. Which corresponds to about 12 and 21 euros in the current rate. Buy these tickets in advance via the internet. The queues can be very long here.
11 By bus from City Sightseeing
Do you want to see the city in full and pass all the beautiful spots? Then city sightseeing’s hop-on-hop-off buses are the ideal way to do it. These buses drive past all the sights, including Table Mountain, as well as the fun beaches of Camps Bay and Clifton Beach. During these routes you can listen to a guide through earpieces in 8 different languages including Dutch.
You can also get off at any landmark so you can see and discover it. And when you’re done, you can get back on the next bus. Because every 20 minutes a new bus passes. You have several lines where the cheapest is 200 Rand (almost 13 euros) and the most expensive 400 Edge (almost 26 euros). All these tickets are valid for a whole day.
12 Visit to a Township
In Cape Town you unfortunately also have the opportunity to visit a township. In these neighbourhoods, which have been created by Apartheid in South Africa, there is still a lot of poverty and therefore some crime. So don’t visit this without a guide. A guide will cost you an average of 40 euros per person, but it does give you a good look at the real life of these people. We did this too and it opened our eyes anyway. Because no matter how many times you see this on TV, the reality is even tougher. And yet we encourage everyone to do this, it might give you a different perspective on life.
13 Shopping and good food in Waterfront
Cape Town’s best-known and most touristy spot is the Waterfront, located at the previously discussed Victoria Wharf shopping centre. In Waterfront you can shop in local souvenir shops but also enjoy good food in the numerous restaurants. There is even a Belgian restaurant ‘Den Anker’ where you can eat delicious Belgian dishes, including mussels with fries. You can also find good street artists in the street scene. And that gives a hugely fun vibe.
14 Swimming outdoors
Do you want to swim in Cape Town with a view of the sea and still prefer not to swim in the sea itself? Then you can do that in the Sea Point Pavilion which has 3 heated pools overlooking the sea. Very spectacular and above all also cheap. Because you pay in this pool 30 Rand per person, which is almost 2 euros in the current rate. The pools are usually heated at a temperature of 25 degrees. Which is ideal in summer for some cooling. In winter this can be cold because of the wind coming from the sea.
15 Canal Walk Shopping Center
If you really want to go shopping in Cape Town, the Canal Walk Shoppingcenter is definitely the perfect place for that. With more than 400 shops bundled together in an imposing building, this is one of cape town’s largest shopping centres. You can easily reach this shopping centre from the Waterfront with an Uber or Taxi. You pay about 120 Rand here for what is almost 8 euros. If you are a sweet-mouth like us, you should definitely pass at Linnos Bakkers in this shopping centre. This store sells the most delicious cakes ever for only 3 euros.
16 Gold Restaurant Cape Town
If you want real African food, the Gold Restaurant in Cape Town is the perfect place to do so. Because in addition to the 15 African dishes you get to taste at the buffet, you also get a lot of animation. For example, you can book an extra djembe initiation for the buffet for 99 Rand. And there are traditional African performances throughout the buffet. And that makes this restaurant a total experience that you should definitely have done when visiting Cape Town. The price without the djembe lesson will cost you 395 Rand which in the current price is almost 25 euros. Reservations are recommended, even though this is a very big thing.
17 The prison on Robben Island
If you are in Cape Town, you can hardly help but go to Robben Island. Because it was on this island that Nelson Mandela was imprisoned for 18 years by the apartheid regime in South Africa. And although this is historically very interesting, this was one of the lesser trips for us. And that’s mainly because of the fixed tourist route that you have to follow that is far too tightly planned. As a result, you have little freedom to stand for some parts a little longer. Because you only stay on the island for 2 hours and then the ferry boat leaves for Cape Town. What is very interesting about this tour is that you get a tour by an ex-prisoner of this prison.
This tour by boat from Cape Town included costing you 360 Rand (almost 23 euros). Tip: In autumn and winter, it’s best not to book the first 9- or 11-hour tour. Because in this period it is often cancelled due to too thick a layer of fog at sea. This can also happen on the 1-hour tour, but the chances are smaller.
18 Food and live music at Mojo Market
A hidden gem in Cape Town is Mojo Market. Partly because it is located in the suburb of Sea Point. In this building you can find street food from all countries. And that for a not so high price. We ate here several times and can especially recommend the noodles. Not exactly African, but it’s delicious. In addition to all this good food, you also have live music from local artists almost every night in this cosy building. Which creates a cosy vibe without any real crowds. Because the Mojo Market is not so well known to tourists at the moment. Here come mostly locals. Although this won’t take that long because this place has everything to become a popular hotspot.
19 Visit Cape Town Stadium
In 2010, the World Cup was held in South Africa. Stadiums were built across the country. And the Cape Town Stadium, or also called the Green Point Stadium, is one of these stadiums. You can visit this beautiful stadium with a tour that is organized every Tuesday and Thursday at noon. Or you can of course attend a game of the football team Cape Town City or the better known Ajax Cape Town. You can view the agenda of the stadium here. Because outside of football there are a lot of other events that are organized here.
20 Enjoy on the beach of Camps Bay
Cape Town has many beaches where you can enjoy. One of the most popular is Camps Bay. And that’s mainly because from this pearly white beach you also have a nice view of Table Mountain, which makes this beach a very special place. It is mainly the wealthy population that lives here or has a holiday home. The presence of numerous bars will of course have something to do with its popularity. It is not for nothing called small Miami by the locals. In the summer you even have small huts on these beaches where you can have your moles checked for skin cancer for free. Very progressive so as well as more things in South Africa.
21 Go on Safari
Don’t you have time to go to the famous Kruger Park in the North of South Africa? Then you can also make one from Cape Town. This safari will not be in a large National Park but rather in a reserve where the animals are protected. Make no mistake, these parks are also big and you will really have to look for the big 5 and other beautiful animals. It’s definitely a good replacement if you don’t have that much time to travel far. Because the safaris offered from Cape Town last about two days. In these two days you have two game drives through the park.
Although the Aquila Park is the most famous park for safaris in this region, we still recommend the Garden Route Game Lodge. This National Park is about a four-hour drive from Cape Town. But this lodge has outside a beautiful park also excellent accommodation with 2 beautiful infinity pools overlooking the park. Also the food offered in the form of a buffet is excellent! Highly recommended without excessive mass tourism. However, the prices for these safaris are not wrong. You pay about 275 euros per person for this. Food and drink included though. But that’s more than worth the experience!
Are you looking for a piece of natural paradise? Then you should definitely go to the botanical gardens of Kirstenbosch go. Because in this 560ha garden located between the mountains of Cape Town you really come across every kind of flower or plant. Which makes this place a colourful paradise. In the summer you also have open-air performances and an open-air cinema. You’ll pay 100 Rand and an additional 100 Rand for this day trip if you want to take the guided tour. We recommend this because you will drive around the whole park. On foot this is almost not possible in one day.
Are you going?
This was the list of ‘What to do in Cape Town’. Hopefully it will give you inspiration and above all to travel to this beautiful city in South Africa. Please let us know in the comments or on our Facebook page which is your favorite trip.
Curious about our adventures in South Africa? Then definitely read one of these stories: