Places to visit in Cape Town are awe-inspiring and some of the celebrated tourist attractions of the world. To travel and explore the surreal setting of this multifaceted city is a once in a lifetime experience. Cape Town is a historical city with contemporary attractions as well as stunning natural marvels that attract people from far and wide. From the magnificent Table Mountain that guards the city to the urban setting variegated with wildlife and nature reserves; the city can be called a cosmopolitan hub.
Although there are plenty of places to visit in Cape Town, the befitting itinerary isn’t one in which everything can be covered in a short vacation. To add value to your trip and make sure the top tourist attractions of Cape Town are not missed by you, below is the list of best places to visit and things to do in Cape Town.
Best time to visit in Cape Town
Cape Town is listed among the top 10 best cities in the world, because of variegated culture and historical importance and pleasant climatic conditions for touristy. Although the climate and weather conditions are favourable throughout the year for tourists; be it summer or winter, yet the best time to visit Cape Town is January to April for beach vacations. Whereas, for whale watching and wildlife tours, July to November are ideal months.
Best places to visit in Cape Town
1. Table Mountain
Nestled in the Table Mountain National Park, the splendid beauty of flat-topped Table Mountain crowns the city of Cape Town. It completes the extravagant tapestry of South Africa‘s natural beauty and is among the top tourist attractions of Cape Town. Flanked by Lion’s head and Devil’s peak from west and east, it offers plenty of mountain sports, of which trekking, cableway and
hiking to the summit are common.
Adorned by indigenous trees, fynbos, blossoming 1470 flowering plant species, verdant slopes; the National Park is home to varied animal species like baboons and caracals to name a few. The spectacular trails, azure beaches and surreal landscapes, cafes and restaurants with a terrace as viewpoints and 350 different routes to reach the summit makes your visit worthwhile.
2. Cape Point Nature Reserve
Located 65 km from Cape Town, Cape Point is a stunning viewpoint and forms a part of Table Mountain National Park. The photogenic esplanade of this place is undoubtedly meant to make you visit the place over and over. Around 250 species of birds, baboons and ostriches hitching the coastline, antelopes and elands at the grassy pastures, rodents, mongoose, zebras and other reptiles make this nature reserve one of the best places to visit in Cape Town. Shipwrecks are also a common sight to indulge the visitors into a fantasy setting while at the Cape Point.
3. Bo Kaap
Polychromatic neighbourhood situated at the foothills of Signal Hill, Bo Kaap is a former township known as Malay Quarter. Its multicoloured houses and Bo Kaap Museum make it one of the best places to visit in Cape Town. It is located away from the bustling neighbourhoods and areas of the city.
The few interesting things to do here visit the museums, enjoy the local cuisine at restaurants, swim and walk at the beachside. Walk through the cobblestoned Wale Street to the Bo Kaap Museum to experience the routine life of indigenous people. The houses are coloured in different shades to signify the independence of culture and celebrate it alike.
3. Victoria and Alfred Waterfront
Commonly known as the entertainment hub of the city, Victoria and Alfred Waterfront is an ancient harbour. Many buildings and sites from the earlier times have been preserved. The area is surrounded by some of the best tourist attractions in South Africa like Green Point to the west, Nelson Mandela Gateway, Springbok Experience Rugby Museum.
Two Oceans Aquarium is a significant visiting place to mark on the itinerary for the top tourist attractions in Cape Town. As the name suggests, it houses 300 fish species from the Atlantic and the Indian Ocean and penguin encounter, diving, marine creatures, touch tank and predators exhibit. Cape Town Stadium, the location for the 2010 FIFA World Cup matches held in the city is also a momentary place to stop by while taking a stroll around the area.
The V&A food market is infused with visitors and hosts restaurants and cafes offering local and continental cuisines. The speciality shops, craft market, fashion and decor exhibit, theatres, jazz concert venues, cinemas are flocked by tourists year round.
4. Kirstenbosch botanical gardens
Established in 1913 with a mission to protect the indigenous flora and vegetation of the country, Kirstenbosch botanical gardens are the first mission oriented botanical gardens. It is also one of the most famous picnic spots and places to visit in Cape Town. Indigenous flora with 20,000 African species are protected, collected, studied and grown covering an area of 528 hectares.
The Kirstenbosch Estate is a part of a UNESCO World Heritage site, Cape Floristic Region; this estate includes a cycad amphitheatre – great picnic spot for kids, a medicinal garden, fragrance garden and Tree Canopy Walkway known as the Boomslang which is a 130 metre bridge and was listed as the Best Objects of South Africa in 2015.
Kirstenbosch Tea Room and other restaurants offer picnic hampers for visitors. Company’s Garden, Iziko South African Museum and Planetarium are places of interest around Kirstenbosch gardens.
5. Cape Winelands
It is no myth that South Africa’s best wine estates are located in Cape Winelands, which is the best place to visit in Cape Town. It lies in a valley circumscribed by a continuous range of Cape mountains, offering scenic views of little hamlets, historic Dutch farmlands and towns. Stellenbosch, Paarl and Cape Winelands share a similar topography and soil consistency. This explains the favourable conditions for wine farmlands common at these locations.
On your full-day trip to finest wineries of the valley, you’ll find the best restaurants for food and wine combinations at the gourmet capital, Franschhoek. Explore the vineyards of Groot Constantina, Tulbagh, Franschhoek, Stellenbosch, Pniel and many more to learn about the cultivation and processing of world-class wines; don’t forget to taste the artisanal wines of these regions for a better experience.
6. Clifton Beach and Camp’s Bay
Clifton beach is one of the best beach settings of Cape Peninsula, flanked by granite boulders, and pristine blue seas with tidal waves drenching the gleaming white sands of the beach. The First and the Fourth beach are a getaway location for family picnics and beachside volleyball lovers.
Camp’s Bay lies south of Clifton beach is an escapade for both tourists and locals with a number of options to spend the day and relax during weekends. Boutiques, cafes and restaurants found here to keep the crowd busy while tourists enjoy the spectacular views of Lion’s head and Twelve Apostles.
7. Boulders Penguin Beach
Home to endangered penguin species which settled in 1982, Boulder’s Beach is one of the best beaches in South Africa. Watching the penguin waddling and breeding in their natural habitat is an awe-inspiring sight for first-time visitors. A colony of around 2000 species of endangered African penguins can be watched from a safe distance along the walkway at the Foxy Beach.
Glowing sand beaches, calm waters, granite boulders of the Boulders penguin colony are all a part of Table Mountain National Park. The nature lovers who enjoy beach time with wildlife and native creatures must save time from their day trips and escape to this beach.
8. Old Biscuit Mill
Most recommended food and shopping market of the town is Old Biscuit Mill, situated in Cape Town Central; without paying a visit to this area, the trip would be incomplete. To satiate your hunger and love for the indigenous craft and tourist shopping, this is one of the best places to visit in Cape Town. You name it and you’ll find it here from the gourmet food, local dishes to shopping malls and entertainment centres.
For foodies and chocolate and wine lovers, this small town is heaven with plenty of options like CocoaFair, Redemption Burgers, The Test Kitchen (Africa’s best restaurant), Espresso LabMicroroasters and Wine at the Mill.
9. Robben Island
Robben Island is a place of historical importance and enriched with the struggle stories of freedom fighters from the Apartheid era. What was known as the prison capital of the country where Nelson Mandela was imprisoned as well, is now a UNESCO World Heritage site, symbolic of independence and triumph.
It is situated 12 km from the Cape Town and can be accessed through boat rides, sailing from the Nelson Mandela Gateway at the Victoria and Alfred Waterfront. The lime quarry where prisoners were forced to work as labourers and Mandela’s former cell are places of interest at the island. The guides are mostly former prisoners of the island with information and experiences to share, which makes the tour more appealing to the visitors.
The places and tourist destinations of Cape Town, nestled in Western Cape of South Africa cannot be summarised in mere words. There are many activities and adventure tours for visitors to revel, no matter where you are in the city.
Things to do in Cape Town
- Hike to Lion’s head and enjoy one-hour cableway ride to the Table Mountain summit with panoramic views of Cape Town.
- Enjoy a picnic with horse-riding, meal and wine, and mountain biking at the Manor House and Kirstenbosch botanical gardens to learn about the native African floral diversity.
- Steal some time for taking a stroll across the Babylonstoren gardens infused with floral biodiversity and watch bees, ducks, chickens and tortoises.
- Savour the taste of finest wines at the Night Market in Cape Vineyards, where festivities and events take place on Thursday evenings.
- Kalk Bay is a harbour offering beautiful sunset views with possibilities to trail the isolated lighthouse.
Join the early morning yoga session at the Clifton beach held every Sunday.
- Enjoy the tea with evening views of gardens and fountains from the terrace if Mount Nelson Hotel.
- For pizza, cake, ice-cream and beer lovers, Spice Route in Paarl is a perfect stop.
- Learn about different types of gin in a three-hour workshop and make your artisanal gin on Saturdays at the New Harbour Distillery, Woodstock.
- Spend some time kloofing and hiking at the Suicide gorge trails.
- Explore Africa’s largest bird park, World of Birds with more than 3000 species of birds.
- Befriend and watch the wild species at Table Mountain National Park, Karoo National Park, Robben Island penguin colony and other wildlife reserves.