So you’re visiting Cape Town South Africa or you are already there on a whistle-stop tour and want to try squeeze as much of the Mother City as possible into your holiday?
You could spend a year in this beautiful city and still not have seen and experienced all it has to offer, but let’s see what we can do to make sure you don’t miss out on the ‘places to see in cape town’ – especially for first-timers.
The idea of this itinerary is to whet your appetite so that you return as soon as possible to do Cape Town full justice!
Cape Town Sightseeing Attractions
On landing at Cape Town International Airport, let’s for argument’s sake assume your flight lands at 8 a.m., you need to retrieve your luggage, collect your hire car, and head directly to the Table Mountain Cable Way, above Cape Town’s city centre. Leave the bulk of your luggage and simply take a back pack with money, a camera, sunblock and a warm top.
Your early arrival should ensure that you don’t need to queue for very long. The ride up in the revolving cable car offers your first real look at the sprawling city and surrounds – with a unique 360 degree perspective. Once you arrive at the top you can enjoy breakfast at the restaurant, taking the time to fill in postcards bragging to your friends that you are having your first meal in the Cape on top of one of the world’s most famous and imposing landmark mountains!
Don’t linger too long over that second cup of coffee – you need to be down by midday to go into the CBD for a spot of shopping and exploring. Depending on your personal tastes you may enjoy browsing and gift-buying at the famous Green Market Square (open daily in the week and on Saturday mornings), or you might prefer to take in an exhibition at one of the local art galleries and museums. The main Cape Town Iziko Museum is set in the heart of the historical Cape Company Gardens which in themselves provide a lovely setting for a stroll.
Next, head to the Victoria & Albert Waterfront for a luscious lunch at one of the many eateries overlooking the harbour. More shops beckon and you could spend all day exercising your credit card, but leave enough time for a late afternoon drive around the Atlantic Seaboard.
Enjoy sundowners at trendy Camps Bay or beautiful Clifton – both have exquisite white beaches lapped by aquamarine waters, and numerous pavement cafes overlooking them.
This area is ideal for booking your first night’s accommodation as there are numerous luxury self catering apartments, villas and guest houses – be sure you’ve booked ahead to avoid disappointment. Once you’ve checked in and freshened up, head out for a dinner and some gambling fun at Grand West Casino – a 15 minute drive from the CBD. If you prefer to dance, there are some great little clubs in town, or you could head back to the Waterfront and enjoy a movie or attend the Theatre on the Bay right in Camps Bay which almost always has an excellent production on the go. Once again, plan and book in advance. Local newspapers and Time Out magazine will have details on what’s on entertainment-wise.
No matter how tired you are when you finally fall into bed, set the alarm clock so that you’re on the road early. If you’re really enthusiastic you may even catch the sunrise! In any event, take a leisurely drive, against the daily traffic, to Hout Bay. Here you can enjoy a delicious breakfast and perhaps browse around the harbour-side shops and market. Then get your camera ready for a spectacular drive – over Chapman’s Peak which surely offers the most breath-taking sea and mountain views anywhere.
At the end of the pass is Noordhoek. If you’ve planned ahead you can go for an hour’s horse ride along the wide expanse of the beautiful beach. Make sure you’re back behind the wheel in time to take the winding coastal road past Kommetjie, via Scarborough. Here you can enjoy a delectable lunch followed by a walk up to the viewing point of the tip of the African continent.
Later, drive on into Simon’s Town and be fascinated by the Jackass Penguin Colony at Boulders and Seaforth Beaches. The recently built Penguin Centre offers a mine of information on these curious and cute sea birds.
Next, head along the coastal road out of Muizenberg, along Strandfontein to Stellenbosch in the heart of the Cape Wine Route. Book in at Spier Wine Estate and dine at the wildly unusual and exquisite Moya, Spier’s own restaurant. Moya often has live music, dance or theatre productions. Find out in advance and book! We guarantee a good night’s sleep will follow…
Okay, so we’re cheating and are adding a couple more hours, but really, can you blame us? You can’t leave before cramming in a visit to at least two of the local wine estates before driving back to Cape Town International Airport in time to bid the city a sad farewell.
As the plane takes off and you get a final glimpse of Cape Town we know you’ll be promising to be back as soon as you possibly can.
Top Tourist Attractions in Cape Town South Africa
Victoria and Alfred Waterfront
The Victoria and Alfred Waterfront is located between Table Mountain and Robben Island. Originally built by Prince Alfred (son of Queen Victoria), it is in the heart of the historic harbor, and is now home to a diverse range of shops, and lots of entertainment.
Kirstenbosch National Botanical Gardens
The Kirstenbosch National Botanical Gardens feature 36 hectares of cultivated gardens. The gardens have been cultivated since 1913 – when the government was bequeathed the land. The gardens only feature indigenous South African plants, making it a unique botanical garden to visit. Concerts are held in the gardens every Sunday between December and March.
Robben Island is situated 12 km off the Cape Town coast, and has been designated a UN World Heritage Site. Originally it was inhabited by Stone Age people, at a time when it was still joined to the mainland. In more recent history it has been used as a prison – made famous by Nelson Mandela‘s incarceration. Organized tours are run on the island by former prisoners, and the prison itself is a working museum.
Camps Bay is one of the most beautiful beaches in Cape Town with palm trees lining the avenue. One of the trendiest places in Cape Town, lots of posh Cafes and restaurants face out across the beach. With a laid back atmosphere this is a great place to unwind.
Overlooking Cape Town is the prominent landmark of Table Mountain. Table Mountain is a level plateau with steep cliffs surrounding it which resembles a table. Frequently covered in clouds, these appear to hang over the edge of the mountain like a table cloth. An estimated 1500 different types of plant can be found on Table Mountain, making it a botanists dream! The easiest way to get onto Table Mountain is by cable cars, which carry up to 65 passengers at a time.
Cape Town is probably the most visited place in South Africa. Cape Town was originally a stop off port for Dutch ships sailing to East Africa, India and the Far East, and grew quickly as a result. With its spectacular location and so much to do, it is a must visit destination.
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