Top Things To Do In Cape Town
Updated: Aug 20, 2020
Cape Town is by far our favorite travel destination in the whole wide world. Sitting at the feet of iconic Table Mountain, we could not help ourselves but instantly fall in love with this city. The delicious food, the stunning landscapes, the amazing people, the good wine, the tasty gin, the bustling markets - everything is just amazing there.
To top it all off, Cape Town invites to relax in their many cafes, offers countless opportunities to dive deep into South Africa’s history at their historical sites and enjoy their lively nightlife scene in bars all across the city.
Here are our top things to do in Cape Town!
Go Up Table Mountain
There are two ways to get up Table Mountain. You can choose to hike or take the Table Mountain Aerial Cableway. Either way, the view from the top is unforgettable. We recommend to hike up and take the cable car down. The best time to head up the mountain is right before sunset.
If you are the sporty kind and not such a couch potato like we are, consider hiking up Lions Head as well. It is one of the most popular hikes in Cape Town. Once at the top, you will be rewarded with a breathtaking view of the city, Table Mountain, and the ocean.
Price for the Table Mountain Aerial Cableway:
Adult (Morning): R360 (Return) R200 (One Way)
Adult (Afternoon): R300 (Return) R200 (One Way)
Children (Morning): R180 (Return) R100 (One Way)
Children (Afternoon): R150 (Return) R100 (One Way)
Go for Gin Tasting
Gin is making a comeback around the globe and Cape Town has become one of the leading trendsetters in this area. Local brewers across the city are experimenting with unique gins infused with flowers including rooibos.
Try some of their handcrafted gins paired with recommended garnishes by the distillery during a Gin Tasting. It’s a great excuse for day drinking!
We went to Distillers & Union and we had a great experience.
Have a Coffee at Truth Coffee
What better to start your day than with a good coffee or in my case tee? Visit Truth Coffee. Its a steampunk-inspired, 19th-century artisan coffee roastery offering gourmet, home-roasted coffee served by theatrical waiters in matching costumes.
The coffee roastery is located in a former warehouse in the city center and all coffees are handpicked and of single-origin coffees. All their coffees have funny names including Navvin’s favorite DDT (Deep, Dark and Twisted).
The food there is also really good. Their breakfast and lunch options are inspired by selected places around the world. They surely know what they are doing.
Enjoy Brunch at the Food Markets
The markets in and around Cape Town are the perfect place to sample the culinary diversity that the city has to offer. Aside from good food, these markets are the perfect place to get yourself some unique, handcrafted souvenirs including jewelry, paintings, and clothes.
These Are Our Favourite Markets in Cape Town:
Oranjezicht City Farm Market: The food there is so good, we went there twice in one week. It is a community farmers-style market where local farmers offer fresh produce. You can find everything there from veggies, fruits, bread, organic dairy, free-range eggs, honey, cake, muffins, pastry, marmalade, homemade mayonnaise, cheese, and snacks. Aside from farmers, there is also a section, where artisanal food producers offer their international street food creations.
V&A Food Market: The V&A Food Market is a great place to enjoy local dishes and international street food. The options there are plenty.
The Old Biscuit Mill: The Old Biscuit Mill attracts both locals and travelers alike. Inspiring designers, artists, photographers, and decorators offer their creations in fashionable boutiques and amazing cooks offer freshly made food and drinks. Every Saturday, the Old Biscuit Mill also organizes the famous ‘Neighbourgoods Market’, where even more local artisans, designers, and street food vendors offer their creations.
The Bay Habour Market: About half an hour drive from Cape Town lies the small town Hout Bay. Their vibrant market is very famous. Local craftsmen and designers offer their creations and street food vendors sell good food and drinks. While I did not know whether to order a bagel, some vegan street food, or a South African inspired’, where even more local artisans, designers, and street food vendors offer their creations. If you go towards the evening, chances are high that you can enjoy your dinner while listening to some pretty good live music.
What is Biltong? Biltong is dried meat South African style. It is super delicious and the perfect road trip snack.
Visit the Kirstenbosch National Garden
The Kirstenbosch National Garden celebrates the botanical diversity of Cape Town area and a visit to the garden is a must. It is the first botanical garden being declared UNESCO world heritage in 2004. Located at the foot of Table Mountain, the 36 ha garden is very well maintained.
Take a walk in the garden and take in all the different sounds, smells, and scents. It’s a ‘truely’ calming experience. While you are there, don’t forget to walk across the Centenary Tree Canopy Walkway high up in the trees.
Should you visit Cape Town in the summer between late November and April, make sure to reserve some time to attend one of their popular Summer Sunset Concerts. Before you go, get yourself a picnic blanket pack some good wine and snacks from one of the markets and you will have yourself an unforgettable evening.
Visit the Colorful Bo-Kaap
Bo-Kaap is an area of Cape Town that is formerly known as the Malay Quarter. Situated at the foot of Signal Hill, Bo-Kaap was originally built in the late 18th century to house slaves who were brought to the Cape by the Dutch from Malaysia, Indonesia, and other parts of Africa.
For a romantic Cape Town, many things that you want to do and visit are rather far apart. Our recommendation is to rent a car straight from the airport. It gives you the flexibility you want during your vacation. Just remember, people here are driving on the left side of the road. Other than that it is a car-friendly area and traffic is manageable. Another tip is to have some cash in your car as you will need to pay a toll on the major roads.
Enjoy a great Dinner Overlooking the Atlantic Ocean
For a romantic dinner overlooking the Atlantic Ocean and a stunning view of the Twelve Apostles and Lion’s Head, we highly recommend going to ‘The Bungalow’ in Clifton. The food is out of this world and the service is excellent.
“Mediterranean cool meets Cape Town chic at the Atlantic Seaboard’s most sought-after space.” The Bungalow
Visit the Penguins at Boulder’s Beach
At Boulders Beach, you will have the unique opportunity to get up close with the penguin colony that lives in between the dunes. Simply follow the boardwalks through the dunes and dense vegetation around Foxy Beach.
Watching the penguins waddle over the beach is a pure delight for both adults and kids. At Foxy Beach, you even have the opportunity to get really close and take some unique souvenir photos.
Did you know?
The African penguins carry the nickname ‘Jackass’ penguins referring to the loud noise they sometimes make to communicate. Colonies can be found from southern Namibia all the way around the South African coast to Port Elizabeth.
Entrance Fee: Adults R76/ day & Children R41/ day
Go for Wine Tasting
We visited Cape Town because we had the honor to be invited to the beautiful wedding of two of our amazing friends, whom we met back in Kuala Lumpur. For their big day, they chose Zorgvliet, which is a beautiful wine farm nestled in the hills just outside of Stellenbosch.
Coming straight from the airport after a long flight, we were welcomed at the Country Lodge with a panoramic view of the mountains. The service at the wine farm was excellent, the rooms were comfortable and cozy - exactly what we needed to get over our jet-lag.
The food there was equally amazing and it did not take long before we attended our first wine tasting session. It was a great experience and super delicious.
Another wine farm worth visiting is Peter Falke Wines. The picnic was delicious and the wine really good. We loved it so much, we actually forgot to take pictures.
Here are their addresses:
Zorgvliet Wine Estate, Helshoogte Rd, Stellenbosch Central, Stellenbosch, 7600, South Africa
Peter Falke Wines, Annandale Rd, Stellenbosch, 7600, South Africa
Go on a Road Trip
The surrounding areas of Cape Town are beautiful. Hop in your rented car and go on an amazing road trip along Chapman’s Peak and Noordhoek down to the Cape of Good Hope.
We blocked 2 full days for what turned out to be one of the most scenic road trips we have ever done. Recommended by our South African friends, we made several stops along the way to enjoy the view and sample good food in the small towns along the way.
For more information on the best stops that you should not miss on your road trip in the Western Cape, click here on our ‘The Ultimate Road Trip Guide The Western Cape’.
How to Get Around?
Uber: Uber services are widely available in and around Cape Town.
Rent a Car: Many things that you want to do and visit are rather far apart. Our recommendation is to rent a car straight from the airport. It gives you the flexibility you want during your vacation. Just remember, people here are driving on the left side of the road. Other than that it is a car-friendly area and traffic is manageable. Another tip is to have some cash in your car as you will need to pay toll on the major roads.
Rent a Scooter: Like in Southeast Asia, scooters are a popular mode of transportation. It’s convenient and you will surely find parking everywhere you go, just remember to wear a helmet. Safety first!
Is it Safe?
We felt very safe in Cape Town. Simply use your common sense and avoid visiting the townships unless it’s with a reliable tour operator.
Where to Stay?
Wine Farms: We definitely recommend you to stay a night or two in one of the wine farms around Cape Town. It is an amazing experience that you will never forget.
Airbnb: While planning for our trip to South Africa, we found out that there are plenty of uniquely designed Airbnb in and around the city. There were so many good options that we switched rooms every two days.
My personal favorite was our stay in a Container hotel. I always wanted to stay in a container home and it did not disappoint. Nestled into the lush-green park of Camps Bay Retreat, we received top service and felt super save and secluded.