15 Best Things to do in Cape Town

15 Best Things to do in Cape Town

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Heading to South Africa and wondering what are the best things to do in Cape Town?  Need some ideas for your Africa bucket list?

You’ve come to the right place!

Cape Town and just South Africa in general has been on my must-see list for quite some time.  I’m hoping to make it there this December, fingers crossed, so I’ve asked my friend Lauren from Wanderlust Movement to share with us her favorite things to do in Cape Town.  After reading the post full of spectacular views and wildlife, it sounds like Cape Town is my kinda place!

Travelers are spoilt for choice when it comes to the plethora of things to see and do in South Africa’s most popular coastal destination. From adrenaline-pumping activities to wine tastings and scenic hikes, boredom will never be a word that crosses your mind as you explore this unique part of Africa.

Heading to South Africa soon?! Check out this post on the top things to do in Cape Town! >> Can't wait to read this later!

Cape Town Pre-Travel Guide

1) How to Get Around

If you don’t want to hire a car, you can get to most places in and around the city by hopping on board the MyCiti Bus. Alternatively, Uber is a popular choice, with most things being within a short travelling distance.

2) Important Things to Pack

For the warmer months, pack sunscreen! The weather in Cape Town can change with a drop of the hat, so always make sure you have something warmer or cooler with you when you leave your hotel.

3) Where to Stay 

For travelers on a budget, stay at Once in Cape Town. The hostel is conveniently located and has its own bar attached with regular DJs. Or if you are looking to splurge, stay at The Glen Boutique Hotel in Sea Point and unwind with spa facilities and luxurious rooms.

4) When to Go

The best time to visit Cape Town is during the summer months of December to April. Not only is the weather amazing, but your social calendar will be full with trance parties happening every weekend and an array of events almost every day as Capetonians celebrate coming out of their winter hibernation.

Things to do in Cape Town, South Africa

Here are some of the best things to do in Cape Town, also known as the Mother City.

1. Hike Up Lion’s Head

One of Cape Town’s most popular hikes, just minutes from the CBD, is Lion’s Head. This short two-hour walk will give you beautiful panromantic views of the city and the coastline below. Aim to reach the summit just before sunrise or join the locals for the popular full moon hike. You just might break your Instagram.

Heading to South Africa soon?! Check out this post on the top things to do in Cape Town! >> Can't wait to read this later!

2. Conquer Table Mountain

Summiting Table Mountain is another essential on any Cape Town to-do list. Adventurous souls can choose from a variety of routes, the most popular being platteklip gorge – but beware, the route is steep. If you are feeling lazy or don’t have much time, beat the hikers without breaking a sweat by taking a ride up the mountain on the cable car.  If you’re lucky you may be greeted by some rock hyraxes (“dassies”).

Heading to South Africa soon?! Check out this post on the top things to do in Cape Town! >> Can't wait to read this later!

Heading to South Africa soon?! Check out this post on the top things to do in Cape Town! >> Can't wait to read this later!

Heading to South Africa soon?! Check out this post on the top things to do in Cape Town! >> Can't wait to read this later!

3. Visit wine country

Can you even say you have “Cape Town-ed” without visiting its world renowned wine region? Just a short drive outside of the city lies Stellenbosch and Franschhoek, filled to the brim with wineries offering an assortment of delicious wines. Catch the train or one of the local shuttles to avoid being the designated driver -trust me, the hangover will be worth it.

Heading to South Africa soon?! Check out this post on the top things to do in Cape Town! >> Can't wait to read this later!

4. Watch a concert at Kirstenbosch Gardens

If you are visiting Cape Town during the summer months, your ears are in for a treat. Every Sunday, Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens plays host to a line-up of South African bands. Bring your picnic blankets, some wine and dance in one of the city’s most picturesque spots. Who knows? One of the local bands might even just become your new musical obsession.

Heading to South Africa soon?! Check out this post on the top things to do in Cape Town! >> Can't wait to read this later!

Heading to South Africa soon?! Check out this post on the top things to do in Cape Town! >> Can't wait to read this later!

5. Head to Boulders Beach

Boulder’s Beach is no ordinary sparkling blue waters and Instagram-worthy destination – it is home to the endemic African Jackass Penguin. For a small fee, you can get access to a private beach and head further into the reserve to learn more about these critters as you walk through their protected breeding grounds.

Heading to South Africa soon?! Check out this post on the top things to do in Cape Town! >> Can't wait to read this later!

Heading to South Africa soon?! Check out this post on the top things to do in Cape Town! >> Can't wait to read this later!

6. Go Whale Watching

Visiting Cape Town between June to November? Hit the road and drive up to Hermanus – recognised by the World Wildlife Fund as one of the 12 best whale watching destinations in the world. Not only is the drive there one of the most scenic coastal road trips, but seeing these enormous creatures come so close to the shore is an experience that shouldn’t be missed.

Heading to South Africa soon?! Check out this post on the top things to do in Cape Town! >> Can't wait to read this later!

7. Drive Up to Chapman’s Peak

If you are a sucker for a day spent driving around along beautiful coastal roads, grab your GPS and enter in Chapman’s Peak for a scenic drive along the Atlantic Seaboard past Gordon’s Bay. If you continue following the road, you will soon find yourself in a small town called Noordhoek – home to a 7km of white sandy beach, horses, alpacas and of course more wine.

Heading to South Africa soon?! Check out this post on the top things to do in Cape Town! >> Can't wait to read this later!

8. Explore The Bo-Kaap

Situated just on the outskirts of the CBD, lies one of the city’s most colourful spots – the Bo- kaap. Spend a few hours walking around the colourful houses of the Cape Malay people and once you have worked up an appetite, head to Bo-Kaap Kombuis. Feast on traditional Cape Malay dishes like bobotie while enjoying majestic views of Table Mountain.

Heading to South Africa soon?! Check out this post on the top things to do in Cape Town! >> Can't wait to read this later!

9. Party on Long Street

Discover the pulse of Cape Town’s nightlife by visiting the iconic Long Street. It is packed with bars and live music venues like Beer House (ideal for the hops connoisseur), The Waiting Room, Carnival Court (for trance bunnies), Manila Bar and so much more. Parking here is usually packed, so leave your wheels at home and catch an Uber into town instead.

Heading to South Africa soon?! Check out this post on the top things to do in Cape Town! >> Can't wait to read this later!

10. Explore Cape Point

Join a tour or drive down to Cape Point – the south-western most tip of Africa. Entrance is more expensive than other national parks in the country, but it is worth it. Intrepid travellers can sign up for overnight hikes inside the park or enjoy one of the many scenic day trails. For others wishing to take it easy, hop on board the Flying Dutchman and visit the old lighthouse.

Heading to South Africa soon?! Check out this post on the top things to do in Cape Town! >> Can't wait to read this later!

Heading to South Africa soon?! Check out this post on the top things to do in Cape Town! >> Can't wait to read this later!

11. Paraglide off Signal Hill

In the mood for some adrenaline and incredible views? Sign up for a tandem paragliding trip and fly past Table Mountain and the city below. Flights last up to 30 minutes, and for as little as R200, you can get photos and a video to commemorate your flight.

Heading to South Africa soon?! Check out this post on the top things to do in Cape Town! >> Can't wait to read this later!

12. Visit Langebaan

The coastal town of Langebaan is a short 1.5-hour drive from Cape Town’s CBD. Situated on the edge of the West Coast National Park, the flat turquoise waters and cross shore winds make it an ideal spot for water lovers. Choose from exciting activities like snorkelling, scuba diving, kayaking, windsurfing, kitesurfing and more!

Heading to South Africa soon?! Check out this post on the top things to do in Cape Town! >> Can't wait to read this later!

13. Be a Beach Bum

Within minutes from the city centre, you can find yourself lounging on a pristine beach catching a tan. Clifton 2nd is a firm favorite with the locals and is a fantastic spot to watch the sun go down. Muizenberg is perfect for those looking to catch a wave, and Oudekraal is a protected cove, surrounded by a thicket of milkwood trees that forms part of Table Mountain National Park.

Heading to South Africa soon?! Check out this post on the top things to do in Cape Town! >> Can't wait to read this later!

14. Tag along for First Thursdays

On the first Thursday of each month, the streets of Cape Town’s CBD come alive once the sun goes down. Art galleries stay up late, pop-up shops are selling artisan goods, and the bars welcome the horde that comes to discover a different side of the city. Parking can be impossible, especially during the summer months so Uber in and save yourself the hassle.

15. Learn about South Africa’s history

If you are a history buff and love to learn what makes a country tick – Cape Town will not leave you disappointed. Book a spot on a ferry to visit Nelson Mandela’s jail cell on Robben Island, or stay on the mainland and visit the District Six museum to learn about how the Apartheid regime impacted the locals from the area.

Heading to South Africa soon?! Check out this post on the top things to do in Cape Town! >> Can't wait to read this later!

Heading to South Africa soon?! Check out this post on the top things to do in Cape Town! >> Can't wait to read this later!

Have you been to this South African city before?  What are some of your favorite things to do in Cape Town?

Images via: 01 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15 | 15b

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