1. Table Mountain
Table Mountain is arguably the most iconic image of Cape Town. Standing at the top
should top everyone’s list of ‘things to do before you die’. Take the leisurely route in
the slowly revolving cable car, or alternately hike to the top. Either way you won’t regret it when you get to enjoy the sight of Cape Town and surrounds from the
2. V & A Waterfront
Situated at the CapeTown Harbour basin, the Victoria and Alfred Waterfront is the
most popular venue in Cape Town. With a wide variety of shops, numerous
restaurants and cafes, wine bars, sites of historical and cultural interest and local
craft workshops, you’ll never have a dull moment here, day or night.
3. Wine Farms
From the farms of Constantia in the southern suburbs to the expansive estates of
Stellenbosch, Paarl and Franshoek, the Cape boasts some of the most beautiful wine
farms in the world. And it’s a well known fact that they produce some of the finest
wines in the world too! A visit to CapeTown is incomplete without at least one day
spent on the wine route, sampling fine wines, learning about the history and
methodology of winemaking from the experts, enjoying a sumptuous lunch along the
way and coming back laden with some great purchases for the cellar back home.
4. Robben Island
Site of former president Nelson Mandela’s prison cell where he was confined for many
years prior to his historical release, Robben Island has a very special atmosphere.
Take a ferry from the Waterfront and learn from the guided tours about the other men
who shared the Island with Madiba, and about the incredible man himself.
5. Cape Point
Who wouldn’t want to say they have stood at the tip of the great African continent?
Once inside the reserve you can make your way to the main parking area and stroll up
the wide paths to the top lookout point. From here the view is breathtaking – sheer
cliffs drop to the crashing waves far below while azure waters spread out as far as
the eye can see to a hazy horizon. On a clear day, you really can see forever! Enjoy
lunch at the excellent restaurant or drive to one of the sheltered beaches for a picnic.
6. Boulder’s Beach Penguin Colony
Home of a colony of so-called ‘Jackass’ Penguins (so named for the donkey-like
braying sound they make) Boulder’s Beach is situated just past Simon’s Town. Apart
from great penguin viewing, the beach is picturesque and great for families with its
7. Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens
These beautiful gardens at the foot of Table Mountain were established in 1913. The
gardens only grow indigenous South African plants, and cover an area of 528
hectares. Picnic on the green lawns next to bubbling streams, or take advantage of a
8. Top Stones Gemstone Factory and Scratch Patch
Visit one of the Top Stone Gemstone Factories at Glen Cairn or the Waterfront, for a
sparkling and enchanting experience. At the Glen Cairn factory you can view the
stones being washed polished and crafted into curios or jewelry. Trawl through the
walk-in Scratch Patch ‘caves’ and select your own treasures to take home.
9. Two Oceans Aquarium
Located at the V&A Waterfront, this is South Africa’s largest aquarium. It has great
exhibitions and a strong educational component. The shark feeding times are always
popular with visitors who love to get a close up view of these awesome creatures
without getting wet!
10. District Six Museum
Back in the 1960’s the apartheid government demolished the District Six
neighborhoods, displacing the residents. Of all the museums to see in CapeTown, this
memorial to the glory days and tragic history of District Six is one of the most
interesting and colourful.
Bo Kaap is one of Cape Town’s oldest residential areas, home to many of the descendants of the Dutch imported slaves and full of 19th century Dutch architecture. Sign up for a walking tour of the area and explore the many alleyways of the Muslim quarter as well as the Bo Kaap Museum.
Since the Dutch colonization in the mid 1600s, Robben Island has been used as a leper colony, hospital and wartime defence station but it is probably best known as the prison where Nelson Mandela spent almost 20 years. Nowadays, the Robben Island Museum is open to visitors who want to learn more about the island’s history and the abolition of Apartheid in South Africa.
The South Africa Museum and Planetarium is a great family excursion with a unique collection of whale skeletons, giant squid and “Shark World”. There are social and natural history exhibits including the fossilised skeletons of long-extinct reptiles that ruled the land some 50 million years before the dinosaurs.
Telkom Exploratorium is an interactive telecommunications discovery centre which takes the visitor from early communication techniques such as smoke signals through to modern day technologies such as virtual reality
Situated in the heart of Cape Town’s working harbour, the Victoria and Alfred Waterfront is an outstanding regeneration project which offers a variety of shopping, dining and entertainment choices as well as lively street performers and events. Attractions here include a variety of sea excursions and boat charters, the BMW Pavillion (with all the latest models), Mineral World and the passenger terminal for the RobbenIsland ferry alongside the “Nelson Mandela Entry to Robben Island Museum”. Also here is the Two Oceans Aquarium which offers visitors the opportunity to get a closer look at the marine life from both the Atlantic and Indian Oceans. Here you can visit a penguin colony, find Nemo, explore a Kelp forest and dive with predators such as sharks.
The Castle of Good Hope is the oldest building in South Africa, built by the Dutch East India Company in the 1660s to protect their interests against the British. Declared a national monument in 1936, restoration has been a continuous process and the fortification now houses a military museum and visitors can enjoy guided tours of the torture rooms, forge, bakery and banquet hall.
The impressive Table Mountain must be one of the world’s best known sights and a trip to the top is an essential part of any visit to Cape Town. A cable car was opened in 1929 and has since taken over 16 million visitors to the top of the mountain. The revolving cable car usually leaves every 5 to 10 minutes, the 10 minute journey offering visitors a unique, panoramic view of the city. At the top you will find a restaurant, guided walks and a choice of short trails. Opening hours vary by season and the weather can affect operations so it is always best to check before you leave. Look out for the dassies (rock hyrax) at the top. Although they resemble a rodent, I have been told they are anatomically related to the elephant!
Founded in 1913 and covering 528 hectares on the eastern slopes of Table Mountain, the Kirstenbosch National Botanical Gardens grow and display a wide variety of indigenous South African plants. September and October are the most colourful months to visit whilst the arrival of the South African summer in December heralds the flowering of the Cape Chestnut and striking Lampranthus. Other seasonal highlights include impressive floral displays of agapanthus and lilies or the bright berries of the Transvaal Hard Pear Tree. There are many scenic walks around the gardens, some suitable for prams, children and the blind (with a range or aromatic and textured plants). There are also exhibitions, seasonal events, picnic spots and themed walks. The open air concerts held here in the summer are extremely popular. However, women are asked not to venture alone on the quieter paths of the upper slopes.
If it’s thrills you’re after, a visit to the Ratanga Junction theme park may be called for. With more than 30 attractions ranging from the white knuckle “Cobra” ride to the more gentle “Crocodile Swamp” for the under 3s, there is plenty here to amuse the whole family. The park is open throughout the summer with selected winter opening dates in November, December and January.
Cape Town is surrounded by beaches. One of the most famous is Boulders Beach, approximately 25 miles south of Cape Town. Its sandy beaches, small coves and calmer waters make this beach popular with families but many people come simply to see the resident African Penguin colony. It is often best to go early in the day when there is still some shade offered by the surrounding granite boulders and the beach is less crowded. To book your car hire in South Africa, visit Car hire 3000 today!