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Things to do in Cape Town

Things to do in  Cape Town

Welcome to Cape Town

Locals affectionately refer to Cape Town as the Mother City, a name it earns as a longstanding, welcoming, and stunning metropolis. One of the oldest cities in South Africa, Cape Town is the country’s second-most populated city behind Johannesburg. This stylish urban center is surrounded on all sides by natural beauty—from the waves of the Atlantic Ocean crashing on beaches to the iconic wildflower-lined Table Mountain. Get your bearings on a sightseeing tour to absorb a little history, and browse the shops and restaurants in central Cape Town on the Victoria & Albert Waterfront. Ride a cable car up Table Mountain for the best views over the city. Visit points of interest beyond the city center easily with a day tour: Learn about South Africa’s tumultuous history at the UNESCO World Heritage–listed Robben Island, where you’ll see Nelson Mandela’s former prison cell. Explore the wildlife and dramatic cliffs of Cape Point, the Cape of Good Hope, and Hout Bay. Visit the penguin colony at Boulders Beach not far from Simon’s Town. Head inland to sip unique vintages produced in the Western Cape Winelands region in historic towns like Stellenbosch or Franschhoek. Get your adrenaline pumping with a shark cage diving tour off the coast near Hermanus; or tame things down, and admire the flowers along the Garden Route. Finally, go on a private safari tour at a nearby game reserve to look for Africa’s “Big Five,” including the grand African lion.

Top 10 attractions in Cape Town

#1

Robben Island

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For nearly 300 years, Robben Island was a place of isolation, where political prisoners, including Nelson Mandela, were imprisoned and cut off from the rest of the world. It also served as a voluntary sanctuary for lepers. Despite this unsavory past, Robben Island is an important piece of South Africa's history, as well as a reminder of the difficult road to South African Democracy and the victory over apartheid. Robben Island was declared a World Heritage Site in 1999, and the Robben Island Museum is dedicated to preserving the memory and contributions of the freedom fighters held within its walls. The museum's exhibitions detail the life, times and struggles of its prisoners, particularly those of Robert Sobukwe and his commitment to Pan Africanism. A multimedia exhibit educates visitors on the history of South Africa's democracy.More
#2

Cape of Good Hope Nature Reserve

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The Cape of Good Hope Nature Reserve is a nature lover's paradise. See fynbos, Dutch for "fine bush," and indeed, the native flora is as spectacular as it is varied, as well as the native flora, which includes zebras, elands, ostriches and baboons. Further south is Cape Point, where you superb bird watching, whale watching and breathtaking ocean views in some of the cleanest air in the world - the visibility is bar none. While the Cape of Good Hope is famous for its wildlife, humans have near-limitless options for recreation. South Africa is famous for its fantastic surf, and Cape Point has some of the best breaks in the world. Scuba aficionados have access to spectacular dive sites - the treacherous rocks of the reef are home to 26 recorded shipwrecks, and many more are yet to be discovered. If ocean activity sounds a little rough, the action on land is sure to pique your interest. Cape Point is great for shopping and dining; in particular, the Two Oceans Restaurant.More
#3

Boulders Beach

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There are a lot of beaches in Cape Town that are likely to be on your must-see list - from surfing meccas to nightlife hotspots - but one beach in particular attracts countless visitors even though they can’t even walk on the beach itself. You may not be able to stroll on Boulders Beach, but it’s the place to go to see wild African penguins up close. The colony of African penguins that calls Boulders Beach home first settled there in the early 1980s, and has grown to a population of more than 3,000. The area is protected - it’s part of the Table Mountain National Park - and visitors are encouraged to visit the part of the beach where raised walkways keep people away from the penguins and their nests. The walkways are only a few feet off the ground, however, so you still get a great view of the birds. The restricted area of Boulders Beach with the raised walkways is actually called Foxy Beach.More
#4

Malay Quarter (Bo-Kaap)

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The brightly colored houses of this lively neighborhood in the Central Cape are perched among the rocky crags of Signal Hill. Cobblestone streets wind through the multicultural township where freed slaves and Muslim immigrants settled. Visitors can follow guided walking tours through Bo-Kaap’s major sites, or delve into the history of the area on their own. The Bo-Kaap Museum, which examines the contributions made by Muslim settlers, is housed in the quarter’s oldest home. It is the ideal place to start exploring the culture of this colorful neighborhood. Afterwards, check out the historic Mosques that dot the streets of Bo-Kaap, including one built in 1844, before visiting the well-known Karamats. The township is home to three of these burial sites that honor saints of Islam. Travelers can also learn to make famous Malay Curry during a traditional cooking class, or sample local fare and purchase traditional works of art at the food and craft market.More
#5

Chapman’s Peak Drive

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Chapman's Peak is a mountain on the Cape Peninsula, with a 5.5-mile road known for its scenic beauty. The road winds from Hout Bay to Noordhoek, clinging to the side of the steep mountain almost the whole way. The road was built in the early 20th century, and boasts 114 turns in its short 5.5-mile distance. The road itself may not be long, but you'll want to take your time – not just because of the many curves, but also because of the gorgeous views. There are plenty of places to stop and enjoy the scenery along the way.More
#6

Cape Point

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The Cape Point Nature Reserve sits on Cape Point, at the tip of the Cape Peninsula, and features a great variety of animal and plant life. The reserve occupies more than 19,000 acres of Cape Point, including nearly 25 miles of coastline. The old lighthouse, built in 1859, was replaced in 1911, but it still remains standing and is a popular attraction. The Cape Point Nature Reserve is part of the larger Cape Floral Kingdom, the smallest floral kingdom in the world. Contrary to popular belief, Cape Point is not the southernmost point of Africa – nor is it the point off which the Atlantic and Indian Oceans meet. Still, the point is an absolutely beautiful spot to visit, offering spectacular views, great hiking, and excellent bird-watching.More
#7

Cape Town Stadium

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Originally called the Green Point Stadium after a structure that previously stood here, this state-of-the-art complex was home to the 2010 World Cup. In addition to the 60,000-plus sports fans that flooded its seats during the big event, the Cape Town Stadium has hosted concerts by performers like Michael Jackson, Metallica, Paul Simon and Robbie Williams. Today, visitors can catch a local Rugby match or even a live performance if the timing is right. But the stadium also offers daily tours for travelers on a budget—or those whose schedules don’t match up with the local calendar of events.More
#8

Table Mountain National Park

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Table Mountain National Park is one of the region’s most-visited attractions—with good reason. This vast world heritage site stretches from Signal hill to Cape Point, and includes some of the area’s best hikes and most scenic views. Despite its proximity to the ever-popular Long Street, Table Mountain feels far removed from the hustle of Cape Town. Hop a taxi from the main drag, or walk the short—but very vertical—distance to the bottom of the hill. Travelers looking to stretch their legs can take one of the short (but challenging) hikes to Table Mountain’s peak, or ride the popular cable car to the top for picturesque views of the city and sea. The nearby rocky cliffs of Cape Peninsula and Cape of Good Hope, another much-visited attraction in the national park, overlook clear blue seas where the Indian and Atlantic Oceans meet. Paved paths and a well-kept boardwalk wind through the southern-most point on the continent and lead to impressive heights.More
#9

Hout Bay

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This quaint harbor on the western side of the Cape Peninsula has a seaside charm that attracts both travelers and locals to its sheltered shores. Whether it’s sampling ocean-fresh seafood from one of the restaurants lining its harbor or exploring the shelves of world-class antique shops, Hout Bay has proved itself a worthy destination despite its small size. Visitors love wandering along the bustling docks where commercial fishing boats unload their daily catch, and its close proximity to Seal Island and World of Birds makes it a perfect lunch stop on a tour of the Cape.More
#10

Signal Hill

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Once known as “Lion’s Rump,” Signal Hill is a relatively flat peak next to Lion’s Head and Table Mountain. The summit of this landmark once flew flags to signal changing weather and anchoring directions for ships that came to port. A well-paved road takes visitors to the top of Signal Hill, where spectacular Cape Town views await. Along the way, travelers can stop at the impressive tombs of several Muslim missionaries or spend the night at Appleton Scout Campsite. Those venturing to Signal Hill for a mid-day trip will likely hear the Noon Gun—two massive cannons signaling the strike of twelve—fire, too. In addition to its incredible views, Signal Hill is home to the last bit of the endangered Peninsula Shale Renosterveld vegetation in Cape Town, which means it is one of the few places nature lovers can find the extremely rare Moraea aristata flower and Medusa’s Head succulents in the wild.More

Trip ideas

How to Spend 2 Days in Cape Town

How to Spend 2 Days in Cape Town

Wildlife Safari Tours from Cape Town

Wildlife Safari Tours from Cape Town

Cape Winelands Tours from Cape Town

Cape Winelands Tours from Cape Town

Top activities in Cape Town

Cape of Good Hope-Cape Point & Penguins Private Tour from Cape Town

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Cape of Good Hope-Cape Point & Penguins Private Tour from Cape Town

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US$96.71
US$109.90  US$13.19 savings
African Story Wine Tours

African Story Wine Tours

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US$84.37
5-Day Garden Route with Addo National Park Small Group Tour from Cape Town

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5-Day Garden Route with Addo National Park Small Group Tour from Cape Town

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US$501.13
US$538.85  US$37.72 savings
2-Day Glamping South African Wildlife Safari Small Group Tour from Cape Town

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Cape Town Airport Transfers

Cape Town Airport Transfers

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Cape Peninsula Tour from Cape Town

Cape Peninsula Tour from Cape Town

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US$97.84

Recent reviews from experiences in Cape Town

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Fascinating and deeply amazing!
Eduard_Gorkh, Feb 2021
Cape of Good Hope & Penguins Small Group Tour from Cape Town
All the sights we've visited were breathtaking and unbelievably miraculous, and it was a pleasure to see Alain as fascinated as we were.
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Great day tour!
Maryam_F, Mar 2020
Cape of Good Hope & Penguins Small Group Tour from Cape Town
Great full day tour to see the highlights of Cape Town!
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Best experience
Roshan, Mar 2020
Cape Town City Sightseeing Official Hop-on Hop-off Bus tour
Hassle free way to see all of Cape Town...!
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Table Mountain
Loupsylvestre, Feb 2020
Cape Town City Sightseeing Official Hop-on Hop-off Bus tour
Plan to visit Table Mountain early in your trip so that you have time in case of bad weather or high winds.
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Penguins everywhere. Excellent tour.
Tai_T, Feb 2020
Cape Point and Boulder's Beach Penguins Tour: Including Park fee
City Sightseeing is an excellent way to see Cape Town.
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Amazing Kayak Tour Experience
Atusa, Feb 2020
Atlantic Outlook Kayak Tour Cape Town
Our guide was super friendly, funny and informative and gave us recommendations for other activities to do in Cape Town.
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Safe, fun, and convenient!
Shelby, Feb 2020
Cape Town Airport Transfers
He was so friendly and gave us a lot of useful information and tips about what to do and what not to do in Cape Town.
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Sharks ahoy
Andrew_S, Feb 2020
Shark Cage Diving and Viewing from Cape Town
Also lucky enough to see sharks up close.
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sunset
edbrager, Feb 2020
Private Cape Town City Evening Tour
This was a great way to see Cape Town at night.
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Sail Away
sussiepalmer, Feb 2020
Sailing in The Bay (One Hour)
Great way to see Cape Town from the water!
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Private Tour the Way to GO!
cdn54, Jan 2020
Table Mountain, Boulder's Penguins & Cape Point Private Tour from Cape Town
Our guide Peter went out of his way to make the day very special and to make sure we got to see and do all of the activities advertised.
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Gorgeous views of Cape Town. A must do!
jazz2jazzy168, Jan 2020
Cape Peninsula, Cape of Good Hope and Cape Point Scenic Helicopter Flight
Best way to see scenic Cape Town.
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Garden Route Tour January 2020
henno1352, Jan 2020
5-Day Garden Route with Addo National Park Small Group Tour from Cape Town
A comprehensive trip along the coast to Jeffrey’s Bay and back to Cape Town along Route 62 but attempting to squeeze too many activities in the allotted time.
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Day Safari from Cape Town
sjhoppy, Dec 2019
Aquila Game Reserve Wildlife Safari from Cape Town
We managed to see Ostrich, Springboks, Hippos, Rhinos, Lion.
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Going in Safari to Aquila Reserve
josejuan68, Dec 2019
Aquila Game Reserve Wildlife Safari from Cape Town
And it was a great to see the animals free...
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Great Deal to Tour Wine Country
752jerryd, Nov 2019
Stellenbosch Half Day Wine Tour
A great way to see the wine country just outside Cape Town.
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Awesome Bike Ride
VOFIVE, Sep 2019
4-Hour PRIVATE Cape Town City Cycle Tour
A nice way to see the sites in the city of Cape Town.
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Nice Tour
Cphwilliams, Aug 2019
The 10 Tastings of Cape Town With Locals: Private Food Tour
We didn't quite get to all 10 tastings but it was a nice way to see Cape Town, nonetheless.
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Airport transfer to hotel
thetourist200, Jun 2019
1-4 Passenger Private Cape Town Airport Transfer
Would recommend to visitors to Cape Town
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Incredible!!!!
Explore36331454925, May 2019
Cape of Good Hope-Cape Point & Penguins Private Tour from Cape Town
An amazing tour in Cape Town for those who have little time to visit or even whoever wants to have an overall about the city and the surrounding area.

Frequently Asked Questions