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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.

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Top 10 attractions in Cape Town

Malay Quarter (Bo-Kaap)
#1

Malay Quarter (Bo-Kaap)

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....
Hout Bay
#2

Hout Bay

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....
Cape Point
#3

Cape Point

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....
Twelve Apostles
#4

Twelve Apostles

Just beyond the peaks of Table Mountain and Lion’s Head, lies the Twelve Apostles, a range of rocky cliffs that line the coast of the Cape Peninsula. Travelers can enjoy the views during a scenic drive from Cape Town, or while relaxing on the sandy shores of Camps Bay. Grab lunch along the bustling promenade and then head to the trails, since a climb to the top of the Twelve Apostles offers an unmatched view of Clifton and the bay. Afterwards, relax with a sun downer at the Leopard Lounge, known for extensive collection of South African wines and its famous Twelve Apostles cocktail....
Clifton
#5

Clifton

The exclusive coastal town of Clifton lies on the northwest tip of the Cape Peninsula. Elaborate homes of some of South Africa’s most famous celebrities and wealthiest entrepreneurs line the rocky hills of this affluent suburb. The impressive architecture makes for a uniquely scenic drive, but it’s the beautiful beaches that draw visitors away from Cape Town to the picturesque shores of the Atlantic. Four distinct beaches make up Clifton Beach, which attracts a ritzier crowd full of scenesters eager to see and be seen. Year-round rigid water temps keep sunbathers firmly on the shores, but rented chairs, multi-million dollar yachts and tasty cafes along the main drag offer plenty of opportunities for people watching, as well as a chance to brush elbows with Cape Town’s most elite....
Cape Town Stadium
#6

Cape Town Stadium

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....
Signal Hill
#7

Signal Hill

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....
Robben Island
#8

Robben Island

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....
World of Birds Wildlife Sanctuary and Monkey Park
#9

World of Birds Wildlife Sanctuary and Monkey Park

When people talk about wildlife in Africa, they usually mean the Big Five: Elephants, rhino, buffalo, lions and leopards. But World of Birds, a unique park just outside Cape Town that’s home to more than 400 different species of wild birds, proves there’s more to this diverse continent than just its massive mammals. More than 3,000 birds and other small animals call this aviary home. Visitors can explore their well-kept habitats, which spread over a generous four hectares of land. The scenic backdrop of Table Mountain, Little Lion’s Head and the Twelve Apostles makes it an ideal spot for photos, too....
Old Biscuit Mill
#10

Old Biscuit Mill

Housed in a Victorian-era biscuit factory in the middle of Woodstock, Cape Town’s Old Biscuit Mill now houses day and night markets where local and traveling foodies flock to sample some of the city’s best bites. On any given day, the market teems with diners and shoppers enjoying the mill’s many restaurants and designer shops, but it’s on Saturdays that things really get lively. Each Saturday the Neighbourgoods Market takes over the Old Biscuit Mill, with more than 100 local vendors selling craft food, organic produce, artisanal chocolate, beer, cheese, clothes and crafts, all to the sounds of live music. Hungry travelers will find one of the world’s best restaurants, the Test Kitchen, inside the Old Biscuit Mill, as well as the slightly more budget-friendly Pot Luck Club....

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

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