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Things to do in Cape Town

Itineraries for Your Trip to Cape Town

Cape Town locals share their perfect days.
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3 Days in Cape Town for First Timers

Curated by Karen GardinerKaren is a Scottish freelance travel and culture writer based in the US. Her work has appeared in The Washington Post, National Geographic, BBC, and Condé Nast Traveler.

With three days in Cape Town, you have plenty of time to soak up the city’s atmosphere, see its most famous sights, absorb its history, and head out of town into the surrounding countryside. Here are a few ways to experience the very best of Cape Town in 72 memorable hours.

Day 1

Start your day by taking in sweeping city and ocean views from the top of flat-topped Table Mountain. Visiting in the morning helps you avoid the heat and clouds that tend to arrive later. Your options for getting up the mountain include hiking tours, biking tours, and skip-the-line access to the cable car, which is often included in full-day tours of the whole city.

Afterward, take a sightseeing tour to better get your bearings and see more top sights. Hop-on hop-off bus tours allow you the flexibility of being able to set your own itinerary as you explore the entire city—you can jump off anywhere you like along the route and spend as little or as much time as you wish at each stop. Alternatively, you can take tours of specific sites of interest, such as the townships, Robben Island, and Bo-Kaap.

Day 2

The Cape of Good Hope, a sprawling section of Table Mountain National Park, attracts day-trippers with its sweeping ocean views, quiet beaches, and dramatic promontory called Cape Point. Just over an hour by car from downtown Cape Town, it’s easy to reach on a day trip.

Full-day group and private tours from the city to the cape usually take a scenic route filled with mountain and ocean views. You’ll likely make stops at Hout Bay Harbour and Boulders Beach, known for its colony of African penguins, and pass through the coastal towns of Fish Hoek and Muizenberg. Some tours also include time to explore Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens in the UNESCO-listed Cape Floral Kingdom and optional boat trips to Duiker Island, known for its large number of fur seals.

Day 3

Spend your final day in Cape Town sampling some of the finest wines produced in the region. Full-day group and private tours take you into the scenic wine country of Stellenbosch and Paarl Valley, where you can enjoy the Cape Winelands’ wines and learn about the production processes from the winemakers. Most tours also offer the opportunity to explore the area’s historic towns, such as Franschhoek, noted for its Cape Dutch–style architecture, and the university town of Stellenbosch, the second-oldest town in South Africa.

An alternative to taking a scenic drive there is to fly in on a helicopter—some tours whisk passengers from the city’s V&A Waterfront directly to wine estates where they enjoy meals and wine tastings.

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