Cape Town is one of the most picturesque and vibrant cities out there. From the striking views of Table Mountain to pristine white sand beaches to one of the best food scenes in the world, it is both a traveler and local's paradise. We've compiled a list of of must see museums, beaches, sporting activities and points of interest.
KIRSTENBOSCH BOTANICAL GARDENS
Situated on the eastern slopes of Table Mountain, Kirstenbosch is internationally acclaimed as one of the seven most magnificent botanical gardens in the world. The 528 hectares estate includes a cultivated garden and a nature reserve. The developed garden displays collections of southern African plants including many rare and endangered species. It's easy to spend several hours walking the botanical gardens; stop by the Moyo restaurant at the gardens for lunch or tea.
The symbolic value of Robben Island lies in its somber history as a prison, a hospital and a military base between the 17th and 20th centuries - this history came to an end in the 1990s when the Apartheid regime ended. Political activist and lawyer Nelson Mandela was famously imprisoned on the island for 18 of the 27 years of his imprisonment. He was later awarded the Nobel Peace Prize and was elected in 1994 as President of South Africa.
VICTORIA & ALFRED WATERFRONT
The V&A Waterfront, situated in the oldest operating harbor in Africa, is divided into nine precincts. Each precinct boasts different attractions with The Quays District being the most visited area with its shopping centre of luxury brands, a collection of quay-side restaurants and outdoor entertainment areas that include an amphitheater, Ferris wheel and performance spots for various buskers.
DISTRICT SIX MUSEUM
District Six Museum is a museum in the former inner-city residential area and, District Six, in Cape Town, South Africa in an old Methodist church.
District Six Foundation was founded in 1989 and the museum in 1994, as a memorial to the forced movement of 60,000 inhabitants of various races in District Six during Apartheid in South Africa in the 1970s.
The Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa is a contemporary art museum located at the V&A Waterfront in Cape Town, South Africa. It is the largest museum of contemporary African art in the world.
TABLE MOUNTAIN CABLE CAR + HIKING
Table Mountain is a flat-top mountain that often has clouds rolling over the top that look like a tablecloth. Take the famous cable car to the top for the views of the sea and city or hike to the top. Our favorite hike starts and ends at the Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens Nursey - take the Skeleton Gorge path up to the top and hike to the reservoir for lunch before hiking back down.
BOULDERS BEACH PENGUIN COLONY
Boulders Beach is a sheltered beach in Cape Town's Simon's Town suburb. In 1982 a colony of African penguins settled there and never left. These African penguins are an endangered species and only found on the coastlines of Southern Africa.
After visiting the penguins, stop by beach next door - Windmill Beach - for a swim and a snorkel. Don't be surprised if you end up sun bathing with a few penguins...
CAPE POINT NATIONAL PARK
Cape Point National Park is a beautiful nature reserve offering dramatic scenery, fantastic hiking trails and deserted beaches with spectacular ocean views. However, there is almost a statistical certainty that you will be held up by baboons searching for food. If you choose to venture to Cape Point, and after your mugging, head over to the Scone Shack to enjoy the best fresh baked scones in a unique farm-style atmosphere featuring baby bigs, ducks, and chicks trotting about. Note that the Scone Shack is cash only and we only recommend visiting it if you trek out to Cape Point National Park which is a whole day affair.
The Norval Foundation is dedicated to the research, education and exhibition of 20th and 21st-century visual art from South Africa and beyond.
The Foundation features an Outdoor Sculpture Garden, outdoor amphitheatre, research library and the Skotnes Restaurant and Bar.
CHAPMAN'S PEAK CYCLING
What is a trip without a bike ride?! The ride from Cape Town's Seapoint neighborhood to Chapman's Peak is a 50km round trip with three categorized climbs mostly along an ocean side road with stunning views. On the way back to town, stop off at the Hout Bay Coffee Shop for delicious coffee and breakfast. Road bike rentals are available via iRide Africa.
Bustling bazaar of local artists and designers featuring South African art, gifts and more located at the waterfront. Easy to spend a couple of hours browsing and shopping and a great place to buy gifts.
Ocean kayaking is a great way to see Cape Town by water as well as spot wildlife such as dolphins, jellyfish and more. We recommend booking an ocean kayaking tour with Atlantic Outlook (at the V&A Waterfront). Post kayaking, walk to the Oranjezicht Farmer's Market for breakfast & brunch on Saturdays & Sundays.
THE OLD BISCUIT MILL
Fashionable boutiques, food markets & restaurants offered in a unique, industrial-style setting. A great place to shop local artisans and buy gifts.
LIONS HEAD HIKING
Lion's Head is a popular, screw-top hiking trail boasting panoramic views of the city alongside coastal views. This is a technical hike and is only recommended for those in top physical shape who aren't afraid of cliffs and heights.
Clifton beaches are a series of four beaches, each separated by a stretch of granite boulders. Lovely for a morning walk.
Kalk Bay is a fishing village on the False Bay coastline in the greater Cape Town area. Kalk Bay is known for its raw beauty, interesting shops, vast selection of restaurants and stunning views. Salt is a great dinner spot (we love the lamb ravioli). Take a walk along the beach and grab fish & chips from one of the casual seaside eateries or head up to Harbour House for a more upmarket seafood meal overlooking the ocean waves. If you would like to spend a night or two in Kalk Bay, we recommend staying at the Chartfield Guesthouse.
CAMPS BAY BEACH + PROMENADE
Located a few minutes past Clifton is Camps Bay, a vibrant area of Cape Town that boasts picturesque white sand beach and a promenade that has numerous bars and restaurants with great seaside views.
RELAX & UNWIND - LIFE DAY SPA
For those looking to book a spa day to relax and unwind, we highly recommend the Life Day Spa at the V&A Waterfront. Enjoy pure luxury surrounded by exquisitely appointed marble, glass and wood finishes. Take a journey through the various water features and pools and enjoy the glow of natural light as you soak up the serene atmosphere of this urban oasis. Fantastic facial treatments and massages.
Bo-Kaap is named for the Afrikaans phrase meaning “above the Cape” - the neighborhood is synonymous with Islamic Cape Malay culture. The streets themselves are famous for their eye-catching color scheme, and for their fine Cape Dutch and Cape Georgian architecture. Be sure to try the Cape Malay cuisine – a unique blend of Middle Eastern, South East Asian and Dutch styles. We highly urge you to visit Bo-Kaap with a tour guide who knows the area well; we do not suggest exploring this area solo.
Sorbet Salon at the V&A Waterfront is a great spot to pop in for a manicure or pedicure while in Cape Town.Shop global beauty brands, like Dermalogica and Environ, at affordable South African prices.
Woolworths is South Africa's premier grocery store...but it is so much more. Every thing that Woolworth carries is beautifully packaged and high quality. We always do a big shop at Woolworths before returning to New York to stock up on spices, chocolates, candies and more. The soft chewing gum candies and chuckles are our favorite!