Just last week, I came back from Cape Town. Unfortunately. With a heavy heart. 😥 Honestly I regret that I planned to spend there just 6 days… because it was amaaazing there! I’ve heard before many times that Cape Town is really beautiful and worth visiting etc… but you can’t really know or understand this feeling until you actually visit there. Because for me, it was one the best trips I had in a very long time and it is definitely one of the most beautiful places on earth I’ve seen so far !
I really want and hope to go back there one day again – and for longer period of time. Seriously speaking, if you want to enjoy and experience Cape Town to its fullest, make sure to spend there at least 8 to 10 days. Despite the few days I’ve spent there, I’ve been able to visit/experience like 90% of the ‘Best of Cape Town’ things. So I’m really happy for that and now I begin telling you my ‘stories’ or useful information from this wonderful city ! Let’s start with 8 VERY IMPORTANT things you just can NOT miss if/when you are visiting Cape Town 🙂
There is no denying it, Cape Town is definitely one of the most beautiful cities in the world, thanks to its unique natural setting. Now I could talk more about what makes Cape Town so special and why it’s worth visiting, but I will save it for another post. Though I’m sure you will be convinced (more or less) at the end of this post already 😉 Here we go then !
Bo-Kaap is a hilly, multicultural neighborhood located quite close to the city center. At the foot of Signal Hill, this area is the historical part of Cape Malay culture. Brightly colored houses, cobble stoned streets, and mosques make this part of Cape Town quite a special one. It is also one favorite location for photographers and filmmakers. Apart from appreciating the colorfulness of Bo-Kaap, the mouth-watering Malay food is another good reason to visit this area ! Oh how I miss the food there…
Like most other cities in the world, a visit to Cape Town would definitely not be complete without visiting its central areas. This is better known as CBD (Central Business District) in South Africa. Several important churches, buildings, parks, and the Parliament of South Africa dominate the CBD area. And if you are craving more delicious food, you will be spoiled for choices here !
Btw, you can check out more photos and information on Bo-Kaap and downtown Cape Town here!
Want to have a great view of the Atlantic Ocean as well as the Table Mountain? Or perhaps fancy some Capetonian shopping or dining experience? Then V&A Waterfront is exactly where you should be. This attraction is visited by more than 23 million tourists a year, making it the most visited place in South Africa. Along with Cape Town’s harbor, the view of the Waterfront itself makes the city look even more beautiful. From here, you can get on-board the boat/ferry for a trip to Robben Island. More pictures and information on V&A Waterfront here.
Just about 12 km from V&A Waterfront out in the ocean is a little island called Robben Island. It is a very important sight to learn and see for yourself about South Africa’s troubled past – the Apartheid. This is the island where great Nelson Mandela was imprisoned for 18 of the 27 years he was behind bars. Not only you get to have a look at the prison itself, but also admire the natural beauty of this island. Therefore a day trip to Robben Island is definitely a must-do. It costs R 320 (€ 20) per person. You can find out more about the trip to Robben Island from my own experience here!
4. Hop-On Hop-Off Bus Tour
Okay I know it’s a cliche but really, this is perhaps the best way to visit around Cape Town. And it’s cheap! For R 190 (€ 12), you can use your ticket for the whole day on any of the Citysightseeing Bus lines. There are four different bus tours : Red City Tour, Blue Mini Peninsula Tour, Yellow Downtown Tour, and Purple Wine Tour. They all have different (and some same) stops so depending on your taste, you can choose which Hop-on/off Bus you want to take. I personally chose the Red city tour, because it had stops at the Table Mountain, Camps Bay, Sea Point, Green Point – providing gorgeous views along the coast with mountains on the other side.
Don’t bother taking the Yellow Downtown tour because the downtown can be easily visited on foot. I wouldn’t recommend Blue Peninsula Tour either because of #6 below (so please read through that 😉 ). If you are a fan of wine, you should take the Purple tour – check more below on #8 for it ! Citysighseeing Cape Town offers a lot more other tours as well so make sure to check them out 🙂 Btw, if you purchase your Hop-on/off Bus ticket online, you get a discounted price of R 170 (~ € 11).
Probably the most famous icon of Cape Town and of South Africa around the world, so I’m pretty sure almost everyone knows it. Seriously though, don’t bother going to Cape Town if you are not going to climb and go to the top of this flat-headed mountain. Table Mountain is one of the 7 natural wonders of the world and gives the city a beautiful background. So imagine if you are up there, what views would you get! Now, you could either hike or take the cable car to the top. Hiking would take you about 2-3 hours one way while the cable car would cost you R 240 (€ 15). More on Table Mountain from my point of view here.
This is perhaps one of the best (if not the best) activities to do in Cape Town. A day trip to Cape Point, where Cape of Good Hope – the south-western most point of the African continent is located. This day trip usually includes a short visit to the fishing town of Hout Bay, cruising along the scenic Chapman’s Peak Drive, a stopover at Boulders Beach in Simon’s Town – where you can get to meet African penguins – and lastly of course, Cape Point + Cape of Good Hope. This is an experience you really don’t want to miss! In fact, this was perhaps my favorite day during my visit in Cape Town – which I will exclusively write about in another post. There are many tour companies which offer this day trip in groups, but I’d recommend either BazBus or Daytrippers.
7. Visiting a Township
In South Africa, townships are underdeveloped ‘suburbs’ where non-white South Africans (Blacks, Coloureds, and Indians) were forced to live during apartheid. These townships are mostly located outside the downtown or central city areas. Even today the majority of townships residents are of the mentioned races and a lot of townships reflect poverty and social issues. So although it may seem strange to visit a township, it is really a good way to learn South Africa’s history and experience poor peoples’ lives. Be careful not to visit the townships alone though, as many of them are still dangerous and high in crimes. Booking a tour/day trip is the best and secure way to pay a visit to one of the many townships in Cape Town.
8. Winelands + Kirstenbosch Botanical Garden
Cape Town is world famous for South African wines and winelands. Just 15 mins drive from the city center you can visit the prestigious suburb of Constantia, where you will find the famous wine route among Dutch architectural buildings. You can take the Purple Tour Hop-on/off Bus which takes you to Constantia. If you want something better and fancy visiting vineyards, I recommend booking a day trip to nearby town of Stellenbosch and Franschhoek (about an hour drive from Cape Town). Definitely a wine lover’s paradise!
Last but not least, don’t forget to include Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden on your ‘list’. This world-famous botanical garden is the first in the world with its ethos to preserve the country’s unique flora. Maybe you are not interested in plants or visiting a garden, but what if I told you that its background provides a view of the eastern part of Table Mountain?
Unfortunately due to short time, I couldn’t visit the winelands and the botanical garden this time 🙁 But it is definitely on my mind next time I’m in Cape Town!
I do hope you enjoyed this post and perhaps you are convinced why you should visit Cape Town and what to do there. I know that I haven’t posted much pictures or very detailed information. This is because I planned to do some photo essays or talk about my own experiences of some of those attractions/activities, where I will mention more (interesting) stuff ! So stay tuned and feel free to leave a comment/suggestion below ! If you have been to Cape Town, please do share with us what you did 🙂