10 things to do in Cape Town

10 things to do in Cape Town

There are so many things to see and do in and around Cape Town. Not surprisingly, you could spend a few weeks in the city and not have seen everything. In this post we outline some of our favourite spots and highlights from the Mother City. 

I always find myself lost in the beauty of this city. Having been lucky enough to visit here for work a few times in 2016 and 17, and twice for pleasure recently. 

There is a little bit of something for everyone, from amazing history to food, to nature and adventure. 

1. Hiking

Cape Town is a very mountainous, coastal area and there is no shortage of natural beauty. 

Look in any direction and you’re almost guaranteed to either see a mountain, forest or a  beach view. 

Hiking trails are generally well maintained and easily accessible and there are several breathtaking peaks to summit in Cape Town. 

We took a hike up through Skeleton Gorge, starting from the Kirstenbosch National Botanical Gardens, leading up to the top of Table Mountain.

It was a cold and damp day, Henry had to convince me to keep going a few times. But after we found this waterfall I was reenergised, and grateful that he always tries to get my lazy bones to push themselves a bit further. 

This hike leads you through the Newlands forest and up a gorge. 

On clear weather days, you can either take the cable car back down the mountain, or continue on down the other side straight into the city. 

Some of the other top hikes to take are up what is known as Lion’s Head, the Crystal Pools and Suicide Gorge. 

In addition, there are also many bike trails along the peaks. 

Consequently, Cape Town is a major bucket list city for nature lovers and outdoor enthusiasts. 

2. Wine Tasting

We took full advantage of the favourite pass time activity in the region…. Wine Tasting. I mean, why wouldn’t you?

Wine has been made in Cape Town since the mid 1600s when the Dutch used the Cape as a sort of refreshment station along the Spice Route between Europe and Asia. 

Today there are over 200 wine farms and vineyards in the Western Cape. 

South Africa produces over a million tonnes of wine a year, the majority of which are made in and around Cape Town. 

We drank a fare share of this annual production while we were here. 

Most noteworthy is the extensive list of award wining wines made right here in Cape Town. Tastings vary from a full wine history tour and tasting, to cheese and chocolate pairings. 

A great choice is to do a whole day trip around one of the various different wine routes as a group, like we did with my sister and brother-in-law. 

Or you could opt for a romantic getaway, many of the farms either have a hotel or are surrounded by guest houses. 

We are pictured here at Beau Constantia, one of our favourites. The view is amazing. 

 

3. Babylonstoren

Babylonstoren is a 17th Century farm, dating back to the mid 1600s. Started by the Dutch who had begun to colonise the Cape. Today you can find a restaurant and hotel on the premises, do wine tasting and walk for hours through the immense themed gardens boasting some of the widest varieties of fruit, exotic and indigenous plants i have ever seen. 

From their selection of healing plants, to poisonous plants and fruit trees, it is a really interesting spot with breathtaking views. 

Located in Paarl, about an hours drive from Cape Town, it is surrounded by many other award wining wine farms and attractions. You could easily have a jam packed day around the area. 

If you do, you must also check out Cape Brewing Company or CBC and do a beer tasting (located in Spice Route) as well as a cheese and wine tasting at Fairview. You could also squeeze in a quick walk through the cobblestone streets of Stellenbosch. 

4. Shark Cage Diving

OK so I will admit we sadly didn’t do this, but i know if we had more time in Cape Town this would have been high on our list. 

Because the Atlantic Ocean is known for its high population of Great White Sharks, this is a popular attraction. There is no greater thrill than getting so close to this majestic beast. 

5. Food, food and more food

Somehow food is always high on our travel priority list. And Cape Town does not disappoint. 

This was a much needed refuel-meal we ate at the V&A Waterfront, at Mar-e-Sol restaurant. A great little spot. 

Being a coastal city the seafood and fish shops are a plenty and all serve an amazingly fresh variety of seafood.

Cape Town is a melting pot of different foods and the restaurant culture is strong. Therefore, you won’t need to search far for a highly rated restaurant serving almost anything you could ask for.

6. Chapman's Peak Drive

This iconic drive stretches from one side of Table Mountain to the other, boasting breathtaking views of the cliff faces that greet the Atlantic Ocean. 

Not only does the drive excite with its steep drops, but the seaside town of Hout Bay greets you on the other side. There are numerous restaurants, a promenade and harbour, really old hotels, food and craft markets. 

The quaint town of Nordhoek can be found on the southern end of the drive and Hout Bay on the northern side. 

There are a few lookout points you can stop at along the way, some amazing restaurants and markets in Hout Bay you can check out, too. 

A perfect day trip can be made of the drive at a leisurely pace. 

Not far from the Drive is Simonstown which we felt deserved its own mention. 

7. Simon's Town

I visited Simon’s Town many years back and i remember distinctly the beauty and age of the town. 

It can be found on the eastern side of the Cape Peninsula. And is a beautiful part of the coastline where the land rises steeply from the shore, boxing the town in along the shoreline. 

Boulders Beach is found just outside Simon’s Town. It is home to a colony of African penguins who have called this home since 1985. No previous records of the penguins living here can be found.  

 

In 1795 the British Royal Navy built a base and an impressive tower in Simon’s Town after annexing the area from the Dutch. 

Today, the base for the South African Navy and an authentic wartime submarine can be found.

8. Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens

Kirstenbosch can be seen as the entry point to much of the natural beauty of Cape Town. 

This botanical garden boasts some of the best views in Cape Town. Not to mention of course the wide plant varieties which are protected within the park. 

For us the highlight was venturing up the paths and off of the park map, away from the manicured gardens into the densely lined forests that cover the surrounding mountains. 

Surprisingly, for South Africa, the park is not completely gated. So you can access the Newlands Forest, Skeleton Gorge and of course Table Mountain, all from within the park. You can summit the mountain whilst finding some waterfalls and gorges along the way. 

Claimed to be one of the best botanical gardens in the world, nothing soothes the soul like walking around in nature for a few hours. 

With the backdrop of the eastern side of the Table Mountain range behind you, the perfectly cared for gardens will not disappoint. 

You can access the forests that line table mountain and go for a hike up the iconic slopes. All accessed from the gardens. 

The well covered forests provide the perfect cover from the blistering sun during summer or the cold winds in winter. You’ll even be able to find a waterfall or two within Skeleton Gorge. 

 

9. Paragliding

Take a walk up Signal Hill and Paraglide down to the beach. 

On a day when wind conditions are favourable, you’ll often see a group of paragliders taking advantage of CapeTown’s scenery from above. 

This adventure lover’s dream is a common activity in Cape Town. If you have that adventurous spirit, you can’t leave Cape Town until you try it. 

sassy-escape-paragliding

10. City Walk

Get lost. 

I always say that if you haven’t gotten lost on the streets of a city, have you really seen it?

There is much to see in the city centre. You could easily spend a whole day walking around. Check out everything from some of the most amazing coffee shops; Capetonians take their coffee seriously. To some hidden gems of restaurants as well as markets, galleries, shops and street performers. 

Try find a restaurant that either goes by the name YARD or The Dog’s Bollocks at Yard. You’ll thank me later. 

Cape Town’s city centre has something for everyone. 

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