Cape Town, South Africa, is located on the southwest coast of the country, making it one of the most picturesque cities in the world. Table Mountain towers over the city, and its allure comes from the attractive neighbourhoods and recognisable landmarks inside them.
Top 10 Places to Visit in Cape Town
The city was founded in 1652 as a supply depot for ships belonging to the Dutch East India Company and is located primarily along the glistening shores of Table Bay. It’s the legislative capital of the Rainbow Nation and has progressively risen over the years to become the country’s second largest metropolis.
Its diversified population has had a significant impact on the region’s history, culture, architecture, and food, making it a very multicultural region. The Mother City is full of contrasts, from the brightly coloured neighbourhoods like Bo-Kaap to the quiet beachside suburbs and the modern V&A Waterfront.
There’s a thriving arts community, and beautiful scenery is never out of reach. See adorable penguins or go shark-cage diving in Cape Town in addition to hiking the city’s iconic highlands and hills.
It’s little surprise that Cape Town is one of the continent’s most visited cities, what with these landmarks and the adjacent famed Robben Island and beautiful wines.
1. Table Mountain
Table Mountain dominates the skyline of Cape Town and the city’s beautiful coastline, making it the city’s most recognisable landmark. World-famous for its level top, this area is a hiker’s and rock climber’s paradise and a wildlife watcher’s paradise as well.
The summit, which is framed by the peaks of the Devil’s Peak and the Lion’s Head, is now a protected national park. It has a diverse variety of plants and trees covering its slopes, and it is surrounded by steep, rugged cliffs.
Several picturesque but strenuous hiking trails wind their way up to its towering peak and captivating vistas. Incredible views of the city await anyone who choose to either walk or ride the revolving cable car to the top.
You can see all the way down the coast to distant Robben Island as well as Cape Town and the glittering bay below. Table Mountain was one of the highlights of our two weeks in South Africa and is a must-see for everyone travelling there.
2. Victoria & Alfred Waterfront
The Victoria & Alfred Waterfront is one of Cape Town’s busiest tourist destinations. The trendy shopping and entertainment complex looks out over the beach towards Table Mountain in the distance.
The waterfront, now a major attraction, was once merely a jetty in 1654. It’s still a working harbour, but it’s also a fantastic new mixed-use centre in South Africa. There are now hundreds of high-end stores and restaurants, in addition to a pleasant aquarium and a fine art museum.
Live music performs frequently, and visitors may shop for one-of-a-kind items at the African crafts market. We had a great time people-watching from the waterfront’s picturesque vantage point. Sightseeing cruises around the coast and ferries to Robben Island depart from here.
Kirstenbosch is unquestionably one of the most spectacular botanical gardens in the world, renowned for its vibrant flowers and intriguing scenery. Its location at the eastern foot of Table Mountain makes it a must-see for everyone with an appreciation for the great outdoors.
It covers a large area and is home to plants, flowers, trees, and shrubs from nearly all of South Africa’s delightfully distinct biomes. Certain areas of the garden are meticulously maintained, while others are let to flourish in their natural state.
Visitors can stroll along any number of attractive pathways that wind through the park’s carefully tended lawns and densely forested areas. It has a big glass conservatory where you can relax after wandering past the stone statues or along the canopy walk.
There are also a few places to dine and drink, as well as a small amphitheatre for outdoor performances.
4. Clifton Beaches
Cape Town is home to some of the world’s finest urban beaches. Clifton Beach, located on the west side of the Atlantic barely 10 minutes from the city centre, is the hippest of the bunch. Clifton consists of four individual beaches, each of which is separated from the others by a line of granite outcrops.
All of the beaches feature nearly white sand and stunning sunsets. The water is always exceedingly cold, averaging 12 to 16 °C, and is only acceptable on a hot summer day despite its attractive blue colour.
5. Castle of Good Hope
The pentagonal Castle of Good Hope is South Africa’s oldest colonial structure still in use. Its construction was initiated in 1666 by the Dutch East India Company in order to restock ships, and its gate design features the coats of arms of various Dutch cities.
The Castle Military Museum and the Iziko Museums of Cape Town are located in what is now a Cape military installation. The Military Museum details the region’s military history, while the Iziko Museum has the William Fehr collection of artworks and antique furniture.
6. Boulders Beach Penguin Colony
Boulders Beach is one of the few beaches in the world where visitors can stroll, sunbathe and swim among penguins. In 1982, two penguins made this beach their home, a good hour’s drive from Cape Town.
Almost 2,000 penguins have made this beach their permanent residence. These are African penguins, also known as “jackass” penguins due to the resemblance between their chirps and a donkey’s bray.
Visitors can reach within a few feet of the penguins on a path that is accessible even for those in wheelchairs. Although the penguins are accustomed to humans, visitors should just look at them and not touch them in case of fright.
7. Cape Point
Cape Point attracts many more visitors than Cape Agulhas, which is the true southernmost point of Africa, because of its more central location. This is due to the dramatic appearance of its rocky headland and the abundance of beautiful natural features in the area.
The rocky outcrop that protrudes into the turbulent Atlantic Ocean is now a component of a nature reserve with the same name. Two lonely lighthouses, one old and one modern, sit atop its rocky cliffs, begging to be photographed. The famous Flying Dutchman Funicular will take you to them and the amazing vantage points from the point.
The scenic site is home to a variety of Cape Town’s ‘Big 6’ species, including baboons, bucks, and even ostriches. Cape Point and its captivating vistas are not to be missed, and neither are the area’s pristine beaches and array of fantastic restaurants.
8. Chapman’s Peak Drive
Chapman’s Peak Road is a breathtaking route that hugs the western coast of the Cape Peninsula. Whether you’re in Cape Town for business or pleasure, a cruise along Chappies is an absolute must.
Its winding path, cut into the vertical rock face between 1915 and 1922, is a remarkable feat of engineering. The route is nine kilometres long and runs from Hout Bay to Noordhoek, with stunning views of the surrounding cliffs. The mountain that gives the area its name stands dramatically in the background.
Enjoy breathtaking coastal and cape vistas as you wind your way along Marine Drive. The sun’s rays look especially enchanting as they reflect off the sea at sunset. Be careful to take use of designated picnic areas and whale-watching vantage points for photo ops and extended stays.
9. Two Oceans Aquarium
Along the Victoria & Alfred Waterfront, another popular destination is the Two Oceans Aquarium. Fish, sharks, and sea turtles from the Atlantic and Indian seas, which border South Africa, can be seen swimming in the aquarium’s massive tanks.
When it first opened in 1995, the aquarium’s exhibits were home to more than 8,000 fish, making it a hit with families. Seahorses and starfish, incredible moray eels, and adorable African penguins are just some of the more than 300 marine species on display.
There is a lot more to the country’s coastal and oceanic ecosystems than just the luxuriant kelp forests and camouflaged octopi. The massive I&J Ocean Exhibit is the undisputed highlight, along with the educational and entertaining penguin and shark feeding events.
It’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to witness beautiful manta rays and sea turtles swimming around the aquarium’s enormous wall of water.
10. Camps Bay Beach
Camps Bay Beach is another beautiful place to spend time. Its white beaches are a big draw for both inhabitants and visitors, thanks to the abundance of enjoyable pursuits and breathtaking vistas of the surrounding mountains.
This quiet neighbourhood is well-known for its excellent dining and hip cocktail spots. Just south of Sea Point, on the western shore of the Cape Peninsula, is a little bay with a wonderful beach.
You can sunbathe, swim and explore the area’s unique rock formations and tidal pools. While doing so, you can take in breathtaking views of the Twelve Apostles, which tower over the entire shoreline.
When you’ve worked on your tan, head to one of the area’s excellent eateries, such as the Codfather, PRIMI, or Tiger’s Milk. The patio at Chinchilla is a hotspot because of the breathtaking sunsets and scenery. Camps Bay Beach was a highlight of our time in Cape Town, and with good reason.