Dominated by the iconic Table Mountain, which serves as a backdrop everywhere in the city, Cape Town is a mish-mash of cultures. It is the second-most populous urban area in South Africa after Johannesburg. It is also the capital and primate city of the Western Cape province.
The city was named the World Design Capital for 2014 by the International Council of Societies of Industrial Design. In 2014, Cape Town was named the best place in the world to visit by both the American New York Times and the British Daily Telegraph.
Top Things to Do in Cape Town
At over 3,500 feet above sea level, the views from Table Mountain are the best in the city. Taking the famous cableway up the mountain was one of the first things we recommend.
The hiking trails are free and offer some great exercise. There are a number of routes up the mountain, with the shortest trail taking about two hours to climb from the cableway station. At the top there is a café and restaurant, where you can grab a drink or a bite and soak up the views.
Enjoy a drink on top of Lion’s Head
While hiking up Table Mountain may take too long for an evening hike, the adjacent Lion’s Head is only a 45-minute climb to the top. It’s essentially the little sister to Table Mountain. Make sure to bring a camera on your hike, because it’s one of the most photogenic spots in Cape Town. Rising high above the city skyline, it still provides incredible views of the city, sea, and Table Mountain. If your are lucky enough to arrive there on the perfect time, you can witness a rare show as a low blanket of clouds makes all trace of man disappear.
Sunrise and sunset can be crowded times, as locals and tourists alike clamber up the mountain to take in the impressive vista. Once on top of the peak be sure to reward yourself with a classic African “sundowner” (a drink while watching the sunset). Our personal drink of choice is the classic gin & tonic; it complements a sunset on Lion’s Head perfectly.
Past Chapman’s Peak southwest of Cape Town is Cape Point National Park, where you can witness the collision of the Atlantic and Indian oceans at the Cape of Good Hope. The national park offers long hikes, coastal birdlife, and a chance to take in the smallest and richest floral kingdom in the world, the fynbos.
You will have to pay a R42 ($3) toll to drive on the road; however, the scenic drive is well worth the cost! The famous drive snakes along the vertical cliff faces of Table Mountain, leaving you wondering whether your car will end up in the Atlantic.
Car rental : $22-37 depending on the season
Petrol costing around $1 per liter.
The entry fee to the Cape Point National Park is $10
Head to Robben Island
Visiting the former political prison on Robben Island should be high on your list of things to do. A former inmate personally guides everyone around the prison. It is both sobering and inspiring to learn first-hand about South Africa’s first black president especially from other people who actually knew him. Highlights – hear their stories and sit in the same exact cells where prisoners who fought for their rights were locked away.
Tours depart from the Victoria and Alfred Waterfront, and visitors are shuttled across the bay to the island via ferry. A ferry ride tour to the Robben Island is when we say – DO NOT MISS – to see where Nelson Mandela’s autobiography, Long Walk To Freedom, was authored.
Spend a weekend day at the Bay Harbor Market
On weekends in Hout Bay, artisans and vendors from around the city come to the Bay Harbour Market to sell their goods: everything from fish stew, souvenirs, crêpes, jewelry, art, and even mojitos are available, as are live bands. You can get just about anything you can crave.
The market (31 Harbour Road) is open on Friday evenings, as well as Saturday and Sunday from 9:30am to 4pm.
Set against the slopes of Table Mountain, the beautiful botanical gardens are appropriately dubbed “the most beautiful garden in Africa.” Kirstenbosch offers visitors a chance to explore the fynbos and various floral kingdoms found across the African continent.
See the Boulders Beach penguins
Save a special occasion and make way to see the home of thousands of African penguins. Visitors can properly view them from a raised boardwalk, while still giving the massive colony their personal space. You’ll know where the African penguin’s second name, “jackass penguin,” comes from when you hear them call.
TIP – Don’t try to take a photo too close to a penguin — they bite, and we’re speaking from experience.
Pose for a pic in colorful Bo-Kaap
Walking distance from the city center is the colorful Cape Malay (Muslim) neighborhood of Bo-Kaap, the former quarters of the city’s slave population. However, as time passed, the neighborhood grew, and various communities have called it home. Nowadays, the Cape Malay population reside in the vibrant neighborhood. Don’t feel shy walking through and taking photos; the residents are friendly and used to having their homes photographed and posted on Instagram.
Typical Costs in Cape Town
Budget – Hostels – Dorm Beds – Starting at $18 per night per person
Apartment Rentals – AirBnb – Starting at $55-$75 per night
Hotels – Starting at $100-$1000 per night
Eating out in Cape Town is a fantastic experience, as you can have almost any cuisine at a fair price. We were able to gorge on delicious sushi for less than R150 ($11) at Willoughby’s Fish Market and get health juices at the Sidewalk Café for R30 ($2.20). We found the best bang for the buck at 96 Long Market Street, where the Eastern Food Bazaar serves up great food and huge portions every day for less than R50 ($3.70). Tipping 10% of the bill for table service is a common practice in South Africa.
We recommend Uber’s for the budget travelers, but as Sapphire Travels works, we would love to arrange custom tours and car-hire for a more personal experience.
Season: April- August
Had enough? What are you waiting for? Call now – 9999065555 // 9971110010 to Book an experience of a life time.