Our HOT list of the best things to do in Cape Town right now
With the Atlantic Ocean on its doorstep and Table Mountain National Park as the ‘back garden’, it’s no surprise to us that Cape Town has been crowned the best City in the world to visit by the Daily Telegraph this July 2023. But beneath the visual spectacle there is so much more to be discovered and we rounded up 18 of the best.
Cape Town is the city where in summer you’ll spend your days outdoors in glorious sunshine and your nights enjoying the city’s legendary culinary and night scene. Not sure where to start? Leave it to us – these are our insider must-do experiences handpicked by your African born and bred team at Voyage2Africa.
Explore Table Mountain
Table Mountain is an iconic sight in South Africa! It’s got a fascinating history with the San people, who called it ‘Hoerikwaggo,’ meaning ‘mountain in the sea.’ Even today, local Capetonians use it as a landmark for giving directions – pretty cool, right?!
Why we love it: Table Mountain overlooking Cape Town is just epic! Hiking options galore or just ride the cableway for quick access to the top (no judgement here!) Either way the views are mind-blowing – city and ocean all in one glance! But watch out for the sneaky ‘tablecloth’ of clouds that can ruin the panorama. Still, it’s a must-visit spot for breathtaking sights over the Mother City of Cape Town.
Robben Island tour from Cape Town
Nelson Mandela, the former president of South Africa, spent the majority of his 27-year imprisonment on the island, along with many other political detainees. Today, this island holds the status of a UNESCO World Heritage Site, serving as a poignant reminder of South Africa’s turbulent history. Visiting it is a sobering experience that allows us to reflect on the struggles and challenges faced during those times.
Why we love it? Robben Island Museum has immense historical significance. It holds a crucial place in South Africa’s past and serves as a powerful reminder of the events that shaped this nation. The location of the island is about seven kilometers off the coast, adding to its allure. Take a scheduled ferry boat from the Waterfront to reach the island. But it’s the guided tours, often led by former inmates, that provide a unique and personal perspective on the anti-apartheid struggle by those who fought for freedom and equality.
Explore the V&A Waterfront a Cape Town Icon
This atmospheric, buzzing working harbor in the center of Cape Town is a destination in its own right, with dozens of exciting attractions that keep locals and tourists coming back for more.
Why we love it: Children (and adults) will love the Cape Wheel – great 40-metre-high views and an exciting ride; the cave putt-putt and a boat trip on Steamboat Vicky or the pirate ship. There’s also Art jamming and the Playdate SuperPark (with mazes, escape rooms, an aerial obstacle course and more). There’s roller-skating, skateboarding and SUPing at Battery Park, not to mention the Two Oceans Aquarium, an array of quality stalls to browse at The Watershed, and did we mention the actual shopping? Some of the best shops and boutiques in Africa can be found at the Waterfront as well as movies and a huge array of restaurants.
Explore Cape Point
The south-western tip of South Africa is an iconic destination, much like Table Mountain. It also serves as the perfect halfway point for an unforgettable full-day tour along the stunning coastal roads of the peninsula.
Why we love it: Well, Cape Point Nature Reserve is the wildest and most untamed section of the Table Mountain National Park. Here, you can get up close to baboons and antelope, making it a unique wildlife experience. The area boasts clearly marked hiking trails that allow you to explore the natural beauty of the reserve, and there are tidal pools where you can enjoy a refreshing swim.
One of the highlights is the historic lighthouse, which you can reach by taking a leisurely walk or riding the Flying Dutchman Funicular. However, keep in mind that despite what some guides may say, Cape Point is not the place where the Atlantic and Indian Oceans meet. That geographical point is actually located at Cape Agulhas, which is about 150 km to the east.
The Old Biscuit Mill in Woodstock
The Old Biscuit Mill, nestled in the vibrant heart of up and coming Woodstock, is a thriving creative hub with a unique charm popular with locals and tourists alike.
Why we love it? Well, it’s most famous for the lively Saturday Neighbourgoods Market, which is a must-visit event. However, even on other days, the place is a treasure trove of experiences. The mill houses a variety of boutiques and restaurants that cater to all tastes. If you’re into African design, don’t miss Imiso Ceramics and Abode, where you can find some truly stunning pieces. For coffee enthusiasts, Espresso Lab offers micro-roasted coffee that’s sure to tantalize your taste buds. And if you’re a foodie, then Pot Luck Club is a gem that serves globally inspired tapas plates, providing a delectable culinary journey.
This boho-chic seaside suburb is an absolute delight with its vibrant atmosphere and diverse offerings.
Why we love it? Well, this place is a shopper’s paradise! Colorful boutiques line the streets, showcasing a variety of items, from African antiques to locally crafted designs. Even if you’re just window shopping, strolling through these boutiques enjoying a home-made ice cream from Ice Cafe is a total treat.
Kalk Bay boasts an impressive selection of restaurants. For a laid-back dining experience with an incredible sea view, head to The Brass Bell. If you’re craving legendary tapas, Salt is a local favourite that won’t disappoint. And don’t miss the opportunity to taste the legendary mussels and ciabatta at the stalwart Olympia Café. Kalk Bay Harbour adds to the charm, offering fresh fish and chips while you watch the boats return from sea with their catch of the day. For a refreshing swim, locals flock to the Dalebrook tidal pool, perfect for ocean swimming all year round.
The Kalk Bay Theatre at The Brass Bell hosts fantastic cabaret and comedy shows against the backdrop of the ocean, creating an unforgettable experience.
Sunset Catamaran Cruise
A Sunset Catamaran Cruise to Clifton is a must-do for experiencing the best sundowners in Cape Town.
Why we love it? First of all, you get to sail on luxurious teak-decked catamarans like Explore or IQ, which offer the perfect setting to watch the sun set in all its glory. You can either lounge on the trampolines in front or relax on comfortable cushion seating while enjoying the breath-taking views of the city with Table Mountain as a stunning backdrop. The cruise sets off from the Waterfront, taking you on a delightful journey through Table Bay and along the picturesque Atlantic Seaboard.
Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa
The Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa proudly holds the title of the world’s largest collection of contemporary works from the continent, showcasing an impressive array of art from various African regions.
Why we love it? Well, the artwork itself is a compelling reason. The museum’s rotating exhibitions offer a glimpse into the vast and diverse creativity of African artists, providing an enriching experience for all visitors. Aside from the art, the central atrium itself is a sight to behold. Thanks to the brilliant work of London-based architect Thomas Heatherwick, an abandoned grain silo has been transformed into a striking space that leaves a lasting impression. Just go!
Oranjezicht City Farm Market
A bustling market filled with fresh produce, street food stalls and local designers, set right on the water’s edge, close to Granger Bay and the V&A Waterfront. Don’t get confused as this market is no longer in Oranjezicht despite keeping its name!
Why we love it? Why wouldn’t you?! If you’re stocking your fridge, you’ll find fabulous fresh produce from local artisans. If you’re searching for souvenirs, an entire section of Oranjezicht City Farm Market is devoted to local craft and design. And if you’re just plain hungry, the food hall section is brimming with global dishes and local flavours. Enjoy your order at the communal tables overlooking the ocean and meet the locals.
Boulders Beach Cape Town
Boulders Beach, located on the southern Cape Peninsula, offers a beautiful sandy shoreline along the warmer Indian Ocean. But what makes this place truly special is the colony of wild African penguins that call it home, along with the tranquil waters nestled amidst the boulders where you can picnic and swim.
Why we love it? Well, African penguins are endangered, and Boulders Beach hosts one of only two breeding colonies on the South African coastline where you can get up close and personal with these adorable creatures. It’s a rare opportunity to observe these cute creatures in their natural habitat and appreciate their playful and entertaining behaviour.
SUP around the Waterfront
Stand-up paddleboarding (SUPing) has seen an upsurge in popularity over the past decade, and if you’d like to try your hand at it, head to the Waterfront.
Why we love it? The calm, wave-free canals are the perfect training ground for aspirant SUPers. You’ll be provided with all the gear and introductory training – expect a few tumbles into the shallow water – and once you’ve mastered the art of balancing on the board, it’s time to set off on a three-kilometre loop of the waterways. Should you require it, a guide will accompany you; if you already know how to SUP, you can simply rent a board and cruise the canals. So much fun!
Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens
Kirstenbosch, established in 1913, is South Africa’s flagship botanical garden, spread across 90 acres on the slopes of Table Mountain. One of its standout features is the ‘Boomslang,’ a canopy walkway named after the Afrikaans word for ‘tree snake,’ providing a bird’s-eye view for bird-watching and picture-perfect selfies. And of course, don’t miss the dedicated Protea Garden, celebrating South Africa’s national flower.
Why we love it? Well, Kirstenbosch offers a serene escape from the city’s hustle and bustle. The meticulously manicured gardens seamlessly blend with the indigenous fynbos vegetation, creating a tranquil and picturesque setting. It’s a perfect spot to pack a picnic and spend a lazy afternoon, or you can join a free guided tour to learn more about the diverse plant life.
In summer, Kirstenbosch’s sunset concert series is a massive hit, drawing in crowds for an unforgettable outdoor music and picnic musical experience in this enchanting botanical wonderland.
Guided Kayaking in Cape Town
Zip up your lifejacket for a guided kayaking adventure on the city’s Atlantic Seaboard.
Why we love it? Enjoy an all-new perspective on Cape Town, with the chance to paddle alongside pods of dolphins and, if you’re lucky, southern right whales.
Water Biking at Simons Town
These state-of-the-art water bikes make “walking on water” as easy as pie. All you need to do is take a seat and pedal away, exactly like you would on a normal bicycle – best part you don’t get wet!
Why do we love it? This is a new and unique way to view marine life, including Cape fur seals, penguins (and even whales in season), as well as the picturesque scenery of False Bay. Besides being fun, water bikes are super-stable and don’t require fuel (nor do they emit CO2), making them eco-friendly and a quiet way to cruise the ocean.
Visit the Two Oceans Aquarium in the Waterfront
This world-class aquarium is home to more than 8 000 sea creatures of all shapes, sizes and colours – including clownfish (hello Nemo!).
Why do we love it? It’s an exciting peek into life off our shores, with a mesmerising swaying kelp forest, schools of shiny fish swimming in unison, gliding turtles and even sharks, which can also be viewed from within a 10-metre glass tunnel. There are more exotic fish, too, such as jellies, octopus, seahorses, pufferfish and moray eels. The popular penguin exhibit is always a hit. It’s a fantastical underwater wonderland that’s constantly changing, plus kids can get up close to anemones and starfish at the Touch Pool
EScootering on the Promenade
A battery-powered, fat-tyred electric scooter is just the thing for cruising Sea Point’s glorious seaside strip – you’ll cover more ground in less time, with less effort.
Why do we love it? Breeze past the dog walkers, joggers and skaters while taking in the sights, sounds and smells. The scooters come in different sizes, and are suitable for anyone five years and older. The entire Promenade, from Granger Bay to Bantry Bay and beyond, is yours to explore and enjoy.
Discover the Bo-Kaap
The Cape Malay Quarter in Cape Town is steeped in history, renowned for its spice shops, charming cobbled streets, friendly locals and vibrant painted houses.
Why do we love it? The guided walking tours are perfect for understanding the suburb’s past, including its connections to slavery. Along the way, you can sample the flavours of traditional Cape Malay cuisine, experiencing the rich culinary heritage in local kitchens. And let’s not forget the photogenic allure! The kaleidoscopic houses offer a picture-perfect backdrop for selfies!
Cruise in a classic convertible
Cape Town is a city made for road-tripping: the peninsula creates the ideal circular itinerary offering awe-inspiring scenery and stops in every direction… the Atlantic Seaboard, Chapman’s Peak Drive, Cape Point, Boulders Beach, the False Bay coast, the Constantia Winelands.
Why do we love it? Sure, you could take a bus or drive an ordinary car – but it’ll be much more fun and memorable in a classic Cobra open-top sports car. Various self-drive options are available, from a two-hour sundowner trip to making a day of it and taking in the staggering views.
Get hold of us now to plan your Cape Town Adventure. Voyage2Africa has some of the best rates for accommodation in Cape Town. We are based here in this beautiful City so make use of our passion, experience and insider’s knowledge!