37 Things To Do In Cape Town

16 Sep 2016

The first time you see Table Mountain with your own eyes you will understand why Capetonians are obsessed with this 1085m high lump of rock. You will forgive them for talking about it as though they designed and built it, and now collectively own it. You see, it really is breathtakingly beautiful and totally dominates the city. It affects the weather, the traffic has to navigate around it, and where ever you are in Greater Cape Town, you see it, always looking gorgeous but with many different moods. 

Table Mountain

1. So, the best way to truly appreciate the views and design of Cape Town is to take a helicopter flight over the city and around the mountain. The views will leave you speechless and there is no better way to orientate yourself than from a thrilling seat in the air.

Table Mountain from the air

2. Once you have seen the mountain from the air, the views from the sea will deliver another perspective and add a sense of scale. If you are going to be on the ocean, do it in style on the world’s biggest and most luxurious catamaran, the Mirage 760. Take a sunset cruise, or make a day of it, sail from the V & A Waterfront to the picture perfect Clifton Beach where you can go ashore for a catered traditional braai (BBQ) and cocktails, with the mountain as a backdrop.

Sunset Cruise

Now that you have gazed at the mountain in awe and adoration it is time to get more intimately acquainted and there are many ways to do this.

3. Take the Table Mountain Aerial Cableway to the top of the mountain. Enjoy the views, walk the paths, buy some souvenirs and have a meal. You can even catch up with your social media in the Wi-Fi lounge, a work space with the most unique view in the world. TIP. To avoid long queues, book online and watch the weather, as they will close if the wind is too strong. Take a jacket as the weather can change very quickly, and even on a summer’s day, the temperature at the top is a few degrees lower than the starting point.

Cable Car

4. Get your hiking boots on and truly feel the mountain. Enjoy a winding walk, a challenging climb or a family outing, guided by an off duty fireman, or go all out and book the HoeriequaggaTrail for a 2 day adventure.

5. Kirstenbosch National Botanical Gardens are on the slopes of Table Mountain and apart from the incredible trees and plants, there are sculptures, shops, restaurants, streams and secret pathways to explore and plenty of space for kids to roam free. The elevated walkway known as the Boomslang (Tree Snake) curves above the treetops, and is one of the many highlights of the gardens.

Kirstenbosch Gardens

Kirstenbosch is a five minute drive to Constantia, the home of South African Wine.

6. Groot Constantia is the oldest wine estate and houses The Iziko Museum and an Orientation Centre which add to the understanding of the history and development of this wine region. Walk around the grounds and look out for the old bath and the 300-year-old hollow tree, refuel at one of the two superb restaurants, Jonkershuis or Simons Deli, then take in some art, explore the Cloete cellar, and of course sample some wine. Definitely taste the award winning Grand Constance, a sweet wine made to a 300 year old recipe. It is a replica of one of the wines favoured by Napoleon Bonaparte, and the smoothest nectar that will ever caress your palate.

Groot Constantia

7. The Constantia Valley has nine wine estates spread over 15 km, all worthy of a visit. The architecture ranges from classic Cape Dutch to ultra-modern glass and rock, all affording green views and a variety of attractions other than wine. Buitenverwachting has a coffee roastery on site and the smell of roasting beans and tastes of fine wines and treats is a foodie’s delight. Constantia Uitsig offers a bicycle track suitable for fun for all ages and fans of BMX and MTB riding, and of course they have wine. Silvermist Estate Organic Wine Estate is the scenically beautiful La Colombe (one of SA’s top 3 restaurants) and where adrenalin junkies do their wine tasting as it has a Zipline course that will thrill the whole family.

Steenberg is excellent for golfers, the 18 hole course is not only scenic but is ranked in the Top 100 in the country. Non golfers can have fun hitting balls on the driving range before a wine tasting or superb meal at Catharina’s, a world class restaurant. Beau Constantia is also well known for its culinary talents, in a glass encased room referred to as the fish bowl by locals, and it offers a sophisticated dining experience par excellence with a view unlike no other.

Steenberg Golf Course

Have a workout, score points with the kids and delight your own inner child with a visit to Acrobranch in Constantia.

8. Obstacle courses and fun routes involving trees, ropes, cargo nets and swings will test your endurance and balancing skills and have you smiling all day. Acrobranch promises fun for children from as young as three and is an ideal family day out, often repeated.

Acrobranch Constantia

9. If you are a wine lover then the Cellars Hohenhort is a perfect place to base yourself while you discover Cape Town and the fine wine and restaurants of the area. Treat yourself to high tea at the hotel, dine in style at the Greenhouse or have a relaxed meal the Conservatory restaurant, both overseen by top chef, Peter Templehoff. This is gracious living with all the modern comforts.

Cellars Hohonort

10. Drive to the top of Signal Hill just above the city for views and sunsets.  

11. For more active travellers, hike to the top of Lion’s Head. This is very popular with walkers, hikers, trail runners and families. It is quite crowded in the warmer months but worth it. It is a winding walk that includes paths, steps and two ladders near the top, young children will need assistance and supervision but are welcome. The effort is rewarded by the views of Robben Island, the city bowl and coastal suburbs.

Lions Head

12. A Tandem paraglide off Signal Hill is a thrill with no fear as you just sit and enjoy the views. You land on the grassy lawns of the Sea Point Promenade in front of Winchester Mansions, an iconic sea front hotel.

13. Winchester Mansions is the ideal place for place for cocktails, high tea, a spa treatment or dinner at Harvey’s Restaurant. Their Sunday Jazz Brunch is not to be missed and is the best way to start your promenade exploring.

14. Hire bicycles, interact with the giant art installations, catch a free yoga class or walk down onto the beach. Grab a snack from the vendors next to the Pavilion or swim in this sea side public pool.

Tandem Paragliding

15. Hire a motorbike or be driven in a side car and wind your way around the incredible Chapman’s Peak Drive.

16. Stop in Hout Bay for fresh fish on the deck at Dune’s Restaurant which is practically on the beach and is very child friendly with a really great sandpit (soft white beach sand) and play area.

17. Have lunch at the Forrester’s Arms Pub and Grill, a Cape Town institution and fondly known as Forries.

18. The V & A Waterfront is an exquisitely located venue that offers entertainment for days. Start your visit with a whirl on the Cape Wheel and see the extent of the Waterfront while enjoying marvellous views of the harbour, Table Mountain, Lions Head, Signal Hill and the city.

19. The Two Oceans Aquarium is a world class experience, as is a trip to Robben Island. Eighty eateries cater to all tastes and budget and four hundred and fifty retail outlets satisfy your shopping needs. Boat trips, helicopter flips, museums on ships, a museum of Rugby, art galleries, craft halls, food markets and ice cream, there is so much to love at the V& A Waterfront.

VandA Waterfront

20. Diamonds are a girls’ best friend and The Diamond Girls in Bree Street manufacture and design exquisite personalised jewellery. They also have a range of ready made pieces. Create and shop at your leisure in their private suite in the city, or visit the Diamond Museum in the Waterfront.

21. Get to Cape Point, the very tip of this beautiful Peninsula, take the funicular to the top for views that will take your breath away.

22. Plan your route to include a stop in Kalk Bay to browse the antique shops, watch the fishing boats come in and eat the freshest fish on the dock at Kalky’s.

23. Stop at Boulders Beach to see the penguin colony and be entertained by the antics of these comical creatures.

24. Visit Cape Point Vineyards for wine tasting in the salty sea air before enjoying some beach time at Noordhoek where you can swim, surf, horse ride or walk for miles.

Kalk Bay

25. Cape Town offers plenty of very diverse day trips in all directions. If you don’t like long drives, in under an hour you can head south east of the city over Sir Lowry’s Pass to Elgin.

26. Farm-stalls and fruit, fabulous wine estates, local ciders, forests and nature await you here.

27. The adventurous will love the hikes in the reserves or the adrenalin rush of The Cape Canopy tour. A thirty minute 4x4 drive takes you high into the mountains before a short walk gets you to the first of 11 platforms and a sky high suspension bridge for an extreme Zipline adventure. Allow four hours for this experience which finishes with a one km hike, a 4x4 drive back to the start and a light meal at the base in the mountains.

Canopy Tour

28. Travel North West from Cape Town up the rugged West Coast where food is an experience and the lifestyle is friendly and relaxed.

29. The little town of Darling is a delight, offering excellent wines from the region, a craft brewery that is suitable for the whole family, a locally made traditional toffee called the Darling Sweet and a unique museum at the old railway station. Explore the town on foot by way of a treasure hunt starting at the quaint museum.

30. A short drive from Darling will take you to !KhwaTtu, (the exclamation mark is how one of the many click sounds of this African language is written) This farm is a celebration of the SAN Culture. Game drives, walks, MTB Routes and hiking trails add to the cultural experience of art, a traditional village, an informative outdoor display and an excellent restaurant. On a clear day, Table Mountain can be seen shimmering in the distance.

31. A visit to the Winelands, just 40 minutes out of Cape Town, is a must, with hundreds of wine estates waiting to welcome you in the towns and surrounds of Stellenbosch, Franschhoek, Wellington and Paarl.

32. Explore the Franschhoek Estates with the Wine Tram tour, visit the Huguenot Monument and browse the art galleries, shops and restaurants along the high street and enjoy the French flair of this picturesque village.

Museum in Franschhoek

33. The Spier Wine Estate just outside Stellenbosch is a superb wine experience, and picnics, restaurants and space to run and play make it a firm favourite for families. Walk the whole extent of the Spier Estate with an audio tour by downloading the VoiceMap app, or hire a Segway and cruise in style.

34. Visit the Eagle Encounters sanctuary for some educational fun with birds of prey, owls and other captivating feathered friends.

Stellenbosch

35. Ocean lovers will delight in the Overberg towns of Hermanus, Stanford and Gansbaai, all within a leisurely two hour drive from Cape Town. Known as the Cape Whale Coast, here you can experience land and boat based whale watching, dispel the myths that surround sharks and fall in love with these magnificent creatures doing a shark cage dive, or if you prefer to stay on the boat, and Eco Cruise to view Whales, Great White Sharks, Seals Penguins and Sea Birds.

36. Explore the ancient caves at Klipgat and watch the sun go down from De Kelders.

De Kelders

37. Grootbos Private Nature Reserve is a luxury reserve in the Cape Floral Kingdom with a restaurant second to none and a perfect place to stay to explore this naturally rich area. Conservationists and eco- friendly travellers will find Gansbaai and the surrounding area of particular interest as this area was the overall winner of the World Responsible Tourism Award in 2015. 

Grootbos Private Nature Reserve

I think you will find that there are a lot more than 37 Things To Do In Cape Town! 

Testimonials

Nottens Bush Camp

Best family holiday

Best family holiday we’ve ever had.

Rob Willsdon

Recent Blog entries