Things You Must Do In Cape Town At Least Once In Your Life
#Go to 1 or all of Cape Town’s beaches
We’re kicking off our ‘20 things you must do in Cape Town at least once in your life’ list with something beachy! There is nothing quite like being sun-kissed, sandy-toed, and salty-haired while soaking up the glorious Cape Town sunshine. Enjoying a blissful beach day on one of the Mother City’s beautiful beaches is by far one of the top things to do in Cape Town year-round.
Whether you’re looking to have some beach fun in the sun, sunbathe, go sandcastle building, learn to surf, enjoy a sunset stroll or beach sundowner, Cape Town’s vast array of stunning beaches caters to all your beach-loving desires. What can we say, the Mother City is pure beach bliss after all.
**A few of our favourite beaches are: Camps Bay, Clifton, Muizenberg Beach, Bloubergstrand, Llandudno, Bakoven, Glen Beach, Boulders Beach, Big Bay, Oudekraal Beach, Long Beach in Kommetjie, Noordhoek Beach and Water’s Edge.
#Embark on a mission to discover Cape Town’s best fish & chips
In Cape Town, local is always ‘lekker’! This ‘local is lekker’ vibe / sentiment applies to just about everything in the Mother City – Including the best fish & chips spots.
When eating fish & chips in Cape Town, the local way is the ONLY way – AKA: LOCAL OR NOTHING!
In Cape Town there are few things that come close to sitting amongst the seagulls, right at the ocean’s edge, at a local favourite fish & chips spot, sipping on a cool and refreshing Coke, and savouring every single bite of your freshly caught and delightfully fried hake and/or snoek and lick-your-fingers-clean-delicious chips smothered in traditional salt and vinegar for an extra tasty kick. It’s a rare moment of pure bliss! So much so that the fact that you can experience so much happiness and derive so much joy from such a simple pleasure almost seems unimaginable.
Local Cape Town fish & chips is king and we dare you to tell us otherwise!
Here are a few of our local fan-favorite fish & chips spots:
- Kalky’s Fish & Chips | Kalk Bay Harbour
- Fish on the Rocks | Hout Bay Harbour (they’ve been there for over 26 years so they absolutely know a thing or two about preparing fish)
- Lucky Fish & Chips | Muizenberg & Kalk Bay
- Fish Hoek Fisheries | Fish Hoek
- The Salty Sea Dog | Simon’s Town Harbour
- Snoekies | Hout Bay & various branches in and around Cape Town
- Lusitania Fisheries | Cape Town CBD
- Ooskus Fisheries | Gordon’s Bay
- Gateway Fisheries | Langebaan
#Swim, sunbathe, or enjoy a laid-back beach day with Cape Town’s cool & charismatic African Penguins
Seeing the beloved African Penguin Colony at Boulders Beach in their natural habitat is by far one of the top things you must do in Cape Town at least once in your life. However, after your first time at Boulders Beach, you’ll have no problem going back again and again. You’ll be completely hooked!
Home to a thriving population of African Penguins, Boulders Beach is one of the only places in the world where you can get up close and personal with these cool and charismatic ocean locals. This makes visiting the African Penguin colony at Boulders Beach a bucket-list worthy experience in every way.
Besides seeing the African Penguins from the African Penguin Viewing Site in Boulders Beach, you can enjoy a variety of other once-in-a-lifetime adventures such as swimming, kayaking or even enjoying a laid-back beach day with them right by your side.
**Note: Visitors will need to pay an entrance fee (which forms part of a conservation project) to gain access to the African Penguin Viewing Site and Boulders Beach. Your ticket is valid for the entire day. You can choose to exit and re-enter as it suits you (this only applies to the day your ticket was purchased).
**Visit the SANParks website for more information regarding Boulders Beach’s Conservation Fees.
#Attend a Kirstenbosch Summer Sunset Concert
Summer season in the Mother City is synonomys with Summer Sunset Concert Season at Kirstenbosch National Botanical Gardens. Every Sunday between November and April, Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens comes to life as the most amazing line-up of local and international musicians and bands take to the stage.
All you need to do is purchase your ticket, pack a picnic basket with your best-loved snacks and drinks (only if you’re keen), pick a spot on the rolling hills of Kirstenbosch Gardens, and enjoy a glorious afternoon of listening to some of your all-time favorite local and international musicians and bands. This is without a doubt something absolutely everyone should get to experience at least once in their life.
#Explore, discover, and even take a dip (if you dare) in one of Cape Town’s amazing tidal pools
There is nothing quite as refreshing or invigorating as taking a dip in the cool waters of the Atlantic on a hot summer’s day in Cape Town.
The Mother City is blessed with countless tidal pools built along the coastline. This provides locals and tourists alike with a great family-friendly space to swim, soak up the wonderful Cape Town sunshine, cool down, and have tons of fun. Not to mention most, if not all, of Cape Town’s tidal pools double as stunning sunrise and sunset watching spots – A sneaky bonus factor!
Here are some of Cape Town’s top tidal pools you absolutely can’t pass up:
- St James Tidal Pool | St James | Between Muizenberg and Kalk Bay
- Miller’s Point | Simon’s Town – Click here to find out everything you need to know about Miller’s Point Tidal Pool
- Maiden’s Cove | Between Glen Beach and Camps Bay Beach
- Dalebrook | Kalk Bay
- Camps Bay tidal pool | Camps Bay
- Shelley’s Point | Glencairn
- Milton tidal pool | Milton Beach
- Glencairn | Glencairn Beach
- Buffel’s Bay | Cape Point Nature Reserve
- Soetwater | South of Kommetjie
- Sparks tidal pool | Gordon’s Bay
- Kommetjie tidal pool | Kommetjie
- Saunders | Saunders Beach, between Clifton and Sea Point in the suburb of Bantry Bay
- Silwerstroom | Silwerstroom Resort, Meklbosstrand
- Wooley’s tidal pool | Between Kalk Bay and Clovelly
- Monwabisi | Khayelitsha
- Brass Bell | Brass Bell Restaurant | Kalk Bay
- Harmony | Strand
#Go on a sunrise, mid-day, sunset, or moonlight Lion’s Head hike
Going on a thrilling sunrise, mid-day, sunset, or moonlight hike up Lion’s Head is not only one of the top and most exhilarating things to do in Cape Town, but something EVERYONE should do and experience at least once in their lives.
Standing tall at 669 meters above sea level, showcasing a beautiful panoramic view of the Mother City, Atlantic Ocean, Table Mountain and beyond, Lion’s Head has established itself as one of the most popular Cape Town hiking trails for both hiking first-timers and avid hikers from around the world. In fact, hiking Lion’s Head is considered somewhat of a Cape Town rite of passage.
As Lion’s Head forms part of the renowned Table Mountain National Park, it boasts a rich biodiversity and diverse fauna and flora display – Making it the ultimate nature lover’s paradise. Besides being one of the most sought-after hiking trails in the Mother City, Lion’s Head forms a vital part of Cape Town’s topography – Standing loud and proud amongst Table Mountain and Signal Hill.
The Lion’s Head hiking trail is really easy to spot. All you need to do is look across the parking lot on Signal Hill road for a wide red gravel trail. The route is clearly marked, ensuring you won’t easily get lost along the way, making for an enjoyable and exciting hiking experience.
**BONUS: Lion’s Head is one of the best sunrise and sunset spots in Cape Town. If you’re looking to experience something extra special, going on a sunrise and/or sunset hike up Lion’s Head is a bucket-list worthy experience in every way. For an extra dose of excitement, you can also opt to go on a moonlight hike up Lion’s Head – How incredible is that?
**Click here to find out everything you need to know about hiking Lions Head.
#Witness, hike or take an Aerial Cableway ride to the top of Table Mountain
OF COURSE witnessing, hiking, or taking an Aerial Cableway ride to the top of Table Mountain is one of the top things to do in Cape Town at least once in your life. It is one of the New7Wonders of Nature and the Mother City’s pride and joy after all!
While admiring Table Mountain from below from various vantage and look-out points scattered across the city is every bit as beautiful, there are few things that compare to the view from the Table Mountain summit 1,086 metres (3,563 ft) above sea level.
Whether you choose to take an Aerial Cableway Ride or strap on your hiking boots, tackling the tall-standing mountainous giant head on, both are EXCELLENT choices.
There is no denying that going on an exciting Aerial Cable Way ride to the Table Mountain summit is not only an incredible year-round experience, but one of the most sought-after things to do in Cape Town. Not to mention that it will be thoroughly enjoyed by absolutely EVERYONE!
However, if you’re feeling extra adventurous, daring, and ready to take on the ultimate hiking challenge – Hiking the all-mighty Table Mountain is the way to go! Hiking to the top of Table Mountain is not only an unbelievable bucket-list worthy adventure, but an unforgettable experience in every way. While it may seem rather daunting and intimidating at first sight, once you reach the top it will be oh so worth it!
**Tip: Here are some of the top Table Mountain hiking trails for adventure enthusiasts and avid hikers alike:
- Platteklip Gorge
- Skeleton Gorge
- India Venster
- Devil’s Peak
- Maclear’s Beacon
- The Pipe Track
- Tranquility Cracks
- Constantia Nek to Kirstenbosch hiking trail
- Diagonal Path up Table Mountain
- Kloof Corner
- Woodstock Caves
- Woody Ravine
- Nursery Ravine
- Myburgh’s Waterfall Ravine hiking trail
- Llandudno Ravine
- Table Mountain Contour Path
#Learn to surf!
Are you ready to surf the cool Cape Town waves? Whether you’re an avid surfing pro looking for your next big wave or a surfing first timer, Cape Town is the ultimate surfing mecca.
Home to some of the most beautiful beaches in the world, coolest waves, and a stunning year-round mild Mediterranean climate, Cape Town has fast become THE sought-after surfing destination for surfers from around the world.
But before you put on your wetsuit, wax up and venture into the deep blue, here’s a list of the top surfing beaches in Cape Town. Are you ready to surf the cool Cape Town waves like a real pro? Here we go!
- Muizenberg Beach Surfer’s Corner: Experience level: Beginner
- Llandudno Beach: Experience level:Intermediate – Advanced
- The Dunes at Noordhoek Beach: Experience level: Advanced
- Bloubergstrand: Experience level: Intermediate
- Long Beach in Kommetjie: Experience level: Intermediate – Advanced
- Big Bay: Experience level: Beginner – Advanced
- Dungeons: Experience level: Advanced
#Take a sunset drive along Chapman’s Peak
Named one of the most magnificent marine drives in the world, taking a drive along the picturesque Chapman’s Peak Drive should be on everyone’s bucket-list. Affectionately known as ‘Chappies’ by Cape Town locals, this captivating coastal road ribbons along the Atlantic coastline between Hout Bay and Noordhoek. Besides showcasing some of the most sensational panoramic views over the Atlantic Ocean, you’ll pass rugged mountains, picturesque white-sand beaches, and vibrant fishing harbours on your way.
If you’re looking to experience something extra special, a sunset drive along Chapman’s Peak promises to sweep you off your feet and capture your sunset-loving heart all at the same time. It isn’t known as one of the best sunset spots in Cape Town for nothing.
**If you’re eager to add some adventure and thrill to your Chapman’s Peak Drive experience, here are a few things to look out for:
**Tip: Chapman’s Peak Drive is known for its amazing hidden gems scattered along the route. Two of which include the waterfall walk and the secret Look-out Cave.
The waterfall walk is perfect for nature lovers and adventurers and is found just before you reach the toll gate on your way towards Noordhoek.
The Chapman’s Peak Look-out Cave is not only one of its most beautiful hidden gems, but one of Cape Town’s top secret caves and best sunset spots too. Like all of the Mother City’s best kept secrets, you may need to wander a little off the beaten path to find it. Make your way along Chapman’s Peak Drive until you reach the famous Chapman’s Peak Lookout Point – This is where the real adventure begins!
Positioned just below the pass, you’ll have to climb over the railing and carefully make your way down the mountainside to reach the Lookout Cave. Once you’ve reached this cool secret hideaway and stunning sunset spot, it’s time to sit back, relax and soak it all in. The sheltered sand-stone cave boasts the perfect view over Hout Bay and Atlantic Ocean. An extra bonus is that it has enough space to enjoy a picnic and a few sundowners paired with one hell of a view.
Besides these two must-visit secret spots, there are a variety of look-out points and picnic sites located at various points along the drive. Chapman’s Peak Drive is also known as one of the best places to spot the beloved members of Cape Town’s Marine Big 5. Make sure to keep a look-out for Cape Fur Seals, Dolphins, Southern Right Whales, and African Penguins.
** Important note: Chapman’s Peak Drive may be closed during severe weather, or because of road maintenance. Contact the customer service line (021 791 8220) or visit their Facebook page or website to check the current status.
- Location: M6 | Chapmans Peak Drive, Atlantic Seaboard, Cape Town
- Best time: Best during daylight hours | Particularly beautiful at sunset
- Cost: Chapman’s Peak Drive is a toll road, and as such requires as toll tariff fee. Each category of vehicle pays a different tariff and the tariff is applicable in each direction.
- Toll Details: Click here to find out more about the Chapman’s Peak Standard Toll Tariffs | Click here to find out more about Chapman’s Peak Day Passes | Click here to find out more about Chapman’s Peak Frequent User Benefits
#Visit Muizenberg Beach & its colourful beach huts
Located along the vibrant False Bay coastline, Muizenberg Beach’s laid-back beach vibe, surf’s up approach to life and vibrant energy has made it one of Cape Town’s coolest coastal towns. It also boasts one of Cape Town’s top blue-flag swimming beaches, making it perfect for enjoying a lovely laid-back beach day.
Besides its blissful beach status, Muizenberg Beach is home to the famous Muizenberg Beach huts, also known as the retro wooden bathing boxes. These cool and colorful works of art have not only become one of the most sought-after attractions for travelers and photographers from around the world, but it has claimed the title as one of the most ‘Instagrammable’ spots in Cape Town too.
This undoubtedly makes taking a trip to Muizenberg Beach and its cool and colourful Beach Huts one of the top things you must do in Cape Town at least once in your life.
**Tip: Muizenberg Beach’s famous Surfers Corner is the best place in Cape Town for surfing first-timers to learn how to surf. If you’ve got ‘Learn how to surf’ jotted down on your Cape Town bucket-list – It’s time to seize the surfing day and surf your very first wave at Muizenberg’s Surfers Corner!
#Explore the colourful & culturally diverse neighbourhood of Bo-Kaap
The colourful and culturally diverse neighbourhood of Bo-Kaap has captured the hearts of locals and tourists alike with its charisma, charm, colour, vibrant energy, and rich heritage – We have NO doubt that it will steal your heart too!
Situated at the foot of Signal Hill, on the fringe of the city centre, walking through the streets of Bo-Kaap (formerly known as the Malay Quarter), is definitely one of the best things to do in Cape Town on any trip.
**By far one of the very best things about Bo-Kaap is the fact that there is so much MORE to this cool and colourful Cape Town neighbourhood than what meets the eye.
Beyond the bold and vibrant colors that line the steep cobble-stoned streets, Bo-Kaap is also one of Cape Town’s oldest and most culturally diverse neighbourhoods.
**Interesting fact: Bo-Kaap’s origins date back to the 1760s when numerous “huurhuisjes” (rental houses) were built and leased to slaves, known as the Cape Malays (paying further tribute to its name). Despite the fact that the beloved Bo-Kaap is now regarded as the most colourful, exciting, and vibrant neighbourhood in the Cape, that most certainly wasn’t always the case. Dating back to its origins, all of Bo-Kaap’s houses were instructed to be white. When this law / rule was eventually lifted and the ‘slaves’ were finally ‘allowed’ to buy and take ownership of their properties, they collectively decided to paint each and every house a bright, colourful, and vibrant colour as an expression of their freedom – How incredibly remarkable is that?!
Now we have the profound privilege and amazing opportunity to enjoy and revel in every glorious color-filled second of what the Cape Malay people worked so hard to achieve – How lucky are we? In addition to its diverse culture, rich history and heritage, Bo-Kaap is also celebrated for it’s delicious and authentic Cape Malay cuisine. That being said, enjoying an authentic Cape Malay meal in Bo-Kaap is an absolute MUST for anyone visiting Cape Town!