#1 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 Cape Town bucket-list. Affectionately known as ‘Chappies’ by Mother City locals, this captivating coastal road ribbons along the Atlantic coastline between Hout Bay and Noordhoek. Beyond 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.
**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.
** 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.
#2 Table Mountain
Table Mountain is undoubtedly one of the top places to take first timers to Cape Town. Standing tall at a staggering 1,086 meters above sea level, Table Mountain is deemed the all-mighty giant of the Cape Town skyline. Declared as one of the New7Wonders of Nature, Table Mountain is so much more than one of Cape Town’s most iconic landmarks and sought-after attractions – It is the ultimate mecca for nature lovers, avid hikers, and adventure seekers!
Table Mountain National Park has two world-renowned landmarks within its boundaries: Table Mountain and the Cape of Good Hope. Declared by UNESCO as a Word Heritage Site, Table Mountain National Park encompasses the scenic Peninsula mountain chain that stretches from Signal Hill in the north all the way to the dramatic Cape Point in the south.
Recognized globally for its extraordinarily rich and diverse fauna and flora, this singular land formation, with rugged cliffs, steep slopes, and sandy flats, is a truly phenomenal natural, scenic, historical, cultural, and recreational asset both locally and internationally. Nowhere else in the world does an area of such unique beauty and rich biodiversity exist almost entirely within a metropolitan area – AKA Cape Town!
To reach the Table Mountain summit you can either choose to take a thrilling Aerial Cableway Ride to the top or embark on an exhilarating bucket-list worthy hike – the choice is yours!
#3 Cape Point
Located approximately 60km south west of the city of Cape Town, at the very tip of the Cape Peninsula Cape Point Nature Reserve is one of Cape Town’s most magnificent natural wonders and sought-after attractions. Featuring a rocky coastline, rising peaks, plunging cliffs, and unparalleled panoramic views – It is simply unmatched!
Beyond its unapologetic natural beauty, Cape Point boasts a rich diversity of fauna and flora, stunning secret beaches, endless adventure experiences, beautiful nature walks, and some of the most thrilling hiking trails in the Western Cape. Undoubtedly making it the ultimate mecca for nature lovers, avid explorers, travelers, and adventure seekers.
Cape Point Nature Reserve is also home to an incredible variety of wildlife, birdlife, and marine life. Be sure to keep an eye out for Cape Town’s Marine Big 5 – Dolphins, Southern Right Whales, Cape Fur Seals, Molo Mola Sunfish, and African Penguins.
With so much to do, see, and experience, visiting the renowned Cape Point should undoubtedly be on your Cape Town bucket list.
#4 Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens
Kirstenbosch National Botanical Gardens is acclaimed as one of the great botanic gardens in the world. Regarded as one of the most magnificent natural gems in Cape Town, very few gardens can compare to the sheer grandeur of the setting of Kirstenbosch.
Nestled at the base of Table Mountain, the renowned Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens forms part of the Cape Floristic Region, also known as the Cape Floral Kingdom, boasting one of the most spectacular displays of indigenous natural beauty. One of only six floral kingdoms, The Cape Floristic Region is the smallest, yet most diverse, floral kingdom in the world. It is also the only Floral Kingdom that occurs entirely in one country.
Kirstenbosch covers over 528 hectares and is home to a glorious diversity of fauna and flora entirely indigenous to Cape Town, including more than 7,000 plant species, 2,500 of which are from the Cape Peninsula.
Besides its vast natural beauty and globally acclaimed Botanical Garden status, Kirstenbosch offers visitors and nature lovers an endless assortment of things to do and see. Not to mention a variety of thrilling adventure experiences.
The gardens are also a haven for birdlife, and there are several hiking trails that wind through the property. In addition, Kirstenbosch hosts a number of events throughout the year, making it a popular destination for locals and tourists alike. Whether you’re admiring the stunning flowers or taking a leisurely hike, Kirstenbosch is sure to delight and inspire.
#5 The V&A Waterfront
The Victoria & Albert Waterfront is one of the most popular tourist destinations in South Africa. In fact, the famous V&A Waterfront is one of Cape Town’s most vibrant and highly sought-after attractions come rain, shine, or wind.
Located in the heart of Cape Town, the V&A Waterfront is known as the ultimate hub of art, entertainment, culture, history, adventure, food, shopping, and everything in between.
Besides being the leading retail destination in the city, the V&A Waterfront is home to some of the most incredible restaurants, bars, hangout spots, eateries, and food markets in Cape Town. All of which can be thoroughly enjoyed at any time, during any season, right throughout the year.
If you’re looking to add an extra dose of thrill and adventure to your Waterfront experience, there is an endless variety of exciting, fun, and bucket-list worthy things to see, do, and experience for both the young and young at heart.
#6 Robben Island
Beyond being one of Cape Town’s top attractions, sights, and landmarks, Robben Island is an integral part of South African history.
Cape Town is at the heart of a country with one of the most prolific histories in the world, and right at the center of it all is Robben Island. Arguably home to one of the most well-known prisons in the world, Robben Island was a place of banishment, exile, imprisonment, and isolation for nearly 400 years.
For centuries Robben Island was used as a penal colony, primarily for political prisoners. The most famous political prisoners that spent time on Robben Island include former and late South African president, activist, and world icon, Nelson Mandela, Tokyo Sexwale, Walter Sisulu, and Govan Mbeki. Nelson Mandela was imprisoned on Robben Island for 18 years during the South African apartheid era.
Today it is regarded as a symbol of hope and testament to the triumph of the human spirit over adversity – A place that has played a pivotal role in South Africa’s journey to democracy. In 1997 Robben Island was turned into a museum – The Robben Island Museum – and in 1999 it was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Now locals and tourists alike can visit this South African landmark and historical site, tour the Robben Island Prison where Nelson Mandela was held, as well as the island’s museum and lighthouse.
Robben Island Tours are typically led by ex-inmates with first-hand knowledge and experience of what life was truly like during those pivotal years / times – The exact times that would ultimately change the entire course of South African history.
Visiting Robben Island on your future trip to Cape Town is a great way to immerse yourself in a vital piece of South African history and journey to democracy.
#7 Groot Constantia
Situated along the beautiful Constantia Wine Route, Groot Constantia produces some of the finest wines in the country and is widely regarded as one of the Western Cape’s top wine tasting destinations / Wine Estates for local and international wine lovers. It is also the oldest wine estate in South Africa, forming an integral part of the Western Cape’s thriving local wine culture.
The estate covers more than 300 hectares of land and includes a working vineyard, a cellars complex, a museum, a restaurant, and a beautiful garden. Visitors to Groot Constantia can learn about the history of wine production in South Africa, tour the cellars and taste the estate’s award-winning wines.
One of the best things about this beloved Cape wine estate is that it welcomes wine lovers from all walks of life by offering an array of exceptional award-winning wines to please every pallet. From a fresh and cheerful Blanc de Noir, a beautifully complex Chardonnay, or a bold Shiraz to their seductive Grand Constance – There is something for every wine enthusiast to sip, savor and enjoy at Groot Constantia. Plus, with three sensational wine tasting venues on the estate, Groot Constantia has the perfect wine tasting setting and experience for absolutely everyone!
This top-tier Constantia Wine Estate also has two highly prestigious restaurants on the estate, namely the Jonkershuis Restaurant and the Simons Restaurant. Both of which offer spectacular culinary experiences and world-class cuisine paired with exceptional Groot Constantia wine of course.
#8 Muizenberg Surfer’s Corner
Muizenberg Surfer’s Corner is not only one of the Mother City’s favorite local surfing spots and top surfing hotspots, it is also one of the best places to learn how to surf. Its no surprise Muizenberg’s famous Surfer’s Corner has become one of the most popular surfing beaches in Cape Town for locals and travelers alike. And the best thing is, it welcomes surfers of all ages and experience levels to join in on the surfing fun.
Known for its perfect ‘smooth ride’ waves, Muizenberg’s gentle waves and clean lines can be surfed almost year-round. Making it the ultimate Cape Town surfing destination as well as any longboarder’s paradise.
The fact that the laid-back sea-side town of Muizenberg embodies Cape Town’s surfing culture in every way means you can find a variety of places to rent wetsuits, surf boards and take up some surfing lessons.
In addition to being one of the coolest surfing spots, Muizenberg Beach is also one of Cape Town’s best blue flag swimming beaches, making it the perfect place to enjoy a fun beach day out with the whole family.
#9 Oudekraal Beach
Tucked away in a sheltered cove between Camps Bay and Llandudno, Oudekraal is not only one of the top beaches in Cape Town, but one of the best braai spots too. It has approximately 40 private braai spots scattered along the lawns above the sheltered cove and sandy beach below.
Oudekraal is also one of the top beaches for enjoying a fun-filled family beach day. The beach is surrounded by large granite boulders that keep big waves at bay, making it the ideal place to swim, especially for the little ones. The water is also calm enough for snorkelling near the shore – adding extra adventure and thrill to a fun family braai and beach day.
**Tip: Because of its popularity and stunning beach location, the braai spots at Oudekraal can get snatched up pretty quickly. It is important to arrive early to secure a top spot.
- Location: Oudekraal, Victoria Road, between Llandudno and Camps Bay
- Cost / Conservation Fee:
|CONSERVATION FEES FOR 1 NOVEMBER 2021 TO 31 OCTOBER 2022|
|South African Citizens and Residents (with ID):||R36 per adult per day|
R18 per child, per day
Additionally: R25 per vehicle
|SADC Nationals (with passport):||R72 per adult per day|
R36 per child, per day
Additionally: R25 per vehicle
|Standard Conservation Fee (Foreign Visitors):||R144 per adult per day|
R72 per child, per day
#10 St James Tidal Pool & Coastal Walk
While Cape Town has no shortage of incredible tidal pools (read our post Cape Town’s 19 Amazing Tidal Pools to make sure you visit them all), the St James Tidal Pool is undoubtedly one of the best. Not to mention a real fan-favourite among the young and young at heart.
How to get there: Situated close to the Muizenberg station, you will need to cross over the train tracks and follow the winding concrete path that meanders along the coast. Once you’ve reached your desired destination, a refreshing dip in the cool St James tidal pool waters is an absolute must! It really is the perfect Cape Town summer holiday activity for the whole family.
Besides the not-to-be-missed St James Tidal Pool, the St James coastal walk, which stretches between Muizenberg and St James, sure gives the Sea Point promenade a run for its money. Once known as Cape Town’s Golden Mile, this stunning walkway boasts sensational views right throughout.
As the vibrant False Bay coastline is known for its plethora of thriving marine life, be sure to keep a look out for some thrilling sightings of Cape Town’s beloved ocean locals – African Penguins, dolphins, whales, and of course the wonderful Cape Fur Seal!
The path is concreted the entire way and begins just behind Muizenberg’s railway station (It is highly recommended that you park up that end, rather than at the beach).
Feel free to enjoy the St James coastal walk barefooted (if you so desire), but, as a word of warning, the fishermen tend to leave their tackle on the path whilst fishing just out in front of it, so make sure you’re extra vigilant.
While taking a stroll along the ever-beautiful St James coastal walk is a fantastic and fun time for all regardless of the time of day, the very best time to do this walk is during low tide.
#MORE TIDAL POOLS
Because let’s be honest, who doesn’t love taking a cool refreshing dip in one of Cape Town’s amazing tidal pools? Especially on a warm summer’s day!
The Mother City is blessed with countless tidal pools built along the coastline, providing everyone with an incredible, safe and family-friendly space to swim, cool down, have fun, and enjoy the sunset. Get ready to embrace the icy waters of the Atlantic as you spot a few sea slugs or cuttlefish along the way. Not to mention one or all of the members of the Marine Big 5 if you’re lucky!
In addition to the famous St James Tidal Pool situated between Muizenberg and Kalk Bay in the seaside suburb of St. James, here are a few more amazing tidal pools that you should add to your bucket-list right away.
- 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
#11 Boulders Beach
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 enjoying a laid-back beach day with them right by your side.
In addition to Boulders Beach, Stony Point Nature Reserve in Betty’s Bay is home to an African Penguin viewing site as well as one of the largest successful breeding colonies of African Penguins in the world.
**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.
#12 Cape Winelands
In Cape Town, any time is wine time! This makes exploring and tasting your way through the beautiful Cape Winelands one of the top things to do in Cape Town all year-round. Home to the largest, and certainly the most unique, wine producing region in Africa, the Western Cape is any wine lover’s dream come true.
Even if you don’t consider yourself to be a die-hard wine enthusiast at heart, you’ll undoubtedly fall head-over-heels in love with the stunning Cape Winelands, its beautiful surrounding scenery, its remarkable vineyards, its captivating charm and allure, as well as its excellent wine selection.
Besides its highly acclaimed and award-winning wine collection, the Cape Winelands is known for its incredible wine routes, exciting food and wine pairing combinations, pristine wine tasting experiences, and world-renowned culinary pursuits. This ensures that you have everything you could possibly want and need to enjoy a fun, magical, and memorable day out exploring the wonderful Cape Winelands.
Here are some of the most popular & renowned wine routes in the Western Cape:
- Stellenbosch wine route
- Wellington wine route
- Franschhoek wine route
- Helderberg wine route
- Breedekloof wine route
- Constantia wine route
- Durbanville wine route
- Elgin Wine Route
- Little / Klein Karoo wine route
- Tulbagh wine route
- Darling wine route
- Walker Bay wine route
- Cape Agulhas wine route
- Cape Point wine route
- Olifants River Valley wine route
- Paarl Vintners wine route
- Robertson wine route
- Swartland wine route
- Worcester wine route
Check out our ‘10 of the best wine tasting experiences in Cape Town’ blog for all your wine tasting pleasure.
#13 Crystal Pools
Go on a thrilling and jam-packed adventure to one of the most sought-after and stunning natural gems in the Western Cape – The Crystal Pools.
Crystal Pools is one of Gordon’s Bay and Cape Town’s best kept secrets and bucket-list destinations. Located approximately 90 minutes outside of Cape Town, Crystal Pools boasts incredible hiking trails which lead to a series of mountain pools situated within a beautiful Valley known as the Steenbras River Gorge. Both the Steenbras River Gorge and the Crystal Pools forms part of the renowned Steenbras Nature Reserve, with the hiking trail following the Palmiet River up the gorge.
Crystal Pools, the Steenbras River Gorge, and Steenbras Nature Reserve offers avid hikers, adventurers, and anyone eager to explore the great outdoors the ultimate escape from the hustle and hype of the city.
Need to know information:
- Location: Kogelberg Nature Reserve | Greater Kogelberg Biosphere Reserve, Steenbras Nature Reserve (via N2 and R44), Helderberg Rural, Cape Town
- Operating hours: Office hours: 7:30am – 4pm | Steenbras River Gorge and Crystal Pools hiking trail bookings: Monday – Friday (excluding public holidays): 9:00am – 2:00pm
- Steenbras River Gorge & Crystal Pools operating hours: Hiking trails are only open from 1 November to 30 April each year (closed during winter months) | Hiking trail operating hours are from sunrise – sunset: 6am – 6pm | Steenbras River Gorge & Crystal Pools Hiking Trail operating times may differ slightly according to sunrise and sunset times throughout November – April
- Entrance Fees / Cost: Entry fee for Steenbras River Gorge: R75 per person | Entry fee for the Steenbras hiking trails: R25 per person | For more information and a detailed list of costs please contact 021 444 6927 or [email protected]
- Contact details: General enquiries: [email protected] | Booking queries: 021 856 9622 | 021 856 9623 | 021 856 9620 | [email protected] | Emergency number: 021 444 6927 | 021 957 4725
- Distance from Cape Town: +/- 65km – 80km (depending on route)
- Steenbras River Gorge & Crystal Pools Hiking Trail Carrying Capacity: To ensure that the hiking trails don’t get too crowded, a maximum of 50 people are allowed per day | It is essential to book as early as possible to avoid disappointment
- Essential Crystal Pools Hiking Trail Requirements: You cannot gain access to the area / hike any of Steenbras River Gorge or Crystal Pools’ Hiking Trails without a valid pre-booked and paid permit containing a unique QR Code & proof of identification (driver’s license, ID card, or passport)
- Hiking Trail Permits: To pre-book your Steenbras River Gorge & Crystal Pools permit email [email protected] with ALL relevant information, including the date of your visit and the size of your party / group (a minimum of 2 and a maximum of 10 people are allowed per group) | One permit per person is required | You can only acquire a permit via email, not at the gate | You must pre-book your hiking permit at least two to five working days before your visit |The hiking permit does not authorize abseiling activities
Check out our ‘Crystal Pools’ blog for everything you need to know about Crystal Pools and all its incredible hiking trails, rock pools, exhilarating experiences, hidden gems, fauna, flora, and biodiversity, and exciting secret spots to visit.
#14 Stony Point Nature Reserve
While Boulders Beach is one of Cape Town’s top tourist attractions, with everyone jumping at the bid to see its thriving African Penguin colony, very few people know that Stony Point Nature Reserve is home to one of the largest successful breeding colonies of African Penguins in the world. Located in the coastal town of Betty’s Bay (approximately 90km from Cape Town), Stony Point Nature Reserve gives visitors the opportunity to witness Cape Town’s favourite ocean locals, the cool and charismatic African Penguins, up-close in their natural habitat by means of boardwalks that wind through the reserve.
African Penguins aren’t the only marine life or wildlife you’ll have the pleasure of seeing when visiting this Cape Nature reserve. The reserve is home to a colony of cormorants which includes three species: The Crowned cormorant, Cape cormorant and Bank cormorant, all of which breed on the outer rocks. There are also Hartlaub’s Gulls and Kelp Gulls which forage in the colony, while the infamous Rock Hyrax, more commonly known as the Dassie, can frequently be spotted on the various surrounding rocks.
The Stony Point Nature Reserve is wheelchair and walking stick friendly and welcomes people of all ages to see and explore its scenic surroundings and incredible marine life.
#15 Kalk Bay
Previously named one of the coolest neighbourhoods in the world by Forbes, the quirky sea-side town of Kalk Bay definitely lives up to all the hype. Located along the vibrant False Bay coastline, this ocean-front fishing village is jam-packed with tons of hidden gems & one-of-a-kind finds, cool surfing spots, epic caves, thrilling hiking trails, action-packed adventure experiences, a bustling harbor, and magnificent marine life. That’s merely scratching the surface of what this captivating coastal town has to offer.
There is no denying Kalk Bay’s scenic beauty, authentic charm, adventurous spirit, and vibrant energy – You certainly won’t find anywhere else quite like it in the Western Cape!
**If you’re looking for some exciting things to do when visiting and exploring Kalk Bay, here are some great suggestions:
- Take a refreshing dip in the Dalebrook Tidal Pool and / or Wooley’s Tidal Pool – Take your pick!
- Go cave exploring
- Go surfing
- Visit the Kalk Bay Harbour
- Explore the quirky streets of Kalk Bay
- Hike the famous Boomslang Cave – It is a relatively easy hike perfect for novice hikers, families with kids, and adventure seekers – It is known as one of Cape Town’s more adventurous hikes after all. Click here to find out everything you need to know about the Boomslang Cave hike.
- Enjoy a unique seaside dining experience at the renowned Brass Bell
- Go on an adventure-filled hike from Kalk Bay to the Amphitheatre
- Indulge in a rock-your-socks-off ice cream at the famous Ice Café
- Visit Kalk Bay’s local plant and garden shops – Perfect for head-over-heels plant lovers! The Kalk Bay Garden Shop is most definitely worth a visit!
- Enjoy a cup of coffee & bite to eat at the iconic Olympia Café & Bakery – While an array of breakfast, lunch, and dinner options are available, Olympia is renowned for its freshly baked pastries and bread
- Visit the Kalk Bay Breakwater Lighthouse
- See the cool and charismatic Cape Fur Seals at the Kalk Bay Harbour. You can expect to see these playful ocean beings draped over the pier walls at the harbour. If you’re eager to see these incredible Cape Fur Seals up close and personal – Kalk Bay Harbour is exactly where you need to be!
- Go to the Kalk Bay Theatre & the Kalk Bay Modern Gallery
- Visit the infamous Kalk Bay Expresso – A charming café housed inside a restored Blue Train carriage
- Pop into the vibey beachside cocktail bar – Cape to Cuba
You can easily spend a whole day exploring the streets of Kalk Bay and still not discover everything it has to offer.
Check out our ‘Top things to do in Kalk Bay’ blog to find out more about all the incredible and exciting experiences, adventures, and things to do.
**Extra Bonus: Kalk Bay is also home to one of the BEST and highly sought-after local harbourfront fish and chips spots in the entire city – Kalky’s!
Kalky’s is local fish and chips, made the real local way, by real Cape Town locals. Wrapped in a newspaper and served with a hefty dose of salt and vinegar (because that’s the way we do it in the Cape), you will be savoring every single bite – trust us, we know! Paired with a beautiful False Bay and Kalk Bay harbourfront view, it’s pure bliss!
Kalkys’ cool harbourfront setting is every bit as authentic as its incredible fish and chips. No fancy trimmings. No experimental and inventive flavor combinations. Just a laid back, back-to-basics eating area with a big display menu on the wall listing all the fresh and tasty options for the day.
- Where: Kalky’s | Kalk Bay Harbour, Kalk Bay, Cape Town
- Opening times: Monday – Sunday, 10am – 8pm
- Contact details: 021 788 1726 | [email protected]
- Location: Babylonstoren, Klapmuts Simondium Road, Simondium, Franschhoek
- Cost: Entrance fees are payable at the ticket office | R20 per adult | R10 per child under 12 | Free entry for RHS members
- Operating times: Garden is open daily from 9am – 5pm | Last entry: 4pm
- Contact details: 021 863 3852 | [email protected]
Situated in the Drakenstein Valley in the heart of the Cape Winelands, almost halfway between Franschhoek and Paarl, Babylonstoren is as beautiful as they come. Besides being one of the most sought-after wine estates in the Western Cape, Babylonstoren is home to one of the most magnificent gardens in Cape Town.
The Babylonstoren garden is laid out over 3,5 hectares (eight acres), and is divided into 15 sections that comprises of more than 300 varieties of fruit, vegetables, and herbs as well as bees for pollinating, an abundance of indigenous plants, fragrant lawns, a prickly pear maze, a glorious Green House, towering rose vines, a Succulent House, and so much more.
It also boasts a uniquely beautiful cactus patch. In fact, the famous Babylonstoren cactus patch has fast become one of the most highly anticipated and sought-after sites and ‘Instagrammable’ spots in both Cape Town and South Africa.
The Babylonstoren garden beauty doesn’t end there – while meandering through the garden you will find a stunning secluded path that runs along the stream where thousands of clivias flower during Cape Town’s spring season. This magical garden also boasts a plethora of trees of great historical and botanical significance.
Babylonstoren’s incredible botanical diversity and unapologetic natural beauty not only makes it one of the best gardens in Cape Town, but one of its most beautiful natural gems too.
**Fun fact: Babylonstoren is a historic Cape Dutch farm that boasts one of the best-preserved farmyards in the Cape, dating back to 1692.
#17 Lion’s Head
Lions Head has undoubtedly established itself as on one of the most popular and sought-after Cape Town hiking trails. With thousands of locals and travelers from around the world looking to conquer the coveted Lions Head summit. Lovingly referred to as the roaring lion of the Mother City skyline, Lions Head is not only known as one of Cape Town’s top hiking trails. But one of the best sunrise and sunset spots in the city too!
Lions Head is about a 45-minute hike each way and is considered as one of Cape Town’s more accessible hiking trails. There are however some steep climbing sections as well as a few ladders and ropes if you choose to follow the shorter route.
It is important to make sure you wear good hiking shoes and that you’re properly prepared for the hike – Take enough water, sunscreen, a hat, a rain jacket / something warm (you never know how or when Cape Town’s weather will make a sudden switch).
Although it might take a bit of effort to reach the top, it promises to be well worth it in the end. The view from the Lions Head summit is truly spectacular.
As Lions Head is known as one of Cape Town’s less challenging hiking trails, it invites hikers of all experience and fitness levels to join in on the Mother City hiking fun. Plus, the fact that you get to experience the pure magic of one of Cape Town’s renowned sherbet-coloured sunsets or sunrises, just makes the experience all the more worth it.
Click here for everything you need to know about hiking Lion’s Head.
Lion’s Head hiking details | What to expect when hiking Lion’s Head
- Difficulty: Easy – moderate
- Fitness level required: Mild – Moderate
- Start point: The Lion’s Head hiking trail starts at the car park on Signal Hill Road. Follow the trail which circles around the mountain to get to the top.
- End point: The end point of the hike is the Lion’s Head Summit. Once you reach the summit, make your way down the same way until you reach the initial starting point.
- Approximate route distance: The total length of the trail is 5,5 km (3,4 miles) both ways
- Average time to the summit: Between 1 – 3 hours (depending on fitness level)
- Total elevation: 669 meters (2,195 feet)
- Best time to hike: Sunrise & sunset
#18 Muizenberg Beach’s 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 with the whole family.
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 makes Muizenberg Beach and its colorful beach huts a must-visit destination on any trip to Cape Town. Not to mention one of the best things to do in Cape Town on the weekend.
**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!
#19 Cape West Coast
Time for a Cape Town west coast roadtrip! Cape Town’s west coast is home to some of the most authentic and charming coastal towns, each offering something unique and exciting to explore and experience. Besides beautiful beaches, stunning nature reserves, and captivating fishing villages, the Cape west coast boasts some of the best local seafood in the entire Western Cape. And that’s merely scratching the Cape West Coast surface!
Considered somewhat of a Cape Town hidden gem, the Cape West Coast is jam-packed with unapologetic natural beauty, a treasure chest of secret spots and hidden treasures and some of the most picturesque beaches in the world. It will almost feel like you’ve escaped to a whole new world entirely all without really leaving the city at all.
Taking a trip up the Cape west coast should undoubtedly be on everyone’s Cape Town bucket-list. Not to mention it’s the perfect fun-filled adventure for the whole family.
**Bloubergstrand, Langebaan, Paternoster, Jacobsbaai, Saldanha Bay, Elands Bay, and Yzerfontein are just some of the west coast gems you should visit. Have a look at our ‘Top 5 Places to Visit on the Cape West Coast’ blog to find out more.
#20 Franschhoek Wine Tram
Going on the famous, and dare we say legendary, Franschhoek Wine Tram is without a doubt a NOT-TO-BE-MISSED experience for avid local and global wine lovers. Even if you’re not much of a wine enthusiast, the experience itself is beyond worth it – trust us!
Known as one of the Western Cape’s most highly acclaimed Wine Routes, a visit to the renowned Franschhoek Wine Route undoubtedly deserves to be on every wine lover’s bucket-list.
By far the best, and certainly the most exciting, way to experience everything Franschhoek has to offer is by going on the famous Franschhoek Wine Tram. It combines the breath-taking scenery of Franschhoek with the region’s exceptional range of world-class wines for a truly unique and unforgettable hop-on-hop-off Cape Town wine experience.
The Franschhoek Wine Tram is a combination of a double-decker bus and tram ride that allows you to hop on and off at the various wine farms on your chosen itinerary. All you have to do is pick your chosen wine route, sit back, and enjoy the sweeping vineyard and mountain vistas as you make your way to your destined wine farm.
This exciting Cape Winelands experience offers approximately 8 different routes / lines to choose from with each route including anywhere from 6 – 10 Franschhoek wineries that you’ll get to visit. Click here to find out more about the various Franschhoek Wine Tram lines / routes.
You are free to hop on and off at the various wine estates on your chosen route. Once you hop off at one of your chosen wine estates, you have a 35 – 60-minute time window before the next bus or tram arrives. You are more than welcome to stay for an additional hour or two at any of the wineries, however, this means you’ll need to forfeit another winery along the way – it’s completely up to you!
One thing is for certain, the Franschhoek Wine Tram is one Cape Town bucket-list adventure everyone should get to experience at least once in their lives.
- Location: Franschhoek Square, 32 Huguenot Road, Franschhoek, Western Cape
- Contact details: 021 300 0338 | [email protected] | www.winetram.co.za
- Tickets: You can book the tickets online here| Or visit their website for more information and everything you need to know
- Click here to find out more about ticket pricing, bookings, hop-on-hop-off tour tips, and all other need-to-know information.
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.
#22 Zeitz Mocca and the Silo District
Calling all art and culture lovers! Named the ‘Best overall Cultural Destination of the Year’ at the 2018 Leading Culture Destination Awards, as well as one of TIME Magazine’s Top 100 destinations, the Zeitz MOCAA Museum of Contemporary Art Africa is one of Cape Town’s top attractions and most sought-after art and culture destinations for locals and tourists alike.
The Zeitz MOCAA is renowned for showcasing one of the grandest displays of contemporary African art in the world. There are over 100 galleries situated within this museum, all of which are dedicated to displaying art from more than 50 African artists. Besides the Zeitz MOCAA’s glorious art display, it is home to an endless variety of artistic and cultural gems just waiting to be admired and discovered by you.
If you’re a head-over-heels art and culture lover, and even if you’re not, visiting the iconic Zeitz MOCAA Museum of Contemporary Art Africa is one of the top things to do in Cape Town anytime of the year.
- Location: Zeitz MOCAA Museum of Contemporary Art Africa, Silo District, S Arm Road, V&A Waterfont, Cape Town
- Opening times: Tuesday to Sunday from 10am to 6pm with last entry at 5.30pm
- Contact details: [email protected] | 087 350 4777 | www.zeitzmocaa.museum
- Tickets: R210 per adult | Children under 18 receive free entry (Please bring some form of ID for teens) | Tickets can be bought via Webtickets
- Free entry for under 18s on presentation of ID.
- Stop by on any day during your birthday month (Tuesdays – Sundays), show your valid South African ID or African passport reflecting your birth date and your day of fun at the museum will be entirely free.
- Free entry every Wednesday from 10am to 1pm for all African citizens on representation of your South African ID or African passport.
#23 The ‘Sunset Rock’
Crowned the ‘Sunset Rock’ by locals, this Cape Town hidden gem and secret sunset spot is worth every bit of extra effort it takes to get there. Once on Ocean View Drive, follow the road through the neighbourhood of Fresnaye. Continue all the way to the end of the road until you reach what appears to be a dead-end. You will pass several high-end houses on your way, in fact, it will almost feel like you’re not allowed to be there at all. Ignore this weary feeling and park your car in the dead-end space.
As the ‘Secret Sunset Rock’ is one of Cape Town’s best kept secrets and local hidden gems, there is no clear path laid out to get there. You will need to bundu-bash your way through bushes and over a few rocks to reach this magical sunset spot. Before you know it, you will find yourself on top of a giant flat granite boulder looking out over the Atlantic Ocean, Camps Bay, Clifton Beach, Lion’s Head, and the Twelve Apostles mountain range. Find a spot anywhere on the boulder or scout out the area to find the perfect vantage point lower down.
#24 Signal Hill
The infamous Signal Hill, which connects Kloof Nek to Lion’s Head, in the distinctive shape of a lion’s rump, is one of the most sought-after spots and attractions in Cape Town. Views from the 350m high summit are nothing short of spectacular, particularly at sunset (Signal Hill is indeed another one of Cape Town’s best sunset spots and a great place to enjoy a few sundowners) as well as at night with the Mother City’s lights shining and sparkling in the distance. In fact, Signal Hill is a little like ‘lovers’ lane’ in the evening – popular among couples who are up there to enjoy the lights and the romance of the beautiful Table Mountain backdrop.
**Reaching Signal Hill is as easy as driving up Kloof Nek Road from the city and then taking a right at the top of the hill.
#25 Maiden’s Cove Tidal Pool
Maiden’s Cove is one of Cape Town’s most beautiful beaches, lookout points, and top tidal pools (amongst locals & tourists alike). Boasting breath-taking views of the Twelve Apostles Mountain Range, Atlantic Ocean, the back end of the famous Table Mountain, Glen Beach, Camps Bay, and the captivating Clifton Beach, Maiden’s Cove undoubtedly boasts one of the very best views in Cape Town.
With such a spectacular view, complimented by the cool and refreshing ocean water, there is nothing quite like being sun-kissed, salty-haired, and blissed-out while soaking up the glorious Cape Town sunshine and spending the day at Maiden’s Cove.
**Extra Note: Did you know that Maiden’s Cove has two amazing tidal pools. The first tidal pool is located between Glen Beach and Camps Bay Beach. Boasting great braai and picnic facilities it is ideal for a fun-filled and leisurely day out with family and friends. Sun, sea, scenic views, and a whole lot of exciting things to do – What more could you ask for?
Perched between the scenic stretches of Clifton 4th and Glen Beach, Maiden’s Cove second tidal pool is flanked by the Atlantic Ocean, the Twelve Apostles Mountain Range, and the verdant greenery of the mountains of the Western Cape. Undoubtedly making Maiden’s Cove tidal pool a scenic wonder and sought-after spot for a day of ocean-front relaxation, swimming, or a quick dip in the Atlantic.
Maiden’s Cove Tidal Pool Information:
- Location: Maiden’s Cove | Victoria Road, Camps Bay, Atlantic Seaboard, Cape Town
- Maiden’s Cove Tidal Pool 1: Located between Glen Beach & Camps Bay Beach
- Maiden’s Cove Tidal Pool 2: Located between Glen Beach & Clifton4th Beach
- Distance from Cape Town: +/- 7.5km | +/- 17 – 20 minutes
- Cost: Free
- When: Best during daylight hours | One of the top sunset spots in Cape Town
- Braai facilities: Maiden’s cove offers designated public braai and picnic spots with magnificent views of the Atlantic Ocean, 12 Apostles Mountain Range. and Table Mountain – This not only makes Maiden’s Cove one of the best tidal pools in Cape Town, but the perfect place for an ocean-front braai with family and friends
- Contact details: 021 438 8212
Check out our ‘Maiden’s Cove Tidal Pool’ blog to find out everything you want / need to know about Maiden’s Cove and its amazing tidal pools.
#26 Water’s Edge Beach
Located right next to the popular Boulders Beach and its beloved African Penguin Colony, Water’s Edge is a spectacular secret beach and one of Cape Town’s coolest (and most beautiful) hidden beach gems. Completely hidden from the masses, this is one secret beach you wouldn’t know even existed unless you had the local inside scoop – That’s where we come in!
How exactly do you reach this slice of beach paradise? From Boulders Beach and its famous African Penguin Viewing Site, continue walking along the path until you see a small wooden gate. Although at first sight it may seem like you shouldn’t go any further, completely ignore this initial instinct, open the gate, and head on through. Trust us, you’re about to discover one of Cape Town’s best kept beach secrets.
Continue making your way down the nature path until you start seeing the beach. Once at the beach, you will need to climb down and over a few rocks (all part of the adventure) and voilá, you’ve arrived!
Water’s Edge is a beautiful, sheltered beach oasis boasting large granite boulders, crisp white sand, and turquoise ocean waters. As its located right next to Boulders Beach, there’s a very good chance (in fact, approximately a 99.9% chance) that you will spot a few African Penguins swimming around and about in the ocean, catching some lovely sun rays while lounging on the boulders, as well as strolling along the coastline and beach, weaving their way through all the beach goers.
While these cool and charismatic Cape Town locals (the African Penguin colony of course) are BEYOND adorable and it may well take all the willpower you have not to reach out and touch them – It is of utmost importance that you respect these remarkable endangered species at all times and abide by the rules and regulations laid out.
In addition to African Penguins, be sure to keep a look out for the other members of Cape Town’s marine Big5 – Cape Fur Seals, dolphins, Mola-Mola sunfish, and Southern Right Whales, as well as Cape Town’s vast and vibrant abundance of marine life.
#27 Hellshoogte Pass
Hellshoogte or ‘Hell’s Height’s, also known as the R310, is one of the oldest passes in the Western Cape (it was built in 1854). The remarkable Helshoogte Pass is responsible for linking two of the most pristine and widely sought-after wine districts – Stellenbosch and Franschhoek. It also passes through the villages of Kylemore, Johannesdal and Pniel.
From the pass the views of the winelands, surrounded by towering mountains and blue skies, are utterly breathtaking. Not only making it one of the best views in Cape Town, but a must-visit destination.
#28 St. George’s Cathedral in Woodstock
St. George’s Cathedral, also known as the Greek Orthodox Cathedral of St George, was built in 1904 for the Greek community of Cape Town. The remarkable artwork painted by the Romanian priest and hagiographer Father Nikolai during the 1990’s portrays Byzantine-style frescoes which decorate the vaults, walls, and apse with depictions of Jesus and various other saints and icons. It is nothing short of exceptional! The domed ceilings of the Cathedral are painted light blue and dotted with stars, and when the light shines in through the stained-glass windows, it is as if you are transported east to the shining Mediterranean.
In 1968, St. George’s was accorded cathedral status and became the seat of the Orthodox Archbishopric of Good Hope, Patriarch of Alexandria and All Africa. The archdiocese presides over the Western, Northern and Eastern Cape provinces, the Orange Free State, KwaZulu-Natal, Namibia, Lesotho and Swaziland.
Hidden in a little spot in Woodstock, perched almost atop the hill on Mountain Road, St. George’s Cathedral is a beautiful, and equally remarkable, Cape Town hidden gems and landmark.
#29 The Clifton Ridge Rocks
The Clifton Ridge Rocks is another one of Cape Town’s most beautiful hidden gems and secret sunset spots wrapped up into one. While locals are reluctant to share this beloved hidden sunset gem with the rest of the world, how can we deny you the pleasure of watching the Mother City sun go down from this magical spot?
Where can you find it? At the end of The Ridge Road in Clifton, just before you think you’ve gone too far, you’ll stumble upon a small walkway that opens onto a little rock ridge. This is the spot! Once there, scout out the perfect spot, sit back, relax, and get ready to soak up all the magnificent sunset magic that’s about to come your way. Paired with a few sundowners, it’s pure beach sunset bliss!
#30 Woodstock Graffiti
Are you ready to take a walk on the Cape Town graffiti wild side? The hip, gritty and trendy trail-blazing neighborhood of Woodstock is jam-packed with all the cool creative conquests and artistic graffiti expressions your street-art-loving soul desires.
Cape Town has fast become one of the coolest creative hubs for graffiti artists from around the world – With the trendy neighborhood of Woodstock positioning itself right at the forefront of the Mother City’s street art scene.
Boasting a cool, creative, and captivating display of street art, every bit as innovative, vibrant, and diverse as the local and international street art and graffiti artists who created it, exploring Woodstock’s thriving and thrilling street art scene and colorful side streets is definitely one of the most exciting and sought-after experiences for locals and travelers alike; with everyone looking to catch a glimpse of Woodstock’s artistic expressions in action.
It doesn’t quite matter if you’re a die-hard graffiti and street-art-lover or not, going on a legendary graffiti tour of Woodstock is without a doubt one of the coolest things to do in Cape Town for free. Plus, you get to tick something awesome and unreal off your bucket list!
#31 Sandboarding at the Atlantis Dunes
Its sandboarding time! There is no denying that going sandboarding in Cape Town is deemed one of the most exciting, unique, fun, and coolest adventure experiences for absolutely anyone and everyone – Let’s be honest, how can it not be?
The amazing Atlantis Sand Dunes is considered one of Cape Town’s best-kept secrets. With good reason too. Undoubtedly being one of its countless charms! Located only a short drive from Cape Town’s city centre (+/- 30 – 40 minutes) going sandboarding at the Atlantis Dunes promises to be one of the greatest, fun-filled, and action-packed (in the very best way) adventure activities and experiences to enjoy with the whole family.
Despite the dunes of Atlantis being ever-shifting and always-changing, often ranging in size of up to 35 meters, people of all ages and experience levels are invited to join in on all the epic sandboarding fun and games. Even if you’ve never sand boarded a day in your life – you have absolutely nothing to worry about – the experienced guides will be right there, supporting and helping you out along the way.
*Note: In addition to the iconic Atlantis Dunes being regarded as the ultimate sandboarding mecca, it is also one of only a handful of sandboarding locations in the world – How unbelievable is that? Without a doubt making it a must-do bucket list experience and adventure EVERYONE should enjoy at least once in their lives.
*Extra Note: If you’re feeling slightly out of your depth and somewhat uncertain about the entire experience – that’s completely normal. However, the great thing is, the highly experienced sandboarding guides and experts are always there to lend a helping hand whenever needed – no questions asked. You will also get all the safety equipment you need, an introductory lesson (plus everything else you need and want to know), as well as plenty of time to practice your technique on the dunes. Before you know it you’ll be a total sandboarding pro!
#32 The Labia Theatre
The Labia Theatre is the oldest Independent Art-Repertory Cinema in South Africa, showcasing the best off-circuit, independent movies, foreign films, documentaries, classics, and other alternative as well as art circuit films. This makes the famous Labia Theatre the epitome of old-school cinema at its very best and any old-school movie buff’s dream come true.
Even if you’re not much of an old-school / classic cinema lover, you’ll undoubtedly fall head-over heels in love with the iconic Labia Theatre and everything it has to offer.
Besides its original and authentic theatre experience, the Labia Theatre Cinema boasts a cosy coffee bar which offers home-made delicacies, a chocolate bar serving sweets, chocolates and popcorn, an outside garden terrace as well as a fully licensed bar to keep visitors and guests entertained throughout the night. In fact, the Labia Theatre is the only cinema where you can sit back, relax, and sip on a drink from the bar all while watching a classic movie screening. This Undoubtedly makes a visit to the Labia Theatre one of the top things to do on a cold day in Cape Town. In fact, this incredible and unique cinema experience can be enjoyed right throughout the year.
**Important note: The Labia Theatre is in full compliance with all COVID-19 government safety regulations and guidelines and have put numerous safety measures in place so that you can relax and enjoy the big screen experience.
- Location: The Labia Theatre | 68 Orange Street, Gardens, Cape Town
- Cost: All shows are R70 | Student / Fanatics / Seniors / Children: R50
- Show times: Subject to the movie
- Contact details: 021 424 5927 | [email protected]
- Website: www.thelabia.co.za
- Operating hours: Open daily from 11am until the end of the last screening at approximately 11pm
- Click here to find out more about the Labia Theatre as well as all the screenings on offer
#33 Sea Point Promenade
The vibrant Sea Point Promenade stretches along the Atlantic Seaboard coastline for approximately 8 – 11km between Sea Point and Mouille Point, boasting beautiful views of the Atlantic Ocean, mountains, and several small beaches along the way. It consists of a broad paved sea-side contour path which follows the coastline curves, and a large green lawn that separates the beachside promenade from the roadside pavement (sidewalk).
From families with kiddies, fitness-enthusiasts, strollers, dog-walkers, and joggers, to cyclists, skateboarders, rollerbladers, eager travelers, avid adventurers, and everyone in between, the Sea Point Promenade has something for everyone to enjoy.
Along the Promenade you’ll find plenty of children’s play parks on the lawns, as well as perfectly positioned benches ideal for scenic ocean-gazing and keeping an eye on your little ones while they play. Other exciting Sea Point Promenade attractions include a maze, a thrilling putt-putt course, and a fun kiddies’ train ride located near the historic lighthouse on the Mouille Point side.
You will also find an Olympic-sized swimming pool at the Sea Point Pavillion, perfect for warm summer days. Not to mention a variety of ocean and land-based experiences and adventure companies offering visitors a range of exhilarating tours and renting options, including bicycle and e-Bikes (Electronic Bikes).
There are several incredible restaurants, bars, eateries, and ice-cream shops along the Sea Point Promenade for when thirst, hunger, and cravings strike! An up-close view of the renowned Green Point Lighthouse at Mouille Point is a real highlight when strolling along the promenade – for both the young and young at heart!
To top it off, the Sea Point Promenade is one of the best sunset spots in Cape Town. It is also a great location to enjoy amazing sightings of Cape Town’s Marine Big 5 (dolphins, whales, mola mola sunfish, Cape Fur Seals and African Penguins). With so many incredible things to see, do, and experience, visiting the Sea Point Promenade is by far one of the top free things to do in Cape Town with the whole family year-round – come rain or shine!