63 best things to do in Cape Town

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63 things to do in Cape Town

Looking for the best family-friendly things to do in Cape Town? Read on...

Cape Town, also known as South Africa’s Mother City, is consistently listed amongst the best cities in the world.  It is endowed with abundant natural beauty, umpteen opportunities for adventure, world-class shopping, delicious food, and captivating history. There are so many places to visit in Cape Town as well as things to do in Cape Town - whether you are a first-time newbie, a resident or a regular visitor.

63 things to do in Cape Town

1. Go up Table Mountain

During the many years of incarceration on Robben Island, we often looked across Table Mountain at its magnificent silhouette … To us on Robben Island, Table Mountain was a beacon of hope. It represented the mainland to which we knew we would one day return.Nelson Mandela.

Cape Town’s most famous attraction is Table Mountain, recognized as one of the world’s 7 wonders of nature. This flat-topped mountain is a prominent landmark overlooking the city. The aerial cableway will take you to the top of the mountain. If you’re fit enough, you can also opt to hike up. Once on the mountain, you can see indigenous flora and fauna, and enjoy a picnic high above the city. The panoramic views of Robben Island, the city and the Cape Peninsula, from the top, are stunning. Book your tickets in advance as it is busy.

View of Table Mountain from Bloubergstrand

Table Mountain

2. Take a ferry to Robben Island

This is where former President Nelson Mandela was imprisoned for 18 of the 27 years that he was incarcerated. Today, Robben Island is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and a must-do in Cape Town. A ferry will take you to the island, where you can go on a guided tour and even see Nelson Mandela’s former cell. Book your tickets well in advance though as this attraction is very popular.

Robben Island - Things to do in Cape Town

Robben Island

3. Visit the Bo-Kaap

This is one of Cape Town’s oldest, and most colourful, urban residential areas. Situated on the slopes of Signal Hill, the Bo-Kaap is steeped in history. The narrow cobbled streets, lined with brightly painted houses are an Instagrammer’s delight. Locals will show you around the area where you can visit the museums and even do learn how to cook Cape Malay food.

Woman walking between colourful houses in Bo Kaap, Cape Town

Bo Kaap

4. Have a picnic at Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens

Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden is one of the most magnificent gardens in Africa and one of the great botanical gardens of the world. It lies at the foot of Table Mountain and is the perfect place for a relaxing family day out. One could easily spend a full day here, admiring the different gardens and other features. Be sure to walk along the tree canopy walkway to get great views of Cape Town.

Kirstenbosch Gardens - Best things to do in Cape Town

Kirstenbosch Gardens

5. Step back in time at the Castle of Good Hope

This is the oldest surviving colonial building in South Africa. It was built in the 1600’s as a defensive fort. It is now a national monument. You can walk around the castle grounds and see the exhibits as well as a live cannon-firing demonstration.


Castle of Good Hope

6. Shop, eat and play at the V&A Waterfront

The V&A Waterfront is located in the Cape Town harbour. It is a sprawling shopping centre with many eateries, but there is more to it. It is surrounded by other attractions like the Two Oceans aquarium, a giant observation wheel, markets, museums and boat cruises. The ferries to Robben Island leave from here too.

Cape Town Wheel - Things to do in Cape Town

Cape Town Wheel

7. Go on a cruise

There are many types of boat cruises to choose from. They include sunset cruises, sight-seeing cruises, harbour cruises and adventurous cruises. You are likely to see seals on many of these cruises. Cruises from Simon's Town, will take you to Seal Island, home to 75,000 Cape Fur Seals.


Colourful beach huts in Muizenberg

Muizenberg Beach

8. Enjoy the beautiful beaches

Cape Town has many stunning beaches. The Clifton beaches are amongst the best in the world, Camps Bay Beach is the place to see and be seen. Muizenberg Beach and St James Beach have colourful beach huts and there is a lovely walkway between the two. Boulders Beach is a must-visit if you have children. It is one of the only beaches in the world where you can get so close to African Penguins. For a free option, check out Seaforth Beach, next to Boulders Beach where some of the penguins venture.

Penguins walking at Boulders Beach

African Penguins at Boulders Beach

9. Take a ride on the City Sightseeing Bus

The City Sightseeing Cape Town hop-on, hop-off bus is a convenient way to see Cape Town and will take you to most of many of the city’s attractions. There are several different routes. A running commentary is provided by earphones in 15 different languages.

Red City Sightseeing Bus in Cape Town

City Sightseeing Bus

10. Visit Cape Point

Cape Point, a jagged peninsula jutting into the Atlantic Ocean, is a treasure trove of natural beauty, historical gems, and breathtaking vistas, located within the Table Mountain National Park.

Best Things to do in Cape Point

Cape Point Nature Reserve

Museums in Cape Town

11. Admire art at the largest museum of contemporary African art in the world

Experience cutting-edge African art in a converted grain silo at the Zeitz MOCAA.

12. Learn about diamonds at the Cape Town Diamond Museum

Uncover the history of South Africa’s diamond industry and see replicas of famous diamonds.

13. Visit the Iziko South African National Museum

Learn about the country's natural and cultural history at this museum which also houses the planetarium.

14. Relive your childhood at the Simons Town Toy Museum

The Simons Town Toy Museum is a quaint museum showcasing an eclectic collection of vintage toys and collectibles from various eras.

15. Learn about Africa’s dark history at the Slave Museum

Delve into the history of slavery at this thought-provoking museum.

16. Marvel at the world’s first successful heart transplant

Learn about the first successful heart transplant at The Heart of Cape Town Museum.

17. Be emotionally moved at the District Six Museum

Learn about the history of forced removals during apartheid in this poignant museum.

18. Experiment with science at Cape Town Science Centre

Engage with interactive scientific exhibits ideal for families and children.

Unique Rides in Cape Town

19. Feel like a pirate on the only authentic Pirate Ship in South Africa

The Jolly Roger Pirate Boat is a themed adventure boat ride at the V&A Waterfront that offers family-friendly cruises with live entertainment and spectacular views.

20. Go for a ride on a steam train

The Elgin Steam Train offers nostalgic steam train trips through the picturesque Elgin Valley to the Elgin Market on Saturdays (seasonal).

21. Ride a horse on the beach in Noordhoek

Experience the beauty of the Noordhoek beach on horseback.

22. Go tobogganing

Experience the first downhill tobogganing track in Africa at Cool Runnings.

23. Go sandboarding and/or quad-biking on the Atlantis Dunes

Atlantis Dunes is an outdoor adventure destination near Cape Town known for its white sand dunes, popular for sandboarding, quad biking, and 4x4 driving.

Go hiking in Cape Town

24. Take a hike

There's a plethora of places to hike in Cape Town. Try one of these:  Newlands Forest, 12 Apostles, Table Mountain, Chapman's Peak or Lion's Head.

25. Jump into refreshing mountain springs at Crystal Pools, Steenbras River Gorge

The Crystal Pools hike is a scenic trail near Gordon's Bay, leading to natural rock pools and waterfalls within the Kogelberg Biosphere Reserve.

26. Take a dip while hiking at Silvermine Reservoir

Follow trails through fynbos-covered landscapes at Silvermine Reservoir where you can take a dip in water so dark that it looks black.

27. Chase waterfalls in Cecilia Forest

Cecilia Forest near Table Mountain is a haven for hikers featuring well-marked trails through indigenous trees and leading to picturesque waterfalls.

28. Attempt the highest commercial abseil in the world

Abseil Africa offers the highest commercial abseil in the world, with a 112-meter descent down the face of Table Mountain, boasting breathtaking views.

29. Enjoy the view from Rhodes Memorial

Enjoy the view from this historic memorial on the slopes of Table Mountain.

More active adventures in Cape Town

30. Go indoor rock climbing

Try indoor rock climbing in a safe and controlled environment at City Rock indoor rock-climbing gym.

31. Zipline over the treetops

Experience an adrenaline rush by ziplining at locations like SA Forest Adventures at Silvermist Estate where you can soar above breathtaking landscapes for an exhilarating adventure. Take the kids ziplining at Acrobranch Adventure Park in Constantia Nek.

32. Go paragliding over the mountains

Soar through the sky with an experienced paragliding pilot. There are launch sites at Signal Hill and Lion’s Head.

33. Skydive over Cape Town

Freefall over the Mother City and land near the scenic coastline as you skydive over Cape Town. There are a number of companies that offer this.

34. Float in a hot air balloon

Hot air balloon flights in Cape Town provide a serene and picturesque experience, offering panoramic views of the city, vineyards, and mountains at sunrise.

35. Try a microlight flight

Soar above Cape Town's scenic beauty with a microlight flight, offering a unique aerial perspective of the city.

Water activities

36. Go surfing.

Llandudno, Muizenberg, Off the Wall, Long Beach, Big Bay and Scarborough Beach are some of the best spots. Get surfing lessons at Muizenberg Beach.

37. Kitesurf or kiteboard

Experience the exhilaration of kitesurfing or kiteboarding at Cape Town's shores.

38. Take a water-bike tour

Explore the ocean in a unique way with on an adventurous water-bike tour.

39. Hop on a kayak or do a guided kayak tour

Paddle your way through the waves by hopping on a kayak or joining a guided kayak tour on the ocean.

40. Go snorkelling or scuba diving

Immerse yourself in the mesmerizing underwater world through snorkeling or scuba diving in Cape Town's pristine waters, and enjoy astonishing underwater views.

41. Try stand-up paddle boarding

Find balance and tranquility as you glide across the water on a stand-up paddleboard, enjoying the scenic surroundings.

Eat and drink in Cape Town

Steam-punk style coffee shop - Truth Coffee

Truth Coffee

42. Go berry picking (Seasonal)

The Cape Winelands regions are home to picturesque berry farms like Polkadraai Farm where you can pick a variety of berries, including strawberries and blackberries.

43. Have a cuppa at one of the world’s best coffee shops

The steam-punk style Truth Coffee was named the world's best coffee shop for two consecutive years by the The Daily Telegraph!

44. Eat fresh fish and chips at the seaside

Mariners Wharf in Hout Bay and Kalky’s Fish & Chips in Kalk Bay are some of the most popular spots.

45. Shop for delicious goodies at the Old Biscuit Mill market

Visit this vibrant market and cultural hub, especially on Saturdays.

Animals and sanctuaries in Cape Town

46. Feed the squirrels at The Company Gardens

Take a leisurely stroll through this historic garden in the heart of the city where you can feed the squirrels

47. See attractive birds at the Hout Bay Bird Park

Visit Hout Bay Bird Park, the largest bird park in Africa, which has over 400 species of birds.

48. See the hippos at Rondevlei Nature Reserve

Rondevlei Nature Reserve is a pristine wetland sanctuary offering diverse birdlife, indigenous vegetation, and a chance to spot hippos in their natural habitat.

49. Visit an alpaca farm

The Alpaca Loom in Paarl offers a unique experience to interact with and learn about these charming and woolly creatures in a picturesque farm setting

50. Spot whales on the False Bay coastline (seasonal)

Spot whales on the False Bay coastline between June and November. Southern right whales are the most common, but you may also see humpback whales and Bryde’s whales.

Entertainment in Cape Town

51. Enjoy an outdoor movie

Catch a classic film under the stars at various venues across Cape Town with Galileo Open Air Cinema

52. Watch a live theatre performance

Cape Town boasts a vibrant cultural scene with theaters like the Fugard Theatre and Artscape Theatre Centre, offering a diverse array of performances.

Unique experiences in Cape Town

53. Discover Cape Town’s caves

Embark on an underground adventure with Cape Town's cave tours which explore the intricate formations and ancient history of Cape Town's caves.

54. Visit a township

Experience local life and culture on a township tour- but do go with a reputable guide. (Khayelitsha / Langa/ Imizamo Yethu)

55. Sleep in an airstream trailer

The Grand Daddy Boutique Hotel is home to the only designer Rooftop Airstream Trailer Park in the world with 7 genuine Airstream trailers.

Day trips near Cape Town



56. Take long scenic drives

Cape Town, and the area around it, has some of the most spectacular scenery in the world. The best way to see it is to rent a car and take long drives along the coastline. Drive along Chapman’s Peak Drive to Hout Bay, where you can eat fresh fish, or take a drive to the following destinations.

Boats against the mountain in Hout Bay

Hout Bay

57. Visit a picturesque fishing village on the West Coast

The Cape West Coast is a beautiful stretch of coastline in the Western Cape province comprising a chain of small towns and fishing villages, including Paternoster,  and Yzerfontein, which is home to South Africa's longest beach .

58. Explore the West Coast National Park

The West Coast National Park is a scenic South African national park and nature reserve with a diverse range of plant, bird, and animal life.

59. Soak in natural heated mineral pools near Citrusdahl

Citrusdahl is a small town known for its citrus orchards and natural hot springs.

60. Spot whales in Hermanus (in season)

Hermanus is known as the whale watching capital of South Africa, and is even recognized by the WWF as one of the 12 best whale watching destinations in the world. See more here.

61. Visit the exquisite Garden Route

The Garden Route is one of South Africa’s most picturesque areas, and it makes an amazing road trip and holiday destination– for the whole family. See the best things to do in the Garden Route.

62. Spend a weekend in De Hoop Nature Reserve

De Hoop Nature Reserve is a spectacular 36 000 ha reserve in the Overberg region of the Western Cape.  Read more about it here.

63. See where the two oceans meet

Cape Agulhas is the southernmost tip of Africa, where the Atlantic and Indian Oceans meet. There is a beautiful lighthouse there too.

As you can see, a trip to Cape Town will include many different experiences. I would recommend staying there for at least a week.

Meeting point of two oceans at Cape Agulhas

Cape Agulhas

Where to Stay in Cape Town

If you’re looking for accommodation in Cape Town, here are some hotels I’ve personally stayed at and would highly recommend.

12 Apostles Hotel

The 12 Apostles Hotel is where many royals and celebrities from around the world choose to stay when in Cape Town. If you can’t stay there, then go for high tea or sun downers while you watch one of Cape Town’s most breath-taking sunsets. Read about our stay at 12 Apostles Hotel.

The President Hotel

If it’s proximity to the seaside combined with affordable family-friendly comfort that you’re looking for, then look no further than The President Hotel, situated in Bantry Bay, between Sea Point and Clifton. Read about our stay at The President Hotel.

Hyatt Regency Cape Town

A luxurious halaal hotel located at the beginning of the Bo-Kaap district, close enough for one to immerse oneself in the culture and colour of the neighbourhood but not enough to encroach on its ambience. Read about our stay at the Hyatt Regency Cape Town.

Tintswalo at Boulders

Tintswalo at Boulders is a luxurious boutique villa with the most dramatic views and direct access to the Boulders Penguin Colony via a meandering boardwalk. Read about our stay at Tintswalo at Boulders.

Taj Cape Town

For a Cape Town city experience, stay at the Taj Cape Town. It is housed in two historic buildings in the heart of Cape Town, across the historic Company’s Gardens. The hotel offers a fascinating complimentary walking tour for guests. Read about our stay at Taj Cape Town.

Pullman Cape Town

The Pullman Cape Town hotel is a centrally located hotel in the CBD  near the bustling Bree and Long Streets. The hotel is housed in the granite-clad Triangle House, a 104-metre tall architecturally-accoladed skyscraper.

Hotel Verde

Hotel Verde is Africa’s greenest hotel. It is conveniently located near the airport. The hotel features advanced recycling technologies and other green features, and has won many awards worldwide. Read about our stay at Hotel Verde.

Find more budget-friendly accommodation.

If you live in Johannesburg, a road trip to Cape Town is a great way to go there.

Download the GPS guide here.

Click here for the best things to do in Johannesburg.

What are your favourite things to do in Cape Town ? Let me know in the comments below.

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things to do in Cape Town

things to do in Cape Town

32 comments on “63 best things to do in Cape Town”

  1. I always love a top 50 guide. You are guaranteed to find a few new suggestions for offbeat things to do in a city. Thanks!

  2. I haven't had the opportunity to go to South Africa and Cape Town yet but it's on my list! Hopefully I can go soon and see all those amazing places by myself!

  3. Oh my god Sara this is such a well done post on Cape Town. Its one of the cities I really want to head out to once this pandemic is over and your post is compelling me more than ever to make this plan ASAP 🙂 I really like how you have listed out every thing that can be done here and taken care of activities, food, stay - everything! Very thorough post.

  4. […] constantly ranked as one of the most beautiful cities in the world for a reason and there’s lots to do too) and an excellent quality of life/ cost of living balance, South Africa has plenty to offer […]

  5. […] The following day (whilst eagerly awaiting the arrival of our luggage) we explored the city, where there is so much to do! […]

  6. Cape Town seems like an awesome travel destination which I hope to cross off my bucket list soon! How many days would be enough to experience all the highlights there?

    1. A week in Cape Town would be great but if that's not possible, then 3 full days should be fine, even though it may be a bit more rushed. Hope you get to visit soon.

  7. Wow, Great article about Cape Town and It`s an amazing place to visit it
    These things and details are very useful and helpful, These photos are incredible and have the magic of nature also, I like It so much
    Thank you very much for sharing your experience with us

  8. I've been wanting to visit forever and your post just makes me want to go even sooner! Hoping for early next year.

  9. Love Cape Town too much I accepted my company's offer to stay here! I have done most of these and will recommend these as well. And those stinky penguins is ❤️!

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