Things to do in
Cape Town

Discover a melting pot of culture in this coastal city, along with daring adventure and fusion cuisine.

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Our most recommended things to do in Cape Town

Cape Town: Atlantis Dunes Quadbike Adventure

1. Cape Town: Atlantis Dunes Quadbike Adventure

Traverse soft sand dunes on the back of a quad bike, also known as an ATV, on this outdoor adventure in the Atlantis Dunes just north of Cape Town. Take a short drive up the beautiful West Coast of Africa and you'll find the Witzands Aquifer Nature Reserve. An important conservation area protecting the Atlantis Aquifer and native wildlife, the reserve is also home to some of the best spots for quad biking with dunes up to 50 meters high. Check-in at the Parks office once you arrive and meet your instructor and guide, who will assist you with obtaining your parks permit. Once the paperwork has been handled, your instructor will take you through an introduction to quad biking and a thorough safety briefing. Now that you're comfortable with the quad bike, follow your guide out into the dunes to enjoy an hour-long, adrenaline-pumping ride in the soft sands. Explore the dunes and marvel at the surrounding landscape, including views of Table Mountain as you complete your ATV adventure.

Robben Island: Ferry Ticket and Tour with 1-Way Hotel Pickup

2. Robben Island: Ferry Ticket and Tour with 1-Way Hotel Pickup

Take the ferry to Robben Island and tour the prison where Nelson Mandela was confined. Learn about South Africa's history of Apartheid and life in the prison from a former prisoner. Depart from Cape Town on a shared bus to the V&A Waterfront. Collect your ticket and make your way to the Nelson Mandela Gateway to Robben Island. Sail out to the island on a 45-minute journey. On arrival, embark on a bus tour of the island before visiting the prison and the cell where Nelson Mandela was kept for 18 of his 27 prison years. Gain an insight into the history and conditions of the prison from a former prisoner. After the tour, return to Cape Town and be dropped off at the V&A Waterfront. Here you will be free to return to your accommodation independently or continue touring the beautiful city.

Cape Town: Coastal Catamaran Cruise

3. Cape Town: Coastal Catamaran Cruise

Enjoy a one-hour scenic coastal cruise aboard a luxury power catamaran. The vessel will take you from the historic V&A Waterfront area on an adventure out to sea. Throughout the cruise, you'll travel along the Atlantic coastline to the Green Point Lighthouse before then traveling back to the harbor. With spectacular mountain and city views, the cruise provides perfect ocean views over many of Cape Town’s splendors. Your one-hour cruise operates daily, with regular departures from Quay 5. With a cash bar on board for refreshments as well as great service, this is a trip not to be missed.

Cape Town: Tandem Paragliding Adventure

4. Cape Town: Tandem Paragliding Adventure

After a short explanation, you and your pilot will take off from a mountain slope under a canopy that resembles a parachute. Once inflated overhead, you will take just a few steps or a short run to take off from the gentle slope, the wind will catch the canopy and you will be airborne. In the air, complete control over direction and speed gives your pilot the freedom to soar ridges, rise on warm currents of air and cover distance. The tour providers have a proven safety record from day one, a credit to company procedures. Each season starts with brand new equipment and well-maintained throughout the year. All pilots are internationally recognized Tandem Flight Instructors. Each passenger is briefed and issued with a helmet. All pilots carry complete reserve and communication systems and weather conditions are carefully assessed before you are taken up and again on take off. You will be assisted by the crew on both take off and landing. Get ready to fulfill man's oldest dream of free flying. Now, you can experience the joy of personal, foot-launched flight in its purest form - on a paraglider. You do not need to have any experience at all to come tandem paragliding. Thousands of tandem paragliding flights have been done with children as young as 10-years-old and adults as old as 87-years-old. After a short briefing, you will merely run a few steps and the rest will be in the hands of your fully qualified pilot. Just sit back and enjoy your flight. Bookings are essential, do not leave it until your last day as the activity is dependent on the weather conditions.

From Cape Town: Cape Point and Boulders Beach Full-Day Tour

5. From Cape Town: Cape Point and Boulders Beach Full-Day Tour

The full-day tour leaves Cape Town in the morning for the spectacular landscapes of the Cape Peninsula. Enjoy a scenic drive to Boulders Beach through Muizenberg and Fish Hoek. Stop to see the penguins at Boulders Beach before heading to Cape Point, in the Cape of Good Hope Nature Reserve. Be on the lookout for antelope, ostrich and other game. Scan the ocean for whales during the Cape's whale season (July-November). Enjoy lunch (at your own expense) before joining the optional hike from Cape Point to the Cape of Good Hope headland (medium fitness required). Sit back and enjoy the coastal drive back to Cape Town, taking in spectacular views from the Ou Kaapse Weg mountain pass.

Cape Town City Sightseeing Hop-On Hop-Off Tour

6. Cape Town City Sightseeing Hop-On Hop-Off Tour

One of South Africa’s most popular destinations, Cape Town is considered one of the world’s most beautiful cities. See landmarks such as Table Mountain, Camps Bay, and Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden on a hop-on hop-off sightseeing tour. Choose from 4 exciting tour routes. There are 2 ticket options available. If you opt for a 1-day ticket it allows you to experience all four routes - Red, Yellow, Blue and Purple Routes. The 2-day ticket allows you to take advantage of all routes - Red, Yellow, Blue and Purple Routes - for 2 consecutive days.  The 2-day ticket also includes 2 walking tours, a harbor cruise, and a sunset bus tour during the summer season. The Red City Tour 1 V&A Waterfont 2 The Clock tower 3 Cape Town Convention Centre 5 81 Long Street 6 Jewel Africa 7 Lower Cableway Station 8 Camps Bay Beachfront 9 President Hotel 10 St John's Road 11 Winchester Mansions Hotel 12 Green Point Lighthouse The Blue City Tour 1 V&A Waterfont 4 Foreshore 5 81 Long Street 15 Mount Nelson Hotel 20 Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens 21 Constantia Nek (Wine Bus Tour CHANGE POINT) 22 World of Birds Park in Hout Bay 23 Imizamo Yethu Township (walking tour) 24 Mariner’s Wharf at Hout Bay Harbor 8 Camps Bay Beachfront 9 President Hotel 10 St John's Road 11 Winchester Mansions Hotel 12 Green Point Lighthouse Yellow Downtown Tour  5 81 Long Street 13 St George's Cathedral 14 South African Museum & Planetarium 15 Mount Nelson Hotel (access to the Government Gardens) 16 SA Jewish Museum & Holocaust Center 17 District Six Museum 18 Castle of Good Hope Purple Wine Tour Visit Constantia Valley – the oldest wine making region in South Africa. Groot Constantia Estate (oldest commercial wine estate) Eagles’ Nest (boutique winery)  Beau Constantia (great wine and amazing views)

2-Day Safari Experience at Garden Route Game Lodge

7. 2-Day Safari Experience at Garden Route Game Lodge

On the first day, you will depart Cape Town and drive along the scenic coastal road through to Cape Agulhas via Hermanus, the whale watching capital of the world. Visit the southernmost tip of Africa and its beautiful lighthouse before heading on to the Garden Route Game Lodge.  At the lodge, enjoy a Big 5 sunset safari on an open-air vehicle, followed by a 3-course dinner. Stay in beautiful 4-star wooden chalets under the clear African skies with excellent views of the stars. The next day, join the early morning game drive to see some of the animals you might have missed the evening before with breakfast to follow. Finally, you'll make your way back to Cape Town for arrival around 7:00 PM.

Cape Town: Waterfront and Sunset Champagne Cruise

8. Cape Town: Waterfront and Sunset Champagne Cruise

Cape Town has one of the best locations for watching the sun go down from the water. With the Atlantic Ocean stretching away from the majestic Table Mountain range, this is certainly a "must-do" cruise for locals and tourists alike. You'll also get a unique view of the coast of Cape Town from the sea while relaxing and sipping on local sparkling wine! The sailboats Esperance and Serenity One follow the wind for this cruise, and therefore the destination is dependent on the weather at the time of the cruise. Your captain will let you know before departure your expected direction, but typical Cape Town summer wind blows from the southeast. First, you'll leave the harbor and sail across Table Bay towards Milnerton Lighthouse, returning to the protection of the Granger Bay in the lee of Table Mountain to watch the sun set, and then motor back to the waterfront. In the winter months, with the Northwester prevalent, the direction will likely be towards the Clifton coastline or the Robben Island Coastline. This cruise will also return to Granger Bay and the Waterfront. On some occasions the weather may require the use of a motorboat, in which case the boat will cruise slowly along the Atlantic seaboard towards Clifton beach and then return. On all trips your skipper and crew will do their best, weather dependent, to give you the best view of the spectacular sunset over the sea - you won't believe the beauty of this sight until you experience it yourself! For all the vessels, when the seas are running too high or the wind is unpleasantly strong, instead of heading into Table Bay the destination is the Cape Town Harbor; a perfect alternative offering magical views of Table Mountain and the lights of Cape Town and the harbor in the evening. In extreme conditions the skipper will take every aspect into account, and even stay dockside to ensure the safety of the passengers.

From Cape Town: Franschhoek Wine Tram Hop-on Hop-off

9. From Cape Town: Franschhoek Wine Tram Hop-on Hop-off

Depart Cape Town by coach and head directly to the Franschhoek valley to join the Franschhoek hop-on hop-off wine tram and bus. The Franschhoek Wine Tram offers a choice of two hop-on hop-off lines (Orange or Purple) to choose from, operating in opposite directions. Each route visits eight wine estates showcasing a separate part of the Franschhoek Valley, including Noble Hill, Babylonstoren, Backsberg, Vrede & Lust, Plaisir de Merle, Allee Bleue, Boschendal, and Solms Delta. Realistically, you will be able to visit 5-6 estates in one day.  Enjoy transportation by a combination of tram and tram-buses around a loop. Each stop is at a different wine estate, allowing you to hop on and hop off at any of the estates. The tram or tram-buses pass each stop once an hour, so you can explore at your convenience to move from one estate to the next. Each of the lines has a wide selection of wine estates to visit, from boutique to marquee estates and each offers a unique perspective on the Franschhoek wine experience. At 4:00 PM, head back to the motor coach for your transfer back to Cape Town.

Gansbaai: Marine Big 5 Boat tour

10. Gansbaai: Marine Big 5 Boat tour

Visit the Dyer Island eco-system and have the opportunity to spot the Marine Big 5: whales, sharks, seals, dolphins and penguins. Every year from June to December, the southern right whales arrive to mate and calve. Witness mating displays, breaching, tail slapping, spy-hopping and more. You may also see Bryde’s whales, humpback whales, the elusive humpback dolphin and the common dolphin. An incredible array of seabirds and a sighting of the almost 60,000-strong Cape fur seal colony on Geyser Rock is guaranteed as the boat cruises down the famous Shark Alley. An on-board marine biologist will be on hand to teach you more about the amazing animals that visit these shores. On the day of your trip, you will be picked up from your hotel in Cape Town or Hermanus, if you have selected an option with transfers included. Upon arrival in Gansbaai, enjoy coffee/tea and muffins while listening to a dedicated safety briefing. After you're fitted with inflatable life jackets and wet-weather gear, take a 200 meter stroll down to the harbor to board the whale-watching vessel. Time spent on sea on average is two hours depending on sea conditions and marine life activity.  Upon return to land, receive an informative debrief while enjoying warm soup and bread. Professional trip footage is also available to purchase after the trip, so that you can have a permanent memory of your sightings. If you have chosen the option with transfers from Cape Town, a visit to the African Penguin and Seabird Sanctuary is also included on your way back. You'll see the important efforts being made to rehabilitate injured and sick animals.

Frequently asked questions about Cape Town

What top attractions are a must-see in Cape Town?

Insider tips: Planning a trip to Cape Town

After travelling through South Africa for quite some time, blogger Check Out Sam stayed in Cape Town for a few months longer and explored the Mother City in depth. Curious about the best things to do, see and experience? Keep reading!

What should I do on my first trip to Cape Town?

Get to know the diversity of this city by exploring several of the lively neighborhoods (Bo-Kaap and V&A Waterfront are my favorites!), hiking some of the best hikes of the country (Lion's Head!), soaking up some sun at the stunning beaches (Boulders Beach & Clifton Beach can't be missed) and organizing (day) trips to other areas around Cape Town. There is SO much to do in and around this city!!

What are some hidden gems to see in Cape Town?

I booked an excursion through GetYourGuide to go swimming with seals in Cape Town. To this day, it is one of the tours that I enjoyed most! There are only a few other places in the world where you can do this, so this truly is a unique and wonderful experience that you shouldn't miss out on.

How much time should I spend in Cape Town?

Cape Town is huge and is surrounded by other lovely regions that deserve some of your time too. Therefore you should be here for at least one full week. And even then, your itinerary will probably be jam packed! Keep in mind that some tours (e.g. cage diving with sharks, swimming with seals, visiting Robben Island) take up half or even a full day too.

What food is Cape Town known for?

The food you find in Cape Town is as diverse as its citizens, history and culture. If you're a meat lover, you will love game meat. My favorite was kudu. Ostrich is also worth trying out! There are quite some restaurants at V&A Waterfront who serve these delicacies. Another typical South African dish I would recommend, is bobotie. This oven dish still makes my mouth water when I think about it!

What is the best way to get around Cape Town? 

Public transportation for tourists is a no-go in South Africa. If you do use it, there is a chance you will get mugged. Therefore I would recommend to make use of Uber. It is cheap, safe and easy to use all around the city. Since it is so big, you just have to make use of it. Walking around Cape Town is fine, as long as you don't do it after dark, don't show off your wealth too much and stay away from dangerous areas. You shouldn't be there anyway, because most highlights are quite centrally located in the city. Are you doing a day trip or road trip from Cape Town away? Rental cars are cheap and found across the city.

What are the best months to visit Cape Town?

Since Cape Town is located in the southern hemisphere, you have to know that seasons are reverse to the United States, the United Kingdom and Europe. Therefore, January and February are great months to visit since the temperatures are at it's best and the days are longest. During these months, there also are a lot of activities and festivals going on around the city. The only disadvantage is that there often are bigger crowds. If you don't like that, March and April are a bit chillier but way less crowded.

What is neighborhood V&A Waterfront known for?

V&A Waterfront is considered the safest area of Cape Town and perhaps also the liveliest if you're a tourist. There are lots of things to do and here you'll also find the best restaurants. The nearby Waterkant also has great food and bars, but once it gets dark you shouldn't walk here anymore. Bo-Kaap is a very popular neighborhood with tourists because of its colorful houses. It's safe to walk here during the day (like most areas in the city center), but again I wouldnt come visit this area once it gets dark.

What are the best neighborhoods for food?

You have to be in the city center if you're a food lover. V&A Waterfront and Waterkant had some of the best restaurants I've encountered in all of South Africa. There are a lot of places who offer local cuisine, but also burgers, Italian food, etc. Make sure to try out some other African restaurants as well!

What neighborhood should I stay in when I visit Cape Town?

If you want to be in the city center, I recommend to find accommodation in V&A Waterfront, Waterkant or Greenpoint. You'll be staying very centrally, but also in quite safe areas. As I said earlier: walking around after dark is not a great idea, but during the day you should never worry about a thing. The area around Simon's Town, Camp's Bay and Hout Bay are wonderful if you want to be closer to the beaches and don't like the busy city.

What is the best family-friendly thing to do in Cape Town?

Go out and meet some of the cute locals! I already mentioned Boulders Beach with its quirky penguins or Hout Bay with it resident seals, but of course you can also organize a safari (day) trip to one of the parks just outside Cape Town. There you might get the chance to spot the Big Five!

What is the best thing to do in Cape Town for couples?

Head out the city for some days and venture to the South African wine country: Stellenbosch! This chique area is located very close to Cape Town and has several fantastic wineries to try out. Sit down, relax, take a sip of your wine and enjoy a romantic sunset at one of these domains. Afterwards, go have dinner in one of the many fantastic restaurants you'll find in this area.

What are the best areas for outdoor activities around Cape Town?

There are several hikes you can do in the city itself (don't mis Lion's Head!), but if you really want to explore the diversity of South Africa I suggest you drive along the Garden Route or discover the quite unknown Cederberg region (about three hours from Cape Town). Along the Garden Route you'll see lots of rough coastline, but also stunning national parks and some wildlife. Cederberg is a rocky desert wilderness great for hiking, road trips or exploring the history of this region.

What are the best beaches around Cape Town?

My personal favourite is by far Boulders Beach. On this tropical white beach, you don't only find (impressive!) boulders, but also one of the penguin colonies of South Africa. Swimming ánd tanning together with these quirky birds is truly a once in a lifetime experience. Since you have to buy an entrance ticket to get in, it is also considered a very safe beach and thus you don't have to worry too much of leaving your bag when you're going for a swim.

Other Sightseeing Options in Cape Town

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What people are saying about Cape Town

Overall rating

4.6 / 5

based on 12,061 reviews

The tour guide was funny, the coach was very comfortable. The first vineyard was the best!!! Enjoy the wine and chocolate pairing! The wine connoisseur was informed and very enthusiastic… at some point I even wanted to be a wine connoisseur. Absolutely incredible, the Rhebokskloof vineyard! The drive through the Cape Wine Lands was beautiful!

Our driver Ruben was exceptional! We had a very good time. He was very informative and helpful.

The tour was very informative and took us to every must see spot in Cape Town. Well worth it!

The service was excellent and informative. The route was perfect.

Yoooo it was the best experience, will do it again.