If you are heading off to Cape Town anytime soon, prepare yourself because you’re certainly not going to want to leave. Cape Town really does have it all. Where else in the world will you find beautiful beaches, mountains, forests, wine estates, countryside and bustling city life, all in one small area?
I went to Cape Town for the first time last month and was lucky enough to be shown around by a local. We squeezed in as much as we could in that short amount of time, but I’m already itching to go back to experience all of the things that we didn’t do.
My one piece of advice to you before you head to Cape Town, is to make a small, loose itinerary. The choices of things to do can be overwhelming. I’ve only rounded up just 10 out of 100’s of experience you can have in Cape Town:
1. Wine Tasting
Wine Tasting is a right of passage in Cape Town. Most to all vineyards have wine tasting as an option and there is an impressive amount of vineyards to chose from. Although you can just turn up on the day, make sure to book the best vineyards in advance.
If you are stuck for choice, definitely try out Beau Constantia at the top of Constantia Nek, Delaire Graff in Stellenbosch or La Motte in Francshoek.
2. Hike Table Mountain
It’s one of the wonders of the world for a reason. You struggle to go anywhere in Cape Town without seeing this dominant beautiful mountain in view. If hiking isn’t your thing then you can take the 5 minute aerial cableway to the top and enjoy a spot of lunch with the best views over Cape Town. Make sure to get there early or to pre-book as it gets very busy.
If hiking is your thing, there are many spots to start from. Each hike has a different level of terrain and stunning views. Just make sure you don’t hike alone and that you pack a lot of water, some food and you plan your route before you take off.
3. Swim With Penguins
Boulders beach is a little drive from the centre of Cape Town but well worth a visit. Where else in the world can you swim with penguins and get to share a beach with them?
We took our toddler to see the penguins on Boulders beach and it ended up being a complete treat for all of us. If you are planning a visit to Boulders beach, I recommend checking the tide times before going.
We arrived at high tide and the beach had almost disappeared. Although we still got to experience the penguins, we would have loved the opportunity to have stayed for longer.
4. Shop At The Waterfront
The V&A Waterfront has got it all; shops, eateries, markets and even an aquarium. But the colonial architecture makes it all that extra special, not forgetting the sweeping views of the Atlantic ocean and the grand backdrop of Table Mountain.
We recommend spending the day here, shopping for beautiful goods, browsing the markets (especially the food market) and trying out the local delicacies. Upon our visit we also stopped in the adjoined ‘Two Oceans Aquarium’ to entertain our daughter.
Although very small, it was more than worth it as its definitely the most interactive aquarium we’ve ever visited. The hands on approach and stunning displays leaves the whole family buzzing with new found knowledge about the oceans.
5. Go to the beach
Camps Bay, Clifton, Lladundo…you’re spoilt for choice with beautiful beaches in Cape Town. Spend the day sunbathing on Clifton, take a picnic and watch the sunset on Lladundo and head for an evening drink beside Camps Bay, to truly enjoy the atmosphere of all three of these gorgeous beaches.
The perfectly soft white sand, the dark crystal blue sea and the beautiful boulders that are found on most of Cape Towns beaches, are so picturesque that all of your friends will want to join your holiday after only one social media update.
6. Go on a picnic
You cannot come to Cape Town and not indulge in a picnic. The only question is, where to have it? Many wine estates host picnic lunches where you can pre-book a spot on the lawn and order delicious pre-made baskets of fresh local food to enjoy with however big a party you like.
Most even provide baskets especially tailored for children if needed. The best thing? Adding a bottle of wine, homegrown and made at the very vineyard you are sat in.
If you don’t fancy a picnic in a wine estate, you still have plenty of other spots to choose from, such as on the mountains, in local gardens or on any of the beautiful beaches.
7. Walk Down Bree Street
Shop, eat, admire, you can do it all on Bree Street. Bree Street is an instagram lovers dream. From secret gin bars hidden in chocolate shops, to a restaurant dedicated purely to bacon and another to cheese Bree Street has officially affirmed itself as hottest, hippest destination in Cape Town. A walk down the bustling strip will introduce you to a host of trendy restaurants, cafés, art galleries and shops interspersed with beautiful colonial buildings
This busy road is one that every visitor to the Mother City will land up on at some point or another, and has an eclectic blend of great restaurants, unique shops, old historical buildings and various other landmarks.
8. Visit Kirstenbosch Gardens
Kirestenbosch National Botanical Garden is said to be the most beautiful garden in Africa. With Table Mountain sloping behind it and around every corner a different scent to smell and array of plant life to see, its easy to see why.
The highlight of our visit to Kirstenbosch Gardens was the new ‘Centenary Tree Canopy Walkway’. The walkway is a curved steel and timber bridge that winds and dips its way through and over the top of trees.
The spectacular panoramic views of the mountains, the gardens and the Cape Flats are incredible. If you time a visit to the gardens right, you can also book to watch a night time live music event or an open air cinema production.
9. Have afternoon tea at Mount Nelson
Afternoon tea at the Belmond Mount Nelson Hotel will be the best 300 rand you’ve ever spent on food, and possibly the most indulgent afternoon tea you’ll ever try. With delicate finger sandwiches and an unlimited buffet of sweet treats and cakes, as well as freshly baked scones with clotted cream and preserves, be sure to skip breakfast before you attend!
The Mount Nelson also have a wide range of teas available to try, including their very own signature ‘Mount Nelson Tea’ that has been expertly blended from six different teas and rose petals from their very own garden. If tea isn’t your thing, you can easily substitute it for a whole range of delectable champagnes and local wines. We recommend booking before you come as it does get busy. Our favourite spot to sit is in the beautiful garden around the fountain.
10. Drive on Victorias road through to Chapmans Peak
The drives around Cape Town are breathtaking. But one of my favourite drives was around the worlds famous Chapman’s Peak. The Chapman’s Peak Drive offers so many opportunities for taking photos. Viewpoints have been specially carved out along the road to enable you to stop, enjoy the views and snap pictures of the mountains and seascapes. There is a toll to pay for the drive, but it is more than worth it for the views!
On the way there, make sure you stop at the local and lively Hout Bay Market. A mecca for both local and tourists, his lively market is home to a whole range of street foods, handmade local goods, clothes and vibrant live music.
There are so many more experiences to have in Cape Town, this list is so minimal. If you have time during your stay, don’t forget to visit neighbouring Stellenbosch and Franschoek. Here you can indulge in even more incredible views, delicious wines and vineyard heavy landscapes.
Have you ever been to Cape Town before? Are you planning a visit? Which of these 10 experiences to have in Cape Town would you like to do? Let me know in the comments!