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: Coastal Catamaran Cruise

1. 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.

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Cape Town: Waterfront and Sunset Champagne Cruise

2. 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.

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Cape Town: Tandem Paragliding Adventure

3. 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.

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Two Oceans Aquarium: Skip-the-Line Entrance ticket

4. Two Oceans Aquarium: Skip-the-Line Entrance ticket

With more than 3,000 creatures on show, the Two Oceans Aquarium provides a diverse showcase of Atlantic and Indian Ocean marine life. Explore different underwater species from the Ocean Basket Kelp Forest, which also showcases the unique kelp that is found on Cape Town beaches. Check out what sea life looks like under a microscope, and explore the Indian Ocean. View mesmerising exhibits that features the dazzling colours of its fish, translucent jellies, shy octopuses and Knysna seahorses. Make a point to check out the new I&J Exhibit, a 10-meter long tunnel that gives a peek at a variety of subtropical species. The Two Oceans Aquarium is home to a few species that aren’t found at any other aquarium in the world. Among these are the strange, serpentine hagfish. An eel-like fish, it can produce as much as five litres of slime when it’s scared.It’s an ancient fish that doesn’t have eyes, fins or scales, than can only be viewed in Cape Town!

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Table Mountain Cable Car Ticket & Hop-On Hop-Off Bus Combo

5. Table Mountain Cable Car Ticket & Hop-On Hop-Off Bus Combo

Discover Cape Town at your own pace with a combined 1-day, Classic ticket for the open-top sightseeing bus and Table Mountain Aerial Cableway. Get access to all 4 routes of the hop-on hop-off bus and benefit from a stop at the cableway station to ascend to the top of the mountain for spectacular views of the city and Atlantic Seaboard.  Listen to a commentary in 15 languages aboard the bus to learn more about the must-see attractions and decide where to jump off. The ticket is valid for 14 days from first use so that you don't have to ride the bus and cableway on the same day.

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2-Day Safari Experience at Garden Route Game Lodge

6. 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 huge all-inclusive buffet 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. Breakfast follows, and after you’ll visit the local reptile park. Finally, you'll make your way back to Cape Town for arrival around 7:00 PM.

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Cape Town City Sightseeing Hop-On Hop-Off Tour

7. 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)

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Robben Island Ferry Ticket and Township Combo Tour

8. Robben Island Ferry Ticket and Township Combo Tour

Explore District Six, where 60,000 inhabitants were forcibly removed during the 1970s by the apartheid regime. Drive to Langa and learn the history of the oldest township at sites like the Old Pass Office and the monument to Robert Sobukwe. Learn about life during apartheid on a walking tour of the hostels and shacks. Visit a shebeen (pub) and try some homemade beer. See a traditional healer in action, and then drive through the Bonteheuwel township, reserved for the "colored" community during the days of apartheid. Hear about the division of people and its impact within communities today. See the Gugulethu 7 Memorial to the members of an anti-apartheid group killed by the South African Police in 1986, and the memorial to the American student Amy Biehl, murdered by PAC supporters in 1993. Afterwards, get dropped off at the V&A Waterfront to take your ferry to Robben Island.

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Cape Town: Guided Kayaking in Hout Bay

9. Cape Town: Guided Kayaking in Hout Bay

This tour offers you the opportunity to explore the views of Hout Bay from the shore - making memories that you will never forget. You will learn about Hout Bay's heritage, experience one of Cape Town's most iconic shorelines, and view marine life - like the Cape Fur Seal. The tour is two hours in duration and offers you an advenaline rush like no other. These tours are suitable for both beginners as well as advanced kayakers. The minimum age to participate in this activity is 7 years old - and all children will need to be accompanied by an adult. All trips are weather dependent - if bad weather is forecast the supplier will not be able to go out as client safety is the highest priority. It is important that you provide your contact number and email address as the supplier will need to reach you on these details should they need to reschedule your booking. The dress code is normal beachwear - however please bring a warm jacket along. The supplier provides all necessary gear, as well as a life jacket. You are required to sign an indemnity form before departure.

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Cape Town: Sunset Champagne Cruise and 3-Course Dinner

10. Cape Town: Sunset Champagne Cruise and 3-Course Dinner

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 sunset, and then motor back to the waterfront. This package is a combo offering the sunset champagne cruise and a meal ashore after the 90-minute cruise. This allows you the freedom to choose from 3 restaurants: the Meloncino Restaurant for Italian, the City Grill for local flavor, and the Greek Fisherman. The cruise departure time changes with the seasons and can vary from 5:00 PM in winter to 7:00 PM in the summer. After the cruise, you then have a short stroll through the waterfront to the restaurant where you can enjoy your meal. The meal is a 3-course meal and each restaurant has a different menu. Possible Weather Variations:  During inclement weather, when the seas are running to high, or the wind is too strong, the tour destination will be Cape Town Harbour instead of Table Bay. Guests will be able to enjoy a Harbour Lights Cruise; a perfect alternative offering magical views of Table Mountain and the lights of Cape Town and the harbour in the evening. In extreme conditions the skipper will take every aspect into account, and may cancel the tour to ensure the safety of the passengers.

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Frequently asked questions about Cape Town

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

Planning Your Visit

  • A visit to Table Mountain

    You can buy a ticket online for either a morning or afternoon trip to the top by cable car. However, an excursion to the 3,500-foot summit always depends on the weather, so check it before you go. It's wise to bring a sweater or jacket with you, and wear sunblock and proper footware. If you plan to hike to the peak or along one of the three trails at the summit, be safe and bring water, snacks and a friend.

  • How safe is it?

    As in any other city you visit, it's always best to keep your wits about you. It is recommended to take a taxi in Cape Town at night, rather than walking, and be on your guard when withdrawing cash at an ATM. If you're curious about visiting a township, then go with a group led by an experienced guide.

  • When to go

    Cape Town has a temperate climate. October to April offer warm and dry weather, but the notorious south-easter winds occur from December through January. February to mid-April has great beach weather, and hiking enthusiasts will enjoy crisp, clear days from late April to early June.

  • How many days should you spend in Cape Town?

    Four to five full days allow you to experience the sites and sounds of the Mother City at a leisurely pace. Stay longer if you'd like and use the city as a base to explore the beautiful, surrounding areas in the Western Cape, such as the wine region of Stellenbosch.

Good to know

  • Language
    Afrikaans and English
  • Currency
    South African Rand (ZAR)
  • Time Zone
    UTC (+02:00)
  • Country Code
    +27
  • Best time to visit
    For a great sightseeing trip with some beach time, plan to come between January and April, when the temperatures are warm, the winds are dying down and the tourist rush is ending.

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

Want to discover all there is to do in Cape Town? Click here for a full list.

What people are saying about Cape Town

Overall rating

4.6 / 5

based on 11,695 reviews

Very beautiful and well organized inside. Fish, big and small of various species in respective ponds everywhere. Very friendly staff and eager to help.

Saw some dolphins. Not very intense, mainly into the bay area, for inexperienced arms more than do-able. Guide was very helpful and professional

It was spectacular and the best way to explore the beautiful city. The sunset was magnificent

Seal watching, entertaining boat cruise and live commentary.

Great setting, staff are excellent. Had a wonderful time.