Things to do in Cape Town

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

Our most recommended things to do in Cape Town

From Cape Town: Round-Trip to Aquila with Game Drive

1. From Cape Town: Round-Trip to Aquila with Game Drive

Discover animals like the lions, leopards, elephants, rhinos, and Cape Buffalos on this day trip from Cape Town to the Aquila Private Game Reserve. Take a game tour in an open top, all-terrain vehicle. Stop for a delicious lunch at the reserve's lodge.  After a morning departure, you will head up the N1 Highway, through the spectacular Hex River Valley, and arrive at the Aquila Private Game Reserve. The bio-diverse habitat of the reserve ensures plenty of interest for the avid game viewer and bird watcher. Spot giraffes, blesbok, black and blue wildebeest, zebras, springbok, gemsbok, klipspringers, duikers, greybuck, steenbok, ostriches, baboons, caracals, foxes, jackals, and more. Spot up to 172 species of birds, including the majestic black eagle. Enjoy a game drive with a well-informed ranger followed by a delicious lunch at the lodge.

Cape Town: Robben Island Ferry Tour with 1-Way Hotel Pickup

2. Cape Town: Robben Island Ferry 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.

From Cape Town: 2-Day Safari at Garden Route Game Lodge

4. From Cape Town: 2-Day Safari at Garden Route Game Lodge

Get the chance to see lions, elephants, rhinos, hippos, giraffes, and more on a 2-day safari tour from Cape Town. Enjoy 2 game drives and an overnight stay with included dinner and breakfast. On the first day, depart Cape Town and drive along the scenic coastal road to Cape Agulhas via Hermanus, the whale watching capital of the world. Make a stop at the southernmost tip of Africa to admire the beautiful lighthouse. Continue on to Garden Route Game Lodge. Here, embark on a sunset safari in an open-air vehicle. Observe a variety of native animals, including elephants, lions, rhinos, giraffes, hippos, and more. After the safari, settle in for a three-course dinner. Spend the night in one of the beautiful 4-star wooden chalets and admire the clear skies over the lodge. In the morning, head out for another game drive to see some of the animals you might have missed the evening before. After your drive, tuck into breakfast. Make your way back to Cape Town in the evening.

Cape Town: Table Mountain, Robben Island, and Aquarium Tour

5. Cape Town: Table Mountain, Robben Island, and Aquarium Tour

Join a guided tour and visit Cape Town's top attractions, including Table Mountain, Robben Island, the V&A Waterfront, and the Two Oceans Aquarium. Enjoy the convenience of a hotel pickup and travel in the comfort of an air-conditioned vehicle. Start your day of exploring Cape Town with an early pickup directly from your accommodation and set out to see the city's most iconic attraction, Table Mountain. Purchase your tickets and hop into one of the cable cars to make your way to the top of the mountain. Spend some time soaking in the breathtaking views of the City of Cape Town, Signal Hill, and Lion's Head. Then, join your guide as you walk to another lookout point and be rewarded with sweeping views of the Atlantic Ocean, Camps Bay, and the Twelve Apostles Mountains. Ride the cable car back down the mountain and head to the V&A Waterfront where you'll board a ferry to Robben Island. Disembark at Murray's Bay Harbor on the east coast of the island and board a bus that will take you to all the historic sites. Get a guided tour of the prison while learning about South Africa's history, the struggle against oppression, and the thousands of freedom fighters who were imprisoned on Robben Island, including former president Nelson Mandela. Return by ferry to the V&A Waterfront and enjoy some free time to do some shopping or grab a bite to eat at one of the many restaurants (cost not included). End your day with a visit to the Two Oceans Aquarium. Explore the wonders of the ocean up close as you visit the penguin exhibit, shark exhibit, ocean exhibit, and much more. Finally, hop back into your air-conditioned vehicle and enjoy a comfortable ride back to your accommodation.

Cape Town: Tandem Paragliding Adventure

6. Cape Town: Tandem Paragliding Adventure

Enjoy an adrenaline-fuelled paragliding adventure in Cape Town and marvel at the incredible views of the Atlantic Coastline, Lion's Head, Signal Hill, Camp's Bay, Clifton Beaches, and more. Fly high into the sky with your experienced instructor and create unforgettable memories of a lifetime. Meet your pilot and other daredevils at Signal Hill to begin your adventure. First, get a short induction from your pilot before you take off from a mountain slope under a canopy that resembles a parachute.  Get ready for liftoff; take 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. Ride side-by-side with your instructor and feel the exhilaration, head rush, and incredible sensation of free-fall flying. End your day on a high as you experience a once-in-a-lifetime paragliding ride that you won't forget. Get hooked on the adrenaline high and see views of Lion's Head, Signal Hill, Camp's Bay, Clifton Beaches, Waterfront, and Robben Island, that you won't forget.

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

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

Discover Cape Point and the Cape of Good Hope on this guided day trip from Cape Town. Marvel at the beauty of nature as you stop at Boulders Beach to spot whales, ostrich, and other animals it shelters. 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: 3-Hour Malay Cooking Class & Lunch in Bo-Kaap

8. Cape Town: 3-Hour Malay Cooking Class & Lunch in Bo-Kaap

A local food-lover, Faldela Tolker, will be waiting to greet you on the doorstep of her neat, lilac-colored house. She’ll welcome you into her kitchen where a large metal pot simmers on the stove, emitting a spicy aroma. Chef Faldela conducts cooking classes in her home in Bo-Kaap, Cape Town. The food cooked in this predominantly Muslin neighborhood is as piquant as the hot pink and burnt-orange painted houses that rise gently up the lower slopes of Signal Hill, part of Table Mountain. Unique to the Western Cape of South Africa, Cape Malay cuisine fuses African tradition with that of Malaysian and Indonesian slaves, brought over by the Dutch in the 17th and 18th centuries. A blend of spices — ginger, fennel, star anise, tamarind, and, most importantly, turmeric — gives the food a distinct aromatic quality. Stews, roasts, and sauce-heavy curries are popular in Malay cuisine, as are meat patties, milk, and bread puddings.

Cape Town: Atlantis Dunes Quadbike Adventure

9. 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.

Cape Peninsula: Full-Day Small Group Tour with Penguins

10. Cape Peninsula: Full-Day Small Group Tour with Penguins

You’ll be picked up at your Cape Town accommodation in the morning by a qualified tour guide/driver in a luxury minibus, and taken on an all-inclusive, full-day Cape Peninsula tour. Drive along the scenic coastal route with the mountains on one side and the ocean on the other, and see what makes this coastline so special. Pass through Bantry Bay, Clifton, Camps Bay, and Llandudno beaches along Chapman's Peak drive and enjoy a photo stop at Maiden's Cove. In Hout Bay, you’ll have the option of taking a boat to Seal Island to get a closer look at the seal population (not included in the tour price). After exploring the harbor in Hout Bay, your tour continues on to Noordhoek village for an optional stop to try the best coffee roasted this side of the Cape (cost not included). The next stop is at the Cape of Good Hope Nature Reserve and Cape Point, where you'll explore the reserve, see the Dias Beacon, and also where the two currents meet. You can hike up to the top to see the Cape Point Lighthouse or take the Funicular (cost not included). From Cape Point, you’ll continue on toward Boulders Beach and stop to see the penguin colony. Enjoy the scenic Boyes Drive and see Kalk Bay and Muizenburg. The return route to Cape Town will be via the Old Cape Road, ending the day with a drop-off at your accommodation.

Frequently asked questions about Cape Town

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

What are the best day trips and excursions from Cape Town?

The best day trips and excursions from Cape Town are:

Stellenbosch

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 13,493 reviews

Eye opening experience on how the 3/4 of the population still lives in Cape Town. Walk tour around the slams (so-called townships) with a local guide is priceless! And the best part- absolutely safe - no beggars, no kids following you and asking for anything, nothing dangerous at all! Highly recommended tour if you want not only see the glamorous of the waterfront but glance at the other part of the everyday lives of a regular, ‘less fortunate’ people of the mother town.

This was one of the most magnificent moments we have ever experienced. The sunrise hike was very well organised and handled exceptionally well by the most lovely guide - Fatima. We couldn’t have done it without her help and guidance throughout. Thank you for the best sunrise hike. ❤️

Amazing interactive host team of captain and crew. Attending to every need. Giving details of the city areas.

Jean-Luc was an amazing, informative and helpful guide. We did and saw so much such, an incredible day.

Great experience - guide on time and good drop off