Cape Town Culture & history

Our most recommended Cape Town Culture & history

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

1. 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: Half-Day Guided Township Tour

2. Cape Town: Half-Day Guided Township Tour

Traveling is only as deep as the people you interact with, and on this half-day tour, you will get to discover Cape Town in an up-close and personal way through the eyes of the locals. During your time together, you will have a chance to dig deeper into the multicultural side of Cape Town, and hear their personal stories of forceful removals from District Six to the rich cultural landscape of township life. The day either begins at 08.00 or at 13.00, returning approximately four-and-a-half hours later. You will begin in District Six with the Museum (closed Sundays). Here you can educate yourself on the forceful removal of over 60,000 inhabitants in the 1970s by the apartheid regime. This once lively community of former slaves, artisans and merchants was once home to almost 1/10 of the city of Cape Town's population before the brutality that came. After your education, you will move to Langa, the oldest formal township in South Africa. This suburb was established in 1927, and was established specifically for Black Africans before the apartheid era. There is a history of violent uprisings here, and your visit will be benefited with the local's stories and perspectives. From here we move onto Shebeen (township pub) with the option to taste some traditional beer! How can you turn down a beer with the locals? Finally we move to Khayelitsha - the largest and fastest growing township in South Africa today. Its local name is Xhosa, which means New Home. Here you will get to meet with some of the township entrepreneurs who are breathing new life in to these historic towns. If you're fortunate enough to be with us on a Sunday, we'll even have the chance to visit a charismatic church service in the townships! It's truly an experience not to be missed!

Cape Town: Robben Island Ferry Ticket and Townships Tour

3. Cape Town: Robben Island Ferry Ticket and Townships Tour

Discover some of Cape Town's most famous townships on a guided tour in an air-conditioned minivan. Visit District Six, take a walking tour in Langa, and learn about Bonteheuwel as you drive through it. After, explore Robben Island on your own with an included ferry ticket. 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), try some homemade beer, and see a traditional healer in action 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 on the 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. Afterward, get dropped off at the V&A Waterfront to take your ferry to Robben Island.

Museum of Contemporary African Art: Fast-Track Zeitz MOCAA

4. Museum of Contemporary African Art: Fast-Track Zeitz MOCAA

Visit the world's largest museum for contemporary African art in the heart of the V&A Waterfront with skip-the-line access. This museum includes 6,500 square meters (about 69,965 square feet) of exhibition space in 100 galleries, a rooftop sculpture garden, state-of-the-art storage and conservation areas, a bookshop, a restaurant, a bar and various reading rooms. Explore the galleries and atrium space at the center of Zeitz MOCAA. Learn how they were carved from the silo's dense cellular structure of 42 tubes that pack the building. Discover why this museum is an important cultural landmark and how it contributes to a stronger appreciation of Africa's cultural heritage.

Cape Town: Half-Day Walking City Tour and African Lunch

5. Cape Town: Half-Day Walking City Tour and African Lunch

Meet your local guide and get ready to hear interesting stories about the city's rich history and heritage. Make your way to the Bartolomeu Dias monument in Cape Town Central. Learn about important figures in South Africa's history. Discover the Castle of Good Hope. Explore this pentagonal fortress considered the oldest colonial building in South Africa. Then, immerse in the history of Nelson Mandela. Visit the City Hall where he made his first speech as a free man. Also take a walk past the Parliament, the Slave Lodge, Company Gardens, Cathedral, St. Georges Mall and Greenmarket Square. Finally, take some photos of the brightly coloured houses of Bo-Kaap. The tour culminates with lunch at AfroDeli Eatery in Long Street. Experience the authentic African cuisine from Zimbabwe and Nigeria.

Cape Town: Private Robben Island, Table Mountain & City Tour

6. Cape Town: Private Robben Island, Table Mountain & City Tour

Begin your journey of Cape Town with a hotel pick up, where you will be greeted by your guide who will take care of you throughout the day.  Head straight to the ferry dock to catch your boat to Robben Island, where Nelson Mandela spent 27 years in prison during the Apartheid era. Visit the former prison on a guided tour, hearing stories of the famous island's past. Next, head back across the water to the Victoria and Alfred waterfront, where your guide will take you on a historical tour of Cape Town. See a number of iconic monuments and sights, including the Parliament buildings, the Company's Garden, the Slave Auction Tree, the Apartheid Museum in District Six, the Slave Museum, the Castle — which is the oldest building in South Africa, built between 1666-1679. The last stop on your South African excursion is a visit to Table Mountain. Hop on the cable car and make your way to the top of Cape Town for unparalleled views of the sprawling city and the ocean.

Cape Town: Private Guided Tour of Cape Town Diamond Museum

7. Cape Town: Private Guided Tour of Cape Town Diamond Museum

Take a private guided tour of the Cape Town Diamond Museum, located at the V&A Waterfront. Tour the museum for 45 minutes with your guide, who will give fascinating commentary and answer any questions that come to mind. Start with some welcome drinks on arrival, either soft drinks or some South African wine, that are also available throughout the tour.  Discover about South Africa’s 3-billion year diamond history; how Shimansky hand selects and ethically sources their diamonds; and how they are cut and polished to their aesthetically pleasing final state. See over 3000 pieces in the diamond cutting factory and jewelry workshop. Best of all, have the opportunity to buy and design your own diamond with your own personal designer on-site and GIA certificate.

Cape Town: Introductory City Tour by Foot and Minibus

8. Cape Town: Introductory City Tour by Foot and Minibus

This Cape Town city tour commences with a stop at the Victoria & Alfred Waterfront which is South Africa’s most visited destination, attracting millions of visitors every year with it’s massive range of restaurants, shops, activities, and free entertainment. Drive past the residential suburbs of Clifton and Camps Bay, positioned along the Atlantic seaboard this area is home to some of the most stunning beaches in the world. After, visit the Bo-Kaap an area, formerly known as the Malay Quarter, famous for its brightly colored homes and romantic cobblestoned streets. While there stopover at the museum, which dates back to the 1760s, and is the oldest house in the area still in its original form. It highlights the cultural contribution made by early Muslim settlers. Take a walk in the famous Company Gardens, the famous park and heritage site in central Cape Town. The Gardens were created in the 17th century to produce fresh produces and refurnish the European ships sailing through the Cape. Enjoy a quick visit to the South African museum. Proceed to the Castle of Good Hope which is the oldest surviving building in South Africa. Built between 1666 and 1679, this pentagonal fortification replaced a small clay and timber fort built by Commander Jan van Riebeeck in 1652 upon establishing a maritime replenishment station at the Cape of Good Hope (Cape Town) for the Dutch East India Company. The tour culminates with a short visit to one of Cape Town's diamond factories. Explore the history of the South African diamond rush and where it all began. Discover the world’s most famous diamonds with life-size replicas on display. Witness first hand how rough diamonds are transformed into creations of fire and light.

Cape Town: District Six Museum Skip-the-Line Entrance Ticket

9. Cape Town: District Six Museum Skip-the-Line Entrance Ticket

Learn about the harrowing history of apartheid-era South Africa at the District Six Museum in Cape Town. Find out how this lively multi-racial hub for musicians and artists was dismantled by the apartheid regime through forced removals. Engage with photographs, recordings and testimonials, which offer further insight into the horrors of the apartheid system. Share in the stories of District Six with engaging and friendly staff members. Many were displaced residents themselves and have intimate and personal stories to tell.

Cape Town: Heart of Cape Town Medical Museum Entrance Ticket

10. Cape Town: Heart of Cape Town Medical Museum Entrance Ticket

Discover the Heart of Cape Town Museum which honors all those who played a major role in the world’s first successful heart transplant. Celebrate this surgical feat that pushed the boundaries of science into the dawn of a new medical era. Experience the drama of the operation, led by Professor Christiaan Neethling Barnard, played out within the walls of the Charles Saint Theatre, at Groote Schuur Hospital on the 3rd December 1967. This museum offers an insightful look into the day this medical wonder took place.

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What people are saying about Cape Town

Overall rating

4.6 / 5

based on 1,677 reviews

I spent a wonderful day touring the Townships and learning all about South Africa's relatively recent history pre, during, and post-Apartheid directly from someone who grew up in the Townships and knows life there intimately. Both my guide and driver were excellent. I felt safe, well taken-care of and all my questions were expertly answered with a smile and lots of patience/grace. The guided part of the tour drops you off at V&A Waterfront where you have time for lunch then you board the ferry to Robben Island in your own. Everything is included and the fabulous staff of Robben Island take care of every detail from there - you are stewarded through the experience the moment you step on the ferry. The only thing you have to do is get yourself back to your home base after you return on the ferry.

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.

Learning about the history and origin of diamonds was an eye-opening experience. Walking through the workshop and seeing the work being done, seeing different types of diamonds, learning about cuts and colours and also fitting on my favorite pieces. This is a turn worth taking while in Cape Town

My experience was emotional and also exciting had wonderful experience of our country history and enjoyed it a lot

Very interesting and informative, Sam was great throughout. Well worth a visit