Cape Town: 10 must-see attractions
The city of Cape Town is, in my opinion, one of the most beautiful cities in the world, which I loved discovering while living there. Cape Town is a nature city ‘par excellence’, with awesome natural sites just waiting to be explored, such as Table Mountain and Lion's Head, which both offer breathtaking views of the city. Cape Town also makes a positive impression with its lifestyle and the energy emitted from its neighbourhoods, restaurants, cafes and shops which, while trendy, also have a unique and original vibe. A visit to Cape Town merits at least a few days of your South Africa itinerary.
Places to visit in Cape Town
Townships are part of the landscape in South Africa. It’s now possible to discover one of the townships located on the outskirts of Cape Town but the most important thing is to do it as part of an "ethical" visit where the price of the visit is donated to the local community and / or a local charity. Khayelitsha, meaning "Our new Home" in the Xhosa language, is the second largest township in South Africa (after Soweto, Johannesburg) and located 30 kilometres to the east of Cape Town. During a cultural visit, lasting a few hours, you can immerse yourself in the heart of dynamic neighbourhoods where a developing local economy prevails despite continued insecurity and the fact it significantly lags behind that of Cape Town. Despite sometimes being an uncomfortable and disturbing experience, discovering the Khayelitsha township can also be a way to meet the locals and understand their lives through the cultural and artistic projects put in place by the inhabitants and supporting charities.
Art & Culture
With its white sandy beaches, contemporary villas, beautiful sunsets and the stunning Twelve Apostles mountains as a backdrop, Camps Bay is an ultra-trendy seaside neighbourhood and considered one of the most beautiful places in the city. The people of Cape Town usually come to Camps Bay to enjoy the beach (even if the water is cold!), have a drink in one of the trendy bars as soon as night falls, or go for a jog along the seafront. The atmosphere is casual and chic at the same time, with restaurants, bars and upmarket clubs, as well as a choice of accommodation, ranging from guesthouses to luxurious villas with sea views.
Sea | Beach | Relaxation
Welcome to the heart of a cosmopolitan and artistic neighbourhood: Woodstock. Located to the east of downtown Cape Town, this suburb is full of small nuggets for travellers seeking unusual, trendy and artistic spots. For lovers of art, Woodstock is home to street art and art galleries by South African artists as well as furniture showrooms. For those looking for the latest trends, there’s the former Woodstock Exchange warehouse with its unique and unusual shops and businesses, the Woodstock Exchange and the "Neighbourgoods Market" located in the Old Biscuit Mill, a former biscuit factory. This is a must-see market held every Saturday morning. Last, but not least, I must mention one of the neighbourhood’s main streets, Main Road, where you can browse vintage accessories or have a coffee in one of the trendy street cafes.
Art & Culture | Shopping | Craftmanship | Market
Head for the Wine Route, one hour east of Cape Town, and explore the renowned wine estates and beautiful Cape Dutch architecture in the cities of Stellenbosch and Franschhoek. The vineyard region is the perfect destination to tickle your taste buds with South African wine tasting experiences; red, white, rosé and even sparkling wines, accompanied by sweet or savoury local dishes. All in an incredible natural setting nestled between mountains and lush green countryside. It will certainly leave an impression!
Vineyards | Gastronomy | Heritage | Nature | Relaxation
Cape of Good Hope
The Cape of Good Hope was the first starting point for sailors travelling to India and was initially called the “Cape of Storms ". The Cape of Good Hope is located to the far south of Cape Town and is now a protected national park with more than 250 species of birds, antelopes, ostriches, baboon families and even mountain zebras. To discover the wonders of this great nature reserve, the park can be visited on foot and also by bike. You can climb to the top of the lighthouse and pose in front of the famous Cape of Good Hope.
Nature | Animals | Viewpoint | Natural wonders
You can’t discover the city of Cape Town without discovering the "Central Business District (CBD)", considered the “beating heart” of the city. With its skyscrapers and offices, its awe-inspiring art deco buildings can be found in the busy streets of Long Street, Kloof Street and in Company's Garden park. The city centre is located between the mountains (including Table Mountain) and the sea. This area is also full of trendy restaurants and cafes where locals regularly meet up for coffee or a drink, to go shopping and visit stylists' workshops.
Shopping | Art & Culture | Market | Heritage
The Bo-Kaap quarter
Not far from the city centre and Bree Street is the colourful Malay Bo-Kaap district, a former slave quarter inhabited by Indonesian and Malay Muslims and known for its multicoloured houses dating from the late 18th century. The word "Bo-Kaap" means "above the Cape" in Afrikaans and the colours of the houses date back to the Apartheid period when the inhabitants decided to brightly paint their houses to protest against the regime. At the heart of this neighbourhood, you can stroll and wander around between the houses and discover the mosque, the historical neighbourhood museum and designer shops. If you fancy it, why not take a cooking class with one of the neighbourhood residents and experience an authentic encounter ending with a lovely shared meal you have helped to prepare.
Art & Culture | Parties & Festivals | Gastronomy | Heritage
From the Waterfront why not board a boat and sail to Robben Island and experience the life of a former political prisoner. After a 30-minute journey, you’ll arrive on the island and board a bus to explore the island and discover its history. Then, you’ll have the opportunity to visit the prison and Nelson Mandela's former cell, where he spent 18 years of his 27-year prison sentence. To visit Robben Island there are three daily departures: 9.00 AM, 11.00 AM and 1.00 PM.
Museums | Monuments | Nature
Table Mountain is more than just one of the ‘New 7 Wonders of Nature’, it's also a landmark for the people of Cape Town. Easily recognisable by its flattened summit, Table Mountain is a national park that is home to a variety of flora, including the famous fynbos, as well as mammals such as the rocky hyrax (or ‘dassie’) that you may get to see at the summit. To reach the top of the mountain, you can either take the cable car, that offers 680°F panoramic views of the city, or opt to go on foot. To climb to the summit, the most direct hiking trail is "Platteklip Gorge" (2 to 3 hours walk) or the "Skeleton Gorge" trail which is less frequented and departs from the Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden (6 hours walk). From Table Mountain, you will enjoy beautiful views of the city, the ocean, the Devil's Peak summit, Signal Hill and the rocky peak of Lion's Head, which also offers beautiful hikes.
Heritage | Hiking | Nature | Natural wonders | Mountain
Victoria & Alfred Waterfront
The Waterfront is certainly touristy, but it's a must-see area when visiting Cape Town. In addition to being a seaport and a historic district, the Waterfront is a vibrant and dynamic neighbourhood with a large shopping centre located on the waterfront, trendy and luxurious hotels, numerous restaurants, a big wheel for bird’s eye views of the city (day and night) and, since 2017, a brand-new museum. Last but not least, there’s the Zeitz MOCAA, the largest museum of contemporary art in Africa. The Waterfront is also the starting point for exploring Robben Island.
Art & Culture | Museums | Craftsmanship | Relaxation | Shopping