Located at the top of the Cape Peninsula, Cape Town is probably the most popular destination in South Africa. Overlooking Cape Town is the prominent landmark of Table Mountain. Table Mountain is a level plateau with steep cliffs surrounding it which resembles a table. Frequently covered in clouds, these appear to hang over the edge of the mountain like a table cloth. There are some great beaches around Cape Town. Beaches on the Atlantic Coast have much cooler water than on the Indian Ocean Coast, with up to a 10 degree temperature difference. A short ferry ride away is Robben Island which served as a maximum security prison up until 1991, and is now a museum.
10 Attractions You Can’t Miss When Visiting Cape Town – South Africa
1. Table Mountain
Table Mountain is arguably the most iconic image of Cape Town. Standing at the top should top everyone’s list of ‘things to do before you die’. Take the leisurely route in the slowly revolving cable car, or alternately hike to the top. Either way you won’t regret it when you get to enjoy the sight of Cape Town and surrounds from the Table top!
2. V & A Waterfront
Situated at the Cape Town Harbour basin, the Victoria and Alfred Waterfront is the most popular venue in Cape Town. With a wide variety of shops, numerous restaurants and cafes, wine bars, sites of historical and cultural interest and local craft workshops, you’ll never have a dull moment here, day or night.
3. Wine Farms
From the farms of Constantia in the southern suburbs to the expansive estates of Stellenbosch, Paarl and Franshoek, the Cape boasts some of the most beautiful wine farms in the world. And it’s a well known fact that they produce some of the finest wines in the world too! A visit to Cape Town is incomplete without at least one day spent on the wine route, sampling fine wines, learning about the history and methodology of winemaking from the experts, enjoying a sumptuous lunch along the way and coming back laden with some great purchases for the cellar back home.
4. Robben Island
Site of former president Nelson Mandela’s prison cell where he was confined for many years prior to his historical release, Robben Island has a very special atmosphere. Take a ferry from the Waterfront and learn from the guided tours about the other men who shared the Island with Madiba, and about the incredible man himself.
5. Cape Point
Who wouldn’t want to say they have stood at the tip of the great African continent? Once inside the reserve you can make your way to the main parking area and stroll up the wide paths to the top lookout point. From here the view is breathtaking – sheer cliffs drop to the crashing waves far below while azure waters spread out as far as the eye can see to a hazy horizon. On a clear day, you really can see forever! Enjoy lunch at the excellent restaurant or drive to one of the sheltered beaches for a picnic.
6. Boulder’s Beach Penguin Colony
Home of a colony of so-called ‘Jackass’ Penguins (so named for the donkey-like braying sound they make) Boulder’s Beach is situated just past Simon’s Town. Apart from great penguin viewing, the beach is picturesque and great for families with its sheltered bay.
7. Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens
These beautiful gardens at the foot of Table Mountain were established in 1913. The gardens only grow indigenous South African plants, and cover an area of 528 hectares. Picnic on the green lawns next to bubbling streams, or take advantage of a guided tour.
8. Top Stones Gemstone Factory and Scratch Patch
Visit one of the Top Stone Gemstone Factories at Glen Cairn or the Waterfront, for a sparkling and enchanting experience. At the Glen Cairn factory you can view the stones being washed polished and crafted into curios or jewelry. Trawl through the walk-in Scratch Patch ‘caves’ and select your own treasures to take home.
9. Two Oceans Aquarium
Located at the V&A Waterfront, this is South Africa’s largest aquarium. It has great exhibitions and a strong educational component. The shark feeding times are always popular with visitors who love to get a close up view of these awesome creatures without getting wet!
10. District Six Museum
Back in the 1960’s the apartheid government demolished the District Six neighborhoods, displacing the residents. Of all the museums to see in Cape Town, this memorial to the glory days and tragic history of District Six is one of the most interesting and colourful.