If you are passionate about food and looking to experience a vibrant, cosmopolitan city that is packed with activities and surrounded by nature, Cape Town is the perfect place to be. As the home of our beloved former president and national treasure, Nelson Mandela, Cape Town is a city steeped in history with plenty of secrets and exciting locations to discover.
Embraced by the Atlantic Ocean and the majestic Table Mountain, tourists and locals alike are greeted by magnificent scenery no matter where they decide to explore. Indeed, whether you are looking to eat your way through the city’s culinary map or seek adventure with unbelievable experiences, Cape Town will not disappoint.
From attractions and activities to delicious food, award-winning wines, nature and exciting surrounding areas, Cape Grace has compiled a list of our favourite reasons to travel to Cape Town – indeed, we say “our favourite reasons” because 50 of them are simply not enough.
Cape Town’s Best Attractions
Sightseeing and touring in Cape Town can take weeks to complete. Why? Because the city has a multitude of beautiful settings for tourists and locals to witness and explore, and each location is unique in its own way. Here is a list of some of the best attractions that we feel are an absolute must, especially if you are visiting Cape Town for the very first time.
1. Table Mountain
This attraction is as majestic as it is iconic – not only is the mountain featured on both Cape Town’s flag and city logo, but it is also rich in floral diversity with over 8,000 plant species. Named for its flat top, Table Mountain is one of the oldest mountains in the world and is part of the Cape Floral Kingdom World Heritage Site. There are currently more than 350 trails for outdoor enthusiasts to climb Table Mountain, but there is also a cableway that can transport visitors who are looking for a less intensive journey to the top. Four hours is the recommended time to explore at the top, but this can be extended based on the weather.
2. Cape Point
If you are visiting the Cape for the very first time, we highly recommend that you take a drive out to Cape Point for the day. This is the African continent’s most southwestern point and is famed as the point where our Atlantic and Indian Oceans meet. There are plenty of activities to enjoy here, such as hiking and kitesurfing, and it is also a must-visit for botanists. Cape Point boasts over 1,000 plant species, and here is a little secret – if you are looking for an escape during our busy summer months, it also has some of the best beaches. There is a small fee to enter the Cape Point Nature Reserve so please keep this in mind.
3. The Bo-Kaap
This cheerful neighbourhood in Cape Town, formally known as the Malay Quarter, is rich in multicultural history rooted in the Atlantic slave trade. Today, the Bo-Kaap is celebrated for its abundance of unique cultures, vibrant homes, and hidden gems. Explore this charming suburb during your stay in Cape Town and immerse yourself in a remarkable history that encompasses South Africa’s Islamic heritage and the Cape Malay, the Bo-Kaap’s residents who are believed to have been instrumental in the formation of the Afrikaans language. Iziko Bo-Kaap Museum is recommended for those who are interested in learning more.
4. Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden
Here is another very special attraction for all botanists! Set against the eastern slopes of Table Mountain, Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden is South Africa’s flagship botanical garden and is world-renowned for the vast variety of Cape flora that it displays. Kirstenbosch covers 528 hectares and grows only indigenous South African plants! Take a walk through their treetop canopy, picnic amongst diverse fynbos flora, or attend one of their sunset concerts held on the lawns during the summer months from December to March. The Kirstenbosch Craft Market also takes place monthly on the last Sunday of the month.
5. Green Point Urban Park
This free entrance park is situated right next to Cape Town Stadium in Green Point, and it is the perfect way to spend the morning if you are looking for a scenic walk to start your day. The park allows dogs on leashes, it offers several picnic areas with tables and benches, and it also has its very own biodiversity garden where visitors can learn more about the Cape’s indigenous fauna and flora. Take advantage of the park’s communal fitness facilities or watch your little ones play in the playground areas, and then explore Green Point’s many little cafes and delis for a tasty breakfast snack. Cape Town is our culinary capital after all!
6. Boulders Penguin Colony
Nestled between Simon’s Town and Cape Point, Boulders Beach has become renowned for its thriving colony of African Penguins. The Boulders Penguin Colony of this sheltered little cove is under the protection of Cape Nature Conservation and is also under Navy regulations. This means that kayaks, boats and other vessels are not permitted to approach the beach for their safety. Boulders is a penguin sanctuary that is certainly worth the drive, and summer is the perfect time of the year for you to visit for the most penguin action. There is a small entrance fee, and the penguins can be visited before or after your Cape Point trip.
7. Robben Island
This island in Table Bay is famed for its history as the place where former president, Nelson Mandela (South Africa’s first democratically elected president following the country’s apartheid era), was imprisoned for opposing the apartheid system. The island has thus become a great symbol of freedom and hopes to many, as well as a beacon of the triumph of democracy. Visit to learn more about the island’s history and see the cell that held Nelson Mandela during his 18-year imprisonment. Robben Island is one of the country’s most visited museums so tours should be booked in advance to avoid disappointment.
8. The V&A Waterfront
The Victoria and Alfred Waterfront is a lively quarter in Cape Town where both locals and tourists can find plenty to see and do. Located in the oldest working harbour of the Southern Hemisphere with Table Mountain as its backdrop, the V&A Waterfront is a must-visit for those looking for family-friendly attractions, culinary experiences, and luxury retail therapy. This neighbourhood is 123 hectares large and offers a wide range of popular activities such as a visit to the Two Oceans Aquarium, a morning trip to the Oranjezicht City Farm Market, and a yacht cruise before lunch at one of the V&A’s many outstanding restaurants.
9. Two Oceans Aquarium
Visit the aquarium in Cape Town’s V&A Waterfront to witness over 8,000 creatures and learn more about the fascinating marine environments that exist on our very doorstep. As a result of its unique positionality at the very point where the Indian and Atlantic Oceans meet, Cape Town’s coastline is teeming with life and the Two Oceans Aquarium works hard to preserve it. From freeing seals entangled in fishing nets to rehabilitating and releasing sea turtles, the Two Oceans Aquarium is committed to marine conservation, education and research. For more information on their feeding times, be sure to visit their website.
10. Oranjezicht City Farm Market
As one of the most popular farmers markets in Cape Town, situated on the coastline and bursting with diverse foods and charming crafts, missing out on a trip to the Oranjezicht City Farm Market would be a shame on your first visit to the city! This spirited market offers organic fruits and vegetables, ethically sourced animal products, and a wide variety of pantry goods, sweets and treats. As a true advocate for conscious consumption, this plastic-free zone is not only a great place to stock up on fresh produce and other artisanal goods but also to explore the many different culinary options available to those in Cape Town.
11. Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa
This one is for the artists and the aesthetes who are eager to explore and muse at stunning arrays of art from all over the world. Situated in the V&A Waterfront’s Silo District, Zeitz MOCAA is the largest art museum in Africa and pays homage to its important historical landmark – the old grain silo built in 1921 that has since become a heritage site. Zeitz MOCAA is also the largest museum in the world that showcases the art of Africa and its diaspora and is dedicated to researching and exhibiting this art to the public. The museum houses impressive, award-winning work from all over the continent and across the globe.
12. Chapman’s Peak Drive
This is another must-see if you are visiting Cape Town for the very first time and looking to experience the breathtaking beauty that this country has to offer. Chapman’s Peak Drive toll road is situated between Noordhoek and Hout Bay on the Atlantic Coast and winds its way to the southwestern tip of South Africa. It is a 9km scenic drive that offers some of the most sublime panoramic coastal views in the world and is named after the mountain that it embraces on the west of the Cape Peninsula. There is a toll fee on this drive, but it is certainly the most gratifying toll road in the country.
13. Clifton Beaches
It is no secret that Cape Town has some of the best beaches in the country, but selecting which one to visit can be a challenge. We recommend the Clifton Beaches (there are four) as your first option, not only because of their powder white sand but also because each beach is sheltered in its own cove and thus protected from Cape Town’s infamous wind.
First Beach is perfect if you are looking for peace, and Second Beach is ideal for younger crowds looking for a more active volleyball scene. Third Beach is more suited to those in search of privacy, and Fourth Beach is the largest and most energetic of them all. Fourth Beach also boasts Blue Flag status for safety so it is a great place for a chilly swim.
14. Signal Hill
Signal Hill is in the distinctive shape of a lion’s rump and connects Kloof Nek to Lion’s Head. As one of the most popular lookout points in Cape Town for sundowners, trips to the 350m high summit can be made by car and views from the top are certainly a sight to behold. Locals often travel to the top for picnic dinners and drinks with friends – Signal Hill is also particularly romantic at night with the city lights and Table Mountain as its backdrop – but people likewise flock to the summit every day to witness one of Cape Town’s oldest traditions, the firing of the Noon Gun.
15. Lion’s Head
This mountain is nestled right in the middle of Table Mountain and Signal Hill. It is iconic and memorable, but hiking to the top is a whole different experience. Think of this hike as a Capetonian’s right of passage; if you have never stood at the top of the iconic Lion’s Head peak, with its panoramic city views, are you really a Capetonian? The hike takes roughly 1.5 to 2.5 hours, there and back from Signal Hill, and it offers those who make the effort 360-degree panoramic views of Cape Town, unlike any other lookout point. Sunset or full moon hikes are the most popular, regardless of the season, and it is a great outdoor activity.
Cape Town’s Top Activities
If you are looking to fully immerse yourself in Cape Town city’s culture and embark upon as many pursuits as you can on your trip, we have created a list of exciting activities for thrill-seekers and some for those who are simply looking to experience new ventures. Cape Town is a vibrant metropolis of natural beauty and adventure, and the list below is proof.
16. Kayak Tours
There are several Kayak Tours that you can experience and enjoy while visiting Cape Town, and quite a handful of them allow children who are 6 years and older to join. These tours are a great way for you to encounter dolphins and seals on the open ocean, and oftentimes no previous paddling experience is required. View what the city looks like from the sea, cruise past shipwrecks in the bay, and admire Cape Town’s glorious mountains that tower over the city. Book a sunset paddle with your family for a unique sundowner experience, and add this activity to your list of top adventures.
17. Whale Watching
Every year South Africa’s most renowned whale, the Southern Right, travels to our waters to give birth to its young. Southern Right Whales visit the Cape annually from around June to December, but the best time to spot them frolicking in our waters is during the August and September months when their calves are born. Whale watching in Cape Town can be enjoyed via a kayak tour or boat cruise, but some of the best whale watching can be done from the shore in Hermanus. This popular tourist town is rated by the World Wildlife Fund as one of the top whale-watching locations in the world!
18. Shark Cage Diving
If you are a thrill seeker and looking for an experience of a lifetime, we highly recommend shark cage diving in Cape Town’s surrounding areas on your trip to South Africa. Shark cage diving is most popular in Gansbaai, a small town just 2 hours away from the city, and it is an exhilarating yet incredibly educational experience. As proud holders of the TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence for seven years running and many other prestigious awards, White Shark Diving Company is a great option to consider when booking your tour and they also offer a variety of other adventures such as quad biking and zip lining.
19. Sunset Cruises
Cape Town has some of the best sunsets in the world, and what better way to enjoy one than from the deck of a luxury catamaran or lazing on its trampoline up front? For a quintessential sundowner experience in Cape Town, book a sunset cruise along the Atlantic Seaboard and enjoy the African sunset with a complimentary glass of bubbly. Bookings for morning or midday voyages are also possible, as well as private cruises for special occasions, and the cruise offers stunning views of Table Mountain so be sure to have your camera ready for breathtaking memories.
20. Learn to Surf at Muizenberg
If you have never been surfing before, Muizenberg Beach is the perfect place for you to get started. Why? Because the water is warmer and the waves are less intimidating. Embrace learning new things and fun ocean activities at Muizenberg Beach, just 30 minutes away from the city, and learn the basics of surfing with an experienced instructor. Beginners and intermediate-level surfers are all welcome to test their skills in group or private lessons, regardless of age, and all that is needed to bring along is a swimming costume and a towel (though be sure to pack your sunscreen as well).
21. Attend First Thursdays
Cape Town City is bursting with awe-inspiring museums and art galleries that celebrate South Africa’s diverse mix of cultures and its moving history. Indeed, our country is proud of its heritage, and our various museums and art galleries are some of the best showcases of that pride. Those interested can either book a tour, or attend the city’s First Thursdays event.
First Thursdays is a fabulous opportunity for tourists and locals alike to explore the arts in our urban spaces. Inspired by similar drives across the globe, this event takes place on the first Thursday of every month and is an initiative that seeks to provide access to the arts after hours; art galleries and cultural attractions are thus open to the public until late.
22. Embrace the Hiking Scene
There are plenty of adventures and outdoor excursions around Cape Town for hiking enthusiasts to revel in, from kloofing with friends in the Kamikaze Kanyon to abseiling down Cape Town’s beloved Table Mountain. The city’s hiking scene offers a great mixture of outdoor experiences in our protected nature reserves for those in search of leisurely ambles, but also those seeking more challenging climbs. Full-day nature excursions are popular activities for both locals and tourists to check off their lists, and guided tours and trail walks are likewise a wonderful way to sightsee and witness South Africa’s natural beauty.
23. Experience the Bustling Nightlife
If you thought Cape Town’s café culture was impressive, wait until you experience the multitude of rooftop bars and other swanky locations that the city has to offer. Cape Town has it all; whether you are looking for a vibrant place to dance or a chic cocktail bar for a more laidback evening, there is an endless supply of refreshing drinks and music in the city, and many of these places offer spectacular views of either the coast or the city lights.
Experience a slice of Cape Town’s social energy at Cape Grace’s Bascule Bar, where connoisseurs and social butterflies gather to enjoy sundowners and lively music, savouring speciality drinks and tasty tapas dishes as the sun dips beneath the waters’ horizon.
24. Concerts, Festivals & Outdoor Cinemas
Summer is undoubtedly one of the most thrilling times of the year to visit Cape Town; not only are there night markets and open-air cinemas to visit and experience but there are oftentimes sunset concerts to attend and outdoor music festivals to enjoy in and around the city as well. The sundowner concerts at Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens on Sundays in the summer are some of Cape Town’s most magical events, and so too are date night movies under the stars at the Galileo Open Air Cinema locations. Keep your ears pricked for popular music festivals, and experience the vibrance and festivity of Cape Town in the summer.
25. Cape Town Sightseeing Tours
For a sightseeing experience that requires next to no planning, we suggest a hop-on, hop-off tour around the city on one of City Sightseeing’s iconic open-top red busses. These tours offer memorable and educational trips around the city and they are a great help to ensure that you get to see some of the most popular attractions that Cape Town has to offer.
For a unique way to finish off your busy day of touring, hire a bicycle – perhaps even a tandem one with a friend or partner – and soak up the sights and sea breeze along the Sea Point Promenade at sunset. There is nothing quite like a relaxing bicycle ride along the Atlantic coastline to finish off such an eventful day.
26. Explore the Great African Sea Forest
If you have a scuba certificate and are eager to brave the cold waters of our coast, why not sign up for a guided scuba diving excursion of our Great African Sea Forest? This giant forest is made up of bamboo kelp and is home to a large variety of marine life including seals, cow sharks, and octopuses. The maximum depth of the forest is 12 metres, so it is perfect for beginner divers and makes for great visibility, and snorkelling experiences are also available for those who do not have scuba certificates. Curious seals are known to play with swimmers on the surface within these parts, so be sure to keep an eye out for them.
27. Paraglide Over Cape Town
While certainly not an experience for the faint of heart, tandem paragliding over the city is one of the very best ways to sightsee and experience the true beauty of Cape Town and its surrounding areas. Get your adrenaline pumping as you soar over the city at around 40km per hour in tandem with an expert pilot, and enjoy the scenery as you journey from Signal Hill to Sea Point Promenade. Prior paragliding experience is neither required nor necessary for this activity, and your instructor will brief you on the guidelines before securely attaching you to an experienced pilot. Once in the air, all you have to do is sit back and relax.
28. Tackle Treetop Playgrounds
This family-friendly activity requires just a few things: comfortable clothing, closed shoes, and a head for heights. Acrobranch’s treetop playground is located in Constantia Nek forest and offers all the ziplines, cargo nets and elevated platforms for your entertainment. Two out of the four aerial obstacle courses are suitable for young children, and you can rest assured knowing that trained instructors are always on hand to provide a safety briefing and guidance. Bookings are essential to adventuring with your family in this fun outdoor activity, and climbing gloves are available for hire at reception.
29. Travel by Steam Train to Elgin
Join the Ceres Rail Company on a 160km round-trip to Elgin by steam train on Saturdays and Sundays. The train departs from Harbour Bridge Platform (close to the Cape Town International Convention Centre) and heads up Sir Lowry’s Pass through to the Elgin Railway Market for an exceptional, steampunk-inspired market experience.
The journey up Sir Lowry’s Pass is one of South Africa’s steepest railway lines, and the trip offers breathtaking views of Elgin Valley. Ticket prices will vary depending on the desired experience (e.g. whether a bar lounge experience or private family compartment is required), and the market offers live music and delicious street-food stalls for a fabulous day out.
30. Horse Riding on the Beach
Treat yourself to an experience that includes both our gorgeous white-sand beaches and some of the most beautiful creatures to ever exist; horses. There a numerous equestrian and adventure companies in and around Cape Town that offer beach outrides for new and experienced riders, and various options include sunset rides and special-occasion trails. Some of these places may also include light refreshments in their packages, and inland mountain fynbos trails in winter are also oftentimes possible options instead (though we highly recommend a beach ride regardless as this is a bucket-list-worthy activity).
Cape Town’s Food & Wine
If you are in search of a culinary adventure, Cape Town is certainly the place to be – not only does this dynamic city have a booming Café Culture, but in light of South Africa’s eleven official languages, it is also home to a wide variety of diverse foods and world-renowned wines. Whether casual or fine dining, prepare to eat your way through our culinary capital.
31. The Food
Cape Town has everything to offer its visitors from farmer’s markets and delightful cafés to swanky bars and fine dining experiences. As home to many different cultures, South Africa has a rich food heritage and Cape Town has been nicknamed our culinary capital due to its unique and impressive dining options that celebrate that very heritage.
Signal Restaurant at Cape Grace Hotel endeavours to do the same by offering a unique “Taste the Veld” dining experience. Join us on a culinary adventure through the Cape’s botanical heritage and abundant landscapes; our menu is inspired by the indigenous fynbos of the Cape, and each dish is a celebration of savoury or sweet veld and flower sensations.
32. The Wine
South Africa is famed for the award-winning wines that it produces, and the Constantia Wine Route is the perfect place to start your expedition in Cape Town. There are several international grape varieties grown in the Cape, such as Sauvignon Blanc and Cabernet Sauvignon, but our main indigenous varieties include Pinotage, Cinsault and Chenin Blanc.
Did you know that Pinotage was created by a South African viticulture professor and that it is a hybrid of Pinot Noir and Cinsaut, formerly known as Hermitage? You can learn more about South African wines from our resident sommelier at Cape Grace Hotel. Visit our Bascule Bar to experience our exceptional selection of the Cape’s most spectacular wines.
33. The Cape Winelands
While Constantia is one of the oldest wine-producing areas in South Africa and is only 20 minutes from the city, we highly recommend exploring more of the Cape Winelands if you have the time. These areas include Stellenbosch, Franschhoek, Paarl, Wellington and more, and they boast some of the most sublime wines that the country has to offer.
The Cape Winelands currently include around 500+ wineries and some 4,000+ wine grape producers; therefore, wine farms and estates are abundant in the Cape and so too are wine routes. Some of the most popular ones include the Constantia Wine Route, Durbanville Wine Route, Stellenbosch and Helderberg Wine Routes, and finally, the Franschhoek Wine Route.
Cape Town’s Natural Beauty
When it comes to Cape Town’s natural beauty, there are very few cities that can compete. Cape Town has a beautiful balance of natural and urban spaces, and a vast range of views, biomes and nature can be found within a small proximity. Our city can provide the prospect of witnessing the ocean, forests, mountains, and indigenous fauna and flora all within a day.
34. The Landscape
Perched between the Atlantic Ocean and Table Mountain, Cape Town has a setting unlike any other and boasts many inlets where the land curves inwards, creating beautiful coves and private beaches for people to relax and explore. While Cape Town’s beaches are some of the most spectacular attractions, Kirstenbosch Botanical Garden truly encapsulates the beauty of the Cape’s scenery, and it is here that you can experience five of South Africa’s biomes all in one place. Our landscape is rich in biodiversity, and we are passionate as a country about flora and fauna conservation.
35. The Mountain Ranges
The Cape Mountain Ranges are synonymous with the Cape Floral Kingdom, and while this is the smallest one of the world’s 6 plant kingdoms, it is ironically the most diverse. Cape Town’s mountain ranges are perfect for avid hikers and mountain bike fanatics and the views also happen to be spectacular. We have discussed Cape Town’s iconic Table Mountain above, but the Twelve Apostles Mountain Range that forms the back of it is just as beautiful. This is where you can find one of the most scenic stretches of coast in the world, hence point number 12 on Chapman’s Peak Drive, and it contains around 160 km of cycling track.
36. The Two Oceans
The Cape is home to two oceans – the Atlantic Ocean and the Indian Ocean – which meet at our country’s iconic Cape Point. The Atlantic Ocean is the second-largest ocean in the world (indeed, it covers around 20% of the world’s surface) and it graces Cape Town’s shores, whereas the Indian Ocean can be found up the Garden Route around Plettenberg Bay. The seasonal average water temperature of the Atlantic Ocean is around 9 degrees Celsius, which can be rather chilly for some, and the Indian Ocean ranges between 19 to 30 degrees Celsius. In light of this, it is quite evident that we have the best of both worlds.
37. The Winelands
As mentioned above, the Cape Winelands include hundreds of wine farms and estates, but did you know that its origins date back to the Dutch settlers? Vineyards were first planted in Cape Town as a means to help ward off scurvy with wine and table grapes. However, our wine industry has since flourished into one of the most famous in the world. The Cape Winelands is the oldest wine industry outside of Europe and we also have one of the longest wine routes in the world. It is no secret that when it comes to wine, locals and tourists are spoiled for choice, but the Winelands also offer some of the best scenery in the country.
38. The Sunsets & Sunrises
Summer visits to Cape Town provide almost 14 hours of sunshine per day; you will inevitably find yourself seeking the perfect spot for sundowners. Capture the sky streaked with rosy-pink clouds as the sun disappears beneath the horizon, and soak up that soft, golden light while it lasts. Our sunsets are particularly breathtaking in winter and spring, but our sunrises are spectacular all year round. Select a beach from Clifton and Llandudno to Hout Bay and Noordhoek, or enjoy the view from one of the city’s many lookout points – as mentioned, Lion’s Head and Signal Hill are some of our favourites.
Here is a local tip: arrive early at the Cape Point Nature Reserve and witness a breathtaking view of the sunrise from the lighthouse as a unique experience. The park opens at 6 am from October through to March and 7 am from April through to September.
39. The Biodiversity
Cape Town is an urban hotspot within the Cape Floral Kingdom that is home to various types of fynbos as well as many freshwater and marine ecosystems. As an area that is rich in both diversity and endemic species, there are two acts in place which may be considered central to conserving our biodiversity – the Protected Areas Act and the Biodiversity Act. Indeed, Cape Town’s biodiversity is threatened by urbanisation and habitat destruction, but many organisations strive to protect and maintain these precious ecosystems. Cape Town has multiple gardens and protected reserves open to the public to prove it.
Cape Town’s Wildlife
Wildlife experiences in Cape Town and its surrounding areas are special features of the city’s glory and natural beauty. From nature reserves and parks to animal sanctuaries and conservation initiatives, Cape Grace is proud to share a note on the marine and wildlife of our country, as well as the many ways in which that beauty is protected and conserved.
40. The Marine Life
Our Atlantic coastline is filled with hundreds of brightly coloured fish and remarkable marine creatures such as the African Penguins and Southern Right Whales mentioned above, Great White Sharks, Cape Fur Seals, and more. The underwater world of Cape Town is a natural wonder and while our water is exceptionally cold (owing to the cold Benguela current on the Atlantic side) it is extraordinary to see the coast teeming with such life. The Two Oceans Aquarium is a great place to witness and appreciate the marine life that exists on our coast, but so too are our boat tours and guided ocean dives for more immersive experiences.
41. The Wildlife
Though the Big Five (the lion, leopard, black rhinoceros, African bush elephant, and African buffalo) cannot exist naturally in the Cape due to the land’s vegetation, there are several excellent wildlife parks, reserves and sanctuaries near Cape Town that are committed to nature conservation and thus house most of the Big Five, if not all of them. With this, you can also visit places like the World of Birds Wildlife Sanctuary and Monkey Park, Cape Point Ostrich Farm, Butterfly World, Le Bonheur Reptiles and Adventures, and more to further experience the Cape’s wildlife diversity.
There are multiple conservation initiatives and efforts that take place in and around Cape Town to ensure that our coast’s marine life and our country’s wildlife diversity are protected; why not get involved? As mentioned, the Two Oceans Aquarium in the V&A Waterfront is actively involved in the conservation and rehabilitation of globally endangered species. And with this, as a second example, we also feel it worth mentioning that many of our wine farms are beginning to take more of an environmentally conscious approach to wine grape farming to protect, preserve and cherish our country’s precious biodiversity.
Cape Town’s Surrounding Areas
If you are interested in exploring further than Cape Town, the Cape has plenty more for you to see. Cape Town’s surrounding areas include additional wine routes for you to experience, breathtaking scenery for your pocket of memories, once-in-a-lifetime adventures (such as the Bloukrans Bridge bungee jump if you are a thrill seeker) and much more.
43. The Garden Route
The Garden Route is approximately four hours away from Cape Town by car, but it is well worth the drive if you are eager to see more of our country’s breathtaking coastline. The Garden Route’s starting point is around the small town of Stilbaai and it winds its way for about 200 km via George, Wilderness, Sedgefield, Knysna, Plettenberg Bay, and finally, the Tsitsikamma Forest. This journey features lakes and mountains, indigenous forests, creeks and gorgeous beaches. It is a slice of South Africa that offers inspiration to those who seek it, and the drive is generally a top priority for most tourists.
44. The West Coast
Situated just 1.5 hours outside of Cape Town, the West Coast is renowned for its laid-back atmosphere and white-sand beaches. Langebaan Lagoon and 16 Mile Beach at Yzerfontein are two of the most popular attractions, the first of which is a popular kite-surfing destination, and inland attractions include the spectacular Cederberg. The coastal route from Cape Town to Lambert’s Bay is around 270km long and the drive includes various outrageously beautiful views and charming seaside towns. Paternoster is one such town where you can climb to the top of the Cape Columbine lighthouse and scout its multi-coloured fishing boats.
45. Stellenbosch Wine Route
We have mentioned this one previously, but Stellenbosch and its world-renowned Wine Route are certainly worth the visit. With around 200 wine and grape producers, Stellenbosch was the first region in South Africa to establish a formal Wine Route and it quickly became the country’s sixth most popular tourist destination (and for very good reason). This vine-covered landscape is home to many historical farms that boast achingly beautiful Cape Dutch architecture and the town boasts several fabulous manor houses, gardens, hotels, and fine-dining restaurants. This little town is also only 1 hour away from Cape Town.
46. Franschhoek Wine Route
This is another absolute must for first-time visitors – Franschhoek is a quaint village just 30 minutes from Stellenbosch that exudes its French Huguenot heritage and a South of France atmosphere. This little town boasts not only some of the most breathtakingly beautiful landscapes in the country, but its Wine Route is also particularly famed. Take the Franschhoek Wine Tram for a hop-on hop-off trip through the Winelands and romanticise your life in the streets and terrain of this gorgeous little town. With its wide variety of excellent restaurants and award-winning wine farms, you will not be disappointed.
47. Hermanus Wine Route
Visit the small coastal town of Hermanus and explore the Hemel-en-Aarde Valley (in English, the Heaven on Earth Valley), an extraordinary Wine Route that includes only 15 wineries in total. Hermanus is a great holiday destination for those looking for a seaside escape and is best known for its Whale Festival and Hemel-en-Aarde Valley. Each wine farm or estate produces small amounts of premium-quality wine, and the winemakers in this area are famed to focus on the valley’s terroir as a primary element in their winemaking; thus, they tend to specialise in origin-expressive wines that are memorable and unique.
Our Final Thoughts
We can think of an endless supply of great reasons to visit Cape Town, but when it comes down to it (and if we were forced to select only 3), we are confident that our history, people, and climate are enough to sway even the most captious traveller. Here are our final thoughts on why you should visit the Mother City.
48. Cape Town’s History
As one of the most famed and historically important cities in South Africa, Cape Town has a history that is both dark and moving. It was here that European colonists first set foot on South African soil, marking the very beginning of the South African slave trade, and it was home to one of the most famous political prisoners in the world – Nelson Mandela.
Cape Town was first home to the Khoisan people long before European colonists arrived, and from there, the city experienced a great deal of turbulence; first, its position in the tug-of-war between the British and the Dutch, and then the apartheid government’s forced removal of more than 60,000 residents to other areas of the city under the Group Areas Act.
The city was once divided into segregated residential and business areas according to race, and this forced removal was a period in history that is still evident today. To learn more about this history and some residents’ triumphant return to their homes, we highly recommend visiting the District Six Museum which serves as a tribute to the once lively multi-racial area.
49. Cape Town’s Weather
Cape Town boasts a mild Mediterranean climate and its weather has been said to be similar to that of California. Summer is certainly the most energetic time of year to visit as this season falls within our festive holiday period, though it would be wise to bear in mind that the city and its beaches can become quite crowded during this time.
Other than visiting within the summer months, Cape Town is also a great winter sun getaway because our temperatures during winter are akin to those in European summers; therefore, the sun can be more of a warm welcome and less of a scorcher. In light of this, the best time to visit Cape Town would very much depend on what you are planning to do while visiting.
50. Cape Town’s Culture
Our culture is as rich as it is diverse, but the city is also a hub for innovative and creative minds. Theatre performances are an absolute must-see in the city – the Artscape and the Baxter Theatres, as well as the Cape Town Comedy Club, are great places to start – but if there is one thing that genuinely makes this city stand out, it is the people.
Capetonians are genuinely some of the most friendly and accommodating people you will ever meet, so if you are ever lost in the city and need guidance, do not hesitate to ask for help. The vast majority of people in Cape Town were born and raised in a culture of ubuntu, “humanity to others”.
Stay at Cape Grace Hotel
Cape Grace Hotel is passionate about our beloved country’s heritage, and we are dedicated to providing a luxury experience of Cape Town. With our passion comes a commitment to ensuring that your stay is not only a tailor-made and exceptional experience, but also one that is memorable in the way that we pay attention to every finer detail.
Stories of the Cape’s colourful past present themselves in our exquisite furniture, rare fabrics, intriguing artefacts and original antiques. Local paintings and sculptures lend a contemporary flair to our décor and feel, and fresh displays of Proteas hint at the wonder of our natural botanical kingdom. Stay at Cape Grace Hotel and explore with ease all the many wonders that our city has to offer. We look forward to welcoming you home.