Cape Town, the capital of South Africa, is a popular travel destination worldwide. This city will tempt you to remain a little longer than you intended to because of its deep-blue shoreline caressing the white sands, bustling shopping environment, and hopping nightlife. You will undoubtedly come up with a hundred reasons to visit. There are plenty of places in Cape Town you should visit alone or with family and friends.
Cape Town, the first European settlement in Africa, has a lengthy and occasionally tumultuous history. History buffs can visit Robben Island to view the prison where Nelson Mandela spent 18 years. Elegant Stellenbosch, located in the countryside, is a foodie’s paradise. Penguins frolic on beautiful beaches, breathtaking routes wind through mountains that drop to the ocean, and Cape Point is a part of a UNESCO World Heritage Site with one of the richest floral kingdoms in the world and plenty of places you can visit.
In this article, Mrpocu.com will list some of the top places in Cape Town you should consider visiting for either history or adventure.
Places In Cape Town
Kirstenbosch National Botanical Gardens
The Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens are a component of the Cape Floristic Region UNESCO World Heritage site and are located in a lovely location on the eastern slopes of Table Mountain. One of the earliest botanical gardens in the world with this goal, the location was one of Cecil Rhodes’ bequests to the state in 1902, and the gardens were built there in 1913.
In the steep 528-hectare nature reserve of indigenous woodland and fynbos, more than 20,000 native South African plant species are collected, grown, and studied. A hedge of wild almond trees established by Jan van Riebeeck in 1660 and an avenue of camphor and fig trees erected by Cecil Rhodes in 1898 are of great historical relevance. The arrangement of the flowers, bushes, and trees creates a display of blossoms and colour that cheers up the gardens all year long.
Proteas, a perfumed garden, a large collection of cycads, the sculpture garden, and the Botanical Society Conservatory, a specially constructed greenhouse with plants from arid places, are not to be missed. The wooded slopes are traversed by well-marked routes, and the Tree Canopy Walkway offers sweeping views of the gardens with mountains in the background. To reach Table Mountain’s peak, one of the trails passes across a ravine. The grounds create a beautiful location for outdoor concerts in the summer.
The flat-topped Table Mountain, which rises 1,087 meters south of the city centre, is South Africa’s most famous landmark and a daily reminder that nature reigns supreme in this breathtaking seaside city. The peak, which is part of Table Mountain National Park, forms the northern extremity of the Cape Peninsula and was formed from enormous strata of sandstone and slate. The park safeguards an incredible variety of wildlife, including adorable snub-nosed dassies (rock hyraxes), caracals, and baboons, as well as more than 1,470 flower species, making it home to the planet’s richest floral kingdom. While the Twelve Apostles tower over the beach resorts on the Atlantic coast, Devil’s Peak and Lion’s Head border the peak within the park on its east and west, respectively.
The summit of the mountain is typically covered by a layer of clouds known as the “tablecloth,” but when they part, tourists can take in breathtaking views of Cape Town and the entire Cape Peninsula. It may be chilly and windy at the top, so bring a sweater. A rotating cableway that travels 1,244 meters in seven minutes to the peak is available for individuals who are short on both time and energy. It’s a good idea to check the website or phone for current circumstances before leaving because the cableway operates every day—aside from when there are strong winds. Try ordering tickets online to avoid standing in line as well.
Three quick treks that showcase the enormous grandeur of the terrain begin at a café at the top station of the cable car, which has a modest viewing terrace. There are more than 350 separate, varyingly challenging routes available to anyone intending to climb the peak on foot. The duration of the climb ranges from two to four hours, depending on the starting site. Hike or drive up Signal Hill or Lion’s Head for breathtaking views of Table Mountain and the ideal vantage point to capture this iconic landmark; both provide breathtaking vistas from their tops.
Signal Hill And The Noon Gun
Are you seeking tourist attractions in Cape Town where you can observe the city from above? If so, all you could require is a trip to Signal Hill and the Noon Gun. A short distance from the city centre, it draws visitors with captivating views of the capital region, with the Atlantic Ocean serving as the main draw.
The hill, which is 360 meters high, offers a wealth of hiking and trekking opportunities. It is also well-known for its historical significance, which dates back to the time when signal flags were raised from this location to inform approaching ships of critical information.
Visit Signal Hill at sunset, when the sun is casting its last orangish rays over the hill, to get the most out of your trip. Signal Hill won’t let you down if you’re looking for the most bizarre tourist attractions in Cape Town. Signal hill is one of the historical places in Cape Town you should visit.
Clifton And Camps Bay Beaches
Only 6 km from the busy city centre, the Clifton and Camps Bay Beaches are filled with opulent estates that enhance the attractiveness of the area’s white sand beaches. This alluring seaside location draws both tourists and locals and offers volleyball and surfing courts.
You may access this location, which is the centre for adventure sports and stands out with its Lion’s Head peak, by taking a short stroll from the first beach. The fourth beach between Clifton and Camps Bay is renowned for its fresh, clear water, which allows you to relax for extended periods of time.
Visit one of its hip bars or café getaways if you’re in the mood for a delectable meal; they’re ready to provide you with the best dining experiences. Clifton and Camps Bay Beaches are undoubtedly among the top tourist destinations in Cape Town because of the pleasure and beauty they have to offer.
The location of Robben Island, often known as the island of exile, is about two kilometres from Cape Town. The social outcasts were forcibly put here by the authorities during the Apartheid era. This island, which has immense significance for all Africans, is widely known for the institutionalized racism, brutality, and cruelty that existed there when Apartheid was in force.
The freedom fighters devoted their entire life fighting for the liberation of their nation in this location. In addition to being a jail, the island served as a training and defence area during World War II. Given its rich history, it was determined to turn Robben Island into a fantastic museum that would also serve as a popular tourist destination. The purpose of coming here is to educate visitors about the challenging circumstances and how the freedom fighter overcome them.
Victoria and Alfred Waterfront
V&A Waterfront, one of Cape Town’s major shopping destinations with a variety of local and international brands, is one of South Africa’s top tourist destinations. Additionally, there are a ton of cafes, eateries, and bars with breathtaking harbour views. The harbour at Victoria and Alfred is stunning, and Table Mountain is clearly seen from there. The monument, which was formerly a fishing harbour, has been completely renovated and transformed into a popular tourist destination.
The harbour, which has rare and vintage items that have survived the ages, also informs visitors about the nation’s historic fishing industry. People gather here to shop, dine, drink, and have fun. They also ride the Cape wheel, which offers a purported 360-degree panorama of the nation’s capital. Waterfront is one of the active tourist places in Cape Town you should visit.
Boulders Penguin Colony
A colony of 3000 African penguins lives in the natural reserve known as Boulders Penguin Colony, which is situated on Boulders Beach. The penguins can only be observed up close there. The breeding season, which lasts from March to May, is the ideal time. The Boulders beach has a walkway that circles it, providing a clear view of the sand dunes and the penguins.
Numerous dunes may be seen at Rocks Beach, which gets its name from the enormous boulders that split the dunes. Boulders Beach is also well-known for its crystal-clear rock pools and mild waves, which make swimming accessible to even young children. Parking is accessible on Seaforth Road and Bellevue Road at either end of the reservation.
It is impossible to miss the Cape Wheel while strolling along the Victoria & Alfred seafront near Market Square. The huge wheel has 30 air-conditioned, completely enclosed cabins that transport you on a 15-minute journey that includes four loops and 360-degree bird’s-eye views.
On a clear day, the panoramic views of Cape Town’s city centre, port, Table Mountain, the Cape Town Stadium in nearby Green Point, and even the Paarl Mountains are breathtaking from the top of the wheel, which is roughly 120 feet above the earth. The Cape Wheel has two specifically designed staterooms that are wheelchair accessible as well. It is open every day from 9 am to 7 pm. The Cape Wheel is one of the best places in Cape Town you should visit with your kids and all the family.
Chapman’s Peak Drive
One of the most breathtaking driving routes in the world is Chapman’s Peak Drive, lovingly known by the locals as “Chappies,” which is located about 25 kilometres from the city centre. This breathtaking toll road, which runs for about nine kilometres between Noordhoek and Hout Bay and passes the panoramic Chapman’s Peak point, is carved into the sheer face of Chapman’s Peak, which drops to the sea. This path is not recommended for individuals who easily become motion sick because it has 114 curves carved into the rock face, some of which are located more than 500 meters above the ocean.
Visitors stake out a location to watch the sunset while sipping a refreshing beverage in the time-honoured South African practice known as “sundowners” while cars swarm along the panoramic vistas around dusk. Drive gently and carefully as you scan the dazzling Atlantic Ocean below for southern right whales and dolphins. The road was intermittently closed for several years because of the risk of rockfall, but it has now been stabilized and is now open every day, saves for during extreme weather conditions.
Chapman’s Peak Drive serves as a backdrop for TV advertising as well as the well-known Cape Argus Cycle Race and Two Oceans Marathon. Travellers can fill up fresh fish at one of Hout Bay’s excellent seafood eateries after taking in the breathtaking sea views.
Old Biscuit Mill
The Old Biscuit Mill, which is open every day of the week and is situated in the centre of Woodstock, Cape Town’s hipster-friendly college district, is most active on weekends when the Neighbourgoods Market takes place. At the Old Biscuit Mill, some of South Africa’s most innovative artists and designers may be found working together and sharing their enthusiasm for everything from food and art to apparel and handmade crafts.
Numerous unique eateries, food stands, studio spaces, and designer shops can be found on the premises. The parking lots are taken over by the Neighbourgoods Market every Saturday and Sunday beginning at 9 am. It has a bustling market atmosphere with regional designers and craftspeople exhibiting their wares. There are numerous food and beverage sellers as well. The Old Biscuit Mill hosts celebrations all year long.
City Hall & the Castle of Good Hope
In the heart of Cape Town, two significant historic structures are within five minutes walking distance of one another. Italian Neo-Renaissance and British colonial architecture are strikingly combined at Cape Town City Hall, which was built in 1905. The 1923 installation of a carillon in the 60-meter-high bell tower was inspired by Big Ben in London.
The marble staircase, stunning mosaic floors, and stunning stained glass are among the interior’s highlights. The future president of the nation, Nelson Mandela, addressed a joyful audience from a balcony overlooking Grand Parade in 1990 after serving 27 years in prison. Those who enjoy music should try to go to a performance by the local Cape Philharmonic Orchestra. The oldest stone structure still standing in South Africa is The Castle of Good Hope, which is located across the street from the Grand Parade. The castle, which is shaped like a five-pointed star, was constructed between 1666 and 1679 to serve as the Governor’s house and as a barrier against attack. The William Fehr Collection, which features artwork, fine glass, pottery, porcelain, and furniture from South Africa, Europe, and Asia from the 17th to the 19th century, is a standout in this collection.
From the fort, it takes only a short distance to reach Greenmarket Square, a charming small cobbled plaza with a handful of Art Deco buildings serving as its backdrop. On all but Sunday of the week, shoppers can peruse the local flea market.
Bo-Kaap also referred to as the Malay Quarter, offers you the chance to experience true freedom. Visitors come here to learn about the culture of the Cape Malays, who were slaves imported from South Asian countries. This lively neighbourhood’s streets appear brilliant with imaginative murals and vivid colours all around.
Allegedly, all of these homes were simple white while they were all under the lease. However, as the restriction was abolished, locals rejoiced in their freedom by painting their homes in cheery hues. A series of homes featuring a fusion of Georgian and Cape Dutch architecture welcomes you as you enter this vibrant area close to Signal Hill.
Visit the Bo-Kaap Museum, the oldest structure on Wale Street, if you want to learn more about this area’s real history. Bo-Kaap is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Cape Town due to the abundance of things to do and see there.
The Heart Of Cape Town Museum
This well-known museum, which is located in District Six’s East City, is where Dr Christiaan Barnard and his team performed the first-ever heart transplant surgery in history. The museum, which is housed inside the Groote Schuur Hospital, has long honoured all the surgeons who have made significant contributions to the medical industry.
The two-hour guided tour of this location will begin with a display of the auto accident that produced the heart for the transplant before taking you to the operating room to see a reenactment of the original procedure. This museum demands your attention if you’re looking for some unusual locations to see in Cape Town.
District Six Museum
Are you looking for Cape Town’s top tourist attractions? Explore the fascinating past of the nation’s capital at this alluring museum, which has admirably preserved the district six community’s history and culture. This museum is very important to the early history of the city because it is one of the oldest communities in all of Cape Town.
Visitors come to this area to familiarize themselves with the way of life and culture of the locals who have lived here for many years. Additionally, it gives you a detailed account of the events that took place during the Apartheid era and the important causes of prejudice. The museum is one of the best places in Cape Town for history lesson.
If you have never visited the famous Lion’s Head top and taken in the panoramic views over the city, then you are not a true Capetonian. Get moving on a bright, clear day to see the stunning views of Robben Island, Camps Bay, the 12 Apostles Mountain Range, and the Clifton Beaches.
This landmark structure, which towers over Cape Town and encircles the ocean like a picket, adds to the city’s breathtaking topography and is a must-see for any hiker. You may either keep going uphill or just stop and enjoy the breathtaking scenery while you’re here.
A wonderful variety of unique flora may be found here, so keep a watch out for the silver Protea growing on the hills. In addition to other plants like amaryllis, irises, hyacinths, and orchids, this species, which is specific to the Cape Peninsula, exudes a silvery shine that enhances the exotic beauty of the location.
Two Oceans Aquarium
Enjoy the beauty of the spectacular exhibits of aquatic life at the Two Oceans Aquarium as you lose yourself in the underwater world. Meet the crabs, the waddling penguins, the sleek and streamlined predators, the cute crown fish, and the enormous sea turtles that are the size of young children.
If you’re wondering why Cape Town is inextricably situated at the meeting point of the Atlantic and Indian Oceans, the answer is that the aquarium is called Two Oceans. The mixing of the cold and warm currents results in an unfathomable diversity. Therefore, exactly like Cape Town’s coastline, which is teeming with life, the Aquarium displays this incredible variety of aquatic life.
In this region, which is home to over 200 species and 8000 animals, you may get up close to cute African Penguins with monochromatic feathers, hideous hagfish with no jaws, and several other endemic species including the leopard toad, spotted gully shark, and puffadder shy shark.
Witness the gentle stingrays and lazily floating turtles in the otherworldly Ocean Exhibit, which contains 1.6 million litres of seawater. Love the glowing, luminous jellyfish that can change their appearance and appear to be blobs within a lava lamp.
One of Cape Town’s most vibrant and accessible suburbs is The Sea Point. It is close to the City Center and has Signal Hill as a backyard. The main attraction here is the picture-perfect, pedestrian-only promenade that runs along the Atlantic Coast.
There are several different hotels, bars, and restaurants there. The area’s natural beauty, however, contributes to its genuine charm. Although the rather rocky and uneven shoreline is not a great place to go swimming, you can certainly cool down by swimming in Saunders Rock’s Tidal Pool.
Take a stroll at dawn, or visit the Artem Center to buy organic produce and local wines. Additionally, if you enjoy thrift shopping, you’re sure to find many hidden treasures at Bargains Galore. When visiting Sea Point, have some delicious salted caramel or chocolate peanut butter ice cream to beat the summer heat.
Canal Walk Shopping Center
Canal Walk, the third-largest shopping area in South Africa, is situated in the Century City neighbourhood of Cape Town, just off the N1. There is no shortage of goods available here with 400+ stores providing anything from kids’ toys to jewellery, household goods to music.
It’s fun to spend a day exploring the mall, especially when the weather isn’t ideal. The mall is buzzing inside and exudes opulence. There is a theatre here if you want to watch a movie. Various dining alternatives are available. Visit the Food Court for a quick snack or a sit-down meal at one of the many eateries dotted throughout the mall.
11 museums make up Iziko Museums of South Africa, which is run by a council that the Minister of Arts and Culture appoints. The Bo-Kaap Museum, located in the Bo-Kaap District, a historic Malay neighbourhood with brilliantly painted two-story homes that are still inhabited by the lineages of slaves who were transported to the Cape from the East Indies in the second half of the 17th century, is one of the best museums in this group. This fantastic museum showcases elements of Muslim life in the 19th century in a unique early Cape Dutch home built around 1763. A number of carts and carriages are kept on the property in a room.
Another well-liked site in the museum complex is The Old Town House. It is located in the centre of Cape Town on the west side of Green Market Square and was first constructed in 1755 in a Dutch-Rococo design. The Old Town House, which once served as Cape Town’s City Hall, is now home to a collection of paintings that Sir Max Michaelis gave to the nation in 1914. These paintings are primarily by Dutch and Flemish masters from the 17th century, such as Frans Hals, Jan Steen, Jacob van Ruysdael, and Jan van Goyen.
The Koopmans-de Wet House, which was erected in 1701 and has a Louis Thibault-designed façade and a U-shaped ground plan, is another standout in the collection (1771). The original interior has been restored and provides a realistic image of the way of life of a prosperous businessman in the 18th century. For those interested in natural history and aspiring astronomers, the South African Museum and Planetarium and the National Gallery in Company’s Garden are also included in the group.
The Zeitz MOCAA (Museum of Modern Art Africa), which debuted in late 2017, is the largest museum in the world devoted exclusively to contemporary African art. This breathtakingly magnificent museum has nine levels and more than 100 exhibitions and is housed in a repurposed 9,500 square meter grain silo on the Victoria and Alfred beachfront with the famed Table Mountain as a backdrop.
This top-notch museum, comparable to the MoMA in New York or the Tate in London, showcases contemporary artwork from Africa and its diaspora, including pieces from Jochen Zeitz’s private collection, a German-born conservationist and former CEO of Puma. Athi-Patra Ruga from South Africa, Cyrus Kabiru from Kenya, and El Anatsui, a Ghanaian artist, are among those with some of the most impressive collections. The latter is known for his spectacular weaving wall installation built from discarded materials.
Muizenberg, which is near downtown Cape Town and known for its outstanding surfing and colourful beach huts, is about a 30-minute drive away. Being on the False Bay side of the peninsula, the water is a little bit warmer here than, say, Camps Bay Beach. The surf is constant and the waves aren’t too big at this Blue-Flag-rated beach, making it one of the greatest spots to go for beginner surfers to practice riding waves.
Despite it being July, you should still probably wear a wet suit because the water is still rather chilly. Numerous stores in the village located behind the expansive coastline rent them. Numerous businesses in the area offer instruction and surfboard rentals.
Bathing boxes are the colourful beach houses that you’ve probably seen in pictures on social media. They were first employed by ladies to change into chin-to-ankle bathing suits in the privacy of the Victorian era.