Vibrant and colorful neighborhoods, breathtaking coastal beaches, stunning panoramic views, a thriving foodie scene, and world-class vineyards will have you wishing you didn’t have to leave.
While Cape Town is abundant with attractions and activities, here are seven things we think should be on your itinerary.
1. Tour the Historical Robben Island
Located just off the coast of Cape Town lies Robben Island. It is an important symbol of the political struggle against apartheid. Nelson Mandela was imprisoned there for 18 years, along with other political prisoners.
Today, the island is a UNESCO World Heritage site and museum, and tours of the island and prison are available. The guides for the prison tours are former political prisoners. You can reach Robben Island by ferry.
2. Enjoy Sweeping Vistas at Table Mountain
Table Mountain hugs the city of Cape Town before it spreads out across the peninsula and ends in the dramatic cliffs of Cape Point. The sandstone mountain, a UNESCO World Heritage site, is almost two miles wide and 3,500 feet high.
One of the best ways to visit the summit of Table Mountain and to take in the sweeping vistas is by cable car. For the more adventurous, there are hiking trails that lead to the iconic flat summit.
3. Savor Award-Winning Wine
Just a short drive from Cape Town through scenic countryside lands you in the heart of South Africa’ wine country. The first wines were produced in the 1600s when the French settled in the region and brought their viticulture knowledge with them. Today, the region is home to some of South Africa’s most premier wines. Paarl, Stellenbosch, and Franschhoek are the largest and most famous towns in the region, but the area also offers rustic, rural gems such as Robertson and Montagu as well. Most of the wines are reasonably priced, so go ahead and buy a case. You can ship it home.
4. Hang Out With Whales and Penguins
While South Africa is famous for its “big game” animals, its oceans are also teeming with life – whales, flying sharks, dolphins, penguins, and much more. If you visit during June and October, make sure your itinerary includes a visit to Hermanus. During this time, the southern right whales converge on this bay area to mate and calve. There are plenty of charming restaurants along the waterfront for prime viewing.
To watch African penguins frolic on the beach, head to Simon’s Town and Boulders Beach. The penguins have reestablished themselves on the South African mainland over the last few decades and Boulders Beach is home to one of the largest colonies. Make sure to bring your camera so you can record their antics. Just don’t get too close – they might bite!
5. Shop, Dine and Ride the Waves
The Victoria & Alfred Waterfront is a great place to while away an afternoon. Located on a charming harbor, it is home to unique boutiques, outdoor concerts and excellent restaurants. It is also a great place for families – kids will enjoy a cruise on the Jolly Roger Pirate Boat, exploring the Two Oceans Aquarium, and hopping a ride on Hamleys Train. If the aquamarine waters are calling your name, you can rent a stand-up paddleboard and glide along the bay.
6. Tempt Your Tastebuds With a Braai Barbeque
If you think you know barbeque, you haven’t tried braai. South African’s are serious about meat and barbeque. You will find everything from Karoo lamp chops to Afrikan sausage (boerewors) to tender skewers of beef cooking on a charcoal or wood grill (never gas). Your visit wouldn’t be complete without experiencing a braai, and luckily, you’ll find many fine restaurants with braai on their menu.
7. End Your Day at Cape of Good Hope
Drive the coastal roads along the Cape Peninsula and visit the seaside villages along the way. Take the funicular to the lighthouse at Cape Point and end your day at the Cape of Good Hope, the southernmost point of the African continent.
Cell phone connectivity is quite robust in Africa. With a Wireless Traveler global SIM card, you can make outgoing calls for as little as 40¢ per minute. Incoming calls are 25¢ per minute. With our low cost WiFi Calling App, calls are as little as 2¢ per minute or free if both phones have the app. Use the Pocket WiFi Hotspot with a low cost data bundle to upload pictures and video and share them on your favorite social media.