30 Best Things To Do in Cape Town 

Last Updated on July 9, 2024 by Hannah Stephenson

Wondering what to get up to in Cape Town?

Well, good news, because its blend of vibrant culture and dramatic natural landscapes will have you falling in love from the second you arrive. And from hiking to swimming and wine tasting, there are plenty of fun things to do.

Whether you come to visit Cape Town for ten days, two weeks, or two months, there’s absolutely no risk of you ever getting bored here. But having said that, it’s nice to know where to start. That’s why I’ve put together a guide to what I think are the very best things to do in Cape Town.

1) Table Mountain Cableway 

I must admit, starting off with Table Mountain does feel a bit cliché, but it has to be done.

Table Mountain is a huge, flat-topped mountain that overlooks the city of Cape Town. It’s visible from all over the city, so heading to the top is a must!

The famous Table Mountain Cableway takes you right to the top of the mountain in about 90 seconds. I still think they missed out by not calling it the “Table Car”, though.

Then, at the top, you can hike to Maclear’s Beacon if the weather’s good, take one of the free tours, or just walk around by yourself and learn about the mountain from the information plaques. Then, I like to grab a beer from the bar and enjoy the views!

Tickets are slightly cheaper online, and it’s a good idea to buy them in advance so you don’t have to queue. The prices are as follows:


  • R430 adult return
  • R280 adult one-way
  • R215 child return
  • R150 child one-way


  • R370 adult return
  • R280 adult one-way
  • R185 child return
  • R150 child one-way

2. Hiking Table Mountain 

The cable car is a ton of fun, but hiking up is also very popular! There are a couple of different trails available, but for the average tourist I would recommend either Platteklip Gorge or Kasteelspoort. The former is more convenient, but the latter is prettier.

These hikes can be tackled by anyone with a basic level of fitness. You don’t need to be an experienced hiker to enjoy them – because goodness knows, I’m not! 

Platteklip Gorge

Platteklip Gorge is the most popular route up to Table Mountain. The trailhead is right near the lower cable car station and it brings you out at the upper station, so it’s great for a one-way hike.

The route is clearly marked and you basically follow the zigzagging path up a whole load of stairs for about 2 hours until you reach the top. There will be plenty of other tourists around so you won’t get lost!

If you’d prefer to do a guided hike, you can join this one-way Platteklip Gorge hike. It costs R1,200 per person, which includes hotel pickup and drop-off. Plus, you learn so much more by going with a guide.


The Kasteelspoort route starts in Camps Bay, and I’d say it’s a similar level of difficulty to Platteklip Gorge. However, it’s much quieter and has very pretty views of the Atlantic Seaboard. I did do it with someone who knew where he was going, though, which did help. Fortunately, there are plenty of guided options available!

We parked in Theresa Road and then walked from the trailhead along the Jeep Track. After about 20 minutes, we reached start of the Kasteelspoort trail, which took us up the side of the mountain for breathtaking views.

It took around 1.5 hours minutes to get to the top. Then, it’s another 1.5 hours to get to the upper cableway. This involves a lot of walking out in the open, so bring some sunscreen!

3. The Constantia Wine Bus

South African wines are known for their excellent quality and VERY reasonable prices. It would almost be rude not to go and sample some of the local blends while you’re in the city!

One of my favourite ways to go wine tasting in Cape Town is to hop aboard the Constantia wine bus.

The Constantia Valley is a lush green suburb about 25 minutes south of central Cape Town. Its rolling hills are a beautiful place to spend the day sipping wine.

To catch the wine bus, you need to buy a regular hop-on hop-off sightseeing ticket. The bus departs from outside the Aquarium at the Waterfront, and you’ll need to take the Blue Route. Then, when you get to Constantia, you will change to a smaller bus which takes you between wine farms.

You can read all about the best wine farms in Constantia here, but basically, the wine bus route includes Groot Constantia, Silvermist, and the famous Beau Constantia. The latter gets really busy, though, so definitely make a booking if you’re going on a weekend. 

4. Relax on the beach

Visiting the beautiful beaches is one of my favourite things to do in Cape Town. I mean, is there anything better than whiling away a Sunday on the sand? 

The best beaches in Cape Town are in Clifton. All of them are beautiful, but Clifton 4th is the best for swimming. For that reason, though, it does get pretty busy. Beaches 1-3 tend to be quieter.

Camps Bay also has a gorgeous beach, but it’s a lot busier, with lots of hawkers around. And if you want to go surfing, head to Muizenberg, where the waves are better and the water is warmer.

5. Check out the V&A Waterfront 

The V&A Waterfront is Cape Town’s entertainment district, and I never get tired of exploring! The Victoria Wharf Mall is the best place to go shopping in Cape Town, and I highly recommend taking a sunset champagne cruise from here.

In fact, many of the best things to do in Cape Town are located around the Waterfront. You’ll probably see this area cropping up quite a lot throughout this blog post! 

One of my favourite places to grab dinner and drinks is the Grand Café. It’s easily one of the best affordable eateries in the area. They do AMAZING pasta and very reasonably priced wine. It’s a classy spot located right on the water, and it’s a lovely place to watch the sunset, or while away a sunny afternoon. 

You can also take a ride on the Cape Wheel, which is now right outside the mall, visit the Zeitz Mocaa museum, and go for drinks at the famous Silo Hotel.

6. Hike Lion’s Head 

Lion’s Head is an iconic part of Cape Town’s skyline, and it’s so much fun to hike. The route to the summit takes you around the mountain (twice!), which means you get 360° views of the entire city.

The trail is 4.3 kilometres (2.6 miles) out-and-back, with an elevation gain of 341 metres. Your smart watch won’t say that you’ve actually done that many steps, but I can assure you that you will have had a good workout.

The impressive views start in the parking lot, then when you turn to face the mountain, you’ll see that there are two trailheads. Take the one on the left, and then it’s a straightforward uphill path for about half of the hike.

The second half of the climb is rockier and requires some scrambling, and there are also two ladders you’ll need to climb up. Don’t worry, they’re securely in place.

It takes about 2 hours to get to the top of Lion’s Head, and once you reach the summit you’ll be rewarded with incredible 360 views of Cape Town (and great photo opportunities to boot). It only takes around 45 minutes to get back down again, so I’d say budget 3 – 3.5 hours for this hike in total.

Lion’s Head is really safe to do during the day. You do need to be careful if you want to do it at sunrise or sunset as you’ll be scrambling close to the summit. If you want to Lion’s Head at sunrise or sunset but aren’t a super confident hiker, you can join a guided hike so you don’t miss out.

7. Visit Stellenbosch 

Stellenbosch – or “Stellies”, as it’s affectionately known – is a charming town in the Cape Winelands. It’s also home to one of the most famous universities in South Africa!

Stellies students party hard, but the town itself looks like something out of a storybook, with lots of white-painted colonial-style buildings and tree-lined streets. 

Stellenbosch is 50 kilometers (30 miles) from Cape Town. It takes just under an hour to drive between the two. You can do a day trip, or book a hotel and stay overnight, which is definitely a good option if you want to go wine tasting. 

I loved doing the wine and chocolate pairing at Waterford Estate. I also had a really nice experience at Simonsig, which is especially popular for its MCC wines (which essentially means South African champagne). The Dornier Wine Estate is also really nice, but there are literally hundreds to choose from.

If you’re in South Africa during the summer, do be aware that it’s always a few degrees hotter in Stellenbosch than it is in Cape Town, since it’s further inland. 

8. Do the Franschhoek Wine Tram 

Franschhoek always reminds me of the town of Duloc from Shrek. It’s a perfect place!

It’s meticulously maintained, with not a single blade of grass out of place. The town itself is very small, but the wine valley is big, and the best way to explore it is on the infamous wine tram

The wine tram is a ton of fun. There are a bunch of different routes, but it doesn’t really matter which one you choose!

If you stay overnight in Franschhoek and do the wine tram from there, you can pick whichever route you like. However, it’s possible to do it on a day trip from Cape Town on the wine tram explorer tour, which takes you on the Navy Route.

The tour includes return transport from the Waterfront as well as your wine tram ticket for R695, which I think is a really good deal. We left Cape Town at around 8 am, caught the tram at 9 am, and then spent the day hopping between four different wine farms. I loved the wineries on the Navy Route, especially Bartinney.

9. Explore Bo Kaap 

Bo Kaap is a historically working class, Cape Malay neighbourhood that’s now famed for its brightly coloured houses.

It was originally built for tradesmen and liberated slaves, and is one of the oldest residential areas in Cape Town. Most of the people who moved here were Muslim, and several Mosques were built in the area. This is the reason why it wasn’t bulldozed like District 6 was during Apartheid. 

I took a free walking tour of Bo Kaap, and it was a really good way of getting to know the neighbourhood. Best of all, we didn’t even have to sign up! Tours depart twice per day from Motherland Coffee in the CBD, at 2 pm and 4:20 pm, so you can just turn up and go.

There are some cool spots to visit in Bo Kaap. I recommend checking out Faeeza’s Home Kitchen, where you can even take a cookery class. We didn’t get time to do that, but we did enjoy the lunch deal. We had samosas, a big bowl of chicken curry, and a koeksister for R200. Yum!

There’s also the Kaap Diem thrift store, where you can find some great pieces or swap your clothes for cash. Any clothes that the store can’t resell will be donated to a local women’s charity.

10. Have a drink at the secret Gin Bar 

The Gin Bar is one of my favourite places to grab a drink in Cape Town. It’s tucked away behind the Honest Chocolate Cafe on Wale Street, which runs adjacent to vibey Bree Street (another nightlife hotspot). You can get some amazing G&T combinations here, and they’ve got a huge range of artisan gins to choose from. 

There’s also the Bodega Ramen Bar upstairs from the Gin Bar, and you can even take your gin upstairs to enjoy with your food. There’s also a small little bubbly bar on the ground floor if you feel like something a bit more celebratory! 

11. Watch the sunset at Saunders Rockpool 

Saunders Rock Beach is a fantastic spot for both swimming and sunsets. It’s a rocky beach with a man-made pool to swim in. The water is super cold, as is the norm in Cape Town. In fact, people often come here to do their Wim Hof breathing!

Regardless of the cold water, Saunders is a lovely picnic spot, and I love to come here to watch the sun go down. It’s located at the end of the promenade in Sea Point, as the neighbourhood changes into Bantry Bay.

You can usually find parking nearby, although you might struggle during late December and early January, because this is peak tourist season.

12. See the Penguins at Boulders Beach 

Boulders Beach in Simon’s Town is home to a colony of adorable African penguins – how cool is that?

The beach is covered in boardwalks that you can stroll along to get up close to these cute little birds. You can’t actually touch them, but that wouldn’t be advisable even if it were allowed.

This is a year-round activity. I’ve been in both the summer and the winter… and I actually got better weather in the winter!

Boulders Beach is a 45-minute drive outside of the city and you can most definitely make a day of it. Entry prices are as follows:


– R190 for adults
– R95 for kids

SADC residents

– R95 for adults
– R50 for kids

ZA residents

– R45 for adults
– R25 for kids

You can drive yourself to Boulders Beach if you’ve got your own wheels, or book this tour, which costs R640 and includes free cancellation.

13. Enjoy a Sundowner at the 12 Apostles Hotel & Spa 

If you ask me, there are few things better in life than watching the sunset with a cocktail in hand. Fortunately, the Leopard Bar at the 12 Apostles Hotel & Spa is perfect for this! It’s just north of Camps Bay, and it’s a super quiet spot where I’ve never needed a reservation.

Cocktails cost between R100-R180 rand, which is quite pricey for Cape Town, but you’ve got to remember you’re paying for the view. I recommend the Bloody Mary or Piña Colada.

14. Hang out in hippie Kalk Bay

Kalk Bay is a super charming neighbourhood about 30 kilometres (18.6 miles) south of central Cape Town, along the coast of False Bay.

You won’t find any chain stores or restaurants here. Kalk Bay is all about independent boutiques, cool cafes, and art galleries. It’s actually nicknamed “the Lentil Curtain” because it attracts creatives and bohemians who form a pretty close-knit community. 

I love wandering around Kalk Bay, checking out the tidal pools, and eating fish and chips while looking out over the ocean at the Brass Bell. It’s got a lovely, relaxed, seaside atmosphere and you can definitely spend a day here wandering around.

It’s also close to the penguin colony at Boulders Beach, so you can definitely combine these two activities!

15. Stroll around Dewaterkant 

De Waterkant is such a lovely area. It’s a small enclave on the slopes of Signal Hill and its cobbled streets are lined with picture-perfect pastel coloured cottages. There’s also the Cape Quarter shopping centre here, a small mall which houses lots of unique shops, cafes, and boutiques. It feels very European!

I was lucky enough to live in Dewaterkant and I absolutely loved it. It’s one of the safest neighbourhoods in Cape Town, thanks to the 24/7 security around. I recommend the coffee and tiramisu at Café Chiffon, and Lello’s Deli is a really cute spot.

16. Go kayaking

Kayaking is not only a great workout, it’s one of the best ways to see dolphins in Cape Town!

There are a couple of different choices available, but I had an amazing experience kayaking from Sea Point, spotting dolphins, sunfish, penguins, and seals. Some people even see whales during winter, which is pretty cool. We went with Kaskazi Kayaks and paid R550 per person.

There’s also a great tour from Hout Bay, which costs only R450 and takes you around Seal Island, where hundreds of seals can be found at once.

17. Go seal snorkelling

There are thousands of seals in Cape Town, especially in Hout Bay, so I just had to try out seal snorkelling for myself!

Honestly, it was a pretty incredible experience. The seals were so graceful underwater, and the tour had a strict no-interference policy. But luckily, all we had to do was float and the seals would come right up to us to check us out – I had no idea they were so naturally curious.

My guide, Clemon, was fantastic and taught me a ton about seal behaviour. I don’t have any footage of the experience because I lost my SD card (which I’m still kicking myself for) but I promise it’s worth it. It’s one of the best things I’ve ever done in Cape Town.

The tour costs R950, which includes a wetsuit and snorkel, an hour-long session in the water, and hot chocolate and cookies on the boat ride back to shore. Trust me, you’ll be ready for those by the end!

18. Walk on the prom 

The Sea Point promenade stretches from the Waterfront all the way to Saunders Rock Beach. It runs right along the seafront and it’s a very safe place to walk, run, or cycle.

When I lived in Sea Point, I went for a sunset walk along the prom most days. There are some food stalls along the way where you can stop for a cold drink, an ice cream, or some falafel. 

19. Visit Elgin Valley

The Elgin Valley is an underrated place to go wine-tasting in Cape Town. It’s quiet, scenic, and the cool climate wines here are even better than those in Constantia, Stellenbosch, or Franschhoek.

Elgin is about an hour outside of Cape Town, and it’s super quiet and peaceful. We stayed for two nights at the Paul Wallace wine farm and checked out a bunch of wineries. One of our favourites was Almenkirk, which has stunning views and some of the best red wine that I’ve ever had. We also went to Oak Valley twice because we were obsessed with their riesling. 

Since Elgin is a bit out of the way, it’s best to drive there and stay overnight. Paul Wallace was a really nice place to stay and they had some very friendly dogs on site, especially Benji the cocker spaniel! 

20. Go SUPping at the Waterfront

If you’re looking to combine a great core workout with a little bit of sightseeing, then SUPping at the Waterfront is a great way to go about it. We went to SUP Cape Town in Battery Park and then headed out on a 3-kilometre loop around the canals, which took about an hour.

We went past nice hotels, fancy apartments, and saw the local resident otter (who was a bit of a menace, just FYI).

It costs R250 to rent a board for an hour, and you’ll need to book in advance. The staff will give you a quick tutorial before you head out. SUP Cape Town operates all year round but it is weather dependent, so you won’t be able to go when the Cape Doctor is acting up. 

21. Paragliding 

Oh my gosh. Paragliding in Cape Town was an insane experience!

It had been on my bucket list for a while, and then my friend got me a voucher for my birthday, so there was no way I could chicken out.

The launch process was a lot less scary than I expected it to be, and I loved the views. The flight only lasted for about five minutes but boy oh boy, what a five minutes it was!

This top rated flight costs R1,475, which is one of the cheapest rates available in the city. It’s definitely one of the pricier things to do, but I’d say it’s worth it if you’ve got the budget. It usually costs around R300 if you want the GoPro footage afterwards, and it’s uploaded instantly to your phone.

22. Visit Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens

Kirstenbosch Gardens are world-famous botanical gardens at the base of Table Mountain, close to the Constantia wine valley. There are lots of scenic walking trails through the gardens, including a treetop canopy walk which offers stunning views of the gardens and Table Mountain. 

The gardens are open from 8 am – 7pm. It costs R230 for an adult admission ticket, or R90 for South African and SADC residents. And for kids, entry only costs R30, regardless of their nationality. 

If you’re in Cape Town during the summer, it’s definitely worth trying to catch one of the Kirstenbosch concerts. They often take place on Sundays, so you can pack a picnic and spend the afternoon in the sun while you enjoy live music. Some really great names have played here, including local favourite Jeremy Loops and Rainbow Kitten Surprise.

The Galileo Open Air Cinema also often plays movies in Kirstenbosch Gardens, which is a really cute idea for a date night. You can catch lots of classic rom coms, like Pretty Woman or Notting Hill, or action movies and musicals. 

23. Visit Cape Point + Cape of Good Hope

Cape Point and Cape of Good Hope are dramatic headlands at the southern tip of the Cape Peninsula. They’re both very famous, and although I personally don’t consider them must-dos, they do make for a fun day trip!

Cape Point is a rocky promontory with a lighthouse that offers great views of the area. Then, the Cape of Good Hope is the southEASTernmost (not southernmost, as many believe) point of Africa.

Entry to the Cape Point Nature Reserve costs:

  • R100 for South African residents
  • R200 for SADC residents
  • R400 for internationals

You can drive yourself or take this Cape Point sightseeing tour, which is what I did. It costs R565, which doesn’t include the Cape Point entry fee. It also took us to Boulders Beach to see the penguins, and it made visiting really easy. I would hihgly recommend this tour if you’re not planning on renting a car. You can read my full review of it here.

24. Hang out at the Oranjezicht Market 

Pretty much all Capetonians love the Oranjezicht Market. It’s an upscale farmer’s market at the Waterfront with dozens stalls from local businesses.

For me, the main draw is definitely the food. Whether you’re in the mood for flammekueche, Cape Malay curry, or just a good old bagel, you’ll be able to find something delicious to eat here. In fact, I often feel overwhelmed by the sheer volume of choices on offer when I visit! 

Whatever you end up eating, make sure that you go to the Vadas Bakery stall and get a pastel de nata for dessert. They are INSANELY good – literally everyone in Cape Town knows about them. 

There are also a two bars here and a few smaller stands selling booze. And as if that weren’t enough, there’s also a section of the market dedicated to local artisan goods, from leatherware to hand-knit cardigans and luxury body products. I’ve found some really cute clothes here!

25. Party!

I love the nightlife in Cape Town. So whether you want to drink at a dive bar or go for upscale cocktails, this city has you covered.

I recommend heading out on buzzing Kloof Street. It’s a fun and mostly safe place to party. Van Hunks is my all-time favourite and the drinks here are really cheap, but if you feel like something more upscale, head to Asoka. Or if you’re a cool kid, you’ll find kindred spirits at Blondie.

Meanwhile, Bree Street is a lot of fun, too. I like House of Machines, which is just off of the main drag, and the Station on Bree is a nice pub to check out. I love the vibe at Leo’s Wine Bar, and the Drinkery is the place to go for interesting cocktails.

26. Hike Kloof Corner at Sunset

Watching the sunset at Kloof Corner is insanely beautiful. Not only that, it’s got a great effort-to-reward ratio!

It only takes 20 minutes to walk up to the viewpoint, and as you sit on the rocks and look out at the city, you get an insane panoramic view. It really drives home just how dramatic and varied the landscape here really is!

The hike up is short, although my legs do get a little tired towards the end. It’s a lot of steps!

The hike starts on Tafelberg Road, and it’s well signposted. There’s a small car park next to the trailhead, or you can easily Uber here. If you’re coming at sunset, just make sure you have a torch with you for coming down again, just in case.

27. Aquila Safari

For the best safari experience in South Africa, you should head to the Kruger National Park. However, if you don’t have the time or the cash to do that then there’s a much quicker and cheaper option closer to Cape Town.

Introducing: Aquila Safari!

I’ve done this day safari twice, and each time I got to see four out of the Big Five. You can find my full review of Aquila Safari here, but basically, it’s pretty dang good.

The R2,800 price includes pickup and drop-off in Cape Town, transport to the reserve, a welcome drink, a buffet meal, and a 2-hour game drive. My friend and I actually went to the tour office to book in person but found a much better deal online!

We learned a ton about the animals we saw from our driver, Charlie, and the resort facilities were really nice. During summer, I even brought my swimming costume and enjoyed a dip in the pool.

28. Enjoy a Champagne Sunset Cruise  

Cape Town’s sunsets are absolutely beautiful, so make the most of them by doing a champagne sunset cruise.

I loved this experience so much! I booked it for my friends to celebrate a little reunion, and we had a blast. We got a bottle of sparkling wine to share between two, and there was lots of music and a great atmosphere on the boat.

It was very windy though, so make sure you bring an extra layer!

The cruise costs R580 and lasts for 1.5 hours. Watching the sunset over Table Mountain truly is an epic experience, and nothing gives you that holiday feeling like drinking bubbly on a catamaran, am I right?

29. Drive Chapman’s Peak 

Chapman’s Peak Drive is probably one of the most beautiful roads in the world. It winds along the red cliffside of Chapman’s Peak mountain, overlooking the dark blue waters of the Atlantic Ocean. There are also lots of places where I like to pull over and snap photos.

The drive starts in Hout Bay Harbour and ends in Noordhooek on the other side of the mountain. I love heading to the Aegir Project after completing the drive for a beer tasting! It’s only 9 kilometers (5 miles) long, but it takes about half an hour to drive as there are well over 100 bends in the road.

There’s a toll fee of R61 which you’ll pay in Hout Bay. Keep your receipt as you’ll need it on the way back! And be sure to check the status of the road before you head out because it closes during strong winds.

30. Visit West Coast National Park

West Coast National Park is 1.5 hours from Cape Town, but it’s well worth the drive. It’s home to the Langebaan Lagoon, which has calm, warm water that’s perfect for swimming in. Despite taking me three summers to discover, it’s now my go-to for a quiet beach day!

It costs R116 to enter the park (or R74 for locals) and there’s plenty of free parking near Kraalbaai Beach. The facilities here are only basic – just toilets and taps – so make sure to bring plenty of food and beach supplies with you. But if you get desperate, the town of Langebaan is only 15 minutes away and there’s a big Spar supermarket there.

You can even stay overnight in Langebaan, or for a super unique stay, check out the Kraalbaai Houseboats. I mean, imagine staying out on the water! How cool would that be?

Thanks so much for reading this blog! I hope it has given you a better idea of just how much there is to do in Cape Town, but honestly, I’ve only scratched the surface here. I have tons of content on my blog, so be sure to check out the following:

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