Last Updated on January 16, 2024 by thecapetownblog
There is SO MUCH to do in Cape Town. In fact, the sheer variety here means that you can be wine tasting one minute and shark cage diving the next. So in terms of tours, you’re really spoilt for choice.
There are a few reasons to book a tour in Cape Town. Some activities require a tour, like visiting Robben Island or taking a marine safari (unless you happen to have your own boat handy).
Or maybe you just don’t fancy renting a car and driving.
And of course, booking a food tour or a free walking tour is also a great way to get to know the Mother City better, with the help of a guide.
So, with that in mind, I’ve rounded up my top picks for tours in Cape Town. There is so much on offer here that by the end of your stay you’ll probably want to do what I did, and cancel your flight home!
1. Cape Point Explorer Tour
Visiting Cape Point and the Cape of Good Hope is a must while you’re in Cape Town! These famous land formations are incredibly beautiful and I had such a fun day touring them on the Cape Point Explorer Tour.
This tour takes you to Boulders Beach to meet Cape Town’s adorable African penguin colony before continuing on to the Cape Point Nature Reserve. Here, you’ll visit the top of the Cape Point Lighthouse for great views of the beaches, bays, and rocky cliffs.
After that, you can even hike to the Cape of Good Hope if you want to because it only takes around 25 minutes. Full disclosure, though: we got back on the tour bus because the weather was bad and we had already almost been suffocated by our rain ponchos. (That’s not as serious as it sounds, it was actually very funny).
Despite the bad weather, we had such a good day out on the Cape Explorer tour. It’s a full day experience so don’t stay out too late on Kloof Street the night before, because you’ll be leaving between 8 and 9 am, depending on your pickup point.
The tour costs R565, then on the day you’ll need to pay R176 to enter Boulders Beach and R360 to enter the Cape Point Nature Reserve. Lunch isn’t included but they do take you to a restaurant near Boulders. Liam and I each had fish and chips and a pint, which cost R210. So in total, we spent R1,311 on the entire day, which is £58 or $72 USD.
2. Boulders Beach Half-Day Tour
If you would rather skip the Cape Point and Cape of Good Hope, you can just focus on Boulders Beach with this half-day tour!
Boulders Beach is a gorgeous beach on the False Bay coast which is home to an African penguin colony. It’s a protected beach so you can’t actually go on the sand but there are boardwalks to allow visitors to get super close to the penguins.
Boulders Beach is EASILY one of the best places to visit in Cape Town, but it’s 41 kilometres (25 miles) from the city centre, so if you don’t have a rental car, you’ll need to book a tour.
I love this tour because it takes you along Chapman’s Peak Drive on your way to Boulders Beach, which is another must-do activity in Cape Town. This is an incredibly scenic route that takes you past beautiful Hout Bay and on a winding road with the ocean on one side and the rocky red mountain cliffs on the other. It’s stunning.
Once you arrive at Boulders, you’ll have around two hours of free time to walk along the boardwalks and see the penguins (and dassies!) This beach is so beautiful and I love watching the penguins waddle around. They are a bit smelly, though!
You can also take a dip at Foxy Beach next door, where you might even find yourself swimming alongside a penguin! You can also grab something to eat or drink at one of the cafes and restaurants around.
Then, your driver will take you back to the city centre via the surfing suburb of Muizenberg and take you along Boyes Drive for beautiful views of the False Bay Coast.
This tour costs R640 per person, which is roughly $35 or £28 at the time of writing. You will need to pay the entrance fees once you arrive at Boulders Beach, since it’s a protected area. This costs R176 for international visitors and R44 for South Africans.
Your driver will pick you up from your hotel or Airbnb around 8:30 am, and the tour should take around 5 hours in total, so you’ll have the rest of the afternoon free.
3. Full day Cape Winelands Tour
The Western Cape is famous for its amazing (and affordable) wine, so it would almost be rude not to explore the Cape Winelands while you’re in the Mother City!
If you can, I do think it’s better to spend multiple days exploring Stellenbosch and Franschhoek separately, but time and budget mean that that’s not always possible. So if you’d like to see it all in one day, then you can hop aboard this Cape Winelands tour and visit 3 different wine estates in Stellenbosch, Franschhoek, and Paarl.
I did this wine tour when my friend, Liam, came to visit me in Cape Town. It was such a fun day out and we ended up making friends with some awesome people from Canada and Brazil!
We started off by visiting Simonsig winery in Stellenbosch where we got a cellar tour and learned about the art of sabrage. Someone in the tour group was chosen to demonstrate. Thankfully, it wasn’t me, because I definitely would have come away minus a finger.
Then, we went into the tasting room where we got an AMAZING cheese and charcuterie board. It was so good and honestly one of the best that I’ve ever had a wine farm.
We also got to do a guided tasting and try some Simonsig bubbly, which is what the brand is best known for. (To me, anyway. They really know how to make a good MCC!)
After that, we took a quick guided walk through Stellenbosch, which is a very picturesque university town. A lot of my friends actually studied here! It’s very charming and the white Cape Dutch buildings are really beautiful.
Then, it’s onto the Franschhoek Cellar, where you’ll have lunch and enjoy another tasting. The food is at your own expense. just FYI. I had a burger and chips and it cost R160 (£7 or $8.75).
You get a little bit of free time in Franschhoek, which is a super small but very cute town. It reminds me of Duloc in Shrek, because there’s not a blade of grass out of place. We just went to grab an iced coffee to give us the energy to keep going, and then got back on the bus for our final tasting in Paarl.
The last stop of the day was a wine and chocolate pairing at the beautiful Rhebokskloof wine estate. The chocolates were really unique and I definitely would have bought some if they’d had them for sale, but unfortunately they didn’t. After the guided tasting, we got to go and enjoy the rest of our wine down by the lake, which was the perfect opportunity to take some slightly drunken photos.
All in all, this was a really fun day out. I think it’s the perfect way to visit the Cape Winelands if you don’t have time to explore Stellenbosch, Franschhoek, and Paarl separately.
The tour costs R695, which includes lunch, a cheeseboard, and all of your tastings. That’s about £30 or $38 USD. The only thing we had to pay for was our lunch, and we bought a coffee in Franschhoek.
4. 20 min Helicopter Tour
Cape Town is one of the most beautiful cities in the world, so I think it’s an amazing place to do a helicopter tour.
Now, we all know that helicopter tours aren’t exactly cheap, but in Cape Town, doing one doesn’t have to be incredibly expensive, either. This 20-minute flight costs R3,605 (£160/$197), and it promises to be INCREDIBLE.
You’ll fly down Cape Town’s Atlantic coast and get amazing views of the city bowl, Table Mountain, Lion’s Head, Signal Hill, the Sea Point Promenade, the Twelve Apostles, and the beautiful beaches of Clifton and Camps Bay.
Cape Town is famous for its dramatic, varied landscape, so getting to see it from a bird’s eye experience will really make your jaw drop.
5. Tandem Paragliding Flight
Tandem paragliding is one of the most popular tourist activities in Cape Town. In fact, when I lived in Sea Point, I would often hear paragliders whooping and hollering with glee as they flew over my garden. You also often see them landing on the Sea Point promenade!
You’ll meet at the top of Signal Hill and launch from there, taking in amazing views of Lion’s Head, Sea Point, Robben Island, and the coastline as you soar through the air. The flight lasts between 5-20 minutes, depending on the wind conditions.
My tip would be to book this experience earlier on during your stay in Cape Town, because it is very weather dependent. If the winds are too strong, you’ll be able to reschedule, so just make sure that you do have another day available. But if you do have to cancel, you’ll get a full refund, so you don’t need to worry about losing money.
This experience is run by Skywings Paragliding who are one of the most reputable companies in Cape Town. All of their instructors are certified by the South African Association of Paragliding, and the company has lots of 5-star reviews.
It costs R1,425 to go tandem skydiving in Cape Town. You’ll need to drive or take an Uber to the meeting point on Signal Hill. There’s free parking, so I would recommend driving if you’ve got your own rental car.
You can also buy pictures and videos of your experience afterwards if you want a memento!
6. Franschhoek Wine Tram from Cape Town
Franschhoek is perhaps most famous (or should that be infamous) for its wine trams.
Yup, in this beautiful wine valley, you can hop aboard a traditional tram and go from wine farm to wine farm, enjoying tastings, cheese boards, and beautiful views.
It’s a really fun day out, and it’s a hop-on hop-off experience, so you do it at your own pace. The maximum number of wineries you can visit is 5 due to timings, but both times I have done it, we only went to four so that we could relax in one place for two hours and enjoy a lunch.
What’s great about this tour is that you don’t need to book accommodation in Franschhoek or find a designated driver, because it includes return transport from Cape Town, along with your tram ticket.
You’ll be picked up from one of several meeting points in the city early in the morning. Then, you’ll head out to Franschhoek for a full day on the Navy route, which includes some of the most beautiful wine farms I’ve ever been to! I’ve done the Blue route before, too, but the Navy is definitely better.
If you’re doing the Navy line, I recommend stopping at Bartinney, because the views were epic and we had a delicious cheeseboard for lunch. We also stopped at Plasir Platform, where there’s a small food market in case you need breakfast, Vrede en Lust, and Le Pommier. At some of them, you can do gin tastings too, and they often have tram specials.
The tour costs R695 (£30/$38) per person. This includes return transport from Cape Town, your wine tram ticket, and a small glass of wine when you first climb aboard.
The price doesn’t include your tasting fees, which you pay on the day at the farms you choose to visit, or any food. You can expect to pay between R55 – R210 per tasting. This depends on the wine farms you visit and the tastings that you choose, as many vineyards have multiple options to choose from.
I think it’s the perfect way to experience the wine tram from Cape Town without worrying about designated drivers!
7. Constantia Wine Bus
The Franschhoek wine tram is a great experience and it’s certainly got the novelty factor. However, the Constantia wine bus is a quicker, easier, and cheaper way to tour wine farms without the need for a designated driver. I always do this with friends who come to visit me in Cape Town!
The wine bus takes you around the Constantia Valley, which is a lush suburb of Cape Town known for its beautiful wineries. The bus stops at three different wine farms: Silvermist, Groot Constantia, and Beau Constantia.
Do bear in mind that Silvermist is closed on Monday, so it’s better to do the tour on a different day of the week.
If you want to visit an additional winery, you can also walk from Beau Constantia to Constantia Glen. This is another beautiful winery with stunning valley views.
To enjoy a day out on the wine bus, you need to buy a City Sightseeing hop-on hop-off bus ticket. You can catch the Blue Route bus from the Aquarium at the Waterfront, which will take you to Constantia.
You can walk to Beau Constantia and Silvermist from the Constantia Nek stop. There is also a smaller bus you can change to that will take you to Groot Constantia and back.
Personally, I recommend visiting Silvermist first, then catching the bus to Groot Constantia, before heading back to finish the day at Beau Constantia. It’s a good idea to book your tasting at Beau Constantia because it’s very popular.
Buses to Constantia depart from the Aquarium every 20 minutes from 9 am onwards, or from 8 am during the festive season (16 December – 8 January). I recommend leaving as early as possible so that you don’t feel rushed.
The last bus back from Constantia to the city leaves from Constantia Nek at 5:25 pm. When you get your ticket, you’ll get a QR code that allows you to track live bus times on your phone, so you know when the next one is coming.
A ticket for the Constantia wine bus cost R295. It doesn’t include food or tastings, which you pay for at the wineries themselves. Tastings cost between R140 – R250.
8. Quad biking at the Atlantis Sand Dunes
As if beaches, mountains, and wine farms weren’t enough, Cape Town is also home to sand dunes.
The dunes are a 40-minute drive north of the city centre and this tour doesn’t include pickup, so it’s best to drive yourself or take an Uber there.
It costs R599 (£26/$32) for an hour of quad biking, which includes your ATV, helmet, and an instructor to guide you. You also have to pay R118 for an entry permit to the sand dunes on the day of the activity.
Your instructor will also do a mini photoshoot after you’ve finished racing around the beautiful white sand dunes, so you’ll have lots of cool photos for Instagram.
9. Sand boarding at the Atlantis Dunes
Look, I’ll be the first to admit that the prospect of riding an ATV can be a little scary. In fact, I was incredibly nervous when I did it! So if you’re hesitant to hop on a quad bike, you can experience the sand dunes in a different way with this sandboarding tour.
One cool thing about this tour is that it includes transfers from central Cape Town, so you don’t have to worry about getting to the sand dunes.
Once you do arrive, you’ll learn how to slide down the slopes with grace and dignity. Or, at the very least, how to stay upright as you go. Complimentary drinks and snacks are also available – this is thirsty work!
You’ll get just over 2 hours on the dunes themselves, and then you’ll be dropped off back in the city at the end of the tour.
This activity is available on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays. It’s suitable for travellers aged 8 and up, and the price per person varies slightly by group size. It costs R1,200 (£51/$64) each when you book for two people, whereas it’s R990 (£42/$52) per person when you book for a group of 10.
10. Marine Safari
The term ‘the big five’ usually refers to South Africa’s most impressive land mammals: the lion, leopard, black rhino, elephant, and African buffalo. But did you know there’s a marine counterpart?
The adventure starts with a pickup from central Cape Town. You’ll be whisked off to Gansbaai – aka shark central – and get tea, coffee, and muffins for breakfast on arrival. You’ll also listen to a safety briefing before you board the boat.
As you cruise around the waters of Gansbaai, you can expect thrilling sightings of dolphins, seals, and even Great White Sharks in the famed Shark Alley for cage diving! It’s so cool.
If you go between June and December, keep an eye out for Southern Right whales. While whale spotting chances are lower the rest of the year, you might still catch Humpback or Bryde’s whales.
You’re also likely to spot African penguins also making an appearance along the way, as they’re here year-round, too. You also get to visit the African Penguin & Seabird Sanctuary, so you will definitely spot them.
After the tour, you’ll head to the same restaurant where you ate breakfast for a warming bowl of soup before you head back to Cape Town.
This 10-hour adventure is available daily and costs R2,700 (£115/$143) and offers an incredible opportunity to witness South Africa’s vibrant marine life firsthand!
11. Shark Cage Diving
Cape Town is famous for shark cage diving, because of the Great White shark population in Gansbaai. You can also see Bronze Cow and Seven Gill sharks here, so it’s really a fantastic place to try out this adventurous activity!
This tour will pick you up from central Cape Town and take you to Gansbaai, which is 2 hours away, and then you’ll spend around 5 hours diving with the magnificent Great Whites. You also get breakfast beforehand and a warming bowl of soup afterwards, so everything is taken care of for you – all you need to do is keep your nerve.
This experience costs R3,655 (£155/$197) and it lasts all day, so you’ll be out for around 10 hours in total.
12. Waterfront Sunset Cruise
Sipping bubbly as you watch one of those magnificent Cape Town sunsets is definitely my idea of a good time, and I don’t think that this catamaran sunset cruise is too expensive, either.
Not only do you get awesome views of Table Mountain and Lion’s Head from out on the water, and the bubbles flow! To be honest, it’s not the world’s finest champagne, but I’m certainly not complaining.
Plus, for R580 (£25/$31) you really can’t go wrong.
There are tons of fantastic boat trips available in Cape Town, but if you’re looking for an affordable experience where the drinks flow, I think that this cruise is the perfect choice. It was so much fun!
The cruise lasts for 1.5 hours so it’s a wonderful way to either end a day of exploring the city or kick off a night out on the town! We did this on a Sunday night and it really ended the weekend on a high note.
Even if you go during the summer, it can get pretty chilly out on the water, especially when the notorious Cape Doctor is hard at work. (That’s the local term for Cape Town’s strong winds!) I would recommend bringing a jumper or jacket to keep you warm. And don’t bother with a hat, because on of our fellow passengers lost hers to the sea!
13. Aquila Safari
A safari in the Kruger National Park is on many travellers’ bucket lists, and understandably so. However, it’s pretty pricey and you may not have time! So if you’re keen to see some of South Africa’s famous and fearsome wildlife but can’t make it to the Kruger, you can still get a taste of safari with a game drive at the Aquila Game Reserve.
I’ve been here twice now, and it really is a fantastic experience. Don’t get me wrong, I’m sure it’s not a patch on doing a multi-day trip to the Kruger, but I loved it both times. They’ve even paid a visit to Aquila on The Real Housewives of Cape Town (and yes, the housewives vicious fights definitely rivalled the lions’ in that episode). Katie Holmes has also been here with her daughter, Suri!
You can stay here, but a day trip is a more budget-friendly option. Plus, when I came in the summer, we still got to use the pool in the afternoon, so bring a costume and a towel!
For R3,195 (£135/$173) you can do an all-inclusive day trip to Aquila from Cape Town, which includes a transport, welcome drinks, a buffet lunch, a 2-hour game drive, and time to use the resort’s facilities. This includes a beautiful outdoor infinity pool and luxurious lounge!
You can even head to the on-site spa for a treatment, although that will cost you extra on the day.
The first time I did the safari was during the middle of winter, so we couldn’t use the pool. However, we got both a breakfast and a lunch buffet to make up for it!
It’s possible to spot the Big Five at Aquila. The Big Five are considered to be South Africa’s most impressive animals, and they actually feature on the bank notes. The group consists of lions, leopards, rhinos, elephants, and buffalo. However, leopards are notoriously difficult to spot and I didn’t get to see one either time at Aquila.
However, the other animals I saw more than made up for it. We saw zebras, springboks, hippos, and giraffes, as well as one magnificent peacock strutting around the main grounds. Our guide, Charlie, was also really informative and taught us loads about the individual animals we saw, as well as the behaviour of the species in general, and the battle against poaching.
If you’re not able to head to the Kruger while you’re in South Africa, I highly recommend doing the Aquila Safari. It’s a fantastic day out and one of the best things that I’ve done in Cape Town!
14. Lion’s Head Sunrise or Sunset Hike
To be honest, you can hike Lion’s Head by yourself independently during the day. There’s no need to go with a guide. However, if you’re not an experienced hiker but want to do the hike at sunrise or sunset, I would recommend this tour.
You’ll be either going up or down in the dark, so it’s much safer to go with a guide. While Lion’s Head isn’t a super difficult hike in terms of physical exertion, as you get closer to the top it involves some scrambling. You definitely need to be careful with your footing.
Having a local guide with you is invaluable because they can make sure you stay safe throughout and help you whenever you need it. Plus, they’ll provide you with headlamps and snacks, and take photos for you.
The views from the summit of Lion’s Head are just amazing, and Cape Town is famous for its spectacular sunrises and sunsets, so you’re definitely in for a treat with this tour!
The tour costs R1807 (£77/$97.50) for a shared tour without transport, or if you don’t have a rental car you can choose to include transport for an extra R200. It’s a small group tour with a maximum of 8 people, so you’ll get plenty of insider info from your guide as you hike, but there’s also the option to do a private hike for just your group if you prefer.
I love ziplining. It gives you such a thrill as you zoom through the air, but since you’re harnessed in and there’s no freefall, it’s not as terrifying as paragliding or bungee jumping. And with this tour, you can enjoy birds’ eye views of Cape Town’s lush, mountainous landscape along with an adrenaline rush.
The 7-cable zipline course is part of the Silvermist Wine Estate in Constantia, which is at the foot of Table Mountain. You’ll be transported to the course in a 4×4 once you arrive at Silvermist, but since this is a self-drive tour, you can always stick around and enjoy a tasting after your treetop adventure!
This tour costs R800 (£34/$43). As far as I’m aware, this is the only zipline course in Cape Town, so make the most of it.
16. Dinner and Drumming Experience
One thing that I often get asked by friends back home is “what is South African cuisine?”
South Africa is a true melting point and there’s really no one type of cuisine. Most restaurants in the city serve very westernised food. However, if you’re keen to discover more traditional African cuisine, then this dinner and drumming show is a fantastic cultural experience.
There are many different cultural and ethnic groups from all over Africa within South Africa, and so this tour takes you on a true “taste safari” as you discover dishes from all over the continent during a 14-course meal.
(Yep, you read that right – make sure to arrive hungry!)
You’ll also enjoy a mesmerising djembe drumming show before dinner, replete with music and traditional Mali puppets. Then, after the meal, the servers and kitchen staff also perform a goodbye song and dance. This is truly a feel-good experience, and an amazing way to immerse yourself in traditional African culture.
The tour costs R1,120 (£47/$60) including hotel pickup and drop-off. It often sells out in advance, so I would recommend booking your slot at least a few weeks beforehand!
17. Hermanus Whale Watching Tour
Hermanus is a beautiful seaside town that’s 1.5 – 2 hours south of Cape Town, and it’s famous for whale-watching. In fact, it even hosts an annual whale watching festival every September. The World Wildlife Fund also lists Hermanus as one of the best places in the world to see whales!
It’s definitely worth taking an overnight trip to Hermanus if you can, but if not, then this full-day whale watching and wine experience will more than suffice. However, it’s only available from mid-June to late November, so this is a great thing to do in Cape Town during the winter!
It is possible to spot whales year round in Hermanus, but the winter and early spring is the best time, because you can spot lots of Southern Right Whales. These whales are unfortunately rare these days, so visiting Hermanus offers a pretty unique opportunity to see them.
You can also spot Humpback whales during the whale-watching season, and it’s possible to see Bryde’s whales and dolphins all year round!
This tour will pick you up at around 6:30 AM, but you can snooze on the journey down to Hermanus. Once you arrive, you’ll head out on a 3-hour whale watching cruise. When you spot one of these magnificent creatures, the skipper actually stops the boat so that you can watch them breach and play, and get a super detailed view.
Then, you’ll visit a wine estate for lunch and a tasting. This is on your own account and you can bring a packed lunch if you prefer, but personally, I never say no to a wine tasting! This is a private tour, so you can go wherever you like. Your guide will give you a choice of a few different options, but Creation Wine Estate is probably my favourite one in the Hermanus winelands.
On your way back to Cape Town, you’ll also visit Betty’s Bay where you’ll get to see the Stony Point penguin colony. This is the lesser-visited of Cape Town’s two African penguin colonies, since it’s further out of town than Boulders Beach.
Finally, you’ll enjoy a scenic drive back to Cape Town and be dropped off back at your hotel at the end of the day.
This tour costs R3,040 (£130/$165) per person, which I think is a good deal since it’s a private tour and includes return transport and your whale watching cruise. If you’re in Cape Town during the winter, don’t miss this one!
18. Stellenbosch Wine Tour
I absolutely love Stellenbosch – or Stellies, as the student population affectionately calls it. It’s a cute university town with an abundance of charming Cape Dutch architecture, but even better, there are tons of wine farms around. It’s a stunning slice of the Western Cape’s wine country, and I always love exploring here.
The only problem is that, unlike with Franschhoek and Constantia, there’s not really a convenient way of getting between wine farms in Stellenbosch. It’s an hour outside of Cape Town, so a designated driver is really the only option, which isn’t ideal because it means someone has to miss out on all of the tastings.
However, you can take this private full-day wine tour of Stellenbosch so that everyone can join in on the fun. You’ll spend the day visiting four different wineries, including one of my personal favourites, Waterford!
The itinerary also includes a wine and cheese tasting at the beautiful L’Avenir Estate, and a gourmet lunch at Tokara. This will be on your own account, but you can expect to spend around R380 for a main course here. And if you eat meat, I recommend trying the raw springbok starter!
The price of the tour per person does vary according to group size. It costs:
- R2,800 (£120/$155) pp for 2 people
- R2,250 (£96/$124) pp for 3 people
- R2,000 pp (£86/$110) for 4 people
- R1,750 pp (£75/$96) for 5-7 people
- R1,550 pp (£67/$85) for 8-13 people
The cost of the tour includes pickup and dropoff in Cape Town, private transportation for the whole day, a knowledgeable guide, bottled water, and 3 tastings. Given all that’s included, I think this is a pretty good deal for a private tour, especially if you’re in a larger group!
19. Garden Route Safari
If you want to experience the Western Cape’s famous Garden Route while you’re in Cape Town, but don’t feel like spending hours on planning and logistics, this 4-day tour is perfect for you.
You’ll experience so much variety on this trip, from the Congo Caves and the Little Karoo mini desert to the hippie town of Wilderness (a personal favourite of mine) and charming Knysna, which is famed for its stunning lagoon.
You’ll also get to try ostrich meat (which is really yummy, just FYI), and spend time in gorgeous Plettenberg Bay.
The tour also includes a safari in Tsitsikamma National Park where you’ll enjoy stunning guided walks, have the chance to bungee jump, and enjoy a late afternoon safari. This is the ideal time to do it because it’s when the animals are most active. You’ll have the chance to see amazing creatures like honey badgers, Cape porcupines, forest shrews, mongooses, African wild cats, and vervet monkeys.
It’s a coastal national park, so you’ll also have plenty of chances to spot whales, dolphins, seals, and Cape otters.
On the fourth and final day of the tour, you’ll enjoy a morning safari drive and then return to Cape Town via Hermanus where, with any luck, you’ll spot even more whales and dolphins!
The tour costs R9,950 (£430/$549) per person if you’re happy to stay in a shared dorm, R11,150 (£497/$634) for a private room in a hostel, or R11,750 for a 3 star room in a guest house, which is personally what I would opt for – I can’t be doing with hostels these days.
I think that this is actually a really good deal because it includes three nights’ accommodation, transport, breakfast and dinner each day, a professional guide, two safari drives, and all National Park fees. Plus, you’re in a small group of no more than 13, so it’s not a huge, commercial, soulless tour. You’d struggle to do it for much less by yourself, and it would take quite a bit of planning.
20. Bo Kaap Free Walking Tour
Bo Kaap is one of Cape Town’s most vibrant and interesting areas. Originally built for freed slaves, this area has long been home to a tight-knit, working class community of predominantly Cape Malay people.
It’s perhaps best known for its brightly coloured houses, which were originally painted to help customers find businesses in the area. Nowadays, the local government actually subsidises the upkeep of these vibrantly painted facades as a nod to the area’s cultural significance and to attract tourists.
You can explore Bo Kaap by yourself, but to get a real sense of the history, I think it’s best to take a free walking tour. I had visited the shops and walked through the area several times on my own before I did the free tour, but I learned way more when I went with a guide!
The free tours meet at 2 PM and 4:20 PM daily in Church Square on Parliament Street, 365 days of the year, come rain or shine.
The tour lasts for around 1.5 hours and after that, you can spend some time exploring Bo Kaap by yourself. We got a great restaurant recommendation from our guide and enjoyed some amazing Cape Malay food after our tour.
You can sign up for the free walking tour here. On the day, you will be able identify your guide by looking for green umbrellas in Parliament Square!
Tipping is recommended at the end of the tour, and I can’t remember exactly, but I think we tipped around R100 each.
21. Cape Town Food Tour
One of the best ways to get to know a city is through its stomach, and this small group food tour conveys the history of Cape Town through its delicious cuisine.
Cape Town is a real melting pot of cultures, so as you would expect, the food here is delicious and varied. This tour takes you on a culinary journey so that you can try some of the best Cape Malay food that Bo Kaap has to offer, as well as beloved local dishes like koeksisters and malva pudding.
You’ll not only consume a ton of flavourful food on this tour, your passionate guide will also teach you about its cultural significance and share stories about Cape Town. The history of how so many different cultures came to coexist in the city is fascinating and often dark, but I think it’s important to learn about it if you really want to get to know Cape Town. It’s a big part of why this city is so unique and vibrant.
Basically, this tour combines food, culture, and sightseeing, so it’s really the ideal way to spend an afternoon getting acquainted with the Mother City. It costs R1,985 (£85/$110) per person, including food and alcohol tastings, and lasts for 4 hours. You can fit A LOT of food into that time, so arrive hungry!
22. Birdwatching Tour
If you’re a twitcher, then don’t miss this private birdwatching tour. It’s led by Alfie, an expert birdwatching guide who has worked on safaris for well over a decade, so rest assured he really knows his stuff.
Alfie will take you to two different locations to spot birds, many of which are endemic to the Western Cape. You’ll explore the beautiful Kirstenbosch Gardens, which is home to many rare and indigenous plants from the Cape Floral Kingdom. As a result, it’s also home to lots of unique birdlife, including Cape Sugarbirds, Orange-breasted Sunbirds, and Blue-mantled Crested Flycatchers.
In the afternoon, you’ll head to Strandfontein Sewage Works which, admittedly yes, does sound gross, but it’s actually the best place in Cape Town to spot waterbirds! You can spot as many as 80 different species in the two hours you’ll spend here, and don’t worry, it doesn’t smell.
I love the fact that this is a private tour, so you’ll have Alfie’s undivided attention and he can help you spot as many birds as possible. It’s also great to support a small, local business.
The tour is a full day adventure, lasting for around 8 hours, and it costs R2,000 per person. This price doesn’t include lunch, which you’ll be able to buy on the day, but it does include hotel pickup and drop-off and, of course, Alfie’s expert guidance, as well as your entry fee to the Kirstenbosch Gardens.
23. Cape Town Sightseeing Tour
I often suggest doing a sightseeing tour on your first day in Cape Town, to get acquainted with the city. This top-rated tour certainly works for that purpose, but since it’s a private tour and can be fully customised to your liking, you can also do it on your last day in Cape Town so that your guide can show you anything that you’ve missed!
I think there’s a lot to be said for doing a private sightseeing tour, as not everyone has the same interests. There’s so much to see and do in Cape Town that it’s worth doing a private tour to tailor the experience to your specific preferences. There’s too much variety in this city for a one-size-fits-all option to be much good!
Some options for this tour include visiting Boulders Beach, exploring Hout Bay, visiting the Cape of Good Hope, checking out Bo Kaap, or just asking your guide to share his favourite hidden gems with you.
The tour costs R4,000 (£172/$220) per person and I think it’s the perfect way to make sure that you don’t miss out on anything Cape Town has to offer. It lasts between 4-8 hours and remember that the price is for your transport and guide, but doesn’t include additional activities like entry to nature reserves or food and drink.
24. Woodstock Street Art Tour
Woodstock is Cape Town’s artistic nucleus. Like many hipster hotspots all around the world, it was once an industrial area and now it’s a trendy artistic enclave that’s filled with street art.
While you can venture through Woodstock’s street art independently, the best way to see it is by joining a local-led street art tour. The art here focuses on social and environmental concerns, so it’s nice to go with a guide who can explain the history and context of each piece. Plus, you’ll even get to meet some of the artists and influential local people who have shaped Woodstock into the hipster hub that it is today.
This guided experience will take you to all of the area’s most striking murals so that you don’t miss anything, and honestly, Woodstock can sometimes feel a little sketchy, so I definitely think it’s worth going with a local guide.
The tour costs R550 (£24/$30) per person and lasts for 1.5 hours. It also finishes at the trendy Old Biscuit Mill Market, where you can enjoy food and drink and even check out live DJs at the weekend. The tour runs every day of the week except Sunday, and includes free tea and coffee!
25. Robben Island
Robben Island is where Nelson Mandela was imprisoned for 18 years, before being transferred to Paarl for a further nine. So naturally, it’s a site of huge cultural significance and a Robben Island tour is a must while you’re in Cape Town.
There’s only one company that runs boats to and from Robben Island. When you book a tour, the price includes your ferry ticket and a tour of the prison where Mandela was held. You’ll also visit the lime quarry where he – and many other political prisoners – were subjected to hard labour day in, day out, as well as the church they were permitted to visit every Sunday.
I think that one of the most interesting parts of a Robben Island tour is that the final section is led by an ex-prisoner. He will show you his cell and other prison facilities, while sharing his first-hand account of what life was like as a political prisoner here.
Tours to Robben Island depart from the Waterfront at 9 am, 11 am, and 1 pm all year round. There’s another departure at 3 pm between September and April, which is peak season. It costs:
- R400 for South African adults
- R210 for South Africans under 18
- R600 (£25/$33) for international adults
- R310 (£13/$17) for international kids
The tours may be cancelled when the sea is too rough. If this is the case, you’ll be offered another date or receive a full refund. I was meant to go with a friend who was visiting on his final day in Cape Town, so we opted for the refund when this happened to us, and got our money back within 48 hours.
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