South Africa

12 best things to do in Cape Town – The Ultimate Travel Guide

best things to do in Cape Town

We are not much of city people anymore these days, but we must say we loved our time in Cape Town. What we love about this city is how easily it connects people with nature and that there are so many activities outdoors all around the city. This Ultimate Guide shares the 12 best things to do in Cape Town to help you plan your trip.

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Best time to visit South Africa

South Africa can be visited all year round. The high Season runs from November to March, which is summertime in South Africa. We visited in October, which is Spring in Cape Town, and had a mix of sun and clouds but no rain during our stay. What we loved about this month was that the wildflowers were in full bloom everywhere we went hiking.

Where to stay in Cape Town

Choosing where to stay in the city can make a huge difference in how much you have to drive around to visit the best things to do in Cape Town. We booked an Airbnb in Green Point and loved this location. It was close to the Waterfront with many supermarkets, the farmers market, and most of the activities we had on our list for Cape Town.

How to get around in Cape Town

The easiest way to explore all the best things to do in Cape Town is to have a rental car. It is very easy to drive in the city, allowing you to go on day trips out of the city on your own schedule. We booked our car at Discover Cars for the best rates.

Alternatively, you can get around with Uber or public transportation like buses. Another fun option to explore the city is with the hop-on hop-off Sightseeing double-decker buses. 

12 best things to do in Cape Town

What we love about Cape Town is how much there is to explore and how most activities are outdoors and in nature all around the city. Here are the 10 best things to do in Cape Town.

Lions Head Hike

Our favorite hike in Cape Town is Lions Head. The hike took us 45 minutes to get to the top before sunset. Make sure to bring a headlamp if you want to hike down after sunset. The beginning is pretty relaxed, and at some point, it gets steeper for the end of the hike. There are some climbing parts that we loved where you find metal handles to hold on to. The 360-degree views of Table Mountain, the whole city, and all the beaches are incredible. One of the very best things to do in Cape Town.

Camps Bay Beach

The most beautiful beach close to the city is Camps Bay Beach. We loved coming here for sunset and beach walks. The long white stretch offers stunning views of table mountain. Our favorite spot is the rocks between Glen Beach and Camps Bay, offering the best view.

Beach day at Cliffton 4th

Some popular beaches close to the city are the Cliffton Beaches, and from those, Cliffton 4th has the best beach vibes. We loved coming here in the afternoon to relax and soak up the sun. The water temperature in Cape Town was too cold for us to swim, but we enjoyed a beach day anyway.

Incredible Views at Table Mountain

The view from the top of Table Mountain is breathtaking. Going up here is a must-do when in Cape Town. It’s best to go for sunset. You can either hike up Table Mountain or take the cable car, which is quite a fun experience with a 360-degree view. The first car up in the morning goes at 8 am and the last one down at 7 pm. Make sure not to miss it; otherwise, you must walk down in the dark. The cost for the cable car is 20 USD per person for both ways.

Table Mountain View best things to do in Cape Town

Oranjezicht Farmers Market

We are huge fans of farmer’s markets and always go wherever we are in the world, and we can say Oranjezicht Farmers Market in Cape Town is one of our favorite markets ever. It is located at Waterfront and happens every Wednesday, Saturday, and Sunday. Whether you want to buy veggies to cook in your Airbnb, look for a place to have breakfast/lunch, or buy a souvenir, there is something for everyone at this market. We loved the vibes and bought some of the freshest organic veggies and fruits.

Best view of Lions Head from Signal Hill

One of the most amazing views in Cape Town and super easy to reach is Signal Hill. It offers the best view of Lions Head mountain. You can drive up here with your car, park it and walk a bit until you find a spot you like to watch the sunset. Bring a drink and snacks and enjoy the view.

Best sunset spot in town – The Rock

Our favorite sunset spot in Cape Town is “The Rock” on google maps. You can drive up there and find some rocks where you can sit and enjoy a breathtaking view of the Cliffton Beaches, Camps Bay, and Table Mountain. This spot gained popularity, so don’t be late when you want a good spot.

Stroll around the colorful Bo-Kaap

Bo-Kaap is a neighborhood in Cape Town where every house is painted in another color. It’s very fun to photograph and enjoy the culture. These houses were initially built and leased to enslaved people brought to South Africa. When they gained their freedom and were able to buy houses, they painted them in color to express it.

Visit the Penguins at Boulders Beach

So here is our number one best thing to do in Cape Town: visiting the Penguins at Boulders Beach. It’s about an hour’s drive from the city, and we recommend going early in the morning to be all by yourself. Boulders Beach is a protected nesting area for the African Penguin, alias the cutest guys we have ever seen. You have to purchase a ticket for .. to enter, and there are two entrances, one where you can go to the beach with the Penguins and the other where you walk on a path and can’t step on the beach. We recommend going to the beach part first and this is the location of that entrance. The ticket is valid for both entrances.

Explore the Beaches around Hout Bay

We didn’t have enough time to see all the beaches we wanted in this area, but there are beautiful beaches like Sandy Bay and Llandudno Beach. Not to forget the very scenic Chapman’s Peak Drive which offers stunning views.

Make a Daytrip to Cape Point Nature Reserve

An activity that we weren’t sure if it was worth visiting was Cape Point Nature Reserve, the most south-western point of Africa – the Cape of good hope. But we are very happy we went anyway. The landscapes are absolutely stunning, there are different hikes you can do here and we saw so much wildlife that we didn’t even expect. So it was a positive surprise. We saw Ostriches with babies, Baboons, a Turtle, and Antelopes.

Have Lunch at Kalk Bay

Another surprise and probably our favorite place we discovered was Kalk Bay. A cute little town that is a great place to stop for Lunch when exploring Cape Point and Boulders Beach. Kalk Bay has some cute shops and cafes, and we loved the vibes there so much. We highly recommend the restaurant SALT.

Best food places in Cape Town

Best Breakfast at Nourish’d Cafe

We love healthy food, good coffee, and smoothie bowls, so Nourish’d Cafe was our favorite place for Breakfast in Cape Town.

Shop Groceries Plastic-free at Nude Foods

We love to cook when we have an Airbnb with a Kitchen, so we didn’t eat out that much in Cape Town. But we were so excited when we discovered Nude Foods, where we could buy all our groceries completely plastic-free. They also have a food truck and a small restaurant.

Harvest Cafe

Another Cafe for amazing healthy food, a great vegan selection, and smoothie bowls. As well as a beautiful ambiance.

Travel Budget 

The following budget helps you to plan your trip to Cape Town. Of course, the costs can vary depending on the accommodation and season, for example.

  • Price for accommodation: 50 USD per night for a studio Airbnb with a kitchen
  • Cost for grocery shopping for two people: around 230 USD (for a week) 
  • Meal in a Restaurant for two people: 20-60 USD 
  • Cost of car rental in Cape Town:  200 USD (for 7 days)
  • Sightseeing: We spent a total of 100 USD (for Nature Reserve entries & the Cable Car to Table Mountain for two people

Conclusion

We spent a whole week in Cape Town and still didn’t do all the activities we had on our list. There is so much to do and see in this amazing city that we recommend planning enough time. We felt like we couldn’t get bored in this place and loved all the stunning natural places we explored around the city. The only thing that we didn’t like was the water temperature which was too cold for us to swim.

Trip map created using Wanderlog, for making itineraries on iOS and Android
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