Cape Town has been named one of the “must see” cities of the world and has some of the best South African attractions. We thought it good to celebrate this, by giving you our reasons why we think Cape Town is one of the “must see” cities in the world. Our list is in no particular order, but does contain our favourite things about the city and of course, most of them are family friendly attractions.
Table Mountain is one of the 7 Wonders of the World and one can understand why when looking through the famous pictures of this magnificent giant. There is two ways one can visit Table Mountain. If you love hiking and you are an experienced hiker, then you can hike to the top. It is however advisable that you be aware of the following:
- Go in a group and make sure that you stick together all the way.
- You are an experienced hiker.
- Check the whether before you plan to hike up the mountain to make sure that there will be no cloud cover during your hike up the mountain. We would suggest you check the whether with the Table Mountain Cable Car office.
- Make sure that you follow the trail all the way to the top and avoid going off the trail at all times.
- Let someone on the ground know that you are planning to hike up Table Mountain and when you are planning to be back. We suggest that you inform the Table Mountain Cable Car Offices.
- Enjoy and take in all the beauty around you.
The second way to reach the top of Table Mountain, is by cable car. The cable cars are all imported from Switzerland and can carry 65 people at a time. The floors of the cable cars are revolving to offer you a 360° view of the Mother City. Once you have reached the top, you will not want to go back. The view is absolutely too amazing for words. You are free to stay on the top as long as you’d like. You can enjoy a meal at the restaurant or you can pack your own picnic to enjoy by yourself. If you like souvenirs, you can visit the souvenir shop.
TOP TIP: When planning to visit Table Mountain by cable car, make sure that you put 1 – 2 hours aside. This time may vary during peak season due to queuing and it is also depended on how much time you want to spend at the top. Prices will vary depending on the time of day you are planning to visit. Unfortunately you are unable to pre-book as the operation is very dependent on weather conditions. You are welcome to visit the Table Mountain website for information on whether and operating hours. You can also buy your ticket online. There is a discount if you buy your tickets online.
VICTORIA & ALFRED WATERFRONT
Adjacent to the working harbour, the V&A Waterfront has something to offer for everybody. Visit the clock tower, which was the original Port Captain’s Office built in 1882. If you like shopping, the V&A Waterfront is home to over 450 retail outlets that varies from fashion, to homeware & curious, to jewelers, to leather goods & audio/visual equipment to souvenir shops. If you like food, there are plenty of award winning restaurants which offers cousine from all over the world.
TOP TIP: If you want to experience true South African cousine, visit Karibu Restaurant on the port side of the Waterfront.
One of our personal favourite places to visit when we find ourselves at the the V&A Waterfront, is the Two Oceans Aquarium. The aquarium houses over 3 000 living sea animals, including sharks, fish, seals, turtles and penguins. You will not want to leave once you have experience the wonder of our rich sea life. It’s a fun day out for the whole family. The aquarium is open daily from 9:30 to 18:30. Buy your tickets here.
If you love history and would like to know more about the past of South Africa, then I highly recommend you visit Robben Island. It was declared a World Heritage Site in 1999. It has a long history and has served as a leper colony and the local version or Alcatraz for political prisoners. This was the prison where Mr Nelson Mandela was held as prisoner during the apartheid regime. You are welcome to read our article on our recent visit to Robben Island if you want more information. Visit their website to buy your tickets online.
TOP TIP: We recommend that you buy your tickets in advance as it is usually fully booked quite far in advance AND you save about 10% when you buy online.
If you love wine as much as we do, you will absolutely love a visit to the Cape Winelands. Home to some of the world’s most famous wine estates, you will have a hard time to make your choice on who to visit. Among some of the well known estates are Spier, Beyerskloof, Vergelegen, Boschendal, Groot Constantia, Vrede & Lust, Nederberg and much, much more. When planning to visit the Cape Winelands, get an early start to your day and bare in mind that the Winelands are generally much warmer than Cape Town CBD. Plan your trip in advance. Designate a driver, make lunch reservations and bring your water bottle, sun screen.
TOP TIP: Get yourself a copy of the Wine Tourism Handbook, which you can get at any book store. This will aid you in getting the best of all the 16 routes.
KIRSTENBOSCH BOTANICAL GARDEN
If you are a nature lover, than the Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens is just the place you want to be. Not only do you experience some of the Cape’s Fauna & Flora, but you will be stunned with views that will take your breath away. Founded in 1913, the gardens are home to a diverse range of South African plants from fynbos to natural forests. Fynbos is a distinctive type of vegetation found only on the southern tip of Africa. It includes a very wide range of plant species, particularly small heather-like trees and shrubs. During the summer months (from Spetember – April) the garden host summer concerts in its ampitheathre which is to be enjoyed by the whole family. For an day of peace and quiet, take your picnic basket and take in the beauty of the Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens. Visit their website for operating times, info on summer concerts or entrance fees.
Giving one a feeling of a true fisherman’s town, Kalk Bay is something to experience. Its streets are lined with antique shops, art galleries, restaurants and coffee shops. Its biggest attraction is the harbour where you will find fisherman throwing out their lines over the harbour wall for a lucky catch. Something to experience when visiting the Kalk Bay harbour is Kalkies fisheries, home to some of Cape Town’s best and freshest fish and chips.
PENGUIN COLONY AT BOULDERS BEACH
Just a few minutes drive from Kalk Bay along the main road en-route to Cape Point, is Simons Town which is home to a small colony of African Penguins (previously known as “Jackass Penguins”) at Boulders Beach. This colony as well as the small colonies found along the coast of Namibia and Port Elizabeth, are the only colonies on the continent. The site is wheelchair friendly and the perfect spot to get up and close with these rather interesting creatures. There is a small charge to enter the beach and numbers are limited depending on the tides and space available on the beach. This is truly something to experience for the whole family. If you want more information on operating times and entrance fees, you are welcome to contact the Boulders Beach visiting center on +27 (0)21 786 2329.
CHAPMAN'S PEAK DRIVE
This toll road winds its way between Noordhoek and Hout Bay on the Atlantic Coast on the south-western tip of South Africa and is one of the most spectacular marine drives in the world. It’s unofficially known by the locals as “Chappies” This scenic drive was purposefully build in 1922 by blasting it into partially vertical rock and is truly one of the most beautiful scenic routes around. There are plenty of places for you to stop along the road and take in the beautiful views. When planning to take a drive over Chappies, bear in mind that the road is often closed due to rock falls, so its best to call before you plan to make your way over Chapman’s Peak. There is a toll fee charged. To enquire, please call +27 (0)21 791 8222.
TOP TIP: I would highly recommend that if you are planning to take this scenic drive, plan it in such a way that you stop at the 12 Apostles Hotel for lunch. You can even plan your route in such a way to stop for High Tea. Visit their website for more information.
This must be one of our personal favourite spots. Not only is the beach very private, but the town itself is beautiful. Hout Bay (Originated from Afrikaans, meaning “Wood Bay”), is situated in a valley on the Atlantic seaboard of the Cape Peninsula. It was declared a republic by its residents a few years ago and upon your visit you will not be surprised why. The town is surrounded by incredible views of the surrounding mountains and a sea food lovers dream with tons of small sea food restaurants. When visiting Hout Bay, be sure to pop in at the Hout Bay market, situated on the harbour.
Often incorrectly referred to as the “southern most tip of Africa” (Cape Agulhas is the southern most tip of Africa), Cape Point is indeed something not to be missed when visiting Cape Town. Founded by Bartholomeu Dias in 1488 and known as the Cape of Storms in those days, Cape Point is home to numerous of shipwrecks. You can also visit the Cape Point light house and the Two Oceans Restaurant perched high above the crashing waves with beautiful views of False Bay. Cape Point is also home to Fraunhofer Institute in Garmisch, Germany, and the South African Weather Bureau’s research laboratory that enables them to monitor long-term changes in the chemistry of the earth’s atmosphere that influences climate changes.
Thank you for taking the time to read this article. Have you visited any of the above attractions? If so, please let us know what your experience was, by leaving a comment below. Do you perhaps have any other favourites that is not featured on this list? Please let us know by commenting below.
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