10 Cool Things To Do In Cape Town

I’m going to come out with a bold statement here and say that Cape Town is one of the world’s coolest cities. I mean, just look at it. You’ve got that unusual long mountain surrounded by sweeping bays, a shiny waterfront and up-and-coming suburbs sprinkled with street art. Once you’re done admiring the scenery there are hikes and surf, penguins and whales, and some exceedingly good value wineries to explore too.

So without further ado here’s my top picks for the 10 coolest things to do in Cape Town.

10 Cool Things To Do In Cape Town - Girl Tweets World

1. Take The Cable Car Up Table Mountain

See the suburbs that lie snug on the sides of Table Mountain as well as the golden bays that surround it by taking the cable car to the summit. The great thing about the Table Mountain Cableway is that the floor of the carriage rotates so all passengers get a 360 degree view. There’s also some open windows, which may not delight those with vertigo but are fantastic for photographers who want a clear shot.  I recommend spending at least 45 minutes at the top – there’s a circular track you can follow to see all sides of the city and on a clear day you may be able to gaze all the way to Cape Point. Be aware that in peak season you may have to queue to catch the cable car back down so give yourself ample time.

Aerial view of Cape Town

10 Cool Things To Do In Cape Town - Girl Tweets World

For the more active amongst us I’ve heard that hiking Lion’s Head before sunrise gives you spectacular aerial views too – I say heard because this girl wasn’t really made for hiking. (Sorry!)

2. Explore Bo Kaap – The Malay Quarter

You may have seen Bo Kaap before on many an Instagram profile (mine included!). The traditionally Malay Quarter of Cape Town is known for its rainbow-coloured houses – I’ve been there twice now and I think they are getting brighter each year. Once you’ve finished photographing the vibrant streets consider taking a cooking class to learn more about the Cape Malay culture and its aromatic cuisine. I recommend the Cooking With Love class with Faldela which I did in her purple house on a previous visit.

10 Cool Things To Do In Cape Town - Girl Tweets World

10 Cool Things To Do In Cape Town - Girl Tweets World

10 Cool Things To Do In Cape Town - Girl Tweets World

3. Street Art Walking Tour In Woodstock

Another colourful neighbourhood of Cape Town is Woodstock, known for being a hub for artists and creatives. You’ll find great shopping and coffee at the likes of The Woodstock Exchange and The Old Biscuit Mill, plus over 100 works of art by street artists who share inspiring messages about social change and wildlife conservation. To learn more about the messages behind the murals, as well as those who painted them, take a street art walking tour with Woodstock local, Juma. Find out more here.

Street art walking tour Woodstock Cape Town

10 Cool Things To Do In Cape Town - Girl Tweets World

4. Shop At The Watershed

Cape Town’s V & A Waterfront attracted over 24 million visitors last year with its mix of traditional harbour architecture and modern collection of bars, restaurants and souvenirs shops. One of the new additions to waterfront is the Watershed – an airy warehouse space filled with craft, fashion and design retailers. Prices here are (understandably) higher than in the local markets but it’s a great place to pick up fashionable clothing, jewellery or a handmade souvenir by a local designer.

10 Cool Things To Do In Cape Town - Girl Tweets World

5. Eat At The V&A Waterfront Food Market

Just next door to the Watershed is a historic pumphouse filled with food! At the V&A Food Market you can graze your way around 40 artisan stalls selling everything from craft beer to chocolate-covered cashew nuts. There’s live music, a kiddie play area and bar on site so it’s the perfect place to spend a food-filled afternoon. It’s also the perfect pitstop to pick up some South African rooibos tea or try some of Cape Town’s best coffee by Truth.

10 Cool Things To Do In Cape Town - Girl Tweets World

6. Visit Robben Island

Follow in the footsteps of Nelson Mandela to Robben Island where he spent 18 years of a 27-year imprisonment. Tours of the prison are run by former political prisoners who can tell you first hand what life was like here during Apartheid. You can also step foot in the miniscule cell Mandela was held in and be amazed at how it did not break his spirit. Robben Island tours leave from the V&A Waterfront and take approx 3.5 hours from start to finish. The tour route includes stops at other significant sites on the island including Robert Sobukwe’s house, the Bluestone quarry and the army and navy bunkers.

Cape Town as seen from Robben Island

7. Drink At the Durbanville Wineries

You do not need to travel far to experience some of South Africa’s fine wine farms. Just 20 minutes outside of Cape Town is the Durbanville Wine Valley – home to 12 superb wineries.

For a fantastic dining experience head to Diemersdal Wine Farm who host hearty Sunday lunches in their old stables. The menu changes according to what’s in season but you can expect to feast on the likes of wholesome veg from the kitchen garden, homemade pies bursting at the seams, BBQ beef brisket and broccoli souffle all washed down with a glass (or 2) of the Diemersdal Estate wine. (3 courses and a glass of wine costs just $22AUD per person. Find out more here.)

10 Cool Things To Do In Cape Town - Girl Tweets World

For a wine tasting experience with a difference, stop at Klein Roosboom, a family-run boutique winery who host tastings on vintage furniture inside their old wine stores. The eclectically decorated cellars (watch out for the one with swing seats) are a great place to hang for an afternoon and you won’t be surprised by the bill at the end of it as wine tasting in South Africa is fantastic value for money. At Klein Roosboom you can sample 7 wines (each named after family members) for just $3AUD and tuck into an incredibly photogenic 2 person cheese and meat platter for just $17AUD.

10 Cool Things To Do In Cape Town - Girl Tweets World

10 Cool Things To Do In Cape Town - Girl Tweets World

10 Cool Things To Do In Cape Town - Girl Tweets World

8. Watch Sunset At Camps Bay

You’ll find a lot of cool (and wealthy!) Capetonians hanging out on the palm tree fringed promenade of Camps Bay. This upmarket beach suburb, backed by a majestic mountain range known as the 12 Apostles, is one of the most expensive places to live in South Africa. Head here for sun-downers to try on the Cape Town high life for size.

10 Cool Things To Do In Cape Town - Girl Tweets World

9. See The Penguins At Boulders Beach

Prepare for cuteness overload at the Penguin Sanctuary at Boulders Beach. Nestled in a bay on the spectacular Western Cape, Boulders Beach is home to approximately 3500 African penguins. There is a boardwalk setup which allows you to get fairly close to where these happy penguins like to flap about in the surf. The penguins live at Boulders year round but you may see less if visiting during September and October when they tend to feed at sea.

Note: Boulders Beach has an entrance fee of R65 so bring change.

10 Cool Things To Do In Cape Town - Girl Tweets World

10 Cool Things To Do In Cape Town - Girl Tweets World

10. Drive The Scenic Coast To Cape Point

And finally, take a scenic drive to Table Mountain National Park to enjoy the cliff-top views from Cape Point and boast-worthy claim of standing at the most south-westerly point of the African continent at Cape Of Good Hope. The Flying Dutchman Funicular will escort you to the highest point of Cape Point; watch out for the cheeky monkeys if you decide to take the walking path back down. The National Park boasts over 1100 indigenous plant species and various wildlife including antelope, ostrich and the Cape mountain zebra. You’ll need a full day to visit the Point from Cape Town, longer if you plan to do some of the hiking treks.

10 Cool Things To Do In Cape Town - Girl Tweets World

Where To Stay

For a stylish base on the beach check out the brand new Bliss Boutique Hotel. With incredible views of Table Mountain (especially from the hammock on the terrace) and direct beach entry, the location of Bliss is perfect for those who like early morning strolls on the beach and sunset views over the mountains. The tastefully decorated rooms can be accessed via an e-key on your mobile phone – the first hotel in Africa to utilise this technology. There’s also a restaurant and pool on site and a free shuttle to scoot you into town, approx 15 mins drive away.

Bliss Boutique Hotel Cape Town

Bliss Boutique Hotel Cape Town

Getting Around

For short hops around Cape Town taking a metered taxi or Uber is a cheap and easy way to get around. Try to avoid rush hour though as congestion on the major highways gets pretty bad. For journeys to the wineries, penguins and Cape Point, if you’re not comfortable hiring a car and self-driving you can book an escorted tour instead. We travelled with the very patient and sweet Francois from Hylton Ross who taught us lots about South African history and culture whilst also driving us safely from place to place.

Cape Town's coolest places to see, eat & sleep

More Info

The Cape Town Travel site has heaps of useful articles and tips about travel to the Mother City.

Thanks to South African Tourism for supporting my visit.

22 Comments

  1. Reply

    Gilda Baxter

    August 24, 2016

    South Africa is firmly on my list of places to visit in the very near future and even more so after seeing this post. Your photos are beautiful and sounds like you had a fabulous time there?

  2. Reply

    Jayne Gorman

    August 24, 2016

    This was my 3rd trip to South Africa (2nd to Cape Town) and I found myself enjoying it even more than I anticipated. I’m such a city girl and Cape Town is now firmly one of my favourites. Hope you get to visit soon!

  3. Reply

    Angie Silver

    August 24, 2016

    Loved reading this! It bought back such happy memories 🙂

    • Reply

      Jayne Gorman

      August 24, 2016

      Maybe it’s time for a revisit? 😉

  4. Reply

    Brittany from Boston

    August 24, 2016

    It looks like such a cool city!! I didn’t make it to Cape Town when I was in SA but I definitely want to come back!

    • Reply

      Jayne Gorman

      August 25, 2016

      It’s a great reason for a revisit I think 🙂

  5. Reply

    Charlie Elliott

    August 24, 2016

    I’m heading to Cape Town in December and this has just made me even more excited to explore!
    Cx
    Charlie, Distracted

    • Reply

      Jayne Gorman

      August 25, 2016

      You’ll have a blast!

  6. Reply

    Kassie

    August 24, 2016

    Cape Town has been high on my list for ages now and every time I see a beautiful post like this on it, I promise I’ll get there next. Maybe it’s in the cards for 2017!

    • Reply

      Jayne Gorman

      August 25, 2016

      DO IT :p

  7. Reply

    Lucy

    August 24, 2016

    This is great timing – I’m off to Cape Town for 5 days in November and getting even more excited for it now, will definitely be adding a few of these to my to do list!

    • Reply

      Jayne Gorman

      August 25, 2016

      You lucky thing! Say hi to those penguins for me 😉

  8. Reply

    Pierre-Benn de Villiers

    August 25, 2016

    Loved this article! We’re actually planning our wedding anniversary weekend in Cape Town. Thanks for the tips!

    • Reply

      Jayne Gorman

      August 25, 2016

      You’re welcome! That was good timing! Wishing you a wonderful celebration 🙂

  9. Reply

    Evrim

    August 25, 2016

    heya, lovely blog! Cape Town is still far away from me since I am so into exploring Asia now:) I once booked a ticket and hiking tours in Cape Town but had to cancel it. I’ll make it one day. This was an inspiration for me, thanks a lot:)

  10. Reply

    Lucy

    August 28, 2016

    Great tips Jayne! I’m going to be in Cape Town in December so will definitely be checking some of these places out 🙂

  11. Reply

    janice

    September 6, 2016

    Loving the vid!!!

    • Reply

      Jayne Gorman

      September 7, 2016

      Ah thank you, it’s a new app I was playing around with!

  12. Reply

    Hand Luggage Only

    September 12, 2016

    Cape Town is so amazing isn’t it? Loved it there. I wanna go back again soon!

    • Reply

      Jayne Gorman

      October 4, 2016

      This was my second visit and I enjoyed it even more than the first!

  13. Reply

    Stephanie Craig

    October 12, 2016

    Okay, I have to go see the penguins! Great roundup!

  14. Reply

    Steven

    October 26, 2016

    it will be great if i can visit Cape town and doing the same as you wrote on your article.. i know Cape Town is amazing.. Thank you and keep posting great article

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