Best Places To Visit in Cape Town
If you intend to holiday in South Africa for the first time (check this post for best time of year to go, then Cape Town should be high on your bucket list. The endless attractions this beautiful city has to offer are simply amazing. Where else in the world can you come across a city with sensational beaches, stunning scenery from high up in the mountains, world class entertainment, wine estates and captivating safari parks, and world class hostels all within easy reach.
In fact, they say, you can see so much in Cape Town, in just three days, than you may ever see on an entire trip to South Africa. The problem lies as to which place to leave out and which to visit.
Here is an introduction to the top spots of this glorious city for a new visitor, which will immediately make the person fall in love with Cape Town. Looking for the best places to stay in Cape Town? These sweet Airbnb apartments are a good place to start.
The waterfront area, in the heart of Cape Town, is just the perfect place to unwind with a sundowner at the end of a hectic day. Restaurants, designer shopping, an aquarium, Nu Metro cinema, street performances and great views of Table Mountain and the harbour are on offer. The V&A waterfront is an excellent selection of both cultural and historical attractions of the city.
At the waterfront a number of charter boat services are available, which at around 100 rand are real value for money. With a little luck one can see dolphins and seals and enjoy the views of the ocean.
The best of Cape Town can be seen from Table Mountain, the iconic 1000m high landmark of this city. The vertical cliffs and the long flat summit, can be seen from most areas of Cape Town, but taking the cable car ride up the mountain is a must. The beautiful views from the top of the beaches and the ocean give a great ephemeral feel.
Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens
No trip to Cape Town would be complete without an afternoon spent in Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens, nestled in behind Table Mountain National Park. These huge gardens are unbelievably beautiful, and at times so green it can be overwhelming! Home to some popular summer concerts, a trip here in December or January is by far one of the top things to do in South Africa. Walking around the Boomslang, a 130m-long tree-top walkway inside the gardens, gives you an incredible birds eye view of the plants below you and the gardens all around.
Bo Kaap District
Bo Kaap is one of the most vibrant and colourful regions in Cape Town, and while not exactly a tourist attraction (people do live here and go about their everyday lives), it is a fun place to visit and take photos. There are also some fun things to do here like visiting their small museum or signing up to do a food tour with a local. I also love the tiny cafes in the area, some which also double as art galleries and boutique stores – with unique African art on sale.
If you are looking for that postcard perfect view of Cape Town, then you need to visit Bloubergstrand at sunset. Also known locally as Sunset Beach, this is where you will get the most jaw dropping views looking over the bay at Cape Town and Table Mountain just as the sun is setting. Watch on as kite boarders do flips just off shore, young kids play in the sand and Cape Town starts to light up like a Christmas tree. An incredible experience and one of the most beautiful places to visit in Cape Town for sure.
Arguably the best beach in Cape Town, Camps Bay is a playground for the rich and famous. This is where you will see the highest concentrations of luxury cars outside of LA, and homes that are so magnificent it feels like everyone here has one The Lottery. The beach really is stunning, with a backdrop of Table mountain, Lions head and the 12 apostles mountain range. There are some great restaurants lining the promenade and it’s beautiful here both day and night.
Constantia Wine Route
You can’t visit South Africa and not go wine tasting. Not only is Constantia a top wine growing region, but it’s also one of the nicest places to visit in Cape Town and is even reachable on one of those open top tours of the city! It must be one of the only wine-growing regions in the world that is so close to a major city and accessible by public bus! You can plan your visit on the Wine Route website – there are too many for me to go into detail! But do be sure to go to Beau Constantia Winery – the views are unbeatable! While Stellenbosch is the better know wine region, Constantia is cloer to the city!
If Camps Bay is the home to the rich and famous…it’s probably because they have not discoverd Noordoek. One of the longest, widest and whitest beaches you will ever set your eyes on, this beach is also one of the most beautiful and untouched you will ever visit. The water is icy, the sand can be burning hot and there really isn’t that much around…but that all adds to the charm of Noordhoek. It’s hard to explain what’s so special about this place, but once you get there. you’ll know what I’m taking about!
Chapman’s Peak Drive
One of the most scenic drive, probably in the whole world, unfolds before your astonished eyes as you slowly drive up between Noordhoek and Hout Bay.
The winding 9km route, skirts around the rocky coastline of Chapman’s Peak, and has plenty of vantage points to witness some spectacular marine scenery. The lucky ones have been known to spot Southern white whales and dolphins, mainly between the months of June to December.
One of the most unique places to visit in Cape Town is Boulder’s Beach, near Simon’s town, which is the breeding site of the endangered African penguins. To walk around in this colony of nearly 3000 birds is an experience in itself, as you watch them and their adorable babies wade in the ocean and gaze at you from their burrows.
World of Birds
This is easily the biggest bird park in the whole of Africa, housing over 3000 birds of 400 species from all parts of the world. The birds are dramatically showcased in a spacious and free flying environment, which allows visitors to interact closely with them.
Located in Hout Bay in a tropical 4 hectare garden with the famed Table Mountain in the background, the bird park is a true haven for photographers and birding enthusiasts.
One of our final picks for the most beautiful places to visit in Cape Town has to be Muizenberg Beach and all the colourful beach huts that line the beach. This is one of the most popular beaches for surfing in Cape Town – although I would think twice about going swimming once you see all the signs for Great White Sharks! Better off going for a walk down the beach and stopping off for some traditional fish and chips in one of the cafes on the promenade!
The city of Cape Town is strategically located on the coast and enjoys the reputation as a place which offers stunning scenery, exceptional food and luxurious accommodation options. It is also the site of some interesting museums and art galleries.
The areas around Cape Town are known for some dramatic coastline views, especially the Cape Peninsula, which is the meeting point of the Atlantic and Indian oceans. For the first timer, it is indeed a pleasure to explore the exquisite hidden beaches and coves with some great views thrown in for good measure. These are just a few of the most beautiful places to visit in Cape Town…you’ll have to visit yourself to figure out the rest!
This was a guest post written by Jyotsna Ramani, a travel writer and blogger who runs the site Wander With Jo. You can follow her travels on Facebook or Instagram or read more about her South African adventures on her blog.