cape town travel guide - the top thing

The Cape Town Travel Guide

Written: The Top Thing Staff | July 10, 2023

1. Admire the view from atop Table Mountain

The cable car ride up Table Mountain offers awe-inspiring panoramic views of Cape Town and its surroundings. The city stretches out below, framed by the vast expanse of the Atlantic Ocean and beaches. Visitors are often left speechless as they take in the breathtaking sunset scene.

On the mountain slopes, a unique array of flora and fauna awaits discovery. From vividly colored fynbos to elusive dassies, there’s an abundance of natural beauty to behold in Cape Town. This makes it an ideal spot for nature enthusiasts and photographers alike.

Table Mountain boasts several hiking trails that cater to different fitness levels. Whether it’s a leisurely stroll or a more challenging hike, each path promises stunning scenery at every turn. Hikers can revel in the ever-changing landscape while soaking up the fresh air and tranquility.

2. Embark on a food safari to the Bo-Kaap

The Bo-Kaap is a vibrant and culturally rich neighborhood in Cape Town city, offering an immersive experience for food enthusiasts.

  • Explore the colorful streets and vibrant culture of Cape Town: Wander through the iconic cobblestone streets adorned with brightly painted houses, immersing yourself in the unique atmosphere of this historical city.
  • Indulge in traditional Cape Malay cuisine: Sample an array of aromatic dishes that are emblematic of the Cape Malay heritage. From fragrant curries to sweet treats like koesisters, each dish tells a story of cultural fusion and tradition in Cape Town, South Africa.
  • Learn about the city’s rich history and heritage: Engage with locals or visit one of the many museums to gain insight into the captivating history of this neighborhood, from its origins as a multicultural hub during colonial times to its present-day significance.

Visitors can also partake in cooking classes to learn how to prepare authentic Cape Malay dishes or enjoy meals at local restaurants, cafes, and food stalls offering fresh produce and delectable brunch options. Rooftop bars in Cape Town provide stunning views of both this unique district and Table Mountain – making it an ideal spot for enjoying delicious cuisine while taking in breathtaking scenery.

3. Taste Cape wine

Venture to the renowned vineyards in Stellenbosch and Franschhoek, where centuries-old winemaking traditions blend with modern techniques. These regions boast a rich tapestry of award-winning wines against breathtaking backdrops of rolling hills and lush valleys.

Engage in immersive wine tastings that offer a sensorial journey through the diverse varietals, from robust reds to crisp whites. Delve into cellar tours led by passionate winemakers who share insights into the meticulous art of crafting each bottle.

Uncover hidden gems off the beaten path, such as boutique wineries or family-owned estates, for an intimate glimpse into Cape Town’s thriving wine culture. Whether you’re a novice or a connoisseur, a tour of Cape Town promises an unforgettable exploration of South Africa’s world-class viticulture.

Indulge in local culinary delights at vineyard restaurants where expertly curated menus complement the exquisite wines. Savor sumptuous dishes while soaking up panoramic views of sprawling vineyards—a true feast for all senses.

Immerse yourself in cultural events like harvest festivals or wine auctions which provide an authentic taste of Cape Town’s vibrant winemaking heritage. Engaging with locals and fellow enthusiasts on the tour adds depth to your appreciation for this timeless tradition.

4. Join the crowds at the V&A Waterfront

The V&A Waterfront in Cape Town offers the best tour for visitors to enjoy.

  • Shop at diverse retail outlets and craft markets in Cape Town, offering everything from luxury brands to locally crafted souvenirs.
  • Dine at waterfront restaurants in Cape Town that serve up the best array of fresh seafood dishes, providing a delightful culinary experience with stunning views.
  • Discover entertainment options including live music performances, boat cruises, and tours along the picturesque harbor in Cape Town.

This bustling neighborhood near the city center is not only a shopper’s paradise but also an excellent spot for immersing oneself in the local art scene. Cape Town’s vibrant atmosphere makes it the best place to spend leisurely hours exploring unique finds and experiencing authentic South African culture.

5. Tour the Cape Peninsula

Drive along scenic coastal routes with dramatic cliffs, offering breathtaking views of the ocean and rugged landscapes. The journey includes visiting charming seaside towns like Simon’s Town and Kalk Bay in the Cape, where you can explore local markets, art galleries, and enjoy fresh seafood at quaint restaurants.

Witness the meeting of the Indian and Atlantic Oceans at Cape Point, a mesmerizing natural phenomenon that provides an awe-inspiring backdrop for memorable photographs. This iconic landmark in Cape Town is part of the Table Mountain National Park and offers various walking trails for those seeking a closer encounter with nature.

For a deeper cultural experience, consider exploring the townships in the Cape area to gain insight into South Africa’s history and contemporary society. Engage in township tours in Cape Town led by knowledgeable guides who provide valuable context about these vibrant communities.

Embarking on a day tour to explore the Cape Peninsula allows travelers to immerse themselves in diverse experiences within close proximity to Cape Town. Whether it’s savoring panoramic vistas from Chapman’s Peak Drive or encountering wildlife at Boulders Beach in Cape Town, this excursion promises an enriching exploration of one of South Africa’s most captivating regions.

6. Blast away the cobwebs at Cape Point

Hike to the iconic lighthouse for spectacular ocean vistas. The rugged cliffs of Cape Town and panoramic views make this an exhilarating experience, perfect for nature enthusiasts and avid photographers alike.

Encounter wildlife such as baboons and ostriches in their natural habitat in Cape Town. This unique opportunity to observe these animals in Cape Town adds a thrilling dimension to your visit, creating unforgettable memories.

Capture memorable photos at the edge of Africa. Standing at the southernmost tip of Cape Town provides an awe-inspiring backdrop for stunning photographs, making it a must-visit spot for anyone with a passion for photography or adventure.

The hike up to Cape Point offers visitors not only physical activity but also a chance to immerse themselves in nature’s beauty. Witnessing diverse wildlife against the backdrop of breathtaking coastal scenery in Cape Town creates an experience that is both invigorating and enriching.

Exploring Cape Point presents an ideal blend of adventure, wildlife encounters, and picture-perfect moments that will undoubtedly leave a lasting impression on all who visit this remarkable destination.

7. Wander Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden

The Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden in Cape Town offers a delightful experience for visitors, featuring diverse gardens that showcase indigenous plants in their natural habitat. Strolling through these gardens in Cape Town provides an opportunity to appreciate the rich biodiversity of South Africa.

During your visit to Cape Town, you can immerse yourself in the tranquil setting and enjoy picnics amidst lush greenery with captivating mountain views. The garden in Cape Town also hosts outdoor concerts, providing a unique opportunity to appreciate live music while surrounded by breathtaking natural beauty.

Kirstenbosch in Cape Town is renowned for its iconic Centenary Tree Canopy Walkway, commonly known as the Boomslang. This elevated walkway allows visitors to meander through the treetops, offering spectacular panoramic views of the garden and beyond.

Visitors are encouraged to explore various themed gardens within Kirstenbosch, such as the Fragrance Garden and the Medicinal Garden in Cape Town, each offering unique insights into plant diversity and traditional uses.

Notably, this botanical garden in Cape Town has been celebrated as one of the most beautiful in the world and was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2004 due to its significant contributions to conservation efforts and botanical research.

8. Hit the hiking trails

Explore diverse terrains from mountains to coastal paths, immersing yourself in Cape Town’s natural beauty. The city of Cape Town boasts an array of hiking options suitable for all levels of fitness and experience.

Encounter unique flora, including fynbos and proteas, as you venture through the picturesque landscapes. With over 9,000 species of plants found in the Cape Floral Kingdom alone, hikers are treated to a stunning botanical spectacle unlike anywhere else in the world.

Enjoy rewarding hikes with stunning viewpoints that offer panoramic vistas of both the city and its surrounding natural wonders in Cape Town. From Table Mountain to Lion’s Head, each trail in Cape Town promises a breathtaking perspective that makes every step worth it.

9. Put in some towel time at the beach

Relax on sandy shores like Camps Bay or Clifton Beach in Cape Town, where you can bask in the sun and take in the breathtaking backdrop of Table Mountain. These beaches offer a perfect blend of relaxation and natural beauty, making them ideal spots for unwinding during your Cape Town holiday.

Engage in water sports or beach volleyball activities to add an extra element of fun to your day at the beach in Cape Town. Whether it’s surfing, paddleboarding, or simply taking a leisurely stroll along the coast, there are plenty of options to make the most out of your time by the ocean.

For an insider tip, consider staying until sunset in Cape Town for a magical experience known as “sundowner.” Watching the sun dip below the horizon while casting warm hues across the sky is a must-do activity when visiting these picturesque beaches.

10. Wine and dine at the tip of Africa

Indulge in gourmet dining experiences overlooking scenic landscapes. From chic rooftop restaurants with panoramic views to charming seaside eateries, Cape Town offers an array of culinary delights set against breathtaking backdrops.

Pair exquisite meals with locally produced wines. The Western Cape town is renowned for its world-class vineyards, making it the perfect destination for wine enthusiasts. Whether it’s a full-bodied red or a crisp white, there’s a wine to complement every dish.

Revel in romantic sunset dinners by the ocean. Imagine savoring delectable cuisine while watching the sun dip below the horizon, casting a golden glow over the Atlantic Ocean in Cape Town. It’s an experience that combines fine dining with natural beauty in one unforgettable setting.

Cape Town’s local tip for food and wine aficionados lies in its ability to fuse exceptional gastronomy with stunning vistas and vibrant ambiance.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the best time to visit Table Mountain?

The best time to visit Table Mountain in Cape Town is during the early morning or late afternoon when the weather is generally clearer, and you can enjoy stunning views without the peak crowds.

How do I get to Bo-Kaap for a food safari?

You can easily reach Bo-Kaap by walking from central Cape Town. The vibrant neighborhood in Cape Town is just a short distance away and offers an array of culinary delights that reflect its rich cultural heritage.

Are there any must-try wines in Cape Town?

Yes, some must-try wines in Cape Town include Chenin Blanc, Pinotage, and Sauvignon Blanc. You can explore these varieties at various vineyards around Cape Town and experience the unique flavors of South African wine.

What are some popular activities at V&A Waterfront?

At V&A Waterfront in Cape Town, you can indulge in shopping at local boutiques, enjoy live entertainment, savor delicious cuisine at waterfront restaurants, or take a boat trip to Robben Island for historical insights into South Africa’s past.

Which beach near Cape Town is ideal for relaxation?

Camps Bay Beach is an ideal spot near Cape Town for relaxation. With its soft sands and picturesque surroundings framed by mountains, it’s perfect for unwinding or enjoying water activities amidst breathtaking views.