Top 10 Things To Do In Cape Town
Table Mountain, Cape Town
The Mother City is brimming with an endless array of activities and things to do. From the art and culture scene to its unrivalled natural beauty – Cape Town and its surrounding areas is in a class of its own when it comes to entertainment options. With that in mind, we’ve compiled list of the top 10 things to do in Cape Town, for locals and tourists alike.
1. Zeitz MOCAA
Zeitz MOCCA Museum of Contemporary Art Africa
Housed in the historical landmark old grain silo at the V&A Waterfront, the Zeitz MOCAA Museum of Contemporary Art Africa is the largest art museum in Africa, and the largest museum in the world showcasing the art of Africa and its diaspora. View the incredible collection of work from all over Africa and beyond, showcased over nine floors and 100 gallery spaces. You’ll want to set aside a full day to explore and get lost in an endless collection of art by award-winning artists like Mary Sibanda, Frances Goodman, Kendell Geers, Nicholas Hlobo and William Kentridge. The museum also houses a bookshop, restaurant, reading rooms and a stunning rooftop garden.
2. Cape Town Diamond Museum
Cape Town Diamond Museum, Clock Tower Presinct
Experience the dazzling world of diamonds with a guided tour through the Cape Town Diamond Museum where you’ll learn about the world’s most precious gem and its journey from creation at the core of the Earth to the mine and eventually to the polished diamond set in jewellery pieces. See magnificent replicas of some of the world’s most famous diamonds including The Cullinan, The Hope and The Taylor Burton Diamond. The museum is conveniently located at the Clock Tower precinct at the V&A Waterfront, and is open daily from 9am to 9pm.
3. Robben Island
World heritage site, Robben Island
The Historical Robben Island is a powerful symbol for the triumph of the human spirit and a glimpse into South Africa’s troubled past. This world heritage site was home to the prison that houses many political prisoners under apartheid, with the most famous being Nelson Mandela. Enjoy a short ferry ride to Robben Island, which departs from the V&A Waterfront, and enjoy the beautiful views of the Mother City, and if you’re lucky you might even spot some dolphins, penguins or seals frolicking along the way. On the island, visit Madiba’s prison cell and tour the maximum security prison with an ex-Robben Island prisoner.
4. V&A Waterfront
The V&A Waterfront, Cape Town
Loved by tourists and local alike, the V&A Waterfront has it all – from the finest luxury restaurants and international brand retail stores, to yacht cruises and an endless array of entertainment. The Watershed Market is filled some of South Africa’s finest arts and crafts – from ceramics and textiles to fashion and jewellery created by the country’s most exciting artists. There is also an artisanal food market right next door. Be sure to wander over to the Silo District too, across the Clock Tower bridge, to their most recent addition of shops and restaurants.
5. High Tea at Mount Nelson
High tea at the Mount Nelson Hotel, affectionately known as The Pink Lady
High tea at the Pink Lady, as the Mount Nelson Hotel is affectionately known, is a bucket list experience when visiting or living in Cape Town. Choose from their morning, afternoon or evening tea options, and enjoy an indulgent feast with decadent cakes, pastries and sandwiches in luxurious surroundings while listening to live piano music.
6. Boulder’s Beach
Swim with African penguins at the famous Boulder’s Beach in Simon’s Town
Swim with African penguins at the famous Boulder’s Beach in Simon’s Town, which is the only place in the world where you get close to these smartly dressed, waddling birds. This colony of penguins settled here in 1982, between the large granite boulders that protect the beach from wind and large waves. Currently, the population is estimated between 2000 and 3000 birds. The beach is part of the Table Mountain National Park Marine Protected Area, ensuring it is safe and clean and the penguins are protected. While you’re in Simon’s Town, be sure to also visit the South African Navy’s largest naval base and an authentic wartime submarine.
7. Botanical Gardens
Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens, named “International Garden of the Year”
Named “International Garden of the Year” by the International Garden Tourism Awards Body in 2015, Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens has perfectly manicured lawns that spread out from the foot of Table Mountain. Pack a picnic basket, join a free guided tour, have lunch at the Moyo restaurant or simply go exploring on your own. Lookout for the 130m-long treetop canopy walk, aptly called the Boomslang, which snakes above the arboretum, giving you an aerial view of the gardens and parts of Cape Town. This unique feature was declared the most Beautiful Object in South Africa at the 2015 Design Indaba.
8. Intaka Island & Ferry Tour
Wetland and bird sanctuary at Intaka Island
A mere 10 min drive from the city centre, Century City is best known for Africa’s third-largest shopping mall, Canal Walk. The hub is also home to over 120 species of birds and 212 indigenous plants in its 16-hectare wetland and bird sanctuary at Intaka Island. Hop aboard a ferry boat trip around the 8km canals or go on a guided walk to view interesting architecture and learn interesting facts about the birdlife you encounter along the way.
9. District Six Museum
The District Six Museum, established in 1994
The District Six Museum was appropriately established in 1994, when South Africa became a free, democratic nation. It showcases the once lively multiracial area and colourful hub for musicians, artists and ‘good’ and ‘bad’ gangsters, that was destroyed during apartheid in the 1960s and 1970s, its 60,000 inhabitants forcibly removed. The museum is housed inside a former Methodist Mission Church and home interiors have been recreated alongside photographs, recordings and testimonials, all of which are incredibly moving.
10. Hop On Hop Off Bus
Open-top double decker red bus, over 50 destinations
Explore Cape Town on the iconic open-top double decker red bus that takes you to over 50 of Cape Town’s top attractions where you can hop on and off at your leisure. Table Mountain, Camps Bay Beach, Green Point Point, Company’s Garden, and so many more exciting destinations. It’s one of the easiest and most enjoyable ways to explore the Mother City, especially if you’re in Cape Town without a car, plus it offers audio information about the journey in 15 different languages.
A Smorgasbord of Entertainment
There are so many exciting things to do and places to explore in Cape Town, many of which are located within close proximity of one another. The Cape Town Diamond Museum’s central location is ideal for those looking to explore the V&A Waterfront and central Cape Town area. Book your tour today to avoid disappointment.