Don't Leave Cape Town Without...
With upwards of a million foreign tourists visiting Cape Town every year, it is difficult to pin down the perfect itinerary or to list each and every exciting activity. But there are a few places that simply cannot be missed. For your own sake and for all those friends back home that are going to ask you about that cable car ride up Table Mountain and those white sand beaches, here are a few of our favourite.
Don't Leave Cape Town Without Exploring...
1. Table Mountain National Park
Table Mountain National Park stretches from Signal Hill to Cape Point and includes both the mountains and the beaches that make Cape Town such a tourist drawcard. If you want to do the fun but strenuous bucket list activities, join the thrill-seekers and paraglide off Signal Hill or abseil off Table Mountain. If you are more in touch with your sane side, take the rotating cable car to the top of Table Mountain and you get to look down on everyone. You also get to look down on Robben Island, Cape Town Stadium and the Victoria & Alfred Waterfront.
At the other end of the National Park is Cape Point Nature Reserve and getting there is half the fun, passing as it does some of Cape Town's best beaches, including Boulders Beach and the penguin colony.
2. The Cape Winelands
Grapes and the wine industry came to Cape Town with the Dutch settlers and are as old as Cape Town itself. Simon van der Stel, the first governor of the Cape Colony took a keen interest in wine production and thanks to him it achieved a reputation for quality across Europe. Stellenbosch is named after him and today the Stellenbosch wine route is one of the biggest tourist attractions in the Western Cape.
By 1692, the French Huguenot settlers had arrived in the Cape to escape religious persecution and many were allocated farms in what is now called Franschhoek. The Franschhoek Wine Valley is surrounded by towering mountains and, perhaps due to this, has retained its small village atmosphere. It is a favourite with locals and tourists alike and hosts many food and wine festivals including the annual Franschhoek Bastille Festival.
Closer to the city is the Constantia Wine Route, home to Groot Constantia, South Africa's oldest wine farm. This wine route offers a hop-on hop-off bus that will allow you to visit Groot Constantia, Eagles Nest and Beau Constantia.
3. The Victoria & Alfred Waterfront
Part working harbour, part tourist mecca the V&A Waterfront is home to the Two Oceans Aquarium, a not-to-be-missed family affair that will keep young and old entertained and educated. It would take days to enjoy all the V&A has to offer and many visitors return time and again to enjoy the indoor/outdoor experience no matter the time of day or mood of the weather.
4. Boulders Beach
One of those beaches that you will pass on the way to Cape Point is home to a colony of Jackass Penguins and it will be all you can do to avoid being chased by one. However, it is one of Cape Town's best beaches with brilliant white sand, warm water and endless opportunities for a selfie with the world's cutest bird. With very few opportunities worldwide to socialise with the Jackasses, it gets busy and the beach access is limited, so go early.
5. Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens
Kirstenbosch was bequeathed to the Government in 1902 by Cecil John Rhodes. Not only a visual feast for the plant enthusiast but also a take your own culinary feast on the rolling lawns, the perfect picnic spot under the backdrop of the eastern slopes of Table Mountain. Kirstenbosch Summer Sunset Concerts recently hosted Cat Stevens and must surely be one of the top outdoor music venues. Kirstenbosch is the eastern gateway to Table Mountain with a choice of Nursery Ravine and Skeleton Gorge as well-trodden hiking trails that lead to either the dams on top of the mountain, Maclear's Beacon (highest point on Table Mountain) and even the cable station.
6. Mzoli's & Township Tours
Township tours are becoming more and more popular as tourists search for more immersive travel experiences. There is a growing trend towards taking part, getting involved. Mix with locals and learn about our culture and way of life. Volunteer tourism (voluntourism) although of debatable value is a growing trend. There are many township tour operators in Cape Town with all kinds of options, but one of the most popular is a visit to Mzoli's. Basically, a giant braai (barbeque) with the locals, which allows you to eat, drink and mingle.