Iconic sites and landscapes, from every perspective.
Cape Town draws the crowds not only for its beauty, but also for its heritage and cultural diversity. There is a rich bounty of things to do to suit every kind of adventurer. And the fact that it’s considered one of the top culinary destinations in the world only enhances its appeal.
With that in mind, we’ve compiled a list of things to do that showcase our magnificent city, from must-visit destinations to exhilarating outdoor activities.
Things to do on Table Mountain
Ride the cable car
Be whizzed to the top of the Table in a revolving cable car. It’s an exciting five-minute journey, especially as you get an up-close look at the rocky, fynbos-covered mountainside near the end of the trip. Once there, it’s all about the views – enjoy them from the restaurant, multiple viewpoints (including a couple of coin-operated binoculars) and three short trails on the “table” or plateau. Explore on our own, or join the free 30-minute guided walks (every hour on the hour, 9am – 3pm) to learn more and discover great photo ops.
Good to know Buy tickets online to skip the queues; tickets are slightly cheaper after 1pm.
Times Until 15 December 2023: Daily, 8.30am – 7pm
16 December – 31 January 2024: Daily, 8am – 8.30pm
1 February – 30 April 2024: Daily, 8am – 7.30pm
1 May – 31 August: Daily, 8.30am – 5pm
Cost Return: R420 (adult), R210 (child); R120 (senior citizen); R250 (student)
Contact 021 424 0015, firstname.lastname@example.org
Cableway weather/operational updates: 021 424 8181
Visit the highest point
At 21 metres above the Upper Cableway Station, Maclear’s Beacon is the official highest point on Table Mountain (1 085m) – and therefore the highest you can get in Cape Town! Signs at the cable station point you towards the beginning of the hike, and from there the 5.5km trail is marked by yellow footprints (around 2 hours, there and back). There is a short section of rocky steps on the edge of the mountain that needs to be negotiated using chains and handholds. If you do the Platteklip and Maclear’s Beacon trails in one go, then you can truly say you’ve hiked from the bottom of Table Mountain to the very top!
Good to know A longer hike – heading southeast from Maclear’s Beacon – will take you to the five dams on top of Table Mountain: Woodhead, Victoria, Alexandra, De Villiers and Hely-Hutchinson, which famously has a white-sand beach (note: this can only be accessed if you ascend the mountain via Skeleton Gorge).
Contact 021 422 1601 (SANParks Kloofnek Office)
TMNP emergency numbers: 086 110 6417, 107 or 021 937 0300
Hike up Lion’s Head
The distinct slope next to Table Mountain, known as Lion’s Head, is Cape Town’s most popular hike and something of a pilgrimage. At 669m, it offers magnificent 360-degree views of the city, Table Mountain and the Twelve Apostles, Table Bay and the Atlantic Seaboard, making it a top spot for Instagrammers. It can get pretty busy, especially around sunset and full moon (bring a headlamp). The trail starts on Signal Hill Drive, at the base of the Forestry Road, and it takes two to three hours (up and down). It’s a fairly easy spiral ascent of 2km, with a bit of climbing near the top using handholds and chains to assist you.
Good to know If you’d prefer to avoid the climbing and chains, a roundabout route (that’s still quite steep) adds half an hour to your hike.
Contact 021 422 1601 (SANParks Kloofnek Office)
TMNP emergency numbers: 086 110 6417, 107 or 021 937 0300
Explore on a mountain scooter
You may have travelled these mountain paths many times before, but have you ever done it on a freewheeler? Scootours’ eco-friendly, nonmotorised, off-road scooters are a unique way of enjoying Table Mountain and Signal Hill. Take in the views and fresh air as you traverse the slopes during a two-hour tour. The two-wheelers are extremely stable (developed to navigate the slopes of the Swiss Alps during summer) and easy to control, making for a family-friendly experience. Kids will love them, but that’s not to say adults won’t get a kick out of the experience as well.
Good to know Kids younger than 10 can’t drive a scooter, but can still have a fun time doubling up with their parents (minimum age 4 years). Scootours also operates on wine farms in Franschhoek and Stellenbosch.
Times Monday – Sunday, 10am; 12.30pm; 3pm
Cost R750 (driver)
Where to find it Kloof Nek Parking Area, Tafelberg Road, Cape Town
Paraglide over the city
Experience Cape Town’s magnificent topography from up high – and get your adrenaline pumping – on one of these tandem adventures. No previous experience of paragliding is necessary – your instructor will run through some guidelines, clip you in securely, and then you’ll be attached to an expert pilot. Once in the air, all you have to do is sit back and relax as you glide from Signal Hill or Lion’s Head to the Sea Point Promenade. Flights last between five and 30 minutes, depending on the wind. In perfect weather, the instructor will show you how to steer so you can fly the paraglider yourself!
Good to know If you’d like inflight videos and photographs, bring R300 cash. Minimum age is 14 years, maximum weight is 135kg.
Times Monday – Sunday, 7.30am – 6pm
Cost R1 500
Where to find it At the end of Signal Hill Drive, Cape Town
Abseil down Table Mountain
The views from the summit of Cape Town’s iconic landmark are spectacular enough; just imagine what you’ll see as you rope your way down the side of Table Mountain. At 1 067 metres above sea level, this is the world’s highest commercial abseil, and it makes for an exhilarating experience as you are lowered 112 metres down the side of the cliff, the vast blue ocean below you, and Lion’s Head and The Twelve Apostles forming a panorama of splendour all around. It takes around an hour, including a safety demo, harnessing up and a 30-minute hike to get back to the top of the mountain afterwards.
Good to know Children are permitted, but there is a 45kg minimum weight. (If a little lighter, a tandem abseil can be booked for an additional R300.) The price of the cable-car tickets is not included.
Times Monday – Sunday, 9.30am – 3.30pm
Where to find it Meet at the top of Table Mountain (next to the big wheel with cables).
Explore Kirstenbosch Gardens
Founded in 1913, Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden is 528 hectares of beauty and diversity, 36 hectares of which is cultivated and the rest being wild. Situated on the eastern slopes of Table Mountain, the garden has over 7 000 species of flora, plus many birds and small animals. It’s idyllic for scenic strolls in tranquil surrounds, with the Boomslang Canopy Walk a definite highlight for those views! Pack a picnic (or pick up a catered basket at the on-site eateries) and settle in for the afternoon, while the kids roam free, exploring streams, climbing rocks and enjoying the wide-open space. Kirstenbosch has five themed trails, which explore the forest and fynbos; it is also the starting point for the Skeleton Gorge and Nursery Ravine hikes to the top of Table Mountain.
Good to know If you’re in Cape Town in summer, don’t miss the legendary sunset concerts on Sundays and the Galileo Open-Air Cinema screenings once or twice a week.
Times Monday – Sunday, 8am – 7pm (September – March)
Monday – Sunday, 8am – 6pm (April – August)
Cost Adults: R100 (SA + SADC); R140 (other African residents); R220 (international)
R40 (children 6 – 17 years)
R60 (students over 18 years with a valid SA-institution card)
Free (children under 6 + senior citizens on Tuesdays, except public holidays)
Contact 021 799 8783, email@example.com
Concert information: 021 799 8620
Dining or picnics: 021 797 4883 (Fynkos Tea Room); 021 762 9585 (Moyo)
Where to find it Rhodes Drive, Newlands, Cape Town
Things to do in the V&A Waterfront
Tour the Two Oceans Aquarium
This world-class aquarium is a respected conservation and research facility that’s home to thousands of sea animals of all shapes, sizes and colours, uniquely covering both Atlantic and Indian Ocean species. It’s an exciting peek into life off our shores, with a mesmerising swaying kelp forest, schools of shiny fish swimming in unison, gliding turtles and even sharks, which can also be viewed from within a 10-metre glass tunnel. There are more curious creatures too, such as jellies, octopus, seahorses, pufferfish, moray eels and amphibians. The popular penguin exhibit is always a hit, and kids can get up close to anemones and starfish in the Touch Pool.
Good to know You can learn to scuba dive in the tanks (PADI certification) or have a taste of it with the Discover Scuba experience (suitable for anyone age 10 and older).
Times Monday – Sunday, 9.30am – 6pm
Cost R235 (adults); R175 (adults after 3pm)
R175 (teens, students, pensioners); R135 (after 3pm)
R110 (children 4 – 13 years); R85 (after 3pm)
Contact 021 418 3823, firstname.lastname@example.org
Where to find it Dock Road, V&A Waterfront
See top art and architecture at Zeitz MOCAA
Touted as Cape Town’s “Tate Modern”, it’s impossible to miss the impressive circular structure that houses the Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa when visiting the Waterfront. Its signature raw-concrete bulk and convex windows tower over nearby buildings and ships in Cape Town’s docklands. Known for its cutting-edge exhibitions and for showcasing and researching modern African art, the building itself is a showstopper, too – 56 old grain silos that received an eye-catching makeover courtesy of the UK’s Heatherwick Studio in 2017. The Zeitz MOCAA’s many and varied spaces over nine floors include the cathedral-like Atrium, Centres for Costume, Photography and The Moving Image, a rooftop sculpture garden and a shop stocked with arty items, as well as a café and sixth-floor bar with fabulous views.
Good to know Free entry on Wednesday mornings for SA and African citizens (with ID).
Times Tuesday – Sunday, 10am – 6pm
Cost R250 (adult)
Free for children and teens
Contact 087 350 4777, email@example.com
Where to find it Silo District, S Arm Road, V&A Waterfront, Cape Town
Take a helicopter flip
To truly appreciate the grandeur of Cape Town’s mountain-strewn, fynbos-covered setting, you’ll need to get high – way up high, cruising at an altitude of around 2 500 feet in a helicopter. The Waterfront is the main heli-port for the Mother City, from where you can book a variety of trips. Cape Helicopters’s scenic flights vary in distance and duration, taking you over the city and harbour, along the Atlantic Seaboard, over Robben Island or all the way to Cape Point and False Bay. Trips to wine estates are available, too, as well special Experience trips such as up the West Coast for a seafood lunch on the beach, to Cape Point or the Winelands for a mountain-top picnic, or on a photographic safari.
Good to know Flights can be shared or booked exclusively. Helicopter flights can also be combined with a boat cruise or other activities, such as mountain biking and golf.
Times Daily, 9am – 5.30pm
Cost R2 200 – R8 250 per person (Cape Town destinations)
From R9 700 per person (Winelands destinations)
Where to find it 36 East Pier Road, V&A Waterfront, Cape Town
Enjoy a sunset cruise
For quintessential Cape Town sundowners, hop aboard a luxury teak-decked catamaran to watch the sun go down. Recline on the trampolines in front, or relax on comfortable cushion seating and be sure to have a camera ready, as the cruise offers stunning views of the city with Table Mountain as its backdrop. The yacht leaves from the Waterfront and heads out into Table Bay and along the Atlantic Seaboard, returning 90 minutes later… in time to see the first stars appear and the moon rise in the velvety blue sky.
Good to know A complimentary glass of bubbly is included, and the onboard cash/card bar serves other drinks (or BYO alcohol and pay corkage). Morning and midday trips, as well as private charters and a helicopter flight combo, can also be booked.
Times Monday – Sunday, one hour prior to sunset
Cost R550 per person (1.5 hours)
Where to find it 36 East Pier Road, V&A Waterfront, Cape Town
Visit Robben Island
Hop on one of the ferries (once used to transport staff and prisoners) to Robben Island for a guided tour – some of which are conducted by former inmates. Once there, you’ll board a bus to visit historical sites such as Robert Sobukwe’s house, the quarries and leper cemetery, a church and Muslim kramat, and learn all there is to know about the island’s 500-year history, culminating in a visit to the prison and Nelson Mandela’s cell. Keep an eye out for dolphins and seals along the way, as they often swim alongside the boat. The views of the city and Table Mountain alone are worth the four-hour trip.
Times Monday – Sunday, 9am; 11am; 1pm (all year) + 3pm (September – April)
Cost South Africans: R400 (adult); R210 (children and teens)
International visitors: R600 (adult); R310 (children and teens)
Where to find it Nelson Mandela Gateway, Clocktower Precinct, Fish Quay Road, V&A Waterfront, Cape Town
SUP around the Waterfront
Stand-up paddleboarding (SUPing) has seen a surge in popularity over the past decade, and if you’d like to try your hand at it, the Waterfront’s calm, wave-free canals are the perfect training ground. You’ll be provided with all the gear and introductory training – expect a few tumbles into the shallow water – and once you’ve mastered the art of balancing on the board, it’s time to set off on a three-kilometre scenic loop of the private waterways. Should you require it, a guide will accompany you; if you already know how to SUP, you can simply rent a board and cruise the canals, or even rent one for a weekend getaway.
Good to know Children under 16 years old will need adult supervision or hire an instructor.
Times Daily, 8am – 6pm (summer); 9am – 5pm (winter)
Cost R250 (1 hour)
Where to find it Battery Park, V&A Waterfront, Cape Town (parking access from Alfred Road, just behind City Lodge)
Browse the Oranjezicht City Farm Market
Managed by the people who revived the Oranjezicht urban farm, OZCF is a cheerleader for local, home-grown produce. Take your pick from the rainbow harvest of in-season veggies, herbs and fruit (which may include some rare and heirloom beauties), alongside cheeses, breads and bakes, preserves, smoked fish, charcuterie and more. Stay for a leisurely meal, with a variety of global cuisines on offer (Korean fried chicken, bao, tacos, galettes, pizza, Vietnamese street food, traditional Jewish food, Richard Bosman’s meat pies, pastéis de nata) – with special diets well catered for. There’s plenty of outdoor seating, a bar area for craft beers and cocktails, space for kids and dogs, and a real buzz.
Good to know You can also visit the Oranjezicht farm at 87 Upper Orange Street on weekdays to stock up on fresh produce.
Times Saturday, 8.15am – 2pm
Sunday, 9am – 2pm
Wednesday, 5pm – 9pm (October – March)
Contact 083 628 3426, firstname.lastname@example.org
Where to find it Haul Road, off Granger Bay Boulevard (or Beach Road), V&A Waterfront, Cape Town
Feast at the Time Out Market
Time Out Markets, which began in Lisbon in 2014 and spread to New York, Miami, Chicago, Montreal, Dubai and more, gather the best of the best under one roof to reflect the cool culinary and cultural trends of a city. On a quay overlooking Table Mountain, the Mother City’s Time Out Market will feature well-known chefs and mixologists wielding their magic in 13 kitchens and four bars. The names announced so far include Bertus Basson’s De Vrije Burger, John van Zyl’s The Melting Pot, Vusi Ndlovu’s ‘Fires Of Africa’ concept, Peter Tempelhoff’s Ramenhead, Matt Manning’s Culture Bar, Barakat (Cape Malay fine-dining from the chefs behind Happy Uncles), plus How Bao Now, YARD pizzas and Unframed ice cream. With a stage for live performances and plenty of seating inside and out, it’s sure to be a cooking spot this summer.
Opening Sunday – Wednesday, 11am – 10pm
Thursday – Saturday, 11am – 11pm
Where to find it Dock Road, V&A Waterfront, Cape Town
Ride the Cape Wheel
An exhilarating experience for kids and a source of sweet nostalgia for adults, the Cape Wheel – in its new ocean-side location – delivers 360-degree views from 40 metres up. In the comfort of your air-conditioned glass cabin, play “I Spy” as you spot Waterfront landmarks, and see across the stadium, Signal Hill, Table Mountain and the city. It need not be said, but the views at twilight are perhaps the most magical. There is also a “Dine in the Sky” option, with a picnic basket (BYO food), table and double the time.
Good to know Each cabin seats up to six adults and two are wheelchair accessible. No booking is required, except for the VIP gondola, with tinted windows, leather seats, a glass floor, music and a complimentary bottle of bubbly (or non-alcoholic option).
Times Monday – Sunday, 10am – 10pm
Cost R175 (SA adult); R250 (international adult)
R95 (children 4 – 17 years + SA pensioners until 6pm)
Free (children up to 4 years)
Sky Dining: R320 (adult); R150 (child)
Contact 087 470 0696, email@example.com
Where to find it The Lawns, Breakwater Boulevard, V&A Waterfront, Cape Town
Have freewheelin’ fun at Battery Park + Rollercade
If your kid loves whizzing around on wheels – be it two, four or eight wheels – this 1.2-hectare urban park at the Waterfront is the perfect safe space to do it. Apart from the world-class skatepark (with a pump hump, quarter pipes, layback banks, ledges and rails), it also has a scooter path and space to rollerblade, a kiddies playground and a multi-court for basketball, netball or soccer games. Plus, for old-school roller-skating (or when the weather’s bad), inside the parking garage is Rollercade – a spacious rink complete with music, disco lights and mirror balls, a cafe, pool tables and games arcade.
Good to know Rollercade operates two-hour sessions and booking is essential to reserve your skates.
Times Park: Monday – Sunday, 6am – 6pm
Rollercade: Wednesday – Friday, 1pm – 6pm
Saturday + Sunday, 10am – 6pm
Friday + Saturday, 7pm – 9pm (over-16s only).
Cost Park: free
Rollercade: R150; R80 (with own skates); R40 (spectators)
Contact 021 408 7600, firstname.lastname@example.org
072 064 3963, email@example.com
Where to find it Dock Road, V&A Waterfront, Cape Town
Rollercade: P3 (third floor), Battery Park Parking (off Alfred Road or Dock Road)
Paddle the waterways at sunset
As adventures go, kayaking – by night – on the Waterfront canals may be the most tranquil and unexpectedly fascinating after-dark activity in town. At this time of day, you’ll share the water with very few other craft (but perhaps with a Cape otter, if you’re lucky). You’ll drift under bridges, past the glittering lights of upmarket apartments and hotels that line these waterways, stare up at the city’s high-rises and even catch glimpses of the harbour and Table Mountain. The kayaks sport colourful lights, adding to the romance as the water reflects your shimmering glow. The hour-long trip stretches between One&Only Cape Town and the Westin, adjacent to the CTICC. The paddling is easy and there are no waves or rough waters.
Good to know Children 8 – 15 years are permitted if accompanied by an adult. Kayaks seat one or two people.
Times Monday – Sunday, 6pm; 7pm; 8pm
Cost R450 per person
Where to find it Battery Park jetty, Dock Road, V&A Waterfront, Cape Town
Things to do on the Sea Point Promenade
Swim at the Sea Point Pavilion
One of Cape Town’s most prized public spaces, the Pavilion and its pool have been serving the community since 1914. On the very edge of the Atlantic Ocean, the city’s only Olympic-sized saltwater swimming pool comes to life early in summer. Triathletes, squad swimmers and, rumour has it, even actual Olympians, train here. Later, the leisure swimmers, sunseekers, families and pensioners filter in to enjoy the pools, picnic on the surrounding lawns and enjoy the view. Besides the large main pool, there are two shallower pools perfect for kids to splash around in, and a diving pool. There are change rooms with lockers, toilets and showers on site, and lifeguards on duty to ensure things remain safe and above board.
Good to know Up Cycles runs a bike-hire booth at the Pavilion, and there are several food vendors.
Times Tuesday – Sunday + public holidays, 7am – 7pm (8am – 5pm in winter)
Monday from 12pm; closes at 1pm on 24 + 25 December
Cost R34,50 (adult); per month R421
R20 (child under 16 years old); per month R184
Free (pensioners and toddlers)
Contact 021 814 1051
Where to find it Lower Beach Road, Sea Point, Cape Town
Ride a tandem bicycle
Looking for a novel way to start or finish your day? Hire a bicycle built for two (with your partner, bestie or kid) and take a gentle ride to your favourite spot along the Promenade, soaking up the fresh air and the sights and sounds. Or explore further along the stunning Atlantic coastline and head to Cape Town’s iconic beaches. These fabulous freewheeling experiences are offered by Atlantic Outlook (also known for its guided hiking trips and kayaking with dolphins experience). For the tandem rides, choose your route and your stops within your time slot, setting off from the base at Granger Bay at the Waterfront and going as far as Camps Bay if you like.
Good to know Children from age 8 are welcome to join the ride, partnering with an adult. Snacks and drinks at the stops are not included in the price.
Times Daily, 9am – 6pm
Cost R400 for two people (Classic Promenade Cruise)
R1 250 for two people (Kayaking & Bike Experience)
Where to find it Granger Bay parking garage (next to the Oranjezicht City Farm Market), Granger Bay Boulevard, V&A Waterfront, Cape Town
Kayak along the Atlantic Seaboard
Paddling on the open ocean evokes a sense of freedom and adventure. This two-hour guided kayaking trip departs from Three Anchor Bay beach below the Sea Point Promenade and ventures along the coastline to Bantry Bay or, in the other direction, into Table Bay and towards the Waterfront – depending on the weather and your preference. You’ll cruise past shipwrecks and dolphins, perhaps encountering penguins, seals and sunfish. Plus, you’ll get to see what the city and its glorious mountains look like from the sea. The Sunset Adventure adds the magnificent skyscapes of sundowner time.
Good to know Minimum age is 6 years old, maximum weight is 120kg, and “average” fitness levels are required (no previous paddling experience needed).
Times Daily, 7am; 9am; 5pm
Where to find it 179 Beach Road, Three Anchor Bay, Cape Town
Explore the Lion Trail
A five-hour urban nature adventure, this guided excursion is designed to take in the best views of the Mother City – heading through Sea Point, up the slopes of Signal Hill, skirting Lion’s Head and descending through the forests of The Glen, before ending up on the seashore at Maiden’s Cove near Clifton (an icy dip in the Atlantic is optional). The final leg is an e-scooter ride along the stunning coastal road and Sea Point Promenade. Along the way you’ll stop for two gourmet picnics, complete with mimosas and Insta-worthy vistas. The tour is brought to life through fascinating stories on Cape Town’s history, nature and people, ensuring that even locals will learn a lot about the city’s character.
Good to know Minimum age is 10 years old. Minimum booking of two people required.
Times Monday – Saturday, 8am – 1pm
Cost R1 050 per person (including picnics and e-scooter ride)
Where to find it Green Point Lighthouse, 100 Beach Road, Mouille Point, Cape Town
eScooter along the Promenade
A battery-powered, fat-tyred electric scooter is just the thing for cruising Sea Point’s glorious seaside strip – you’ll cover more ground in less time, with less effort. Breeze past the dog walkers, joggers and skaters while taking in the scenery. The scooters come in different sizes, and are suitable for anyone five years and older. The entire Promenade, from Granger Bay to Bantry Bay and beyond, is yours to explore, or pop into the Green Point Park for a change of scenery if you like. ElecTrek also offers a guided Cape Town food tour on your escooter, stopping at some popular spots, or in the Winelands with stops at three Helderberg farms.
Good to know An ID is required to rent scooters. E-bikes are also available to hire.
Times Daily, 9.15am – 6pm
Cost R200 (1 hour)
R300 (2 hours)
Contact 082 494 3720, firstname.lastname@example.org
Where to find it Queens Beach Circle parking lot, Beach Road, Sea Point
Shop: Surrey Place, off Beach Road, Mouille Point
Cruise the coast on an efoil
It’s a little like surfing, but more hi-tech… and less strenuous. Electric hydrofoils (or efoils) are surfboards with an electric propeller attached to a large fin underneath, that allows a foiler to ride above the water – or “fly” (to use the lingo). It takes about an hour-and-a-half to learn the ropes – you’ll be supplied with a wetsuit, helmet and lifevest, and after a short intro and safety briefing, head into the water for your lesson with the pro. Before you know it, you’ll be standing up, cruising and carving above the ocean on your emission-free Fliteboard. Once you know what you’re doing, you can take two-hour guided tours of the coastline.
Good to know Efoiling is also available in the Winelands, at Devonbosch Dam in Stellenbosch. The minimum age is 11 years and maximum weight 100kg. You don’t need to be especially fit or athletic for this activity. A 6-hour package can be used on a single day or split up into multiple lessons.
Times Daily, 8am – 6pm
Cost R1 500 per hour per person
R7 500 for 6 hours
Where to find it Various locations including Clifton, V&A Waterfront, Hout Bay or Simon’s Town, Cape Town.
Book 5 hours
Book 10 hours
Things to do in the Cape of Good Hope
Visit Cape Point
The 7 750-hectare Cape Point Nature Reserve protects the extraordinary landscape of the Cape of Good Hope. The main attraction is Cape Point, where visitors catch the Flying Dutchman funicular to visit the lighthouses, and follow walking paths to viewpoints – one looks over the actual “Cape of Good Hope”. Elsewhere in the reserve, you can learn about the rich history, flora and fauna of the area at the Buffelsfontein Visitor Centre, enjoy a stroll on one of the many stretches of pristine beach, or head out on a more adventurous hike (where you might encounter some wildlife such as buck or ostriches).
Good to know The resident chacma baboons can be aggressive – keep your food hidden and do not feed or threaten them. There are no lifesavers on duty, and the sea is generally not suitable for swimming due to strong currents.
Times Daily, 6am – 6pm (October – March); 7am – 5pm (April – September)
Cost Cash-free entry
SA residents: R100 (adult), R60 (child, 2 – 11 years)
SADC nationals: R200 (adult), R100 (child)
International visitors: R400 (adult), R200 (child)
Contact Visitor Centre: 021 712 7471
Funicular: 021 780 9010, email@example.com
Where to find it Plateau Road (M65), via M4 from Simon’s Town, Cape Town
Hike in the Cape of Good Hope
There are several hiking trails in the Cape Point Nature Reserve. There are three in particular we’d recommend:
Lighthouse Keeper’s Trail (1 hour): This dramatic path affords invigorating high-angle views of the rocky cliffs that drop away to a wild, battered coastline. Starting just behind the Upper Funicular Station (at the lighthouse), it’s overlooked by most tourists rushing to get to their next stop. At 3.4km, it’s an easy walk along a narrow path, with historical bunkers, two lighthouses (old and new), thick fynbos and some of that world’s-end atmosphere that makes Cape Point so special.
Antoniesgat Trail (2.5 hours): This trail from Buffels Bay beach leads south to an amazing sea cave in the red- and orange-tinged Rooikrans cliffs. The 3.5km hike is a thrilling walk along one of the wildest sections of the False Bay coastline, beside pounding waves and along the cliffs (with caves and tunnels to explore, if that’s your thing). Note that viewing of Antoniesgat is from above, on a small platform with a sheer drop of around 30 metres (climbing down into the cave is dangerous and not advised unless you’re a skilled rock climber.)
Farmer’s Cliffs Trail (3 hours): This easy-to-follow 8km stone path reveals fantastic views that cannot be seen from your car. It starts 1km outside the reserve at the Smitswinkel Viewpoint parking area and ends on Buffels Bay Beach. The path winds up and down a number of hills – including Kanonkop, with its cannon used back in the day to warn Simon’s Town of approaching ships – and includes some rock-climbing (or boulder-hopping, if you prefer). (Take two cars, leaving one at Buffels and taking the other to the start point.)
Good to know Other day-hiking trails in the reserve include the Shipwreck Trail along the beach at Olifantsbos, the circular Kanonkop Trail (which can include Venus Pools) and the Gifkommetjie Trail. SANParks runs a two-day Cape of Good Hope Trail (34km) with overnighting in the reserve.
Contact Cape Point Buffelsfontein Visitor Centre: 021 712 7471
SANParks Tokai Office: 021 712 7471
TMNP emergency numbers: 086 110 6417, 107 or 021 937 0300
Surrounded by ocean and stunning seascapes, Cape Point has many unspoilt beaches. These are must-sees:
Diaz Beach: Without a doubt one of Cape Town’s most stunning shores – it is literally at the tip of Cape Point (on the western side) and encircled by dramatic cliffs and wild waves. Best of all, it remains largely undisturbed thanks to the 20-minute walk down steep wooden stairs to the white sands. Swimming is off-limits due to the strong currents – also, keep an eye out for baboons along the path. To find it, from the main car park at Cape Point, follow the gravel footpath (the ‘Cape of Good Hope’ walk), which then swings right and becomes a wooden boardwalk.
Buffels Bay: This half-moon bay is on the calmer eastern side of Cape Point, so swimming is possible – and it’s top-notch; you might even be joined by a surfing seal or two. There is also a large tidal pool, great for younger children; rock pools to explore; and braai and picnic spots aplenty on a stretch of lawn (bring your own grid and wood). With powder-soft sand and ocean as far as the eye can see, this rhapsody in blue is well worth the drive and entry fee on a midsummer’s day when all other beaches are crowded.
Platboom: Afrikaans for “flat tree”, Platboom is perhaps the wildest yet most accessible (but also deserted) beach in the Cape Point Nature Reserve, on the western flank of the promontory. If you’re feeling energetic, explore the chalk-white sand dunes and rocky outcrops, or simply take a long, undisturbed stroll along the spellbinding coastline. It’s also a great spot for birdwatching and picnicking (don’t feed the wildlife!). Access runs past Dias Cross, though some folk recommend the hike south from the Gifkommetjie viewpoint.
Explore kelp forest (with seals)
Only visible off our Cape shores, the Great African Seaforest is an underwater wonderland of giant, swaying bamboo kelp, home to myriad creatures, big and small (including pyjama sharks, shy sharks, cat sharks, gully sharks – and octopuses). Immerse yourself in this world on a guided scuba-diving excursion at Pyramid Rock and Partridge Point in False Bay, just a few miles up the coast from Cape Point. The maximum depth is 12 metres, which makes for great visibility and a good choice for beginner divers. The outing is also available as a snorkelling experience, where curious, playful seals play with swimmers on the surface. Afterwards, look forward to a hot shower and lunch.
Good to know Wetsuits and gear are supplied for divers and snorkelers. A scuba certificate is required for diving (you can sign up for a PADI course).
Times Tuesday – Sunday, 9am – 2pm
Cost Diving: R2 700 (two dives)
Snorkelling: R1 200 (one session); R2 200 (two sessions)
Where to find it Pisces Divers, 1 Main Road, Simon’s Town
See Cape Point from the water
For an exhilarating open-ocean adventure, why not visit Cape Point by boat? There are various trips available, suited to different interests and occasions. The scenic eco-tour along the coastline to Cape Point will appeal to leisure travellers (with a visit to Seal Island included), while serious fishermen will relish being in the nutrient-rich waters, up to 40 nautical miles off Cape Point, where tuna abound; there’s also yellowtail and snoek to be hooked (and crayfish in summer). Bait and tackle are provided, and an experienced guide and photographer are optional. Snacks and refreshments are served on board.
Good to know The trips and charters, all sustainability-focused, allow six to seven passengers at a time. All trips are subject to weather conditions; fish species are seasonal.
When Daily, your choice of time
Cost Marine eco-tour: R1 200 per person (two hours); R5 500 per person (private hire)
Fishing: R3 500 per person; R13 500 (private hire)
Contact 083 544 6748, firstname.lastname@example.org
Where to find it Yacht Club Jetty, Wharf Street, Simon’s Town, Cape Town
Tour on two wheels
Sign up for a full-day cycle tour of the Cape of Good Hope. The relaxed e-bike safari in the Cape Point Nature Reserve will have you spotting the resident species – baboons, ostriches, buck and Cape mountain zebra – and hopping off your bike for a closer look at the landmarks and views. Then it’s on to Cape Point itself, where you can visit the lighthouses and enjoy the surroundings at your own pace. Once done, you have the option of going to see the penguins at Boulders Beach in Simon’s Town.
Good to know Included in the 8-hour guided tour is the entrance fee to the reserve, the services of a professional guide, pick-up and drop-off at your accommodation, water and the rental of a helmet and the electric bike. Minimum age is 12 years.
Times Daily, 8.30am – 5pm
Cost R2 150 per person (full-day tour)
Where to find it Cape Point Nature Reserve
Things to do in the South Peninsula
Visit the penguins at Boulders Beach
The preferred haunt of some of the last African penguins on the planet is world-famous and a top tourist spot. Their sanctuary is actually next door, on Foxy Beach, where boardwalks and viewing platforms keep their nests undisturbed. However, the birds also hang out on Boulders Beach, waddling between sunbathers and speeding past swimmers like torpedoes. Apart from the penguins, this wonderful wind-sheltered beach offers amazing swimming: gentle and about as warm as you get in Cape Town. Come early to claim your patch of sand – it’s a small beach, and depending on the tide, it can get even smaller. It’s part of Table Mountain National Park, so there is an entry fee (cashless), and numbers are restricted to prevent overcrowding.
Good to know A kayaking tour to Boulders will give you a different perspective – and be less busy. Penguins can also sometimes be seen at Seaforth Beach and nearby Windmill Beach.
Times Daily, 8am – 6.30pm (October, November, February + March); until 5pm (April – September)
7am – 7.30pm (December + January)
Cost SA citizens: R45 (adult), R25 (child)
SADC nationals: R95 (adult), R50 (child)
International visitors: R190 (adult), R95 (child)
Learn to surf in Muizenberg
Riding the waves is a rush, no matter your age. To learn how, all you need to bring is a swimming costume, towel and a bucket of enthusiasm – Surf Emporium provides the wetsuits and boards. The clubhouse is at Surfers Corner, the best spot in Cape Town (and among the top 10 in the world) to learn the ropes because of the gentle rolling waves, sandy bottom and warmer water. The 90-minute sessions are suited to your skill level, proceed at your pace and can be booked as a private group session (a family, for example). Groms under 10 get special one-on-one “freezer” lessons.
Good to know They also do SUP lessons and rent out surfboards, bodyboards, SUP boards and wetsuits (hourly, daily or weekly rates).
Times Daily, 7am – 6pm
Cost R350 – R450 per person per lesson
R900 – R1 350 per person (four-lesson package)
R385 per child “freezer” lesson; R1 540 per child (5-lesson package)
Explore Kalk Bay Harbour
The colourful fishing boats and red-and-white-striped lighthouse at the tip of a bustling pier is one of the enduring images of this coastline. A popular spot for an early morning or evening amble during summer, in winter the harbour sheds its laidback image and gives new meaning to the phrase “Cape of Storms”, as large waves crash against the jetty and lighthouse. But most days, this is an idyllic spot – you’ll encounter playful resident seals, thieving seagulls and colourful characters, be able to buy fresh-off-the-boat fish to take home for dinner, and indulge in some of the best fish and chips in town at one of the picturesque harbourside restaurants. You’ll come for the harbour, but be tempted to linger longer… The village of Kalk Bay is irresistible with its buzzy, bohemian vibe and myriad shops, galleries and eateries.
Where to find it Main Road, Kalk Bay, Cape Town
Go tidal-pool hopping on the False Bay seaboard
The False Bay coastline has several heavenly tidal pools – all pilgrimage sites for the morning/cold-swim tribe and Instagrammers (the early birds know these east-facing pools are one of the best places to be at sunrise). On hot summer days, they attract families – the calmer, sheltered pools make for safer swimming if you have little ones in tow, and the adjacent rock pools are great for exploring.
St James is Cape Town’s most famous tidal pool – the one you’ll see on the postcards. The Victorian-style bathing huts add a bright splash of happy colour that, along with the aqua waters and children playing in the sand, paints an idyllic seaside-holiday scene. (For a lovely walk, head along the ocean-hugging catwalk to Muizenberg.)
You’ll find Dalebrook nestled between St James and Kalk Bay; it is the most like a “swimming pool”, with steps into the water and no beach. Its unique feature is the large boulder in the middle of the pool, inviting bathers to make like mermaids contemplating the horizon…
Wooley’s Pool is hidden from view, just as you’re leaving Kalk Bay en route to Fish Hoek. It’s smaller and often quieter; it also has a shallow “splash” pool built into a corner of the main pool.
Beautiful and remote Miller’s Point, about 5km beyond Simon’s Town, is a boulder-dotted beach with a stunning tidal pool (complete with water slide), incredible views across the rocky bay, changing rooms and a grassed picnic and braai area. There is a small entry fee on weekends and during peak season.
Pedal a water-bike in Simon’s Town
These state-of-the-art water bikes make “walking on water” as easy as pie. All you need to do is take a seat and pedal away, exactly like you would on a normal bicycle. It’s the best way to view marine life, including seals, penguins (and even whales in season), as well as the picturesque scenery of False Bay. Besides being fun, water bikes are super-stable and don’t require fuel, making them ecofriendly and quiet way to cruise the ocean. The crew are close by, on a nearby guide boat, to take you from Simon’s Town pier, past the naval base, on an ocean adventure. The standard tour is one hour, but 30-minute and two-hour tours can be arranged.
Good to know Minimum age is 13 years, and teens must be accompanied by an adult. Minimum height (to reach the pedals) is 1.5 metres tall; maximum weight is 110kg.
Times Daily, 8.30am; 10am; 11.30am (one-hour tours)
Cost R590 (1 hour)
Where to find it Jetty at 1 Wharf Street, Simon’s Town, Cape Town
Try coasteering in False Bay
If sunning yourself on the beach or wading on the shore is a little tame for your tastes, how about a pirate-style seaside adventure? You’ll make your way along a section of the False Bay coastline, swimming, snorkelling, rock-scrambling and jumping off boulders into the water – all while getting up close to the marine life (and a few penguins) in the wilder sections of the bay. Think kloofing or canyoning, but in an ocean environment. You don’t need to be an athlete but you’ll need to be reasonably fit and agile. You’ll be accompanied by a guide and equipped with a PFD (personal flotation device) and helmet. A wetsuit and booties can be rented.
Good to know Minimum age is 8 years, and there is a 10% discount for under-18s. Private group bookings are available on request, and a picnic lunch can be included.
Times Daily, 9am – 11am
Cost R680 per person (minimum 4 people)
R100 (optional wetsuit hire)
Where to find it Windmill Beach, Simon’s Town
Ride a horse on Long Beach
This enticing sweep of dazzling white sand (stretching over eight kilometres from Noordhoek to Kommetjie) is one of the most beautiful in the Cape. Glimpsing it from Chapman’s Peak Drive, few can resist the urge to stop and explore it. Probably the best way to do this is on horseback. Saddle up at Imhoff Farm in Kommetjie, where you’ll head through the wetlands and onto the beach for a 90-minute outride. You’ll get to see the ruins of the Kakapo shipwreck poking out of the sand and possibly spot a few marine creatures while your horse splashes through the shallows.
Good to know All levels of riders are welcome; minimum age is 12 years old; maximum weight is 95kg. For younger kids, there are pony rides on the farm.
Times Monday – Sunday, 9am; 12pm; 3.30pm
Contact 082 774 1191, email@example.com
Where to find it Imhoff Farm, Kommetjie Road, Kommetjie, Cape Town
Cruise Chapman’s Peak Drive in a convertible
Cape Town is a city made for road-tripping: the Peninsula creates the ideal circular itinerary offering awe-inspiring scenery and stops in every direction… the Atlantic Seaboard, Chapman’s Peak Drive, Cape Point, Boulders Beach, the False Bay coast, Constantia Winelands. Sure, you could take a tour bus or drive an ordinary rental car – but it’ll be much more fun in a classic Cobra sports car with the wind in your hair. Various self-drive options are available, or enquire about chauffeur-driven tours that take in all the iconic spots.
Good to know Self-drive is for over-23s only, and you’ll need to pay for extra fuel and a deposit.
Times Daily; depends on option booked
Cost R2 200 (sundowner trip)
R2 850 (day hire self-drive)
R3 550 (24-hour self-drive)
Contact 083 376 0376, cobraexperience.co.za
Where to find it 19 Solan Road, Gardens, Cape Town
Swim at Silvermine Dam
Less than an hour’s drive from the city centre, this large, glistening, mountain-top reservoir is easily accessible to everyone and is hugely popular for leisurely swims and picnics. The water is a little warmer than the ocean, and there’s a one-kilometre boardwalk trail around the dam (wheelchair and pram friendly). It’s also the starting point for various hikes, the most popular of which are Elephant’s Eye Cave, Silvermine Ridge and Sentinel View.
Good to know Entry is cash only. ID or passport required. Dogs are allowed with a Level 1 My Activity Permit (R340 for a year). Contact SANParks Tokai Plantation Office on 021 712 7471.
Times Daily, 7am – 5pm (summer); 8am – 4pm (winter)
Cost SA residents: R40 (adult); R20 (child, 2 – 11 years)
SADC nationals: R80 (adult); R40 (child)
International visitors: R160 (adult); R80 (child)
Day dog walking permit: R90
Where to find it TMN Silvermine Section, Gate 1, Ou Kaapse Weg (M3), between Tokai and Noordhoek, Cape Town
Catch the steam train to Elgin
Few things are more evocative than a steam-train ride… Ceres Rail’s grand old locomotives make a full-day round trip to Elgin in the Overberg on weekends, departing from the city and travelling up and over Sir Lowry’s Pass (one of the steepest rail lines in South Africa). Enjoy breathtaking mountain and ocean scenery, and views of fynbos-covered hills, farmlands and orchards, while you sit back in the Bar Lounge car and sip on a cocktail or glass of wine. There’s also a wine-tasting option, with the onboard sommelier. Prefer privacy? Book a family coupé. The destination is the steampunk-style Elgin Railway Market, where live music and street-food stalls create a fun day out, and kids can let off a little steam of their own in the play area.
Times Saturdays + some Sundays, 7.30am – 6pm
Cost From R625 (adult); R450 (child)
Contact 079 401 9353, ceresrail.co.za
Where to find it Harbour Bridge Hotel platform, Dockrail Road, Foreshore, Cape Town
Soar on a mountain zipline in Elgin
Soar Tarzan-style through an aerial playground of fynbos, forests, majestic gorges and thundering waterfalls on this half-day zipline adventure. Based in the Hottentots-Holland Nature Reserve, the Cape Canopy tour has opened up previously inaccessible parts of this craggy wilderness. It all kicks off with a 4×4 ride high into the mountains, where guests are attached to cables that run from platform to platform, and supervised by professional guides. There are 11 slides in total – the longest is 320 metres. Including a walk across a suspension bridge that spans a gorge with a majestic double waterfall.
Good to know Maximum weight is 120kg. Tandem rides are available for those under 50kg.
Times Daily, 8am – 2pm
R1 790 (adult-child combo)
Where to find it Hottentots-Holland Nature Reserve, R321, Elgin-Grabouw
Go Kloofing in Kamikaze Kanyon
The name says it all! This full-day nature excursion starts with breakfast and ends with cold beers; in between you’ll be ticking off your adventure wishlist: jumping off cliffs (from three to 22 metres high) into crystal-clear rock pools, abseiling down the spectacular 65-metre Thunder Falls, not to mention hiking amid gorgeous scenery with incredible sea views. It all takes place in the Steenbras River Gorge, part of the Kogelberg Biosphere Reserve renowned for its rich fynbos and craggy mountains. Run by qualified guides, this outing is suited to novice and seasoned adrenaline junkies alike.
Good to know Minimum age is 10 years old. The price includes permit fees, guiding, breakfast and a drink afterwards; bring your own snacks and beverages for the hike.
Times Wednesday – Sunday, 8am – 5pm (8.30am in winter, May – September)
Cost R2 250
Where to find it Pitstop/Grille Shack, Clarence Drive (R44), Gordon’s Bay
Visit the Mother City’s wine estates
Right on the doorstep, less than 20 minutes’ drive from the city centre, you’ll find historic and modern estates producing excellent wines in two “Wine of Origin” regions:
Constantia Winelands: A leafy enclave hidden on the back slopes of Table Mountain, there are nine estates forming this beautiful wine route. The signature varietal is Sauvignon Blanc. Groot Constantia is where it all started – the oldest wine estate in South Africa. Its neighbours are Klein Constantia and Buitenverwachting (also a fine-dining destination), and further up in the hills are Eagles’ Nest, Constantia Glen, Beau Constantia (a boutique winery famed for its excellent restaurant) and organic estate Silvermist (home to world-famous La Colombe restaurant). There’s also Steenberg (with a hotel, great dining options and golf) in the Tokai area, and Constantia Royale in the Alphen area.
Durbanville Winelands: In the opposite direction from the city, this wine valley lies adjacent to Stellenbosch. It has 15 wine estates to explore, many steeped in history and offering fantastic wines and an array of restaurants, country kitchens and deli-style eateries. These hills are also a mountain-biking mecca, and many farms have those picture-perfect iconic views of Table Mountain. We recommend starting your exploration with De Grendel, Groot Phesantekraal, Durbanville Hills, Diemersdal, boutique winery Klein Roosboom and family-run Maastricht. Bloemendal, Meerendal and D’Aria are great for active types too.
See modern art at the Norval Foundation
This family-friendly haven of art and nature in the Constantia winelands needs time to be appreciated, so make a half-day of it. Inside the purpose-designed building you’ll find a bouquet of exhibitions in nine galleries, showcasing top South African and African modern art in a variety of mediums, including painting, photography, sculpture and media art. Outside is an interactive sculpture garden amid the indigenous flora and wetlands, and a children’s playground. The onsite restaurant has seating indoors or outside, with views across the gardens and to Table Mountain. Picnics are available in summer.
Times Wednesday – Saturday + Monday, 9am – 5pm
Sunday + public holidays, 10am – 4pm
Cost R200 (SA + African); R300 (international)
R100 (students 18 – 24)
Free (under 18 years)
Contact 087 654 5900, firstname.lastname@example.org
Where to find it 4 Steenberg Road, Tokai, Cape Town
Tackle a treetop obstacle course
Within the Constantia Nek forests, in the shadow of the misty mountains, this treetop playground has all the ziplines, cargo nets and elevated platforms a budding Indiana Jones could wish for. Acrobranch has four aerial obstacle courses – two of which are suitable for young children, and two geared towards tweens, teens and adults (you’ll need a head for heights for the High Flying course) – with trained instructors on hand to provide a safety briefing on each one.
Good to know Climbing gloves are available at reception (R25). There is a restaurant on site and the entire facility is a cash-free zone. There is also an Acrobranch course in Stellenbosch.
Times Wednesday – Sunday, 9am – 6pm (last slot 4pm)
Cost R160 (Acro-Twigs)
R200 (Monkey Moves)
R240 (Swinging Tarzan)
R300 (High Flying)
Where to find it 1 Hout Bay Main Road, Constantia Nek, Cape Town
What are your favourite things to do in the Cape? We’d love to hear from you in the comments below.
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