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Things You Must Do When Visiting Cape Town

Updated on October 27, 2018
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As a South African, I had the opportunity to visit Cape Town on several occasions. And I must confess that it is in a league of its own. Cape town never ceases to amaze and impress and I would return in a heartbeat. Cape Town has a calmness and tranquillity to it and offers a wide variety of things to do.

If you are planning a trip to Cape Town, South Africa I would recommend that you add these attractions to your list as no holiday in Cape Town Would be complete without it.

Table Mountain

I almost feel that Table Mountain and Cape Town can be seen as synonyms to each other like it the symbol of Cape Town. When visiting you must take the cable car to the top of the mountain as it offers some of the best views of Cape Town. Table Mountain was declared a Unesco World Heritage site on the year 2000 and 12 years later it was inaugurated as one of the 7 Wonders of the World in 2012 Access to the mountain is “free” but the cable cart cost R290 ($20).

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Robben Island

Robben Island served as a prison for political prisoners from the 17th century. And the most famous prisoner kept there was the Nobel Laureate for peace Nelson Mandela. He was held prisoner on Robben Island for 18 years. The prison was closed in 1996 and declared a world heritage site in 1999. You can tour the island and prison today by taking a ferry from the Victoria and Alfred Waterfront (V&A). As these tours are extremely popular booking in advance is a must to ensure that you have the opportunity to visit the site. Ferry tickets and access to the island cost in the range of R300pp ($20).

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Kasteel de Goede Hoop

The castle was built in 1666 by the Dutch East India company. It is the oldest colonial building still standing in South Africa and was built to be used as a replenishment station for ships passing the Cape coastline on their voyage between the Netherlands and India. The castle is also the oldest building still standing with a pentagon shape. Entrance to the castle cost R50pp ($3,40).

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Cape Vineyards

So with Table Mountain, so the Cape region is known for its vineyards. And there is more than enough to keep you busy. The 3 main Wine routes that I would recommend that you visit would be Constantia, Durbanville and of course Stellenbosch. The vineyards offer a variety of actives to cater for everyone’s needs, from wine tasting to picnics, grape harvesting and live shows.

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Company Gardens

If you are the type of tourist that want to explore the city like the locals do you must visit the company gardens in Cape Town city centre. The gardens were created in the 1650’s and served as the grounds to grow the produce to replenish the ships. Entrance into the gardens is free and it is a nice escape to relax and unwind. Then in the garden buy a pack of peanuts and feed the squirrels, go look at the oldest cultivated pear tree in South Africa and take a magnificent picture of Table Mountain right at the top of the garden. Adjacent to the gardens is the South African Parliament building, the Iziko South African Museum and National Gallery, St George’s Cathedral and the National Library of South Africa.

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Cape Town Red Tour Bus

This is a great idea for international travellers that rely on public transport when arriving in the city. These busses work on a Hop-on-hop-off principal. You buy a ticket for a Route and climb off on the stops that you are interested in. There are a few routes too pick from and is a great way of making sure that you make use of everything that the city has to offer. The prices for the bus routes vary but you can expect to pay about R300 ($20) per route.

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Two Oceans Aquarium

Cape Town marine life makes for interesting attraction as the city is built at the meeting point of the Indian and Atlantic Ocean. The cold water comes up from Antarctica and runs up the west coast of Africa and this gives Cape Town a diverse and unique marine life. This can be seen in close quarters at the Aquarium and is a must if you are travelling with small children as they will enjoy the maze of tanks filled with the most beautiful animals. The aquarium does not only house fish but you can also expect to see other marine life such as seals and penguins. Tickets are R175 ($11,80) for adults and R85 ($5,80) for children 4 to 13 years old.

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Kirstenbosch National Botanical Gardens

For the nature lovers, I would strongly suggest that you visit the Botanical Gardens. These gardens were founded in 1913 on the foot of Table Mountain with the unique goal of preserving the unique flora of the Cape region. The garden showcases a wide variety of plans from different regions ranging from savanna, fynbos, karoo. The pride of the gardens would be the collection of proteas, the national flower of South Africa. The gardens have a suspended wooden walkway that overlooks Cape Town called the Boomslang roughly translated to English to tree snake. Entrance to the gardens is R40 ($2,70) for adults and R25 ($1,70) for children.

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Cape Town is a tourist paradise and you can visit the city over and over again and you will always find something you haven’t done before. Here is a list on honourable mentions of things to see and do in Cape Town:

  • Victoria and Alfred Waterfront
  • Boulders Beach
  • Blouberg
  • Simonstad
  • Weekly Farmers Markets
  • Clifton Beach
  • Truth Coffee
  • Charlies Bakery
  • Cool running’s.

The best time of year to visit Cape Town would be end of January to End of March as you can expect some of the best weather, another advance of this is that it would be outside of the usual rush and you don’t need to wait in lines on your holiday.

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    • poppyr profile image

      Poppy 

      7 months ago from Tokyo, Japan

      What an amazingly beautiful town! My grandmother goes to South Africa every year to visit her friend, but I've never been to that part of the world. I might go with her next time! Thanks again for the great information.

    • danielReits profile imageAUTHOR

      Stefan Reitsma 

      7 months ago from South Africa

      Thank you for the comment Liz

    • Eurofile profile image

      Liz Westwood 

      7 months ago from UK

      This is a great introduction to Cape Town. One day I hope to make it there.

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