Things to do in Cape Town
Cape Town’s nightlife spans everything from live theatre at the Baxter to cocktails at Planet bar at the Mount Nelson Hotel. For an equally unique experience a little off the beaten track, step outside the city to the Oude Libertas Ampitheatre, an open-air amphitheater in the Stellenbosch vineyards. Here you can see music, dance and theatre, all under South Africa’s bright starry skies, just under an hour outside of Cape Town.
If you’re looking for things to do in Cape Town proper, try the Cape Town Good Food & Wine Show. There, gourmet cuisine, fine wines, and top chefs, vintners and restaurateurs vie for your attention and delight, offering tastings, workshops, and one-on-one cooking lessons.
Whatever your plans for the day, get started with a champagne breakfast at Mount Nelson’s Oasis Restaurant, set amidst sparkling pools and lush gardens, before heading into Cape Town to explore. Go to Bo-Kaap, the old Malay Quarter, for spices from South-East Asia, or check out the independent bookshops along Kloof Street. With such an eclectic mix of cultures and experiences, it won’t be hard to find things to do in Cape Town – you may even plan a return visit to take it all in.
From its 3,500-foot summit, this flat-topped mountain that looms above Cape Town offers truly mind-blowing views: the entire city peninsula, including the Atlantic coast, False Bay, and the easterly valleys of Winelands, all stretch out shimmering below as far as the eye can see.
Surf culture is deeply entrenched in South Africa; boys and girls here start catching gnarly waves as early as kindergarten. The warm, relatively calm waters of False Bay are where most Capetonians develop their surfing legs—and where you can get yours.
What to Expect: The four small white-sand beaches that face the Atlantic Ocean on the west side of town are often called the South Beach of South Africa.
The Cape Peninsula is one of the world’s six Floral Kingdoms, home to thousands of plants found nowhere else in the world—and this 1,300-acre indigenous garden that rises up Table Mountain’s lower slope is an amazing place to see them.
Many of the Cape’s verdant winelands date back to the late 1700s, when Dutch settlers tasked escaping French Huguenots with making wine to supply passing Spice Route ships.
Visit the winery, established in 1880, for a tasting of ruby and tawny ports.
An hour’s drive from Cape Town, the Point is the most breathtaking spot at the Cape Point Reserve (a place of buckling, fynbos-covered hills, troops of baboons, buck, and Cape Mountain zebra).
Part of a developing network of overnight hiking trails within Table Mountain National Park, the Table Mountain Trail is a three-day, two-night portaged, catered, and guided walk that weaves city history together with the mountain’s natural wonders, like oversize king proteas, ancient ferns, and
Surrounded by wide expanses and the desert-like terrain of the Great Karoo, Bergwater Vineyards has been open since 1999 and is the only vineyard in the Prince Albert Valley. Bordered by a nature preserve, the area around Bergwater is untouched by development.
The area known simply as District Six was a vibrant, multiracial, working-class neighborhood on the city’s eastern fringe until 1966, when the apartheid government declared it a whites-only area.
Caveau’s wine list is an enjoyable departure from the red, white, and sparkling norm; it’s divided into Easy Drinkers (try the superb Pierre Jourdan Brut), Discoveries, Food Friendlies, Vintage Reserves, Rarities (like small lots from inner city winery Signal Hill), and Giants.
Behind the red-brick façade of a Bo-Kaap office building, the bright yellow showroom of Monkeybiz is packed with colorful beaded objects made by craftswomen in some of South Africa’s most disadvantaged communities.
The water may be colder on the Atlantic side of the Cape peninsula, but the beaches are definitely hotter. An upmarket and well-toned crowd gathers here, for sun and sand during the day and sundowners by night at beachfront bars.
Colorful ceramics by local artists fill this small shop in the seaside village of Kalk Bay, a hub of South African creative culture. Dating back to 1901, the Victorian white-stucco building that now houses the store was originally built as a community washhouse.