Things to Do in South Africa

Getty Images

The complex, in Milpark, has the area’s best shopping, thanks to its many boutiques that showcase creative young talent. Be sure to check out the... Read More

The museum, south of the city center, is an invaluable primer on apartheid-era race divisions, as well as the 19th-century gold rush that brought... Read More

At almost an hour and a half drive, Arabella is a bit of a haul from Cape Town; but you'll soon decide it's well worth the drive. The stunning setting ... Read More

This leafy paradise is a 20-minute drive from the city center, but it's right in my neighborhood! Geographical biases aside, Arderne Gardens is a South... Read More

A former warehouse converted into one of Cape Town's edgiest concert spaces, Assembly is where to go for a rotating host of international artists and... Read More

Its seaside setting in the town of Melbosstrand means you're never too far from the sound of crashing waves, Table Mountain serves as a majestic... Read More

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... Read More

This nonprofit multimedia gallery in historic quarters gives special attention to Western Cape artists. Read More

Having a cocktail in the hollow trunk of a huge 6,000-year-old baobab tree is a surreal and elemental experience. The cavity of the tree is cool—a... Read More

This lively weekend affair unfolds at the waterfront in Hout Bay. More than a hundred stalls set up in a former fish factory (beware the smell just... Read More

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... Read More

While the town of Stellenbosch, shaded by snowcapped mountains and leafy oaks, is best known for its wine estates, it's also a great culinary hub:... Read More

You can't miss this lively neighborhood on the slopes of Signal Hill: its vivid rainbow colors can be spotted from a mile away. Cape Town's historic... Read More

The name might be a tongue twister, but this 1776 winery's Boekenhoutskloof, Porcupine Ridge, Wolftrap, and Chocolate Block labels are veritable tongue... Read More

This hip indie bookstore on Roeland Street is one of my favorite places in Cape Town. But according to my friends, their kids love it too, thanks to... Read More

Visit the winery, established in 1880, for a tasting of ruby and tawny ports. Read More

Head down to Simon's Town, a popular stop on the Cape Peninsula drive, and you'll find unusual company sunbathing on the sand: Boulders Beach is home to... Read More

This beer bar–charcuterie opened in January 2009 by the people behind Vida e Caffé, a slick, mini-chain coffee bar with a zealous fan base.... Read More

As you might gather from the name, this indoor tropical garden is home to 24 types of butterflies—but that's not all. You'll also get up close to... Read More

Directly opposite Camps Bay Beach on a road with heavy foot traffic, Caprice is one of the most popular spots for sundowners on the Atlantic coast. The... Read More

Camps Bay always reminds me of Miami: a picture-perfect beachfront promenade filled with chic restaurants and glamorous people. It's also a go-to... Read More

Picture South Beach glam, in the shadow of Table Mountain: that's Camps Bay beach. This trendy neighborhood is filled with posh clubs and restaurants,... Read More

Snag a table in the tree-shaded central courtyard for the "Canteen breakfast," with eggs, lamb sausage, mushrooms, and tomatoes. Read More

Pam McOnie began Cape Fusion Tours as a way of showing visitors her favorite aspects of Cape Town—from the food to the wine to the history. Her... Read More

The Cape of Good Hope is best experienced as part of the half-day Cape Peninsula drive. Stop at Chapman's Peak, pose with the penguins on Boulders Beach... Read More

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,... Read More

The Cape Point Nature Reserve is filled with countless hiking trails ranging from a few hours to a few days long. One of the easier routes encompasses... Read More

You'll come across this annual celebration by one of many names: Kaapse Klopse, the Cape Town Minstrel Carnival, or Tweede Nuwe Jaar ("Second New Year")... Read More

The South African tour company arranges optional safari extensions to Kruger National Park. Read More

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... Read More

Rent a convertible and head down Chapman's Peak Drive, perhaps the most scenic stretch of highway in Cape Town—and one of the most beautiful drives... Read More

This stretch of road along the coast is easily my favorite drive in Cape Town: the route hugs a sheer cliff that drops into the Atlantic, and the views... Read More

Alongside the Toblerone and Belgian Cote d’Or treats at this duty-free emporium, you’ll find the justifiably famous Chocolats Marionettes... Read More

The gallery, known for contemporary South African art, is surrounded by 400 thirty-foot-tall variegated aluminum "fins" that reference a protective Zulu... Read More

Many of Cape Town’s best contemporary galleries are in easy walking distance of one another in the city center. Begin at the AVA Gallery, a... Read More

Housed inside the Old Biscuit Mill, a red brick building dating from the 19th century, this ceramics shop is the showroom of Clementina van der Walt, a... Read More

Clifton is actually made up of four beaches: the inventively named Clifton 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 4th. These are Cape Town's most popular beaches, filled... Read More

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... Read More

From this sky-high perch on the 31st floor of a financial district skyscraper, clubbers can enjoy glittering 360-degree vistas of the city: and if you... Read More

This sexy new club quickly catapulted itself to the top of stylish Capetonians' partying destinations thanks to its slick Baroque decor, sultry dancers,... Read More

If you're looking to get to know the "real" Cape Town, removed from the glossy tourist circuit, then Coffeebeans is your best bet. While their tours... Read More

As old as Cape Town itself, this historic park dates back to the earliest European settlers in the 1650s. Back then, it was a farm that supplied fresh... Read More

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... Read More

Head out to the Stellenbosch Winelands for this gem that is always highly ranked as one of South Africa’s top courses. Once you've played the 18-whole,... Read More

The property’s contemporary- art collection is a carefully edited selection of some of South Africa’s finest working artists. Take an... Read More

At almost 30 acres, DeWaal Park is Cape Town's largest public park, and it's located right in the heart of the City Bowl. This is a popular gathering... Read More

This small, two-story structure on Buitenkant Street houses my personal favorite museum, best seen as a complement to Robben Island. Where Robben Island... Read More

This former Methodist church was a shelter for antiapartheid protesters during the Sixth Municipal District’s 1960s fallout. Today the museum hosts a... Read More

The area known simply as District Six was a vibrant, multiracial, working-class neighborhood on the city’s eastern fringe until 1966, when the... Read More

Amateurs, steer clear: this one's for the pros. This offshore reef off Hours Bay is known for monster waves—and I mean monster. We're talking as high as... Read More

If you love roses, you’ll want to make the half-hour drive to the suburb of Durbanville for this lovely sanctuary. After you've stopped and smelled... Read More

Right in the heart of the Central Business District, the Earth Fair Market sets up every Thursday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. along the pedestrian boulevard... Read More

Next door to Stable on Loop Street stands Ebony, a small concept store and art gallery that's also a showcase for African designers and artists. The... Read More

Aside from the popular city, township, and winelands tours, this luxury operator can take you shark-cage diving, abseiling, and sandboarding, as well as... Read More

The Barnes & Noble of South Africa carries international fashion magazines, novels, story collections, cookbooks, and more. Among the greatest hits... Read More

A drive along the westerly, warmer-watered side of the peninsula brings you through quaint villages and laid-back surfer communities. Start by taking... Read More

If you're in Cape Town on the first Thursday of any given month, you're in luck. The city comes alive after dark as galleries and boutiques throw their... Read More

Each May, global and local literary stars descend upon the lovely Winelands burg of Franschhoek for a world-class book-lover's affair. The festival is a... Read More

Franschhoek is the darling of the Winelands, and a walk down its main artery, Huguenot Street, makes it instantly clear why: the light seems to hit the... Read More

Franschhoek was founded by a small band of French Huguenot refugees in the late 17th century, and more than 300 years later, its Gallic influence... Read More

The Garden Route is one of South Africa's most beautiful drives, and this reserve lies right alongside it. If you're willing to make the four-hour drive... Read More

Surf culture is deeply entrenched in South Africa; boys and girls here start catching gnarly waves as early as kindergarten. The warm, relatively calm... Read More

At just under five hours from Cape Town (including a long and particularly bumpy stretch along a dirt road), Gondwana might just be pushing your limits... Read More

Just 45 minutes from the city, this busy beach town also comes alive in the cooler months, thanks to its Winter Wonderland Festival of Lights in June... Read More

The sports travel specialists will create a custom itinerary for the 2010 FIFA World Cup, with add-ons such as wildlife drives to spot the Big Five. Read More

Though it was historically a place where veggies were bought and sold (thus the name), these days Greenmarket Square is definitely more geared toward... Read More

Kids will go crazy for this sprawling park near the dazzling Greenpoint Stadium, and it's easy to see why: the multiple playgrounds (each catering to... Read More

If you're in Cape Town between June and October, make sure you add this detour to your itinerary. In those months, it's a hotbed of activity for the... Read More

If you're in Cape Town between July and November, hop in your car and drive an hour and a half east to the whale-watching capital of the world. During... Read More

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... Read More

A 20-minute drive from the heart of Cape Town deposits you in the Republic of Hout Bay—feisty locals began selling "passports" to the village, and... Read More

The expansive modern space is geared toward serious collectors, representing both well-established and up-and-coming talents. Read More

Unusual gifts made with spirited South African innovation can be found at this eclectic three-story housewares and apparel shop, set among the hipster... Read More

This farm near Cape Point has activities that appeal to all ages. There's a petting zoo, snake park and gym; you can also try your hand at paintball,... Read More

For handcrafted African-motif housewares and curios with contemporary style, head to the airport outpost of this upmarket South African chain. The wares... Read More

The venue has an extensive collection of mixed-media works divided between two gallery spaces. Read More

To sample the region's best Cabernets and Merlots, drive seven miles west to Tradouw Valley's vineyards. Read More

This popular seaside village on False Bay is a fun place to go antiquing, gallery hopping, and, of course, eating: the original branch of the popular... Read More

Home to more than 7,000 species, Kirstenbosch is a prime place to see the flora and fauna of the Cape Floral Kingdom. It's also a great picnic spot, and... Read More

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... Read More

Set on the slopes of Table Mountain, this 101-year-old, 90-acre garden is filled with unique indigenous plants for the kids to discover (7,000 species,... Read More

Home to more than 7,000 species, Kirstenbosch is a prime place to see the flora and fauna of the Cape Floral Kingdom. It's also a great picnic spot, and... Read More

The century-old Kitchener's Carvery Bar, in Braamfontein, once hosted the titular commander of Britain’s Boer War force; with a dance floor, disco... Read More

The beautiful, French-influenced village of Franschhoek is the heart of the Cape Winelands, and this wine farm, featuring a restaurant, is touted as one... Read More

A new addition to the Camps Bay scene, Le Roi lives up to its regal name with funky, Tretchikoff-inspired interiors fit for a king: think marble bar... Read More

A full range of spa services—from express mani-pedis, facials, and waxing to full-body table massages—is offered at this sanctuary. Fight... Read More

LIM stands for Less is More, and I love the streamlined aesthetic of the furniture on display at this Kloof Street shop, set in an old Victorian-era... Read More

According to my husband, this is the best hike in the world. While I certainly don't have enough experience to confirm that, I'm pretty sure this is the... Read More

It's a fairly easy hike to the top of Lion's Head, a peak at one end of Signal Hill (take a look at it from afar and you'll understand where the name... Read More

This secluded strip of sand is my favorite beach in Cape Town, sheltered from view by soaring boulders. But tread carefully: A tendency toward strong... Read More

In-the-know locals have long professed that Llandudno is their favorite beach, and it's easy to see why: this tiny slip of sugary-soft sand sheltered by... Read More

If you're short on time and want to be guaranteed some good breaks, head to Noordhoek. Just try to come here on a weekday, if you can. Consistent waves... Read More

For an otherwordly experience, there's nothing like a game drive in the African wild. The 185,000-acre Madikwe Game Reserve, in the northwestern corner... Read More

You'll find this scenic lookout point between the Clifton and Camps Bay beaches on Cape Town's Atlantic Seaboard. Maiden’s Cove is a great spot for a... Read More

The glittering necklaces, earrings, rings, and bracelets displayed at this high-end jewelry shop are all designed and made in South Africa. There are... Read More

I'll always be partial to Micato, because I traveled with them on my very first trip to South Africa. The level of unparalleled access they have has... Read More

Make sure to pick up a souvenir from their line of belts, bags, and clutches. Read More

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... Read More

Take the soaring Montagu Pass over the Outeniqua Mountains and onto the Garden Route, only 90 minutes away. And here is another world: the rusty palette... Read More

The gallery features local contemporary work. Read More

Thanks to its rainbow-colored beach shacks, Muizenberg is one of South Africa's most recognizable beaches. It's also one of its best for surfing, and... Read More

Once you spy the bold yellow, red, blue, and green beach shacks along the water, you'll know you've found your way to Muizenberg. This laid-back village... Read More

Once you spy the bold yellow, red, blue, and green beach shacks along the water, you'll know you've found your way to Muizenberg. This laid-back village... Read More

Andrea Mullineux grew up in San Francisco and worked in Napa Valley before traveling to South Africa, where she met and married local winemaker Chris.... Read More

You’ll likely hear this store before you see it. Celebrating the African continent’s vibrant voices, the CDs here—in heavy rotation as... Read More

You’ll want to defend your espresso from the sudden swipe of a passing baguette at this thriving Saturday morning community market (open from 9 a... Read More

The original hipster haven, Neighbourgoods has been around since 2006 at the atmospheric Old Biscuit Mill in Woodstock. In fact, this market is often... Read More

An urban farm in the heart of the city—what's not to love? Every Saturday morning, OZCF opens its doors to the public, and they arrive in droves to... Read More

This gallery and shop showcases artworks and indigenous crafts from all over the African continent. Carved wooden masks, figurines, and abstract... Read More

The name Paternoster comes from Latin for Our Father—supposedly the prayer cried out by Portuguese fishermen who were shipwrecked offshore. These days,... Read More

The West Coast is known for it's laid-back beach towns and surfer havens, and my favorite among them all is Paternoster, a tiny oceanfront hamlet two... Read More

This winery is located on the Cluver family’s De Rust Estate, a nearly 6,000-acre property that includes fruit orchards, a concert amphitheatre,... Read More

Tucked away at the back of the industrial-chic Woodstock Exchange compound, the design team behind Pedersen + Lennard turn out funky Scandinavian... Read More

Located in a whitewashed townhouse in the city center, this contemporary art gallery showcases the work of midcareer local photographers, such as Roger... Read More

Stepping into this dimly lit lounge is like stepping into an atmospheric jazz bar in Manhattan's West Village, all swank sophistication and stylish... Read More

The 18-hole championship golf course was designed by Peter Matkovich, on nearly 1,000 acres with two miles of spectacular coastline, a quarter of which... Read More

Deep within the Iziko South African Museum in the Company's Garden, this dome-shaped auditorium offers visitors a celestial experience. So what if the... Read More

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... Read More

Exiting Barrydale, the R62, a former ox-wagon trail running 170 miles across the desert floor, flattens out; sand and fynbos scrub roll toward the... Read More

Think of it as the "other" Winelands: the Riebeek Valley has a burgeoning wine scene, with a host of independent vineyards poised to wrest the... Read More

Best known as the former prison where Nelson Mandela was incarcerated for 18 years, this island off the coast of Cape Town also served as a leper colony... Read More

You can't visit Cape Town without a ferry ride to the Robben Island Museum, site of the ominous prison where Nelson Mandela spent much of his 27-year... Read More

Nelson Mandela spent much of his 27-year sentence exiled to this island just off Cape Town, and the once-foreboding prison has been transformed into a... Read More

Celebrated South African interior designer Robert Sherwood has decorated homes and offices from Zanzibar to the U.A.E. and beyond. At his beautiful Bree... Read More

Dating back to 1885, this club in the suburb of Wynberg is among the country's oldest. It's also among its most celebrated, having hosted tournaments... Read More

For more than 300 years, this Stellenbosch estate has been producing a robust range of reds: full-bodied Cabernets, Merlots, and Shirazes. It has... Read More

There are three lodges and a campsite at Sanbona, a four-hour drive from Cape Town. The unique Klein Karoo semi-desert setting makes for a scenic... Read More

Scarborough might be one of Cape Town's hidden gems: a quiet beach town that seems to only be favored by in-the-know locals.  That makes for plenty... Read More

Open to all walk-in passengers for a fee of R300 (about $36), this African-style lounge is the perfect place to unwind between flights. It’s on... Read More

Head to the suburb of Tokai for a picturesque, family-friendly walk up to the Elephant's Eye Cave. When you get to this massive hole carved into the... Read More

African and European masters are on display in the permanent collection at South Africa's finest art venue, set amid the greenery of the lovely Company... Read More

A tour guide and amateur historian who first visited Johannesburg’s impoverished townships in the 1990’s as a peacekeeper, Robin Binckes has... Read More

South Africans are mad about rugby, and if all you know about the sport is what you saw in Invictus, this monument to the national team is a great... Read More

Stable opened on Loop Street in August 2013 and quickly became the go-to shop for home décor, accessories, lighting, and furniture by up-and-coming... Read More

Start your morning off with a round of golf, and finish the afternoon with a wine tasting or a lavish lunch. Though pricey, this course is set on one of... Read More

This Winelands university town is often overshadowed by its neighbor, Franschhoek, but Stellenbosch merits its own visit. A 45-minute drive east of Cape... Read More

This speakeasy-style bar on Buitenkant Street evokes a bygone era, when drinks were strong and jazz players reigned supreme. Formerly known as the... Read More

You're going to get at least a little wet no matter what, so why not get a LOT wet? The waves off Muizenberg, the most popular surfing beach in Cape... Read More

The majestic Swartberg Pass, a 17-mile-long heart-in-mouth miracle of cliff-edge engineering, was built by Thomas Bain in the 1880’s. At the pass... Read More

Sample a meaty Manzanilla olive at this thriving farm. Read More

While this hike is considerably more grueling than neighboring Lion's Head, it's worth it for the view when you finally scale the 3,500-foot mountain... Read More

This one's a no brainer—it's the most identifiable landmark in Cape Town, and at an impressive 3,500 feet, you can rest assured that the views will be... Read More

A 10-minute ride from downtown brings you to the base of Cape Town’s landmark Table Mountain, named for its distinctive flat top. An aerial cableway... Read More

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... Read More

Order necklaces, bracelets, and earrings, made by artisans in South Africa, who are paid up to seven times the minimum wage. All profits go toward... Read More

I'm willing to wager that you've never been to a jazz venue quite like this one before. As the name suggests, this lounge is actually, quite literally,... Read More

Follow the swift-moving line on Harrington Street to find this cavernous club, complete with two dance floors, four bars, and a cushy VIP space. The... Read More

South Africa has a brutal and tragic slave history, one that is all too often overlooked. The Slave Lodge, built in 1679, is where more than 9,000... Read More

Tokara Estate, an ultramodern stone- and-glass winery, sits on one of the most spectacular spots in South Africa's Winelands: the top of the mountain... Read More

With 3,000 marine animals to see, your family could easily spend an entire day at this world-class aquarium. If the kids tire of the penguins (but... Read More

More than 3,000 sea creatures call the V&A Waterfront home, with their residence at the popular Two Oceans Aquarium. You'll find separate galleries... Read More

This scenic Somerset West estate sitting below the Helderberg Mountains dates back to 1700. Stop by for a stroll through the lovely gardens and Cape... Read More

Whatiftheworld’s mandate is to cultivate a community among Cape Town’s young furniture-, product-, and fashion designers and aspiring... Read More

Take a swim in the wild waves of this aptly named beach. Read More

A safari operator with 70 camps in nine countries, Wilderness has been a champion of responsible travel in Africa for nearly 30 years. Overseeing a... Read More

When the Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa opens in early 2017 in a historic grain silo, it promises to be a groundbreaking ode to African art.... Read More

Back To Top