When visiting a city, many people set aside two or three days for exploring the sights and getting to know an area. This is not the way to travel Cape Town! This coastal city nestled under the towering cliffs of Table Mountain can keep you entertained for weeks.
Although it’s not just what lies within the city walls. Cape Town is the perfect base for exploring the surrounding areas, and the ideal launch pad for the legendary Garden Route road trip. South Africa’s capital city will make you spoilt for choice as to how to spend your time, but here’s a few tips from me on things to do when exploring Cape Town.
1. Camp’s Bay
Just south of the centre of Cape Town, Camp’s Bay is one of the best spots in the city. The beaches are heavenly white, the coast is lined with tropical palm trees, restaurants and trendy boutiques, and it’s the perfect place to pitch up a picnic and crack open a bottle of crisp, South African wine. One of the best things about Camp’s Bay is that it is just as lively at night as it is during the day.. Our favourite time to visit Camp’s Bay though, had to be at sundown when the sun soaks into the sea, producing colours which are out of this world.
2. The Waterfront
The Waterfront of Cape Town always seems to provide an incredible atmosphere. The modern marina is bursting at the seams with shops and restaurants to explore. It’s also the gateway to Robben Island and the best place to organise fishing trips and shark dives. Buskers are a common sight which just adds more to the electric atmosphere of the marina, no matter what time of day you visit.
3. Robben Island
No trip to Cape Town is complete without hopping on a boat to explore the famous Robben Island. A morning tour guides you through the history of the island which started as a leper colony, and has now become the symbol of apartheid. Here you learn about the country’s dear Mandela and how he had such a strong impact in shaping the world as it is today.
4. Table Mountain
Table Mountain, an image almost synonymous with Cape Town, is quite literally a site you cannot miss! Drift up into the clouds by cable car (or if you fancy a bit of exercise, take a hike) and be met with one of the most spectacular views of your life. Cape Town is surrounded by icy blue sea and fenced in on all sides by the Table Mountain. On a clear day, you can see right out to Robben Island.
5. Boulder’s Bay
A couple of hours down the road, and you’ll find Boulder’s Bay – the only place in the southern hemisphere where you can paddle with penguins and sunbathe alongside them, watching them play and dive in the sea. You have to pay to get onto the beach, walkways and viewpoints, but the money goes towards the conservation of one of the only penguin colonies on this side of the coast. Very quietly peak under the trees and by the shady rocks to spot them having a snooze!
6. Cape Point
A little further south lies Cape Point, a stunning national park in South Africa. When you reach the southernmost tip of the park, pull up the car and begin the short hike up the hill to the lighthouse and you will be well-rewarded when you get there. The views are incredible! From this height, you can see where the great Atlantic Ocean meets the Pacific, and both crash against the towering cliffs. Watch the birds flee in a frenzy from the roaring waves, whilst ostriches and grazing animals are in ignorant bliss down below.
There is much, much more to explore in Cape Town, but I hope this gives you a starting point at least! Tucan Travel offer an incredible selection of tours to South Africa, ranging everywhere from 7 – 15 days! Click here to see all of Tucan Travel’s tours to South Africa.
About the Author: Jess is Communications Coordinator for Tucan Travel. She has travelled independently and on group tours through Central America, Africa, North America, Israel and Europe. You can find her on Google+ or read her other contributions here.