10 places to visit in Cape Town
If the awe-inspiring aerial photos of this port city weren’t enough to lure you to visit this stunning postcard land, we’re happy to put in writing all the wonderful things you can do in Cape Town.
Table Mountain National Park
Table Mountain is the most iconic landmark of South Africa and the country’s most photographed attraction. However, in addition to being a prime spot to snap that scenic shot of Cape Town that’ll make everyone on your Facebook newsfeed hate you, it also claims an incredibly high level of biodiversity with about 2,200 species of plants and 1470 floral species found in this National Park. Its many valleys and streams make it an idyllic attraction of Cape Town.
The best views of Cape Town can be found on Table Mountain’s Cableway, a unique and 87-year-old method of seeing the wonders of the city. You can travel up to the summit of the majestic flat-topped mountain and be astounded by vistas of the Mother City, Robben Island and the Peninsula.
You will be 3,500ft above the city in this 5-minute gentle ride with a unique opportunity to spot rock hyrax, lizards, butterflies and a broad array of birdlife from eagles to sunbirds flying above the Cape’s indigenous flora.
Kirstenbosch Botanical Garden
Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden does not disappoint when it comes to its reputation as the most impressive garden in Africa and one of the great botanic gardens of the world. Few gardens can match the sheer magnificence of the setting of Kirstenbosch, against the eastern slopes of Cape Town’s Table Mountain.
Cape of Good Hope
This cape owes its romantic name to Portuguese navigator Bartolomeu Dias, captain of the first ship to transverse this geographical landmark en route to India. Here, you can take a long walk to a high, beautiful, long stretching outbound cape with a panoramic view of the mirror-like ocean, and take a photo with the wrongly-named “The Most South-Western Point of Africa” photo — the actual most southwestern point of the African continent is a few kilometers down the coast in a very unimpressive place.
Boulders Beach near Simon’s Town has a lot going for it: the ancient granite boulders protect it from the wind and large waves, making it the ideal home for the local inhabitants, the African Penguins who definitely know how to pull in the crowds. Since this beach falls under the Table Mountain National Park Marine Protected Area, its soft white sand and slightly warmer False Bay waters are always kept clean despite the 60,000 visitors this location gets every year.
Signal Hill, which connects Kloof Nek to Lion’s Head, is one of the most famous spots in Cape Town for the lovers of beautiful sunsets, as the lights and the romance of the Table Mountain backdrop, particularly during summer, are just too enticing to resist. Conversely, views from the 350m high summit at night are also nothing short of stunning, favoured by picnic-diners and star-crossed lovers alike.
Lion’s Head Mountain
The most luring aspect of Lion’s Head Mountain is its hike trail which provides (yet another!) gorgeous view over Cape Town, Table Mountain, the Atlantic and Camps Bay. If you’re lucky enough to enjoy it on a full moon night you’ll have a beautiful, treasured postcard memory of South Africa for the rest of your life.
This Island was declared a World Heritage Site due to its long-standing tradition of being a place of suffering, most notably as a political prison where thousands of black political prisoners were locked up, none more famous than Nelson Mandela himself. The existing museum now acts as a reminder of the island’s sad history, but also as the testament to the power of the human spirit in its never-ending quest for freedom and the victory of democracy over oppression.
Victoria & Alfred Waterfront
Situated between Robben Island and Table Mountain in the centre of Cape Town’s working harbour, the Victoria & Alfred Waterfront is one of South Africa’s most visited destinations. Much of its appeal lies in the quaint setting this busy commercial harbour enjoys — set against a backdrop of magnificent sea and mountain views, the mix of quaint shops and modern offices is too much to pass on.
Two Oceans Aquarium
If the Atlantic and Indian Oceans decided to meet up here, who are you to pass up on this opportunity to join them? The diverse marine life is celebrated across several display galleries, which are guaranteed to leave you with a sore jaw, such will be the awe made possible by the witnessing of over 3,000 marine wildlife specimens.
This article was written as part of an ongoing collaboration with Volunteer Invest, a London-based social enterprise at the forefront of several organisations advancing human rights, child development, child therapy and HIV/AIDS treatment across the world.