In South Africa, Travel and Adventures

10 Things To Do In Cape Town, South Africa

10 Things to do in Cape Town, South Africa

A couple of weekends ago I had the opportunity to have dinner with two of the professors I worked with while in Cape Town (they visit California about every other year or so) and I realized that it has been 7 months since Matt and I left South Africa. I am honestly shocked that we've been back in the states for that long and have officially spent more time back in CA than we did in Cape Town. As difficult as that time was, I wouldn't trade it for anything. Here are my top favorite things to do when in Cape Town (or within one to two hours driving distance from Cape Town).

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10. Catch Some Theatrical Dining

Visiting Stardust Theatrical Dining was a highlight of my time in Cape Town. The concept of the restaurant is pretty simple: they provide delicious food, a variety of drinks, and singing / musical performances throughout dinner. Like full-blown performances with spotlights, loud music, and flashing lights. At first I was a little skeptical but I really, really enjoyed myself (how often do you get to do the Time Warp during dinner). All of the servers are also the performers and were able to switch back and forth between the two roles with ease. Furthermore, I was pretty impressed with the food. I loved it sue much I ended up going twice.

9. Experience Rocking the Daisies

rocking the daisies
I love going to music festivals in California, so I jumped at the chance to experience Rocking the Daisies, a great music festival just outside of Cape Town. The festival is a greta way to be introduced to some awesome South African bands as well as see some international favorites like Alt J.

8. Experience the V&A Waterfront

V&A-Waterfront-Ferris-Wheel
The V&A Waterfront is a beautiful little shopping area located on the Table bay harbor. From incredible restaurants, fun shops, and the most amazing aquarium, the you have to take at least one quick trip to the Waterfront.

7. Go on a Sunset Cruise

When walking around the popular Waterfront area in Cape Town, you're going to hear 100 offers for sunset champagne cruises. I had always ignored their calls until my mom came to visit. at roughly $25USD, it is actually a great way to spend a few hours in Cape Town. You get a couple of glasses of champagne and an incredible view of the sunset. But beware: this is NOT a romantic cruise: It is very windy in Cape Town, so you're going to get wait from the spray of the ocean (they provide ponchos).

6. Visit Robben Island

IMG_4896
I happened to have been living in Cape Town when Nelson Mandela passed. I was so honored to have visited Robben Island only a few weeks before. Robben Island is the prison were Nelson Mandela spent most of his time in prison (18 of 27 years). Both Kgalema Motlanthe and Jacob Zuma (former and current presidents of South Africa) were imprisoned there as well. Make sure to add Robben Island to your itinerary if you’re planning a trip to Cape Town. Just make sure to book well in advance – space on the boats fill up quickly!

5. See The Penguins at Boulders Beach

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Question: Who doesn't love penguins? Answer: Nobody. Just a short drive away from downtown Cape Town you can find Boulders Beach filled with penguins. These African penguins spend the day running around the beach, climbing on the boulders, and frolicking in and out of the water. Visitors can pay a small fee to go walk down to the beach to get an up close look at the funny little creatures. I suggest bringing a camera with video capabilities: I took several videos of these cute little guys attempting to waddle around the beach and swimming in the water.

4. Go Whale Watching in Hermanus

Whale Watching in Hermanus
There are only a handful of places in the world where you can go whale watching from land, and Hermanus (just outside of Cape Town) is one of those places. Imagine you’re walking along a pier and you see four giant whales floating with the waves a few yards (okay, maybe more like 10-15 yards … actually, I’m a horrible judge of distance. But there were really close) off the shore. Or maybe you’re eating in a fancy restaurant and in the distance you see two or three taking turns to breach (and have a slightly awkward experience). THAT is what whale watching in Hermanus is like. The town even has a Whale Crier who blows are horn every time he sees a whale near shore.

3.Visit / View Table Mountain

View of Table Mountain from Lion's Head, South Africa
This is a must when you're in Cape Town. Either take the cable car up or, if you're adventurous, hike up the side of the mountain. Table Mountain is flanked by two other peaks, Lions's Head and Devil's Peak, that also offer incredible views of the city.

2. Sample the Wine Farms

treasure tromp & fiancé
Oddly enough, the wineries in South Africa are called wine farms. Having grown up in Sonoma, I take my wine pretty seriously. I was amazed at not only how delicious all the wines were but also at how big the wine farms are! Restaurants and activities accompany pretty much every tasting room at South African wine farms, making it easy to spend hours at each one. I recommend Spier (they have eagle / bird shows!), Groot Constantia, and Sir Robert Stanford.

1. Go On A Safari

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There are a couple of places to go on game drives just outside of Cape Town, such as Aquila Game Reserve. With an incredible variety of animals, this is the perfect option if you aren't able to take a trip up to Kruger Park. If you can, however, I would strongly incredible you to make your way up to Kruger National Park. We visited the private park Timbavati, next to Kruger, and had an incredible time seeing the Big 5 (Rhinos, Lions, Leopards, Cape Buffalo, and Elephant) and more!

Anything else that you would recommend doing while in Cape Town?

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Nicole

Nicole is a treasure hunter and pup mama located in Seattle, Washington. Loves travel, politics, lifestyle, TV, & wine. She's an unapologetic SJW & feminist AF.

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  • We were so harassed when we were on the waterfront by all the people and their cruises and now I wished I had taken up an offer to experience it! It is really cheap when you think about it and Cape Town is so absolutely gorgeous! And I’m sad I didn’t make it to Boulders to swim with the penguins – we only went to Clifton and that’s all. I did go to Betty’s Bay though to see the colony of penguins, so cute!

  • Oh my gosh, I HAVE to go see those penguins!!!!

    -Ash
    http://www.thenashvillianblog.com

  • Seriously, between the penguins and the whales…I just wanna get there now!

  • SimplyEvani

    Penguins and wine, I’m there!

  • That photo of the elephant is amazing! Delicious wine and beautiful nature, sign me up!

  • What a great post! I would love to go to Cape Town. Now when I do I’ll know exactly what to do while I’m there. Thanks!

  • I have ALWAYS wanted to go on a safari! It should have been on my list, but then again I would have a never-ending list of places if I named everything! These pictures are gorgeous as well, hope I make it down there sometime!

  • Ha a safari is on my list today! Awesommmmme. I will definitely be bookmarking this post for the day that I hopefully make it to Cape Town!

  • Lisa @ Ameliorer la Vie

    I spent three weeks in South Africa about a year ago on a study tour through my university, but it’s interesting to see your take on it. There are a few things on your list that I didn’t get to do/didn’t even know about. I guess that just means I’ll have to go back…Kruger is on my bucket list anyway!

  • What a great list! I would be really interested to visit Robben Island, I can just imagine how emotional it would be.

  • Johlet

    I love the list! I need to go do all of them! Now to plan to make it to CT!

  • I think this firmly puts Cape Town WAY up high in my bucketlist. This is a fab list Nicole. Many things I would have wanted to do like the wine and safari but I didn’t know you could see penguins! I have an obsession with penguins. I even had one adopted for me as a birthday present a couple of years back…

  • I think the penguins were the part I was most surprised about but I loved them!

    xx Kelly
    Sparkles and Shoes

  • jonh

    safari ?? sure im there dompet kulit pria

  • mercy

    i love penguins, thanks so much for share
    tas selempang wanita

  • Zjildian

    Thank you for your great article on CT
    I’m from the city and haven’t been to most of these places yet. I would love to go to Boulders Beach and Aquila Nature Reserve