The Ultimate Adventurers Guide to Cape Town

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Curated By

Alex Sallis

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  • South Africa

  • Cape Town

  • Active Travel

  • Adventure Travel

  • Local Culture

  • Local Food

  • Shopping

An aerial view of the Table Mountain during daytime.
Curator’s statement

Cape Town, South Africa, is such a gem when it comes to beautiful yet affordable travel destinations with plenty of things to do. It has easily made its way into my top five favorite destinations because of the gorgeous landscapes and beaches, delicious food and surprisingly low prices. There isn’t a shortage of activities- from wine tasting to hiking to paragliding to shark cage diving, there is something for everyone.

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Insider knowledge

Expert advice from people who’ve actually been there

Where to stay in Cape Town

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Mount Nelson, A Belmond Hotel, Cape Town

A historic standout in pink at the base of Table Mountain, stay here for the storied history, art-focused activities and luxe spa.

Fora Perks
  • Breakfast daily.

  • Afternoon/evening tea for two.

  • Upgrade & extended check-in/out whenever possible.

One&Only Cape Town

A tranquil enclave surrounded by mesmerizing waterways and a traditional harbor featuring utmost service well-known to the One&Only brand.

Fora Perks
  • $100 food / beverage credit.

  • Breakfast daily.

  • Upgrade & extended check-in/out whenever possible.

The Silo Hotel

An unmistakeable architectural gem on the V&A Waterfront, with a prized modern art collection and, in many rooms, Table Mountain views.

Fora Perks
  • $100 hotel / resort credit.

  • Breakfast daily.

  • Upgrade & extended check-in/out whenever possible.

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Travel advisor posing on the beach

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Things to do in Cape Town

An aerial view of the Lions Head during daytime hours.

Paragliding

For a bird's eye view of beautiful Cape Town, go paragliding. Tours take off from both Signal Hill and Lions Head on calm days. Insider tip: if you don't see paragliders in the sky on the day you want to fly, be sure to call the paragliding company beforehand to make sure they are operating based on current weather conditions.

Hike Lion's Head

One of the most rewarding hikes I've been on, the top of Lion's Head offers gorgeous panoramic views of Cape Town and the Atlantic Ocean. If you're terrified of heights, know this hike is pretty rigorous and some of the trails are steep and narrow but there were kids and dogs hiking the trail and the views are worth it.

Attend a Concert at Kirstenbosch

If you're lucky, your trip dates may line up with a fun concert at Kirstenbosch Botanical Garden. It's a breathtaking amphitheater surrounded by nature. Be sure to check out their website for upcoming shows.

Take The Cable Car Up Table Mountain

Although Table Mountain can be hiked, there are cable cars that offer easy access to the top where the views are stunning. This is a must-do when in Cape Town as this mountain looks like it's straight out of a fairytale. Insider tip: grab an Aperol Spritz on tap at the bar on top of the mountain and enjoy it while taking in your surroundings.

Check Out Bo Kaap

This history-rich town is nestled in Cape Town and is sprinkled with colorful buildings. Here, you can learn about Cape culture at their local museum and snap some pretty pictures.

Wine Tasting

Outside of Cape Town, you can find the most gorgeous wineries in both Franschhoek and Stellenbosch. More about this below but this is a must do if you like wine.

Shark Cage Diving

Thrill seeker? Look no further than Cape Town's abundance of cage diving experiences. For under $200 USD per person, you can get up close and personal with great whites, bronze whalers and seven gill sharks- truly an experience of a lifetime.

Relax at Clifton

Although you can't go wrong with any of the beaches in Cape Town, Clifton 4th beach is one of the higher end and quiet beaches you can find. Insider tip: alcohol on the beach is illegal so keep this in mind before packing your cooler!

Explore V&A Waterfront (& Get High Tea)

Cape Town's V&A Waterfront is a great destination for shopping, eating and people watching. There are several museums in this area, including a boat tour to nearby Robben Island that once held Nelson Mandela. Head over to the top floor of the Silo Hotel to get high tea- come hungry because they will bring you a ton of cute pastries. Insider tip: reservations are required for high tea so be sure to make those online before going.

Bungee Jump

Cape town hosts one of the world's highest bungee jumps at Bloukrans Bridge Bungy. At 709 feet above the Bloukrans River, you’re sure to get a huge adrenaline rush when making the leap off the bridge.

Sunset Picnic on Signal Hill

The locals flock to signal hill during sunset for the beautiful views of Cape Town. Insider tip: bring takeout and a bottle of wine to relax and enjoy the sunset.

Day Trips

Franschhoek

Sign up for a tram ticket that will stop at several gorgeous wineries along its path. Do some research on the wineries along your route so you know which ones you want to stop at beforehand. Insider tip: take the purple line and don't forget to stop at Boschendal Wine Estate and get their champagne and oyster pairing.

Muizenberg

A nearby surf town that is famous for their longboard wave and small colorful beach huts.

Boulders Beach

This is the famous beach with tons of penguins. It is a sanctuary, so you will have to buy a ticket and walk on their designated bridges but it's a fun and unique experience.

Kalk Bay

A small hippie town outside of the city with some cute shops and restaurants.

Cape Point

Rent a car and drive to Cape Point, the southernmost tip of Africa. It's an easy hike with incredible ocean views and there is a restaurant at the base in case you work up an appetite.

Insider tip: wake up early so you can pack in Muizenberg, Cape Point, Boulders Beach and Kalk Bay all in one day.

Big-Five Safari

For less than $100 USD per person, you can get picked up in Cape Town and taken to a private game reserve to see lions, leopards, rhinos, elephants and cape buffalos. This is a great option for those that don't have days to spend traveling hours to Kruger for a safari.

Places to eat & drink in Cape Town

Food platter on a table with plates and drinks.

Café Caprice
Located in Camps Bay, Cafe Caprice is an ocean-facing eclectic cafe with a large selection of food and cocktails.

Kloof Street House
Just off of Cape Town’s vibrant Kloof Street, you can find a large Victorian house thoughtfully converted into a unique restaurant. Insider tip: head here on Sundays to experience some live jazz music.

Bungalow
A gorgeous oceanfront restaurant with both tables and lounge seating, the bungalow is a hot spot on the weekends and is perfect for a romantic dinner.

Harbour House
Located in Kalk bay, Harbour house is a fine dining restaurant with gorgeous ocean views and fresh seafood.

La Colombe Restaurant
This modern French restaurant boasts 3 Michelin stars and offers a deliciously creative prix fixe menu for around $100 USD.

Need to Know

Looking for more travel inspiration? Check out my guide, Sayulita Travel Guide: Best Places to Eat, Stay, and Things to Do

Travel advisor posing on the beach

Travel Advisor

Alex Sallis

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This guide is part of our ongoing series on travel to Cape Town