Set seductively between mountains and the sea, Cape Town proudly displays its natural beauty. The iconic Table Mountain, rising above the city, provides the perfect plateau for panoramic views that stretch all the way to the glittering Atlantic, botanical gardens beckon from its slopes, and the city’s long blonde beaches, backed by towering peaks, are some of the best in South Africa. In this article, we will cover top 5 places to visit in cape town.
An irrepressible sense of adventure bubbles beneath the surface, and visitors can join in the fun with a variety of outdoor activities ranging from hiking, biking, surfing, and paragliding to whale-watching trips and cage dives with great white sharks. The activities available here may vary depending on the season.
Top 5 places to visit in cape town.
Cape Town, Africa’s oldest European settlement, has a rich and, at times, turbulent history. History buffs can visit Robben Island, where Nelson Mandela was imprisoned for 18 years. Elegant Stellenbosch in the hinterland is a foodie’s paradise. Scenic drives cut into mountains that plunge to the sea along the rugged coast, penguins waddle on pristine beaches, and Cape Point is part of a UNESCO World Heritage Site with one of the world’s richest floral kingdoms.
Explore the best things to do in South Africa’s “Mother City” with our list of the top tourist attractions in Cape Town.
Top 5 places to visit in cape town.
1. Ascend Table Mountain
The flat-topped Table Mountain, rising 1,087 metres south of the city centre, is South Africa’s most photographed landmark and a constant reminder that nature reigns supreme in this stunning seaside city. The mountain, which was formed from massive beds of sandstone and slate, forms the northern end of the Cape Peninsula and is located within Table Mountain National Park.
The park protects an incredible diversity of plants and over 1,470 flower species—the world’s richest floral kingdom—as well as animals such as cute snub-nosed dassies (rock hyraxes), caracals, and baboons. Within the park, Devil’s Peak flanks the mountain on the east and Lion’s Head on the west, while the Twelve Apostles loom over the Atlantic coast beach resorts.
The mountain’s peak is frequently obscured by a layer of clouds known as the “tablecloth,” but when the clouds clear, visitors can enjoy spectacular views of Cape Town and the entire Cape Peninsula from the summit. Bring a sweater because the top can be cold and windy.
For those with limited time and energy, a revolving cableway ascends to the summit in seven minutes, covering the distance of 1,244 metres. The cableway operates daily, except during high winds, so check the website or call for current conditions before heading out. To avoid long lines, book your tickets online.
A café with a small viewing terrace at the upper station of the cableway serves as the starting point for three short walks that highlight the massive scale of the landscape. Those wishing to climb the mountain on foot can choose from over 350 different routes of varying difficulty. The climb takes two to four hours depending on where you start. Hike or drive up Signal Hill or Lion’s Head for the best views of Table Mountain and the best vantage point to photograph this iconic landmark. Both offer stunning views from their summits.
2. Take a stroll through the Kirstenbosch National Botanical Gardens.
Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens is part of the Cape Floristic Region UNESCO World Heritage site and is located on the eastern slopes of Table Mountain. Cecil Rhodes bequeathed the site to the state in 1902, and the gardens were established in 1913 to preserve the country’s indigenous flora—one of the world’s first botanical gardens with this mission.
More than 20,000 native South African plant species are collected, grown, and studied in the hilly 528-hectare indigenous forest and fynbos nature reserve. A hedge of wild almond trees planted by Jan van Riebeeck in 1660 and an avenue of camphor and fig trees planted by Cecil Rhodes in 1898 are both historically significant. The flowers, shrubs, and trees are planted in such a way that they bloom and colour the gardens all year.
The proteas, the scented garden, the impressive collection of cycads, the Sculpture Garden, and the Botanical Society Conservatory, a custom-built greenhouse with plants from arid regions, are all must-sees. Trails wind their way through the wooded slopes, and the Tree Canopy Walkway offers panoramic views of the mountain-backed gardens. One of the trails leads to the summit of Table Mountain via a ravine. In the summer, the gardens provide an evocative setting for outdoor concerts.
Green thumbs and garden lovers should also pay a visit to Company’s Garden, a city-center oasis of exotic trees, flowers, aviaries, and ponds. Visitors can also visit the Iziko South African Museum and Planetarium and the Iziko National Gallery while they are here.
3. Relax on the beaches of Clifton and Camps Bay.
The beaches of Camps Bay and Clifton, about six kilometres from the city centre. It attract the buff, bronzed, and beautiful—as well as the big bucks. Some of the city’s most expensive real estate overlooks four gleaming white-sand beaches. Its flanked by smooth granite boulders and washed by sparkling, but crisp, blue seas. Which is in Clifton, Cape Town’s St. Tropez.
When the conditions are right, First Beach is a popular volleyball venue with decent surf. Just south of Clifton, trendy Camp’s Bay has another beautiful beach, backed by the majestic Twelve Apostles and the distinctive Lion’s Head peak. People-watching is an art form along this pretty palm-lined stretch, as well as at the chic cafes and boutiques that line Victoria Street, especially on weekends and holidays when locals and tourists flock here to take in the sights.
Camp’s Bay and Clifton’s Fourth Beach have earned the coveted Blue Flag status for clean water, safety, and environmental management, making them ideal for families.
4. Visit the Victoria and Alfred Waterfront.
The Victoria and Alfred Waterfront, which wraps around two harbour basins. It is a bustling entertainment district reminiscent of San Francisco’s Fisherman’s Wharf. This reimagined waterfront district, once a run-down fishing harbour, is now one of the city’s top tourist attraction. With many of the old buildings preserved and restored. Every year, millions of visitors flock to the shops, jazz clubs. Restaurants, hotels, theatres, drama school, cinemas, and museums.
The Springbok Experience Rugby Museum, which traces the history of South African rugby through interactive exhibits. This will appeal to sports fans. Two Oceans Aquarium houses over 300 different fish species from the Atlantic and Indian oceans. Particularly from the area around the Cape of Good Hope. A touch tank, penguin encounter, predator exhibit, and diving experiences. This allow visitors to get up close and personal with fascinating marine creatures.
Trips to Robben Island depart from the Nelson Mandela Gateway on the waterfront. But the museum exhibits are open to the public. The trendy Green Point precinct west of the waterfront is also home to the lovely Green Point. Urban Park with its biodiversity garden, as well as the Cape Town Stadium. Which hosted many FIFA World Cup matches in 2010.
5. Take a spin on the Cape Wheel
The Cape Wheel in Market Square is impossible to miss while walking around the Victoria & Alfred waterfront. The giant wheel has 30 air-conditioned fully enclosed cabins. They take you on a 15-minute ride in four loops with 360-degree bird’s-eye views.
On a clear day, you’ll be about 120 feet above the ground. With panoramic views of Cape Town’s city centre and harbor. You will see Table Mountain, the Cape Town Stadium in nearby Green Point, and even the Paarl Mountains. With two specially adapted cabins, the Cape Wheel is also wheelchair accessible. The wheel is open daily from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.
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