What to see in Cape Town

Cape Town Attractions

From museums and historic sites to scenic drives and beaches, Cape Town has plenty to offer visitors in the way of attractions and excursions. The open-top, hop-on hop-off sightseeing buses operate two routes, visiting sights in and around the central city. The routes also go further afield in the suburbs, and this is an easy and fun way to see many of the city's top attractions in one day.

The city centre is easy to navigate on foot, with Table Mountain and the city's gentle slope towards the sea providing points of reference and making it difficult to get lost. At the very least, visitors usually include a trip up Table Mountain in the cable car and many make time for an outing to Robben Island, Cape Point, the Winelands, and, of course, any one of the city's many magnificent beaches.

Summertime visitors rarely come to Cape Town without at least one day spent enjoying its Blue Flag-rated beaches, whether lounging with bronze gods in Camps Bay and Clifton, or snorkelling with penguins in Simonstown. There are many active pursuits available in Cape Town as well, including kayaking with whales in the Atlantic Ocean, hiking up Table Mountain or in the Tokai Forest, and paragliding from Signal Hill to Camp's Bay.

For those with a bit more time, there are many interesting museums that offer a glimpse into the apartheid era, such as the District Six Museum. An increasingly popular excursion is to one of the predominantly black townships which usually includes a look at community projects, a visit to a craft market and a drink at a local shebeen (township pub).


The Bo-Kaap, or the old Malay Quarter, was declared an exclusive residential area for the Muslim Cape Malays under the Group Areas Act of 1950, during the Apartheid years, forcing people of other religions…

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Cape Town Beaches

Cape Town has some truly gorgeous beaches, but the most glamorous are on the Atlantic Ocean where the water is unbelievably cold. Even the locals tend to keep their swims short. The most popular choices…

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Castle of Good Hope

South Africa's oldest surviving colonial building, the Castle of Good Hope was completed in 1679. It replaced an earlier mud and timber fort built by the first Dutch Governor: Jan van Riebeeck. Situated…

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Chapman's Peak

Chapman's Peak Drive is one of the most spectacular coastal roads in South Africa and the world. It links the seaside community of Hout Bay to the Noordhoek Valley along the Atlantic Coast, with breath-taking…

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District Six Museum

Until the 1960s, District Six was a vibrant district of Cape Town, close to the city centre and the harbour. It was a community established originally as a mix of freed slaves, merchants, artisans,…

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Greenmarket Square

Situated in the Central Business District, near the main station, Greenmarket Square is the perfect spot to observe South Africa's diverse population in all its hues and voices. Once the scene of slave…

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Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens

Five miles (8km) south of the city centre lie the magnificent Kirstenbosch National Botanical Gardens, covering a huge expanse of the rugged southwestern slopes of the Table Mountain range. Kirstenbosch…

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A historical beach-side suburb on the False Bay coast, Muizenberg is popular with families for its long beach, warm water (by Cape Town standards), beautiful views, and activities such as mini-golf…

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Robben Island

Robben Island is seven miles (11km) from Cape Town in the centre of Table Bay, easily seen from the shore. For nearly 400 years, this tiny rocky island was utilised as a place of banishment, exile,…

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Simonstown and Boulders Beach

Simonstown, South Africa's principal naval base, lies about 25 miles (40km) from the city centre and is a quaint suburb built around a naval dockyard, with well-preserved Victorian buildings, museums,…

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South African Museum and Planetarium

The imposing South African Museum, dedicated to natural history and the human sciences, contains a huge variety of fascinating exhibits from entire chunks of caves bearing rock art, to traditional…

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St George's Cathedral

Cape Town's Victorian Gothic style Anglican Cathedral, founded in 1901, is situated in Wale Street and is historically significant for it is where the enthronement of South Africa's first black archbishop,…

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Table Mountain

Cape Town's most popular tourist attraction is also its most famous physical feature. The flat-topped mountain that stands as a sentinel over the city. Table Mountain has been proclaimed a nature reserve,…

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Township Tours

The N2 highway that connects Cape Town International Airport to the city is lined with townships, consisting of a mixture of shacks and solid buildings. During the days of apartheid, people of colour…

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Victoria & Alfred (V&A) Waterfront

This working harbour, historical site, and shopping and entertainment development, has become one of Cape Town's most visited tourist attractions. The Waterfront offers everything from shopping malls…

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An American expat currently living in South Africa, Anya Klaassen has travelled widely as a musician and writer.

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