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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, providing an easy 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).


Bo-Kaap

The Bo-Kaap (old Malay Quarter) was declared an exclusive residential area for the Muslim Cape Malays under the apartheid era's Group Areas Act of 1950, forcing people of other religions and ethnicity…

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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, and offers…

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District Six Museum

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

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Greenmarket Square

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

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Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens

The magnificent Kirstenbosch National Botanical Gardens lie just south of the city centre and cover a huge expanse of the rugged southwestern slopes of the Table Mountain Range. Kirstenbosch was bequeathed…

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Muizenberg

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, and is easily seen from the shore. For nearly 400 years, this tiny rocky island was utilised as a place of banishment, exile, isolation, and imprisonment…

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Simonstown and Boulders Beach

Simonstown is South Africa's principal naval base and lies about 25 miles (40km) from the city centre. The quaint suburb was built around a naval dockyard, and visitors will enjoy its well-preserved…

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South African Museum and Planetarium

The imposing South African Museum is dedicated to natural history and the human sciences, and contains a huge variety of fascinating exhibits. Among other things, visitors will encounter entire chunks…

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St George's Cathedral

Founded in 1901 and situated on Wale Street, Cape Town's Victorian Gothic style Anglican Cathedral is historically significant for hosting 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 stands as a sentinel over the city, and has been proclaimed a nature reserve, thereby…

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Township Tours

The N2 highway that connects Cape Town International Airport to the city is lined with townships, which consist 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 development has become one of Cape Town's most visited tourist attractions. The Waterfront offers everything from shopping malls and crafts markets,…

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Our Travel Expert

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

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