Recommended Activities Cape Town
Ah, so much to do, eat, sea, drink, and experience! We know it's hard to choose, but some of our favourite things to do in Cape Town are:
- Red open-top bus City Sightseeing Tour: Our suggestion for the most relaxing orientation to Cape Town is the open-top bus Tour. The Red Tour shows you the best of the central area of Cape Town without you having to worry about directions and traffic. The Blue Tour includes highlights further afield around the mountain, such as Kirstenbosch Gardens, an optional wine tour and township tour, as well as Hout Bay. This is a great way to orient yourself along Cape Town's main routes. And because it's hop-on-hop-off, you can explore as much or as little as you like during the tour. Night Tours are also available.
- Table Mountain Cable Car: a five-minute drive from Derwent, the Table Mountain Cable Car is a must-see for any visitor to Cape Town, offering spectacular mountain and coastal vistas in every direction. Book online to miss the queues (tickets are valid for 7 days from booking), and pack a warm top in case the clouds come in. There's a bustling and friendly cafe up top, which serves a range of hot and cold meals, sandwiches, snacks, alcholic and soft beverages, as well as a very decent coffee. If you have energy to burn, and are in need of some adrenalin, there are several well-documented walks up the mountain. None of these are easy strolls, however, so you should not undertake these unless you are above average fitness. There are one-way cable car ticket options.
- Peninsula Drive: Take a drive around the mountain and down to the False Bay coastline through Muizenberg, St James, Kalk Bay and Simonstown, stopping for coffee, breakfast or lunch at any of these quaint seaside villages. At Boulders Beach you'll see one of South Africa's only two land-based African penguin colonies. At the apex of your drive lies the Cape of Good Hope Nature Reserve, a pristine, wild and wide open landscape. Enjoy a brisk walk, or a leisurely funicular trip (optional extra), up to the Cape Point lighthouse to admire the drama and expansiveness of the views at this most south-western point of the African continent.
- Kirstenbosch Gardens: A place to spend an hour or a day, Kirstenbosch is a world-renowned botanical collection with great food and gift-shopping options. In the summer months, Kirstenbosch is also host to the Sunday Concert series, which brings together a great selection of local and international music talent for sundowner picnic concerts. Film buffs will also enjoy the open-air summer film series, held every Wednesday night, which screens a great selection of documentary, foreign, adventure sport and all-time classic movies.
- Robben Island: Take a half-hour ferry ride to Robben Island for an immersive experience into South Africa's political, historical and cultural heritage. The standard tour including two half-hour ferry rides, takes approximately 3.5 hours. The boat trip between Cape Town and Robben Island provides an opportunity to see a wide spectrum of seabirds and marine mammals including Cape Fur seals, Southern Right whales and Dusky and Heaviside Dolphins.
- Kloof St, Long St and Greenmarket Square Wander: There's something for everyone in this vibrant strip of streetfront shops, galleries, restaurants, coffee shops and markets. Our particular favourites are Clarke's Bookshop, Mozarts Cafe, Mabu Vinyl (setting for many of the scenes from the Oscar-winning filmSearching for Sugarman), Imagenius Gift Shop, O-live collectibles and decor, Mozzarella Bar, Cafe Paradiso, Cafe Milano, Dear Me Restaurant, Bombay Bicycle Club Restaurant, Sky Bar on top of the Grand Daddy Hotel, and Erdmann Contemporary Gallery.
- Victoria and Alfred Waterfront: mainstream and luxury shopping, a heady variety of dining options, wine-tasting, arts and crafts, Aquarium, the Cape Wheel observation wheel, canal rides, harbour boat rides: all are on offer in this world-class venue.
- Hout Bay & Chapman Peak Drive: head either via Constantia and over Constatia Nek, or take the coastal route through Camps Bay, past Llandudno and on to Hout Bay. A variety of art, eating and shopping establishments await you in Hout Bay. One of our favourites is the Chapman Peak Hotel, for the best pan-fried calamari in town with great views. The Hout Bay World of Birds Wildlife Sanctuary as well as the Hout Bay Harbour Market and Restaurants are great family options. The Chapman Peak toll road is a spectacular stretch of cliff top road winding around to the broad sweep of Noordhoek Beach, with a number of spectacular view stops along the way.
- Arthouse Cinema: one of Cape Town's oldest institutions, the Labia theatre in Orange Street is an easy walk from Derwent House, and shows a great programme of foreign and art-house movies. It also has a full bar, so you can enjoy a glass of wine, a whisky or a coffee while you enjoy your movie. A number of local restaurants offer movie and meal deals.
- Theatre on the Bay (Camps Bay): there's always something entertaining on at Theatre on the Bay. A small intimate theatre with strong roots in our local dramatic and musical arts community, Theatre on the Bay also has a good restaurant and bar, offering you a full dinner and show package. Book early to avoid disappointment, as these shows are very popular.
- Planet Bar at the Mount Nelson: enjoy a nightcap at one of Cape Town's best known institutions. The Planet Bar is open late, and serves a wide selection of wines, single malts and cocktails in a sophisticated and elegant lounge bar.