Must see attractions in Cape Town

  • Top ChoiceSights in Southern Suburbs

    Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden

    Location and unique flora combine to make these 5.28-sq-km botanical gardens among the most beautiful in the world. Gate 1, the main entrance at the Newlands end of the gardens, is where you’ll find the information centre, an excellent souvenir shop and the conservatory. Added for the garden's centenary in 2013, the popular Tree Canopy Walkway (informally known as the 'Boomslang', meaning tree snake) is a curvaceous steel and timber bridge that rises through the trees and provides amazing views.

  • Top ChoiceSights in Simon's Town & Southern Peninsula

    Cape of Good Hope

    This 77.5-sq-km section of Table Mountain National Park includes awesome scenery, fantastic walks, great birdwatching and often-deserted beaches. The reserve is commonly referred to as Cape Point, after its most dramatic (but less famous) promontory. Bookings are required for the two-day Cape of Good Hope Trail, a spectacular 33.8km circular route with one night spent in a basic hut. Contact the Buffelsfontein Visitor Centre for further details.

  • Top ChoiceSights in Gardens & Surrounds

    Table Mountain

    Around 600 million years old, and a canvas painted with the rich diversity of the Cape floral kingdom, Table Mountain is truly iconic. You can admire the showstopper of Table Mountain National Park and one of the 'New 7 Wonders of Nature' (https://nature.new7wonders.com) from multiple angles, but you really can’t say you’ve visited Cape Town until you’ve stood on top of it.

  • Sights in Sea Point to Hout Bay

    Table Mountain National Park

    Stretching from Signal Hill to Cape Point, this 220-sq-km park is a natural wonder, its range of environments including granite and sandstone mountains, giant-boulder-strewn beaches and shady forests. For the vast majority of visitors, the main attraction is the 1086m-high mountain itself, the top of which can easily be accessed by the cableway, which runs every 10 to 20 minutes.

  • Top ChoiceSights in Green Point & ­Waterfront

    Robben Island

    Used as a prison from the early days of the VOC (Dutch East India Company) right up until 1996, this Unesco World Heritage site is preserved as a memorial to those (such as Nelson Mandela) who spent many years incarcerated here. You can only go here on a tour, which lasts around four hours including ferry rides, departing from the Nelson Mandela Gateway beside the Clock Tower at the Waterfront. Booking online well in advance is highly recommended as tours can sell out.

  • Top ChoiceSights in Simon's Town & Southern Peninsula

    Boulders Penguin Colony

    This picturesque area, with enormous boulders dividing small, sandy coves, is home to a colony of some 3000 delightful African penguins. A boardwalk runs from the Boulders Visitor Centre at the Foxy Beach end of the protected area – part of Table Mountain National Park – to Boulders Beach, where you can get down on the sand and mingle with the waddling penguins. Don’t, however, be tempted to pet them: they have sharp beaks that can cause serious injuries.

  • Top ChoiceSights in East City, District Six, Woodstock & Observatory

    District Six Museum

    It's impossible not to be emotionally moved by this museum, which celebrates the once lively multiracial area that was destroyed during apartheid in the 1960s and 1970s, its 60,000 inhabitants forcibly removed. Inside the former Methodist Mission Church, home interiors have been recreated, alongside photographs, recordings and testimonials, all of which build an evocative picture of a shattered but not entirely broken community. Many township tours stop here first to explain the history of the pass laws.

  • Sights in Simon's Town & Southern Peninsula

    Noordhoek Beach

    This magnificent 5km stretch of beach is favoured by surfers and horse riders. It tends to be windy, and dangerous for swimmers. The Hoek, as it is known to surfers, is an excellent right beach break at the northern end that can hold large waves (only attempt it at low tide); it’s best with a southeasterly wind. The large beach is isolated in places and attacks have occurred here, so don't go alone and seek local advice beforehand.

  • Top ChoiceSights in Cape Flats & Northern Suburbs

    Bloubergstrand

    The beaches beside this pleasant coastal suburb are where the British won their 1806 battle for the Cape. The panoramic view they provide of Table Mountain across Table Bay is fabulous, but these beaches are also popular with kite-surfers and windsurfers; watching them ride the waves on the weekends is an impressive sight. You can also see Robben Island clearly from here.

  • Top ChoiceSights in Sea Point to Hout Bay

    Sea Point Promenade

    Strolling along Sea Point’s wide, paved and grassy promenade is a pleasure shared by Capetonians from all walks of life. Once a white-only area, it’s now a great place to observe the city's multiculturalism. There are kids' playgrounds, a well-maintained outdoor gym and several public artworks.

  • Top ChoiceSights in Green Point & ­Waterfront

    V&A Waterfront

    This historic working harbour has a spectacular setting and many tourist-oriented attractions, including masses of shops, restaurants, bars, cinemas and cruises. The Alfred and Victoria Basins date from 1860 and are named after Queen Victoria and her son Alfred. Too small for modern container vessels and tankers, the Victoria Basin is still used by tugs, fishing boats and various other vessels. In the Alfred Basin you’ll see ships under repair.

  • Sights in Green Point & ­Waterfront

    Two Oceans Aquarium

    This excellent aquarium features denizens of the deep from the cold and the warm oceans that border the Cape Peninsula. It's a chance to see penguins, turtles, an astounding kelp forest open to the sky, and pools in which kids can touch sea creatures. Qualified divers can get into the water for a closer look (R870 including dive gear).

  • Top ChoiceSights in Green Point & ­Waterfront

    Zeitz MOCAA Museum

    The Waterfront's old grain silo has been transformed into this state-of-the-art museum for the contemporary Southern African art collection of entrepreneur Jochen Zeitz, as well the museum's own collection and loaned works. Opened in September 2017 MOCAA is still finding its feet as an exhibition space, but already provides a dazzling survey of art from across the continent and beyond.

  • Sights in Gardens & Surrounds

    South African Jewish Museum

    You need a photo ID to enter the secure compound that's home to this imaginatively designed museum, which partly occupies the beautifully restored Old Synagogue (1863). The permanent exhibition Hidden Treasures of Japanese Art showcases a collection of exquisite netsuke (carved pieces of ivory and wood). There are also temporary exhibitions that are usually worth seeing.

  • Sights in Simon's Town & Southern Peninsula

    Casa Labia Cultural Centre

    This magnificent seaside villa built in 1930 was once the palatial home of Italian ambassador Count Natale Labia and his South African wife. It now hosts a program of concerts, lectures and events, as well as exhibiting the Labia family’s furniture, imported from Venice in the 1920s, and works from their art collection (including paintings by Irma Stern and Gerald Sekoto). The ornate building also houses Cucina Labia restaurant and the South African Print Gallery.

  • Top ChoiceSights in Southern Suburbs

    Groot Constantia

    Simon van der Stel’s manor house, a superb example of Cape Dutch architecture, is maintained as a museum at Groot Constantia. Set in beautiful grounds, the estate can become busy with tour groups, but is big enough for you to escape the crowds. The large tasting room is first on your right as you enter the estate. Further on is the free orientation centre, which provides an overview of Groot Constantia's history, and the beautifully restored homestead.

  • Top ChoiceSights in Simon's Town & Southern Peninsula

    Silvermine Nature Reserve

    The Silvermine Reservoir, a beautiful spot for a picnic or a leisurely walk on the wheelchair-accessible boardwalk, is the focal point of this section of Table Mountain National Park. The placid reservoir waters are tannin-stained and, despite the signs forbidding swimming, you’ll often find locals taking a dip here. Some excellent half-day hiking trails lead into the mountains from this area, named after the fruitless attempts by the Dutch to prospect for silver here in the late 17th century.

  • Top ChoiceSights in Cape Flats & Northern Suburbs

    Meerendal

    Although it was established in 1702 and has some of South Africa's oldest pinotage and shiraz vineyards, as well as a handsome Cape Dutch homestead, Meerendal is no fuddy-duddy wine estate. The tasting room is very professionally run and combined with a contemporary art gallery and distillery, offering vodka, rum and gin tastings. There are two restaurants, Carlucci's Deli and the more upmarket Crown, as well as 18km of mountain biking trails.

  • Top ChoiceSights in Cape Flats & Northern Suburbs

    Guga S’Thebe Arts & Cultural Centre

    Decorated with polychromatic ceramic murals, this is one of the most impressive buildings in the townships – even more so now that it has a theatre, creatively constructed from recycled materials. You can watch pottery being made in one of several studio spaces here, and then buy samples from the centre's shop. Performances by local groups are often staged in the outdoor amphitheatre.

  • Sights in Southern Suburbs

    Groote Schuur

    The grandest of Cecil Rhodes' former residences was also home to a succession of prime ministers and presidents, culminating with FW de Klerk. The beautifully restored interior, all teak panels and heavy colonial furniture, with antiques and tapestries of the highest calibre, is suitably imposing. The best feature is the colonnaded veranda overlooking the formal gardens, which slope uphill towards an avenue of pine trees and views of Devil’s Peak. Advance booking is necessary for the two-hour tour.