In Podcast Episode 29 we chat with our friend Jason Whiting about Cape Town and the MUST SEE SIGHTS for every visitor:
1 - Go to The Top of Table Mountain
As you arrive in Cape Town, you will be greeted by the iconic and imposing Table Mountain, one of the New 7 Wonders of Nature. You can get up close to this beautiful mountain either by Cable Car or by hiking up, down or around it. Platteklip Gorge is the easiest route to the summit, but should not be underestimated. Be sure to check out our video to see if it’s something you are up for. If you are physically fit, the scenery and panoramic views will reward you beyond your wildest expectations. If you do not want to hike all the way to the top, you can also enjoy the nature of the Table Mountain National Park or nearby Silvermine Nature Reserve.
2 - Visit Robben Island
Robben Island has more than a 500-year-old multi-layered history and is a unique symbol of the triumph of the human spirit over adversity, suffering and injustice. Three are 3 tours to the island daily and ferries depart from the Nelson Mandela Gateway at the V & A Waterfront. The tours take about 3.5 hours including the ferry trip to and from the Island and include seeing the graveyard of people who died from leprosy on the island many years ago, the Lime Quarry, the Bluestone quarry, Robert Sobukwe’s house, the army and navy bunkers and the Maximum Security Prison including a viewing of Nelson Mandela’s cell. The tour is very informative and will give you a good understanding of both the history of Robben Island and President Nelson Mandela’s time spent here.
3 - Marvel at the Penguins at Boulders Beach
Located in the Cape Peninsula, near Simon's Town towards Cape Point, this colony of African penguins settled there in 1982. The African penguins are only found on the coastlines of Southern Africa (South Africa & Namibia) and were on the verge of extinction. Under the protection of the Cape Nature Conservation, from just two breeding pairs in 1982, the penguin colony has grown to about 3,000 birds in recent years. You can view the penguins for free from the surrounding areas, but we would suggest paying the very reasonable entry fee (which goes to a good cause) to enter Boulders Beach ad get to see these awkward and elegant penguins up close in their natural habitat.
4 - Lookout over both the Indian and Atlantic Oceans at Cape Point
Although entry to the Cape Point Nature Reserve is a little pricey, the surrounding nature and panoramic views over where the Indian and Atlantic Oceans meet is well worth it. If you have time and plan well in advance (places are limited and prior reservations are required), you can do a 2-3 day hike which will allow you even more time to appreciate this incredible scenery. If not, plan to at least spend half a day here, admiring the views and maybe enjoying a drink at the restaurant.
5 - Listen out for the Noon Gun at Signal Hill
Signal Hill is named after the signal flags that were used to communicate weather warnings as well as anchoring instructions to visiting ships in order to ensure that they prepared adequately for stormy weather while in the Cape Bay. Be sure to time your visit around midday to listen out for the Noon Gun which is still fired daily. If the weather permits and you have an adventurous spirit, be sure to Paraglide from the top of Signal Hill, this is such a fun experience and allows you to enjoy the breathtaking views over the ocean with adrenaline running through your body! If this sounds too adventurous, just enjoy an ice-cream while appreciating the view.
6 - Enjoy a Cocktail or Picnic at Camps Bay Beach
Camps Bay Beach is one of the most popular and most beautiful places to enjoy the sunset. Whether you’re looking for a vibey bar to have a cocktail or two or if you prefer to enjoy a peaceful picnic on the beach, you will find just the right spot in Camps Bay. Finding a parking space be a lot more challenging though, so take public transport if you can!
7 - Enjoy a local Wine Tasting
With more options for wine tasting that you could possibly imagine, perhaps consider visiting Groot Constantia, the oldest wine estate in South Africa. Alternatively, take a drive through the Boland to a few of the many wine estates of Stellenbosch, Franschhoek and Paarl to easily while away the day.
8 - Visit the Victoria & Alfred Waterfront
Situated in South Africa’s oldest working harbour, the Victoria & Alfred Waterfront attracts more than 23 million visitors a year. Named after Prince Alfred, second son of Queen Victoria, who visited the Cape Colony harbour in 1860 as a sixteen-year-old Royal Navy Midshipman on HMS Euryalus. With over 450 retail outlets, you can easily keep yourself occupied for a whole day and well into the night. Be sure to take a ride in The Cape Wheel and also visit the Aquarium. You will also find the new Silo district nearby. This project was completed in 2017 with the Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa being the main attraction.
9 - Appreciate Art at the Zeitz Museum
You can marvel at more than just the art at the Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa (MOCAA) at the new Silo district which is housed within the conversion of the 57m tall historic Grain Silo, originally built in 1921, decommissioned in 2001 and opened as the Zeitz Museum in 2017. This is the largest museum of contemporary African art in the world and offers free entry for African citizens on Wednesdays from 10am to 1pm. Be sure to check the website for current exhibitions.
10 - Photograph the Colourful Houses of Bo Kaap
The name Bo Kaap means “above the Cape" in Afrikaans and was formerly known as the Malay Quarter. Bo-Kaap is known for its brightly coloured homes and cobblestoned streets and is the oldest surviving residential neighbourhood in Cape Town. The brightly coloured facades are attributed to an expression of freedom by the new homeowners, as all the houses were originally painted white while on lease. Visit the Bo-Kaap Museum to learn more about the history of this area.
11 - Take a Tour of the Cape Town Castle of Good Hope
The historic Cape Town Castle of Good Hope is open daily and offers very affordable tours of the Castle grounds which are informative and fun. It can be hard to imagine that this Castle was once on the coastline of the Cape!
12 - Get Around with the Open Top Hop On Hop Off Red Bus
Included in Cape Town Pass, this is a great way to get around Cape Town, see some of the sights and meet fellow tourists and Cape Town locals! Don’t forget your sunscreen and lightweight jacket if you plan to enjoy the open-top though. The Cape Town Pass may seem expensive at first, but if you plan to visit most of the sites included, then it may well save you some money. There are 2, 3, or 5-day options, just note that these are consecutive days.