May 3

The Ultimate Guide: 56 Best Things to do in Cape Town

May 3, 2016

Unfurling like a peacock tail at the tip of Africa, Cape Town dazzles with its blend of dramatic scenery and secret charms.

Travellers swoon for it, newspapers rave about it and even killer whales visit it.

As do two million people every year.

And they’ll all tell you that, from the city centre, one can be sipping world-class wine on a tranquil vineyard within thirty minutes, cavorting on a pristine beach in ten, or strolling on a mountainside in five. 

But there is something more than the stats, a certain magic, which sees the accolades roll in and the visitors always eager to return. It’s the combination of innovative restaurants, vibrant festivals, great weather, dynamic people and the feeling that anything could happen around the next corner, which all adds up to make Cape Town a special place, a different city.

And there’s a helluva lot to do. So, if you’re coming to Cape Town and you’d like to know how you can keep busy, better get a pen and a small book. This might take a while…

56 Best Things to do in Cape Town

Best activities in Cape Town

Helicopter flight overlooking Cape Town
Helicopter flight overlooking Cape Town, Image credit: Rhino Africa Safaris

1. Helicopter flights around the peninsula

Cape Town is a beautiful place to explore, but to do it from the air can be sensational. The easiest way to do this is to go to the V&A Waterfront where the steel birds take off daily. There is a range of different routes you can choose from, such as the Atlantico, Two Oceans, Robben Island and Full Peninsula. And there are different operators to choose from, although the two that we recommend are Cape Town Helicopters and NAC Helicopters.
Cost: R1,050 per person – R4,000 per person
Operating hours:  08h00 – 17h30 7 days a week

2. Zipline Tours in Hout Bay

Cape Town Ziplines is close to the CBD and easily reached on the Hop-on Hop-off City Sightseeing Bus. This is one of Africa’s longest and highest Zipline tours. The zipline is approximately 2.3km in total length, with single cables that stretch up to 500m and that soar 155m above the ground at their highest point.
Cost: The two-hour tour costs R480 per person and bookings for groups of six people or less can be done electronically via the company’s website (
Operating hours: Monday – Sunday: 09h00 (first tour departs) – 16h00 (last tour departs)

3. Tandem Paragliding in Cape Town

Paragliding activities Cape Town
Paragliding activities above Cape Town, Image credit: Cape Town Tandem Paragliding

Here’s yet another adventure in the air, and some might even say it’s the best. Tandem paragliding flights are mostly done from Signal Hill but they also occasionally take off from Lions Head inside the beautiful Table Mountain National Park. The Fly Cape Town paragliders either land in Camps Bay or Green Point after the thrilling ride down from the mountain. Just beware, it’s over much faster than you might imagine (7-20 minutes), and you’re definitely going to want to do it again.
Cost: R1150 per person per flight
Operating Hours: 07h00 – 19h00, weather permitting.

4. Learn to Surf in Muizenberg

Muizenberg is considered South Africa’s ‘best learn-to-surf beach’ due to its gentle and consistent breaks. Voted by National Geographic as ‘One of the World’s Best Surf Towns’, Muizenberg offers a great introduction to the wonderful thrill of surfing.
Cost: Gary’s Surf School charges R380 for one person for a two-hour lesson. The Surf Emporium charges R330 for one person for a one and a half hour lesson. For both, the price drops for larger groups.
Operating hours: Times change according to the tides. Contact the surf schools to arrange a time before you go.

5. Kayaking in Three Anchor Bay

Kayaking around Three Anchor Bay
Kayaking around Three Anchor Bay, Image credit: Kaskazi Kayaks

Start your day surrounded by dolphins. Kaskazi Kayaks launches its tours from a small beach in Three Anchor Bay and embarks on a 3 – 5 km journey either towards Granger Bay or Clifton Beach. A range of seabirds can be seen on the trips but it is the penguins, seals, dolphins and whales that cause the most excitement. Trips are approximately two hours long. If you have previous paddling experience they can arrange half day kayak trips too.
Cost: R350 per person
Operating hours: The first tour departs at 07h30, next one at 10h00. Arrange beforehand to ensure tours are going.

6. Shark-spotting in Gansbaai and False Bay

Cape Town is one of the best places to come face-to-face with the magnificent great white sharks. Gansbaai is home to a larger population of sharks and home of the famous ‘shark alley’. False Bay, however, is where you are more likely to see (if you are lucky) the sharks breach the water – a genuinely breathtaking sight. A general rule of thumb,  winter months can be better in False Bay while summer months is better in Gansbaai. It is best to contact the different operators and see what their sightings are like at the time you are here.
Cost: R1500 – R3000 depending on season
Operating hours: Tours leave in the early morning. Gansbaai is a two-hour journey from Cape Town and is a day trip.

7. Whale watching in Hermanus

Whale Watching in Hermanus
Whale Watching in Hermanus

Hermanus has been recognised by the WWF as one of the 12 best whale watching destinations in the world. The best time to see the whales is between July and November (when the Southern Right Whales are breeding) either on land, by boat or from the air via a scenic flight. For those with a more adventurous spirit, a guided sea kayaking trip promises to get the adrenaline going and offers a unique opportunity to watch whales and explore the magnificent coastline.
Cost: Sea Kayaking R400 per person. Whaleboat R700 per person.
Operating hours: 
The whaleboat leaves at 9h00; 12h00 and 15h00 from the New Harbour in Hermanus every day in season. The sea kayaks leave at 9h00, 11h30 and 14h00.

8. Ride a bicycle on the Sea Point Promenade

This may seem like one of our least exciting options – just a bike ride on a promenade? But it is a great way to end the day and watch the sunset from this scenic stretch of Cape Town coast. There are food vendors near the Sea Point Pavilion and the Green Point Urban park is nearby too and equally fun to explore. You can find the bicycles next to the pavilion too.
Cost: R50 an hour.
Operating hours: Open all day, closing times change with the sunset.

9. Seal snorkelling in Hout Bay

Swimming with the seals near Cape Town
Swimming with the seals near Cape Town

Animal Ocean has marine guides who are dedicated to getting you in the water with the playful Cape fur seals. Cape Fur seals occur naturally on islands around the southern African coast and are found nowhere else in the world. Duiker Island in Hout Bay is home to 10 000 seals, which, as they say, ‘brings you mask-to-whisker with playful and inquisitive wild animals in their natural habitat.’
Cost: R650 per person
Operating hours: Typically leaves in the morning and takes 3 hours.

10. Take a ride on the Hop-on Hop-off City Sightseeing Bus

This is a great way to see the city and its beautiful surrounds. The family-friendly bus offers informative audio commentary about Cape Town’s major attractions in 15 languages, with a special audio channel just for kids. Your ticket gives you access to all our bus tours in Cape Town – the Red City Tour, Blue Mini Peninsula Tour, Yellow Downtown Tour, and the Purple Wine Tour. Stops include the Waterfront, Table Mountain, Camps Bay and Constantia Winelands.
Cost: R160 for one day, R260 for two
Operating hours: Roughly 08h00 – 20h00, check the schedule to be sure.

11. Catch a cable car up iconic Table Mountain

The Cable Car up Table Mountain
The Cable Car up Table Mountain

Table Mountain is Cape Town. There’s no getting around that. Or the mountain. Just ask the commuting locals. This popular attraction and natural wonder receives almost one million visitors a year. It’s a great place to watch the sunset over the Atlantic Ocean with a glass of champagne or spend an entire day exploring. Just don’t miss the last cable car down!
Cost: One way is R125 and return is R240
Operating hours: Summer 08h00 – 21h00, Winter 08h30 – 17h30, (times vary in between seasons, check website for more).

12. Sail on a yacht in Table Bay

There are so many ways to take in this city, but on a yacht must surely be one of the most glamorous. Sail from the V&A Waterfront down the coastline to Cape Town’s famous beaches such as Clifton and Camps Bay and back. Drop anchor, have a dip and soak up the good life. Check out the website for more info.
Cost: Anything from R180 per person per hour to R300. Can include a glass of champagne. 
Operating hours: 
Goes throughout the day but sunset times are the most popular.

13. Ride a Harley along Chapmans Peak

Chapman's Peak Drive View
Chapman’s Peak Drive View, Image credit: Andre and Dominik Peter

And now we move to our most hard-core form of transport, a Harley Davidson. You can rent a bike from Cape Bike Travel, but taking chauffeured rides is also possible. And if you’re getting on a Harley, there is only one place to head to – South Africa’s most famous scenic drive, Chapman’s Peak. You’ll have dramatic cliffs on one side and a mighty ocean on the other, with a raging engine between your legs.
Cost: Bike rentals: per day R1350 – R2100, Chauffeured rides: R1600 for a half day, R2100 for full day

14. Treat yourself to High Tea at Cape Town’s finest hotels

Cape Town has an array of hotels and restaurants that offer High Tea. They are immensely popular and understandably so, you can taste teas from around the world and snack on macaroons, carrot cake, cheesecake and more. We have a blog telling you exactly where to go to find Cape Town’s Top 10 High Teas.

Cost: R145 – R295
Operating hours: Traditionally in the afternoon between 15h00 and 18hoo, although there are some morning teas on offer.

15. Ride a horse on Noordhoek Beach

Horse riding on Noordehoek Beach in Cape Town
Horse riding on Noordehoek Beach in Cape Town

Just the other side of Chapman’s Peak lies the small town of Noordhoek and its long beach, which is ideal for horse rides. The Imhoff Equestrian Centre offers three daily rides along 8km of the picturesque Noordhoek Beach. They have horses to cater for all levels of experience, even complete amateurs. Generally, there are two guides on each ride so those that just want a nice relaxing stroll can stay at the walk and the more experienced riders can have a trot and canter.
Cost: R500 per person
Operating hours: Rides take an hour and a half and leave at 09h00, 12h30 and 16h00

16. Visit Two Oceans Aquarium

This one is perfect for the kids. There is a penguin exhibit, tanks of ‘Nemos’ or clownfish, shark tanks and a popular Touch Pool. The Touch Pool is the surprising star of the show and invariably delays all visitors.
Cost: Adults R135, Kids R65
Operating hours: 09h30 – 18h00

17. Visit the penguins at Boulders beach

Penguins at Boulder's Beach, Cape Town
Penguins at Boulder’s Beach, Cape Town

Boulders Beach near Simon’s Town is home to one of Africa’s only penguin colonies. Boulders is one of the only places in the world where one can actually swim amongst penguins as they tend to explore the surrounding beaches. A popular stop for tourist buses, the penguins look awkward on land but swim like seals.
Cost: R65 Adults, R35 Children
Operating hours:   07h00 – 19h30 (Dec – Jan), 08h00 – 18h30 (Feb – Mar / Oct – Nov), 08h00 – 17h00 (Apr – Sept)

Nature Activities in Cape Town

18. Cape Point Nature Reserve


Cape Point is one of Cape Town’s most popular attractions and one of nature’s great places. The most south-western tip of the African continent is a combination of brutal elements, history, stunning views and wildlife. Baboons, zebras and ostriches are common sights at the reserve.
Cost: Child (age 2-11): R65, Adult: R125
Operating hours: 07:30 – 18:00 Summer (October – March) – Exit by sunset
08:00 – 17:00 Winter (April – September) – Exit by sunset

19. Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens

This ‘living museum’ is South Africa’s largest botanical garden and was established to conserve and promote the indigenous flora of southern Africa. Go for a stroll, a picnic or have lunch in one of the restaurants and get to see the wide range of gardens and plants in this 528-hectare reserve.
R15 – R55
Operating hours: 08hoo – 18h00 April to August, 08h00 – 19h00

Hiking Activities in Cape Town

In the Cape Peninsula, we are truly spoilt for choice when it comes to hiking. Some locals spend their entire lives exploring these mountains and never see it all. Some hikes take you to a waterfall, grotto, yellowwood grove, shipwreck or spectacular viewpoint. The routes range from challenging climbs to the top of Table Mountain to leisurely strolls among the fynbos or along city beaches, and will appeal to hikers of all levels of experience – whether aspiring ramblers or diehard adventurers. For visitors, these hikes are the most easily accessible.

20. Lions Head

A panoramic view of Cape Town from Lion's Head
A panoramic view of Cape Town from Lion’s Head

This short hike (about an hour up in general), gives a fantastic panoramic view of the city and beaches. Just a five-minute drive from the city’s centre, Lions Head is perfect for a sunrise or sunset hike. The full moon hikes are exceptionally popular too.

21. Table Mountain

If you want to skip the cable car there are a range of different routes you can take to get up top on the flat top. The most direct route is up Platteklip Gorge, which is also arguably the most challenging one. India Venster has great views of the city all the way up and then there are alternative routes up from Camps Bay and Kirstenbosch too. Just remember, what goes up must come down. Find out more about safe hikings and read a full description of Cape Town’s best hikes.
Cost: Free

22. Silvermine

A 20-minute drive from the city centre, Silvermine Nature Reserve is a popular spot for walking and hiking, as well as bird-watching, picnicking, and mountain biking. There are several short, easy-to-manage hiking trails that offer beautiful views of the landscape from False Bay to Cape Point. One such trail is the hike to Elephant’s Eye, a large cave so-named because the mountain looks like the shape of an elephant’s head and the cave the eye.
Cost: R50 for adults, R15 for children (age 1 to 11)
Operating hours: 07h00 – 19h00

Beaches in and around Cape Town

Cape Town has two glittering coastlines with a beach to suit every mood and moment. Whether you’re after beachside bars, secluded coves, big waves, safe swimming beaches,  or a romantic spot for a sunset picnic, there’s something here for you.

23. Clifton

Clifton Beach in Cape Town
Legendary Clifton Beach in Cape Town

Clifton has four beaches (Clifton 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th) with each one home to its own set of typical visitors. The beauty of Clifton is not just the bathers (but yes, the eye candy is something to behold) but its positioning. Clifton hardly receives any wind and provides a sheltered bay for the yachts and small boats. A great place to see and be seen.

24. Camps Bay

Camps Bay is near Clifton but much bigger and more of a family beach. To the right lies Glen Beach, which has the best surf in the area, and behind Camps Bay beach is a Miami-like strip of bars and restaurants ensuring that a cold drink or hot meal is never too far away.

25. Llandudno

Llandudno has it all, a beach big enough to play sports on, great waves for surfers and even a nudist beach, Sandy Bay, within walking distance. This is a bit further from town than Camps Bay and Clifton but is a popular beach with locals.

26. Muizenberg

Colourful beach houses are iconic for Muizenberg
Colourful beach houses are iconic for Muizenberg, Image credit: Stefan Schäfer

Muizenberg is well-known for its multi-coloured beach huts and is located in the scenic False Bay, on the opposite side of the Cape Peninsula to the above-mentioned beaches. It is a recognised Blue Flag beach and a favourite spot for families and aspiring surfers.

Culture and History around Cape Town

27. Robben Island

Aerial view of Robben Island with Cape Town in the background
Aerial view of Robben Island with Cape Town in the background

This former prison is also a former leper colony and is now one of Cape Town’s chief tourist attractions. Boats leave daily from the V&A Waterfront and take visitors back in time to the days of the Apartheid regime. Guides, many former prisoners themselves, give you an inside look at the lives of prisoners, the most famous among them none other than Nelson Mandela.
Cost: R300
Operating hours: 
Ferries depart at 9am, 10am, 11am, 1pm, 2pm and 3pm and each tour takes approximately 3.5 hours including the boat trip there and back. Please be sure to be there 30 minutes prior to the departure time, with the gates closing 10 minutes prior to departure.

28. District Six Museum

District six was a suburb of Cape Town that was originally established as a mixed community of freed slaves, merchants, artisans, labourers and immigrants. In 1966, it was declared a white area and 60,000 people were forcibly removed. The museum looks back at those tragic days and remembers a place that was so vibrant that numerous books, plays and musicals have since been written about it.
Cost: R30 entrance, R45 for a guided tour.
Operating hours: Monday to Saturday 09h00 – 16h00

29. Bo-Kaap

The colourful houses of the Bo Kaap, Cape Town
The colourful houses of the Bo Kaap, Cape Town, Image credit: K. Newman

Just a short walk from the city centre at the base of Signal Hill, the Bo-Kaap is a colourful array of tightly packed houses and the spiritual home of the Cape’s Muslim community. Many of the residents are descendants of slaves from Malaysia, Indonesia and various African countries. The best place to discover the history of the area is the quaint Bo-Kaap Museum, or for more excitement take a cooking class with the locals.
Cost: Museum R20, Cooking Classes R700
Operating hours: Museum- Mondays to Saturdays from 10h00 to 17h00, Cooking Class 10h30

30. Iziko South African Museum
The South African Museum houses more than one and a half million specimens of scientific importance. The collections range from fossils almost 700-million years old to stone tools made by people 120,000 years ago to contemporary photographic exhibitions.
Cost: R30
Operating hours: Daily from 10h00 to 17h00

31. South African National Gallery
South Africa’s premier art museum houses outstanding collections of South African, African, British, French, Dutch and Flemish art. Selections from the Permanent Collection change regularly to enable the museum to have a full programme of temporary exhibitions of paintings, works on paper, photography, sculpture, beadwork, textiles and architecture. The National Gallery can be found near the South African Museum in the Company Gardens.
Cost: R30
Operating hours: Daily from 10h00 to 17h00

The Arts around Cape Town

32. Summer Concerts at Kirstenbosch

Enjoy a concert at Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens
Enjoy a concert at Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens, Image credit: The Inside Guide

This has got to be the best way to see off the weekend in Cape Town’s summer months. Set against the back of Table Mountain in Kirstenbosch‘s natural amphitheatre, the summer concerts here are a lovely, family-friendly event held every Sunday. Local musicians and the occasional international act perform as the sun goes down in one the world’s prettiest venues.
Cost: R100 – R175
Operating hours: Gates open at 16h00. Concerts start between 17h15 and 17h30 and end by 19h00.

33. First Thursdays

On the evening of the first Thursday of every month, the art galleries around Bree Street in the CBD open its doors to the public. What started out as a small project has exploded into a massive event for the young and the old and has morphed into one of Cape Town’s best nights out.
Cost: Free
Operating hours:
Galleries are open 17h00 – 21h00

34. The Galileo Open Air Cinema

It’s like a drive-in cinema but with deck chairs. And blankets and pillows and stars. There are more than ten different venues The Galileo operates at, the prerequisite seems to be a flat open space in a stunning setting. Wine farms, botanical gardens and rooftops are your standard venues where they show classic movies to snuggling couples and friends.
Cost: R79 – R149
Operating hours: Tuesday – Saturday, doors open at 18h00, movie start around 20h00

35. Watch jazz at the Crypt

The Crypt is worth a visit for Jazz lovers
Photo courtesy of the Crypt Jazz Bar

The Crypt is the place to see Cape Town’s best jazz musicians perform in an intimate and very unique setting. In the actual crypt of St. George’s Cathedral, jazz bands stand in the corner and belt out their music to tables of wining and dining patrons. It’s a fun experience, but just make sure you don’t sit behind one of the pillars. There are more jazz bars to choose from, check out this blog to see the rest.
Cost: R85 most nights
Operating hours: 20h00 – 23h00

36. Go to the Theatre.

Cape Town has a rich theatre history with plays, productions and musicals appearing across the city at places such as the Artscape Theatre, Baxter Theatre, Athol Fugard Theatre, Theatre on the Bay and Kalk Bay Theatre. Visit their websites to find out what is showing and when.
Cost: Anything from R50 – R400
Operating hours: Shows normally start between 19hoo and 20h00

The Cape Winelands

The Western Cape has over 3,000 primary wine producers on a hundred thousand hectares and produces over a billion gross litres of wine a year. That’s a fair amount of wine. And it’s bloody good. In fact, South African wines are considered some of the best in the world and the vineyards, at the base of towering mountains in fertile valleys, are absolutely stunning. Many people come here just for the wine farms, and they invariably keep coming back. These are our four most recognised wine routes.

37. Franschhoek 

Vineyards and mountains of Franschhoek
Vineyards and mountains of Franschhoek, Image credit: La Petite Ferme

The Franschhoek Valley is a spectacularly beautiful wine route. With many of the wine farms sharing a French Huguenot heritage, expect to find overwhelming French influence here and not surprisingly a Champagne-inspired sparkling win sub-route, the “Cap Classique Route”. The quaint village of Franschhoek is home to art galleries, antique shops, restaurants and boutique hotels. Of the wine farms, we particularly like Babylonstoren, Moreson and Rickety Bridge. There is also the Franschhoek Wine Tram, which is a hop-on-hop-off tour of the wine farms.

38. Constantia

The Constantia Valley is the closest wine route to the city, and no more than 30 minutes away. This region is home to both the country’s oldest established wine farms and some of the newest. Constantia wines are largely cool climate offerings, so look out for world class Sauvignon Blancs, wonderful reds and infamous sweet wine offerings. Popular wine farms here are Groot Constantia, Buitenverwachting and Constantia Glen.

39. Stellenbosch

Delaire Graff in Stellenbosch, near Cape Town
Delaire Graff in Stellenbosch, near Cape Town, Image credit: Delaire Graff Wine Estate

Stellenbosch is considered the home of South African wine and boasts more than 150 tasting rooms. Connoisseurs and novice wine-drinkers are equally welcome, where they can sample award-winning wines, relax and enjoy the breathtaking Winelands. Delairre Graff, Waterford and Tokara are just a few on the incredibly long list of wine farms worth visiting.

40. Durbanville

A short drive north of the city will quickly have you in the Durbanville Valley. Most of the wine estates here offer wonderful dining in addition to their fabulous wines and many with spectacular views back towards Table Mountain. Durbanville Hills, Hillcrest Estate and Nitida are our favourites.

Markets in Cape Town

Cape Town is market mad. Every weekend, there are farmers’ markets, food markets, craft markets, night markets, organic markets and community markets all over town. And then there are the midweek ones too. In fact, you could have a market tour and eat at a different one every day if you wished. These are the best of the lot.

41. Cape Point Vineyards

Sunset view at the Cape Point Vineyard's Market
Sunset view at the Cape Point Vineyard’s Market, Image credit: Cape Point Vineyard

Just look at it. It has one of the best sunset views in Cape Town in a city brimming with options. This is a popular one with families where visitors can choose from a wide variety of food stalls and sample wines from the Cape Point Vineyards.

42. Bay Harbour Market

This weekend market (open Friday evenings, and Saturday and Sunday 09h30 – 16h00) in Hout Bay is relatively new on the scene but is already a firm favourite. You can check out the clothes, records and crafts on offer and try out their popular vegan and vegetarian meals or just stick with the sushi and pizza. Live musical performances give this market a very festive atmosphere.

43. City Bowl Market

Every Thursday evening, the City Bowl Market opens its doors on Hope Street in Gardens. We would know, this is directly opposite from our offices and every week Rhino Africans can be spotted out here trying the blue cheese and pear empanadas or happy hour cocktails. With live music and a social atmosphere, this little market is a popular weeknight outing.  

44. Old Biscuit Mill Market

Every Saturday morning, people flock to the ‘vibrant, warm-hearted little village in the heart of Woodstock.’ The market features over 100 specialty traders, creating a weekly platform for local farmers, fine-food purveyors, organic merchants, bakers and distributors, grocers, mongers, butchers, artisan producers, celebrated local chefs, and micro enterprises.

45. Oranjezicht City Farm Market in Granger Bay

Oranjezicht City Farm Market's Organic Stand
Oranjezicht City Farm Market’s Organic Stand, Image credit: Coco Van Oppens

Another popular Saturday market, this one takes place next to the V&A Waterfront in Granger Bay. A great spot for breakfast or brunch, the market is a place where customers can do weekly food shopping (veg, fruit, bread, organic dairy, free-range eggs, honey, muesli etc), try out some delicious cooked and raw foods and be inspired about helping to build an alternative food system. It’s not a bad place for an ice cream either.

Best Lunch with a view

Cape Town has a long and growing list of world-class restaurants. And we’ll get to our gourmet and fine-dining options in a moment, but the places below are not exactly that. These are places to pop in for lunch after a morning beach session or hike. They’re not recommended for their menus (although they’re good), they’re suggested for their ocean views and casual atmosphere.

46. The Roundhouse

Rumbullion lawns for meals in Cape Town
Rumbullion lawns for meals in Cape Town, Image credit: The Rumbullion

This old guardhouse is nestled in the glens of Table Mountain above Camps Bay. Since 1786, the building has also functioned as a hotel, dance hall and, most famously, Lord Charles Somerset’s hunting lodge. The outside dining area at The Roundhouse, The Rumbullion, offers guests a tapas-style menu and the chance to unwind in the sun on the lush lawns.

47. Brass Bell

You cannot get closer to the water than the Brass Bell. Waves crash into the rocks a stone’s throw away and splash up to give patrons a refreshing ocean spray while enjoying pizzas, burgers and beers. Located in the trendy harbor town of Kalk Bay, the Brass Bell is a restaurant/pub with a view. But what a view!
Top tip: For a more elegant experience, head round the corner to the celebrated Harbour House.

48. The Bungalow

Lunch with a view at Bungalows, Cape Town
Lunch with a view at Bungalows, Cape Town, Image credit: The Bungalow

Wonderfully placed between the popular beaches of Camps Bay and Clifton, the Bungalow is a place where sand and sequins mix. Bare feet and bubbles is the order of the day here. The uninterrupted Atlantic Ocean views are the main attraction, with the wine and food a very welcome accompaniment.

49. The Lookout Deck

The Lookout Deck is a seafood restaurant situated on the water’s edge in Hout Bay harbour. The restaurant boasts breathtaking mountain and ocean views serving excellent sushi and freshly caught fish in this old fishing village.
Top tip: There are a couple of restaurants on Hout Bay beach that offer similar experiences, Chapman’s Peak Hotel and Dunes are the best options.

50. The Grand


One of Cape Town’s best. The Grand is THE popular summer spot next to the V&A Waterfront, “Where the grand-chic meets retro-romance, fit for the worldly traveller and diner”. They serve great cocktails and massive pizzas, but the first thing you’re going to want to do there is get your toes in that sand.

51. Die Strandloper

Now, this is a somewhat different option. Die Strandloper is a casual open-air restaurant located just over an hour from Cape Town and lunch is an all-day affair. Starting at midday and going until early evening, Die Strandloper offers a seafood extravaganza where guests eat about 10 courses from mussels through to crayfish. Don’t worry, you can walk it off between courses on the beach. 

Restaurants and Nightlife in Cape Town

So you’ve done your crazy activity for the day, you even managed to take in lunch with a view, a small hike and a soul-stirring sunset afterwards, and now it’s time to go out and have a good time. But where to go?

Cape Town recently topped the Conde Nast Traveler list of Best Food Cities in the World. I know, I know, what can’t we do? There are some celebrated fine-dining restaurants such as the Test Kitchen and Pot Luck Club, but for those of us who don’t have time for a six-month waiting list we simplified the options into regions of the city. We limited this list to places within easy reach of the city centre for those visiting Cape Town.

52. Bree Street

The bustling Bree street at The Arcade, Cape Town
The bustling Bree street at The Arcade, Cape Town, Image credit: The Arcade

This, in 2016, is Cape Town’s most lively and popular street. Host to the already-mentioned First Thursdays and its very own festival, Bree Street is a long street of chic restaurants and bars vying for your attention. Chef’s Warehouse is an award-winning tapas restaurant, Charango is a Peruvian grill and bar with  a menu dedicated to Peruvian-Japanese fusion, or Nikkei cuisine. And Bocca is an enjoyable pizza and wine restaurant.
For drinking, Hanks is a moody whisky bar with booths to relax in and the occassional DJ to lift the spirits. Publik (not technically on Bree, but very close) is a fantastic neighbourhood wine bar with a focus on the more unusual and interesting wines available. And then towards the top of Bree is Orphanage, a cocktail emporium that is ‘a specialist club of artisan cocktails, elixir’s & intoxications.’

53. Long street

This iconic street might be a little rough around the edges, especially as the night wears on, but there are still some great restaurants and bars to check out. A good option is Fork, Cape Town’s best tapas restaurant with a creative offering of small plates. Further up Long Street is Mama Africa, a fun and vibrant restaurant that offers a truly African experience with iconic dishes and a lively bar. A great place for an evening cocktail is the Grand Daddy Hotel rooftop bar, the world’s only designer rooftop caravan park.  

54. Kloof Street

The younger more hip cousin, Kloof Street connects at the top of Long Street and continues up the mountain. Bacini’s is loved for its stellar pizzas while Jerry’s (just off Kloof) is loved for its tasty burgers. For a more sophisticated experience, check out Kloof Street House. Set in a Victorian house with a fairy-lit garden, Kloof Street House is a romantic option with an array of delicious meals and live jazz on Sundays.

55. V&A Waterfront

V&A Waterfront in the light of a pink sunset
V&A Waterfront in the light of a pink sunset

The Victoria & Alfred Waterfront is a posh wharf turned shopping area with upscale stores, cafés, restaurants, and bars. Willoughby & Co. is regarded as one of the best seafood restaurants in the city. Den Anker combines Belgian beer with fresh, seasonal dishes like just-caught crayfish or shrimps flown in from Europe. Alternatively, pay a visit to the nearby Cape Grace where you’ll find the Signal Restaurant and the Bascule Whiskey Bar, Cape Town’s premier whisky bar.

56. De Waterkant

In the shadow of the Cape Town stadium, De Waterkant has a nice collection of bars and restaurants to choose from. El Burro is one of Cape Town’s best Mexican restaurants, with an accompanying tequila bar to kickstart a night out. Hussar Grill, near the Mouille Point Lighthouse is considered by many to be Cape Town’s best steak restaurant. The Piano Bar is a New York-inspired music revue bar and eatery with a strong African flavour.

Bonus tip: 57. Vibescout

After all this, if you’re still stuck for what to do in Cape Town, check out Vibescout, a local Cape Town startup and gig guide that provides an online entertainment guide for events happening all over the city. You can get tips on where to find authentic local experiences such as food markets, art exhibitions, nightlife, live music events and much more, happening that day near you.

Experience Cape Town : there’s so much to see and do!

And that’s Cape Town in a nutshell. As you might be able to tell, one week is not nearly enough for all the things you can see or do. And we haven’t even mentioned the plethora of weekend getaways within easy reach of the city.

If you’d like to come to Cape Town, contact one of our consultants to find out exactly how you can do that. The Mother City awaits…

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About the author 

Matthew Sterne

Matt discovered a passion for writing in the six years he spent travelling abroad. He worked for a turtle sanctuary in Nicaragua, in an ice cream factory in Norway and on a camel safari in India. He was a door-to-door lightbulb-exchanger in Australia, a pub crawl guide in Amsterdam and a journalist in Colombia. Now, he writes and travels with us.

  • And there’s Cape Town’s hidden gem recently uncovered. Lime Tree Cafe in Bergvliet. A must visit for all foodies…

  • Thank you for taking the time to create this list! Really helpful, and especially with the impeccable photographs. Love it!

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