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Places you must visit in Cape Town

If this is your first visit to the beautiful and friendly coastal city of Cape Town then you must read our Local’s Cape Town Travel Guide as well our article on 10 ways to get around Cape Town.

1. Table Mountain (including Lion's Head & Signal Hill)

Table Mountain is one of the city’s most popular tourist attractions and gained world-wide popularity since it was included into the 7 New Wonders of Nature. The mountain is Cape Town’s trade mark and it is dear to the country and its citizens.

For more than one hundred  (100) years Table Mountain and its surroundings have been carefully conserved and protected. It is an official UNESCO World Heritage Site, and the area is inhabited by over 1450 fynbos species which are a treasured part of the famous Cape Floral Kingdom.

The city of Cape Town take pride in their duties to maintain and protect this area to the very best of their ability and this can clearly be seen through the high amounts of tourists of who visit the mountain top each year.

There are only two ways to reach the top of the mountain which is by using the cable car or walking via one of the hiking trails through Plattekloof Gorge or Skeleton Gorge. The hikes will take from 2-6 hours to complete. 

Both methods are enjoyable though and spectacular view of Cape Town awaits at the top of the mountain. 

Two of the best spots in Cape Town to watch sunset are from Lion’s Head and Signal Hill. It is possible to hike up to Lion’s Head and Signal Hill is accessible by road. 

2. Cape of Good Hope Nature Reserve and Cape Point

The Cape of Good Hope Nature Reserve and Cape Point is probably one of the most beautiful places to visit in Cape Town. Not only does it hold a significant part of South African history but it also includes some of the most beautiful areas of Cape Town. Cape Point is the most Southerly point of the Cape Peninsula.

The area is a nature reserve and holds a huge amount of diverse plant and animal species. Baboons can be seen almost anywhere at Cape Point and there are strict rules which apply to these animals to ensure the safety of guests.

There are two light houses found at Cape Point, both with important backgrounds and history. One can enjoy the Dutch Funicular to the red lighthouse however, there is also a hiking trail for those who prefer to walk. The views from the red lighthouse are absolutely breath taking to say the least.

There also many hidden beaches and many hiking trails around Cape Point as well. There is also a restaurant at the base where one can enjoy delicious meals and refreshments.

3. Victoria and Alfred Waterfront

The Victoria & Alfred Waterfront has been one of the most popular tourist attractions among local and international tourists for the past twenty years. The first section of the Waterfront was opened to the public in the 1988 and the precinct has undergone many significant developments, upgrades and changes since then.

The Waterfront is situated along the beautiful coast of Cape Town and also close to the CBD which places it in the perfect area and it is also very accessible as well. This area has so much to offer due its location at the Oceanside and surrounding neighbourhoods.

There is a top class shopping centre, hotels, an aquarium, food market and a marina as well as many other facilities in and around this area which contributes to its tourism popularity.

There are over 450 retail outlets and restaurants found in and around the shopping centre which offer exquisite cuisine and service. There are over 22 significant historical landmarks which add a great amount of importance to the history of South Africa as history plays a vital role in tourism as a whole.

There is also the Watershed that showcases arts and crafts and especially focuses on promoting local talent. The Zeitz Mocaa Museum of Contemporary African Art is one of the more recent attractions and is located in the Silo District. The museum opened its doors in September of 2017 and has gained great tourism prosperity since then. They have free entry for African citizens on Wednesdays between 10am-1pm as long as they are able to produce a photo ID.

There are excellent activities for kids as well such as the Hamleys Express Train and also the Jolly Roger Pirate Boat among other fun activities offered here. In conclusion we can establish that this is a perfect attraction for all tourists as one can find everything in one place and in close proximity as well.

4. Robben Island

Robben Island is one of the most popular attractions in Cape Town South Africa. Robben Island plays a significant role in South African history especially where our country’s democracy and unity is concerned. If you are interested in learning more about the history of South Africa, Robben Island is a must see cultural heritage attraction.

There are guided tours offered by well-informed guides that will give visitors a better understanding of the struggle of the country and all that has led to what we as a nation are today. The internationally renowned late President Nelson Mandela (referred to as Madiba) was held in captivity here for much of the 27 years of his incarceration during the apartheid struggle. Nelson Mandela is a well-respected individual world-wide and therefore, Robben Island is such a popular attraction especially among international tourists.

5. Bo-Kaap

Bo-Kaap is the ancestral home of the Cape Malay community and the area holds great history as well. The Bo-Kaap Museum in Wale Street showcases the history of the area prior to the implementation of Apartheid and shows the typical lifestyle of a 19th century Cape Malay family in parts of the home.

The very first Islamic Mosque was built and established in Bo-Kaap. The Mosque was named Auwal Mosque and it is still in use as a place of worship today. This Mosque is very dear to the Muslim community in Cape Town and the Cape Malay people take pride in treasuring anything that adds history or significance to their culture and religion.

In recent years Bo-Kaap has been popular with photographers, bloggers and tourists who flock to its steep streets with their colourful painted homes. There is an instragram opportunity around every corner.

6. District Six

District Six has a similar historical significance as Bo-kaap, as a huge population of Cape Malay, non-Muslim Colored and White people also resided here in harmony during the time of apartheid.

However, in the 1960’s residents were forcefully removed from the suburb when the apartheid Group Areas Act laws and rules were implemented, and the entire district was bulldozed.

Many citizens can testify to this event as it is still spoken of to this very day with much grief, pain and sorrow. It is a very emotional event in our history but nevertheless, we speak of it with pride and respect to those who have experienced and survived those hard times after being dumped in the wastelands of the Cape Flats.

The District Six Museum aims to preserve the memory of the people, places and events that made District Six special.

7. The views on a drive down Chapman’s Peak Drive

There are very few roads in the world with a view as breath takingly beautiful as Chapman’s Peak Drive on the Atlantic Seaboard.

With it’s hairpin bends along the rocky coastline it rivals the road to Positano on the Amalfi coast in grandeur and picturesque views. 

Take a break at one of the viewing stops to drink in the views of the ocean, the rocky coastline and Hout Bay.

8. Boulders Beach and the African Penguin colony

Boulders beach is very popular among locals and tourists alike. It is a wonderful place for relaxation and natural beauty. Tourists flock to Boulders beach to view the endangered African Penguin in their breeding ground.

This entire area is protected and strict rules apply to visitors to the site. It is quite a sight to see the penguin colony at such a close range, and in such abundance as well. What also makes this area unique is that the massive boulders which surround the penguins are approximately 550 million years old.

9. Kirstenbosch National Botanical Gardens

Kirstenbosch National Botanical Gardens is also one of Cape Town’s treasured jewels. The Kirstenbosch gardens are the very first botanical gardens to be declared an official UNESCO world heritage site on the globe.

The garden holds an abundance of biodiversity that include the different breeds of South Africa’s national flower which is called The King Protea, as well as a huge variety of plant life. This area has been well conserved and it is extremely popular among tourists and locals as well.

The highlight of Kirstenbosch is taking a walk along the “Boomslang Canopy Walkway”. The views from this bridge gives a spectacular view of Cape Town, Table Mountain and the rest of the gardens. This is an excellent place for those who love photography as the views are simply breath taking.

Kirstenbosch Gardens also has entertainment facilities and many concerts and events are held here as well. There are two restaurants in the gardens where one can relax and unwind as exploring the gardens can be quite tiring due to the diameter of the gardens being so wide. There are guided tours offered to guests who wish to learn more about the history of the gardens and the biodiversity.

10. Groot Constantia

This historic vineyard and cultural heritage site is located in one of the most beautiful, fertile and exclusive areas in Cape Town. Constantia is one of the earliest wine-producing areas in the country.  The Groot Constantia estate has gained its excellent wine-producing reputation since wine-producing commenced back in 1685, and some of the finest wines in South Africa are produced here. Foreign tourists flock to Groot Constantia each year and it is also popular among locals.

There are two museums with valuable information about the area and also the farming systems that were followed many years ago in the time of slavery. Here one can clearly see where and how the slaves were caged and how they were treated during this time in our history. South Africa has a long history of slavery and as South Africans we take pride in the progress our country has made since then and how far we have come as a nation.

When entering Groot Constantia, there are specialised facilities where wine tasting takes place, with prior booking. The beautiful views of the vineyards can be seen as you enter the farm as well and it is definitely a must see when visiting Cape Town. There is also a fantastic restaurant found on the premises where visitors can indulge in the excellent wines produced and harvested on the farm.

Have you or your family visited Cape Town? Would you return and why?

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