Explore new places and have adventures previously unknown to you, while saving some dolla? And for the non-Capetonians, a road trip around the beautiful country of South Africa is highly recommended; Starting in Cape Town, here are 12 exciting things to do in the Mother City to get you into holiday mode:
1. Have High Tea at the Mount Nelson
The Belmond Mount Nelson Hotel, also known as the Pink Lady for its pink wall exterior, lies in the heart of the suburb of Gardens in Cape Town, and is known for its popular British High Tea service. Enjoy cucumber and salmon finger sandwiches, cakes, pastries, and the finest tea, all while enjoying a backdrop of the luxurious hotel gardens and listening to live piano music sets.
2. Picnic at Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens
Visit the ultimate picnic spot in Cape Town- the scenic Kirstenbosch Gardens. Kirstenbosch is a botanical garden that is acclaimed as one of the greatest botanical gardens in the world. Enjoy a pre-ordered or personal picnic basket surrounded by the beautiful garden and take in the lovely backdrop of the slopes of Table Mountain National Park. There is also plenty of space in the garden, so take your family and friends and make a day out of it!
3. Swim with the Penguins at Boulders Beach
Nestled in the heart of Simon’s Town, Boulders Beach offers tours of the 2000-3000 protected African penguins and their chicks as well as the local vegetation. Visitors can also take a stroll down to the beach and actually swim with the locals- the colony of African penguins themselves! The beach is fun, safe, family-friendly, and is in fact the only place in the world where you can get close to African penguins. You might even come across one of their friendly faces in the parking lot on the way back to your car!
4. Craft Beer Tasting at the Spice Route
Located only an hour outside of the city, the Spice Route is situated in Paarl and boasts some of the most famous wine farms in Cape Town. The Spice Route is essentially a wine estate with multiple venues and experiences inside, including wine tastings, De Villiers artisan chocolate tastings, and one of the biggest brewing companies in Cape Town; the Cape Brewing Company (CBC) is located at the Spice Route farm, and offers multiple craft beers to choose from for your tasting. When you are done with the tasting, visit La Grapperia restaurant for a delectable pizza to soak up the booze!
5. Go Tandem Paragliding
Indulge your love for adventure with a daring paragliding experience off the slopes of one of the natural wonders of the world- Table Mountain. This paragliding experience is done with an instructor for safety, and flies over the beautiful Atlantic Ocean of Cape Town’s popular Atlantic Seaboard. View Cape Town in this premium one-of-a-kind experience that is sure to get the adrenaline pumping.
6. Visit the Zeitz Mocca Museum
The largest art museum in Africa, the Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art was established in 2017, and is a uniquely visual way to experience Africa and its beautiful culture and art. The Zeitz Mocca is a nonprofit and public institution that showcases contemporary art from Africa that has been collected and preserved. While the museum showcases many permanent exhibitions, many are ever-changing, with multiple rotating, temporary exhibitions showcased, so more than one visit is highly recommended in order to get the most out of this cultural experience.
7. Take a Hike up Lion’s Head
Lion’s Head is the famously scenic mountain that lies at the end of Table Mountain, and is not just to be looked at and admired, but can be climbed too! Lion’s Head is quite a popular hiking spot, and features many different hiking trails to choose from, be it more moderate or more advanced- the choice is up to you! No matter what you choose, you are guaranteed a stunning backdrop of the Atlantic Ocean. Just make sure you buddy up or go with a group of friends in case of an emergency, some of the trails can be quite complicated. We would suggest a sunset or sunrise hike to get the most out of the sensational view.
8. Eat Seafood at Mariner’s Wharf
Situated on the edge of the Hout Bay Harbour, Mariner’s Wharf offers some of the best seafood in the city, including the famous fish and chips! Enjoy a delicious meal at the Wharfside Grill, take a walk around Mariner’s Wharf and view some marine artifacts and antiques, and end the day off on a high with an exciting boat trip to Seal Island to view the local seal life.
9. Hop on the Franschhoek Wine Tram
Take a trip to the picturesque 300-year-old Franschhoek wine valley, and depart Cape Town in a luxury coach that will transport you to the hop-on hop-off wine tram and busses that will take you around the various wine estates in the Franschhoek valley such as Grand Provence, Chamonix, and Mont Rochelle. Visits to each wine estate go on for one hour, and wine can be purchased from each estate too!
10. Explore the Bo Kaap
With its rich and multicultural history, the Bo Kaap, situated in the Malay Quarter of Cape Town, is a popular tourist spot that should not be skipped out on. Made famous by its colourful houses, the Bo Kaap is home to descendants of Dutch settler slaves brought over in the 16th and 17th centuries. The settlers brought with them their rich culture and Indian, Indonesian, and Malaysian cuisine style, which has very much influenced South African cooking today. Take a free walking tour of the neighbourhood and take in its deep-rooted history, vivid scenery, and unique culture. Also be sure to visit the famous spice shop Atlas Traders and ignite your spark for cooking, or visit the picturesque mosques and colourful houses.
11. Take the Garden Tour at Babylonstoren
Situated by Simonsberg in the Franschhoek valley, Babylonstoren is one of the oldest Cape Dutch farms, and features a fruit and vegetable garden, animal life, and a greenhouse tea room. Babylonstoren was inspired by the famous Company Gardens in the CBD and the mythological hanging trees of Babylon. Babylonstoren offers a Garden tour that displays the 8 hectares of cultivated fruit and vegetables of the farm, which is the heart of Babylonstoren. On the garden tour you will see fruit trees such as apple and pear trees, Spekbooms, an olive and citrus orchard, vegetable patches, a prickly pear maze, and an indigenous garden. Take your cameras with you, this is an insta-worthy experience! They also happen to have made the top 10 of the world’s best vineyards list in 2021!
12. Visit Cape Point
Widely known as the most Southwestern point of Africa, the Cape of Good Hope (or more commonly known as Cape Point) is a popular tourist destination due to its breathtakingly gorgeous view, seen from the rocky cliffs that sit more than 200 meters above the sea. Visitors can go hiking and cycling along the various trails, and walk up a steep wooden staircase to a 360 degree lookout point of the Cape. The park also features a rich biodiversity of fynbos that can be viewed.
Forget the plane trips these holidays and treat yourself to an exploration of the magic of one of the finest cities in the country (and the world!). It is no wonder that Cape Town is one of the top tourist destinations in the world! Take up some of these adventures and enjoy the magnificence that is Cape Town these holidays.