Cape Town highlights of top sights and activities on The South of Africa Tour.
Cape Town is one of the most well known and touristy cities in the south of Africa and with good reason. The city and it’s surroundings provide for activities and adventures to satisfy all tastes.
On my trip to the city for my friend’s wonderful wedding followed by a fantastic New Year’s Eve party I had a chance to experience some of the highlights and activities. Here are the ones I found most enjoyable.
Explore the center of Cape Town specifically the rowdy Long Street for bars and restaurants like Mama Africa. See the traditional buildings reminiscent of New Orleans.
Bo-Kaap is an area with bright and colorful buildings worth a look for some cheerful pictures. On our visit, we were lucky enough to catch the Good Hope Community Entertainers parade, full of talented performers of all ages dressed in sparkles and marching band like uniforms.
Victoria and Alfred Waterfront is a trendy place to visit full of shops and restaurants.
Visit the Cape Town’s landmark mountain with views overlooking the entire city by cable car or an arduous hike. Take note that fog at the top may ruin your chance at clear pictures.
Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden
If the traffic and noise of downtown is getting too much, a great way to relax for the day is to visit the peaceful gardens set with Table Mountain in the background. Learn about the indigenous plants and walk along the tree top walk. This is also a popular place for locals to picnic near the statues that dot the gardens.
Get a new perspective of Cape Town from sky! Helicopter tours provide a chance for some great landscape photo ops. You can even go in an original Huey (UH-1), the infamous US military helicopter used in Vietnam!
This trendy beachfront area has restaurants, shops, and is a favorite hangout of the Cape Town elite.
The polar opposite of Camps Bay are the shanty towns on the outskirts of the city. You can witness the cramped living areas of sheet metal and tangled electrical wires right outside of the airport from the highway. There are also tours that take you into the shanty towns to see for oneself how the less fortunate of Cape Town live.
Shark Cage Diving
If you love sharks (or hate them), why not place yourself in an underwater cage and watch as huge Great Whites get within arm reach of you? Though the concept is terrifying, you may end up waiting two hours on the boat to spot one with no success, as we experienced firsthand. Apparently the June through August is the best season for shark spotting.
Fortunately, if you don’t see any sharks, quality companies like White Shark Diving Co. will give you a voucher valid for two years for a complementary trip. I’ll be back soon to get up close to a Great White!
Franschhoek and the surrounding area is well known as the wine capital of the continent. Head north from the city into the mountains of vineyards where you can learn about the wine making process as well as sample wines straight from the source.
At Delaire Graff Estate, we had wine tasting with beautiful views of the valley followed by a comprehensive vineyard and cellar tour. Don’t miss out on a tasty meal at the award winning vineyard restaurant La Petite Ferme.
The Cape of Good Hope and Robben Island are also on my list of sights to see. Cape Town really does have a vast variety of offerings for visitors, old and new. I look forward to returning soon to explore more of the beautiful city and its surroundings.
What are your favorite activities in Cape Town?