Cape Town, South Africa is an amazing place that offers a little bit for everyone to enjoy. After spending a few months in Cape Town, I have been able to experience a lot of what the city has to offer – great surfing, amazing hikes, diverse wildlife, beautiful wineries and much more. No matter what you are looking for, the “Mother City” will be sure to keep you entertained. Here is my list for the top 10 things to do in Cape Town, South Africa.
1) Table Mountain
Table Mountain offers some of the most spectacular views imaginable. The summit overlooks the city and expansive coastline. I have hiked Platteklip Gorge route a few times, which is very challenging but well worth the effort. The wildlife on the hike rivals the views; there are more plant species on Table Mountain then there are in the entire United Kingdom. If you are looking to experience the views without making the hike, there is also a cable car that can bring you to the top.
2) Shark Diving
If you are looking for an adrenaline rush, then taking the dive underwater with the sharks will certainly do the trick. Shark diving at the infamous Seal Island in False Bay, is one of the most well-known shark diving locations in the world. Seal Island in itself is an impressive sight, as there are over 60,000 seals located on and around the land mass. These seals attract an equally large number of great white sharks to the area as well, making it the perfect place to take the plunge and get face to face with the enormous sharks.
Cape Town has a number of great surf spots along its coast. There are perfect surfing conditions for every skill level, from the coves with small, gentle swells to the expansive beaches offering bone-crunching waves. My personal favorite so far has been Long Beach in Kommetjie. Dunes, Muizenberg and Witsands all offer up some fun surfing conditions as well.
The windlands are only an hour drive from Cape Town. The scenic drive out to the famous Cape Winelands will make you feel like you have been transported to a whole new world. The scenery is breathtaking, with rolling vineyards, towering mountains, and historic wine estates. Some of the wineries worth checking out in Stellenbosch and Franschhoek, include: Delaire Graff, Waterford Estate, La Motte and Lynx.
5) Enjoy the Food
Cape Town is home to some of the world’s best gastronomy. The trendy Pot Luck Club is located on the top floor of the Silo at the Old Biscuit Mill in Woodstock. If you are looking for some bistro classics with an updated twist, then Bizerca Signal is the place for you. The Tasting Room, one of the best restaurants in the world, makes the trip out to wine country worthwhile in itself. One of my favorite places also includes Mozil Meats, which has a unique atmosphere with local performances turing the restaurant into a small party.
6) Victoria & Alfred Waterfront
The shopping and entertainment at Victoria & Alfred is something that you will not want to miss. There are always a variety of free events and outdoor concerts taking place. You will also find a wide array of amazing restaurants overlooking the bay and Robben Island.
7) Victoria Falls/ Gorge Swing
Victoria Falls is located on the Zambezi River, and is one of the most spectacular natural wonders of the world. The waterfall measures up to 351 feet in height and drops an average of 550,000 cubic meters of water every minute. The impressive 5,603 foot wide curtain, is the largest curtain of water in the world. Also located on the river is the Gorge Swing, a 230 foot tall free fall into a nearly 280 foot pendulum swing.
8) Bungee Jump
The Bloukrans Bridge Bungee Jump is the world’s largest commercial bridge bungee, measuring 709 feet above the Bloukrans river. The bridge became the first African bridge used for bungee jumping back in 1990. In 1997, Face Adrenalin assumed control of the bridge and has been operating accident free ever since. The views from the bridge were incredible and the jump was an absolutely surreal experience.
9) Hike Lion’s Head
Lion’s Head is another hike that that provides great views of the city and surrounding area. Similar to Table Mountain, Lion’s head is also rich in biodiversity. Take a look at the endangered vegetation on your way up, including the Granite Fynbos, Peninsula Shale Renosterveld and Sandstone Fynbos. The mountain also has the perfect conditions for paragliding, which is fun to watch from up above.
10) Robben Island
If you are looking to learn about South African history, then Robben Island is the perfect place to go. You can visit Nelson Mandela’s prison cell, where he stayed for nearly 20 years. The tours are conducted by former prisoners, allowing you to hear firsthand accounts of what it was like living in the prison. You can also visit the Limestone quarry, which is where the prisoners had to work every day for eight hours a day. The Robben Island tour is truly an eye-opening experience.