Table Mountain from Blouberg Beach, one of the best places for water activities in Cape Town
South Africa

Amazing things to do in Cape Town for any traveler

Cape Town is an incredible city with many great activities and amazing attractions. Regardless if you come here for the first time or you’re a frequent visitor sometimes it’s difficult to choose between hundreds of things to do here. We’ve put together this list of things to do in Cape Town based on one’s interests to make your choice easier. Whether you are an adventure lover, a culture vulture, or a foodie you’ll find here the best activities to include in your Cape Town itinerary.

9 Must-do things in Cape Town

There are some things that just can’t be skipped when visiting Cape Town. Here is a list of 9 such activities that we as local recommend to every tourist coming to the city.

More information on the highlights of Cape Town you can find in our post 17 Must-visit places in Cape Town.

Take a cable car up to Table Mountain

  • Best time of the day to visit; morning and evening, in the afternoon the mountain is often covered in clouds. I’d suggest checking the forecast or looking out of the window before you decide to go up.
  • Working hours; summer 8am-8pm, winter 8am-6pm
  • Admission fee; ZAR 350/US$18 adults, ZAR 180/US$9 children.

The most recognizable attraction in the city and definitely a must-visit place. Taking a cable car is the fastest and easiest way of getting to the top. From up there you can get some of the best views of the city and the surrounding area. Once on the top, you can spend a couple of hours there it’s a massive area with several great look-out points, walking routes, a restaurant, and a souvenir shop. The ride in the cable car takes 5 minutes.

During December holiday and over the weekends in summer I’d recommend buying your tickets in advance. In the peak season, you might spend some time waiting in the queue to board the car. Besides some breathtaking views on the top of Table Mountain you can see many cute little dussies (rock rabbits) running around and occasional baboons looking for food. If you’re going up in the morning or evening take a jacket or a jumper it gets quite cool up there.

Table Mountain tours & activities

A cable car approaching the Funicular station on Table Mountain
Taking a cable car up Table Mountain is a must-do thing in Cape Town

Watch the sunset from Lion’s Head 

  • Best time of the day to visit; sunset, sunrise for safety reasons it’s not recommended to wander around at night time. If you want to come for the sunrise join a group or a tour.
  • Working hours; 24 hours
  • Admission fee; free

The second popular mountain in Cape Town. It is not as high as Table Mountain but it is one of the best spots in the city for watching the sunset. From the top of Lion’s Head, you can see the City Bowl, Camps Bay, Sea Point, Robben Island, and many other city attractions. If you can’t make it for the sunset you can come here at any time of the day the stunning views are guaranteed. Climbing up to the top is a bit challenging. The last part involves ladders and ropes, make sure to wear comfortable shoes and a suitable outfit. Locals come here for the sunset as well. 

If climbing to the top of Lion’s Head is too much of a mission you can enjoy the sunset from the top of nearby Signal Hill. To get up there is much easier; you can basically drive all the way. I’d suggest arriving at Lion’s Head or Signal Hill at least an hour before the sunset. You’ll need some time to find a parking spot and to get to the top.

Lion’s Head tours & activities

The stunning sunset in Cape Town
Watching the sunset from Lion’s Head is not to miss thing in Cape Town

Explore the colorful Bo Kaap neighborhood

  • Best time of the day to visit; any time of the day through the light around midday is not the best for taking photos
  • Working hours; 24 hours
  • Admission fee; free

The brightest and the most colorful neighborhood in Cape Town. Colors rule here; green, red, blue, orange, yellow and purple houses lined up along the narrow cobbled streets of Bo Kaap. It’s difficult to choose where to pose for photos. Despite its funky look Bo Kaap wasn’t always that colorful. Its first residents were slaves brought to South Africa mostly from Malaysia and Indonesia. The second name of the neighborhood is the Malay Quarter. After the ablution of slavery in the United Kingdom, local residents decided to paint their houses in different colors as a sign of freedom and individuality. Nowadays Bo Kaap has become one of the city symbols like Table Mountain or Robben Island.

Bo Kaap tours & activities

You can combine Bo Kaap, Table Mountain and Lion’s Head. All three attractions are located close to each other. First, stop for 30 minutes at Bo Kaap to wander around its streets and take some photos. From there go to Table Mountain and take the cable car. Finish your day watching the sunset from Lion’s Head.

Colorful houses in Bo Kaap, Cape Town
Bright and colorful Bo Kaap neighborhood in Cape Town is one of the top city attractions

Stroll along V&A Waterfront

  • Best time of the day to visit; any time of the day through the light around midday is not the best for taking photos
  • Working hours; 24 hours
  • Admission fee; free

V&A Waterfront is probably the best and the safest area in the city for walking pretty much any time of the day. There are several attractions to visit here; V&A Clock Tower, Two Oceans Aquarium, Cape Wheel, Zeitz Modern Africa Art Museum. You can spend an hour or two walking around, watching street shows, drinking coffee, eating, shopping, etc. There are many restaurants, cafes and souvenir shops here. The area is always busy and full of people, it has a nice festive vibe. Vovo Telo coffee shops and bakery is our favorite place to come for breakfast or stop for a cup of coffee with a freshly-baked pastry. Many cruises and boat tours leave from the Waterfront.

V&A Waterfront tours & activities

Visit Robben island 

  • Best time of the day to visit; morning, that you have all afternoon to visit more places. The tour takes almost 4 hours.
  • Working hours; boats leave 3 times a day; at 9am, 11am and 1pm
  • Admission fee; ZAR 550/US$30 adults, ZAR 300/US$16 children, it includes a return boat ride and a 2-hour guided tour.

A very important place for South African history, a place where Nelson Mandela spent 18 of his 27 years in prison. The total area of the island is 5km, it can be visited only as a part of a tour. Tours leave from V&A Waterfront. There are 3-4 daily departures. The tour takes between 3 and 4 hours. I’d strongly recommend doing the earliest tour that leaves at 8.30 in order to have enough time to visit other city attractions in the afternoon. During the tour you’ll learn about the history of the island, its most famous prisoners, visit Mandela’s cell and get some time to walk around.

The name in Afrikaans means “Seal Island”, you can see quite a lot of seals on the Island and on the way to it. Robben Island has a long history; for almost three centuries it was used as a prison mostly for political convicts. 

Robben Island tours and activities

Books about South African history

Admire the beautiful scenery at Camps Bay 

  • Best time of the day to visit; any time of the day though in the second half the light is better for taking photos, at sunset the area looks stunning.

The fancy neighborhood of Cape Town with beautiful beaches, ice-cold water, luxurious mansions, and posh restaurants. Even if all these don’t sound like your kind of place, it’s still worth coming here for the spectacular view. White sand beaches, huge boulders, blue color water, an impressive mountain range in the background. It’s definitely one of the most beautiful areas of the city. Camps Bay is a great area to come for a cocktail, to stroll in your bikini along the beach or just to take some awesome photos. 

The stunning view of Camp Bay from the view-point
Camps Bay and the Twelve Apostles Mountain ranges. Driving this part of the city is one of the great things to do

You can easily combine V&A Waterfront with visiting Robben Island and Camps Bay, you’ll need a half-day for it mainly because of the tour to Robben Island, it takes about 4 hours. First, take the earliest tour to Robben Island then spend some time at V&A Waterfront and from there drive along the Promenade of Sea Point to Camps Bay.

Wander in Kirstenbosch Botanical Garden 

  • Best time of the day to visit; any time, in summer it’s nice to hide from the scorching afternoon heat in the shade of the trees.
  • Working hours; summer 8am-7pm, winter 8am-6pm
  • Admission fee; ZAR 75/US$4 adults, ZAR 20/US$1 children (6-17 yo), children under 6 – free.

Kirstenbosch is a green paradise within the city. You will be surprised by this lush green garden. One can spend a full day here. There are many walking routes through the garden including some challenging longer routes like the Skeleton Gorge that take hikers from the Garden to the top of Table Mountain.

The Garden is a great place for having a picnic on the grass. No need to bring food and drinks. You can buy a picnic basket at one of the local restaurants. They have a great variety of basket sets including vegetarian, pescatarian, gluten-free options. There are several thematic gardens that represent the vegetation of the different parts of South Africa. A canopy tree walkway is not to miss in Kirstenbosch, a metal bridge that makes its way over the trees of the Arboretum. The shape of the bridge was inspired by a snake body, it’s quite curvy. The bridge offers great views of the Garden.  

Kirstenbosch tours and activities

Taste wine in Constantia 

  • Best time of the day to visit; any time of the day 
  • Working hours; most tasting rooms are open between 10am and 4pm 
  • Tasting fee; entrance is free, tasting ZAR 70-100/US$3-5 per person

Here you will find some of the finest wine estates in the country that make exclusive wines. What can be better than driving around beautiful wine farms, tasting great wine and enjoying the fantastic scenery of Constantia? Some of the most renowned wine estates in Constantia are; Klein Constantia, maybe one of the most beautiful wine farms in Cape Town; Groot Constantia, the oldest wine farm in South Africa; Steenberg Vineyards, it boasts a luxury hotel and produces great wines.

If you’re planning to do serious tasting rather take a taxi or use a shuttle bus don’t drink and drive. There are several accommodation options in the area if you have time you can spend here a couple of days tasting wine and relaxing. There are wine estates in Constantia in two days you’ll be able to visit all of them without rushing around.

Places to stay in Constantia

Constantia tours & activities

Drive around the Cape Peninsula

  • Best time of the day to visit; it’s better to do the drive in the morning to have enough time to explore the area
  • Working hours; Chapman’s Peak Drive is open 24 hours, most National parks work from 8am to 6pm.
  • Admission fee; Chapman’s Peak drive tall road ZAR 50/US$2,5 per car,

It’s one of the most beautiful drives in the country; the famous Chapman’s Peak drive is a part of it. The big part of the drive is along the rugged coast of the Atlantic Ocean. There is a great number of look-outs and view-points where you can stop along the route. It’ll take pretty much a full day to do the drive and to stop at the main attractions. There are many nice restaurants along the route to stop for breakfast or lunch. To do this trip you can rent a car or join one of the suggested tours.

The main highlights of the drive

  • Seals at Hout Bay – you can see seals at the harbor or do a boat tour to spot more of them and even snorkel with these majestic creatures
  • Chapman’s Peak Drive – a 15-kilometer breathtaking road along the rugged coast of the Atlantic Ocean with stunning look-outs.
  • Beautiful beaches of Kommetjie – one of the best places for surfing in Cape Town.
  • Cape Point National Park – one of the best places in Cape Town to do hiking, there are several trails inside the park
  • Penguin colony at Boulders Beach – a beautiful white-sand beach surrounded by huge boulders with many cute African penguins.
  • Colorful beach cabins in Muizenberg – a row of red, green, yellow, and blue wooden cabins along the beach

There is really a lot to see and to do in the area if you have time to spend here a couple of days might be a good option. 

Place to stay along the Cape Peninsula

Cape Peninsula tours & activities

The stunning scenery along the Cape Peninsula
Chapman’s Peak Drive along the rugged cliffs of the Cape Peninsula

You can combine the Cape Peninsula drive with visiting Kirstenbosch and wine tasting in Constantia. Start your day driving around the Peninsula, stop at Hout Bay, Cape Point National Park, Boulder’s Beach, and Muizenberg. From there head to Constantia to do some wine tasting. Finish the day at the Kirstenbosch Garden. If you happened to do this trip in summer on a Sunday you can attend a Kirstenbosch Summer Concert.

Our suggested 2-day itinerary that includes 9 must-do things in Cape Town

Colorful wooden beach cabins on Muizenberg beach in Cape Town

Day 1

  • Morning. Start your day with visiting Robben Island.
  • Afternoon. Spend some time at V&A Waterfront. From there drive to Camps Bay. Then head to Bo Kaap.
  • Late afternoon/evening. Get a cable car up Table Mountain.
  • Evening. Watch the sunset from Lion’s Head.

Day 2

  • Morning/early afternoon. Start your day with the spectacular Chapman’s Peak drive and a visit to Cape Point National Park. Stop at Boulders Beach and Muizenberg.
  • Afternoon. Head to Constantia and visit a couple of wine farms. Then visit Kirstenbsoch Botanical Garden.
  • Evening. Watch the sunset at V&A Waterfront.

Adventure things to do in Cape Town

The great weather most part of the year, proximity to the ocean and the surrounding mountains make Cape Town one of the best cities in the world for practising outdoor activities. No wonder many Capetonians are really into surfing, diving, cycling and trail running. 

Hiking up Table Mountain

Taking the cable car is not the only way of getting to the top; there are several hiking trails leading there. For safety reasons, I’d recommend going up using one of the more popular routes like Platteklip Gorge, India Venster or Skeleton Gorge. Whichever route you choose they all are quite challenging for an unprepared person; it is a steep ascent for about 400m.

Platteklip Gorge is the most popular hiking route to the top. High rocky stairs go all the way up to the top. The views on the way up are spectacular. The trail starts from the road, about 500m past the cable car station. India Venster is another route that starts at the cable car station and winds up offering amazing views. This route is more technical than the Platteklip Gorge as it involves basic climbing. The trail is not recommended for those who have a fear of heights. You can walk up and take the cable car down or another way around. 

Another popular hiking route to the top of Table Mountain is Skeleton Gorge. It starts at Kirstenbosch Botanical Garden. It’s important to remember that if you park your car at Kirstenbosch you’ll have to walk down to get back to it. As an option, you can take Uber. The cable car takes you down on the other side of the mountain, pretty far from Kirstenbosch. The scenery on this route is quite different from the other two; lush green forest, small waterfalls, boulders covered with moss. The trail involves some ladders and a little bit of basic climbing. 

Whichever route you decide to hike I’d strongly recommend doing it with a couple of people, in a group or with a tour. Make sure to wear a suitable outfit, a cap and comfortable shoes. Pack water and some snacks.

Hiking tours up Table Mountain

The scenery on the Platteklip Gorge, one of the routes up Table Mountain
Platteklip Gorge Trail a great outdoor activity to do in Cape Town

Cycling 

Every year Cape Town hosts the Cape Argus race, one of the biggest cycling events in the world. You can imagine cycling here is a very popular activity. There are enough places for both road cycling and mountain biking.

Table Mountain, Lion’s Head/Signal Hill and Contermanskloof Farm are the most popular places in the city for mountain biking. There are more MTB trails outside Cape Town. Some wine farms in Stellenbosch/Somerset West offer great trails on the estates such as Delvera, Helderplaas farm as well as inside the Jonkershoek Nature Reserve in Stellenbosch. For safety reasons, I’d suggest using these popular trails during the day and going with a couple of people. If you’re alone rather joining a group or a tour.

MTB tours in Cape Town

For road cycling, the most popular places are the Chapman’s Peak Drive (the Cape Peninsula) and the road along the coast from Gordon’s Bay to Betty’s Bay. Both roads are quite narrow and curvy with no roadsides. You have to be careful cycling there but the scenery along both roads is truly spectacular. Both areas have plenty of attractions to visit. There are a couple of places in Cape Town where you can rent a bike and a helmet for a day. Depending on a bike rental prices are between ZAR 150-350/US$8-18 per day. If you decide to cycle from Gordon’s Bay you can rent a bike right there at Rent a Bicycle. 

Road cycling tours

Paragliding from Lion’s Head or Signal Hill

If you’re looking for a breathtaking adventure in Cape Town tandem paragliding from one of the iconic city mountains is a perfect activity. During the flight, you can enjoy the fresh sea breeze and breathtaking views of the city. The landing is on the beach at Sea Point. You can go paragliding any time of the day but paragliding at the sunset is a majestic experience. The flight is around 20 minutes during that time you get to see Table Mountain, Lion’s Head, Robben Island, Camps Bay, the Waterfront, the Atlantic Coastline, etc. Pretty much all main city attractions. 

Paragliding tours

Safari drive in a private game reserve near Cape Town

There are a couple of big private game reserves not too far from Cape Town that can be visited as a day or a two days trip from the city. I’d definitely recommend doing a safari drive in a private game reserve if you are not planning to visit any of the National Parks in South Africa. A trip to Africa won’t be complete without seeing African animals roaming freely in the wild. A great thing about visiting one of the game reserves near Cape Town is that it’s malaria-free.

Aquila Private Game Reserve is one of the most popular places to do a safari from Cape Town. The reserve is 170km away, it can be visited in one day from the city. Here you can see many animals including the Big Five (elephant, rhino, lion, leopard and buffalo). There are hundreds of animals in the park. You can do a morning, afternoon or a night safari driving yourself or join a safari drive with the park rangers. The game reserve offers hotel rooms and cottages on its territory. Staying here for a night is a great way to explore more of the park and to see more animals. Book your room at Aquila Reserve online.

Aquila Game Reserve tours

Inverdoorn Private Game Reserve is another popular place to go on a safari trip from Cape Town. The reserve is 140km away from the city, it can be visited as a return day trip from Cape Town. Visitors can see here the Big Five and many other African animals like zebras, giraffes, antelopes, cheetahs, etc. The reserve offers luxury accommodation on its territory. Book your accommodation at Inverdoorn Game Reserve online.

Inverdoorn Game Reserve tours

Two grown-up giraffes at one of the private game reserve near Cape Town
Safari drive at one of the private game reserves near Cape Town is a must-do thing for all outdoor and animal lovers

Surfing in Cape Town

Cape Town has several excellent surf spots spread out along its coast suitable for all levels.  The best time to surf is in winter when the bigger swells come through. Inside False Bay the water is slightly warmer and breaks are relatively safe for beginners. The best spots for beginners are The Surfer’s Corner in Muizenberg and a couple of beach breaks at Big Bay/Bloubergstrand. Both places are about a 30-minute drive from the city center. Long Beach at Kommetjie is a good spot for more advanced surfers. 

Surfing lessons are from ZAR 500/US$27, the price includes a surfboard and a wetsuit. If you know how to surf and don’t need lessons you can rent a surfboard. 

If you want to learn surfing in Cape Town it’s better to stay in Muizenberg or Big Bay there are a couple of surf schools and gear rental places there.

Places to stay in Muizenberg

Colorful wooden cabins on the sandy beach in Muizenberg
Colorful wooden beach cabins on the beach in Muizenberg, one of the best places to learn surfing in Cape Town

Kitesurfing

With excellent spots and consistent winds, Cape Town is known as one of the world’s best kitesurfing locations. Every year in February there a big kitesurfing event takes place at Bloubergstrand – Red Bull King of the Air. The south-easterly wind that blows almost constantly in summer blows parallel to the beach on the west coast of the peninsula, creating perfect conditions on most days in summer.

Bloubergstrand/Big Bay is the best place in Cape Town for kitesurfing. You can kitesurf here all year round, but the best time is November to March when the winds are strong and consistent. Kite lessons, 3h30min. from ZAR950/US$50 per day including gear. From our experience, I can tell you it’s more difficult than it looks.

Places to stay in Big Bay/Bloubergstrand

Diving

There is some fantastic scuba diving inside False Bay, diving with seals, large 7-gill cow sharks, and some very interesting nudibranchs. Inside False Bay is best dived in winter months when the prevailing north-westerly winds flatten and clean the bay.  In winter visibility is normally between 5 and 10m. The Atlantic side is best to dive in summer when the South Easterly winds bring in cold clean water, visibility can go up to 20m, but water temperatures can drop to 9C°! There are some excellent caverns, wrecks, and interesting aquatic life on this side of the peninsula. Boat dives are quite expensive as usually, you drive quite far from the shore, ZAR1900/US$100 for two dives, including gear. 

If you have never dived before and want to try it you can do Discover Scuba Diving course in Cape Town.

More details about diving in Cape Town you can find in our post Scuba diving in Cape Town.

Shark cage diving

Many adrenaline junkies come to South Africa to dive with sharks. Cape Town is an amazing place for cage diving with the great white shark. It’s a very special experience to observe this fearsome predator in the water. The great white is not the only animal you can see during the dive; some other sharks like bronze sharks; they’re smaller but still very impressive creatures.

Between August and October on the way to the dive spot you might see a couple of Southern right whales. Seals, penguins and many seabirds are quite common to see in the area. Gansbaai, a small town 160km from Cape Town, is the most popular spot for cage diving. Sometimes Great White sharks disappear from the area chased by killer whales that from time to time come to the shores of Cape Town. I’d recommend checking it with a tour operator before booking a trip.

Shark cage diving tours

Shark cage diving in Cape Town
Shark Cage diving in Gansbaai is one of the most thrilling adventures in Cape Town

Whale watching in Cape Town

Cape Town is an incredible place for watching wildlife. Not many other big cities in the world can offer the incredible biodiversity of Cape Town. In a couple of days driving around the city, you can see both the African Big Five (elephant, rhino, lion, leopard, and buffalo) and the Marine Big 5 (whale, shark, seal, penguin, and dolphin). 

Every year between July and November Southern right whales come to South African shores for breeding. The months of July, August, and September are the peak season when your chances to spot whales from a boat are very high. These gentle giants are incredible creatures. Being able to see them from close-by is once in a life-time experience for many people. Even compared to a big boat that can fit about 40 passengers they are huge. As a bonus in July and August you get to see baby whales like any babies they’re very cute and playful. Like with cage diving, Gansbaai/Hermanus is the main harbor from where whale watching tours depart.

Whale watching tours

Snorkeling with seals

Watching these playful animals from close-by is a fun and exciting experience. There are many Cape Seals in the cold water of the Atlantic Ocean around Cape Town; your chances to see them snorkeling are very high. These guys are very curious unlike many wild animals when they see people approaching they are very likely to get closer and check you out. The water is cold, you’ll need a wetsuit even for snorkeling but the gear is usually included in the price of the tour. Snorkeling is done from boats. The boats leave from the Waterfront and from the harbor in Hout Bay. 

Snorkeling with seals tours

Sea kayaking

Renting a kayak or joining a tour and rowing around the Cape Peninsula enjoying the fantastic scenery and observing the diverse marine life of the regions is an amazing thing to do on a nice summer day. There are several popular spots in Cape Town for kayaking; V&A Waterfront, Hout Bay, and Simon’s Town. At the Waterfront and Hout Bay, you’ll see Cape seals, maybe some dolphins and many sea birds. Kayaking from Boulders Beach you’ll see many African penguins and birds, a chance to see dolphins and seals. If you don’t have much experience of kayaking in the open water I’d recommend rather joining a tour. 

Kayaking tours in Cape Town

Spectacular Boulders Beach with hundreds of cute penguins
Boulders Beach with hundreds of African penguins is a great place for sea kayaking in Cape Town

Best foodie things to do in Cape Town

Wine tasting in Stellenbosch

  • Working hours; most tasting rooms are open Mon-Sun from 10am to 4pm-5pm.
  • Tasting fee; around ZAR 75/US$4 for 3 wines. You can share one tasting between two people, we always do it.

Stellenbosch is famous for its great wines, breathtaking scenery, and one of the best Universities in the country. There are about 160 wine farms in the Stellenbosch area; most of them have tasting rooms. You can come to Stellenbosch just for a day from Cape Town or spend here a couple of days. It’s a great place for a weekend escape from the city. You can enjoy the beauty of the area and taste some of the best wines in the country. Don’t try to visit as many wine estates as you can it will just spoil the whole experience. Rather choose 4 or 5 places and take your time, learn about different cultivates, taste, compare, do chocolate or cheese & wine pairing.

For more details on wine tasting in the area read our Guide to the best wine farm in Stellenbosch.

Our suggested 1-day Stellenbosch wine tasting itinerary

Stunning wine estates around Stellenbosch best things to do in Cape Town

Morning. Start your day at Spier wine estate. Try their wine and chocolate pairing. Three different chocolates made by chocolatiers to accompany three local wines. To clean your pallet between tasting you get a glass of bubbly.

Early afternoon. From Spier head to Waterford wine farm, a little Italian corner in Africa. The farm is truly beautiful and local wines are great. We really enjoyed the Jem tasting experience. Then head to Tokara estate, a magnificent farm with stunning views, great wines and a nice restaurant. On the way to Tokara you can stop at Graff Delair estate the scenery there is fantastic.

Late afternoon. From Tokara go to Fairview Wine & Cheese Farm. Here you can combine wine & cheese tasting. If you travel with children Fairview is one of the best wine farms to come. There is a restaurant and a bakery on the estate where you can have lunch or a light meal.

There are many things to do in Stellenbosch besides wine tasting (hiking, cycling, horseback riding, etc.) to keep you busy it’s totally worth staying here for a couple of days.

Places to stay in Stellenbosch

Stellenbosch tours & activities

Two red and one white wine, a glass of Champagne and three chocolates at Spier wine farm in Stellenbosch
Chocolate and wine pairing at Spier wine farm in Stellenbosch is a must-do foodie thing in Cape Town

Fine dining & wine tasting in Franschhoek

  • Working hours; most tasting rooms are open Mon-Sat from 10am to 4pm. Some farms are open for tasting on Sundays.
  • Tasting fee; average ZAR 75/US$4 for 3 wines, sharing one tasting between two people is totally fine.

Franschhoek is the renowned food capital of South Africa. Despite the small size, it’s home to some of the best restaurants and finest wine estates in the country. Like Stellenbosch you can visit Franschhoek as a day trip from Cape Town but if you have time I’d recommend staying here for a couple of days. It’s a perfect place for a romantic getaway or a family holiday. We love coming to Franschhoek for Valentine’s Day or our wedding anniversary there are many things to do here. If you’re a single traveler joining one of the wine tasting tours or jumping on the wine tram are two great ways to explore the area. 

There are really many wine farms in the area. We have a couple of favorites that we visit almost every time we come to Franschhoek. Many wine estates have restaurants where you can combine wine tasting with lunch. If you decide to stay in Franschhoek for dinner I’d recommend booking it at least a day in advance. 

Our suggested 1-day Franschhoek wine tasting itinerary

A tourist wine bus in the vineyrads near Franschhoek, Cape Town

Morning. Stop for breakfast at Big Dog Cafe at the entrance to Franschhoek. The place has delicious breakfast options, great coffee and a beautiful outside terrace/garden. From there drive the Franschhoek Pass, a beautiful road on the other side of the town.

Early afternoon. On the way back from the pass stop at Haute Cabriere wine estate. Don’t forget to take a photo with a yellow frame here. Then head to Dieu Donne wine farm. Great wines and stunning views are guaranteed. On the way back stop at Chamonix, this farm is famous for its Pinot Noir, not a very common cultivar in South Africa.

Later afternoon. To continue wine tasting drive to Boschendal, a fantastic wine farm outside Franschhoek. You can combine tasting with lunch or even a picnic on the grass under the huge oak trees. If you like vintage cars on the way to Boschendal stop at Franschhoek Motor Museum. It has an impressive collection of hundreds of cars.

Places to stay in Franschhoek

Franschhoek tours & activities

Franschhoek wine tram is a great way to do wine tasting in the area
Wine tram in Franschhoek is one of the best ways to enjoy wine tasting in the town

Picnic at Route 44 weekend market

  • Working hours; Sat, Sun from 9am to 4pm

Another awesome weekend market near Cape Town. The market is located at the entrance to Stellenbosch along the Route 44 highway. It’s a great place to come on a weekend morning for a picnic. It’s a very social place with many people, hundreds of food stalls, live music on the stages, many outside tables and chairs.

The range of food and drinks you can try here is truly international from local favorites such as steak and lamb chops prepared on the fire to Mexican tortillas, Italian pizza, Belgian waffles, Japanese sushi, and many other dishes. Make sure you come here hungry. There are so many delicious things that you want to try everything here. There is a special playground area for children with jumping castles, shallow pools, slides, swings etc. If you travel with your kids they’ll love this place.

You can combine Route 44 market with wine tasting in the Stellenbosch and Franschhoek area (only on Saturdays and Sundays). Start your day at the market, spend there a couple of hours. From there drive to Stellenbosch and visit a couple of wine farms. Then head to Franschhoek for more wine tasting that you can combine with lunch. If you do this trip on a Sunday keep in mind that many wine estates and restaurants in Franschhoek are closed on Sundays rather visit more farms around Stellenbosch.

Visiting the Old Biscuit Mill Neighborhood Market

  • Working hours; every Saturday from 9am to 3pm.

The Old Biscuit Mill is an old factory in the Woodstock neighborhood in Cape Town. The area used to be one of the doggiest places in the city. Nowadays it’s one of the Capetonians’ favorite places to meet up with friends and family over the weekend. Long rows of tables and benches in the center of the market make it very social even if you come along you can easily find a company here. You can find pretty much anything here from homemade cakes, organic vegetables, and freshly grilled steaks to clothes and accessories from local designers. In the holiday season, the market gets very busy. Be prepared to spend some time looking for a place to sit down or waiting for your food.

Things to do for culture and art lovers

Discover contemporary African art at the Zeitz Museum

  • Working hours; daily 10am-6pm
  • Admission fee; ZAR 180/US$10 adults, children under 18 years old free

The Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa is our first pick, opened recently in September 2017 the museum has already become one of the most important modern art centers in the country. It’s the biggest museum of this kind on the African continent and is definitely worth of visit even if you’re not a big fan of modern art. The building itself is a masterpiece, one of the most interesting buildings in Cape Town. You’ll find here photography, sculpture, painting, and installations created by modern artists from different African countries.

The modern building of the Zeitz Modern African art museum at V&A Waterfront
An impressive building of Zeitz Museum in Cape Town

Visit the Castle of Good Hope

  • Working hours; daily from 9am to 7pm
  • Admission fee; ZAR 50/US$2,5 adults, ZAR 25/US$1,5 children

Castle of Good Hope in the downtown of Cape Town. It was built in the 17th century by the Dutch East Indian company as a fort to stop on the way from India and Europe. Inside the castle, there used to be a churche, workshops, houses, shops and some other facilities.

Learn about the recent history of South Africa at District Six Museum

  • Working hours; Mon-Sat 9am-4pm, closed on Sundays
  • Admission fee; ZAR 45/US$2,5 adults, ZAR 15/US$1 children

District Six Museum where you can find out about the history of this Cape Town district that once was populated by the mixed racial community till in 1901 when black people were removed from there, later in 1966 it was proclaimed the white area, many residents were forced to leave their houses which later were demolished.

Admire fine art at the Iziko National Art Gallery

  • Working hours; daily 9am-5pm
  • Admission fee; ZAR 60/US$3 adults, ZAR 30/US$1,5 children

South African National Gallery that houses fine examples of old African and European art.  The permanent exhibition gets shuffled from time to time to make sure more masterpieces reach the audience. There are often temporary exhibitions of African and European art.

Recommended books & guidebooks

Many books and guidebooks are accessible for free for Amazon Kindle Unlimited users, the program allows you to get access to thousands of e-books and audiobooks from any device (Kindle, tablet, mobile). You can try Amazon Kindle Unlimited for free for 30 days.

Cape Town travel planning resources

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Things to do in Cape Town South Africa

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