Beach at Bloubergstrand
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Top seven attractions in Cape Town

Deutsche Fassung German translated articles

What makes Cape Town worth visiting?

Cape Town, South Africa’s Mother City, is the second largest city in the country. There are so many sights that you would like to visit but often only have limited time to explore. Cape Town is known for breathtaking hiking routes, diverse culture, magnificent wine lands, affordable and unique experiences and world-class restaurants. 

Images of Table Mountain (named after its flat top) or its tablecloth (on misty days) are mostly conjured up when one thinks of Cape Town. However, there is so much more to this extraordinary city than just fabulous mountain scenery and great hiking trails. 

This article suggests five must-visit attractions or activities if you only have limited time in the city.

 

Beach at Bloubergstrand
Beach at Bloubergstrand with the view of Table Mountain

Why visit Cape Town, South Africa?

Cape Town ranks among the best cities in the world (n.a., 2019; Zama, 2022) because it offers so many great sights, unique landmarks, and exciting places of interest.

It has a Mediterranean climate, vibrant waterfront, white-sandy beaches, two world heritage sites,  beautiful wine farms, and a world-renowned National botanical garden; all ingredients for a perfect holiday!

Petra and I regularly spend time in the mother city to discover unique gems. This article is regularly updated to bring you the best of Cape Town.

 

The V&A Waterfront
Victoria Road Views

What are the best attractions in Cape Town?

To experience the best of Cape Town, we suggest the following seven activities:

  • Visit to Zeitz Museum and the Silo Hotel
  • Visit the The V&A Waterfront
  • Take a helicopter trip over the Cape Town peninsula
  • Visit Old Biscuit Mill Market
  • Admire the colourful houses of Bo-Kaap by taking a street tour
  • Visit the Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens
  • Visit a wine farm

The Zeitz Museum was commissioned through a public and private partnership between the V&A Waterfront and a German businessman, Jochen Zeitz. 

The museum features Zeitz’s extensive art collection and other contemporary African art on a rotating basis. The museum is located in the Silo district of the V & A waterfront, overlooking the Atlantic Ocean. 

Zeitz MOCAA was constructed by converting the 57m tall historical grain silos, built in 1921 and decommissioned in 2001, into a museum. This 9,500mcomplex consists of nine floors with 6,000m2 of exhibition space. There is also a restaurant, coffee shop and shop.

Although we are not very much into contemporary art exhibitions, we thoroughly enjoyed the visit due to the astounding impressions of the interior of the building. Entrance tickets can be bought at the door, costing R210 (13 Euro) per person. 

The Zeitz MOCCA museum at the V&A Waterfront
The Zeitz MOCCA museum at the V&A Waterfront
The Silo Hotel, V&A Waterfront
The Silo Hotel, V&A Waterfront

The iconic luxury boutique hotel, The Silo, occupies the upper part of the structure. This beyond-luxurious hotel sets a new standard for world-class hotels. 

The Willaston Bar has the most iconic views over the V&A Waterfront. There is also no better place to enjoy sundowners in the city than at Silo’s rooftop bar, with panoramic views over the ocean and city.

Enjoying a light lunch or cocktail at the hotel is highly recommended.

Travelbuddies Lifestyle in Cape Town
View from the top of the staircase at Zeitz MOCAA
Travelbuddies Lifestyle in Cape Town
Some of the contemporary art on display at Zeitz MOCAA museum
Travelbuddies Lifestyle in Cape Town
Contemporary art on display at Zeitz MOCAA
The Silo hotel is located next to Zeitz MOCAA
The Granary cafe of the Silo Hotel offering Sunday Brunch and Royal tea.
Lunch at the Silo Hotel's The Granary Cafe with spectacular views over the V&A Waterfront
Travelbuddies Lifestyle in Cape Town
View of the entrance hall at Zeitz MOCAA

There is hardly an article on the internet that refers to Cape Town without mentioning the V&A waterfront

This is not surprising since more than 24 million visitors are drawn to the V&A waterfront annually, making it South Africa’s most visited attraction.

Why visit the V& A waterfront?

The main reason for the waterfront’s appeal is that it is not only a working harbour but also a high-end shoppers’ paradise. 

It has more than 450 shops, with everything from South Africa’s most sought-after fashion designers to exclusive international brands. 

Many coffee shops, seafood, and high-end restaurants have the most beautiful harbour views. 

The waterfront also houses the  Two Oceans Aquarium.

Is it worth taking a harbour tour at the V&A Waterfront?

Absolutely! A V& A waterfront visit is complete with a harbour cruise. If the weather is great, there is no better place to spot seals and dolphins.

Several companies offer harbour cruises, such as Yacoob Yachts, which has an experienced crew and a large fleet consisting of the Tigresse, Jolly Roger pirate boat, Ice Blue, Ameera, and Zinathi.

The harbour cruising companies offer scheduled trips to the sea, harbour cruises, sunset cruises and private charters, seven days a week. You will find their offices on the pier. There is no need to book ahead of time. Rather, look at the day’s weather and then book a trip. NOTE: The helicopter tours discussed below include a free harbour cruise. 

How to go to Robben Island?

Several ferries depart to Robben Island from the Nelson Mandela Gateway at the V&A Waterfront daily. The tours last three and a half hours. 

Click here for more information about the Robben Island Museum and tours.

Travelbuddies Lifestyle in Cape Town
Views of the the V&A Waterfront
Local arts and crafts on sale in the 'Watershed' at the waterfront
Travelbuddies at Cape Town
The clock Tower at the V&A Waterfront
Yacoob Yachts in Cape Town
Travelbuddies at Cape Town
The ferries leaving for Robben Island
Travelbuddies at Cape Town
The Nelson Mandela Gateway to Robben Island
There are really great authentic shops in the Watershed at the V&A waterfront

# 3 Take a helicopter trip over Cape Town

The helicopter trip over Cape Town is one of the highest-rated activities in Cape Town. Several companies offer trips from E Pier Road at the V&A Waterfront. For as little as R2500 or 120 Euros, you can view Cape Town, Camps Bay and Hout Bay from above. This trip includes a free harbour tour. Both trips are an absolute MUST when visiting Cape Town. 

For more details about a helicopter trip, visit any of these websites:

Sports Helicopters Cape Town or

Cape Town Helicopters

Helicopter trip over Cape Town
Helicopter trip over Cape Town

We visited Old Biscuit Mill in Woodstock on a Saturday for the first time during our trip in February 2022. 

This hip and vibrant area is known for its amazing food offerings, clothing stalls, crafts, artisan products, night market and music festivals. It is a must-visit destination for anyone wishing to explore South African culture.

The weekend neighbourhood market’s open food stalls enabled Petra to sample some of South Africa’s most well-known and traditional dishes, such as bobotie, koeksisters, Cape Malay birdies, etc. 

We visited on a Saturday and were lucky to find off-street parking nearby. Alternatively, parking is usually available within the Mill, or one can use the secure parking area at the College of Cape Town directly opposite the Mill (there is usually an R10 charge). 

The Old Biscuit Mill is open seven days a week, but the neighbourhood market is only open on weekends. 

Visit our Instagram page for more information about our visit to this venue.

Travelbuddies Lifestyle in Cape Town
The entrance to the Old Biscuit Mill in Woodstock
Travelbuddies at Cape Town
The Old Biscuit Mill at Woodstock

Several photos of Cape Town often include the colourful Cape Dutch and Georgian architectural houses of the Bo-Kaap, situated at the foot of Signal Hill.

Interestingly, this area was previously known as the Malay quarters and dates back to the 1760s when several “huurhuisjes” (rental houses) were built and leased to enslaved people. The people who lived there were known as the Cape Malays because they originated from Malaysia, Indonesia and the rest of Africa. The story is told that while the house’s colour remained white, it was still on lease. When the rules changed, the enslaved people painted their houses brightly to symbolise their freedom. In May 2019, 19 sites in the Bo-Kaap were declared National Heritage Sites.

We heard a visit to the Bo-Kaap is incomplete without lunch at the well-known Biesmiellah restaurant on the corner of Wale and Pentz streets. The unpretentious restaurant, with a neon and quirky interior, was started 40 years ago by Shabira Osman. Apparently, Biesmiellah is a landmark and institution in the Bo-Kaap; therefore, we decided to go and see for ourselves if they live up to their reputation of delicious food and excellent service.

Petra and I enjoyed their ‘Denning vleis’ and ‘bobotie’, two of their most popular Cape Malay dishes on the menu. We were blown away by the flavours of the food and the great hospitality of the people who work at Biesmiellah. We highly recommend that you stop for lunch at this authentic Cape Malay restaurant after or before you have a chance to admire the lovely, colourful houses of the Bo-Kaap.

Travelbuddies Lifestyle in Cape Town
Some of the colourful houses at Bo-Kaap
Travelbuddies in Cape Town
Biesmiellah Restauant in Bo-Kaap
Travelbuddies in Cape Town
We enjoyed a lovely lunch at Biesmiellah
Travelbuddies in Cape Town
The lunch we enjoyed at Biesmiellah restaurant

The 528-hectare Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens are regarded as the greatest botanic gardens in the world and are a UNESCO heritage site. 

Founded in 1913, the majestic gardens are set against the eastern slope of Table Mountain. 

The most spectacular aspect of the gardens is the Centenary Tree Canopy Walkway (known as the “Boomslang”). 

We enjoyed admiring the incredible selection of Proteas, including the King Protea (South Africa’s national flower). 

Are there walking trails at the Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens?

Five trials differing in difficulty levels can be followed with excellent signposts along well-maintained footpaths or gravel roads. The gardens are ideal for enjoying a picnic on a sunny day or indulging in a sweet treat at the Kirstenbosch Tea Room. 

How much is the entrance fee at the Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens?

The entrance fee is R210 per person for adults and R30 for children under 17 (International guests). South Africans only pay R130. 

For more information about the gardens, please click here.

Kirstenbosch botanical Gardens
Travelbuddies Lifestyle in Cape Town
Views of the 'Boomslang' at the Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden
Travelbuddies Lifestyle in Cape Town
There are several hiking routes at the botanical gardens
Travelbuddies Lifestyle in Cape Town
Proteas on display at Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens

#7 Visit a wine farm in Cape Town

You will be spoiled for choice from Constantia to Durbanville, Stellenbosch, Paarl and Franschhoek. We visited most of these wine regions, so we suggest you check out our Instagram stories and highlights.

Insideguide provides a good summary of the most popular wine farms. Our absolute favourite is Babylonstoren Wine Farm. The daytime Greenhouse restaurant is where you can enjoy tasteful meals in a beautiful farm setting. The farm shop stocks a selection of farm-fresh items such as their signature balsamic vinegar, Rooibos teas and a range of essential oils.

We participated in the Olive Tasting and Balsamic Vinegar Tour for as little as R200 an hour. The highlight of the tour is making your blend of olive oil. Babylonstoren offers a range of tours. Visit their website for more info.

And for extra indulgence, why don’t you spoil yourself with a stay at their boutique hotel with a garden spa? 

John Finch Travel has a great article about things to do an see in Cape Town. Click here to read their article: 14 Things to Experience in Cape Town.

Where to stay in Cape Town?

We can highly recommend the following hotels when you are in the Cape Town area:

We reviewed the Cellars hotels for you. You can click on the links to read more. 

Travelbuddies At Cape Town
Cloud9 Hotel Tamboerskloof Cape Town
Travelbuddies at Cape Town
The Cellars-Hohenort, Constantia

References

Cape Town voted the best city in the world for the 7th year running. (2019, November). Cape Town Travel. https://www.capetown.travel/cape-town-voted-best-city-in-the-world-for-7th-year-running/

Zama, Z. (2022, May). Cape Town is ranked the third greatest city on earth. Eye Witness News. https://ewn.co.za/2022/05/08/cape-town-ranked-third-greatest-city-on-earth#:~:text=Cape Town has been named number 50 in Marrakesh.

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