Cape Town is a city that offers both indoor and outdoor activities to suit all tastes, senses of adventure and travel budgets… but some are just too iconic or unusual to miss out on!
So, here are our top 20 Mother City picks for 2017:
#1 Catch the Cable Car (and abseil down) Table Mountain
Table Mountain is one of the city’s crowning glories, and as such, it’s a must-visit for tourists and locals alike. If you’re not up for a hike up the Table, why not catch the cable car up and then abseil back down?
Abseil Africa is one of the best companies around. You’ll have to follow a rope 112 metres or so down, in what is a safe, guided abseil, which is, coincidentally, the world’s highest commercial abseil offering. It costs R995 per person (excluding Cable Car ticket).
Contact (Abseil Africa): (021) 424 4760
Address: 297 Long Street, Cape Town
Photo credit: https://www.facebook.com/pg/Abseil-Africa via Facebook
#2 Visit the Two Oceans Aquarium
No visit to Cape Town is complete without experiencing the world-renowned Two Oceans Aquarium. Adults and children alike will delight in the wonders of the sea. Find Nemo, see the penguins or go for a dive… either way, you’re in for a fun and educational underwater experience!
Tickets are R135 (adults), R100 (children 14-17 years, pensioners and students) and R65 (children 4-13 years).
Contact: (021) 418 3823
Location: Dock Road, V&A Waterfront, Cape Town
#3 Walk the Museum Mile
Located within and near to the city’s well-loved, historic Company’s Gardens, you will find the South African National Gallery, Houses of Parliament, Iziko South African Museum, Planetarium and Slave Lodge.
All are worth a visit and on certain days, such as Heritage Day (24 September), you can enjoy these wonderfully historic and engaging places for free.
Contact (Iziko Museums): (021) 481 3800
#4 Experience Cape Town’s art scene
Woodstock is fast becoming the Mother City’s go-to art hub, as buildings are being restored, warehouses transformed and artists descend on the area like never before.
Here, why not visit the likes of the international-influenced Stevenson Gallery, among others, for some sophisticated and unique art appreciation?
Contact: (021) 462 1500
Address: Buchanan Building, 160 Sir Lowry Road, Woodstock, Cape Town
Photo credit: www.stevenson.info
#5 Helicopter flights with NAC Helicopters
Experience the Mother City from the air as you choose from several amazing flight options, including: Hopper, Atlantico, Two Oceans, Robben Island, Three Bays and Cape Point Tours.
Costs range from R3, 240–R25, 800.
Contact: (021) 425 3868
Address: East Pier Road, V&A Waterfront, Cape Town
#6 Learn to surf in Muizenberg
Surfing (be it traditional surfing, or kite/wind surfing) is very much a popular Cape Town activity and surfers’ haven, Muizenberg, is considered the best spots to learn to surf in South Africa.
Although you will no doubt find a number of local surfing schools, Learn 2 Surf is a good bet, as they are ideally based at Muizenberg Beach. They offer small group or private lessons, weekly, and are open every day of the year, weather permitting.
All equipment is included in the fee. To enquire after Learn 2 Surf’s prices, please fill out the ‘Prices & Info’ form on their site and buy/book your lessons confidentially online.
Contact: (083) 414 0567
Address: 165 Main Road, Muizenberg, Cape Town
#7 Kayak with seals and dolphins
Cape Town-based Kaskazi Kayaks offers wonderful kayaking experiences and close encounters with sea birds, seals, dolphins and during whale season (July to December usually), you can even see the whales too!
Their shop is based in Three Anchor Bay and from there, they embark on a 3-5 km journey towards either Clifton Beach or Granger Bay. Trips are approximately two hours long. If you have prior kayaking experience, you can arrange a half-day trip too.
Booking is essential and all trips are weather-reliant. To find out the cost per trip, please contact Kaskazi Kayaks directly.
Contact: (083) 346 1146
Address: 179 Beach Road, Three Anchor Bay, Cape Town
#8 Enjoy whale watching in False Bay
Of course, the whale capital is Hermanus – but that’s not the only place in the Western Cape to see the wonderful whales.
Areas along the False Bay coastline are also prime whale watching spots and the best part is, you can view the whales from land or shore for free!
Recommended spots along the False Bay coastline include: Muizenberg, Kalk Bay, St James, Fish Hoek and Simon’s Town, as well as Cape Point.
#9 Ride a bicycle along the Promenade
This activity has certainly grown in popularity and is great for both children and adults alike.
Up Cycles is your recommended service provider; they charge R60 (per person) for one hour and R90 for two etc. You can cycle as far as the Waterfront, if desired – and helmets and locks are included.
Ride along the Sea Point Promenade at a leisurely pace and maybe even catch the sunset.
Contact: (076) 135 2223
Address: The Pavilion, Sea Point Promenade, Sea Point, Cape Town
Photo credit: Basil Parker, upcycles.co.za
#10 Snorkel with the seals
Experience the fun and beauty of snorkelling with Cape Fur seals on the city’s Atlantic side, at Duiker Island, Hout Bay.
Join Animal Ocean (particularly during summer) for 1-5m depth snorkel. No experience is needed but participants must be competent swimmers. (Afterwards, you’ll even be treated to hot chocolate and biscuits!)
Cost is R550 (per person) to view and R800 (per person) to snorkel.
Contact: (072) 296 9132
Address: Hout Bay Harbour, outside NSRI Station 8 Building, Hout Bay, Cape Town
#11 Hop on, hop off the CitySightseeing Bus
CitySightseeing bus tours have grown in popularity and numbers in recent years and now offer an excellent array of tours.
These include (to name a few): Harbour Cruise Tour, Purple Wine Tour, Sunset Bus Tour and even a Cape Point Explorer Tour!
Cost varies depending on tour but can be anything between R40–R550 per person (adults).
Contact: (021) 511 6000
Address: 81 Long Street and The V&A Waterfront, near the Two Oceans Aquarium, Cape Town.
#12 Ride a Harley along Chappies
Photo credit: www.capebiketravel.com
Drive the world-famous Chapman’s Peak Drive on one of the world’s most iconic motorbikes: the Harley Davidson when you opt in for the Cape of Good Hope Tour. It covers approximately 180km, stretching from Hout Bay to Simon’s Town, and is weather dependent.
With Cape Bike Travel, you can rent and drive a Harley yourself, or enjoy a chauffeured ride. Cost for self-driven trip is R2500 per rider, while chauffeured rides cost either R1, 600 (half-day) or R2, 100 (full day).
Contact: (021) 424 5013
Address: 125 Buitengracht, City Centre, Cape Town
#13 Experience high tea in the city
The Mother City has a number of hotels, which offer “high tea” (more commonly referred to as afternoon tea these days). They are hugely popular and are great fun for adults (and teens).
Costs vary but you can generally expect to pay R200-300 per person as you feast on savouries, an assortment of tea (or coffee), macaroons, cakes and so much more in a luxury setting.
The Belmond Mount Nelson, The Taj Hotel, One&Only Cape Town, Cape Grace Hotel and 12 Apostles Hotel all offer excellent high/afternoon teas.
For more information, contact the above-mentioned hotels directly or visit their websites.
Cost: R95–295 (generally)
#14 Horse ride along Noordhoek Beach
Situated at the charming, historic Imhoff Farm, near Kommetjie, is the Imhoff Equestrian Centre, where you can enjoy beach horse rides.
These two-hour-long rides take you along the pristine Noordhoek Beach. They cater for those who have never ridden, as much as experienced riders. (Maximum age is 12 years and maximum weight is 100 kg.)
Booking is essential. To enquire after the cost per person, please contact them directly.
Contact: (082) 774 1191
Address: Imhoff Farm, M65, Kommetjie, Cape Town
Photo credit: www.imhofffarm.co.za
#15 Visit the Boulders penguins
Simon’s Town is home to the beautiful Boulders Beach. Here, a colony of African penguins have taken up permanent residence.
Boulders is one of the few places in the world where you can walk among and swim with these tuxedoed dudes.
Boulders Beach is a protected SANParks beach so there’s an entry fee. Current costs (valid until 31 October 2017) are R70 (per adult) and R35 (per child).
Contact: (021) 428 9111
Address: Kleintuin Road, Simon’s Town, Cape Town
#16 Head to Cape Point
Lying at the southern section of the vast Table Mountain National Park (or TMNP), Cape Point is a truly life-changing destination. Visit the historic, old lighthouse, see the Chacma baboons, dine at the scenic Two Oceans Restaurant or explore the Cape of Good Hope.
Whatever you choose to do, you’re sure to enjoy a day of true Cape adventuring in one of the most beautiful spots on the globe.
Cost is R135 (per adult) and R70 (per child, ages 2-11).
Contact: (021) 780 9010
Address: Cape of Good Nature Reserve, near Simon’s Town, Cape Town
#17 Explore Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden
The amazing Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden is one of the city’s proudest and most well-loved public spaces. It’s a wonderful, vast place to explore with friends and loved ones alike.
Enjoy a picnic, Summer Concert or strolling among the plants in this 528-hectare reserve.
Entry fees are: R60 (adults), R30 (SA students) and R15 (children 5-17 years). Free to pensioners (with ID), except on public holidays.
Contact: (021) 799 8783
Address: Rhodes Drive, Newlands, Cape Town
#18 Hike up Lion’s Head
The (free) hike up Lion’s Head is one of the city’s most popular activities now.
Perfect any time of day (though it’s best at sunrise and sunset), even during full moon, this 1-2-hour-long hike is a must. Reach the summit or see if you can discover one of the mountain’s cave, particularly the well-loved Wally’s Cave.
There are two routes as you near the summit… so opt for the one without the staples and ladders if you’re afraid of heights.
Address: Lion’s Head, Cape Town
#19 Visit Robben Island
The former prison, where late, former president Nelson Mandela and so many others were held captive during the Apartheid Era, is one of the Mother City’s chief tourist destinations.
Boats leave daily from the Waterfront. The guides will provide you with an insightful tour, especially as so many of them are former prisoners themselves. Cost is R300 per person.
Contact: (021) 413 4200
Address: Robben Island, Cape Town
#20 Be part of First Thursdays
Photo credit: Laura September via Instagram
On the first Thursday evening of every month, the city’s art galleries in Bree and the CBD come alive, opening to the public, permitting free entry and fun exploration.
This highly popular event now sees many restaurants and cafes joining in on the fun, so you can enjoy a tasty meal with the art.
Each month brings exciting changes, new participating venues and fresh exhibitions – so save the date!
Galleries are open from 5pm – 9pm (if not later) and remember: entry is free!
These are just some of the amazing activities you can enjoy in the Mother City, whether you’re a culture vulture, adrenalin junkie or nature lover… there’s something for everyone to enjoy experiencing, both indoors and out, in 2017.