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Trip List by BradJill

Cape Town - Top Attractions

11 Nov 2012  What we love about Cape Town
5.0 of 5 stars based on 19 votes

Cape Town is one of our favorite cities in the world, which prompted us to make this personal Top Attraction list for the city and beyond.

This is a personal list that will different than others, based on what we have enjoyed most during past visits to Cape Town, something we hope will prove useful to others planning their trips to Cape Town and South Africa.

Inclusions in our list are arranged by their proximity to other nearby quality attractions, places we have enjoyed and felt were worthy of mention. They are not listed in a favourite-to-least favourite or chronological order.

Cape Town Top Attractions

1. Cape Town city area
a. Table Mountain and Cable Car (Views of Lion's Head and the city)
b. Long Street (the backbone of Cape Town)
c. The Labia (hidden gem)
d. Victoria & Albert Waterfront
e. Two Oceans Aquarium

2. City Sightseeing Tour (HOHO) - Blue Line
a. Kirstenbosch
b. Groot Constantia Winery
c. Hout's Bay
d. Camp's Bay (views of Twelve Apostles)

3. Cape Peninsula Day Trip (Daytrippers or Self-drive)
a. Hout Bay and Seal Island
b. Boulders Beach
c. Cape of Good Hope Reserve
d. St. James Beach

4. Cape Town - Beyond
a. Shark Dive in Gansbaai
b. Whale Watching in Hermanus
c. Wine Tasting (Stellenbosch, Constantia and Fairview Estates)

5. The Greater Beyond
a. Kruger National Park (add 3-4 days)
b. Blyde River Canyon (add 1-2 days)

6. Dining in Cape Town
a. Arnolds
b. Ocean Basket
c. Nando's

We have written reviews for each of these attractions and restaurants based on past trips to Cape Town and beyond in South Africa. These reviews (w/pictures) can be viewed below.

  • 1. Table Mountain (Iconic Image of Cape Town)
    Table Mountain, Table Mountain National Park

    Click the above link to read our review of Table Mountain, one of the most easily recognizable mountains and iconic images in the world.

    No visit to Cape Town is complete without taking in views of Table Mountain from various places around the city. Also, a hike to the top or a ride on the cable car is a highly recommendable activity when visiting Cape Town.

  • 2. Table Mountain Cable Car
    Table Mountain Aerial Cableway, Cape Town Central

    Click the above link to read our review of the Table Mountain Cable Car.

    This is a great way to visit Table Mountain, the rotating car allows sweeping views of the entire city and close ups of the cliff as you approach the top. Thi

  • 3. Lion's Head
    Lion's Head, Cape Town Central

    Click the above link to read our review of Lion's Head, another great peak in Cape Town that can be climbed or enjoyed from afar.

  • 4. Long Street
    Long Street, Cape Town Central

    Click the above link to read our review of Long Street, the backbone of Cape Town.

    Long Street is a nice place to visit during the day time to see buildings of nice architecture, vibrant culture and to have a drink or meal. Green Market, just off Long Street is a popular place for souvenir shopping as well.

  • 5. The Labia Theatre
    The Labia, Cape Town Central

    Click the above link to read our review of The Labia Theatre,

    This is a historic, throw-back to the 1940's, theatre house on Orange Street which features locally produced and artsy films. What a great way to spend a couple afternoon hours when visiting Cape Town. Will always be on our Must Do list.

  • 6. Victoria & Alfred (V&A) Waterfront
    Victoria & Alfred Waterfront, Cape Town Central

    Click the above link to read our review of the V&A Waterfront.

    This is a Must See attraction in Cape Town. While we don't enjoy dining or shopping at the Waterfront, its a great area to just walk around and to enjoy the views and surrounding environs. Another Must See Attraction in Cape Town.

  • 7. Two Oceans Aquarium (V&A Waterfront Highlight)
    Two Oceans Aquarium, Cape Town Central

    Click the above link to read our review of the Two Ocean's Aquarium, which we consider the highlight attraction on the Victoria & Alfred Waterfront.

  • 8. City Sightseeing Bus Tour (HOHO) - Blue Line
    City Sightseeing Cape Town, Cape Town Central

    Click the above link to read our review of the City Sightseeing Bus Tour.

    There are two routes, the RED route being more of traditional bus tour that takes in the sights which are close to the city centre. The BLUE line on the other hand, reaches beyond the city center making calls at attractions that are beyond walking distance, making it an ideal way to travel in between these nice attractions.

  • 9. Kirstenbosch National Botanical Gardens (BLUE line - Top Stop)
    Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden, Newlands

    Click the above link to read our review of the Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens, which we found to be one of the very best stops on the BLUE line as well as being one of Cape Town's very best overall attractions.

  • 10. Groot Constantia Winery
    Groot Constantia, Constantia

    Click the above link to read our review of the Groot Constantia winery, which is an included stop on the BLUE line. The winery can also be visited as part of a wine tour day trip.

    The Groot Constantia Winery is a beautiful place to visit for those interested in wine tasting or simply wanting to spend a couple hours on pleasant, lovely grounds. There are a couple restaurants here as well.

  • 11. Hout's Bay (Beautiful seaside community)
    Hout Bay, Cape Town Central

    Click the above link to read our review of Hout's Bay, another very good stop on the BLUE line that can also be visited as part of a Cape Peninsula Day Trip.

    Have some fresh calamari at a kiosk stand, make a boat trip out to Seal Island or just enjoy the lovely views from the small but pristine beach found here.

  • 12. Camp's Bay Beach
    Camp's Bay Beach, Camps Bay

    Click the above link to read our review of Camp's Bay,

    Camp's Bay is a lovely seaside community which can be visited as part of the BLUE line tour or independently as it is not far from the main city centre. The sand is lovely there is plenty to keep families busy and a nice row of bar and restaurants as well. This is a very nice place to spend a few hours on any trip to Cape Town.

  • 13. Twelve Apostles (Great setting behind Camp's Bay Beach)
    Twelve Apostles, Cape Town Central

    Click the above link to read our review of the Twelve Apostles, which are a series of mountain peaks that stretch along the Cape Peninsula and are very well viewed from Camp's Bay Beach amongst other locations in the city.

  • 14. Cape Peninsula (Day Trip from Cape Town)
    Cape of Good Hope, Table Mountain National Park

    Click the above link to read our review of the Cape Peninsula Day Trip, which we have done both independently by renting a vehicle and just driving and on two occasions with the tour company called Daytrippers.

    Highlights of this day trip include:

    1. Hout's Bay and Seal Island,
    2. Boulder's Beach (to see the penguins)
    3. The stretch of road known as Chapmans Peak Road and Pass
    4. The Cape of Good Hope Nature Reserve (The Highlight of this day trip)

  • 15. Hout's Bay and a visit to the Seal Island
    Hout Bay, Cape Town Central

    Click the above link to read our review of Hout's Bay.

    As part of the Cape Peninsula Day Trip, a stop at Hout's Bay can include a 30 minute boat trip to visit a seal island just outside the bay. This is a fun way to spend a bit of time here.

  • 16. Boulder Beach
    Boulders Beach, Simon's Town

    Click the above link to read our review of Boulder Beach,

    This beach would not be worth making a stop if not for the colony of resident penguins that are always present and easy to get up and close to.

  • 17. Cape of Good Hope Nature Reserve (Top Attraction)
    Cape of Good Hope, Table Mountain National Park

    Click the above link to read our review of the Cape of Good Hope Nature Reserve, which is the highlight of all Cape Peninsula day trips.

  • 18. St. James Beach (Iconic multi-colored changing rooms)
    St. James Beach, Cape Town Central

    Click the above link to read our review for St. James Beach.

    While not the best beach in the world, it is the beautifully arranged, changing rooms that are the subject of great photographs that make a stop at St. James such a treat.

    Unfortunately, St. James seems to no longer be included in the Cape Peninsula day trips offered by Cape Town based tour operators. However, if you rent a vehicle and make the trip independently, you can stop by for a look.

  • 19. Shark Dive in Gansbaai
    Shark Diving Unlimited, Gansbaai, Overberg District

    Click the above link to read our review for Shark Diving Unlimited, the company we used for our shark dive in 2011.

    There are probably a dozen different companies that operate out of Gansbaai, offering half-day and longer shark dive experiences. All hotels and tour operators out of Cape Town can make reservations for you and transportation is usually included. Do research several companies as quality of boat vessels and overall experiences can vary.

  • 20. Whale Watching in Hermanus
    Hermanus, Overberg District

    Hermanus is a quiet seaside community, not far from Gansbaai where whale watching is possible. This is a great place to see wildlife and consider spending a night or two outside of Cape Town for more relaxing and reclined environs.

  • 21. Stellenbosch (A Top Wine Destination in the world)
    Stellenbosch, Western Cape

    Stellenbosch is a world famous wine producing area, with a good number of wineries that can be visited as well as other attractions to be seen. Hotels and restaurants are available in this area just beyond Cape Town as well for those interested in staying overnight.

    Recently, Tripadvisor posted a Top Wine Destinations in the world list, Stellenbosch came in as number three only behind Tuscany (Italy), Sonoma (California) and Hunter Valley (Australia). Now that is being in good company.

  • 22. Groot Constantia Winery (closer to Cape Town)
    Groot Constantia, Constantia

    Click the above link to read our review for the Groot Constantia winery, one of most famous of the wine-makers in this region.

    Groot Constantia can be visited as part of the City Sightseeing Tour - BLUE line or as part of a wine-tasting tour from Cape Town. It was one of the more enjoyable wineries we visited during our last trip to the Cape.

  • 23. Fairview Estate (Enjoyable wine and cheese tasting)
    Fairview Wine and Cheese, Suider Paarl, Paarl

    Click the above link to read our review of the Fairview Estate and Winery

    This winery, not far outside Cape Town, offers casual wine and cheese tasting and has a goat that is enjoyable to watch in front of the winery.

  • 24. Kruger National Park (Greater Beyond from Cape Town)
    Kruger National Park, Nelspruit, Mpumalanga

    Click the above link to read our thoughts about visiting Kruger National Park (KNP) as either a self-drive or private reserve experience.

    In short, Kruger National Park is included within this Cape Town for one reason. It is one of the two or three premiere safari destinations in the world and is only a few hours away by flight from Cape Town. If you are able to make the time to fly all the way to Cape Town for a week, why not add 3-4 days so you can visit the very best attraction available in South Africa, Kruger National Park.

    For those who simply don't have the time or funds to make this happen, there are some private game reserves just outside of Cape Town. Have a look at Aquila Game Reserve for starters. However, for those who want the real experience, best to make the time and effort to visit KNP.

  • 25. Blyde River Canyon (Greater Beyond from Cape Town)

    Click the above link to read one of our reviews for the Blyde River Canyon, the largest green canyon in the world.

    We include the Blyde River Canyon as part of this Cape Town trip list as we believe that in addition to KNP, it is also worthy of consideration for visiting for 1-3 days for those with the time and funds available to them.

    Located very near to KNP, a visit to the Blyde River Canyon can be combined with your trip to Kruger for those wanting to see this outstanding area of South Africa.

  • 26. Arnold's Restaurant (Top Choice)
    Arnold's Restaurant, Cape Town Central

    Click the above link to read our review of Arnold's Restaurant, located on Kloof Street in Cape Town.

    Arnold's was so good that we ended up dining here three times in a week and scrapping our list of other restaurants we intended to try. This is quite rare for us as we rarely do repeat dining during traveling no matter how good the food is. Arnold's was worthy of exception and will be the first restaurant we dine at upon our next trip to Cape Town.

  • 27. Ocean Basket (A fun and good seafood franchise)
    Ocean Basket, Cape Town Central

    Click the above link to read our review for Ocean Basket, which has locations around Cape Town including the V&A Waterfront and Kloof Street.

    We found Ocean Basket to be a good value seafood restaurant with tasty offers and a casual and child-friendly dining environment. We'd love to have one of these in Hong Kong.

  • 28. Nando's (One of the best fast food franchises in the world)
    Nando's Gardens, Cape Town Central

    Click the above link to read our review for Nando's, a fast food chain with branches in Cape Town that sell some of the best Peri-peri style chicken anywhere.

    We know this is only a fast-food chain and that some don't even like Nando's. However, it is one of our favorite spots for cheap, greatly flavored spicy chicken dishes anywhere (in the world). We have cravings for it year round and bring home bottles of Nando's sauce each time we return from trips to South Africa.

    In short, Nando's is everything KFC should have been. The food is affordable, wonderfully flavored with excellent Nando's sauce and served in sufficient to large portions. It is a truly unique fast food franchise and perfectly situated in the Cape where peri-peri style sauce is very popular.

    Nando's is always on our list of MUST EAT places when we visit South Africa.