Can I just start off by saying, I freaking love Cape Town. It might just be the best city in the world. Truly.
I say this because it really has something for everyone. And, look, I know what you’re thinking: all cities are like that. But that’s really not entirely true. Because while most cities have a lot to offer in terms of eating, shopping, and the arts- they typically lack in the nature department.
Cape Town, on the other hand, has it all. From mountains to beaches, with wineries, incredible restaurants, and wildlife sprinkled in between- there’s no way you’ll get bored in this city.
If you’re going to Africa for a safari, I highly recommend taking a few days in Cape Town after your safari experience. It’s just really nice to be able to clean up, and enjoy the city after being in the bush for a while.
This post is going to share what to do when you visit Cape Town, South Africa, including detailed lists of hotspots that you won’t want to miss. Plus, I’ll share the best time of year to visit Cape Town, and what you can expect weather-wise so that your outfits can be on point.
What To Do In Cape Town, South Africa
Cape Town is one of those places that just kind of stays with you. If it wasn’t so dang far from my family, I’d get real serious about moving there. That’s how much I love it.
The reason I’m so in love with this city is that I’m a big nature girlie, but I also love a place with a lot of food options and the other creature comforts that cities can provide. Cape Town has a healthy blend of stunning nature and outdoor activities, as well as a pulsing city scene that won’t leave you bored.
First things first, Cape Town is a coastal city. So you’ve got to hit up the beaches when you’re there. Even if you’re just walking along the promenade to get your steps in a sight-see, you won’t want to bypass the beaches in this gorgeous city.
Best Beaches in Cape Town
- Camps Bay
- Bakovan Beach
- Boulders Beach
- Diaz Beach
- Noordhoek Beach
South Africa is known for world class surfing, and Cape Town is no exception. You’ll need to rent a wetsuit if you’re not traveling with one, because it’s definitely not a tropical surfing destination. But the waves are fun, and something can certainly be found for all levels.
Best Surfing In Cape Town
- Long Beach
- Big Bay
- Glen Beach
You can’t go to Africa and not see some wildlife. You just can’t. While Cape Town isn’t the place to do any kind of proper safari (you can go to Kruger National Park to do that), there’s still an abundance of wildlife to experience when you’re in and around the city.
Where To See Wildlife In Cape Town
- Penguins at Boulder’s Beach, Simon Town
- Shark tours
- Whale watching
- Table Mountain National Park
- World of Birds Wildlife Sanctuary
- Cape of Good Hope
Cape Town is known for having a modern pulse, but the truth is that it also has a rich history. I’m typically not a big museum kinda traveler, but something about museums in Africa just hit differently. These are great activities for the whole family, and also a really valuable opportunity to educate yourself.
Best Museums In Cape Town
- District 6 Museum
- Robben Island Tour
- Cape Town Holocaust and Genocide Center
- Zeitz MOCCA
- Heart of Cape
Hiking is my love language. I’m always on the prowl for places with friendly, safe, and accessible trails. Cape Town does not disappoint in this department. There are so many trails in and around Cape Town, I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to complete them all in this lifetime. All the more reason to keep going back for more.
Best Hiking In Cape Town
- Lion’s Head Summit
- Cecelia Waterfall
- Platteklip Gorge
- Table Top Mountain National Park
- Maclear’s Beacon
- Devil’s Peak
- The Pipe Track
- Twelve Apostles
- Tranquility Cracks
After a long hike or a fun surf, who doesn’t want a delicious meal? Or actually, who doesn’t want a delicious meal in general…all the time. I know I do. Cape Town is brimming with restaurants for all kinds of eaters, but I will say we mostly stuck with vegetarian and vegan spots. My wife eats meat, and many of the restaurants listed have options for plant based and meat eaters, alike.
Best Restaurants in Cape Town
- Wild Eatery
- Wild Sprout
- Scheckters Raw
- Sunshine Food Co
- Vegan Food Market (only open on Sundays)
- Addis in Cape Town
- Aiko Sushi
- Vintage India
- Bao Down
- The General Store
I don’t drink alcohol, but even I can enjoy winery culture. Why? Because the landscape is absolutely gorgeous, and there’s usually great hikes in the wine country areas. Plus, where there’s wineries, there’s usually bougie spas, and I’m all about a daily massage.
Needless to say, whether you’re a wine-o or not, you won’t want to miss wine country in Cape Town. If you want to venture outside of the city, then you can also check out wineries in Stellenbosch, as well.
Best Wineries In Cape Town
- Steenberg Tasting Room
- De Grendel Wine Estate and Restaurant
- Meerendal Wine Estate
- Groot Constantia
- Cape Point Vineyards
When Is The Best Time Of Year To Go To Cape Town?
Now that you’re all ready to go to Cape Town, let’s talk about the best time of year to visit. As with all places, the best time of year really depends on what you’re interested in doing exactly.
What I mean is, the best time of year for a surfer to visit might be different than a hiker or a devout bird watcher. Make sure to check in the high seasons for travel based on the activities that you have in mind.
Cape Town is known for having a moderate climate, meaning the summers are pleasant and the winters aren’t too crazy cold. Cape Town has all 4 seasons, and they all make for a great time to visit depending on what you’re the most interested in doing.
Autumn: March 1 – May 31
Winter: June 1 – August 31
Spring: September 1 – November 30
Summer: December 1 – February 28/29
Summer is known for being warm and dry, which makes for the perfect time for outdoor enthusiasts, hikers, and beach goers. This is also high season, which means there’s a lot more people, traffic, and hawkers.
Spring and Autumn will have a mixed bag of weather, as they’re both shoulder seasons between winter and summer. You might luck out with sunshine every day, or you might get a lot of rain (like we did when traveling in September). Either way, pack layers.
Winter is cold and wet, which doesn’t make for the most desirable time to visit for most people. Surfers rejoice in the winter, because the waves turn on.
Whenever you decide to go, I know you’ll have the best time. Make sure to comment on any of your top picks so we can continue to elevate the Cape Town travel experience!