5 Things To Do In Cape Town, South Africa

After recently travelling to Cape Town it’s not hard for me to see why it was named the Best Tourist Destination in Africa at the World Tourism Awards. The rugged landscape is steeped in such a sense of history, not only that of people, but of the earth itself, that I felt an instant connection to it. Cape Town sprawls across a stunning expanse of land dotted with vineyards and boxed in by rugged mountains and the Atlantic Ocean. The inhabitants are truly a rainbow nation and apart from the odd exception (you’ll want to keep an eye on your bags) are some of the most friendly, hospitable people I have ever met. You will never be stuck for something to do, and to ensure you get the best out of your experience here are the top 5 things I’d recommend you do while in town (based off personal experience).

1. Climb Table Mountain

table mountain south africa

This iconic mountain is well worth climbing and the hike is actually fairly simple by international standards. To put things into perspective, I met a man on the way up whose two stubby legged sausage dogs managed to climb up on their own. The trek can take anywhere from a couple of hours to a full day depending on the way you choose to go. A lot of people take the cable cars or opt for short routes but I would highly recommend taking the scenic ones. The best view is of course on top, but not where you’d expect. Maybe it’s just that I’ve been spoiled by too many high viewpoints in my lifetime, but in my opinion looking out across this bizarre flat tabletop on top of the world was even better than gazing at the view off it.

2. Eat

breakfast in south africa

It’s a basic function of living, but when I list eat as number two on this list, I mean eat as an activity. Give yourself some leeway to truly enjoy all the local cuisines. So what if your pants are a bit tight after the trip. From abundant seafood to huge watermelons and even bigger steaks, Cape Town delivers the ultimate in food and dining, and at such affordable prices! I managed to get a full cooked breakfast for approximately $2US. While in town be sure to try the popular local food known as biltong. The South African’s day strips of meat and season them, a similar concept to beef jerky, but dare I say it, even better tasting.

3. Go Wine Tasting

wine tasting in south africa

With eating at number two on the list, it’s only natural that drinking should be number three. In Cape Town you can taste some of the country’s finest wines. The city boasts numerous award winning vineyard estates and once again the pricing is very affordable (using travellers who have enough money to pay airfare to South Africa as a point of relevance). Personally I took quite a few bottles of excellent wine back through customs with me on the return trip. I also took some newly gleaned knowledge. While tasting I noted that there were rose bushes at the end of each row of grapes. Turns out this was not merely for aesthetic purposes but that local farmers use roses to give early warning signs of things like mildew as roses and grapes are susceptible to the same diseases. Who knew?

4. See Lions!

lions in south africa

This is of course best done in the National Parks but if you are not lucky enough to visit one of them, the next best thing is Drakenstein Lion Park in Cape Town. Here you can come scarily close to the big cats of Africa. Amongst these are some rare white lions which were by far my favourite. As a sanctuary environment the park looks after these captive born animals for the rest of their lives. Currently the park is also hosting chimpanzees (this was a very touching family reunion for me) after the closure of the Tygerberg Zoo.

5. Visit Blouberg Strant

blouberg strant south africa

At Blouberg (blue mountain) Strant the Atlantic Ocean washes onto the African continent. The currents carry this freezing water straight from Antarctica so you probably won’t want to go swimming. But be sure to dip your toes in just to appreciate the bravery of the locals who do. This is a great place to visit on weekends for some holiday tanning and you won’t be lacking for sunshine if your trip’s in the summer. Beach cricket and rugby are a fairly regular affair and people watching is great fun as the South African’s have always been an awfully good looking bunch.

Well, that’s it. My 5 top recommendations for what to do in Cape Town. Enjoy :)

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Nikki is a young kiwi traveler with many more countries on her to-visit list. She enjoys learning languages and recipes during her trips abroad. The next expedition is set to happen just as soon as her university-student-bank-account allows it.

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