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Top 5 things to do in Cape Town for first-time visitors

Cape Town offers visitors so much to do that condensing it into a top 5 list feels like an impossible task. Bathed in natural beauty, Cape Town is framed by beaches and one of the most iconic mountains in the world - Table Mountain.


Add in a mild climate, world-class food and wine, friendly locals and a favourable exchange rate, and you have one of the best cities in the world.


1) Table Mountain


Table Mountain is, without a doubt, Cape Towns top attraction. Looming over the city the mountain's presence can be felt from every corner of the city. Rising 1,048 metres above sea level, the mountain range is one of the oldest on Earth and roughly five times older than the Rocky Mountains in North America.


There are two ways to reach the top of Table Mountain. The most popular way is riding the revolving arial cable car up to the summit. Taking just five minutes, the views on the way up are impressive to say the least. Once you disembark, you are welcomed with spectacular views of the city, camps bay, surrounding mountain ranges and out to Robben island. There are a number of trails to explore that help you disperse from the crowds and find a quiet place for photos. Don't rush once you are up the top as it is well worth spending time noticing the smaller details from the rock dassies running around your feet to the intricate and beautiful detail of the fynbos (smaller plants and flowers)


2) Cape Town's Beaches


Cape Town boasts some of the most beautiful beaches on the planet. While the water isn’t exactly what you call warm, its chilliness shouldn’t put you off as the scenery, and local beach culture makes up for the less than optimal water temperatures.

Camps Bay is Cape Town’s premier beach location and offers a beautiful white sand beach with a numerous great restaurants, bars and shops to choose from. The main strip is a buzz with activity and certainly a place to be seen amongst the trendy locals.

Camps Bay. Photo Untamed Safaris


For an iconic African beach experience, you will not forget a day spent on Boulders Beach. Located next to Simons Town, on the Cape Peninsula. Boulders Beach is a 40-minute drive from Cape Town and provides you with a chance to come face to face with the endangered Africa Rock Penguin.

Penguins at Boulders Beach. Photo Untamed Safaris



3) Shop & Dine at the Victoria & Alfred Waterfront


The Victoria and Alfred Waterfront or V&A Waterfront as it is commonly referred to, is located in Africa's oldest operating harbour and is one of the most visited attractions on the continent, with a staggering 24 million visitors annually.


It is easy to see why the waterfront attracts so many visitors with its offering of luxury hotels, fantastic dining, and diverse shopping, which includes artisan stalls amongst large luxury brands. Baskers provide lively beats and contemporary African music, and the crowds of people give the waterfront an energy that is infectious.


Some of our favourite luxury hotels include:


Cape Grace

The One & Only Cape Town

Table Bay Hotel

The Silo

The Victoria & Alfred Water Front

Lawhill Luxury Apartments


There is also plenty for those looking for more affordable options:


Waterfront Village

Radisson Red Victoria & Alfred

Southern Sun Cullinan

City Lodge V&A Waterfront

The Commondore Hotel

The Portswood

Protea Breakwater Lodge

The V&A Waterfront is the departure point for cruises to Robben Island and scenic helicopter flights of Table Mountain and the Cape Peninsula.

Al Fresco dining at the Victoria & Alfred Waterfront. Photo V&A Hotel



4) Wine Tasting in Constantia


Constantia is one of the oldest areas in Cape Town and is home to some of the most prestigious wine farms, historic buildings and best restaurants.


Wineries such as Groot Constantia, Klein Constantia, Steenberg Vineyards, Constantia Glen Wine Estate, Beau Constantia, and Eagle’s Nest provide wine tasting of their award-winning wines. Constantia plays host to a thriving restaurant and bar scene. Being only 20 minutes from the city, Constantia is easily accessed by taxi, uber or hop-on hop-off bus. While the towns of Franschhoek and Stellenbosch receive most of the attention from international visitors, Constantia remains of Cape Town's best-kept secrets. We recommend a relaxed afternoon hoping from vineyard to vineyard before settling down for lunch. You will feel a world away and it is easy to forget you are in a city at all.

Vineyards of Constantia. Photo Untamed Safaris



5) Visit The Cape Peninsula (The Cape of Good Hope)


The Cape Peninsula is a land mass that travels south from Cape Town, forming an elongated peninsula that juts into the Atlantic Ocean. Adjacent to the tip of the peninsula on a rocky headland is the Cape Of Good Hope. A popular stop for photos. The Cape Of Good Hope earned its name as it was seen as a good omen to 15th-century sailors that thought passing the landmass and heading East would ensure an ongoing safe passage to India. A bit further on lies Cape Point and the end (tip) of the peninsula. There is a short and steep walk up to the top of the Cape Point lookout where the views are incredible. For those not keen on walking there is a funicular (tram) that will carry you to the lookout.


Contrary to popular belief Cape Point is not the southernmost point of the African continent and is also not where the two oceans (Atlantic & Indian) meet. Both honours lie to Cape Agulhas further East of Cape Town.


A trip to the cape peninsula is best conducted with a full day as there is so much to see, from the fantastic coastline to the rugged mountains that drop right into the ocean. Quaint seaside villages provide charming places to grab a coffee or some food, and boulders beach is often the highlight with almost guaranteed sightings of the endangered Africa Rock Penguin.

Cape Point. Photo Untamed Safaris


Honourable Mentions:

  • Visit Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden

  • Go on a guided walking tour through the city centre

  • Go wine tasting in the Cape Winelands

  • Visit Robben Island

  • Hike up Lions Head

  • Enjoy one of Cape Town's world-class day spa's

  • Go snorkelling with seals

  • Discover the Two Ocean aquarium

  • Enjoy sundowner drinks on signal hill

  • High Tea at the Mount Nelson Hotel





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