19 Unmissable Attractions in Cape Town, South Africa

Chapman's Peak Drive © razzel/Shutterstock
Chapman's Peak Drive © razzel/Shutterstock
Cape Town is a cosmopolitan city with many breathtaking sights, diverse cultures and history. Here’s our guide to the top 20 unmissable attractions.

Victoria & Alfred Waterfront

Named after England’s Queen Victoria and her son, Prince Alfred, the V&A Waterfront is centered around the country’s oldest working harbor. This vibrant precinct is home to a shopping center, food and craft market, an aquarium, hotels and many other attractions.

V&A Waterfront © Soysam/Shutterstock

Table Mountain

Table Mountain is one of Cape Town’s most famous landmarks and forms part of a national park. It has many popular hiking trails and a cableway that takes visitors to the summit.

A hiker checks out Table Mountain from Lion’s Head © Moobatto/Shutterstock

Lion’s Head

Lion’s Head and Signal Hill provides a dramatic backdrop to the city alongside Table Mountain. The unusual shaped peak is climbed by thousands of residents and tourists every year.

Lion’s Head and Signal Hill © WitR/Shutterstock

Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa (MOCAA)

The Zeitz MOCAA will be the largest museum on the continent to exhibit African contemporary art. The museum is found in a revamped grain silo in the V&A Waterfront and is set to open in September 2017. Until then, you can enjoy sundowners at the luxury Silo Hotel’s three resto-bars on-site.

© Courtesy of Zeitz MOCAA 

Robben Island

This small island in the middle of Table Bay has a long and torturous past, but is best known as the place where Nelson Mandela spent 18 years of his 27-year prison sentence during apartheid.

Mural on Robben Island © Catherine Cronin/Flickr

Cape Point Nature Reserve

Cape Point Nature Reserve lies at the extreme south-western tip of Africa within the Table Mountain National Park. Be swept away by dramatic cliffs, awe-inspiring views and acres of land rich in indigenous flora and fauna.

Sea Point Promenade

This scenic seaside promenade meanders along the beachfront on the Atlantic Seaboard. It’s a wonderful place to get in some exercise, people-watch or simply enjoy the sea views.

Sea Point promenade © LMspencer/Shutterstock


From Clifton to Muizenberg, Cape Town has many pristine beaches that are perfect for sunbathing and water sports.

Clifton beach © Graeme Churchard/Flickr

Cape Winelands

Take a day trip to the lush Winelands, where country life is complemented by award-winning wines and cuisine.

Stellenbosch vineyard © Dave Bezaire/Flickr

Neighbourgoods Market

This lively Saturday market, held at the Old Biscuit Mill, is the go-to place for fresh produce, artisanal food and live music. It’s also a great place to shop for local fashion, jewelry and designer goods.

Artisanal food at the Neighbourgoods Market © Gerrit Vermeulen/Flickr

Camps Bay

Camps Bay is famed for its beachfront restaurant strip, picturesque beach and incredible sunsets. If you want to unwind with a cocktail in hand while watching the world go by, then this is the place to go.

Camps Bay © Shelby Steward/Flickr

Castle of Good Hope

The Castle of Good Hope is a historic fort built by Dutch settlers in the 17th century. Today the star-shaped fort houses an array of military artifacts spanning the 1600s to the 1800s, as well as colonial art, furniture and ceramics.

Castle of Good Hope © Victor Bergmann/Flickr

Company’s Garden

The Company’s Garden is a beautiful oasis in the center of Cape Town with lots of interesting features and attractions, such as the oldest cultivated tree in South Africa. It dates back to the 1600s, when European settlers grew vegetables to feed the colony and replenish passing ships.

Company’s Garden © Victor Bergmann/Flickr

Iziko South African Museum & Planetarium

The South African Museum was founded in 1825, making it the oldest in the country. Here you will find lots of dinosaur fossils, dioramas and temporary exhibitions on display. The Planetarium was recently upgraded with cutting-edge technology to virtually transport viewers to outer space.

The Whale Well at the SA Museum © Courtesy of Iziko South African Museums

African penguin colony

Visit Boulder’s Beach in Simon’s Town to see the adorable African penguins. Boardwalks lead to Foxy Beach – where the penguins love to hang out – while beach-goers prefer to swim in the section sheltered by huge boulders.

Boulder’s Beach penguin colony © 一元 马/Flickr

Rhodes Memorial

Rhodes Memorial was built in 1912 in honor of Cecil John Rhodes, who was prime minister of the Cape of Good Hope in the late 19th century. The Greek-style monument is found on the slopes of Devil’s Peak and offers sweeping views of the city.

Rhodes Memorial © ECSequeira/WikiCommons

Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden

Kirstenbosch Botanical Garden lies on the eastern slopes of Table Mountain. It was founded in 1913 to preserve the Cape’s unique flora, and is a lovely place for a leisurely stroll, a picnic in the gardens or lunch at the Tea Room.

Protea flowers at Kirstenbosch Garden © Pixabay

St George’s Cathedral

St George’s Cathedral is the oldest cathedral in southern Africa, having been in service since 1834. It is known as ‘The People’s Church’ for its stance against the apartheid regime.

St George’s Cathedral © Augustcindy/Shutterstock

Chapman’s Peak Drive

Chapman’s Peak Drive is regarded as one of the world’s most scenic coastal drives. The winding mountain road lies on the western side of the Cape Peninsula and has many vantage points and picnic spots offering magnificent views of Hout Bay. It is also a much-loved cycling route and forms part of the famous Cape Town Cycle Tour.

Chapman’s Peak Drive © razzel/Shutterstock