19 Unmissable Attractions in Cape Town, South Africa

Table Mountain is a beautiful, natural landmark in Cape Town
Table Mountain is a beautiful, natural landmark in Cape Town | © ITPhoto / Alamy Stock Photo
Photo of Lee-Shay Collison
11 September 2020

Cape Town is a cosmopolitan city with many breathtaking sights, diverse cultures and history. Here’s Culture Trip’s guide to the top 19 unmissable attractions in one of South Africa’s most visited cities.

Victoria and Alfred Waterfront

Historical Landmark
Map View
Victoria and Alfred Waterfront Cape Town South Africa with Cape Grace Hotel and Table Mountain
© Gillian Moore / Alamy Stock Photo

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

Zeitz MOCAA

Museum
Map View
The Zeitz MOCAA (Museum of Contemporary African Art) and the Silo Hotel building in the Cape Town Waterfront.
© Eric Nathan / Alamy Stock Photo

The Zeitz MOCAA is the world’s largest museum of African contemporary art. Found inside a revamped grain silo on the V&A Waterfront, it opened its doors in September 2017. After visiting, you can enjoy some food at the on-site restaurant, followed by a sundowner or two at one of the three restaurant-bars in the luxurious Silo Hotel.

The Company’s Garden

Restaurant, South African, $$$
Map View

The Company’s Garden is a beautiful oasis in the centre of Cape Town, with lots of interesting features and attractions, such as the oldest cultivated pear tree in South Africa. It dates back to the 1600s when European settlers grew vegetables to feed the colony and replenish passing ships. The garden also has an on-site restaurant serving traditional South African dishes.

Iziko South African Museum and Planetarium

Museum
Map View
The South African Museum, founded in 1825, is the oldest such institution in the country. Here, you’ll find dinosaur fossils, dioramas and temporary exhibitions. In 2017, the Iziko Planetarium was upgraded with cutting-edge technology to virtually transport viewers to outer space.

Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden

Botanical Garden, Park
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Kirstenbosch Botanical Garden, Cape Town, South Africa
© mauritius images GmbH / Alamy Stock Photo
Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden, founded in 1913 to preserve the Cape’s unique flora, lies on the eastern slopes of Table Mountain. It’s a lovely place for a leisurely walk, a picnic in the gardens or lunch at the Kirstenbosch Tea Room.

Chapman’s Peak Drive

Natural Feature
Map View
Chapman's Peak drive, Cape Town, South Africa
© Ariadne Van Zandbergen / Alamy Stock Photo
Chapman’s Peak Drive is among 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’s also a much-loved cycling route and forms part of the famous Cape Town Cycle Tour.
These recommendations were updated on September 11, 2020 to keep your travel plans fresh.