Image by Cape Town-based illustrator Gerhard Van Wyk

The Insider Guide

Visitors to Cape Town will get the best of both worlds – a vibrant, buzzing city with a wealth of outdoor fun, all on the doorstep of a stunning coast with beautiful beaches and water sports aplenty.

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The Main Attractions

Your best bet is to start with Table Mountain, Cape Town’s most famous landmark. Take the cable car to the 1,086m summit for majestic views of the city and Table Bay, then descend to spend time in the 221km national park, which encompasses the Cape of Good Hope and Boulders Beach – home to a 3,000-strong penguin colony and 540m-year-old granite boulders. For a cardio-busting climb, the lighthouse at Cape Point offers top views – the Flying Dutchman funicular means you can enjoy them with far less effort – while the pretty seaside town of Hermanus is where you can watch whales go past your window in season. And – if you’re brave enough – you can even go cage-diving with great white sharks 50km along the coast at Gansbaai. Kiteboarders and windsurfers should head to popular Muizenberg or Table View to experience the Cape Doctor – the strong southeasterly wind that blows along the South African coast. For a calmer day out, the Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden is rich in biodiversity, including native fynbos, and home to indigenous wildlife. Meanwhile, the streets of Cape Town offer a mix of arts, culture and fantastic food. Be sure to visit the Old Biscuit Mill in Woodstock – a creative hub of collaborating artists and designers running workshops, street markets and festivals. Bo-Kaap, home to a diverse Muslim community and Cape Malay cuisine, is where you’ll find a vibrant community with brightly coloured houses and cobbled streets. Just 11km from Cape Town, Robben Island – where Nelson Mandela spent 18 years in prison – is now a much-visited Unesco World Heritage Site. District Six, meanwhile, is where, in the 1970s, the apartheid government forcibly removed more than 60,000 people,. Today it’s home to a museum telling the stories of those events while also promoting social justice. For more details on what Cape Town has to offer, read on.

Neighborhoods in Cape Town