Cape Town’s hop-on-hop-off bus is a great way to explore the city and surrounds. The red tour takes roughly 2 hours to complete, has 12 stops, with some of the highlights being the V&A Waterfront, Long street, Table Mountain and Camps Bay. A good option if you are pressed for time and want an overview of the city.
The City Bowl in Cape Town is a truly wondrous thing. Unlike many colonial city centres, it has a distinct lack of the ubiquitous Western chain stores and manages in large part to retain several tiny and very specialized shops, eateries, galleries, theatres, hotels and bars that would simply not survive in a pressured rental environment in a modern industrialized city.
Unlike most cities in the world, it’s not only possible but really advisable to hike Cape Town! With its iconic front, and now one of the New Natural Wonders of the World, Table Mountain is the most obvious destination for a hike in Cape Town and its central location, well-established paths and sensational views make for a rewarding half-day or full-day hike.
Shop ‘till you drop! And then have something to eat while enjoying the fantastic views. The V&A Waterfront is situated in South Africa’s oldest working harbors and fishing boats and large container ships can still be seen bringing in fresh fish and cargo. The harbor is also home to a large commercial shopping center with over 450 retail outlets selling everything from internationally branded fashion, designer items, curios, homeware, jewelry, etc.
What makes this island truly significant in the history of South Africa, is that this was the home of Nelson Mandela for 18 years. First used as a prison by the Dutch settlers, the island was also at one stage used as a leper colony and animal quarantine station. Since the fall of apartheid the island has been declared a national heritage site and the prison opened for the public as a museum. During your visit at the island you will be taken on a guided tour inside the prison and get to see inside the actual prison cell where Nelson Madela spent his sentence.
Visiting the townships is something that you should definitely do on a visit to anywhere in South Africa. There are several reasons for this: the majority of the South African population live in them, they are in some ways even more culturally alive and diverse than the more affluent parts of the country, and they are as disparate as one town is from another.
Woodstock is possibly the most diverse and most integrated district of Cape Town both racially and in terms of income. Originally built as a suburb of the City Bowl to house coloured workers, it then developed into a light industrial area and for a long time was the centre of the local textile industry as well as several other local manufacturing businesses.
The Southern Suburbs are often passed by on the way to the Cape Peninsula with most people only ‘starting’ their tour of the Cape when they hit Muizenberg. However, there are some truly amazing places on the way down (and back) which make for a superb day out, without a whole heap of driving and navigation.
Cape Town abounds in beaches with many different purposes. Catch the ‘look at me’ crowd on Clifton or Camps Bay, go watersporting off Blauwbergstrand or just go for a beach walk at Mouille Point beach. The wild animals on the beaches of the Peninsula Park are amazing. When was the last time you shared a beach with a zebra? You can in Cape Town.