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Top 5 Things to Do In Cape Town

Tracey Campbell - September 19, 2012

Table Mountain

If the weather is beautiful – go up Table Mountain immediately!  This really is one of the main highlights of Cape Town, and even if it is a beautiful morning sometimes in the afternoon a cloud can descend on the top of the mountain – it looks like a white tablecloth laying over the top of the mountain – and visibility is practically zero!

If you drive up there, you will probably have to park on the road and walk up to the cable car, and normally there will be a guy directing you into a space.  He will probably hand you a card or a slip of paper and it is customary to tip him when you return – the ‘going’ rate is about R5 – R8 per hour.

There is a small restaurant at the top of the mountain and a bar, but one idea is to ask the guest house to pack you up a lunch, and find a quiet spot with a view on the top of the mountain to enjoy it.

City Bus Tour

A city tour on an open top bus this afternoon is a good way to orientate yourself to the City.  The buses are known as Topless Busses, and can be caught at the back of the Clock Tower Precinct at the V&A Waterfront. They work on the ‘hop-on, hop-off’ system, and the tour lasts about 2 hours if you stay on the bus the whole time.

Cape Peninsula and Boulders Beach

A day trip down to the Cape Peninsula is a must.  Our recommended route is to set off towards Simon’s Town (the guest house will be able to give you directions), and stop at Boulders Beach on the way to visit the penguin colony there.

There are 2 main attractions here: the main viewing platforms allow you get right into the middle of the breeding colony where you can observe and photograph the penguins at close quarters (there are literally hundreds of penguins here); the second beach is smaller and lesser known, but you can actually get onto the sand and into the sea here and there are usually a few dozen penguins mixing with the bathers.  The second beach is to the right of the ticket booth right by the main car park.

From Simon’s Town you would then drive down to Cape Point, situated in the Good Hope Nature Reserve.  You can either walk up to the lighthouse, or take the tram – either way, its wonderfully scenic. There is a restaurant here where you can have lunch, or you could bring a packed lunch and have a picnic on one of the many beaches.

On the way back, we would recommend driving via Hout Bay and Chapmans Peak drive – a truly stunning coastal road (when it is open – do check first!).

Township Tour and Robben Island

We would certainly recommend a half-day township tour.  Some people have doubts as to whether to go on a township tour, as it seems almost indecent to treat these areas as a ‘tourist attraction’.  However, with a good tour operator it is a memorable and enlightening experience.

Also, a boat trip to Robben Island, where Nelson Mandela was imprisoned, will round off the experience – be prepared to be moved to tears though as your guide is likely to be a former political prisoner and their stories are compelling.  This can be booked from the V&A Waterfront.

Bloubergstrand Beach

If you have time, a trip out to Bloubergstrand Beach to get the classic ‘postcard’ shot of Table Mountain over the bay is worthwhile – but be warned it is incredibly windy (hence why there are so many kite surfers there!).

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