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Activities & food

Places change and preferences differ; so please don’t hold me accountable (but let me know what you thought so I can update this document).
Below are some of my personal Cape Town highlights.

Table Mountain National Park

Table Mountain is one of the oldest mountains in the world (older than the Himalayas). It is not just a pretty background to our city, but filled with lots of activities, fauna, and flora. In fact, there are over 1500 plant species in the 57km² area —that's more plants than the entire United Kingdom (over 240 000km²).
There are many hikes leading to the top, which you can do if you are in a reasonably fit condition. It takes between one and four hours (depending on the starting point, route, and your level of fitness). Always carry enough water, food, and something warm (even on hot days). The weather can change quickly and many people have been stranded due to fog or high wind, so please check the forecast. If you’re new to this sort of hiking, please consider going with someone who has done it before, or hire a guide.
You can also take the panoramic cable car (buy your to skip the queue). If you plan on going up more than three times during your visit, it is cheaper to buy a yearly pass (only available at the bottom station).
Once at the top, there are various hikes that can keep you busy for hours (or days), a restaurant, and a bar.

Lion's Head

Lion's Head is another iconic mountain in Cape Town, located next to Table Mountain. It offers breathtaking panoramic views of the city, the Atlantic Ocean, and Table Mountain itself. The hike up Lion's Head is easier than Table Mountain, but it still requires a reasonable level of fitness. The trail is well-maintained and takes around 1 to 2 hours to reach the summit.
The best time to hike is when there is more foot traffic and less heat —in the cooler morning or afternoon when most people have ended work. Take water and don't forget to bring a flashlight if you plan to hike during sunrise or sunset.
Just enter “Lions Head Hiking” in Uber/Bolt (or use this )
Note that you shouldn’t hike down from the starting point (on the city side, towards the neighbourhood of Bo-Kaap), as the trails aren’t well maintained or used much and there have been reports of crime. It is always better to hike in a group than alone.
Sadly there has been an increase in robberies on Lion’s Head (and less so, but also on Table Mountain) in summer 2023. People are advised to hike in groups of four or more, not to carry any valuables, and to avoid hiking in the dark before sunrise and after sunset.

Atlantic Seaboard

This is one of my favourite full-day outings.
Take a scenic drive along the Atlantic Seaboard in a rental car (or Uber or with a private tour or a sightseeing bus). This stretch of coastline offers stunning views of the ocean, beautiful beaches, and luxurious neighborhoods. Stop by popular spots like Camps Bay and Clifton beaches for sunbathing and people-watching. You can also explore the vibrant promenade in Sea Point, known for its energetic atmosphere and pretty views. Don't miss the chance to visit the picturesque fishing village of Hout Bay and enjoy a boat trip to see the seals on Duiker Island.
Venture further south to Cape Point, a beautiful natural reserve that forms part of the Table Mountain National Park. Cape Point is known for its rugged cliffs, stunning coastal scenery, and diverse wildlife. Take a scenic drive or hike through the reserve, keeping an eye out for baboons, ostriches, buck, and various bird species. Make your way to the iconic Cape Point Lighthouse, perched on top of the dramatic cliffs, where the Atlantic and Indian Oceans meet. Enjoy panoramic views from the lookout points and soak in the awe-inspiring beauty of the surrounding landscape. You can also take a funicular ride up to the lighthouse if you prefer not to hike. Before leaving, explore the walking trails that lead to beautiful secluded beaches, such as Diaz Beach and Buffels Bay, where you can relax and take in the tranquility of nature.
Return via the charming coastal village of Kalk Bay, located on the eastern side of the Cape Peninsula. Known for its bohemian chic atmosphere, Kalk Bay offers a delightful mix of art galleries, antique shops, quirky boutiques, and excellent seafood restaurants. Take a leisurely stroll along the main street, exploring the unique shops and enjoying the vibrant atmosphere. Don't miss the chance to sample fresh fish and chips or indulge in a delicious seafood meal at one of the local eateries; Olympia Café is one of my favourites. Kalk Bay is also home to a picturesque harbor where you can watch the fishing boats come and go, and even spot some playful seals.

Free Walking Tour

Join a free walking tour in Cape Town to discover the city's history, culture, and hidden gems. These tours are usually led by knowledgeable local guides who provide insights into the city's past and present. You'll explore popular landmarks such as the Company's Gardens, Bo-Kaap neighborhood, and the vibrant Greenmarket Square. The tours are tip-based, so it's a great way to get acquainted with the city while also supporting local guides. Search for “free walking tour Cape Town” on Google or Tripadvisor.


Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens is a must-visit attraction for nature lovers. It is acclaimed as one of the most beautiful botanical gardens in the world, showcasing a diverse range of indigenous plants and stunning landscapes. Take a leisurely stroll through the garden's well-manicured paths, visit the enchanting treetop canopy walkway, and relax on the expansive lawns with a picnic. Kirstenbosch also hosts regular concerts during the summer months, where you can enjoy live music in a magical outdoor setting. Search for “Kirstenbosch summer concerts” online to see the latest schedule (tickets for sale on Webtickets).

Wine Tasting

Explore the Cape Winelands, located just a short drive from Cape Town, and treat yourself to world-class wine tasting experiences. The region is renowned for its picturesque vineyards, historic wine estates, and award-winning wines. Stellenbosch, Franschhoek, and Paarl are popular wine-producing towns that offer a variety of wine tasting options. Take a cellar tour, sample different wine varietals, and savor delicious food pairings at the vineyard restaurants. Don't miss the opportunity to admire the scenic beauty of the vineyards and mountains that surround the area.
You can take an Uber/Bolt there and back; please don’t drink and drive. Many wine tasting tours will pick you up and drop you off at your Airbnb, and includes visits to muliple wine estates; others allow you to visit estates by bicycle or train.


For an adrenaline-filled adventure, try tandem paragliding in Cape Town.
Signal Hill and Lion's Head are popular launch sites that offer incredible views of the city and the coastline. You'll soar through the air with a trained pilot, experiencing the thrill of flying while taking in the scenery below. No experience is required, as you'll be accompanied by an experienced tandem pilot who will guide you throughout the flight.
(If you’re a certified solo paragliding pilot, reach out to me for more information on where to fly)


Explore the waters of Cape Town by going on a kayaking adventure. There are various kayaking tours available, allowing you to paddle along the coastline, explore sea caves, and even encounter marine wildlife. You can choose to kayak in the calm waters of False Bay, where you might spot dolphins, seals, and even whales during the migration season. Alternatively, you can opt for a kayak trip in the Atlantic Ocean starting in Sea Point or Camps Bay, where you'll paddle along the stunning coastline, passing by iconic landmarks such as the Twelve Apostles.


Visit Boulders Beach in Simon's Town to witness a colony of African penguins up close. These charismatic creatures are an iconic symbol of Cape Town and are known for their unique braying calls and adorable waddling. Boulders Beach offers a safe and protected environment for the penguins, allowing visitors to observe them in their natural habitat. You can stroll along the boardwalks and sandy coves, or even swim in designated areas alongside these delightful birds. Remember to respect their space and follow the park guidelines for an enjoyable experience.
"Penguin Town" is a Netflix docuseries that follows the lives of African penguins in Simon's Town, showcasing their behaviors, interactions, and conservation efforts in a charming and educational way.

First Thursdays

First Thursdays is a vibrant monthly event that transforms the streets of Cape Town into a bustling art and culture and party hub. On the first Thursday of each month, art galleries, museums, and cultural institutions open their doors until late, inviting locals and visitors to explore the diverse exhibitions, live performances, and interactive installations. Pop-up restaurants, food trucks, and parties all follow.


Cape Town is home to a variety of museums that offer insights into the city's history and diverse culture. The Iziko South African Museum provides a comprehensive overview of natural history, anthropology, and archaeology. The District Six Museum tells the story of a vibrant community forcibly removed during the apartheid era. For contemporary art enthusiasts, the Zeitz MOCAA (Museum of Contemporary Art Africa) showcases a vast collection of African contemporary art and is one of my personal favourites.
Other notable museums include the Slave Lodge, the South African National Gallery, and the Castle of Good Hope, which is the oldest existing colonial building in South Africa. Explore these museums to gain a deeper understanding of Cape Town's past and present.

Eating and drinking

Obs highlights

These are all near the apartment in the neigbourhood of Observatory. They are within walking distance or an Uber/Bolt should cost you R20-50 (US $1-3).
A Touch of Madness: Experience the quirky and eclectic atmosphere of A Touch of Madness, a popular restaurant and bar with a unique décor, live music, and a diverse menu. One of my personal favourites!
Cafe Ganesh: Local hangout known for its tasty breakfast options, great coffee, and chilled-out courtyard. If you eat meat: the traditional Xhosa dish, umngqusho, is amazing (ask the staff how to pronounce it with a proper tongue click!)
Honey Bunch Café: Amazing breakfast and café fare. Lots of veggie and vegan options. They also have really good veggie options. My go-to for café fare.
Obz Café: A vibrant spot offering a mix of South African and international cuisine, including their famous gourmet burgers and wood-fired pizzas.
Woodstock Brewery: An offshoot of the original Brewery in Woodstock, good craft beers.
Stones. Dive bar popular with students, with cheap drinks, pool tables, and loud music.
Observatory Markets: From time to time, the local community will organise thrift festivals and market events, keep your eyes open for signs. The good folks from Afrikaburn bring artists, NGOs, residents, and local businesses to the street —closed for car traffic— for , once a year for a day full of music, art, and creativity. Open to all and free of charge.

Rest of Cape Town

Little Ethiopia: One of the best Ethiopian restaurants I’ve been to (anywhere in the world). Tiny, family-run, hole in the wall where you can indulge in traditional dishes like beyaynetu, injera, doro wot, kitfo, tibs, and more.
Oranjezicht City Market at the V&A: Discover a food lover's paradise at the Oranjezicht City Market located at the V&A Waterfront, offering a wide variety of fresh produce, artisanal products, and delicious street food options.
Black Sheep: Known for its innovative and rotating menu featuring a fusion of flavors and locally sourced ingredients. One of the best date-night spots (and a personal all-time favourite of mine).
Camps Bay's Sunset: Enjoy the stunning sunset views of Camps Bay while sipping on your favorite drink at one of the trendy beachfront establishments, where you can soak in the atmosphere and unwind. There is quite a party on Sunday evenings where people like to show off their fancy clothes and cars (perhaps not everyone’s style).
Dark Horse: Trendy bar also by the Black Sheep owners.
The Power and the Glory: A hipster neighborhood bar known for its craft beers, café snacks, and cozy community, where you can mingle with Cape Town's creative community.
The Test Kitchen: Known for its innovative and artistic dishes created by award-winning chef Luke Dale-Roberts.
Truth Coffee: An award-winning, steampunk-themed café known for its coffee, unique atmosphere, and yummy pastries.
The Old Biscuit Mill: Explore the vibrant Neighbourgoods Market at The Old Biscuit Mill, offering a diverse range of food stalls, artisanal products, and live music. Especially lively on Saturday mornings.
La Colombe: Renowned fine dining restaurant set in the picturesque Constantia Valley, offering exquisite cuisine and impeccable service.
Mzansi: Experience traditional South African flavors at Mzansi, a restaurant in Langa Township where you can savor authentic dishes like bobotie, pap, chakalaka, and delicious braai (barbecue) meals.
The Shortmarket Club: A trendy eatery with a lively ambiance, serving modern South African cuisine with a creative twist.
Bree Street: Explore the bustling food scene along Bree Street, where you'll find a wide array of restaurants, cafes, and bars offering diverse cuisines and trendy settings.
Haas Coffee: Enjoy a cozy atmosphere and excellent coffee at Haas Coffee, a popular café and art gallery that also serves scrumptious breakfast and lunch options.
Hout Bay Harbour Market: Visit the Hout Bay Harbour Market, a vibrant market where you can taste a variety of international cuisines, local delicacies, and enjoy live music.
The Pot Luck Club: Situated on the top floor of the Silo Hotel, offering panoramic views of the city and a tapas-style menu with global influences.
Anywhere! Seriously, the food in Cape Town offers incredible value for money, so explore different neighborhoods, consult Google Maps or TripAdvisor for recommendations, and discover hidden gems serving up delectable meals that suit your taste buds and budget.
Remember to check opening hours, make reservations when necessary (especially in summer), and explore the diverse culinary offerings that Cape Town has to offer.

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