Attractions in Cape Town
We believe that all tourists will meet their expectations in terms of sights and attractions when they visit Cape Town in South Africa. There are exciting museums, historical sites and buildings, and not least a fantastic nature.
- See AbbreviationFinder for commonly used abbreviation of city Cape Town, South Africa. Also includes meanings of the same acronym.
Cape Town’s easily recognizable symbol, the 1080 meter high Table Mountain, really resembles a table, with its flat top. And when the fog comes in and settles like a white cloth on top, you understand the name even better. A visit to the top is a matter of course for a tourist. It’s up to you and your fitness whether you want to go up or take the gondola. The gondola course runs from 1 p.m. 0830 to 1900 and costs approx. NOK 105 round trip.
Castle of Good Hope
South Africa’s oldest building is the 340-year-old fortress Castle of Good Hope, which has never actually been in combat. Today it houses a military museum that provides insight into the history of Cape Town. The fortress is open daily from 10 am 0900 to 1600. The entrance fee costs NOK 18 for adults and 9 for children.
A visit to Robben Island is mandatory if you have a hint of interest in history. The island is located 12 kilometers outside Cape Town and has been used as a prison since the 17th century. From 1997, it has been a museum, and most of the guides are former prisoners who tell about daily life and the atrocities that went on during the worst apartheid era. Mandela was jailed here for 27 years. [See the image first in the article. You can read more about the Rock Pile here! ] There are ferries from the Waterfront every hour from 1 p.m. 0900 to 1500. A tour including a guided tour takes approx. 3.5 hours and costs approx. NOK 135 for adults and 70 for children. Advance booking is recommended!
The South African Museum
Museum is located in Cape Town’s Botanical Gardens in the City Bowl. It was founded in 1825 and has been in The Gardens since 1897. The exhibits mainly show South African history, culture and wildlife. The museum has a great anthropological department showing the country’s different minority cultures. In addition, the museum has a planetarium that has shows Tuesdays, Thursdays and weekends. The museum is open daily from 7 am 9 am to 2 pm 1700. The entrance fee costs nine kroner. It’s free admission on Wednesdays.
Slave Lodge (Cultural History Museum)
This building from 1679 was originally used to house slaves. There could be 600 here at the same time. The building also functioned as a prison and a mental hospital. In 1810 a floor was rebuilt, and the house now became the seat of the Supreme Court. Today, the building is a museum, which gives an insight into the history of Cape Town. The museum also has large collections of ceramic art, textiles, tools and toys. Slave Lodge is located in The Gardens, just like the South African Museum, and is also called the Cultural History Museum. It is open every day from 1 p.m. 0930 to 1630. The entrance fee costs nine kroner.
Victoria & Albert Waterfront
Cape Town’s answer to Aker Brygge in Oslo is usually called just Waterfront or V&A. Here you will find many restaurants, hotels and shops in the slightly higher price range, and from here there are great views of both the sea and Table Mountain. For more information, visit the Waterfront website.
South African National Gallery
The country’s largest art gallery is located on Governments Avenue in the Gardens district. It has contemporary art from most of South Africa’s eleven folk groups as well as art from the rest of the world. Here are masks, photographs, sculptures, paintings and dolls. The gallery is open daily except Mondays from 2 p.m. 1000 to 6 p.m. 1700. The entrance fee costs approx. nine kroner. Click here for more information.
Tourist in Cape Town
The Cape Town City Bowl itself is not that big, so it is quite possible to bring most of the city center attractions on foot on your own. A slightly easier way is to hop on one of the sightseeing buses that will take you around the city. One of the oldest and more reputable in the industry is Topless Tours, which runs double-deck, open-roof red buses (hence the name). The buses have multilingual guides. The price is around 90 kroner. They also have a longer trip that takes you out of the city center to places like Camps Bay.
Day 1 in Cape Town Attractions and Tourist
After a long and good breakfast at the hotel, we suggest you take a taxi to Table Mountain’s lower mountain lift station. Alternatively, take a bus from Adderley Street in the city center.
The round-trip ticket up to the top costs about a hundred bucks. The tour only takes about five minutes. The gondolas are large with windows on all sides giving you panoramic views while transporting up to a thousand meters height. From the top, you have a fabulous view of Table Bay, City Bowl, Signal Hill, Lions Head, Robben Island and the Atlantic Ocean. There is also a restaurant, souvenir shops, cocktail bar and view balconies.
You can easily spend many hours up Table Mountain. When you manage to tear yourself apart, take the funicular down again. Take the bus to the city center and get off at Adderley Street. You are then just outside two of the city’s largest shopping centers, OK Bazaars and Golden Acre Center. Go down Adderley Street and turn left into Darling Street. You will pass the magnificent 1905 City Hall on your right.
Castle Castle of Good Hope
Just beyond is the Castle of Good Hope, Cape Town’s oldest building. This fortress was built around 1670 as a defense force, but it has never been involved in combat operations. Western Cape’s military center is still here, but tourists are welcome to visit the courtyards and to visit the museums. There are also guided tours several times a day, and at twelve o’clock the traditional change of guard takes place.
When you come out of the fortress, head west along Strand and turn right up Buitengracht. We suggest you take a cheap and filling lunch at Firemans Arms, one of the city’s oldest restaurants, which has been on this corner for over 100 years. The interior is historic and it’s a nice atmosphere. The clientele is a quirky combination of well-dressed businessmen, tourists from Europe and Japan, families and backpackers.
Shopping in the downtown streets of Cape Town
Go down Buitengracht again and turn left into Shortmarket Street. After a few hundred meters you will reach Cape Town’s famous Greenmarket Square, where you can buy everything between heaven and earth. There are hundreds of stalls here and you can negotiate the prices. Typically, African souvenirs are much cheaper here than at the waterfront or airport shops.
Before heading back to the hotel and taking your day’s shopping and taking a shower, there are some streets you should definitely take the time to stroll through. Below Greenmarket Square is Church Street. This street is crossed by Long Street. Both of these streets have a number of old buildings. Long Street has also been one of the city’s liveliest entertainment centers for a number of years.
Dinner and nightlife in Cape Town
For dinner, for example, take a taxi back to one of the streets you have already walked, such as to Shortmarket Street. Here is the Africa Café, which has an exciting selection of dishes from all over Africa, and all dishes are served in large portions for everyone at the table to taste. Ask to sit at one of the tables overlooking Table Bay.
If you’re ready to sample Cape Town’s nightlife after dinner, try Long Street with all its pubs, bars and nightclubs. It is located just meters from Shortmarket Street. Here it is open till far into the night.
Day 2 in Cape Town Attractions and Tourist
The first stop today is the Waterfront, where you will find the ferries that will take you to Robben Island. If you pre-order tickets at least the day in advance, you will not have to experience standing on the dock and watching one or more full boats depart from you. The boats run every full hour and the ticket costs approx. 135 kroner. The price includes a guided tour of the notorious prison on the island. The guide is one of the former prisoners from the prison. He will with great empathy tell you about both daily life and special episodes from Robben Island’s almost 400 year history.
If you want an even greater insight into the history of South Africa and thus gain significantly greater benefit from visiting both Robben Island and Cape Town in general, you should read Nelson Mandela’s autobiography Long Walk to Freedom before arriving in the country. It is heavy reading at times with many names and dates, but most of those who have read the book say that it has given them a great benefit from the trip.
Lunch at Waterfront
If you got your first boat to Robben Island (0900 hours), you are back at Waterfront approx. kl. 1230. Then you’re probably ready for lunch. At Waterfront, you can choose from around twenty eateries; most have views of Table Mountain, Table Bay or both mountains. For example, try the Danish-owned Little Mermaid, which specializes in light, home-cooked meals, such as baguettes and salads. The restaurant has a wine list with 60 different brands.
Museum visit and archaic African dinner
Now it’s time to be a bit cultural again, so head to The South African Museum, which has been in The Gardens for 110 years. The exhibitions focus on South Africa’s history, culture and wildlife. The museum also has a planetarium, where you can explore the starry sky of the southern hemisphere. The museum is open daily until 5 pm. 1700. Once you’ve seen enough, stroll into Cape Town’s beautiful Botanical Gardens.
When going out for dinner, we suggest you choose an archaic African restaurant. At Mama Africa in Long Street, you really get the feeling of being in Africa. Here you will find music from Zulu drums, tribal songs and crocodile on the menu. Although the atmosphere is designed for the tourists, you will surely appreciate the entertainment, have fun and experience something out of the ordinary and which you will not find in Europe.