Three things to do when in Cape Town

Cape Town remains the go-to holiday destination for local and international visitors; below we list three of the best things to do when in the Mother City.


Cape Town has always been one of the most popular holiday destinations for international tourists. However, when the COVID-19 lockdown was implemented and the endorsement of local tourism was furthered through social media campaigns, the city had a resurgence in its popularity with locals.

This was furthered when the country started opening up again and influencers flocked to the Mother City as their preferred local go-to holiday destination.

There are iconic tourist attractions that everyone should see the first time they visit the Mother City. Below, we share our list of the three must go-to experiences you should have when you visit Cape Town for the first time.

Why visit Cape Town?

After being in Cape Town for the first time, English explorer, Sir Francis Drake, described the city as “The fairest Cape we saw in the whole circumference of the earth.” Many people’s sentiments have remained the same ever since.

Cape Town, also known as the Mother City, is the second largest city in South Africa and is deeply entrenched with history, cultural gravitas, and natural beauty, which provides a little bit of something for everyone.

Moreover, Proudly South Africa highlights that the city has, “Two World Heritage Sites, the sprawling Winelands, nature reserves, botanic gardens, and a buzzing waterfront,” which are just the start of the adventure.

Three things to do in Cape Town

Considering the diverse offering of the Mother City, attempting to navigate what to do when you’re in Cape Town could be daunting.

Therefore, we have simplified by listing the three things that anyone that has been to Cape Town at least once has to have tried out. But let us start with an honourable mention, – visiting Robben Island.

Visiting Robben Island gets an honourable mention, as visiting the destination requires planning and you are required to book a trip to the destination. Moreover, the trip lasts an average of five hours, hence, if your visit is a day or a two-day trip, this might not be ideal for you.

A trip to Robben Island offers various packages, starting from R800 for a one-way visit. The most expensive trip package averages R5 500, as it includes a private tour of the island, visiting its surrounding townships and museums, and a tour of the city. You can find out more about a Robben Island trip here.

Below are the three things we recommend you do when you visit Cape Town.

1. Visit the V&A Waterfront

You cannot say you have visited Cape Town if you have not been to the V&A Waterfront. Initially a trading dock in the days of steamship travel, the port has become one of the city’s most welcoming spots.

Filled with restaurants and shops, the design of the port is defined by the pastel-coloured architecture, original Victorian moldings, and its proximity to the harbour.

Moreover, there is a street market that is filled with an estimated 150 vendors selling crafts and handmade souvenirs.

If you are looking for a dining experience, there are a plethora of eateries, including the Market on the Wharf, Baia Seafood Restaurant, and Belthazar for African wine and their famous Portuguese rolls.

2. Take a hike to Lion’s Head

If you are more of the adventurous type, there is nothing that beats seeing the aerial view of Cape Town from Lion’s Head.

The view, which is dictated by the weather, will therefore be different daily, depending on the extent of the misty “tablecloth” of the peak.

The trail to Lion’s Head starts at Signal Hill Road near Bo-Kaap, and the hike takes an estimated 90 minutes to complete.

Filled with steep stones and assisting climbing ladders, the hike is best enjoyed when you take your time and enjoy the scenic route to the peak.

Note, hikers are advised to travel in at least groups of 4 people for their own safety. Moreover, the trail can be taken at night to enjoy stargazing and a night view of the city.

3. Visit Long Street and Bree Street

For anyone looking for the vibrant nightlife in Cape Town, Long Street and Bree Street are your starting points. Long Street is considered one of the oldest streets in the city, which is filled with buildings with well-preserved Victorian and Cape-Dutch architecture.

Now, these buildings consist of bars and clubs stretching more than 20 blocks, in a mix of Victorian and Cape Dutch style design.

Bree Street is an extension of Long Street’s popularity, filled with hipster cafés, cheese bars, gin bars, sushi bars, along with French patisseries providing ample options for the perfect night out.

Final thoughts

Cape Town is regarded as one of the most beautiful cities in the world. As a result, the city stands as one of the most popular local tourist destinations for both international and domestic tourists, providing a multitude of things to do for entertainment and enjoyment, while in the city.

However, whether you are visiting for a few days or going on a long trip, there are some notable things that you need to have ticked off your to-do-list to affirm that you have been to Cape Town.

We shared a list of three must-do activities you should experience in order to earn your official “I-have-been-to-Cape-Town” shirt.