I love Cape Town and all the things to do in Cape Town. Not only to visitors but also to the people who are lucky enough to live there like me part of the year.
What to do in Cape Town? That is a question I get asked often even though the real question should be – what not to do? That list would be a lot shorter because Cape Town has something to offer for everyone. Whether you are looking for solo adventures, fun activities for the whole family, are on a budget or can splurge a little, are a friend of culinary delights or the great outdoors – the city (and me) got you covered even after you have covered these classic things to do in Cape Town.
While I shared some very practical tips for a Cape Town holiday here, I have now teamed up with Jet Journal, a great new app from travelers for travelers, to share 51 unique things to do in Cape Town and its surroundings.
Loosely sorted by Outdoors & Nature, Culture, Culinary Delights, Adventure, and Sand & Beach you will find my favorite things to do and see in the Mothercity.
Jet Journal is part online travel guide part Instagram but most importantly that good friend, local or travel blogger who shows you all the really cool stuff in your travel destination.
Whether you are planning a holiday or need an impromptu idea once you arrive at your destination, Jet Journal has you sorted. Get inspiration, gather tips, and have all the information at hand because recommendations lead you straight to a map or website. Or you can create your own journal with posts and new ideas from other travelers – your very own travel guide on the go! Great for people like me who keep their trip inspiration in so many different places that I tend to lose track of them only to find them after a certain trip is done.
Keen to check it out? Download the app for free here and find my Cape Town journals on my profile “nightelephant” to follow along. I not only share the tips below but also a few extra things that will make your Cape Town holiday extra special!
51 Unique Things to do in Cape Town
Outdoors & Nature
One of the most romantic things to do in Cape Town is to sleep a night in a silver streamer. Either while overlooking the roofs of the city at the Grand Daddy Hotel or at Old Mac Daddy farm in Elgin.
Take a stroll on the Sea Point promenade for sunset, feel like a local, watch buff men running around shirtless and then celebrate this beautiful life at La Perla with a glass of bubbly.
Cape Town is golfers’ paradise but you don’t even need to venture far. Head to the Metropolitan Golf Club and you can play 9 holes right in the heart of Green Point.
Watch a cricket match at Newlands Stadium. Great fun that doesn’t get any more South African and the perfect excuse to drink beer during the day.
Go for a tour at Greenpoint Stadium. If you are a soccer fan that is. If you aren’t, wait for a concert opportunity – the atmosphere is truly electric.
Save a turtle while you are on the way through the Westcoast National Park (or Cape Point). Hold the turtle away from your body when you pick it up, they are said to pee when scared.
Especially now that the water is almost gone and there is definitely no filling up pools, head to Silvermine for a dip in its beautiful dam. Don’t worry about its brown color, that’s just tannins and they absolutely harmless.
Take a drive from Camps Bay via Victoria Road to Hout Bay and then over Champman’s Peak – the prettiest road ever.
Go for a concert in Kirstenbosch gardens. The atmosphere is one of a kind.
Take a walk in Newlands Forest (especially if you are not keen/fit/crazy enough to hike up Table Mountain or Lion’s Head) – it is insanely beautiful.
One of my late uncle’s favorite things to do in Cape Town was going for a swim at the Sea Point Pool. The pool’s unique setting right next to ocean makes it so special. If you prefer saltwater head to the Camps Bay tidal pool for a dip.
Check out street art and murals in Woodstock. Have a craft beer while you are in the area.
If you don’t mind the crowds head to the Neighborgoods market afterward. Alternatively, head to the Hout Bay market which is on all weekend.
Watch an outdoor movie at Pink Flamingo movie night at the Grand Daddy Hotel.
Visit the District Six Museum to learn more about the city’s past during Apartheid – a not to be missed activity on your Cape Town sightseeing list.
Buy the beautiful kinds of souvenirs at the Watershed market at the V&A Waterfront.
Visit the new Zeitz Mocca Museum for contemporary African art, already hailed to be Africa’s Tate Modern.
Take some Instagram-worthy shoots in the Bo Kaap.
Visit the Milnerton fleamarket, a 20-year-old institution. While technically not in Milnerton but in Paarden Island this is a great place for bargain hunters and a truly local experience.
Head to one of the Western Cape’s many festivals. Rocking the Daisies, Spiritfest, Origin and Up the Creek to only name a few.
Sand & Beach
Go horseback riding on Noordhoek Beach or do a wine & ride tour in the Winelands. Do drink/ride responsibly!
Watch a sunset on the beach, any beach. Take a blanket, take a picnic, take someone you like and enjoy the magic.
When in doubt join a sunset appreciation class and enjoy some G&Ts from your secret viewpoint.
See penguins. If you don’t want to pay the entrance fee at Boulders Beach, head to adjacent Windmill beach in Simonstown for a chance to hang out with them minus the other tourists.
Head to Blouberg Beach to watch the kitesurfers and enjoy a sundowner at Blue Peter.
Spend a day at Kraal Bay, the only beach with warm(ish) water since it is a lagoon. You will need to take a little drive but it is so worth it.
Go for a silent disco on Clifton 3rd beach.
Wanna let it hang? Head to Sandy Bay, the only unofficial nude beach in South Africa.
Go paragliding from Signal Hill. Because why not? (and you may get a picture of yourself looking like this!)
Take a cycle tour with AOWL and explore the city on two wheels.
Go for a paddle in the Atlantic. Make sure you don’t fall in – this one is the cold ocean.
The Western Cape is not the best when it comes to game farms, however, Aquila and Buffelsfontein are nice options for a day trip if you want to see a rhino in the wild.
Don’t walk, abseil from Table Mountain.
Have an adventure with your inner self and take a yoga class. There are many great yoga studios to choose from in Cape Town for all levels and kinds of yoga. My favorite is Yogaspirit in Constantia and Air. If you want to join pretty models and handsome gay men, head to Yogalife.
One of the most adventurous things to do in Cape Town is shark cage diving. However, I recommend you rather bundle up and go scuba diving. So much more exciting and you can still see sharks (if you wanted to).
If you don’t know how to scuba dive (and of course, I strongly advise you to learn it) go snorkeling with seals. While a bit stinky, they are so fun!
Last but not least, a classic but not to underestimated thing to do in Cape Town: hike up Table Mountain (and come down by cable cars if you have weak knees).
Visit one of the many wine festivals in the area. Chardonnay in Constantia, Pinot Noir in Elgin, there is always a wine on tap somewhere. Check out Cape Town Magazine for dates.
For a truly authentic African experience eat a smiley. Google if you dare.
Yes, Cape Town restaurants are amazing but if you haven’t had a South African braai you may as well have stayed home. Make friends, get invited to a braai, and learn the art of this noble feast.
Go wine tasting and remember: a real South African swallows and doesn’t spit.
Take a scenic drive along Chapman’s Peak (or Chappies as we like to call it), get windswept on Noordhoek beach and round of the day with lunch at the Foodbarn.
When at the V&A have a drink at the pool bar of the ultra fancy Silo Hotel. Prices are not as bad as one may think and the views are unbeatable.
Head to Kalk Bay harbor for some fish ‘n chips and to hang out with the local seals there. Dare to take a sealion selfie?
Looking for something to do with kids in Cape Town? Go for a chocolate tasting or learn how to make your own pralines at Honest.
Enjoy the lack of Starbucks and drink some excellent coffee at Truth, Origin or Deluxe, some of Cape Town’s premier coffee shops.
Get up early on Saturdays and eat a Doughssant at Jason Bakery, South Africa’s version to Dominique Ansel.
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