8 exciting things to do in Cape Town


Image: Wikimedia Commons

Cape Town also is known as Mother City, is a beautiful city in South Africa, many know it for being the place where Nelson Mandela was held in prison, others would know it for the Cape of Good Hope, a spectacular rocky headland, and also as a city of wine. The city has some of the best wines and you should not leave the city without experiencing it. There are tons of things to do in Cape Town, magnificent places to visit, people to meet, and many things to experience. Here are nine top things you must check out in Cape Town!

1. Robben Island 

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Robben Island is very significant to South Africans as well as a lot of people in the world, as it is a reminder of the struggle for freedom, equality, and justice. It is known as the place where former South African President and political activist Nelson Mandela was imprisoned for 18 years during the apartheid period in South Africa. The place, just seven kilometers from Cape Town, has a history spanning over 500 years, and it is said that the Portuguese first landed there in 1498, and is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site. There are many tours that one can book to visit the place so that one gets detailed information and history lessons of what happened there, like how it was used as a leper colony and whaling station, at the island whose name is derived from the Dutch work Robben, which means ‘Seals’.

2. Table Mountain

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When you think of South Africa, you must think of Table Mountain! It is one of the most prolific landmarks in the city of Cape Town. The Devil’s Peak, Lion’s Head, and its amazing flora of indigenous plants, definitely give the Table Mountain the popularity it has. The views of the mountain are amazing, and the three-kilometer flat plateau at the top that gives it the name ‘Table Mountain’ is just magnificent and unbelievable. You will hear of a story about a smoking competition between a sea captain called Jan van Hunks and the devil which results in the tablecloth effect by the clouds. Get to the top of the mountain via cable car, which offers magnificent views on your way up and down the mountain. You can also hike up the mountain if you love adventure, and once up there, there is a curio shop, a restaurant, and also great picnic spots! You will love it!

3. Kirstenbosch

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Only about 13 kilometers from the Cape Town City center, is the Kirstenbosch Gardens, a garden whose name no one knows where it came from, because as much as many people named Kirsten lived in the area over time, no one with the name owned the place! The gardens have a ton of things to be enjoyed, hiking, picnics, watching concerts, enjoy a guided tour, sightsee, and even watch the sunsets. The botanical garden was transformed from an unattractive bare land to a magnificent place by Harold Pearson, a botanist in 1913. The garden is a UNESCO Heritage Site and has over 7,000 species of plants, including indigenous ones, in the 528 hectares lying on the slopes of the Table Mountains. The garden was made to preserve the flora of the region and it has done just that.

4. Zeits Museum of Contemporary Modern Art

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Museums tell a lot about the history of a country or city it is in. it tells a lot about the people, the culture, and ells what has been done there over time. The Zeits MOCCA opened on 22nd September 2017, and it is beautifully designed by Heatherwick Studio and has a great collection of contemporary art from Africa and its diaspora, one of the largest of this kind in the world. The 9 floor, 9,500 square meters, made out of the Grain Silo Complex which was built in 1921 and abandoned after some years, has 80 gallery spaces, storage and conservation areas, a restaurant, a rooftop garden, reading rooms, and even restaurants, is made out of the existing dense cellular structure of the silo. The museum has works from African artists, from across the continent, and is also involved in research, collection, and exhibition of amazing collections.

5. Visit the Neighbourhoods Market 

Image: Robert Harding

Markets are a way of learning the culture of a people because here, you get to see the authentic things that locals like to indulge in, be it food, clothing, art, music, or even how they simply pass their time! If you are in Cape Town on a weekend, make sure to check out the Neighbourhoods Market from 9 AM, where foodies from Old Biscuit Mills, artisans, designers, and vendors congregate to sell their wares. It is a colorful and cheerful affair, and you need to pay a visit! Get to sample popular South African food and drinks, listen to music, buy souvenirs, and even take photos! It is a great place to meet new people as well! So here, make sure to check out the cheeses, fruits, clothes, ceramics, jewelry, household goods, beadwork, and so on! There are restaurants and shops to chooses from.

6. Monkeybiz

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Africa is a continent full of color and culture. Beads are very common in many countries in Africa, and South Africa is one of them. Whenever you visit South Africa, there is a possibility that you will get some beadwork in many forms. Monkeybiz is one of the most prolific beadwork experts in South Africa, started in 1999 from making a beaded doll to employing many people, opening stores in many places in the world like Tokyo, New York, Paris, and London, as well as giving their works and being engaged with massive projects. They have been able to engage many women, who can work from home while they care for their families as they come up with incredible beaded works!

7. Woodstock Street Art

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This is the bright and colorful side of Cape Town. This place was once a seaside resort, and has a lot of history, after the land reclamation in the 1950s, the place became dull, coupled with criminals and after that, change came in, with it being industrialized and cleaned up. There are companies as well as coffee shops that have allowed the creatives, artists, and painters to express themselves by doing street art on their walls. You have to take a stroll there to see it! There is a lot of thought and messaging that ages into the artworks, done by people of all ages and nationalities, which means that the artwork is always changing to communicate different messages!

8. Lion’s Head

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The views from the Lion’s Head are simply spectacular. Standing at 669 meters above sea level, Lion’s Head lies between Signal Hill and Table Mountain. It is just a short distance from the city center and the trek is not hard, therefore it should be accessible to everyone. What you are expecting are the views, the panoramic views of the city, Table Mountains, and even the ocean. The rocky climb is definitely worth it!