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By any means possible!

Scootours
Table Mountain Cable Car
Sightseeing bus

If you like planes, trains and buses, then this is the list of outings for you! It's great for the kids too. 

  • Cape Point & The Flying Dutchman FunicularThe Flying Dutchman Funicular travels on a railroad on Cape Point, providing a novel and exciting way to travel and see the sights. From the bottom station, you will journey through dense foliage and fynbos to the upper lighthouse.
  • City Sightseeing Tours (Red Bus)The popular hop on hop off double-decker red bus is known for being one of the easiest and most enjoyable ways of getting to Cape Town’s top attractions. The family-friendly City Sightseeing bus offers audio information about the journey in 15 languages, and even boasts an audio channel especially for children.
  • Franschhoek Wine TramLeave the stress of modern life, and your car, behind when you take a trip on the charming Franschhoek Wine Tram. Journey through rolling vineyards in an open-side tram and open-air tram-bus stopping at some of South Africa’s oldest and most distinguished wine estates.
  • Table Mountain Aerial CablewayThe best views of Cape Town are from the Table Mountain Cableway, a unique and 87-year-old method of seeing the wonders of the city. Travel up to the summit of the majestic flat-topped mountain and be astounded by vistas of the Mother City, Robben Island and the Peninsula.
  • Discover Cape Town by taking the City Walk: A pre-determined route through the city, the City Walk gives you the opportunity to experience some of the sights and sounds of Cape Town’s CBD. While this route can be done as a guided tour – departures daily from outside the Taj hotel – it is, for the most part, a self-guided route. 
  • Parks in Cape TownCape Town is so much more than a walk in the park, it IS the park! The city is surrounded by a UNESCO World Heritage Site – the Cape Floristic Region – the world’s smallest and most diverse floral kingdom. Around 70 percent of its approximately 9 600 species are not found anywhere else in the world.
  • Scootours: Feel a rush of excitement as you head down some of the best trails in the Mother City on off-road scooters. Scootours provide you with some of the most state-of-the-art scooters in Cape Town. You’re bound to have a memorable time on the slopes of Table Mountain and Signal Hill.

Source: Cape Tourism 

Big 7 – Cape Town’s top attractions

Cape Town’s history is long and storied. It is a city with unrivalled culture and diversity, boasting a heady mix of old and new and nothing speaks to this more than the iconic Big Seven attractions. These form the core of the Mother City, and your trip will not be complete with a visit to each. (Source: Cape Tourism)

V&A Waterfront

Attracting roughly 24 million visitors a year, the V&A Waterfront is South Africa’s most-visited destination. Boasting five shopping districts — offering up everything from local designers to international brands — and myriad coffee shops, restaurants and bars, the sprawling Waterfront has a little something for everyone… including your kids! Your little ones will adore the Two Oceans Aquarium, the Scratch Patch, and the chance to ride the Cape Wheel.

V&A Waterfront (pic: Cape Tourism)
On top of Table Mountain (pic: Cape Tourism)

Table Mountain

One of the New Seven Wonders of the World, Table Mountain is Cape Town’s centrepiece. If you are relatively fit and are feeling energetic, a hike up Platteklip Gorge allows you to immerse yourself in the mountain’s rich biodiversity. For those pressed for time, the cableway offers a quick and convenient ascent. Cable cars depart from the cable station every 10 to 15 minutes and the journey up the mountain takes about five minutes. The cars rotate through 360 degrees during the trip, affording you spectacular views of the mountain below.

Robben Island

A UNESCO World Heritage Site, Robben Island has come to symbolise the oppression of the Apartheid government. It was here that Nelson Mandela – alongside many other political prisoners – spent 18 years of his 27 years in prison.  However, the island’s history predates the Apartheid regime. Over the centuries, it has acted as a prison, a military base and a leper colony. Ferries depart for the island daily from the Nelson Mandela Gateway at the V&A Waterfront, and the tours (including the ferry trips) usually last about three-and-a-half hours.

Robben Island Museum (pic: Cape Tourism)
Kirstenbosch Boomslang walk (pic: Cape Tourism)

Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens

Situated on the slopes of Table Mountain, a mere 13km from the city centre, Kirstenbosch is regarded as one of the great botanic gardens of the world. The 528-hectare Kirstenbosch Estate contains over 7000 species of plants from southern Africa. Spend the day picnicking on the lawns, strolling through the Protea garden, or discovering interesting plant species in the Botanical Society Conservatory. While you are there, be sure to check out the 130m Centenary Tree Canopy – affectionately known as the Boomslang – that snakes its way through the trees of the Arboretum.

Groot Constantia

The oldest wine farm in South Africa offers up more than just fine wine and delicious food; at Groot Constantia, you can also brush up on your Cape history at the museum housed in the old Manor House. While you are there, be sure to sample some of the estate’s dessert wine – Grand Constance – which was so famous in the nineteenth century (then known as Constantia Wyn) that it even found its way into the works of Jane Austen and Charles Dickens.

 

Groot Constantia (pic: Cape Tourism)
Cape Town CBD (pic: Cape Tourism)

The City Walk

A predetermined route through the city — starting in the Company’s Gardens, heading down St. George’s Mall to Waterkant Street’s Fan Walk, and ending in St. Andrew’s Square — the City Walk gives you an opportunity to experience some of the sights and sounds of Cape Town’s CBD. Along the way, you can even stock up on African textiles and curios. The walk is best done on the third Saturday of the month, between 10am and 2pm, when there are a number of additional fun attractions along the route. Think dancing, singing, acting and craft markets!

Cape Point:

A trip to the Cape Point Nature Reserve gives you the opportunity to stand at the most south-western point of the African continent. While you won’t get to see where the Benguela current meets the Agulhas current, you will be treated to some pretty spectacular views of the ocean and the Atlantic and False Bay coastlines. While you are there, be sure to spend some time in the nature reserve where you are likely to encounter baboons, Cape Mountain Zebras, buck, and at least some of the 250 species of bird that call this 7750-hectare reserve home.

Cape Point (pic: Cape Tourism)

Unusual & unexpected

Looking for something unique and exciting to do in Cape Town that will immerse you in the culture of the Mother City? Here are some options for you …

  • Join a secret sunriseIf you’re an early bird who loves to watch the sunrise and you’re a free-spirited individual – not afraid of self-expression, then this is a must! Sign up to their newsletter to find out the next secret venue where magic happens. For a small fee you get a pair of wireless earphones and are encouraged to dance, meditate… whatever the theme of the day, which often includes dress up.
  • Visit the Labia Theatre: The Labia is a cultural heritage institution to locals on Orange Street, originally opened by Princess Labia in 1949 as a stage for live performances. Today it’s a quirky movie house, which screens mostly artsy, alternative and foreign films in a relaxed non-commercial setting. They have a licensed bar, so you can enjoy a glass of wine and rub shoulders with Capetonian hipsters and intellectuals before the show.
  • Toast at First Thursdays:
    First Thursdays (pic: Cape Tourism)

     On the first Thursday of every month, the CBD’s galleries stay open until around 9pm for you to explore the cultural and art heritage of the city for free – often with a glass of wine in hand. There is no tour or guided walk but the idea is for you to go from gallery to gallery on foot and discover what’s on offer. First Thursdays are extremely popular so try to book a table for dinner in advance if you want to eat en route.

  • Join Promenade Mondays: Connect with like-minded people every Monday evening on the Sea Point Promenade in a fun way – by skating, rollerblading or even BMXing as the sun goes down. The group meets at 6pm at the Queens Beach parking lot.
  • Get Romantic at the Galileo Open Air Theatre: This outdoor cinema takes place at a few venues in Cape Town, which includes the V&A Waterfront on a Thursday, throughout the summer months. Movies include everything from old classics to hot documentaries. Doors open at 6pm and movies start at sunset. There is food on sale and chairs and blankets are available for rent – because Cape Town nights can get chilly! Tickets are around R80.

Source: Cape Tourism

Culture & history

The central city is the oldest part of the City of Cape Town. It has been changing and growing since before the arrival of the VOC at the Cape in 1652. Middle Stone Age hand axes found in the foreshore are evidence of a time when the sea level was much lower than it is now.

Vegetable garden in Company Gardens (pic: Cape Tourism)

Khoekhoe groups came into Table Bay to trade with passing ships well before the Dutch arrived to plant the garden that was to supply fresh vegetables to their ships. Table Mountain’s freshwater sources gave precious water to the early indigenous peoples and their livestock. In fact, Cape Town used to be called Camissa – meaning ‘the place of sweet waters’ – by the Khoekhoe people.

The Company’s Garden was the Dutch-owned fruit and vegetable garden growing fresh produce which was sold to passing ships and sailors and which fed much of the early colony. You can visit the garden and see how it has been transformed into a botanical paradise and community food garden. 

Two Rivers Urban Park was the location of the second Khoi/Dutch war, which began when Dutch farmers began to settle along the Liesbeek River. Their hedges, built to protect their farms, encroached on Khoekhoe grazing ground and clashes began. The legacy of water lives on. Today, the collection of water from springs here in Newlands is an ongoing cultural practice for families who have always lived in the area, and for whom the collection of water has symbolic meaning. 

Raapenberg Bird Sanctuary, a section of the Liesbeek River, also forms part of Two Rivers Urban Park.


Spend a day at the Museums

  • The Castle of Good Hope is the oldest building in Cape Town and was built by Jan van Riebeek when he arrived in the Cape in 1652. The importance of the Cape as a halfway point in the trade route between Europe and the East is highlighted by the fact that the Cape was occupied at least twice in the late 18th and early 19th century: The Battles of Muizenberg and Blaauwberg marked the military occupation of the Cape by the British. Evidence of these happenings can be found throughout the City. Learn more by taking a walking tour of the city.
  • Castle of Good Hope (pic: Cape Tourism)

    The Slave Lodge is the second oldest building in South Africa. Once a communal slave lodge, it is now a museum showcasing the city’s slave history as well as its culture and society in the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries. A 1725 runaway slave (‘droster’) community – which grew to 60 people – survived at Cape Hangklip for 109 years, until slavery was abolished in 1834. The Slave Memorial on Church Square is a heritage landmark and features 11 granite blocks (some engraved with the names of slaves) that honour the contribution slaves made to our culture and heritage and acknowledges the suffering they experienced.

  • The Koopmans-de Wet House in Strand street is the oldest house museum in the country. It offers a fascinating look back into the living space of a well-off Cape family of the 18th Century.
  • The Langa Township Heritage Museum is made up of the Old Pass Office and the Old Post Office. The Old Pass Office has a sad history of being the ‘gateway’ to the city for migratory workers. Many of these workers were harshly punished when they disobeyed the pass laws of the apartheid era. The Pass Office is now used as a space for meetings and heritage workshops, and as a venue where visitors and tourists can learn about the history and urban life of the township.
  • The Gugulethu Seven Memorial remembers the deaths of seven young anti-apartheid activists in 1986.
  • The Lwandle Migrant Labour Museum was established in 1958 as a hostel for workers in the nearby fruit and canning industry. The museum is a reminder of the living conditions that the migrant labour system imposed. Pay a visit to learn more about this system. You can also view the whole township on a guided walk.
  • Robben Island Museum (pic: Cape Tourism)

    Robben Island has, over the years, been a prison, a hospital, a mental institution and a military base. It is best known for being ‘home’ to the world’s most famous prisoner and statesmen, Nelson Mandela. The Robben Island Museum is definitely worth the visit. Take a ferry from the V & A Waterfront to Robben Island. Guided tours are offered by former political prisoners, who provide personal accounts of prison life on the island.

  • The Bo-Kaap Museum is situated in the historic area that became home to many Muslims after the abolition of slavery. Bo-Kaap itself is well worth a visit to view the distinctive colourful houses, cobbled streets and calls to prayer that provide a unique Cape experience. The museum consists of a furnished house that depicts the lifestyle of a 19th century Muslim family.
  • The South African Jewish Museum is a moving tribute and detailed account of one of the great South African Jewish communities of the diaspora. The museum takes visitors on a journey back to the South African Jewry’s early roots and shows how influential the community was in building South Africa as we know it. 

Get interactive

Many attractions in Cape Town offer visitors the chance to learn about the city’s history, as well as experience it. There are many attractions in Cape Town that showcase the city’s rich historical and cultural roots, with many of these not only offering information about the city’s past and present, but also the opportunity to experience it. 

  • Cape Town Planetarium: Looking up into the night sky, the Cape Town Planetarium is a celebration of the planets and constellations visible in the great Southern African sky. Throughout the year, the planetarium hosts workshops and exhibitions of different themes, but the highlight is undoubtedly the lights and sounds created by the planetarium’s star machine, which takes visitors on an audio-visual adventure through the stars and constellations. For the little ones, there are workshops where they’ll learn about the galaxy and the stars in a fun and interactive way.
  • South African Naval Museum: Simon’s Town, located around 30 minutes from the city centre, is home to South Africa’s largest Naval base, making it the perfect location for the South African Naval Museum. Here visitors can see a collection of naval artefacts such as uniforms, torpedoes, sea mines, as well as models of ships and submarines of the South African Navy, past and present. One of the highlights of the museum is the life-size ship’s bridge and submarine operations and control room.
  • South African Jewish Museum: Known for its high tech, interactive displays and occupying two buildings, the South African Jewish Museum is one of the most popular museums in the city and gives visitors an engaging insight into South African Jewish history, as well as an area dedicated to the Holocaust.
  • Springbok Experience Rugby Museum: Rugby is one of South Africa’s most beloved sports, with the passion for the game running deep in South Africans’ blood. Through numerous interactive exhibits, the Springbok Experience Rugby Museum details the sport’s history from its introduction in 1861 to the national team’s historic World Cup win in 1995, as well as the game’s role in the country’s tumultuous political past. The museum also features the popular ‘Springbok Trials Zone’, an interactive area where visitors can test their skills to see whether they have what it takes to make the Springbok rugby team.
  • Cape Town Diamond Museum: Diamonds have played a big part in putting South Africa’s mineral wealth on the world map.  At the Cape Town Diamond Museum visitors can learn how diamonds are formed within the earth’s crust over billions of years, the workings of the country’s diamond industry, and see how diamonds are transformed from rough rocks to coveted jewels.

Source: Cape Tourism

Art

Cape Town is arguably the creative capital of South Africa. The city’s creative energy has over the years created a nurturing environment that continues to draw artists and creatives of all kinds to its shores. It’s no surprise then, that Cape Town boasts an incredible wealth of galleries in which to view work spanning a multitude of genres by…  

 

Art gallery in Kalk Bay (pic: Cape Tourism)

Art galleries

If you have an afternoon to spare, visit some of the dozens of fabulous art galleries on this Cape Tourism list.

The Iziko South African National Gallery outstanding collections of South African, African, British, French, Dutch and Flemish art. Selections from the Permanent Collection change regularly and include paintings, works on paper, photography, sculpture, beadwork, textiles and architecture. This programme is complemented by a range of temporary visiting exhibitions.

Or, just for fun, you could combine a wine-tasting outing with a visit to the permanent Art at Constantia exhibition at the picturesque Groot Constantia Wine Estate, to browse a range of local and emerging South African artists’ work.

Public Art

Some public art can be touched and some is performed. Here is a selection of the city’s most visible public art projects and areas:

  • Blue artwork on the Mouille Point Promenade. (pic: Cape Tourism)

    Seapoint promenade – art54 project: Strolling along the promenade you can see extraordinary sculptures, murals and photographic installations created by local artists. These artworks form part of a pilot ward project that was started to support art and artists in public spaces. Note: this is a temporary installation.

  • QUICK STATOver 1,200 unique visitors viewed the art54 website, 90 entries from artists were received, 25 works were selected and, to date, eight projects have been implemented.
  • MyCiTi bus stations: Local artists were invited to enter designs to be chosen for the first thirteen MyCiTi bus stations built across the city. The artists were challenged to create artworks that would improve the overall look of the stations, catch the eyes of busy travellers and remain interesting to people walking past the artwork, daily. Artworks ranged from murals to mosaics and printed photographs, but each one had to reveal something new with each deeper look. 
  • Langa Cultural Precinct: Established in 1923, Langa is the oldest of Cape Town’s former townships. Keep an eye open for the artworks that have been created in public spaces throughout the area. One of the most visible is the Langa logo mural on both Bhunga Avenue and Jakes Gerwel drive.Other vibrant murals have been created through the collaborative ‘Icons of Langa Mural Project’. This project celebrates individuals, ideas and concepts unique or important to Langa. If you are walking on Bhunga avenue, stop and have a rest and take in the detail on one of the six mosaic benches recently created there. 
  • Woodstock street art (pic: Cape Tourism)

    Woodstock arts precinct: Woodstock has, in the past five to ten years, given birth to a thriving arts community. With a number of prominent galleries and a design market in the area, the area attracts large amounts of visitors and artists. Many of these artists choose to make public art and are inspired by the Salt River and Woodstock communities.If you wander through Woodstock you can see a number of different murals and graffiti artworks honouring the families and individuals who live there, as well as our shared social and political history.

  • Civic Centre and Thibault Square: Outside the Civic Centre, there is a red sculpture – one of the highest sculptures in South Africa, reaching almost 9 metres. It is made of industrial sections of cast steel that were cut, welded, bent and refitted to produce an abstract form. Some people call it the ‘bent paper clip’ but its real name is ‘The Knot’ and it was created by Edoardo Villa in 1981; it is meant to symbolise the unity of all the sculptures on the landing in front of the Civic Centre. Thibault Square houses the ‘Mythological Landscape’ by Cecil Skotnes – a multi-armed metal dedication to our diverse nation. Erected just as South Africa was becoming a democracy, this sculpture is one of the most fascinating and creative sculptures in the city. Be sure to visit it.
  • St George’s Mall is a busy walkway running from Wale Street down to Adderley Street, and connects a number of different blocks of shops, offices and residential suites. Along the mall, you can see sculptures like Brett Murray’s controversial ‘Africa’ which questions how we understand African identity; further up, on the corner of Shortmarket Street and St George’s Mall, you will see the intriguing ‘Come to Pass’ sculpture, made out of brass and glass and shaped like a compass, clock or cross. It lies on the ground and speaks about the various ways we understand history.
  • Busking and performance art can be found in some of Cape Town’s busiest environments and areas popular with tourists. Hotspots include:

    – Outside the South African National Gallery in the company’s garden
    – Along government avenue, the cobbled walkway which connects Wale street and Orange street
    – Long street, in the CBD, is also famous for its public performances
    – The city centre: near Greenmarket Square and along St George’s mall, you will find dancers and musicians on most days of the week

Source: City of Cape Town

Events in the city

Cape Town hosts a wide range of local and international events – from concerts and community-based events to business conferences and international sports tournaments. Discover some of these below and join us as we celebrate all our city has to offer.

 

Tweede Nuwejaar celebrations

Culture and creativity

  •  Cape Town Fringe Festival (Sept/Oct): a platform for young, independent artists and independent arts companies to make their voices heard. The Fringe Festival will use both formal and non-traditional performance space and host a range of productions that will move, excite, enthral and captivate the audiences.
  • Cape Town International Jazz Festival (Mar): the continent’s biggest jazz event with around 35 000 people from across Africa and the world attending the event. The festival offers a blend of national and international jazz artists and takes place over two nights on five stages.
  • Cape Town Biennial (Feb/Mar): GRID is an international photography biennial celebrating contemporary visual culture and offers a wide range of exhibitions by renowned artists and new talents. The biennial creates a platform for photographers, curators, creatives, educational projects and the public with the goal to stimulate an international dialogue about current developments in society and visual art.
  • Infecting the City (Mar): Cape Town’s public spaces are transformed into a vibrant backdrop for ‘Infecting the City’, a citywide arts festival, with residents playing a central role in some productions. Infecting the City brings together artists from across the world, telling stories using dance, music and photography. Some of the works are based on audience participation which really allows city residents to get involved in, and even influence the final product. 
  • Open Design Cape Town (Aug): workshops, talks, exhibitions, tours, networking events, and parties are all on offer. The aims of the festival are: to teach; inspire strong design thinking; and encourage people from all walks of life with an interest in design to share their ideas or take part.
  • Suidoosterfees (Apr): a variety of performances, musical shows, historical tours and art exhibitions which take place at three main venues: Cape Town City Hall, The Fugard Theatre, and the Artscape Theatre.
  • Tweede Nuwejaar (Jan): Minstrels, Malay Choirs and Christmas Bands … The day traditionally sees entire communities taking part in the colourful celebrations. The iconic Grand Parade features a stage and screen in front of City Hall, grandstand seating, a food court, a prayer room and vendors. On-stage entertainers, selected by the minstrels to represent Cape Town’s rich cultural diversity, entertain the crowds.
Cape Town Cycle Tour

Sports

  • Old Mutual Two Oceans Marathon (Apr): The event, known as the world’s most beautiful marathon, takes place in Cape Town over the Easter weekend every year. Runners are able to take part in the 56km ultra marathon, the popular 21km half marathon and the 5km or 2.5km fun runs.
  • Cape Town Cycle Tour (Mar): The world’s largest timed cycle race, the Cape Town Cycle Tour, takes place in March annually. Around 30 000 riders set out on a route of close to 109kms winding around the Cape Peninsula.
  • ABSA Cape Epic (Mar): referred to as the “Tour de France” of mountain biking, it takes place annually in mid-March. The eight-day event includes approximately 698km of biking and takes riders along the Western Cape’s breath-taking mountain passes.
  • Cape 2 Rio (Jan): This yacht race was started 45 years ago, and runs from Cape Town to various destinations in South America. It is the longest continent-to-continent yacht race in the Southern Hemisphere.
  • Triathlon South Africa: The Cape Town leg of the race will serve as a stop on the eight-city tour, which starts in Auckland, New Zealand. The heart of the event takes place at the Race Village at the V&A Waterfront’s Look Out venue, which features a lifestyle exhibition and grandstands from where the public will have a clear view of the finish line. 
  • Lion of Africa Cape Town Open (Nov): The inaugural event was played in 2012, bringing big-time professional golf back to the Mother City after an absence of over a decade. Cape Town boasts some of the country’s top golf courses with more than 10 clubs within a 20-minute drive of the CBD.

Business and innovation

  • Africa Travel Week (Apr): three co-located shows -the World Travel Market Africa; the International Luxury Travel Market Africa; and the Incentives, Business Travel and Meetings Africa event. 
  • Design Indaba (Feb/Mar): driven by a passion for innovative work with a strong local flavour. This annual design festival has been credited with helping build Cape Town as an international design destination. It consists of the Design Indaba Conference, the Design Indaba Expo, FilmFest and Music Circuit. The Design Indaba Festival showcases and supports worldwide design talent from all creative sectors. 
  • Mining Indaba (Feb): attracts roughly 7,800 professionals, including top economists, mining analysts and financiers, representing more than 1,500 international companies from over 100 countries. Established over twenty years ago, it is the world’s largest mining investment conference. 
  • SA Innovation Summit (Aug): spans all aspects of innovation; 32-45 speakers participate in the conference and their concepts are echoed in the Market on the Edge. The market functions as an exhibition area and takes the participant into a space where innovation is in action; where the pitchers in the Pitching Den pitch for support, the Inventors Garage showcase prototypes and new traders sell their innovative products.

Community-driven events

  • Cape Town Carnival (Mar): Cape Town streets are set to explode with colour, floats and dancers when the Cape Town Carnival takes place in March. The carnival is a colourful expression of our diverse communities. It is a celebration of the way in which residents and the City can work and come together to experience and celebrate the cultural diversity of our city.
  • Community Chest fair (Mar/Apr): This annual charity fair takes place over four days. The event features foods from around the world and top-notch entertainment including a pop-up cinema, live music, big school bands, and more.
  • Community Chest fun run (Dec): Families and friends join forces to enter teams as do schools, NGOs, municipal departments, large corporates and small businesses. The money raised is worked back into communities across the Western Cape. Citizens and visitors are encouraged to support the event by entering the run or cheering on participants as they make their way through the CBD. The Twilight Team Run is one of the city’s most colourful fun runs.
  • St Luke’s Hospice (Nov): This fundraising event consists of two 8km and a 15km trail run. The trail run’s ultimate aim is to raise money for St Luke’s Hospice so they can keep caring for the terminally ill.

Source: City of Cape Town

Fauna & flora

Local flora (pic: Cape Tourism)

Thanks to the high biodiversity of our vegetation, Cape Town is home to a variety of fascinating creatures, from birds and smaller mammals to snakes, tortoises and chameleons. Each species has its place in the web of life.

Our rich floral kingdom and the fynbos system, in particular, supports many creatures. Cape Town is home to around:

  • 364 birds
  • 83 mammals
  • 27 amphibians (2 endemic)
  • 8 freshwater fish
  • countless invertebrates – more than 140 endemics
Cape Gannets

Other mammals in Cape Town include Porcupine, Caracal, Cape fox, African Wild Cat, Honey Badger, Genet and Cape Leopard – to name a few. The Cape has over half of South Africa’s frog species. Of the 62 different frogs we have here, 29 are found nowhere else on earth.

  • Mammals: Smaller mammals like baboons, klipspringers, grysbok, dassies, mongooses and the striped field mouse are typical of the area.
  • Birds: All six bird species endemic to the south-west Cape are fynbos species. Of these, the Cape sugarbird and orange-breasted sunbird are not found in any other type of vegetation. These birds play an important role in pollinating Cape flowers.
  • Insects: The fynbos supports a large number of butterflies, though many are at risk.
  • Reptiles and amphibians: Although our fynbos system isn’t very rich in reptiles and amphibians, many of the species are both endemic and threatened. Our geometric tortoise is regarded as the world’s second rarest tortoise.

Fynbos is the main indigenous (local) vegetation type found in our city and the Cape region. The word fynbos is Dutch for ‘fine-leafed plant’. Some of the most famous fynbos flowers are proteas, ericas, buchus, pelargoniums, gazanias, disas and gladioli – beloved to Capetonians and South Africans alike. 

Fynbos is a unique kind of vegetation that makes up 80% of the UNESCO-honoured Cape Floristic Region, two-thirds of which are found only in the Cape. With more than 7 000 plant species, it is also the richest ecosystem in the Cape Floristic Region. The other relatively extensive vegetation types are renosterveld and strandveld, contributing over 2 000 plant species. Among its 19 vegetation types, Cape Town has six that are endemic. These are confined to the city and only possible to conserve within City boundaries.

King Protea

Protea flowers feature as a symbol for our city and parts of our country:

  • The City’s new logo is based on a protea flower.
  • The Red Disa is the symbol of the Western Cape province.
  • The King Protea is South Africa’s national flower.
  • The South African cricket team is named after the protea.

Source: City of Cape Town

Coastline and beaches

We boast some of the most beautiful beaches in the world (pic: Cape Tourism)

The City of Cape Town is home to 72 beaches, eight of which are Blue Flag beaches and, with the exception of Boulders Beach, all eight are free to use. Each of them has something different to offer and you are guaranteed to find one that suits all your needs. Muizenberg is a great option at cooler times of the year, with warmer water and activities, including surfing and SUP lessons available.

Cape Coastline

Cape Town has over 300 kilometres of coastline, including two of the largest bays in South Africa – Table Bay and False Bay – and some of the world’s most beautiful beaches. Our rich and varied landscapes, plants and creatures make it the perfect coast to explore; there are more than 70 beaches, tidal pools, rocky and sandy shores, coastal dunes, estuaries and more!

We have one of the most diverse marine ecosystems in the world, home to rare and endangered species – in 1991, South Africa was the first country to declare White Sharks a protected species.

Cape Town’s coastline also offers some of the world’s best whale-watching spots. The whales most commonly seen from shore are Southern Right Whales, which visit our waters between June and November each year. 

A Cape Town day made perfect for the beach (pic: Cape Tourism)

The warm Agulhas current that sweeps down the east coast and the cold Benguela current that flows up the west coast creates an incredibly rich and varied marine life. During summer, the west coast has an upwelling of nutrient-rich cold water that supports plankton growth. This then supports a variety of food webs, including shoals of ‘Pelagic’ fish like anchovies, pilchards and snoek.

Our rocky shores are especially species-rich because of their diversity of micro-habitats (smaller habitats). We also have breeding sites of seabirds and seals on offshore islands, while colonies of African penguin breed at Boulders Beach, Burgher’s Walk and on Robben Island.

Source: City of Cape Town

Welcome to Cape Town!

Welcome to Cape Town - a beautiful city surrounded by nature! There is so much to see and do in Cape Town, it's hard to decide where to start. Some of my favourite things to do include ...

• Visiting Kalk Bay for shopping/eating out
• Relaxing on Boulders Beach and visit the local penguin colony
• Taking a drive to the Cape Point nature reserve via Chapman's Peak Drive
• Shopping or eating at the V&A Waterfront
• Taking children to the Two Oceans Aquarium
• Tasting the wines of Constantia
• Climbing Table Mountain
• Walking the length of Long Street


Useful online resources

This is Newlands

Kirstenbosch Gardens (Pic: Cape Tourism)

Newlands is on the verdant eastern side of Table Mountain and has a genteel ambience with its abundance of trees and rippling streams. Partly rural and partly a sophisticated extension of the Mother City, it’s virtually free of the South Easter wind and boasts Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens on its doorstep where the Liesbeek River originates.

Kirstenbosch has so much to offer – a tree canopy walkway, Botanical Society bookshop, craft market, garden centre, and restaurants. There also the popular Galileo Open Air Cinema  – and Kirstenbosch is also the venue for open-air concerts, covering all musical genres from pop to classical.

Newlands Forest is incorporated within the Table Mountain National Park. The forest is a popular outdoor recreation area which includes surviving remnants of indigenous afro-temperate forest and endangered Granite Fynbos, as well as extensive pine plantations. There are also historic sites including the Woodcutter’s Cottage and Lady Anne Barnard’s Bath. Newlands is home to the indigenous frog species called sandellia, a tiny frog that lives in the waters of the Liesbeek River.

Rhodes Memorial (Pic: Cape Tourism)

Visit Montebello Design Centre which has a craft shop, sculpture garden, studios, a restaurant and the first contemporary Bushman (San) Gallery. Enjoy walks in the forest, coffee bars and restaurants, elite designer shops, English pubs, international rugby and cricket sporting facilities as well as walking distance to Rhodes Memorial and the University of Cape Town. We are also close to the Groote Schuur Estate (home of the State President), Josephine Mill and the oldest brewery in the country.

But those are just some of our favourites. Here are a few more fun local activities:

  • Browse the local art galleries and artists’ studios
  • Shop at Cavendish Square
  • Noodle through the Dean Street Food Market
  • Get revitalised at Angsana Spa
  • Take in some cricket action or catch a local rugby game
  • Walk from Kings Block House to Kirstenboschsch
  • Follow the Littlewort trail
  • Lick your lips at The Creamery

Explore what else there is to see and do in Cape Town.