Ultimate Cape Town Bucket List
Cape Town – Rated the #1 City in the World for four years in a row by Telegraph Travel Awards. As if that wasn’t enough, South Africa ranked 3rd on their list of best countries, beaten only by New Zealand and the Maldives in 1st and 2nd place, respectively.
The rewards for Cape Town and South Africa don’t stop there. Condé Nast Traveler gave Cape Town the #1 spot on their 2015 list of Best Food Cities in the World. As someone who has been to Cape Town on quite a few occasions, I can’t help but to agree with their verdict. After all, few things beat the excitement of having a meal on top of Table Mountain, which was crowned as one of the New 7 Natural Wonders of the World in 2011.
The ratings for Cape Town down stop there either, and she boasts with the finest coffee shops, high teas and some of the best wine farms in the world.
For those interested in this amazing city, we decided to put together an Ultimate Cape Town Bucket List of things to do for when you visit.
Climb Table Mountain
Climbing and conquering Table Mountain is an absolute must for the bucket list enthusiast. Since it has been awarded one of the New 7 Wonders of the World, there is even more reason to tick this item off. The top of the mountain will not fail to disappoint, and while you are there you have the perfect opportunity to visit the Table Mountain Cableway Wi Fi Lounge and Restaurant as well!
Table Mountain Cableway
After climbing Table Mountain a few times, we decided to go up a third time using the cableway. The cable cars can carry up to 65 people, transport about 800 people per hour, and reach a maximum speed of 10 meters per second.
The floors of the Table Mountain Cableway cars are rotating floors, which means you get to experience full 360 degree views of the area as you go up or as you come down.
Before you go, make sure you visit the official cableway website at https://www.tablemountain.net/ for important information.
Sundowner On Table Mountain
Few things are as epic as watching the sun go down from the top of Table Mountain. You can either get drinks and snacks from the restaurant or bring your own picnic basket along. Most importantly, don’t forget to bring the wine!
About 60km’s south from Table Mountain you will find one of the most majestic places in Cape Town. A declared Natural World Heritage Site, Cape Point lies at the tip of the Cape Peninsula and is the final destination of the Cape of Good Hope nature reserve, which lies within the Table Mountain National Park. No visit to Cape Town is complete without experiencing this gem.
Twelve Apostles Helicopter Ride
The amazing thing about Table Mountain is all the angles from which you can view her. On a clear day, she towers over the bay as you drive in to the city from the main land. You can also view her from across the bay while having a delicious meal in Blouberg Strand.
If you are in the city center, her presence can almost be felt and you always know she is there. You can also see her when you visit the beautiful beaches at Camp’s Bay. Then there is the option of viewing her from Robben Island where Nelson Mandela was kept in prison.
However, there is one other option which far exceeds all of the above, and that is a helicopter ride.
Abseil Table Mountain
Some of the most epic places from where you can abseil include El Capitan in the Yosemite, California and The Lost World in Waitomo, New Zealand.
In October 2005, Maletsunyane Falls in Lesotho made it into the Guinness World Records as the longest commercially operated single-drop abseil in the world. The drop is a 204 meter non-stop descend to the bottom of the gorge.
Even so, a quick Google search for the best abseiling in the world will bring results back where Table Mountain will be on top of the list. The impressive 112 meters descent down the mountain is an experience out of this world, and a definite bucket list item for anyone interested in adventure sports.
Abseil Africa has a desk inside the Wi Fi Lounge on top of Table Mountain. You can visit their website here to make a booking: https://abseilafrica.co.za/
Kirstenbosch Canopy Walkway
Cape Town just keeps on winning awards.
In 2015, the International Garden Tourism Awards Body declared Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens the International Garden of the Year. Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens is the most prominent botanical garden in South Africa, and it is situated at the eastern foot of Table Mountain. The garden is truly beautiful, and the national flower of South Africa, the King Protea, can be seen here.
The garden also boasts with one of the very few Canopy Walkways in the world. A Treetop Walkway, also called a Canopy Walkway, is a bridge-like structure that provides pedestrians access to the topmost part of a forest. This topmost part of the forest is also known as the forest canopy. Slowly but surely, these types of structures are becoming increasingly popular, as they provide access to a part of nature we were unable to experience before.
The walkway is a curved steel and timber bridge, winding its way through and over trees in a small but intimate section of the garden. Because the walkway takes you so high up in the trees, you experience bird- and other animal life in a completely different way. The view of the surroundings are also breath-taking, and in Cape Town this includes the back side of Table Mountain.
View Table Mountain From Bloubergstrand
Bloubergstrand is a suburb of Cape Town, situated across the bay. The name Bloubergstrand literally means “blue mountain beach” in Afrikaans.
From Bloubergstrand you have a beautiful view of Table Mountain. There are a few restaurants in the area that look directly across the bay at Table Mountain. It is also a popular spot for windsurfers. No trip to Cape Town is complete without having experienced the mountain from this perspective too.
Sunrise Espresso At Truth Coffee
Rated by The Telegraph as the best coffee shop in the world, this unique restaurant boasts with coffee that is hand-roasted in a vintage cast-iron barrel. The coffee is great, the atmosphere is great, and the décor is something out of this world.
While there are many coffee shops in Cape Town who sell the Truth Coffee brand, you need to visit the actual Truth Coffee Roastery in the city center. There are many items to choose from on the menu, and you will feel frustrated that you can’t try everything in one go. Whatever your choice, you will want to go back to try the other items on the menu as well.
If you are looking for something different though, you have to give the Sunrise Espresso a try. The Sunrise Espresso is made from a double shot espresso with a dash of Orange Juice. You can order it any time of the day.
You can visit the Truth Coffee website here:
Pizza At The Brass Bell
The Brass Bell is situated along the coastline of False Bay, in the historic fishing village of Kalk Bay. The restaurant has 8 different dining areas, along with a menu that will appeal to almost everyone. There is a tidal pool which adds to the ambiance, and you have a beautiful view of the sea and crashing waves.
Depending on where you sit, you can also see the metro train passing by from time to time.
To arrange for a booking, you can visit the Brass Bell website here:
Robben Island is an island in Table Bay, which can be clearly seen from the coast line. It is approximately 7km from the coast of Bloubergstrand, covering a maximum of 3.3km in length. Since the 17th century, the island was mainly used as a prison, a military base and even as a hospital for what was perceived as “socially unacceptable” groups.
The island is visited every year by thousands of tourists, primarily for the fact that Nelson Mandela was imprisoned here for 18 years.
The Mail & Guardian published an interesting “Things you didn’t know about Mandela’s Robben Island” article here. Visiting the island is done by ferry, an added bonus for those looking for a different vantage point from where to take photos of Table Mountain.
Chapman’s Peak Drive
Chapman’s Peak Drive is hailed by many as one of the most spectacular marine drives in the world. The drive along the coast line of the Atlantic Ocean is about 9kms long with 114 curves of amazing scenery. There are stops along the way, and ideally you should not be in a rush to finish the drive. You can take a picnic basket with to make the most of the stops.
There are various hiking trails as well, accessible from the Silvermine Nature Reserve and the Cape Peninsula National park where you can discover the area by foot.
Sundowner From Muizenberg
Considered to be the birthplace of surfing in South Africa, Muizenberg is situated on the curve of False Bay just before you get to Fish Hoek. We were driving from Gordon’s Bay towards Kalk Bay when the sun was hitting the perfect spot on the Cape Peninsula.
It was only a brief moment in time, but the memory of this special moment will stay with us for years to come.
Two Oceans Aquarium
The Two Oceans Aquarium opened in November of 1995, and is one of the better aquariums in South Africa. The aquarium has a total of 7 exhibition galleries, and they do cater for children and adults alike.
Overall we really enjoyed our visit.
The predator exhibit is the most impressive. The tank holds approximately 2 million liters of sea water, and includes ragged-tooth sharks and turtles.
Sundowner From Signal Hill
By now you can probably tell that we love beautiful sunsets.
While Signal Hill is an amazing place to visit during the day, it is also one you need to visit late in the afternoon / evening.
For the Signal Hill Sundowner we took the city tour bus from the Two Oceans Aquarium. After dark the traffic down the hill was terrible, and we were glad we could just sit back and let the bus driver worry about it.
What is your favourite Cape Town Bucket List item? Share with us by posting in the comments below.