One of South Africa’s three capital cities, Cape Town is a cultural melting pot with a diverse population and a rich history. Travelers to the coastal city can make the most of its stunning natural setting—the omnipresent peak of Table Mountain is the biggest draw, while Cape Peninsula to the south offers miles of white sand beaches, ocean views, and surf-worthy waves. Cape Town’s many attractions are spread out over a large area, and guided tours with seamless transportation help visitors see multiple sights in one day. For those with more time to spend in the area, day trips take in the nearby Cape Winelands or Robben Island, and multi-day tours set out along the famous Garden Route.
The view from the 3,563-foot (1,086-meter) peak of Table Mountain—looking out over Cape Town, Table Bay, and the Cape Peninsula below—is as iconic as the mountain itself. Adventurous travelers can climb the peak on foot, but most opt to take the cable car, a scenic 5-minute ride. Queues at one of Cape Town’s must-see sights can be over an hour at peak times, so skip-the-line tickets are a big plus, and many tours include hotel pickup and round-trip transfers too.
This private tour saves time and offers flexibility—skip-the-line tickets for the Table Mountain cable car are included, and private transfers let travelers explore at their own pace.
This tour combines a visit to Table Mountain with a minibus tour of Cape Town highlights such as the Malay Quarter, Diamond Works, and Castle of Good Hope.
Travelers on this tour take in spectacular views from all angles—they hike to the top of Table Mountain, ride the cable car back down, and visit Kirstenbosch National Botanical Gardens.
Ideal for adventurous travelers, this mountain bike tour includes thrilling downhill descents, off-road trails, and views of Table Mountain while exploring Table Mountain National Park.
Read more about Table Mountain tour options here.
The idyllic vineyards and historic wine estates of the Cape Winelands are less than an hour’s drive from Cape Town, and they produce some of South Africa’s most prestigious wines. Visiting as part of a guided tour means that guests can enjoy wine tasting without worrying about driving—South Africa’s strict drink-driving rules are widely enforced—and visit multiple destinations in one day. Stellenbosch, Franschhoek, and Paarl are the most popular wine-growing areas, and many tours include lunch at a winery restaurant.
This group tour visits the three main towns—Stellenbosch, Franschhoek, and Paarl—and includes wine tasting at each destination.
This luxury trip affords magnificent aerial views of the winelands via helicopter, followed by a wine tasting and a gourmet 3-course lunch at Groot Constantia winery.
Ideal for first-time visitors to Cape Town or those short on time, this value tour combines the two most popular day trip destinations—Cape Peninsula and Cape Winelands—into one day.
Read more about Cape Winelands tour options here.
The southwestern tip of Africa, Cape Peninsula stretches south of Cape Town all the way to Cape Point. It’s a natural playground of sandy beaches, wildlife reserves, and dramatic coastal roads. Day tours from Cape Town typically include major points of interest such as Hout Bay, where boats set sail for Robben Island; Boulders Beach, famous for its colony of African penguins; the Cape of Good Hope Nature Reserve; and Chapman’s Peak Drive.
This tour visits all the most popular sights—Hout Bay, Simon’s Town, and Cape Point—plus the Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens. Optional extras include Boulders Beach and a Duiker Island cruise.
This helicopter tour offers unbeatable aerial views of Table Mountain and Cape Peninsula, as well as the rare chance to see where the Atlantic and Indian oceans meet.
This tour focuses on two highlights—Cape Point and Boulders Beach—with more time at each destination and a hike from Cape Point to Cape of Good Hope.
Read more about Cape Peninsula tour options here.
Marooned off the coast of Cape Town in Table Bay, Robben Island is notorious for its maximum security prison, where Nelson Mandela served the majority of his 27-year sentence during the apartheid era. The prison and grounds were turned into a living history museum in 1997. Tours typically include ferry rides to and from the island, as well as a guided bus tour of the island, which stops at the prison buildings, lime and bluestone quarries, military bunkers, and Nelson Mandela’s cell.
In addition to Robben Island, this small-group tour visits Cape Town highlights such as Table Mountain. Lunch, hotel pickups, and entrance fees are all included for a stress-free day.
This private tour combines three popular Cape Town excursions in one—a visit to Robben Island, a ride on the Table Mountain cable car, and a Cape Town city tour by private vehicle.
This tour provides greater insight into South Africa’s apartheid regime, visiting the townships of District Six and Gugulethu, as well as Robben Island. A private guide ensures a personal experience.
Read more about Robben Island tour options here.
Things to Know
When to Visit
Summer (December through February) is high season and when temperatures are at their hottest. Visiting in spring and autumn is ideal, with fewer crowds and more favorable rates. Whale watching season along the coast is July to September.
The best way to get around Cape Town is via car, and it’s recommended to either hire a rental or join guided tours. Metered taxis are available, but there are no taxi stands so it’s advisable to keep the number of a reliable taxi service at hand. Uber is also an option.
English is widely spoken here—with a dash of local lingo. South Africans say “sorry” instead of “excuse me,” use “oh, shame,” as a term of endearment, call traffic lights “robots,” greet people with “howzit?,” and use “izzit?” instead of “really?”
Things to Bring
What the Locals Know
Most travelers make a beeline for the V&A Waterfront, but locals head to the Woodstock neighborhood, full of hip cafes, shops, and restaurants. Visit on Saturday, when the Old Biscuit Mill hosts one of Cape Town’s coolest markets, or take a food-focused tour to learn more about the city’s so-called rainbow cuisine.