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More things to do in Cape Town for the first time visitor

Robben Island | Gansbaai | Township Tours | West Coast | Other Things to do | Shopping Malls

Robben Island (3.5 hours steeped in Apartheid history)

Nelson Mandela at Robben IslandRobben Island, while largely known for its most famous apartheid era political prisoner, Nelson Mandela, has a long and varied history. It served as a prison, leprosy hospital and military base between the 17th and 20th centuries, and today, is a museum and a World Heritage Site.

The Robben Island Tour includes the return ferry trip, a visit to the infamous Maximum Security Prison, interaction with an ex-political prisoner, a 45-minute bus ride with a guide providing commentary and the opportunity to explore the Murray’s Bay Harbour precinct attractions, such as the Muslim shrine, or kramat, and the Museum Shop. Note: On the island, take pictures from the bus and also capture the magnificent views of Table Mountain from the ferry.

The standard tour to Robben Island is 3.5 hours long, including the two half-hour ferry rides. Ferries depart at 9h00, 11h00, 13h00 and 15h00, weather permitting, from the V & A Waterfront in Cape Town.

Amazing coastal trip to Gansbaai for shark cage diving or seal, dolphin and whale watching (Full Day)

Cape Town to Hermanus

Map from Cape Town to Gansbaai Shark Cage-DivingMust See

This 380 km day trip not only takes you to the best shark cage diving in South Africa, but along one of the best marine drives in the world, Clarens Drive. Even if you are not shark cage diving, this is one of the best road trips in S.A.

En route you will pass the huge pristine beach in the Strand, the Penguin Colony, the Harold Porter Botanical Gardens and Hermanus, one of the best whale watching sites in the country (July to November).

On the return trip, take the R320 to Caledon and pass through the picturesque wheat and canola farming countryside before finally re-joining the N2 back to Cape Town. The road is dotted with excellent farm stalls around Elgin.

If you are not interested in diving with the sharks, you can visit the seals in Gansbaai instead. See what is in store for you on our article on this fantastic day trip – follow it from Cape Town to Gansbaai.

Township Tour (2-3 hours)

Township Tours in Cape TownExperience local culture with one of Cape Town Tourism’s popular resident-guided township tours in Khayelitsha or Langa. Visitors can enjoy a real slice of life in the developing world, sample local cuisine, hear the music and learn about the area’s historical significance.

From reviews on  trip advisor, this has been the highlight of many a tourist. For a 2 hour walking tour with Siviwe Tours, Contact us online or Call +27 (0) 84 945 0739 to book. Website. An alternative is cycle tour with Bike and Saddle. +27 21 813 6433

West Coast

Paternoster Cape West Coast

The spring wild flowers of the Cape West Coast and Namaqualand are regarded as a botanical wonderland. Tourists, photographers and botanists are attracted to this spring spectacle in droves. Over 6000 plant species, from the daisy types along the coast, to the bulbs and succulents in Namaqualand, offer such variety, that around each corner lies a new surprise.

To top it all, the flowers are situated in context to some of the best of what South Africa has to offer – the quaint West Coast villages with laid back hospitality and fantastic fresh seafood; excellent birdwatching, the amazing rock formations in the Cederberg Mountains; rock art sites and an excellent wine route.

On the way is Bloubergstrand, the place to take that iconic picture-postcard shot of Table Mountain.

Black Oyster CatcherThis trip should be done in spring (September) unless you are a birdwatcher when you can go anytime. There is a real treat waiting for twitchers wanting to see coastal birds.

Should you only have one day, then take the trip as far as the West Coast National Park and on the way, stop at the quaint village of Darling.

The flowers make their appearance in late July in Namaqualand in the north and roll southwards, with the season finishing near Cape Town in September. See our self drive article and map. Find out about everything else you can do on the West Coast from hiking, cycling and the Wine Routes.

Other interesting spots

Old Biscuit Mill

Old Biscuit Mill Scenes

Woodstock, between Observatory and the CBD, is full of restaurants and arty spots: there’s the Old Biscuit Mill Saturday market, the diner-style Superette for breakfasts and lunch, the Kitchen – for the best salads and sandwiches around – and galleries such as the Goodman Gallery and Michael Stevenson (which are next door to each other).

Even if you don’t make it to Saturday’s Neighbourgoods market there are plenty of other good reasons for putting the Old Biscuit Mill towards the top of your to-do list. The converted biscuit factory is home to a fantastic collection of arts, craft, fashion and design shops. Apart from the pottery stores Clementina Ceramics and Imiso Ceramics, particular favourites include Love Africa, for colourful locally designed jewellery and fashion; a branch of the craft store Heartworks; ArtLab, where you can get new prints from the Tretchikoff collection; the rustic emporium Karoo Moon Country Store; Julestones for hand-crafted resin products; and the fantastic Mü & Me, the design studio and shop for Daley Muller who creates super-cute graphic art for cards, wrapping paper, stationery and kids T-shirts.

373-375 Albert Rd Salt River: Website: Phone: 021-419 2679

Long Street

Long Street in Cape TownAt night, Long Street comes alive and earns its name as the nightlife and party capital of the Mother City, with pubs, clubs, cigar bars and a wide range of entertainment and live music. Neighbourhood is great for chilled drinks, while Fiction and the Waiting Room are good for getting your dance moves on. Live bands often play at Zula Bar.

Bree Street

Bree Street is Long Street’s trendier sister, located parallel to Long in the CBD. Go for breakfast at Jasons, try the best falafels in town on a Thursday night at Middle Eastern deli Sababa, hang out with the hipsters (and eat delicious burgers and vegetarian sloppy joes) at Clarkes, drink inventive cocktails out of tea cups at the Orphanage, down artisan beers and munch on charcuterie at Brewers & Union, a popular and trendy bar in Bree Street (get there early as it gets packed), have a cupcake and tea at Lady Cupcake, or brunch at Skinny Legs and All.

Kloof Street

Kloof Street Restaurants Cape TownQuite close to the Cableway is Kloof Street, which is packed with restaurants, bars, boutiques, art galleries and coffee shops. It’s got some of the best breakfast spots in town. On a rainy day, go to Cocoa Oola in Kloof Street and take advantage of their boardgames and pastas, try the freshly baked chicken pie at Tamboers Winkel just off Kloof Street, and unleash your inner artist at Da Vincis while you wait for your pizza. The hop on, hop off bus does not stop near here, but it is worth a look if you are in your car. Vibey area to eat out!

A good choice for craft beer is Power & the Glory on nearby Kloof Nek Road. They also serve delicious hot dogs and don’t forget to try a Pickle Back, their speciality shot.

Shopping Malls

Besides the amazing choice of shops at the V&A Waterfront, many of which are aimed at tourists, there is the huge, sophisticated mall at Canal Walk. Here you can buy any label or merchandise you may need. Follow the N1 from Cape Town towards Paarl and you will see Canal Walk on your left. Another excellent mall is Cavendish Square in Dreyer Street, Claremont.


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