Cape Town sights

Cape Town sights

Cape Town is one of the most beautiful and fascinating cities in the world. The metropolitan area has breathtaking landscapes, rich culture and many sights that attract tourists from all over the world. Cape Town lies at the foot of the majestic Table Mountain and the Twelve Apostles mountain range. To the south stretches the spectacular landscape of the Cape Peninsula. It would take weeks or even months to see and experience all the attractions.

Cape Town's top attractions

The capital of the Western Cape Province, which has well over 400.000 inhabitants, has sights in abundance. Visitors with a tight time window, such as day tourists arriving on cruise ships, are forced to choose between inner-city and on the outskirts of Cape Town crowd pullers. In Cape Town, we focus our recommendations on the downtown area and the V&A Waterfront. We see two impressive churches, interesting museums, the old town hall and the Castle of Good Hope. Table Mountain, the Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens or the city beach of Camps Bay are worth a visit if you stay longer.

Cape Town - Long Street
Cape Town - V&A Waterfront
Cape Town - St George's Cathedral - Altar Cross
Cape Town - Castle of Good Hope

Other particularly attractive destinations are the Cape Peninsula with the Cape of Good Hope, Chapman's Peak Drive or the penguins of Boulders Beach.

Cape Town – Central Attractions

The inhabitants of Cape Town live in an area of ​​400 square kilometers. Most of our favorite sights are in the downtown area, known as the City Bowl. We devote ourselves to individual streets and squares as well as certain districts.

Cape Town - View of Table Mountain

Cape Town - View of Table Mountain


More than two miles long, Long Street was laid out more than 300 years ago. The street with its many well-preserved Victorian houses is a must-see for tourists. During the day, Long Street is the hub of bric-a-brac, antique dealers, second-hand bookshops and souvenir shops. At night it transforms into Cape Town's party zone.

Cape Town - Long Street - Old and new mixed

Cape Town - Long Street 

Bo Kaap district

The colorful Bo Kaap district is known for its picturesque houses and historic buildings. Since the 18th century, the descendants of the Cape Malays, who once worked as slaves and contract laborers for the Dutch East India Company, have settled in the predominantly Muslim district. Malay cuisine is famous in the Bo Kaap district.

Bo Kaap district

V&A Waterfront

The V&A Waterfront was built in the mid-19th century as a port for merchant ships. The extensive area is now one of the most popular tourist destinations in the city. It is a harborside shopping and entertainment district with many shops, restaurants and other attractions. Special attractions for tourists are the Two Oceans Aquarium and the Watershed Market.

Cape Town - V&A Waterfront
Cape Town - V&A Waterfront
Cape Town - V&A Waterfront - Commercial Building
Two Oceans Aquarium

The privately operated Two Oceans Aquarium houses a large collection of marine life from both oceans as well as freshwater fish. About 300 species of fish live in separate aquariums. A highlight is the Open Ocean Tank, populated by sharks and rays.

 Two Oceans Aquarium

Watershed Market

In the immediate vicinity of the aquarium is the Watershed Market. In the "Watershed Market" 150 local vendors sell handicrafts and everyday items such as clothing, jewellery, ceramics and much more.

 Watershed Market

Watershed Market - interior 

Boat tours to Robben Island

Visitors start at the waterfront for harbor tours or from "The Nelson Mandela Gateway" to visit the former prison island of Robben Island. Political prisoners were held on Robben Island during apartheid. Today the island is an important historic landmark for South Africa and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The island has special historical significance as Nelson Mandela was imprisoned there. Near the Robben Island jetty, South African fur seals laze on a concrete pad during the day.

Cape Town - Nelson Mandela Gateway to Robben Island Ferry Station

Cape Town - Fur seals resting at the V&A Waterfront 

Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa

On the edge of the V&A Waterfront, next to the unique Silo Hotel, is the Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa (MOCAA). It is the largest museum of contemporary African art in the world.

 Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa

Grand parade

The Grand Parade is probably the most important square in central Cape Town. Surrounded by City Hall, the Castle of Good Hope and the nearby train station, the area of ​​the former military parade ground is transformed into a spacious car park and a flower, vegetable and fabric market on Wednesdays and Saturdays.

City Hall

The eye-catcher and landmark of the Grand Parade is the town hall. Set against the backdrop of Table Mountain, the magnificent structure was only completed in 1905 in a mixture of British colonial style and Italian Renaissance. The ornate facade is particularly impressive. After the city administration moved to a new building, the City Hall now houses the city library and a concert hall used for cultural events. A life-size statue of Nelson Mandela stands in the entrance area, which is adorned by four stone columns. It commemorates the former President of South Africa who gave a speech in front of City Hall after his release from 27 years of political imprisonment.

Cape Town - Grand Parade with City Hall

Cape Town - City Hall with the Nelson Mandela Statue 

Castle of Good Hope

The pentagonal Castle of Good Hope is a 17th-century fortress. The Dutch, who set the tone in southern Africa at that time, more precisely the Dutch East India Company, built the fortress between 1666 and 1679. It initially served as a supply depot for ships on their way to India. Later it was used as the administrative seat of the Cape Colony. The building has also been used as a military base, prison, museum and venue for official events.

Cape Town - Castle of Good Hope

Cape Town - Castle of Good Hope 

The fort is believed to be the oldest surviving building in South Africa. It is also the oldest existing colonial building in Africa. Today, the Castle of Good Hope is primarily used as a museum. The facility is open to the public. The museum offers many different exhibitions and activities that illustrate the history and importance of the fort for the region and the country. There are also daily changing of the guard and guided tours of the site for the amazed audience.

The fort is still in use by the South African Army, making it one of the oldest active military installations in the world.

The Company's Garden

The former garden of the Dutch East India Company is located in the center of Cape Town. Where initially vegetables and fruit were cultivated, there is now a well-tended garden with large, shady trees, palm trees and other Mediterranean plants.

Cape Town - The Company's Garden - Rhodes Monument
Cape Town - The Company's Garden
Cape Town - Sculpture in The Company's Garden

Representative buildings, such as the parliament building, the magnificent building of the national library or the Tuynhuys, used as a residence by the South African President, are located in the gardens.

Cape Town - Houses of Parliament
Cape Town - Houses of Parliament
Cape Town - National Library of South Africa
Cape Town - Tuynhuys

Two important churches

In the immediate vicinity of the Company's Garden are two important churches: St George's Cathedral and De Groote Kerk.

St George's Cathedral

The House of Worship is the cathedral and seat of the Archbishop of the Anglican Diocese of Cape Town. Built from stone from Table Mountain, the cathedral was completed in 1936. The church gained notoriety when Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu's ashes were interred in front of the altar in late 2021.

Cape Town - St George's Cathedral

Cape Town - St George's Cathedral 

Cape Town - St George's Cathedral - Nave 

De Groote Kerk

The Motherhouse of the Dutch Reformed Church was completed in 1841. Worth seeing are the pulpit and organ. With around 6.000 pipes, it is the oldest church organ in South Africa.

Cape Town - De Groote Kerk - exterior view
Cape Town - De Groote Kerk - Nave
Cape Town - De Groote Kerk - The Organ

Green Market Square

A former vegetable market, Green Market Square is a flea market selling textiles and handicrafts. The market and Long Street are less than 100 meters apart. The square is surrounded by a few Art Deco houses. On the west side of Green Market Square is the Old Town House, which has long served as City Hall. The building is currently used as an art history museum. Next to it is a Methodist church built in 1871.

Cape Town - Green Market Square

Cape Town - Green Market Square 

Cape Town - Green Market Square and Old Town House 


The most famous landmark of Cape Town is Table Mountain. At 1.086 meters high, it offers spectacular views of the city and the sea. Visitors can climb the mountain the traditional way on foot or choose to take the cable car, which rotates on its own axis. The hike to the summit is challenging but worthwhile and takes in stunning scenery. The cable car ride, which has been in operation since 1929, saves the hassle of the ascent and takes up to 65 passengers to the summit station in just a few minutes. The Table Mountain nature reserve is the starting point for tours of various lengths. It takes a lot of luck to reach the summit with the cable car. Operations are often interrupted due to strong winds.

Cape Town - Table Mountain Panorama

Cape Town - Upper Table Mountain Cable Car Station 

Stellenbosch wine region

Just a short drive from Cape Town is the wine region and university town of Stellenbosch, one of the oldest cities in South Africa. Known for its wineries, the scenic region offers wine tasting, gourmet dining and scenic walks through the vineyards.

Cape Peninsula - top sight outside of Cape Town

In the southwest of Cape Town, the almost 50 km long Cape Peninsula stretches from Table Mountain to the Cape of Good Hope. Worthwhile destinations on a trip across the Cape Peninsula are Hout Bay, Chapman's Peak Drive, the summer resort of the Cape of Good Hope with Cape Point and the penguin colony of Boulders Beach in Simon's Town.

Hout Bay

The fishing town of Hout Bay, a suburb of Cape Town, is known and popular not only for its beaches and the water sports on offer. Short boat trips to Duiker Island are offered from the harbour. The rock island is home to hundreds of fur seals.

Hout Bay - Fur Seals off Duiker Island

Hout Bay - the fur seals of Duiker Island

Chapman's Peak Drive

The Cape Peninsula has one of the most spectacular coastal drives in the world with the nine kilometer long Chapman's Peak Drive. The road connects the fishing town of Hout Bay with the holiday resort of Noordhoek, which is known for its seemingly endless beach. Some viewpoints and rest areas offer spectacular views of the stretch of coast.

Rest area on Chapman's Peak Drive

Chapman's Peak Drive 

Cape of Good Hope and Cape Point

The Cape of Good Hope is the most south-western point in Africa. At the tip of the Cape Peninsula, at Cape Point, the cold Antarctic Benguela Current and the warm Agulhas Current coming from the Indian Ocean meet. In the Cape region, the waves pile up meters high. The Cape of Good Hope is also known as the "Cape of Storms" due to the strong currents and sometimes unpredictable weather. Many ships have capsized due to the treacherous storms off the cape. A wooden panel indicates the geographic coordinates of the Cape region: 34° 21' 25'' south latitude, 18° 28' 26'' east longitude. The barren, storm-swept landscape is inhabited by ostriches and baboons. The road ends at the Cape of Good Hope.

At the Cape of Good Hope
Ostrich at the Cape of Good Hope
Scenic Walk at the Cape of Good Hope

The cliff known as Cape Point is the eastern end of the Cape Peninsula. In contrast to the Cape, Cape Point offers a reasonably developed infrastructure with a restaurant and the "Flying Dutchman" funicular. A comfortable, well-kept footpath or the Flying Dutchman open up the higher region (238 meters above sea level) of two lighthouses. The Cape of Good Hope region is a nature reserve; visiting the site is subject to a fee.

Cape of Good Hope - View from Cape Point

Cape of Good Hope - View from Cape Point

Cape Point - Lighthouse in heavy rain 

The Penguins of Boulders Beach

About 25 kilometers north of the Cape of Good Hope is Simon's Town. The well-groomed location was known for its colony of African penguins on Boulders Beach. The first pair of penguins chose Boulders Beach as their new home 40 years ago. An estimated 3.000 penguins are now settling in the beach region.

The Penguins of Boulders Beach

April 2023

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