What to do in and around Cape Town, South Africa

Cape Town

There are loads of incredible things to do and see around South Africa, and Cape Town is on most travellers’ list of where to go in South Africa. Nearby Cape Town there are loads of beautiful, picturesque towns and vineyards. In this post I’ll be telling you all about what to do in and around Cape Town. My personal favourite activity: a wine tasting on a horse drawn carriage in Franschhoek! 

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What to do in and around Cape Town

Nature and city centre of Cape Town

What makes Cape Town so special to me is the nature within and just on the edge of the city. There are lots of parks, amazing beaches and the mountains in and around Cape Town are truly spectacular. The city centre is filled with restaurants, bars, shops, and there really is something for everyone! 

hiker on the top of lions head in cape town with table mountain in the background
Myself on top of Lion's head
Photo by Lara Hunn

Mountains and hikes: Lion's head & Table mountain

I highly recommend climbing Lion’s head, either at sunrise or sunset - it’s right in the middle of the city, and only a 45 minute to 1 hour hike up. You will get a beautiful view over Cape Town. 

Table Mountain and its reserve are also stunning, usually it’s a bit busier here than on Lion’s head, but very worth it! You can take the cable cart up and down but you can also hike up, there are loads of different routes up and they all pass through beautiful parts of Table Mountain reserve. 

hiker on top of table mountain cape town overlooking the ocean and waterfront
Myself on top of Table mountain

Cape of Good Hope & Boulders Beach

Outside of Cape Town, all the way to the south, there is a reserve by Cape of Good Hope. It’s flora and fauna is unlike anywhere else and of course it is the most south-western point of the African continent. In between the Cape of Good Hope and Cape Town, there is a beach filled with penguins. This beach is called Boulders Beach, and you can even pay to go onto the beach and swim around the penguins. You can also choose to walk the board walk around the beach to see all the penguins. This is the perfect place for a break during your drive down to Cape of Good Hope. 

Also read: Horse riding in the Drakensberg

Wine tastings: Franschhoek and Stellenbosch

The Cape really is famous for its wines and many vineyards. You will have to drive a bit out of Cape Town to find them but in Stellenbosch and Franschhoek there are endless vineyards and it’s definitely worth the drive. Both towns are lovely, with Stellenbosch being a student town with lots of stuff going on constantly and Franschhoek being more focused on good wine and fine cuisine. I personally love Franschhoek and everything about the town’s vibe, nature and surroundings.  

Atlantic Outlook: kayak with dolphins and explore on a tandem bike

I also highly recommend kayaking with dolphins! You go out onto the sea and there are loads of dolphins to spot out there, a fantastic experience. You can find more info here: Atlantic Outlook. The same company also offers guided hikes and tandem experiences so make sure to check out their website. 

Cape Town is paradise for surfers, so if you’re in Cape Town and you surf, make sure to head to Muizenberg beach! 

traveler in kayak on the ocean in front of the v&a waterfront in cape town
Dolphin spotting!
Photo by Lara Hunn

Wine Valley Adventures

When in Paarl, Stellenbosch or Franschhoek, you cannot skip a visit to Wine Valley Adventures. Your host at Wine Valley Adventures is Michelle! She is a lovely lady and an incredible host. She offers different activities with horses on a very large vineyard just outside of Paarl. Her horses are well taken care off and super nicely trained, which makes all activities with the horses very enjoyable. Wine Valley Adventures offers wine tastings in combination with carriage rides, they offer horse and mule trails and even quad bike trails for non-riders! In regards to riding, they offer lots of different options, from 1 hour to full day, sunset and moonlight rides, wine tastings on the way and dinner rides. Michelle also organises hunts and beach rides, which you can all find on her website: Wine Valley Adventures

sparkling wine on a horse and carriage in paarl vineyard south africa
Sparkling wine on the carriage as we stroll through the vineyards.

Also read: Beach rides and carriage rides in the Netherlands

Travel to and in South Africa 

When you travel to South Africa, please check which kind of visa you need. The tourist visa for almost all countries is 90 days, free, and you get it upon arrival in South Africa. There are however a few exceptions that can only stay for 30 days, or that need to apply for a visa beforehand. You can check your visa requirements here. There are quite a few big international airports around the country, with Cape Town, Johannesburg and Durban being the most popular ones. Connections between these airports are quite good, however prices can go up quite high if you book during busy periods or holidays. My recommendation to travel the country is definitely to hire a car, it usually turns out to be the cheapest option and it gives you all the freedom to explore wherever you want! 

There are so many incredible things to do in South Africa, and I have covered this in one of my previous blog posts, you can read it here. From horse riding in big 5 reserve, amazing safaris through the African bush, the endless beaches of the Wild Coast and the impressive mountains of the Drakensberg. 

Also read: The Ultimate South African Horse Adventure

Hopefully this blog post was useful! If you do still have any questions or would like help with/to book anything, don’t be shy and contact me here, or on Instagram! Don’t forget to subscribe to HATW’s newsletter to stay up to date on new rides and more. Please share this post with your friends that would love to go to Cape Town too!

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