With its pleasantly warm climate, its mountains and oceans, Cape Town is ideally predestined as an outdoor playground. In addition to sightseeing, which we have discussed in Part 1 of our Cape Town travel guide, here are some of the many things you can do in this fascinating metropolis:
- Given Cape Town’s phenomenal ocean front location, water sports of all kinds are popular here. From swimming at some of the great beaches to surfing and kite surfing, the city is a dream for water sports lovers.
- One of the popular activities in Cape Town is scuba diving, given its rich and diverse marine fauna. Scuba operators offer shore and boat dives along the False Bay coast and newcomers to scuba diving will find the shore dives more comfortable. It is also possible to try scuba diving at the Two Oceans Aquarium.
- Given Cape Town’s stunning topography, hiking is a popular activity. From Tafelberg Road it takes about 2 hours to get to the top of Table Mountain, but the effort will be rewarded with one of the most stunning views on the planet. For those less physically inclined, there is a cable car, the Table Mountain Cableway, that will whisk you to the top in a few minutes.
- Architecture lovers will enjoy the Cape Dutch architecture that is so prevalent in the area. The Castle of Good Hope is the oldest building in all of South Africa, and was built between 1666 and 1679. Cape Town City Hall is a fanciful Edwardian Building that was opened in 1905 and built from honey-coloured limestone from Bath in England. History buffs will enjoy Green Market Square, the city’s oldest and most popular market that was built in 1696. Established in 1685 in a suburb of Cape Town, the Groot Constantia is the oldest wine estate in all of South Africa and features a magnificent Cape Dutch manor house and cellar buildings.
- Cape Town also boasts a large selection of museums: from the Groot Constantia to the District Six Museum (which commemorates apartheid and the 1960s forced eviction of all black people in this district) to the Slave Lodge, a 1679 building to house the slaves of the Dutch East India Company, to the South African Jewish Museum, where you can learn about the contribution of Jewish people to the South African community, there are many opportunities to learn about history in Cape Town.
- Shopping is definitely a favourite pastime of travelers in Cape Town. The Victoria and Alfred Waterfront has more than 450 retail outlets selling fashion, home décor, jewellery, leather goods and electronics. Long Street with its Victorian era buildings is home to many book stores and ethnic restaurants. Canal Walk, the third largest shopping centre in Africa, was opened in 2000 and has over 400 stores, countless restaurants and a cinema complex. On Green Market Square you can find all sorts of African curios, clothing, candles and hand-crafted works of art.