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World Travel Guide > Guides > Africa > South Africa > Cape Town

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Things to see in Cape Town

Tourist Offices

Tourist Office

Address: , The Pinnacle Building, corner of Burg Street and Castle Street, Cape Town,
Telephone: +27 861 322 223
Opening times:

Mon-Fri 0800-1800, Sat 0830-1400, Sun 0900-1300 (Oct-Mar); Mon-Fri 0800-1700, Sat 0830-1300, Sun 0900-1300 (Apr-Sep).

Website: http://www.capetown.travel

The tourist office offers general information, maps and reservations for South African National Parks (SANParks), as well as car hire, accommodation, and tour and activity bookings. Tickets for Table Mountain, Robben Island and other events via Webtickets (www.webtickets.co.za).

There are also visitor information centres at Canal Walk shopping centre (tel: +27 21 529 9699; 0900-2100 daily), Kirstenbosch (tel: +27 21 762 0687; 0800-1700 daily), Table Mountain Aerial Cableway (tel: +27 21 487 5768; 0830-2000 daily), the V&A Waterfront (tel: +27 21 408 7600; 0900-2100 daily) and one at the airport (tel: +27 21 9341949; 0600-2100 Mon-Fri, 0800-2000 Sat-Sun).

Tourist passes

The Go Card (www.gocards.co.za) offers access to a range of Cape Town's tourist attractions and discounts on various activities and in partnered shops. One-, two-, three- and seven-day passes are available. Also available are a 'six attraction' card, valid for three months, and cards specific for the V&A Waterfront's attractions. Valid for twelve months from date of purchase, the cards are available from the tourism offices in town, at the Waterfront, at the airport and online.

The City Sightseeing bus (www.citysightseeing.co.za) is a hop-on, hop-off bus that travels along four different routes that pass by Cape Town' favourite tourist spots. One- and two-day tickets are available, and are redeemable for 14 days after purchase. Tickets can be bought online, on the bus, at the tourist office outside the Two Oceans Aquarium and from the Tour Office at 81 Long Street.

Attractions

Table Mountain

Cape Town's defining landmark is arguably its greatest attraction, and a revolving cable-car trip to the summit offers 360-degree views. On top, there are trails, guided tours, abseiling and a cafe, and the mountain has over 1,500 floral species, dassies, birds and reptiles. Sheer cliffs and buffeting winds make for changeable weather and can leave a blanket of mist over the mountain like a tablecloth. Book online to save money and queuing time.

Address: , Table Mountain Aerial Cableway, Tafelberg Road, Cape Town,
Telephone: +27 21 424 0015
Opening times:

Daily 0830-1730 (May-Aug), daily 0830-1900 (Sep-Oct), daily 0830-2000 (Nov and Feb), daily 0830-2030 (1-15 Dec and 16-31 Jan), daily 0830-2130 (16 Dec-15 Jan), daily 0830-1930 (Mar), daily 0830-1830 (Apr). Check website for more details and weather conditions.

Website: http://www.tablemountain.net
Admission Fees:

Yes

Disabled Access: Yes
UNESCO: Yes

Victoria & Alfred (V&A) Waterfront

Transforming a rundown harbour into a centre for tourism, culture and business was ingenious, and the renovated Victorian warehouses now house craft markets, shops and restaurants. Set against the spectacular backdrop of Table Mountain and the ocean, the Waterfront is also still a working harbour. Shop, take a boat cruise, enjoy a meal, or go on the Cape Wheel: it’s lively here, day and night, with street musicians and plenty of waterfront bars.

Address: , Waterfront, Victoria Wharf, Cape Town,
Telephone: +27 21 408 7500
Opening times:

Daily 0900-2100. Bars and restaurants remain open later.

Website: http://www.waterfront.co.za
Admission Fees:

No

Disabled Access: Yes
UNESCO: No

Two Oceans Aquarium

Housing over 3,000 living sea animals, including sharks in huge predator tanks, turtles and a colony of penguins, this world-class aquarium displays an array of marine life from the converging Atlantic and Indian Oceans. A Touch Pool offers an interactive experience for kids, and highlights include shark feeding sessions, penguin encounters and diving sessions in the predator tank.

Address: V&A Waterfront, Dock Road, Cape Town, 8002
Telephone: +27 21 418 3823
Opening times:

Daily 0930-1800.

Website: http://www.aquarium.co.za
Admission Fees:

Yes

Disabled Access: Yes
UNESCO: No

Robben Island

A visit to Robben Island, set 12km (7.5 miles) from Cape Town in Table Bay, is a profound experience. The infamous prison was Nelson Mandela's enforced home for 18 of his 27 years in jail, and also housed other political prisoners. It’s advisable to pre-book with Robben Island Tours or online. The 3.5 hour tour includes the ferry trip and a prison and island tour given by an ex-political prisoner.

Address: , Depart from the Nelson Mandela Gateway at the V&A Waterfront, Cape Town,
Telephone: +27 21 413 4200
Opening times:

Ferries depart at 0900, 1100, 1300 and 1500 (weather permitting).

Website: http://www.robben-island.org.za
Admission Fees:

Yes

Disabled Access: Yes
UNESCO: Yes

Bo Kaap and Museum

At the foot of Signal Hill, this historic neighbourhood became home to Muslims and freed Cape Malay slaves after slavery was abolished. Colourful houses, cobbled streets, local Muslim culture and the Cape’s first mosque make it one of Cape Town’s most distinct and vibrant areas. The area is safe to explore, but avoid the back streets. The Bo Kaap museum offers valuable insight into the area.

Address: , 1 Wale Street, Bo Kaap, Cape Town, 8001
Telephone: +27 21 481 3938
Opening times:

Mon-Sat 1000-1700.

Website: http://www.iziko.org.za/museums/bo-kaap-museum
Admission Fees:

Yes

Disabled Access: Yes
UNESCO: No

South African National Gallery

Set next to the Company’s Gardens, Cape Town’s leading art museum has a vast permanent collection of South African and African art, including contemporary pieces and European artwork. In addition, there’s a changing programme of contemporary exhibitions as well as temporary visiting exhibitions. Overall, you’ll find a beautiful collection showcasing the incredible creative talent found in South Africa and further afield.

Address: , Government Avenue, Company's Garden, Cape Town, 8000
Telephone: +27 21 481 3970
Opening times:

Daily 1000-1700.

Website: http://www.iziko.org.za/museums/south-african-national-gallery
Admission Fees:

Yes

Disabled Access: Yes
UNESCO: Yes

District Six Museum

This small museum is well worth a visit. It charts the history of District Six, a once-vibrant neighbourhood from where 60,000 residents were uprooted and their homes bulldozed during the apartheid era. The museum started as a community space for former residents, and tells their stories and of forced removals in general. Book a guided tour, conducted by an ex-resident, to hear stories first hand, and pop into the coffee shop for some delicious food.

Address: , 25A Buitenkant Street, Cape Town, 8000
Telephone: +27 21 466 7200
Opening times:

Mon-Sat 0900-1600, Sun by appointment only.

Website: http://www.districtsix.co.za
Admission Fees:

Yes

Disabled Access: Yes
UNESCO: No

Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens

These magnificent sprawling gardens on the eastern slopes of Table Mountain boast 5,000 indigenous plant species, including much fynbos. Formal gardens dotted with African sculptures flow into a forest trail for the blind; there are protea, useful plants and fragrance gardens, amongst others; and the latest addition is an aerial walkway. Kirstenbosch is a delightful place for a picnic, or an energetic hike.

Address: Newlands, Rhodes Drive, Cape Town, 7735
Telephone: +27 21 799 8783
Opening times:

Daily 0800-1900 (Sep-Mar), daily 0800-1800 (Apr-Aug), Conservatory - daily 0900-1700.

Website: http://www.sanbi.org/gardens/kirstenbosch
Admission Fees:

Yes

Disabled Access: Yes
UNESCO: Yes

Castle of Good Hope

Built in 1666, this star-shaped castle is South Africa’s oldest surviving colonial building and is now a museum of the people, hosting regular exhibitions and cultural events. Go on a guided tour, see soldiers perform their military duties, including live cannon-firing, and visit the Military Museum. Don’t miss the William Fehr Collection, a superb record of colonial Cape art and culture.

Address: , Corner of Darling Street and Buitenkant Street, Cape Town, 8001
Telephone: +27 21 787 1249
Opening times:

Daily 0900-1600.

Website: http://www.castleofgoodhope.co.za
Admission Fees:

Yes

Disabled Access: Yes
UNESCO: No

Company's Gardens

Originally designed by the Dutch in 1652 as a supply garden, the gardens now include tree-lined paths, a rose garden and a restaurant. Also here are St George's Cathedral, once a potent anti-apartheid symbol, and the Houses of Parliament, where Nelson Mandela first appeared as president of the new South Africa in 1994. Visitors come to take a stroll, enjoy its many monuments and search for the oldest cultivated pear tree in South Africa.

Address: , Queen Victoria Street, Cape Town, 8001
Telephone: +27 21 481 1900
Opening times:

Daily 0700-1900 (Mar-Nov), daily 0730-2030 (Dec-Feb).

Website:
Admission Fees:

No

Disabled Access: Yes
UNESCO: No