Cape Town Itinerary Planning Guide

Cape Town Itinerary Planning Guide

Make sure you don’t miss out on any of Cape Town’s best-kept secrets by following our locally curated Cape Town itinerary planning guide with over 100 ideas

With so much to see and do in Cape Town, planning your itinerary while researching accommodation can be a very daunting task.

So, how do you make the most of your vacation in South Africa’s charming Mother City?

People are unique and your holiday goals will be unique too. However, when you visit any world city, there are a few “must sees” and “must do’s” you simply cannot miss.

The magic lies in combining these sensibly with your specific interests to create a workable itinerary that will not leave you exhausted at the end of your holiday.

Create your holiday activity itinerary by first listing the “must sees” and “must do’s”, such as a visit to Table Mountain, time spent at the V&A Waterfront, a trip to Robben Island, a drive to Cape Point and wine tasting in the Cape Winelands, to mention a few.

Prioritise these activities according to your personal preferences. Now list the things you specifically enjoy while on holiday, like spending time at the seaside, taking on adventure sports, shopping, sightseeing, dining out, etc.

A time schedule listing the days with the available times is essential to compile your itinerary.

Remember that certain activities are reserved for the daytime only, such as exploring the Table Mountain National Park and most nautical adventures.

Get an early start for a fun-filled action packed day in the Mother City!

This city has a soul – it is tangible from the moment your plane touches down and once she’s captured your heart, the Mother City will forever remain with you.

Make sure you choose the best 'home base'

Cape Town Villas can advise you on which area would be the best fit for your holiday goals.

Our villa experts have intimate knowledge about every property in our luxury portfolio and will ensure your holiday accommodation is a perfect fit to your unique needs.

Phone us on +27 21 201 1495 and ask to speak to one of our friendly experts.

Experience the best of Cape Town during your vacation

View of Lion's Head from Table Mountain
Table Mountain Aerial Cableway

The Atlantic Seaboard

The Atlantic Seaboard has a variety of luxury villas and apartments available where you can relax and enjoy endless ocean and mountain views near all the action Cape Town has on offer.

You won’t be disappointed if you book your self-catering holiday accommodation in areas such as the V&A Waterfront, Mouille Point, Green Point, Sea Point, Fresnaye, De Waterkant, Bantry Bay, Clifton and Camps Bay.

A bit further down the coast, Llandudno and Hout Bay are quieter Atlantic Seaboard areas you may want to consider for a fun family holiday.

The Southern Suburbs

Constantia, Bishopscourt, Tokai, Silvermine, Newlands and Rondebosch are some of Cape Town’s upmarket Southern Suburbs. Green and leafy areas in the shadow of Table Mountain, the Southern Suburbs are close to most of Cape Town’s attractions.

Constantia is the area where the first vineyards were planted in the Cape of Good Hope. Nearby beaches on the Indian Ocean side include Muizenberg, St James, Kalk Bay, Fish Hoek, Glencairn and Simon’s Town.

The Northern Suburbs

Durbanville forms part of Cape Town’s Northern Suburbs. Although further away from the action and beaches of central Cape Town, this traditionally residential area is close to the airport and the Cape Winelands.

The Cape Winelands

The towns of Stellenbosch, Somerset West, Franschhoek, Paarl and Wellington make up the lovely Cape Winelands. Experience small town hospitality and the natural beauty of the Cape when booking your holiday accommodation in the Cape Winelands.

The West Coast

The West Coast area stretches from Blouberg (which is still part of greater Cape Town), Melkbosstrand through to Yzerfontein, Langebaan and Paternoster. Inland towns such as Philadelphia and Darling also form part of the West Coast landscape.

Make sure you choose the best 'home base'

Cape Town Villas can advise you on which area would be the best fit for your holiday goals.

Our villa experts have intimate knowledge about every property in our luxury portfolio and will ensure your holiday accommodation is a perfect fit to your unique needs.

Phone us on +27 21 201 1495 and ask to speak to one of our friendly experts.

Exciting Cape Town itinerary suggestions

Summer Sunset Concert at Kirstenbosch National Botanical Gardens
Summer Sunset Concert at Kirstenbosch National Botanical Gardens

3-Day itinerary for business travellers

Start early and hike up Lion’s Head to watch the sunrise over the Mother City.

If you favour less rigorous exercise, go for a walk along the Sea Point Promenade and stop for coffee and a croissant. After a busy day at work, catch a City Sightseeing open top red bus to enjoy unique views of the city.

Head to one of the busy Kloof Street restaurants, such as Café Paradiso, for dinner with a view of Table Mountain.

If you happen to be in the City Centre around lunchtime, take a leisurely walk through the historic Company’s Gardens.

There is a restaurant where you can grab lunch, or buy a take-away to enjoy picnic style in the gardens.

After a busy afternoon, head to Camps Bay for a sundowner with a view to remember and stay on the strip for dinner at one of the restaurants.

Head to the V&A Waterfront as soon as your workday has ended.

Here you can browse around, buy great gifts for your loved ones at home and get a feeling of majestic Table Mountain and the working harbour of Cape Town while sipping a sundowner.

Get a feeling for Cape Town’s nightlife by moving on to Long Street and enjoy a late night dinner in the city

5-Day itinerary for laid-back retirees

Head up Table Mountain with the Cableway and enjoy a breakfast high in the sky.

Spend the morning exploring the mountain before taking the Cableway back down.

Find a seaside restaurant for lunch such as The Bungalow in Clifton.

Enjoy a leisurely afternoon and end off the perfect day with a walk on Camps Bay beach to watch the sun set over the Atlantic Ocean.

Take a scenic drive over Chapman’s Peak to Hout Bay.

After exploring the Hout Bay Harbour, continue towards Cape Point for lunch with a two-ocean view.

Explore the V&A Waterfront for the day and do not miss the Nelson Mandela Gateway and the Silo District.

Take time to walk through the new art museum, Zeitz MOCAA.

Head to the Southern Suburbs and take a look at the quaint seaside village of Kalk Bay.

Go all the way to Simon’s Town to view African Penguins in their natural habitat at Boulders Beach.

Head towards Constantia for wine tasting.

A Robben Island tour is a must on this itinerary.

The ferry departs from the V&A Waterfront’s Nelson Mandela Gateway.

Upon returning from the island, spend the rest of the afternoon browsing through Green Market Square, busy Long Street and De Waterkant.

7-Day itinerary for adventurous couples

Hit the V&A Waterfront hard.

There are lots to do and experience – take a harbour cruise or a kayak trip early morning to get close to dolphins, seals and perhaps even a whale. Hop on a ferry to explore Robben Island.

Go to the Two Oceans Aquarium and spend the rest of the time at The Watershed, which offers locally designed arts and crafts.

Get an early start hiking up Table Mountain and exploring the mountain and its 360ᵒ Peninsula views.

Use the hot midday to work on a panic tan on one of Clifton’s four beaches.

Book paragliding off Signal Hill to end off the day on a high.

Head out early to Hout Bay to snorkel with the seals.

Then take Chapman’s Peak drive to explore the South Peninsula. Go all the way to Cape Point and drive around the tip of Africa to see the African Penguin colony of Boulders Beach near Simons town.

After a taxing day, unwind while watching the sunset at a wine bar in Camps Bay.

Mark this one as culture day to explore the sights of Cape Town.

Visit the Iziko South African Museum in the city centre and you’re off to a great start.

Walk through the Company Gardens to Green Market Square for some arts and crafts shopping.

Explore Long Street and have lunch in one of the busy inner city restaurants.

Then head to the Silo District at the V&A Waterfront and spend the afternoon discovering contemporary African art at the Zeitz MOCAA.

Book a wine tour and leave Cape Town early morning for the Cape Winelands.

Explore Stellenbosch and Franschhoek, have lunch in South Africa’ gourmet capital and take the Franschhoek Wine Tram to hop on and hop off for wine tasting at different wineries en route.

Always dreamt of galloping on horseback on a beach?

Noordhoek beach is seven kilometres long and it is just the place to experience a white sandy beach on horseback.

From here, spend the afternoon on Hout Bay beach and if you happen to be there on the weekend, enjoy the market at the Hout Bay Harbour.

Make an early start to walk or run along the Sea Point Promenade.

Then, make sure you have seen and done everything in and around Cape Town by taking a helicopter flip over the city.

Spend the rest of the day at leisure, soaking up the sun on one of the Atlantic Seaboard beaches.

If you have only a week, take a look at our exciting 7-day Cape Town itinerary featuring the Mother City’s most remarkable highlights.

10-Day itinerary for families with children

Start the holiday with a relaxing day on the beach in Camps Bay.

The children will enjoy climbing on the huge boulders and playing in the surf.

Explore Table Mountain by taking an exciting ride up with the Table Mountain Cableway.

In the afternoon, head to Mouille Point where the kids will love The Blue Train Park.

Book an adventure with Scootours Cape Town.

Spend the afternoon on the beach.

Take a drive to the Southern Suburbs to visit Kirstenbosch National Botanical Gardens.

Do not miss a walk along The Boomslang, a tree canopy walkway offering magnificent views.

Spend the afternoon in Hout Bay, exploring the harbour and driving along the scenic Chapman’s Peak.

A fun day at the V&A Waterfront includes a visit to the Two Oceans Aquarium, a ride on The Jolly Roger Pirate Boat and a spin in The Cape Wheel, to mention a few of the fun activities available daily at the V&A Waterfront.

If your time allows it, do not miss a Robben Island Tour.

Zone in on the City Centre with a visit to the fascinating Iziko South African Museum, where more than one and a half million specimens are on show from fossils to fish.

Stroll through the Company’s Gardens and enjoy seeing the squirrels at play.

Take a tour through the Castle of Good Hope to get a sense of the European history in South Africa.

A day in the Cape Winelands can be made attractive to adults and kids alike.

Most wineries offer a range of kiddie-friendly activities, jungle gyms and play areas, where the kids will happily play while the adults taste some award-winning wines.

A stop at Butterfly World is worth your while if you enjoy seeing fascination spread on your children’s faces when they see a butterfly hatch from a cocoon and walk among them in their humid habitat.

Another beach day, but one with a difference, is on the cards if you head for Boulders Beach in Simons town.

Here your kids can swim amongst the African Penguins in their natural habitat.

On your way back home, stop at the Scratch Patch outside Simons town for your children to collect souvenir gemstones to take home.

Parents who really focus on their children will delight in an outing to Bugz Playpark, an amusement park with lots of water features, which is a firm favourite amongst children up to the age of around 12 years old.

The Giraffe House Wildlife Awareness Centre is also worth a visit, as is Drakenstein Lion Park and Le Bonheur Crocodile Farm.

Cheetah Outreach and Eagle Encounters are also worthwhile activities to support in the Cape Winelands.

A last day in Cape Town should be spent at leisure.

Take an easy drive to Hout Bay to visit the Clay Café and the World of Birds Wildlife Sanctuary.

Relax on the beach for the rest of the day.

Honeymoon itinerary ideas for newlyweds

The ideal honeymoon sees the days and nights flow into a haze of happy memories. Some recommended romantic activities for your honeymoon in Cape Town include:

  • a helicopter flip to get a bird’s eye view of magnificent Cape Town
  • a ride in The Cape Wheel, to be found at the V&A Waterfront
  • a day trip to the Cape Winelands for some wine tasting and fine dining
  • a couples massage at one of the city’s plentiful good spas
  • a sunset boat cruise departing from the V&A Waterfront
  • a sunset cable car trip up Table Mountain
  • a Summer Sunset Concert at Kirstenbosch National Botanical Gardens
  • a sunset picnic on Clifton 4th beach
  • a cycle along the Sea Point Promenade
  • a hike up Lion’s Head by moonlight
  • a movie under the stars at one of the Galileo Open Air Cinema venues
  • a hot air balloon ride at daybreak in the Winelands
  • a shopping spree for stunning African gold and diamond jewellery

Want to stay close to Cape Town's hot spots?

Cape Town Villas can advise you on which area would be the best fit for your holiday goals.

Our villa experts have intimate knowledge about every property in our luxury portfolio and will ensure your holiday accommodation is a perfect fit to your unique needs.

Phone us on +27 21 201 1495 and ask to speak to one of our friendly experts.

Nifty online apps for planning your itinerary

Cape Town Stadium at night
Cape Town Stadium at night

Build your travel itinerary online

Here are 5 top tools that will make building your travel itinerary a snap:

  • Tripit – this App organises your travel plans off receipt of your confirmed travel bookings.
  • Travefy – discover trip ideas such as restaurants and activities with this user-friendly App.
  • Lonely Planet Guides – this firm favourite needs no introduction. With the Lonely Planet, you always know what to see anywhere in the world.
  • Itinetree – just tell this App where you’re going and it will give you enough suggestions for a jam-packed itinerary.
  • Google Trips – plan and organise your trips with Google Trips’ automatically mapped out suggestions for things to see and do – just a tap of the finger gives you access to different options if you don’t like Google Trip’s initial suggestions.

Answers to frequently asked questions

Chapman's Peak Drive
Chapman's Peak Drive

Coming to Cape Town is an experience you cannot compare to any other city in the world.

At the southern tip of Africa, this special city with its population of around four million awaits in a beautiful setting.

Its landmark Table Mountain can be seen from far away and provides a pleasing contrast with the deep blue of the ocean that surrounds Cape Town.

This city has a soul – it is tangible from the moment your plane touches down and once she’s captured your heart, the Mother City will forever remain with you.

The Atlantic Seaboard is a favourite amongst tourists who love the sea and long sunsets over the ocean.

It offers beautiful beaches with natural white sand, huge sandstone boulders and the ice-cold Atlantic Ocean.

The Atlantic Seaboard is near the city centre, the V&A Waterfront, Table Mountain and within easy access of many landmarks, museums, shops and restaurants.

The Cape Winelands is also spectacular and well worth a day visit, as is the West Coast with its own charm.

Yes, tourists can book a tour to Robben Island, the unique symbol of “the triumph of the human spirit over adversity, suffering and injustice”.

Ferries to Robben Island depart three times daily from the Nelson Mandela Gateway at the V&A Waterfront and takes three and a half hours, including the ferry ride, a Robben Island Tour of the prison and finally, a visit to Nelson Mandela’s cell on the island.

  1. Spend the day on one of the beautiful beaches. Clifton’s four beaches and Camps Bay beach offer sparkling white sand, ice-cold blue water and boulders baking in the African sun.
  2. Take the Table Mountain Aerial Cableway all the way to the top and delight in a visit to this natural landmark – one of the New Seven Wonders of Nature, while enjoying 360-degree views over the Cape Peninsula.
  3. Visit the V&A Waterfront for a fun-filled day of entertainment, shopping, and a sunset cruise followed by fine dining at any of a number of excellent restaurants.
  4. Explore the Cape Peninsula and see where the Atlantic and Indian Oceans meet at Cape Point.
  5. Taste uniquely delicious wines at Groot Constantia, one of the first wineries established in Cape Town, then venture further to the Cape Winelands for a wine tour of award-winning wineries in Stellenbosch, Somerset West and Franschhoek.

Cape Town is a city filled with wonderful restaurants where gourmands can enjoy anything from fine dining to excellent grass-fed beef steaks, pizzas and pastas, Asian and African cuisine.

Established favourites include celebrity chef Luke Dale-Roberts’ restaurant offerings: Shortmarket Club, The Pot Luck Club and the award-winning Test Kitchen.

La Perla in Sea Point is a seafood-institution.

La Mouette in Sea Point has a delicious five-course tasting menu that you can enjoy paired with wine from the restaurant’s enviable collection.

South Africa is meat country and visitors will not be disappointed with HQ, an upmarket steakhouse in Cape Town’s historic Heritage Square in Shortmarket Street.

Primal Eatery is known for their excellent wood-fired steaks.

Find them in New Church Street, Cape Town.

Pigalle is an old favourite in Green Point, offering a fine dining menu, fresh seafood and Chalmar steak and live entertainment and a dance floor.

Beluga has managed to keep up its reputation for excellency over many years and can be found at The Foundry in Prestwich Street.

Cape Town’s top chefs and foodies consistently rate Kyoto Garden Sushi on the busy Kloof Nek Street.

Newbies on the list of well worth a try, include Janse & Co in Kloof Street, Cape Town; The Botanical Bar in Longmarket Street, a tiny broth bar in Loop Street called Marrow; SpiritCafé, which caters for vegans and Lucy Ethiopian Restaurant in Long Street also offers a unique dining experience.

Teapots will delight during daytime in Ka Pa Tée in Church Street in the City Centre, while the Top of the Ritz is Cape Town’s iconic revolving restaurant in Sea Point and delicious seafood is on the menu at Bilboa in Camps Bay.

The mountain: Table Mountain National Park (including Table Mountain and the Table Mountain Aerial Cableway); Lion’s Head and Devil’s Peak.

Beaches: Clifton’s four beaches, Camps Bay, Llandudno, Hout Bay, Noordhoek and Kommetjie, Boulder’s Beach, Fish Hoek, Kalk Bay and Muizenberg.

V&A Waterfront: Including the Nelson Mandela Gateway, Robben Island, the Silo District and Zeitz Museum of Contemporary African Art, the Two Oceans Aquarium, The Cape Wheel.

City centre: Cape Town Stadium, Castle of Good Hope, Bo-Kaap, District Six Museum, Iziko South African Museum, South African National Museum, St George’s Cathedral, Green Market Square.

Southern Suburbs: Rhodes Memorial, Kirstenbosch National Botanical Gardens, Groot Constantia.

Southern Atlantic Seaboard: Chapman’s Peak Drive, Cape Point.

Get to know Table Mountain – one of the New Seven Wonders of Nature.

Take a Hop On Hop Off City Sightseeing Bus to see the main attractions of the city.

Participate in the first Thursday of the month, walking between the galleries, restaurants and shops of Cape Town to experience the spirit of the city and its people.

Take a helicopter ride for an exhilarating overview of the Cape.

Go wine tasting at any of the award winning wineries in and around Cape Town.

Groot Constantia was founded in 1685 and is the oldest wine farm in South Africa and it is well worth a visit for the history, magnificent setting and great wines.

Nearby Steenberg Vineyards is known as a producer of some of the finest Sauvignon Blancs in the country.

Do not miss Cape Point Vineyards in the rural suburb of Noordhoek in the South Peninsula, where wines are crafted making the most of the cool breeze from the Atlantic Ocean.

Head out to the Northern Suburbs for a visit to Durbanville Hills, with its West Coast and Table Mountain views from its impressive tasting area.

Visit the V&A Waterfront and if you have time, don’t miss the Zeitz MOCAA gallery, which houses the largest collection of contemporary African art.

Get acquainted with Cape Malay culture and history by taking a Malay cooking course or dining at one of the authentic Cape Malay restaurant such as Bo-Kaap Kombuis or Biesmiellah.

Take a drive over Chapman’s Peak to Cape Point to experience the Cape Peninsula’s less travelled nooks and crannies.

Take a full moon hike up Lion’s Head.

Visit Robben Island by ferry and see iconic Nelson Mandela’s prison cell.

The Western Cape is not the natural habitat of many of Africa’s wildlife, yet visitors with limited time are able to view the Big Five animals.

Within two to four hours’ drive from Cape Town, visitors to Aquila Safari, Inverdoorn Big Five and the Garden Route Game Lodge will be treated to unique viewings of the Big Five.

Other super safari experiences, which do not necessarily offer the Big Five but plentiful sightings of other interesting wild animals, include Sanbona Wildlife Reserve, Botlierskop Private Game Reserve & Safari Park, Kagga Kamma Private Game Reserve in the Southern Cederberg mountains (where visitors can see ancient Bushman rock paintings), and Buffelsfontein, within an hour’s drive from Cape Town along the West Coast.

The Marine Big Five (Cape fur seals, great white sharks, southern right whales, endangered African penguins and bottlenose dolphins) can be experienced at Grootbos Private Nature Reserve near Hermanus.

Classic Villas maintains the best area is the Atlantic Seaboard, except if you have specific needs and reasons for finding alternatives in other areas.

The Atlantic Seaboard suburbs, like Camps Bay and Clifton are upmarket and central, close to most of Cape Town’s landmarks with easy access to beautiful beaches, the mountain, shops, restaurants and all the facilities, which will ensure you have a pleasurable holiday in the Mother City.

If you are travelling to South Africa from other parts of the world, there aren’t any compulsory vaccinations you require to gain entry from Western Europe.

However, Yellow Fever vaccinations are required for visitors from certain regions in Africa and the Americas. It is recommended that the following vaccines are in place (although not a requirement to enter the country): Typhoid, Hepatitis A, Hepatitis B, Rabies, and Routine Vaccinations.

Ideally, travellers should see a doctor at least 4–6 weeks before travel, since many travel vaccines require multiple shots and take time to become fully effective. There is no malaria in Cape Town so if you are only visiting the Southern parts of the country, no prophylactics are indicated.

The local currency is South African Rand (ZAR).

There are plenty of ATMs where you can withdraw cash.

Credit cards are widely accepted.

Uber is available to take you to your destinations.

Make use of local tour guides or join an organised tour, the City Sightseeing buses are great to see plenty of landmarks in a short space of time.

Save your money to come shopping in Cape Town, where excellent quality gold, diamond and tanzanite jewellery are widely available.

Dining at excellent restaurants are very affordable in comparison with the rest of the world.

Cape Town is a world city. Whenever and wherever you travel around the globe, you have to be aware that tourists stand out and can easily become targets for criminal elements.

It is no different in Cape Town.

Therefore, tourists are advised to keep their valuables on their person without flaunting expensive cameras, jewellery, cellular phones and other electronic devices.

Make use of the safe in your self-catering holiday rental to lock away your valuables.

Stay in safe areas and don’t attempt adventures such as township visits without the company of a reputable tour guide.

Guests with any questions or concerns about their safety are welcome to direct specific questions to us. We will gladly help you with choosing a safe area to stay in Cape Town and ensuring your personal safety.

Get expert travel advice from Cape Town locals

Camps Bay beach on a summer's day
Camps Bay beach on a summer's day

When planning an itinerary to a world-class city such as Cape Town, which has so much to see and do not only in the city but also in the surrounding areas, one really needs a few months!

However, time is a luxury not available to most travellers.

Make the most of your limited time in Cape Town by ensuring you choose the best time of the year to visit and have a watertight itinerary that addresses the sights and activities you favour.

If you feel it is time to book your Cape Town vacation, browse our luxury holiday rentals and feel free to get in touch with our local accommodation experts if you have questions.

We would be happy to advise you about the best options available to suit your individual travel needs. Phone us on +27 21 201 1495 today.

All our self-catering rentals in Cape Town are fully serviced and we are contactable 24/7 to ensure your holiday is all that you have expected, and more. Our top recommendation is to look for holiday accommodation in Camps Bay.

Where will you stay during your visit?

Cape Town Villas can advise you on which area would be the best fit for your holiday goals.

Our villa experts have intimate knowledge about every property in our luxury portfolio and will ensure your holiday accommodation is a perfect fit to your unique needs.

Phone us on +27 21 201 1495 and ask to speak to one of our friendly experts.