One Day in Cape Town Itinerary – Top things to do in Cape Town, South Africa

Cape Town is located on the southwest coast of South Africa and known for its iconic Table Mountain which sits over the city. Cape Town also has a variety of activities to offer, from beautiful beaches and mountains to stunning gardens and its popular harbor. These attractions, along with its Mediterranean climate, make it one of the most popular cities to visit in South Africa and Africa in general.

One day in Cape Town Itinerary

Guest post by Stacey Gilkes
Blog: Wandering Bajan

What’s the best time to visit Cape Town?

Since Cape Town is in the Southern Hemisphere, its summer months are from October to April. This is when it will be nice, warm and dry, ideal for a Cape Town trip. The peak time for tourists tends to be around December, so if you book your trip in the later months such as March to May you are more likely to avoid the crowds.

Cape Town
Cape Town, Author: Willem van Valkenburg, Source: Flickr

What’s good to know about Cape Town?

Cape Town is famous for its harbor and well known landmarks such as Table Mountain and Cape Point. The iconic Table Mountain’s flat-topped summit reaches just over 1000m in height, with Devil’s Peak and Lion’s Head on either side forming the “City Bowl”. To the south is a mountainous spine jutting into the Atlantic which forms Cape Point, and this has been said to be the place where the Atlantic and the Indian Ocean meet. This point varies between the south and southwestern Cape coast.

Cape Town Panoramic View
Cape Town Panoramic View, Author: Joe Turco, Source: Flickr

Nobel Square on the V&A waterfront features the four South African Nobel Peace Prize winners, Nelson Mandela, Albert Luthuli, Desmond Tutu, F.W. de Klerk. Three former inmates of Robben Island have gone on to become Presidents of South Africa, the most recent being Jacob Zuma who succeeded Nelson Mandela and Kgalema Motlanthe.

One Day in Cape Town Itinerary

Follow this guide and make the most of your trip even if you’re short on time. These are the top sights and things to do during your one day in Cape Town.

A Quick History Lesson

The first thing you should check out is Robben Island, the place where Nelson Mandela was imprisoned for 18 of the 27 years he was behind bars, along with other political prisoners. Book the 9 a.m. tour and get out there nice and early. Learn and understand a bit of the South African history, and see how these prisoners lived on the island.

The entrance to the Robben Island
The entrance to the Robben Island, Author: April Killingsworth, Source: Flickr
Robben Island Bunk beds
Robben Island Bunk beds, Author: Jochem Koole, Source: Flickr

Lunch on the Victoria & Alfred Waterfront

The tour will take about 4 hours, so by the time you get back you will be hungry. Grab a quick lunch on the V&A Waterfront at Willoughby & Co or Den Anker and make sure you try some fish and chips! There are lots of options along the waterfront if seafood is not your thing, however. Take a quick walk along the waterfront after lunch and continue exploring. Then from here it’s time to grab a cab.

Victoria & Alfred Waterfront
Victoria & Alfred Waterfront, Author: John Hickey-Fry, Source: Flickr

Bird’s Eye View of Cape Town

It’s about a 30-minute drive to Table Mountain from the V&A waterfront. Grab your tickets for the cable car and wait in line for an awesome 5-minute ride up the mountain. Grab any spot near a window on the cable car – the whole thing rotates the entire way up the mountain, so you get 360 degree views. Go outside and take in the aerial views of the stunning Cape Town.

Cable Car Ride to Table Mountains
Cable Car Ride to Table Mountains, Author: Christopher Griner, Source: Flickr

After lots of photos and selfies, you can choose between three different hikes at the top of Table Mountain to take in the flora and wildlife around the area. You can also grab a guided walk around Table Mountain where you can learn a bit more about the mountain and the Cableway. If hiking is not quite your thing, then grab some drinks at the restaurant and just relax.

Table Mountains Cape Town
Table Mountains, Author: David Stanley, Source: Flickr

Sample South African Wines

You cannot visit South Africa without tasting some wines, so go down to Belthazar Restaurant and Wine Bar for dinner. They have loads of different wines available by the glass. If wine isn’t your thing then head to Ferryman’s Tavern where you can find plenty of beers to choose from and live entertainment.

Where to stay in Cape Town?

Radisson RED Hotel V&A Waterfront

Radisson RED Hotel V&A Waterfront is a unique lifestyle hotel focusing on art, fashion and music. Furthermore, it hosts temporary art exhibitions and live music. It’s perfectly located, only a short walk to the V&A Waterfront. The hotel features a rooftop sun terrace with a great view of the sea. All rooms boast modern furniture, wall art and trendy details.

Book here
Radisson RED Hotel V&A Waterfront Cape Town
Radisson RED Hotel V&A Waterfront Cape Town
Radisson RED Hotel V&A Waterfront Cape Town
Radisson RED Hotel V&A Waterfront Cape Town

Mojo Hotel

Being attached to an enclosed market area with a food mall is what makes the stay at Mojo Hotel so interesting. The whole place is hip, located in the great Sea Point neighborhood, only a short walk to the beach area. The modern rooms provide stylish and comfortable stay.

Book here
Mojo Hotel
Mojo Hotel

La Splendida Hotel

La Splendida Hotel provides bright and modern rooms offering views of Robben Island and the Atlantic Ocean and the surrounding area. It’s perfectly located, just next to the bustling Mouille Point promenade.

Book here
La Splendida Hotel
La Splendida Hotel

Find the Best Hotel Deals in Cape Town

DAY TRIPS FROM CAPE TOWN

The nature surrounding Cape Town is absolutely beautiful and makes for an ideal destination for a day trip if you’re in the city and have time to spare. Here are some of the places you really should consider visiting if you’re planning something like this.

Cape Peninsula

This fascinating part of the world is, according to a legend, the place where the Atlantic and the Indian Ocean meet. More specifically, this happens at it southernmost point, which is also known as the Cape of Good Hope. The area is bustling with life here, as seals regularly visit the nearby village of Cape Point. You can take a scenic walk there, enjoy some excellent food and generally relax in this magical surrounding.

Book a tour now!

Wine tasting trips

You may not know this, but South African wines are pretty awesome! Therefore, if you’re a wine lover, head out of town to the places like the Paarl Valley or Stellenbosch to have a taste. Do not miss the opportunity to try the product made from a unique South African grape called the Pinotage. Of course, other familiar varieties are grown here, including Chardonnay.

Book a tour now!

The Karoo

Head out to the Karoo to enjoy African wildlife! Elephants, lions, leopards, buffalo… everything you’d expect from a safari can be found at Aquila Private Game Reserve which is only about two hours away and where you can also stay for lunch if you want. You can also enjoy beautiful little Karoo towns along the way and generally relax to the fullest by getting away from the city crowd.

Book a tour now!

Go see the whales

Another exciting option for a day trip from Cape Town is to go and see some whales. However, keep in mind that the best time to do that is between June and November. The town of Hermanus is the place to be at peak season, plus they even have a whole Whale Festival you can visit. Naturally, the restaurants here excel when it comes to seafood, so you will definitely be in for a beautiful day.

Book a tour now!

Extra tips for visiting Cape Town

– Be aware of your surroundings, the areas above are quite safe due to the amount of tourists around, but you can never be too careful. Crimes are usually opportunistic, so do not leave handbags open or cell phones in your back pocket. Avoid wearing expensive jewelry so you don’t draw attention to yourself.

– Enjoy every moment, Cape Town has such a cool vibe it’s hard not to love this city.

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Cape Town South Africa Top things to doCape Town South Africa One day itinerary

If you have any other propositions for this One Day in Cape Town Itinerary feel free to share it in the comments below!

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Logistical Tips and Tricks

Organize your trip in five easy steps!

BOOK A FLIGHT!

Obviously, if you’re going on a trip somewhere far a way, you’ll need to book a flight. There is absolutely no need to worry about this, though, because with Skyscanner, you will be able to find a cheap flight anywhere in the world. And their website is extremely easy to use, so you will have your seat on a plane in no time at all!

BOOK A ROOM!

To easily find the best possible room in the city you’re visiting, just head to Booking.com. They have quite literally thousands of options, a reliable rating system and will always get you a great deal. On top of that, you can learn a lot from the comments people leave there, too. No matter if you’re looking for an apartment or an elite hotel, you’ll find what you need here.

GET A CAR!

If you want the ultimate sense of freedom while on your trip, a car is a must. Fortunately, there is a simple way to get one – just visit Booking’s Rentalcars and they’ll have your vehicle ready in a jiffy. Now you’ll be able to explore the new city thoroughly and, who knows, maybe even make a trip outside it.

INSURE YOURSELF FOR PEACE OF MIND!

Accidents, mishaps and other troubles happen to everyone. The key is to be prepared. That’s why getting a travel insurance is such a great idea: it can help you deal with any health issues, theft and even cancelled flights. World Nomads know full well about the problems that can arise on a trip because they are passionate travelers themselves. That’s why they can offer you the very best deals.

FIND SOMEONE TO HELP YOU GET AROUND!

Want to have some company as soon as you land? Through Welcomepickups.com, you can find a local to meet you at the airport and help you find your way around the new city. They can also set things up for you, give you some useful tips and be helpful in general. The whole project is a great idea and very well executed, so do go and see how these people can make your trip a more pleasant one.

MAKE SURE YOU HAVE EVERYTHING YOU NEED

Here are some of the top travel items you must bring to your next trip. These items will make your trip a lot more relaxing and you’ll surely get rid of some extra hassle.

Make sure to travel light, safe and stylish following our travel item guide for 2019.

Stacey Gilkes

Stacey Gilkes

Travel Blogger at

Stacey is a personal trainer from the small island of Barbados. She studied Chemistry at the University of the West Indies. She built her own personal training business which allows her to pursue her other passion, travel. Within the last couple of years she has been to South Africa, Peru, New Zealand and Iceland with many more places on her bucket list! Follow her travels at http://www.wanderingbajan.com!

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