Bucket List Trip to Cape Town: 10 Top Activities

Families have different interests and requirements when planning their visit to Cape Town. This vibrant city is one of the most beautiful cities in the world.

It promises lots of sunshine, sea, sand and surf and rugged nature. Combined with fun, excitement and activities, it offers everything associated with a world-class metropolis.

Moreover, family-friendly accommodation in Cape Town is available in all the right locations. If you are wondering where to stay, opt for a centrally situated self-catering home in an upmarket neighbourhood along the Atlantic Seaboard.

Bucket list activities for your family’s trip to Cape Town

Cape Town offers a wide variety of activities for every type of traveller. This diverse city will keep your whole family entertained for weeks with fun things to do for kids and adults.

Also, be sure to check out our luxury traveller’s guide for the best reasons and seasons to visit the vibrant city of Cape Town.

1. Majestic Table Mountain

Exploring Table Mountain should be at the top of the list when planning a holiday in Cape Town. This spectacular mountain range towers above the city. Your family vacation in Cape Town gives you the perfect chance to experience different facets of this unique mountain with its “tabletop” look.

There are various hikes, suited to fitter families, to summit the mountain. The Cape Town Aerial Cableway  can also deliver visitors on top of the “berg” (meaning “mountain” in Afrikaans) without having to break a sweat. Table Mountain makes for spectacular sunsets. Visitors can enjoy sundowners from the top of Table Mountain or Lion’s Head, the peak next to the tabletop, which also forms part of the Table Mountain range.

Overnight hiking is also possible on the Table Mountain range. This magical mountain is a haven for nature enthusiasts, with its more than 1 500 different fynbos species (plants endemic to the Western Cape). The famous dassies (a type of loryx) of Table Mountain, various species of raptors, mongoose, caracal, Chachma baboons and other small animals also live on the mountain.

Take the famous Chapmans Peak drive along the Table Mountain range from Camps Bay to Hout Bay. You can continue all the way around the Cape of Good Hope nature reserve and Cape Point to see where the cold Atlantic Ocean meets with the warmer Indian Ocean.

2. Blue flag beaches

It’s time for a sun-soaked family holiday. Cape Town is famous for its beautiful beaches. From the popular Camps Bay beach with its white powdery sand and palm-tree lined lawned strip to the magnificent boulders of Bakoven, Clifton and Bantry Bay, holidaymakers can never have enough of the beaches of the Cape.

If you have always dreamt of walking on a beach for miles or riding a horse through the surf,
Noordhoek’s Long Beach is only about half an hour from the centre of the city. If kitesurfing is
your game, Blouberg’s beautiful beaches will not disappoint.

Adventure-seekers can try shark cage diving in Gansbaai  to get close and personal with these toothy predators – all within a few easy hours of travelling time from Cape Town. However, if you do not want to get too close to the giants of the deep sea, whale watching is fun! Do this from the safety of the shores during the winter months from June to September. Add these marine activities to your ultimate bucket list trip and discover the many special beaches – some busy and some secluded – at the tip of Africa.

3. Always action-packed

If you are joining thousands of adventurers to participate in one of South Africa’s best-known cycle races – The Cape Town Cycle Race – or if running the famous Two Oceans Ultra Marathon is on your bucket list, Cape Town is your destination.

The City plays host to a number of big sporting events throughout the year. Whether you and your family are avid runners, trail runners, cyclists or even downhill skateboard enthusiasts, you will find something on the calendar that will draw you to the Mother City.

4. Historical landmarks

Cape Town is one of South Africa’s historic hotspots. It was the first city to be settled When the Europeans first arrived in South Africa during the 1600s, they settled here. As such, there are interesting historic sites to behold. The Cape of Good Hope Castle  is one of them.

The Company Gardens in the City Bowl is a beautiful historic walk that takes visitors to the Iziko National Museum and Planetarium, which is well worth a visit especially for families with children. Cape Dutch architecture is also of interest. Historic wine farms such as Groot Constantia provides excellent examples.

More recent history was made in the Cape when Robben Island became home to political prisoners in the second half of the 20th century. A visit to Cape Town will give you access to a ferry ride to Robben Island. Enter the prison cell where the iconic Nelson Mandela was incarcerated. The Bo-Kaap and District Six are also places of historic interest. Visit these sites during your trip to Cape Town. They will give you further insights into the history of the country and its people.

5. Top-notch restaurants

If your tummy determines your travel destinations, Cape Town is definitely worth a gastronomic visit. Apart from being the host city to restaurants on the World’s List of the 50 top restaurants, the interesting Cape Malay cuisine, Boerekos (literally translated from the Afrikaans, meaning “farmer’s food”), farm-to-table restaurants and African tastes can all be sampled in and around Cape Town.

Let your tummy further lead you on a road trip to Franschhoek . South Africa’s gourmet capital is only an hour’s drive from the Mother City.

6. A-list vineyard and wines

The famous Cape Wines pair well with the various cuisines. If you have not been wine tasting in South Africa, you have not experienced the hospitality, humour, history and harmony of the Cape Winelands.

Cape Town and surrounds have some award-winning Sauvignon Blancs and Chenin Blancs, along with serious Shiraz from the Swartland (within an hour’s drive from Cape Town), Cabernet Sauvignon from Stellenbosch and Franschhoek (within an hour’s drive from Cape Town) and even Pinot Noir from the coastal region near Hermanus (an hour and a half’s easy drive from Cape Town).

Don’t miss the opportunity to taste the unique Pinotage varietal when visiting some of the Cape Town’s top vineyards. This grape varietal was cultivated for the first time in Stellenbosch to suit the typical South African wine growing climate and terroir.

7. Art, craft and food markets

If you need another reason why you should go to Cape Town, browsing the various interesting markets should be right up there. The Old Biscuit Mill in Woodstock combines craft food and drink with handmade items. Don’t miss the Bay Harbour Market at Hout Bay and Greenmarket Square in the City Centre.

There is also a small pop-up market selling African arts and crafts on the side of the road between Camps Bay and Hout Bay. The V&A Waterfront also has wonderful markets, while the Oranjezicht organic market is a festive way to ease into the weekend on Saturday mornings.

Make use of Nox Rentals’ range of hospitable services to arrange a babysitter so you can explore Cape Town’s first Thursdays night market and art gallery event, which extends into the Cape Town nightlife in Long Street.

8. Art galleries and exhibitions

The Cape Town International Convention Centre offers a large variety of exhibitions. When you travel to Cape Town, you can be certain your special interests will flourish. It is well worth your while to plan your trip around an expo.

Art lovers will not be disappointed when visiting the Zeitz MOCAA art gallery. Here one can view modern African art in the innovative converted grain silo buildings.

Theatre lovers will get their fix at the Artscape Theatre Centre in the heart of the Mother City, while The Fugard Theatre often hosts interesting experimental productions. Don’t miss the intimate Theatre on the Bay in Camps Bay. The Baxter Theatre Centre also provides a platform for the performing arts.

9. Unique excursions

Family holidays are all about keeping on the move. Cape Town’s offering for busy families include helicopter flips over the Cape Peninsula, City Sightseeing excursions on the topless bus, any of a number of yacht cruises from the V&A Waterfront, riding the Big Wheel at the V&A Waterfront, kayaking along the Peninsula, going on a bicycle tour or catching a ride on a Harley Davidson motorcycle.

Choices are endless. You will find loads of unique activities to book while planning a trip to Cape Town.

10. Wildlife encounters

Cape Town remains an Africa city. Unique animal encounters are not in short supply. Child-friendly and environmentally friendly excursions include a visit to the African penguins at Boulders Beach. The Two Oceans Aquarium at the V&A Waterfront is also worth a visit.

Within an hour from Cape Town, families can experience Eagle and Cheetah Encounters at Spier Wine Estate. You can visit a crocodile farm at Le Bonheur and see big cats rehabilitating at the Drakenstein Lion Park . Visit the very interesting Butterfly World and Zoo and get close to a giraffe at the Giraffe House near Stellenbosch. Monkey around in Somerset West at Monkey Town.

Bonus: Outdoor experiences

If you are still wondering why you should go to Cape Town, we would like to remind you of the abundance of awesome outdoor experiences the whole family can enjoy in the Mother City. From drinks at rooftop bars with glorious views to Sunset Concerts at the Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens to the unique Galileo Open Air Cinema, picnics in the Winelands, music concerts and sporting events at the Cape Town Stadium. Not to mention fun festivals all year round.

Cape Town certainly is the “coolest” city in Africa. Place it right at the top of your bucket list for a holiday to remember.

Are you ready for the ultimate bucket list trip to Cape Town?

Contact Nox Rentals to help you decide which self-catering villa or apartment will best suit you and your family’s needs.

Cape Town's awards and accolades

Cape Town truly is an amazing city with so much to offer. Various media and authorities have recognised it as a top travel destination. As such, this city boasts a long list of tourism related awards.

Cape Town was named one of the top 10 surf cities in the world by Surfer magazine in 2018 and was featured in Fodor’s Go List 2017. Cape Town received the Conde Naste Readers’ Travel Awards 2016 for Best Overseas City for Restaurants & Bars as well as the second-best overseas city in the World.

Best of the best

In addition, Cape Town featured for the sixth consecutive year as the Best City in the Telegraph Travel Awards . In 2018, the infamous Camps Bay Beach made it to the number 32 position as one of the world’s 50 best beaches.

The award makes mention of Camps Bay Beach as one of the biggest celebrity hangouts in South Africa thanks to its idyllic white sand and grassy knolls. The sand and water quality of the beach received a score of 10 while it received eight for sheer untouched beauty and seven for remoteness. Cape Town also boasts an average of 129 days of sunshine each year.

Where to stay during your visit to Cape Town

Cape Town has so much to offer in terms of accommodation options for families. We believe a luxury self-catering villa or apartment in a great location will give you the most flexibility for your tailor-made holiday.

The Atlantic Seaboard is the ideal location for holidaymakers because it’s within easy reach of all the sights and activities. Accommodation in Camps Bay is not only centrally located, but there are options available for a beachfront stay or a sea view stay within easy reach of a glorious beach, top restaurants and plenty of entertainment, health and wellbeing options.

Plan your travel itinerary for Cape Town at leisure before your trip to make sure you select the right area to stay. Ensure your holiday schedule allows for all your bucket list items. Your chosen accommodation should be in the best possible location for the type of holiday you are planning for your family.

If you’re not to sure how to plan a trip to Cape Town, feel free to contact us. Nox Rentals can help you by making recommendations based on your family’s individual needs, including where to stay and when the best time to visit Cape Town would be.

Ready to start planning your trip? Find the answers to your travel-related questions in our handy, one-stop Cape Town holiday planning hub – complete with info-packed guides and resources that will make planning your visit a breeze.