Cape Town, set in stunning scenery, has a fascinating backstory and an excellent food & wine culture. Our 5 day Cape Town itinerary captures all that is great about this African city.


There is a lot we like about Cape Town. A melting pot of native African and European colonial culture set in a truly beautiful location. Mountains drop into blue oceans where powder white beaches provide home to penguins and seals. Clifftop drives and hilltop walks offer breath-taking views that Cape Town has become famous for.

It also has some of the best value high-quality food in the world. Eat in Constantia or in the bars and restaurants around Kloof Street and you will find culinary innovation at a fraction of the price of many other destinations.

HOW TO SPEND 5 DAYS IN CAPE TOWN

Our 5-day Cape Town Itinerary explores the history of this once troubled town. Apartheid only came to an end 25 years ago and visiting Robben Island, District 6 Museum and a township helped us to learn more about these policies and the challenging legacy they have left on this town and its people.

Cape Town is a great place to visit and it can easily be incorporated into a much longer stay in South Africa, one of our favourite holiday destinations. You can see what we got up to in our 3 week South Africa itinerary.


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5-DAY CAPE TOWN ITINERARY OVERVIEW

DAY 1 / Learning about apartheid in the city centre

DAY 2 / Uncovering a township and exploring great tastes in Constantia

DAY 3 / Ascending Table Mountain before hitting the beaches

DAY 4 / Touring Robben Island and hiking Lions Head for sublime views

DAY 5 / Visiting penguins and the stunning scenery of the Cape Peninsula


WHY GO TO CAPE TOWN?

Stunning scenery as mountains drop into crashing seas

Uncovering the history of apartheid and the lessons it offers

Sundowners overlooking some of the best city beaches in the world

Quality food and wine in beautiful locations at truly great prices

A cultural melting pot of African and European life

Our 5-day Cape Town Itinerary: Fascinating history and beautiful scenery.

DAY 1 / DISTRICT SIX, CITY CENTRE & BO KAAP

AM / Start today with a visit to District Six Museum, which tells the story of the forcible ejection of local multi-racial communities from the Sixth District in inner Cape Town. It has both permanent and temporary exhibitions and excellent guides offering personal insights into the museum.

After the museum, grab a coffee at the excellent Uncle Bear Coffee Company before exploring the tourist market at Greenmarket Square and the old colonial buildings surrounding Company Gardens. Next, grab lunch at Yours Truly perched on a stool watching the world go by.

PM / In the afternoon wander over to Bo Kaap. Bo Kaap has a rich multi-cultural heritage, thanks mostly to the descendants of slaves who were brought over in the 16th and 17th century. Today it’s an interesting place to stroll around and admire the colourful houses. Check out the museum. Although the exhibits are average, a good TV presentation documents the residents of Bo Kaap as they reflect on their life and the development of their community.

Explore the shops of Loop and Long street before grabbing an early evening drink at The Gin Bar on Wale Street.


District 6 Museum / 9:00 to 18:00 Mon to Sat; Guided Tours at 10:00, 11:00, 12:00 and 14:00 Mon to Fri / Price: R40 or R55 guided / More: District 6 Museum Website / Location25A Albertus St, Zonnebloem, Cape Town

Bo Kaap Museum / 9:00 to 16:00 Mon to Sat / Price: R20 / More: Bo Kapp Museum Website / Location71 Wale St, Schotsche Kloof, Cape Town

DAY 2 / TOWNSHIP TOUR, KIRSTENBOSCH GARDENS AND CONSTANTIA

AM / Start today by heading into Langa and taking a morning Siviwe Township Tour. Langa is a small tight-knit township, just east of Table Mountain. Touring this township opened our eyes to how many of Cape Town’s citizens live and the ongoing legacy of apartheid. It was one of our best experiences in Cape Town which we highly recommend.

Next head over to Constantia and join the Constantia Wine Route where you can stop at numerous vineyards and try their food and wine. Groot Constantia and Fairview are a must for tastings, and Buitenverwachting is a real treat for lunch, with a café and restaurant serving excellent food. But be there before 2 pm otherwise you might have to do some fast talking to convince them to stay open for you!

PM / Before the afternoon completely disappears in a haze, make your way to Kirstenbosch for a leisurely stroll around the botanic gardens. If you are here in summer try to tie it up with one of their outdoor summer concerts, which are truly excellent.

PM / Before the afternoon completely disappears in a haze, make your way to Kirstenbosch for a leisurely stroll around the botanic gardens. If you are here in summer try to tie it up with one of their outdoor summer concerts, which are truly excellent.


Siviwe Langa Township Tour / Tours are at 9:00, 12:00 or 14:00 and last 2 to 2.5 hours / Price: R350 / More: Siviwe Tours

Kirstenbosch Gardens / 8:00 to 19:00 Sep to Mar; 8:00 to 18:00 Apr to Aug / Price: R70 / More: Kirstenbosch Gardens / LocationRhodes Dr, Newlands

DAY 3 / TABLE MOUNTAIN BEFORE HITTING THE BEACHES

AM / Day 3 of our 5-day Cape Town itinerary takes us up the Table Mountain Cableway for stunning views over Cape Town. Booking ahead is essential as it’s a popular spot for locals and tourists alike. With or without pre-booked tickets it’s likely you will need to queue, so get there as early as possible. But fear not, your precious time is not wasted as the views across Cape Town, Lion’s Head and the endless expanse of ocean is well worth the wait.

After descending in the cable car, head the short distance to Kloof Street and grab lunch at one of the many options in the area. Kloof Street House was our pick.

PM / Time for a bit of R&R, so head over to the beach of your choice for some sun, sand and remarkably cold sea. Camps Bay is a curving wide stretch of beautiful white sand. The four Clifton beaches under lion’s head each have their own vibe. Bloubergstrand, about 20-minute drive from town, has great views back to Table Mountain and is a great spot for kitesurfing.

End the day with dinner and drinks at one of the many establishments overlooking Camps Bay. It’s sloppy tourist driven food, but the view, energy and sunset make up for it.


Table Mountain Cableway / First car varies from 8:00 to 8:30; last car varies from 18:00 to 20:30 depending on the time of year / Price: R290 / Tickets: pre-book here / LocationTafelberg Rd, Gardens, Cape Town

DAY 4 / ROBBEN ISLAND & LION’S HEAD

AM / This morning take the Robben Island Museum Tour and learn a bit more about the era of apartheid. Robben Island was used by the South African government as a prison for political prisoners and convicted criminals from 1961 until 1991. Today the island is home to a number of former inmates who work as tour guides, providing very personal – and at times – harrowing accounts of their experience in the prison. Ferries to Robben Island depart from Victoria and Albert Waterfront and booking in advance is recommended. The whole trip takes around 4 – 5 hours. Upon your return explore the V&A Waterfront and grab lunch at the Waterfront Food Market.

PM / This afternoon hike up Lion’s Head. The well-trodden path winds its way up the mountain and offers spectacular views of Cape Town, Table Mountain, the Twelve Apostles and Camps Bay beach. The views from the top are stunning. Make your way to the top by late afternoon as the sun drops and the surrounds are lit up in all their golden glory. If you take a couple of beers with you to the top, you will have a truly memorable moment.


Robben Island Tour / Tours run every couple of hours starting at 9.00 / TicketsBook online in advance / Price: R360

Lions Head Walk / Park 500m up Signal Hill Road, just after turning off the M62 at Kloof Neck. The path is easy to follow. There is a bit of scrambling towards the top, but if the sight of ropes and ladders leaves your palms sweaty, walk a bit further and you’ll see another path avoiding these tricky bits. The walk takes around 1 hour, 15 minutes up and 1 hour down.

DAY 5 / DRIVING THE STUNNING CAPE POINT PENINSULA

AM / Today, enjoy a driving tour of the spectacular Cape Peninsula. Take the M6 down to Harbour Road in Hout Bay, home to a traditional fishing harbour and market, which offers some excellent seafood and a cool seaside vibe. After a walk around Hout Bay Harbour, head to Cape Point via Chapman’s Peak. This is a toll road, but you will not resent the small payment one bit; the drive is nothing short of spectacular.

Once the M6 hits the M65, turn right and go via Kommetjie, taking the circular route around the peninsula. About 1h 20m after leaving Hout Bay you will arrive at Table Mountain National Park. Pay the entry fee, then and follow the signs to The Cape of Good Hope. Walk up the hill nearby and keep your eyes peeled for whales. After you’ve soaked up the views, drive up to Cape Point, walk up to the new lighthouse and out to the point that looks down over the old lighthouse.

PM / Back in the car, head up the east side of the peninsula to Boulder’s Beach (35min) and have a quick visit with the penguins. Continue to St James (25 min) and walk to the much-photographed brightly coloured beach huts framing a tidal rock pool.
Next head back south to Kalk Bay, to check out its coffee shops and bohemian vibe before having dinner at Livebait, a great, reasonably priced seafood restaurant so close to the front the waves are lapping at the deck. Get there while it is still light to watch the sun go down.


Chapmans Peak Drive / Anytime / Price: R47 other tariffs are here.

Cape Point and Cape of Good Hope / 6:00 to 18:00 Oct to Mar; 7:00 to 17:00 Apr to Sep / Price: R147 / More: Information here / LocationCape Point Rd, Cape Town

Boulder’s Beach Penguin Sanctuary / 7:00 to 19:30 Dec to Jan; 8:00 to 17:00 Apr to Sep; 8:00 to 18:30 Feb to Mar and Oct to Nov / Price: R76 / Location4 Boulders Place, Simon’s Town

ALL THE INFORMATION YOU NEED TO PLAN YOUR OWN 5 DAYS IN CAPE TOWN

A little pre-planning and research will help make your travels far more successful, it will also help you to understand what you are looking for in a destination. If you like our itinerary, here’s some further information we think you might need to plan your own 5-day Cape Town itinerary.

GETTING AROUND CAPE TOWN

Cape Town international airport is a 20 to 30-minute drive from the city centre. It has decent direct flights to southern Africa, the Middle East and Europe. But many visitors may find it cheaper and easier to connect in Johannesburg. We find Google Flights a very quick and easy way to start comparing prices before digging a little deeper.

We advise you hire a car at Cape Town Airport. Car hire is good value and makes getting around much easier. Parking is generally easy and cheap and the roads are good. The excess for accidents is generally low so we did not get any car insurance.

BEST TIME TO GO TO CAPE TOWN

Cape Town can be visited all year but it is best to avoid the wet colder months of July and August. If you want to spend time on the beaches then the summer months of December to March bring temperatures in the high twenties and longer days, but also higher crowds.

We recommend mid- January to mid-March to get good weather, long days, fewer crowds and the opportunity enjoy wine festivals and outdoor concerts. Beware though, the seas around Cape Town are cold almost all year round, so swimming takes a deep breath whatever time you travel.

WHERE TO STAY IN CAPE TOWN

If you are following our 5-day Cape Town Itinerary it is worth checking out both hotels, rental apartments and Airbnb. When staying in a city we always recommend spending less on accommodation facilities and more on location.

Tamboerskloof and Camps Bay are both excellent locations but for different reasons. Tamboerskloof (as near to Kloof Street as you can) is younger and cooler, close to the city centre, has easy access to a wide range of bars, coffee shops and restaurants and great views up to Table Mountain.

Camps Bay, on the other hand, is a bit older, but stunningly set on one of the most beautiful city beaches in the world, with cocktail bars and restaurants lining the front. We booked three nights in each using Airbnb, making sure both places had free parking.

3 nights Tamboerskloof | Our Airbnb pick

3 nights Airbnb Camps Bay | Our Airbnb pick

COSTS OF OUR 5-DAY CAPE TOWN ITINERARY

Cape Town is a very reasonably priced destination. Car hire is cheap and food is excellent value given its high quality. In fact, we suggest you spend a little more on food and drink and get some truly great experiences. Our entire 5-day Cape Town Itinerary for two people cost R23,500 which, as of Sep 2018 exchange rates, equates to about:

4 day Cappadocia Itinerary
US $1,550
4 day Cappadocia Itinerary
GBP £1,200
4 day Cappadocia Itinerary
EUR €1,350

BOOKING YOUR 5-DAY CAPE TOWN ITINERARY

Cape Town can get very busy. Book the Robben Island Tour, Siviwe Township Tour and Table Mountain Cableway before you arrive. The Table Mountain Cableway can close when conditions are windy, if so your ticket is valid for a later day, but it means you may need to be flexible and you should plan to go up on your last day in case it is closed. Furthermore while booking online does not skip all of the queues, it does make it considerably quicker.

If you are visiting in the summer months please check Kirstenbosch events. The summer concerts in the gardens are excellent.

If you are a sports fan then Cape Town is an excellent destination. It is relatively easy to get tickets to world-class rugby and cricket at extremely good prices. Not to mention, Newlands Stadium is a stunning destination with great views over Table Mountain.

GUIDEBOOKS & READING

As always the Lonely Planet Cape Town & Garden Route guidebook was a very valuable addition to our toolkit while in Cape Town.

For some interesting reading, The Scramble for Africa by Thomas Packenham explains the history of how African territory was divided between European powers between 1881 and 1914.

Mandela’s Long Walk to Freedom is a powerful account of the struggle against apartheid with many key events taking place in Cape Town.

“hilarystyle"

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A comprehensive 5 day Cape Town itinerary. / Cape Town things to do / #capetown #southafrica

A comprehensive 5 day Cape Town itinerary. / Cape Town things to do / #capetown #southafrica

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