Inspiration Africa How to Spend a Week in Cape Town

How to Spend a Week in Cape Town

September 19, 2023

Cape Town is brimming with so much to see and do. If you’re crunched for time, discover how to spend the perfect week in this vibrant destination.

Cape Town is the jewel in the South African crown. With its long and tangled history, melting pot of cultures and bounty of natural and man-made sights, Cape Town promises a trip you won't soon forget.

But where to start? From abseiling to wine tasting and exploring a history-changing island, read on to discover how you can spend a week in Cape Town. 

Discover more about Cape Town on the new season of Luxury Escapes: The World’s Best Holidays, airing Tuesdays 8.30pm AEST* on Foxtel Lifestyle and on demand on Binge and Network 10. *Check your local TV listings for details. 

Day 1: Explore Table Mountain

An icon of the Cape Town skyline: Table Mountain.

This UNESCO World Heritage-listed mountain draws thousands of visitors every year, who come to take in the jaw-dropping views and tackle the heart-pumping hikes. If you’re staying in the city centre, it’s easy to get to Table Mountain. Simply board the City Sightseeing Red Bus for the hop-on, hop-off service. This will take you to Table Mountain Aerial Cableway Lower Station, where you can board a cable car to the summit. At the top you’ll find a cafe if you need a snack or come prepared with pre-packed goodies and find a picnic spot with a killer view. You can also join a free guided walking tour, visit the Waterworks Museum, or choose to abseil off down the sheer mountain face with Abseil Table Mountain

Enjoy front row seats to Table Mountain when you stay at the five-star One&Only Cape Town

Day 2: Stroll along V&A Waterfront

This picturesque working harbour sits under the shadow of Table Mountain.

The V&A Waterfront is an open-air shopping precinct that is one of South Africa’s most-visited attractions. Stroll along the waterfront to explore more than 500 retail stores, as well as five museums (including Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa), local music performances and an award-winning aquarium. There is also a Ferris wheel that’s fun for the whole family. When it comes to dining, you’re spoiled for choice: enjoy global powerhouse names like Starbucks or local favourites like Quay Four Tavern and Ferryman’s Irish Tavern.

Day 3: Lose yourself in nature at Kirstenbosch National Botanical Gardens

See South Africa's natural wonders in full splendour at Kirstenbosch.

Located along the eastern slopes of Table Mountain, Kirstenbosch is a wonderland of 7,000 plant species, many of which are unique to the Cape Peninsula. Wild plums, African holly and calla lily are just a some of the indigenous plants you’ll find here. Choose to join a free guided tour, or go at your own pace exploring the gardens. Artwork and sculptures are scattered throughout the gardens, and you’re likely to encounter some of the garden’s feathered residents too, including sugarbird (distinguishable by its extra-long tail), colourful sunbird and spotted eagle owl. Listen for the chirrup of the Cape chirping frog while you enjoy a picnic in one of the garden’s secret nooks.

Day 4: Discover the colourful town, Bo-Kaap

The candy-coloured houses of Bo-Kaap are a ray of sunshine.

Exploring the rich history and brightly coloured houses of Bo-Kaap is a must during your time in Cape Town. Set aside an entire afternoon to wander the rainbow-bright streets, painted in an expression of freedom after apartheid lifted and former slaves were able to purchase their own properties. Stop by the Bo-Kaap Museum to learn more about the town’s tumultuous past, see the Auwal Mosque (the first established mosque in South Africa), and enjoy a traditional Cape Malay meal of curry or Bobotie.

Day 5: Uncover South Africa’s political history at Robben Island

Natural beauty and dark history: the fascinating Robben Island.

Robben Island was once the site of the maximum-security prison where Nelson Mandela and other political prisoners were held. Now, this UNESCO World Heritage-listed site is home to a museum which offers daily tours for visitors to learn about South Africa’s political history and the struggles and victories of its turbulent past. Tour the prison grounds, see the tiny cell where Mandela was held, and spot local wildlife – penguins, seals and endemic birds like the Cape cormorant all take up residence here.

Day 6: Coastal fun at Camps Bay Beach

Camps Bay Beach is perfect for slowing down the pace, just a short drive from the city.

In need of a rest day? What could be more relaxing than lazing on the beach? Camps Bay is just a 15-minute drive from the city centre and boasts a long, white stretch of coastline that’s lined by a promenade of restaurants, clubs, cocktail bars and shops. Unwind on the sand and while away the hours with a good book, or brave the chilly waters for a refreshing dip in the ocean. If you prefer to swim in warmer water, there’s a lagoon at the southern end of the beach. When you’re ready to roll up your beach towel and head to dinner, Camps Bay’s high-end restaurants are just across the road. Enjoy classic bistro fare at La Belle, or go for hot seafood platters and cocktails at Chinchilla, featuring a rooftop bar that offers unbeatable sunset views. 

Day 7: Savour a Cape Winelands wine tasting

Fine views and even finer wines: Cape Winelands.

Just an hours’ drive out from Cape Town, the scenery shifts into lush vineyards, sweeping valleys and craggy mountains. Welcome to Cape Winelands, home to approximately 560 wineries. Stop in at Babylonstoren in the Franschhoek wine valley, one of the oldest Cape Dutch farms. Babylonstoren offers unique accommodation, an onsite fruit and vegetable garden, fine food and even finer wine. Join an onsite wine cellar tour where you can explore the vineyard, check out the wine-making amphorae clay pots, open cement fermenters and concrete eggs in the working cellar, and enjoy a tasting of the wines alongside farm-grown snacks. While you’re in the Franschhoek wine valley, why not hop aboard the famous wine tram and enjoy a hop-on-hop-off experience to some of the valley’s best wineries? 

Discover more about Cape Town on the new season of Luxury Escapes: The World’s Best Holidays, airing Tuesdays 8.30pm AEST* on Foxtel Lifestyle and on demand on Binge and Network 10. *Check your local TV listings for details. 

Looking for more inspiration? Check out To Infinity & Beyond: The Most Phenomenal Pools in Bali.

About Felicia Arhontissas
A keen traveller and a margarita enthusiast, Felicia is all about getting to the nitty gritty of each destination she visits and discovering its hidden gems (and then running home to write about it).

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