The best things to do in Cape Town, South Africa, at any age

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Get your bearings

From the Two Oceans Aquarium to the ‘must-do’ cable car ride to the top of Table Mountain, there is a huge amount for any age or type of tourist to enjoy. But first up, for a ‘one size fits all’ approach, I would definitely recommend everyone to take the Red Line bus tour, which takes you to the bottom of Table Mountain, but also allows you to ‘hop on and off’ at all the top spots, including Camps Bay and the city centre.

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Beautiful Camps Bay

Getting around

There are loads of chic and luxurious hotels to choose from, as well as plenty of hidden gems in both Cape Town’s centre and at the city’s Victoria & Albert Waterfront. Although, you might like to stay a little further out. While staying at the Twelve Apostles Hotel, a couple of bays along, we headed to the celeb hot spot of Camps Bay and central Cape Town by using the shuttle provided by the hotel. It’s worth checking to see if hotels a little further out of the centre do offer that kind of service.

Days out

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A fantastic day out is to Boulders Beach, to see the famous colony of Jackass penguins. No where else will you find penguins in the southern hemisphere. A half-day tour with Hylton Ross takes you all the way down to Cape Point. You can liaise with your hotel concierge to book trips, or online direct.

The trip cost around £50 per person, and our driver was an excellent tour guide and host. Taking in scenic views of the Atlantic Ocean, we journeyed towards the Southern tip, stopping to take pictures with the Jackass penguin colony at Boulders Beach. At Cape Point, where the Atlantic and Indian Oceans meet, you can take the funicular railway up to the lighthouse, which offers spectacular views. The tour also includes a drive through Simonstown and Chapman’s Peak Drive. All in all, excellent value for money and a great way to take in so many sights.

Unmissable Cape Town sights

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Table Mountain

These include, taking the cable car up to the top of Table Moutain – surely a must see for every visitor? My mum lost her sea legs a bit on the way up, but it was worth it for the outstanding view from the top – right, mum?

The steep journey ensures everyone gets a good view, as the car rotates 360 degrees. At the top, there are a variety of signposted walks as well as a café selling delicious treats and some tasty wine. Well, when in South Africa…

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En route to the V&A Waterfront

The Victoria & Albert Waterfront

The Victoria & Albert Waterfront is a great place to start enjoying the South African city’s culture. The Victorian-style fronted shops, restaurants and excellent food market compliment the buzz of the working harbour, where you can see giant boats sailing in and out and being docked to be repaired, while a colony of seals sometimes basks along the Waterfront.

The Waterfront is South Africa’s most revisited tourist attraction, with a pirates playground, numerous boat tours to choose from and ferries to Robben Island. Robben Island has been a World Heritage site since 1999 and is a tourist attraction now since it houses the prison where Nelson Mandela spent 18 years of his life.

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Take a bus tour

As I previously mentioned, one of the best, and most pocket friendly, ways to see the city is by using the City Sightseeing Hop On – Hop Off bus. There are two routes. The Red Route explores the city, taking you up to the foot of Table Mountain, across to the glamorous Camps Bay beach resort and through the city centre catching sight of the Town Hall, District Six and the castle.

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District Six (pictured below) is a former inner city residential area. Over 60,000 residents were forcibly removed from the area in the 1970s, during apartheid. Nothing has been done with the majority of the huge area because no one can now agree. It is overgrown, and is a striking reminder of the difficult past Cape Town has suffered, but efforts are being made to move forward.

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District Six, above, and below

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You can choose to get off and explore, then rejoin the bus as you please. Headphones for  commentary are included. The Blue Route is longer and takes in the famous Kirstenbosch Gardens.

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Cape Town’s castle

Where next?

We made the most of our holiday to South Africa, by combining our visit with a visit to the family-friendly, Sanbona Private Game Reserve. Sanbona is around a four-hour drive from Cape Town and transfers can be pre-arranged with the your hotel’s concierge, or on an individual basis.

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Us with the penguins at Boulders Beach

Feeling inspired to book? Why not check out my 3 of the best luxury hotels in Cape Town for further temptation…

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