Where to Go in Cape Town

It should come as no surprise that our top recommendations for where to go in Cape Town focus on the beaches, mountains and incredible natural beauty of the Cape Peninsula. Take a leisurely drive to Cape Point, stopping on the way to watch the amusing antics of the penguins at Boulders Beach, before returning along the Cape Town coast via the beaches of Camps Bay and Clifton. You could easily spend a day wining and dining in the bottle-green valleys of the Cape Winelands but equally as appealing is a picnic on the fynbos-fringed lawns at the extraordinary Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens. And of course no Cape Town holiday would be complete without a trip to the top of Table Mountain.

Below is a list of our must-visit places of interest in Cape Town, but spend any time in and around the city centre and you're sure to find a few more favourites of your own.

Table Mountain: a Wonder of Nature

It is somewhat unusual to find a 1 000 metre mountain right in the middle of a big city but then again this is not your average mountain. With its instantly recognisable flat top, Table Mountain stands proudly as one of the new 7 Wonders of Nature and dominates the city skyline. Indeed, as you explore the city, you'll often find yourself reaching for your camera to capture Table Mountain's famous silhouette; the best views however are from the top. Take the cable car up on a clear day or lace up your boots and huff and puff your way up the mountain on one of the many hiking trails - the extra effort really will make you feel on top of the world as you look down on the city and its beaches, the surrounding mountains and the glittering Atlantic Ocean.

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Cape Town's Beaches: our favourite stretches of sand

You could spend a week in Cape Town and go to a new beach every day but it's best to start with a few of our can't-miss favourites: the four Clifton beaches and nearby Camps Bay are everyone's top city beaches, located literally a few minutes from the city centre on the Atlantic Seaboard. Camps Bay is perfect if you're in the mood for a sunset cocktail or meal as well - simply pop across the road where a long row of restaurants and cafes await. Further south (but well worth the drive) lies the soft sandy cove of Llandudno, the place to go for a romantic sunset picnic, while across on the slightly warmer Indian Ocean coastline you'll find Boulders Beach with its famous colony of photogenic penguins.

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Boulders Beach: home to thousands of African penguins

A firm family favourite, Boulders Beach is a small cove of gently sloping sand studded with enormous granite boulders that were simply made to clamber about on. Sheltered and calm, the glassy-clear, turquoise water makes for safe swimming but the real stars of the show are the thousands of black-and-white African penguins that have made Boulders Beach one of their most important breeding colonies. Wooden walkways run right through the colony so you can get really close to the penguins - great for photography! We'd recommend a few hours on Boulders Beach to soak up the sunshine, and when you're warm enough, to brave the water - you might even find yourself swimming alongside the penguins.

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Cape Point Nature Reserve: dramatic scenery & deserted beaches

At the southern tip of the Cape Peninsula lies the wild and rugged Cape Point Nature Reserve. Go on an organised tour to Cape Point and you'll be whisked straight through the reserve to the point itself where you can walk or take the funicular up to the old lighthouse at the very tip of the peninsula. The views are certainly spectacular - a rocky finger of land juts into the deep-blue Atlantic Ocean and vertical cliffs plunge over 200m into a churning sea - but away from the crowds lie fynbos-lined trails across mountains and deserted sweeps of clean, white sand. Our advice? Spend a few hours exploring; it's sure to be a holiday highlight.

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