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Top Cape Town Attractions

The first time you visit Cape Town, or any new destination, the question asked isn’t usually what attractions should be scene but what attraction to see first, what to expect, how to get there, and how much time is needed. We’ve provided tips, advice, and other information about the top tourist attractions in Cape Town to help with your itinerary planning.

Two Oceans Aquarium Two Oceans Aquarium
Castle of Good Hope Castle of Good Hope
South African Museum South African Museum
Table Mountain Table Mountain
Kirstenbosch Gardens Kirstenbosch Gardens

Two Oceans Aquarium

 Address Between New Basin and Dock Road
 Admission R50 ($6.50) adults, R20 ($2.60) ages 4-17
 Hours Daily 9:30am-6pm
 Phone 021/418-3823

Want an exciting attraction in Cape Town? Well then the Two Oceans Aquarium is the place you want to visit. More than 3,000 live specimens are at the aquarium inches away from your nose. Admire the brightly hued fish found on coral reefs, and experience the Great White Sharks that is so close to you, that you can feel its glare penetrating you. A walk through the entire aquarium will take anywhere from 30-90 minuets. Going to the aquarium with children, no worries the aquarium has plenty of activities for the little ones to be engaged in. There are child-height window benches throughout the aquarium, and a "touch pool" where kids can touch kelp, shells, and anemones. On weekends kids are entertained in the Alpha Activity center with face painting and puppet shows.


Castle of Good Hope

 Address Corner of Buitenkant and Strand streets
 Admission R15 ($1.95) adults, R6.50 (85¢) children
 Hours Mon-Sat 9am-4pm. William Fehr: Mon-Sat 9:30am-4pm
 Phone 021/469-1249

The castle of Good Hope was built between 1666 and 1679 and is the oldest surviving building in South Africa. The castle is is still the regional headquarters of the South African Defense Force. When arriving to the castle make sure you plan your trip at 9am or noon, that way you can see the Key Ceremony, a kind of changing of the guard. This type of ceremony only occurs Monday-Friday and is worth seeing. The castle does have 30 minute tours available and the William Fehr Collection is a must see. The Fehr collection has numerious paintings and graphics that provide insights into the early colonist and how these colonist changed the face of Cape Town. During the day, light meals and refreshments are served in the central courtyard. The Castle is a fun and affordable way to spend a day out on Cape Town.


South African Museum and Planetarium

 Address Between Government Avenue and Queen Victoria Street
 Admission Museum: R8 ($1) adults, free for children. Planetarium show: R10 ($1.30) adults, R5 (65¢) ages 3-16
 Hours Museum: Daily 10am-5pm. Planetarium show: Mon-Fri 2pm; Sat-Sun 12, 1, and 2:30pm (children's show at 12pm); Tues 8pm
 Phone 021/481-3800

Founded in 1825, the South African Museum and Planetarium is South Africa’s oldest museum. Exhibits at the museum are dated back to 40 years ago, and include displays of traditional medicine, African mathematics, and alphabetic symbols. The museum also has some great exhibits of early African art. The natural-history side of the museum includes a few fascinating exhibits, particularly the fossil gallery, with evidence dating life back 300 million years, providing valuable insight into the now-barren Karoo; and the four-story whale well, hung with two whale skeletons. The museum is fun for all ages and is a great way of spending your day, especially if you are looking to do something affordable and out on the town.


Table Mountain

Table Moutain is a huge sculpted slab of shale, sandstone, and granite that rose from the ocean about 2500 million years ago. Table Mountain is Cape Towns most instantly recognized feature. The best view of the mountain is from Table Bay. There you can get some idea of the relative size of the mountain. With over 350 paths to the summit the mountain has over 1,470 species and plant varieties. You can ascend the mountain on foot or via cable car, and once there, spend a few hours or an entire day exploring. Have a fun day taking pictures and enjoying Mother Nature but beware of the giant hamsters called Dassie. These large, furry, rodent like animals are relatively tame, but they do bite.

By cable car: Cars depart every 15 minutes from the lower station (Tafelberg Rd.; tel. 021/424-5148) daily (weather permitting) between 8 and 8:30am until between 6 and 9pm, depending on the season. A return ticket costs between R75 and R105 ($9 and $13) for adults and R40 and 55 ($5 and $7) for children, depending on the season (free for children under 3). For guided hikes, contact Table Mountain Walks (tel. 021/715-6136). The Mountain Rescue number is tel. 10177.


Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens

 Address Rhodes Avenue (off the M5), Newlands
 Admission R18 ($2.35) adults, R5 (65¢) children 6-18. Concerts R30 ($3.75) adults, R10 ($1.30) children. Audio guides for self-guided tours (R30/$3.70). Specialized themed tours are offered monthly; call to see what's on. Golf-cart tours (R20/$2.60) depart every hour from 8am
 Hours Sept-Mar daily 8am-7pm; Apr-Aug daily 8am-6pm. Tours: Free guided garden walks every Tues at 9am and Sat at 11am; forest walk is Wed at 9am
 Phone 021/799-8899, 021/761-4916 on weekends

Located on the eastern slopes of Table Mountain, Kirstenbosch is the third-most-visited attraction in Cape Town, and is without a doubt one of the most beautiful gardens in the world. Over 8,000 of South Africa's 22,000 plant species (including a giant baobab tree) grow at the garden. Depending what season you go to the garden there are certain events that are worth going to. Summer sunset concerts are held every Sunday at 5:30pm from December to March and feature some of Africa's best acts. A walk through the garden is refreshing and the smell of the plants and flowers is invigorating. Tours are offered, but the best way to enjoy the garden is to get lost in it and experience it on your own pace.


Cape Town Travel Guides
 Frommer's Cape Town
 Lonely Planet Cape Town
 Let's Go Cape Town
 Fodors Cape Town