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Cape Town

The Best Views in Cape Town

Everywhere you look in Cape Town, you are bound to exclaim “Wow”, “Oooh” and “Look at that!”. This city is not considered one of the world’s most beautiful for no reason. The combination of stunning natural scenery and a vibrant, diverse culture makes it a visual treat in every way. But, in order to really take in the beauty of this unique African city you need to go up, up, up. Here, we’ve collected a list of amazing spots where you can take in the breathtaking views of Cape Town.

 

Table Mountain

Photo Credit: Damien du Toit

Yes, it may be a bit of a cliché but there is a reason why this is top of most tourists’ to-do list when in Cape Town. It just is that amazing. The unusually shaped Table Mountain is the backdrop to almost any activity you do in the city. This means your trip really won’t be complete until you’ve been to the top and felt what it’s like to stand on this ancient mountain.

Luckily, you can choose between several methods of getting to the top. For the fit and ambitious visitors with time on their hands, the hike to the top via Plattekloof is a rewarding experience. For the pressed-for-time or less energetic, the Table Mountain Cableway is a thrilling way to get to the mountain in a jiffy. It even rotates, so you get to see as much as possible en route.

Once at the top, take your pick of view points! There are so many fantastic views of Cape Town as you walk around the pathways at the top. You’ll count yourself lucky we are past the days of cameras with film and only a limited amount of frames.

 

Lion’s Head

Hiplets_Cape_Town_Views

Photo Credit: David East

If you use Instagram, chances are you will have seen an image from the top of Lion’s Head at some point in time. This hotspot for both locals and tourists is the perfect place to take a shot that brags about what an amazing holiday you are having, as well as how incredible you are for having made it to the top.

Lion’s Head may not be as tall as Table Mountain, but it does involve a lot of walking and some climbing with the use of ladders, so it’s not for the fainthearted. But the reward is waiting at the top, where you’ll take in the breathtaking views of the Cape Town City Bowl below you. Lion’s Head is also popular as an early morning sunrise hike, sunset spot and there are even hikers who brave the trip to appreciate the full moon.

 

Chapman’s Peak

View of Hout Bay from Chapman’s Peak. Photo Credit: Ben Crouch

A trip to Cape Town really isn’t complete unless you’ve been along Chapman’s Peak Drive, one of the most scenic seaside roads in the world. The road takes its name from the imposing mountain which the road hugs as it meanders above the crashing sea below. But once you’ve seen the view from the road, imagine how much better the view is from the top of the mountain!

It’s a long, winding way up and you’ll be exposed to both sun and wind, so it’s important that you dress appropriately. Along the way, you’ll see all sorts of interesting fynbos, the plant life native to this region of South Africa. And once at the top, you can climb onto the the very top boulders to take in the views of Noordhoek, Noordhoek Beach, Kommetjie Lighthouse and Hout Bay. It’s a truly extraordinary sight and more than makes up for the effort to get to the top.

 

Elephant’s Eye

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Photo Credit: Lindria Oosthuizen

And we’re staying with the views that take a bit of effort and sweat to get to. Elephant’s Eye is so named because it is a cave opening on a mountain which, with a bit of imagination, could be said to look like the head of an elephant. Regardless of whether this is a suitable name, there is no denying that this is a stunning place from which to appreciate the view of Cape Town’s southern suburbs below.

To get to Elephant’s Eye, you need to go to Silvermine Nature Reserve, a beautiful and rugged reserve which is usually less frequented by tourists than the locations closer to the city bowl. From Silvermine, you take the marked route to Elephant’s Eye cave, which should take about an hour to get to. The fern-clad cave will offer you some lovely shade and even lovelier views. Once you have made your way back to Silvermine, why not reward yourself for your efforts with a dip in the Silvermine reservoir?

 

Kirstenbosch Boomslang

Photo Credit: Lindria Oosthuizen

Boomslang means tree snake in Afrikaans but, hopefully, you shouldn’t encounter any snakes at this view point. The Kirstenbosch Boomslang is a tree canopy walkway created in the stunning botanical gardens of Kirstenbosch. Its long, winding shape through the trees has given it its name and it’s an entirely unique way to appreciate the splendor of the gardens.

This is one view point that is easy to access for all ages and fitness levels, so don’t hesitate to take the whole family. The rest of the gardens are really worth exploring, so throw in a picnic and make a day of it.

 

Cape Point

Photo Credit: Bas Leenders

For many visitors to this beautiful African city, it’s essential to see the view from the tip of the peninsula where Cape Town is placed. Although Cape Point is not the southernmost point of Africa, there is no doubt that you feel like you’ve made it to the end of the Earth as you gaze over the vast ocean.

Part of the pleasure of Cape Point is that the drive there will take you through a wild and unspoiled nature reserve full of wildlife. It essentially feels like a mini-safari on the outskirts of the city. If you’re lucky, you could see ostriches, various antelope, zebras, baboons and tortoises. Once you reach the car park at the view point, it’s a fairly short but steep walk up to the view point. There is also a little cable car which can take you up and down should you prefer the easy route. Once at the top, you are sure to be blown away by the view, literally and figuratively – it can get a tad windy! Cape Point also has a restaurant and a souvenir shop, so you don’t have to leave hungry or empty handed.

The Ultimate Active Holiday in Cape Town

After you first arrive in Cape Town, it doesn’t take long to realise that everyone is a bit sports mad. Wherever you go, you’ll see people out running, cycling, surfing, SUP’ing, kayaking, mountain climbing, paragliding and more. In short, everywhere you look you will find people in constant pursuit of that endorphin and adrenaline high.

Naturally, many visitors to Cape Town come for exactly this reason. The incredible natural surroundings of the city make it the perfect place for an active holiday, and the many yearly sporting events also draws its fair share of amateur athletes. Below, we’ve listed a selection of activities you can pursue to make your trip the ultimate active holiday.

Trail Running and Hiking

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Photo Credit: David East

In a city that has mountains as its backdrop, it’s not a surprise that any activity that takes advantage of this is first on our list of things to do in Cape Town.

For hiking, maybe the most popular route is to go to the top of Lion’s Head for the spectacular views of the city on one side and Camps Bay on the other. The view from up here is one of the most photographed in Cape Town, and in peak season the path can get crowded. However, just because so many use the route doesn’t mean it’s not a challenge, so make sure you prepare yourself.

Another popular hiking trail is going from the bottom of the cablecar station at Table Mountain and walking up Plattekloof Gorge to the top of Table Mountain. If that very long and steep hike hasn’t completely killed you off, you can hike back down the same way or you can choose the cablecar, a thrilling and fast way to get down. Just be sure to take some time to take in the gorgeous views from atop this ancient mountain first!

Less crowded hikes can be had up Chapman’s Peak between the Hout Bay and Noordhoek suburbs. Once you have winded your way up to the top, you’ll be treated with sweeping views of the beach below and the Kommetjie lighthouse at the end of it.

All of these hiking trails are also great for the avid trail runner, a sport which is really thriving in Cape Town. In addition, the Silvermine Nature Reserve has a multitude of trails that are perfect for hiking and running. We recommend the one that leads to the Elephant’s Eye cave – a perfect location for that Instagram-able shot!

Cycling

Jardim Secreto | Hiplets.com

Photo Credit: Jardim Secreto

Cycling is huge in Cape Town. Even the fearsome South-Easter wind can’t keep droves of dedicated cyclists off the road. This is also partly because of the road cycling race the Cape Town Cycle Tour, the largest timed cycling event in the world, which takes place in the city every year. This year will be the 40th, and 35000 cyclists are expected to take part in the 109km race.

An event like that obviously means lots of training and you can certainly see that from the many cyclists – on the streets and in the coffee shops – dotted all around the Cape Peninsula. If you are mad about cycling, we can’t think of a better route than Chapman’s Peak Drive, perhaps the most picturesque road in the world. Yes, there will be some steep climbing and some heart-stopping descents, but you will be rewarded with the most astonishing sea views on the one side and rugged mountainside on the other.

If you don’t feel comfortable cycling on your own, you could join a tour from Cape Cycle Tours, which caters to both road cyclists and mountain bikers.

Water Sports

Surfing in Cape Town

Photo Credit: Anja P.

Being surrounded by sea means there is no shortage of ocean lovers in the beautiful city of Cape Town – and no shortage of water sports! The most popular is without a doubt surfing, and there are plenty of spots to join in the fun on your active holiday, whether you are a novice or an experienced surfer.

Muizenberg Beach is a great place to start and it is packed with surf shops, coffee shops and restaurants. If you are just getting started, you may want to book a surf lesson with the Surf Emporium where the cheerful instructors will give you the skills and the confidence to hit the waves. You can also rent all the necessary gear there.

If you are more experienced, you may want to test out the surf at Kommetjie Beach, where the beach is also bound to be far less crowded. Just bear in mind that the water around Cape Town is very cold, so you’ll need to wear an appropriate wetsuit to keep the cold at bay.

Stand Up Paddleboarding, or SUP for short, is growing in popularity all over the world, and Cape Town is no different. A great place to try out this new sport on your active holiday is with SUP Cape Town who offer introductory lessons in the canals close the the V&A Waterfront. If you get hooked, you can even rent boards from them to use during your holiday.

If sitting down rather than standing up is more your thing, you could try sea kayaking with Kayak Cape Town. Based in the quaint seaside town of Simon’s Town, these tours will allow you to experience the water in a completely different way, while also getting a good upper body exercise. And, with a bit of luck, you’ll encounter penguins, whales and dolphins on your trip. It’s like an African safari at sea!

Adrenaline Highs

If all the activities listed already aren’t enough to get your blood pumping and your heart racing, we have some suggestions for adrenaline infused extreme sports you can do in Cape Town on an active holiday.

Paragliding is a very popular sport in Cape Town and the surrounding areas. The numerous mountains make perfect starting points for these adventures in the sky. Plus, with the option of signing up for tandem paragliding, even complete novices can experience the thrill of this sport. Using a starting point either at Lion’s Head or on Signal Hill, Cape Town Tandem Paragliding will allow you to see Cape Town from an entirely different angle. And if you add inflight video and photos, you truly will have memories that will last a lifetime.

Another option for that adrenaline rush is abseiling, as the mountains in Cape Town have plenty of vertical drops for you to abseil down. The most spectacular place to do this is probably from the top of Table Mountain with Abseil Africa. You can even combine a hike to the top of Table Mountain, as we described before, with an abseiling experience when you get to the top. The feeling you get when you descend down a sheer cliff like this is indescribable, it has to be experienced for yourself.

Finally, you can also make the most of the consistent winds in Cape Town and try your hand at kite surfing, a sport that is steadily growing in popularity. When the wind is really pumping, it’s an incredible rush to be out amongst the waves and feeling yourself being lifted into the air. High Five Cape Town offer kite surfing lessons and rentals, so you’ll be able to pick up all the important skills you need to master this extreme sport.

We hope this has given you some inspiration for an active holiday in Cape Town.  We know that making the most of what Cape Town has to offer will only make all that delicious South African wine and food taste so much better.