1. Venture into nature
It’s a three-hour hike to the flat summit of Table Mountain, 1,086m above sea level, or you can zip to the top in 10 minutes via the Aerial Cableway. Thrillseekers can abseil down a section of the mountain (above) or strap in for a tandem paraglide off nearby Signal Hill.
Spread over Table Mountain’s eastern slopes, Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden is the world’s first garden dedicated to indigenous flora. More than 7,000 species thrive here, including South Africa’s fynbos ecosystem.
(Related: 6 breath-taking destinations with no tourist crowds)
2. Artistic pursuits
Several designers have studios and boutiques in The Woodstock Exchange. A converted factory, it houses some of the city’s best galleries and street art.
Next to parliament, South African National Gallery hosts ever-changing exhibitions by African artists. In the nearby Fringe District, Truth Coffee is a steampunk cafe and bar resembling a sci-fi film set. First Thursdays is a monthly event that sees galleries and cultural attractions in the city stay open till late.
(Related: Art collection sketched by Nelson Mandela, painted by Tan Swie Hian up for auction)
3. By the seaside
Once a well-to-do Victorian seaside getaway, Muizenberg – about 25km from Cape Town – is today a slightly bohemian enclave popular with surfers and artists. Its family-friendly beach is dotted with huts in vibrant hues.
Nearby, Historical Mile is lined with fanciful old mansions, including Casa Labia (above), which was built by an Italian count and is now home to a cultural centre and gallery.
One of the Cape’s favourite attractions is the 3,000-strong African penguin colony on Boulders Beach. There’s a boardwalk to view the tuxedoed birds without disturbing them, and you can swim at one of the nearby coves.
4. Feast on flavours
Savour celebrated chef Luke Dale-Roberts’ experimental cuisine, paired with top-rated local wines, at The Test Kitchen (above).
Lunch at The Roundhouse epitomises the city’s laid-back sophistication. Dine on tapas, gourmet burgers and pizza in the partially wild gardens, with views of the ocean and Twelve Apostles mountain range.
In the Cape winelands, take a guided tour through the vegetable garden of Babylonstoren. The estate supplies organic produce to Babel, its farm-to-table restaurant.
(Related: Must visit for serious foodies – South Africa’s Cape Town)
5. Connect with history
Ferries from Victoria & Alfred Waterfront depart regularly for Robben Island, where Nelson Mandela served much of his 27-year sentence, before becoming the country’s first elected president in 1994. The island now houses a museum, which conducts tours of Mandela’s cell and a lime quarry where prisoners worked.
Above the city centre, on the slopes of Signal Hill, explore Bo-Kaap, an area lined with candy-coloured, Cape Dutch- and Georgian-style houses.
Near the Castle of Good Hope, the oldest surviving colonial building in the nation, District Six Museum (above) offers one of the best accounts of the city’s history.
Adapted from SilverKris.