With so much to see and do in Cape Town, you could spend a good week or two trying to explore all that this beautiful city has to offer. But what do you do if you’ve only got 24 hours and want to experience Cape Town in the most authentic way possible? Luckily, we’ve compiled a list covering the best of the best of Cape Town, from food to places to visit, that will help you make the most out of your 24 hours.
Hike up Table Mountain
Cape Town is most well-known for its outdoor culture and stunning mountain views, and for good reason. Start your day off with a gorgeous hike up the incredible Table Mountain, breathing in the fresh air and views overlooking the main city and the stunning South African coast. Table Mountain is Cape Town’s most well-known destination for hikes, boasting a vast network of trails ranging in difficulty, time, and lengths to suit all of your hiking needs.
If you really want to make the experience even more scenic, why not plan a hike up for sunrise where you can watch the city slowly wake up as you ascend up the mountains? Alternatively, if you want to reach the peak quickly, catch a cable car that goes right to the mountain top from the Table Mountain Aerial Cableway Station.
Some other honourable mentions where you may want to plan your hike include:
- Lion’s Head
- Cape Point
- Jonkershoek Nature Reserve
Explore the Woodstock & Bo-Kaap Neighborhoods
After you’ve made your way through some hiking trails, you’re probably hungry for food, and lots of it! Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered. After your hike, go and explore Cape Town’s “hip” food scene at Woodstock, just a 20 minute drive away, where you can wander through the vibrant graffiti scene while stopping by local quaint restaurants for a bite to eat.
Next, drop by one of Cape Town’s most distinctive neighbourhoods, Bo Kaap, which can be easily recognized by the colourful array of buildings.
A side note about the history: the Bo Kaap area was previously occupied by slaves from Malaysia but after the emancipation of 1834, liberated slaves took residence here and the bright colours painted on the buildings represent liberation for the people who occupied the space.
Learn about Cape Town’s History at Greenmarket Square
Next, walk over to Greenmarket Square, which was built in 1696 and has been the home to a various markets in the past, and currently, a flea market offering a range of local African souvenirs and crafts. Browse through the markets, learn about the different events that shaped this particular area of Cape Town, and maybe even pick up an item or two to look back on fondly of your trip here and to help support the livelihoods of the locals who live here.
After you’ve filled yourselves up with food and fuel for the rest of the day, what better way to start your afternoon than experiencing not just any regular beach, but the incredible Boulders Beach most well known for their unique residents – an African colony of penguins native to the area!
You can view these creatures at the viewing platform and learn about them more at the visitors centre. And if you have time to spare before or after, you can also visit the South African Naval Museum located close by or go on a boat trip to see the whales, sharks and, of course, penguins.
Dine & Experience Afro-culture at Long Street
Lastly, end your day by winding down with some food and drink at Cape Town’s Long Street, a culture-rich area that comes alive at night with African Kwaito music beats and late night tunes.
All in all, even with only 24 hours to spend in this beautiful city, the joy is in the experience. So take your time wandering around the city getting lost, and customize your itinerary so you can travel at your own pace and make the most out of your trip. After your time here, we can guarantee you’ll leave wanting to come back soon enough! Have fun exploring Cape town and safe travels!