Image Alt

The Perfect 4-day Cape Town Itinerary

A wave crashing against a rock and Cape Town with the iconic Table Mountain in the background

The Perfect 4-day Cape Town Itinerary

Be prepared for a wild adventure around South Africa’s “Mother City” as we reveal the perfect 4-day Cape Town itinerary. From breathtaking viewpoints to unrivaled wildlife, Cape Town is sure to find a welcoming place in any traveler’s heart.

An aerial shot of Cape Town's coast with the words "4-day itinerary Cape Town, South Africa" superimposed

Cape Town

Nestled between the iconic Table Mountain and the azure waters of the Atlantic Ocean, Cape Town lures visitors with its diverse landscapes, rich history, and vibrant culture.

Hoping to see more of South Africa in the ultimate adventure? Check out our 3-week South African road trip itinerary which starts in Cape Town.

A sandy bay with bright blue ocean waves

Cape Town Itinerary: Day 1 – Nature

The most prominent feature of the city of Cape Town has to be Table Mountain, so we thought we’d kick things off with a nature day.

Table Mountain

Table Mountain towers proudly above the city at 3,563ft (1,086m). If you’re a keen hiker, then there’s no better way to experience this iconic mountain than getting your walking boots on and heading up on your own steam.

There are many different routes to the summit with varying difficulties. Due to adverse weather, we opted for one of the easier trails that takes you through Platteklip Gorge. It was simple enough to hike alone, or you can book a local guide if you’d prefer that option. The benefit of taking a guided tour is the local knowledge of Cape Town’s history as well as the flora and fauna.

We had planned to take the India Venster trail as it offers some unique photo opportunities, like a huge boulder wedged between two cliffs that you can stand on. However, with the terrible visibility and rain pouring, we figured it wouldn’t be the usual Insta-worthy view anyway!

A common thing to do, and the option we took, was a one-way hike up and then the cable car ride down. If you’re not up for climbing a huge mountain, then you can ride the cable car both ways and spend time at the summit, walking along the trails and – if the weather plays ball – enjoying the views.

A rock overhang with a woman walking on the path below

You have to keep an eye out for one of the cutest animals on the planet – the rock hyrax (or “Dassies” to the locals).

For a hassle-free experience, you can also book a combination of Hop-on Hop-off buses, cable car tickets, and a city walking tour.

Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden

To the east of Table Mountain’s summit, on the sloping hillside, you’ll find Kirstenbosch, South Africa’s biggest and best botanical garden.

Spanning over 1,300 acres and home to some 7,000 types of flowering plants, trees, shrubs, herbs, and ferns. Many of the species showcased here are rare and even endangered.

A highlight of the gardens is the ‘Boomslang’ canopy walkway – an enormous wooden bridge taking you through the treetops, offering panoramic views of Kirstenbosch and Table Mountain.

A boardwalk through a tree canopy

For nature and gardening enthusiasts, Kirstenbosch is a must-visit destination. But anyone looking to experience the diverse flora while enjoying breathtaking views of the city and natural landscape will certainly find it here.

Cape Town Itinerary: Day 2 – City and Culture

Renowned for its natural beauty, Cape Town is also a city with a rich history and culture.

Robben Island

One notably dark moment in South Africa’s troubled history was the apartheid regime, and Cape Town bears an infamous scar from this period – Robben Island.

Around 4 miles off the coast, this tiny island was used as a prison for political opponents and prominent anti-apartheid activists. The most notable inmate was Nelson Mandela, who was incarcerated here for over 18 years.

Today, the prison is a museum and one of the most interesting tourist destinations in Cape Town. The unbelievable part is that the tours are guided by ex-prisoners. They tell stories of the harsh conditions they were put under, the all-encompassing racism of the era, and the intellectual battle against apartheid.

A woman gazing towards Cape Town from the distant shore of Robben Island

Tickets for the trips sell out, sometimes days or weeks before, so be sure to book your Robben Island tickets in advance.

Interesting Fact: The name Robben is the Afrikaans word for seal, named for the large numbers that frequent its shores.

Victoria & Alfred Waterfront

The V&A Waterfront is the departure point to Robben Island, and the arrival point when you return. So, it’s convenient to spend some time here after the boat trip.

A waterfront with boats and a ferris wheel

It’s a busy area where groups and families meet and is home to dozens of shops, restaurants, cafes, and offers beautiful harbor views. Be on the lookout for the resident seals that come onto the boardwalks and piers to catch some rays. The V&A Waterfront is also home to the Two Oceans Aquarium, which showcases the marine life around the southern African coast.

If you have time to spare and are looking for more, the colorful streets of Bo-Kaap are close by. The area is known for its brightly painted houses and Malay heritage. There’s also the District Six Museum where you can learn more about apartheid.

Cape Town Itinerary: Day 3 – Cape Peninsula

The Cape Peninsula is the thin strip of land to the south of Cape Town. Not only is it the most southwestern point of South Africa, but in fact of the whole African continent. It’s a huge area to cover so we’ve split it over two days, one for the northern part and one for the point.

Hout Bay

Hout Bay is around a 30-minute drive south of the city and it’s famous for its huge colony of seals. An estimated 75,000 Cape fur seals live on the adjacent island, appropriately named Seal Island.

There are regular boat trips to get up close and observe the seals. Or if you’d prefer to get even closer there are snorkeling trips where you can get in the water with these magnificent creatures! If you’d prefer to stay dry, but still want to get up-close and personal, kayaking is also an option.

Book your seal snorkeling trip here.

Or book your seal kayaking trip here.

Chapman’s Peak Drive

Hout Bay is a convenient location to head to the iconic Chapman’s Peak Drive. It’s a scenic drive along a winding coastal road with incredible panoramic scenes. Widely known as one of the most beautiful drives in the world, this toll road is not one to be missed.

A wide angle shot from a car window along a coast road

The road clings to the cliffs of Chapman’s Peak Mountain, offering breathtaking views of the Atlantic Ocean and the surrounding landscape.

The road can occasionally be closed due to rockfalls, adverse weather conditions, or maintenance, so we’d advise checking beforehand if it’s open.

Cape Town Itinerary: Day 4 – Cape Point

The second day exploring the Cape Peninsula takes us to the southern end, known as Cape Point. For animal lovers, this area doesn’t disappoint, with a chance to see penguins, rock hyraxes, seals, and baboons.

Boulders Beach

This was probably our favorite thing on the whole itinerary and one of the best things to do in South Africa! Boulders Beach, outside Simon’s Town, is home to a large colony of African penguins.

A group of African Penguins on a sandy beach

There aren’t many places in the world to get up close with these delightful little birds, but Boulders Beach is one of the best.

An African penguin tilting head to the side in a closeup photo

On the theme of the world’s cutest animals, there’s another treat for visitors here – rock hyraxes!

Top Tip: If you’re not fed up with seeing seals (and honestly, we’re not sure how that’s possible, but there are some strange folk out there) then there’s a very good chance of seeing some huge, old males on the way to Boulders Beach. Head to the side of Harbour House Kalk Bay restaurant and look for them sunbathing on the rocks or playing in the water below.

Cape seals sunning on the rocky shore

Cape Point Nature Reserve

Cape Point Nature Reserve, in Table Mountain National Park, is an incredible destination near Cape Town. Standing on its rugged cliffs, looking out over the ocean, fills you with the wonderous feeling that this is the end of the earth. In some ways it is, you’d have to sail nearly 4,000 miles south from here before you saw land again!

This mostly untamed wilderness also features idyllic beaches and a rich variety of flora and fauna. Some highlights include the Cape Point Lighthouse, Cape of Good Hope, Buffels Bay, Diaz Beach, and Venus Pool.

Muizenberg Beach

Muizenberg Beach is a very popular beach on the eastern side of the cape – False Bay. The bay earned its name from early sailors who confused it for Table Bay nearer to Cape Town.

An aerial shot of a beach and town surrounded by large mountains
Colorful beach huts with a woman leaning on the balcony of one

Surrounded by mountains, with a long, golden sandy beach, and clean breaking waves, Muizenberg is a paradise for surfers and beach goers. The waterfront has a cool vibe with brightly colored beach huts and plenty of surf shops. If you want to rent a board or get a lesson, this is the place to do it.

Where to Stay in Cape Town

Cape Town has an abundance of choice when it comes to accommodation. It’s a little on the pricier side than some other South African cities and towns, but still quite cheap for US and European tourists.

Here are some options for any budget:

Affordable: The charming Tintagel Guesthouse with a cozy atmosphere, located in a serene setting, inclusive breakfast, and affordable nightly rates starting from $75.

Mid-Range: The Glen Boutique Hotel & Spa is one of our favorites in Cape Town and incredible value for money. Just a short drive from the city center in a quieter part of town, inclusive breakfast, with a pool and spa, and rates that start at around $170 per night.

Luxury (Option 1): Two very different options here, firstly the stylish POD Camps Bay which is further out of town but located right next to the beach. Boasting ocean views with modern design and nightly rates starting around $350.

Luxury (Option 2): Alternatively, if you’d prefer to be closer to town, the exclusive Labotessa Luxury Boutique Hotel in the heart of Cape Town’s historical center. Featuring opulent décor and personalized service. Rates start at around $500 per night.

Where to Eat in Cape Town – Vegan Options

We found eating out in South Africa very inexpensive, especially when you include alcoholic drinks. All of these restaurants serve meat, but they had excellent vegetarian and vegan options.

The small chain restaurants – Hudson’s The Burger Joint – are renowned for gourmet burgers with extensive toppings, dirty fries, and vibrant atmosphere. They also had craft beer and great cocktails.

Two gourmet burgers, dirty fries and drinks

The Fat Cactus is a lively Mexican-inspired restaurant offering tacos, burritos, nachos, and much more. They have a diverse tequila and cocktail menu, some of which are served in a glass skull.

For a more elegant setting, Kloof Street House located in a historic Victorian building, has a diverse menu, lush garden setting, and a sophisticated vibe, perfect for a romantic evening meal.

How to Get to Cape Town

Cape Town has excellent domestic and international flight connections via Cape Town International Airport.

Direct flights are available from major cities around the world. The other option, if it’s more convenient, is to fly to Johannesburg as Tambo International is the largest airport in the country. From there, regular cheap flights are available to Cape Town.

An aerial shot of Cape Town and the choppy shoreline

Getting Around Cape Town

By far the best and safest way to get around Cape Town is to rent a car and drive yourself. Cape Town can be a dangerous place especially at night, so it’s more convenient to be able to drive right to your destinations.

A view of Cape Town, Table Mountain, and Lion's Head from offshore

They do also have Uber in Cape Town, so if you fancy a drink with food, that’s always a good option.

We wouldn’t recommend walking around at night, but most of the center of Cape Town is safe in the day. It’s important to keep your belongings safe and avoid actions like getting your wallet and phone out if possible.

Cape Town FAQs

Why is Cape Town so famous?

Cape Town is renowned for its iconic landmarks like Table Mountain, diverse culture, and stunning coastal beauty.

Is Cape Town tourist-friendly?

Yes, Cape Town is very tourist-friendly, offering a range of attractions, activities, and welcoming hospitality.

What language is spoken in Cape Town?

English is widely spoken, along with Afrikaans and isiXhosa, reflecting the city’s diverse cultural heritage.

Is it expensive in Cape Town?

Compared to similar international cities, Cape Town is relatively affordable, offering various options for different budget ranges.

Is Cape Town safe?

Cape Town can be dangerous, exercise caution in certain areas, be aware of your surroundings, don’t get belongings out in the street, and avoid looking lost or confused.

Can I drink tap water in Cape Town?

Yes, Cape Town has a high-quality tap water system, and it is safe to drink straight from the tap.

Post a Comment