A Cape Town travel guide – colonial architecture, botanical gems and outdoor activities

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With two oceans, one flat-top mountain and unique wildflowers, a Cape Town city break is rich in striking landscapes. But imposing architecture and a full cultural calendar means there’s also a world of manmade attractions to discover. Book a Cape Town hotel to find it all on your doorstep.

Out and about

Admire the Cape fynbos (fine bush) as music swells and picnic hampers are unpacked in Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens. The Company’s Gardens is a manicured park in the heart of the city, surrounded by museums and galleries. Hike one of the many trails to the top of Table Mountain for views of Robben Island, Cape Point and Table Bay. Cable car and helicopter rides are sweat-free alternatives. In Camps Bay, bikinis and wetsuits dominate the pristine beaches, while toddlers and joggers share the promenade at Mouille Point.

First-class dining

With first-class local produce, Cape Town caters for the appreciative eater. The Central Business District (CBD) and the V&A Waterfront serve refined international cuisine while Bo Kaap specialises in traditional Cape Malay curries. No-frills eateries and late nightclubs line Long Street. For deli food on the go and impressively good coffee Capetonians head to Giovanni’s in Green Point. Woodstock’s Neighbour Goods Market is an organic feast of wine, cheese, bread and meat.

History in architecture

Step into Cape Town’s history by soaking up the CBD’s architecture. A walking tour of the colonial era starts in Adderley and Long streets, decorated with Victorian lace-like ironwork, continues past St George’s Cathedral on Wale Street and ends at the Castle of Good Hope, one of the oldest Cape Dutch buildings in the city. Art Deco patterns enhance Greenmarket Square, home to a daily African market. For more historic flashbacks, visit the District Six Museum, Slave Lodge and Robben Island, Nelson Mandela’s former prison.