We wanted to have some panoramic views of Cape Town that included Table Mountain in the background, so we drove up to Signal Hill for sunset on one of the days.
At the end of our 22 day overland absolute Africa safari from Victoria Falls to Cape Town, we were left with a few days to explore this beautiful South African city. There was a lot to see in Cape Town, from nature and wildlife to history, from beaches and sports to shopping, there was something for everybody.
Table Mountain is the most iconic symbol of Cape Town and exploring the top of Table Mountain is one of the best ways to get panoramic views of the city. Although there are hikes up the mountain, we opted for the short cable car ride up. Or so we thought!
We got there mid afternoon and there was a two hour queue to take the cable car. We patiently waited our turn and in a bit over an hour and a half we were on our way up. The ride itself only took about 5 minutes. The inside of the car rotates so everyone gets a chance to see the beautiful panoramic views of Cape Town, specially by the no window section of the cabin.
We had a clear day with no cloud cover and the views were simply amazing. The combination of the city bowl, lion’s head, ocean and mountains nearby made it the perfect scenery.
At the top of the mountain, there are several trails taking you to many viewpoints, each with its own breathtaking views of the city. We spent over two hours exploring at the top.
We took a tour of Robben Island which served as a prison during the Apartheid period and is most famous for having Nelson Mandela as one of their prisoners.
A ferry takes you from the waterfront in Cape Town to the island and a bus ride with a guide takes you around the island. The guide shared a lot of the history of the island as well as stories from prisoners. The conditions and reasons why prisoners where on the island were truly gruesome. At the same time, the perseverance and hope that the prisoners had for a better country and world were utterly inspiring.
Sunset from Signal Hill
The drive up is very scenic and provides amazing panoramic views of the city, as well as the beaches and mountains. We stopped at one point to check out the view of the city with Table Mountain in the background, but what caught our attention was the beautiful view of Lion’s Head isolated and up close.
Chapman’s Peak Drive
Considered one of the prettiest and most scenic drives in the world, Chapman’s Peak Drive is just a short drive away from Cape Town. Its many turns and panoramic views were absolutely stunning and we stopped whenever we had a chance to look at the beaches, cliffs and mountains in the background.
Every turn provided you with a new perspective of the gorgeous coast and revealed new mountains. The drive definitely lived up to its fame.
Cape Point & Cape of Good Hope
Part of the Table Mountain National Park, Cape Point has incredible views of False Bay and the coast line of South Africa. There are many stops along the way, but two of our favorites were Buffel’s Bay and the boardwalk from Cape Point to Cape of Good Hope.
The beach at Buffel’s Bay was beautiful and the three mountains in the background lined up perfectly for a beautiful picturesque backdrop. The beach was also completely empty during our time there.
The boardwalk from Cape Point to Cape of Good Hope is probably one of the most scenic walks we’ve ever done. It was a short walk between both points and every step rewarded you with views of beautiful cliffs, green bush with wildflowers and the ocean. The boardwalk itself weaved through the cliffs and deserved to be photographed.
Our favorite view came from a detour on the trail that pointed to a viewpoint. It was quite cool to see the cliffs and the merge of the Indian and Atlantic Oceans.
African Penguins on Boulder’s Beach
Still on the Cape Peninsula is Boulder’s Beach. The beach itself is not the attraction here though, but the massive colony of African Penguins.
We walked along the boardwalk trail and there were a lot of penguins close to the trail net. They were sleeping, playing, cleaning up, etc. It was pretty cool to stand right next to them and admire their beauty and cuteness. We saw some young fuzzy ones that were so entertaining to watch.
Great White Shark Cage Diving
We couldn’t leave the city without experiencing an encounter with a great white shark. We went to Gansbaai, a town almost three hours away due to their population of great white sharks being higher than in False Bay, next to Cape Town.
A short boat ride into the bay and we were going down into the cages. It didn’t take long until a good number of bronze whaler sharks showed up. They weren’t great white sharks, but they were equally beautiful and large, at 3.5m of length.
At one point, our guide told us to look straight ahead and in the distance, we saw a massive shark come by, it was a great white, about 4m long. Looking into those predatory eyes will remain in our memories forever, although the whole encounter wasn’t scary at all. Sharks usually get portrayed as the bad guys, but they are actually quite docile creatures.
The cage diving wrapped up our time in Cape Town and from there we headed to Brazil for some family time.