Cape Town, South Africa

A must-see destination on any African cruise itinerary, Cape Town is one of the world’s most iconic city’s, characterised by its sprawling dramatic landscapes, vibrant culture and wonderful wildlife.

6 hours in… Cape Town

On your first visit to Cape Town, you’ll have to choose which side of this famous region you’d like to experience the most – its fascinating history or its incredible natural beauty – as you’ll usually not have enough time to truly make the most of both.

Stunning view across Cape Town

Stunning view across Cape Town

If it’s history you’re interested in, then a trip to Robben Island is essential. Situated off the coast of Cape Town, this tiny islet was used to detain political prisoners including Nelson Mandela during apartheid. Elsewhere across the city, a guided tour will take you some of Cape Town’s most historically and culturally significant landmarks, including The Castle of Good Hope, Rhodes Memorial and South African Parliament, alongside a host a intriguing museums.

When it comes to natural beauty, Cape Town is a truly one-of-a-kind destination. You could head to the iconic Table Mountain for spectacular views across the beautiful landscape, or travel a short distance outside of the city to one of several wonderful nature reserves, where you’ll be able to observe incredible fauna in its natural habitat, including the Big Five game animal – African lions, Cape buffalo, African leopards, white or black rhinoceroses and African elephants.

Been before?

Although I’m sure the wine connoisseurs among you will have made this a priority on your first trip to Cape Town, the region’s wine culture and local vineyards are well worth experiencing, even if you don’t know your shiraz from your merlot. The areas surrounding Cape Town – known as the Cape Winelands – are renowned wine growing regions, providing a great number of famous vintages.

The beautiful vineyards of Cape Town

The beautiful vineyards of Cape Town

Tour the captivating wine estates around stunning Constantia Valley, or take a trip to Stellenboch, Paarl and Franschhoek, each of which is celebrated for its wine culture and heritage. Most wineries across the Cape Winelands also offering tasting sessions for an additional charge, offering wine-lovers the perfect excuse to sample the local tipple.

Can’t keep away?

So you’ve learnt the history, observed the wildlife and experienced the wine culture in and around Cape Town and you think there’s nothing left for you to enjoy? You couldn’t be more wrong! Cape Town is still brimming with new experiences and fascinating attractions. You could head out on a diving adventure in the ocean waters offshore – or even a shark cage experience! Alternatively, why not spend a day sampling local food and drink at the city’s many excellent restaurant, or shopping for souvenirs at one of many bustling marketplaces and stylish boutiques. Just remember, there’s always something new to experience in Cape Town.

Don’t even bother!

As in any major city, it is important to keep your wits about you when walking through Cape Town especially in the evening. Keeping to prearranged shore excursion with your cruise line is the best way to avoid getting lost or wandering down the wrong street, but if you are determined to explore on your own, make sure you have a plan beforehand and know exactly where you want to go, especially if you only have a limited amount of time in the city.

Emma Smith
Emma has more than seven years' experience as a writer and has been in the travel industry for nearly five years. She loves learning about new places and cruise ships coming to market, as well as discovering fun and exciting activities to do while you sail. She has cruised with Princess Cruises, Cunard, Celebrity Cruises, Virgin Voyages, Avalon Waterways and Royal Caribbean and is looking to get something in her diary for 2024! Her favourite things to see on a ship include excellent entertainment, a delicious cocktail menu and extraordinary dining venues.

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