Best Cape Town Tours | 12 Day Excursions You Can’t Miss

Cape Town Tours

What do you think of when you think of a city? Do you think of tall grey buildings, zooming transportation, and people rushing to their next meeting? You’re not wrong, but Cape Town offers something a little different. You can find these with the best Cape Town tours in town.

The city has everything for every traveler, from the laid-back wine lover to the adrenaline-seeking ATV rider.

Find the best time to visit Cape Town and start planning your trips with these Cape Town tour packages below.

12 Top Tours in Cape Town

The Cape of Good Hope has many activities and historical sites to explore. If you’re looking for Cape Town guided tours, you’ll be hard-pressed to find any better.

1. Free Walking Tour

One of the best (and cheapest) ways to get to know any city you’re in is to take a free walking tour. Typically, you can download an audio guide on your phone and walk a city at your own pace.

In the case of Cape Town, you can save a little of your battery life because you can find a guide walking the city 365 days of the year. Starting at 9:30 am, Free Walking Tours Cape Town will have a local guide armed with bright green umbrellas chaperone you from one historic highlight to another.

Tour highlights include a walk through the lively neighborhood of  Bo-Kaap, an exploration of the Slave Lodge, and an educational tour of District Six. These tours aim to educate visitors about the city’s tale weaved together through decades.

No bookings are needed. All you need to do is join, but tips are welcome.

Cape Town walking tour

2. Waterfront Boat Tour

Set sail on a Waterfront boat trip to see the entirety of the astonishing two oceans. There are a few things to do in the V&A, but this one is the best for ocean lovers.

This Waterfront sunset and champagne cruise is a leisurely way to see the harbor and seas with a glass of bubbly in hand. Sailing across Milnerton Lighthouse and Robben Island’s coastline has never looked more breathtaking than with the warm sun slowly setting in the background.

The City Sightseeing harbor cruise is another great boat trip to take within the city. You’ll float past a few resident seals, learn more about the city through an audio guide, and see a few hidden gems.

Tip: You can also use the City Sightseeing Harbour Cruise as a water taxi to transport you to different areas in the city.

Cape Town tour of the Waterfront

3. Excursions to Cape Town’s Table Mountain

Table Mountain is one of the seven wonders of the natural world and possibly Cape Town’s biggest attraction. You can be one of its million annual visitors with this Table Mountain cable car, hop-on, hop-off bus tour.

This tour is a great all-in-one tour as it helps you explore the city center, the Bo-Kaap, and a few museums. These museums, like the Slave Lodge and Iziko Museum, tell a deeper story of South Africa’s history and lend a great understanding of its people. You’ll also get to stop and explore the 15th-century Castle of Good Hope and learn of its ghostly past.

Of course, the day’s highlight is the included cable car ride 3494 feet (1065 meters) above sea level to the top of this flat mountain. The entire way up is an awe-inspiring trip as you rise above the vegetation, city, and eventually, the city.

Note: As you can guess, Table Mountain gets its name from its flat top. When clouds curve over it and hug the top, we Saffas call it its tablecloth. When this happens, it is very chilly on the mountaintop, so bring a jacket.

Cape Town tour of Table Mountain

4. Boulders Beach

Did you know that Africa has penguins? There are only about 10,000 penguin pairs in South Africa, and they could all be extinct by 2035. That is why Boulders Beach is making a concerted effort to preserve these cuddly birds.

Boulders Beach is in Simon’s Town, a short 45-minute drive from Cape Town, but with this Penguin Encounter on Boulders Beach, you won’t have to worry about transportation. You’ll get picked up from your hotel from where you’ll have two hours to spend among these cute birds. Or, if you have a car, we suggest you take the scenic route through Chapmans Peak, one of Cape Town’s most beautiful roads.

Penguin on Cape Town tour

5. Robben Island

Robben Island holds great significance to South Africans because it was the place where the country’s first democratically elected black President was imprisoned for 18 years.

This Robben Island tour includes a boat trip from the V&A Waterfront and a museum entrance ticket. On the island, you’ll get to see Nelson Mandela’s prison cell, where he worked each day, and how prisoners lived. While the prison is the main attraction on the island, there are a few other sites to see, too.

These sites include the Penguin Boardwalk, the Kramat Shrine, Leper Cemetery, and Limestone Quarry. After you’ve checked all of these out, don’t forget to stop by the gift shop to commemorate your long walk to freedom.

Interesting fact: Typically, you’ll see yellow frames all over Cape Town pointing to Table Mountain. On Robben Island, it is a blue frame!

Cape Town tour Robben Island

6. Day Tour to Cape Town’s Bo-Kaap (Malay Quarter)

Cape Town’s Bo-Kaap is especially popular with foreign tourists because of its welcoming and bright rainbow-colored houses. This sea of colors is a way of expression for the locals, and you’ll sometimes see even a few murals nearby, too.

This walking tour with a Bo-Kaap local is the best way to learn more about the people and their eye-catching homes. You’ll hear the origin of the area, tales of the enslaved Cape Malays, and personal stories of the locals. On the tour, you’ll also see one of the oldest mosques in South Africa, Auwal Mosque, as the area has a large Muslim community.

Local rooibos tea, coffee, and a snack are included, but we recommend you have lunch at Biesmiellah Restaurant right up the main street. This cozy eatery serves traditional Halal South African meals that tourists and locals love.

Tip: You can also take this self-guided audio tour to see the streets at your own pace.

Cape Town tour of the Bo-Kaap

7. Wine Tasting Excursions from Cape Town

South Africa is still young compared to wine-giant countries like Italy, France, and Spain. But that doesn’t mean it can’t hold its own. The nation has won countless awards for its innovative wines. So, it would be a shame to miss a wine-tasting tour while in the Cape.

About a one-hour drive from Cape Town is the quiet town of Franschhoek, well-known for its exquisite wines and fine dining restaurants. By taking this hop-on hop-off wine tram tour, you can potentially visit about 17 wine farms in the Franschhoek area from Cape Town.

During the eight-hour excursion, we got to explore, eat, and, of course, taste local wines at these prestigious farms. The tram rotations are every 60 minutes, so you’ll have enough time to explore. We recommend you eat at least one meal throughout the day and remain hydrated with plenty of water.

Note: The last tram leaves the farms at 4:45 pm.

Cape Town tour to Franschhoek

8. Cape Town Townships

Vising the top tourist attractions is a wonderful way to learn more about the Cape, but to really delve into its culture and people, you’ll have to dig a bit deeper. You can do so by visiting Cape Town’s many townships. The three biggest are Gugulethu, Langa, and Khayelitsha.

This half-day township tour takes you through Gugulethu, Langa, and District Six alongside a cultured guide. Through them, you’ll see the inner workings of the people of District Six who were forcefully removed from their homes in the 1970s Apartheid regime.

From there, you’ll move on to the oldest township in the city, Langa, which was constructed more than a century ago. Take your time to meet and greet the locals and hear the stories of their everyday lives.

Lastly, it’s time to see Gugulethu to visit the Gugulethu Seven Memorial erected to commemorate seven brave activists in the township. Each memorial holds a silhouette of the young anti-apartheid group who fought for freedom and died here.

Cape Town tour of townships

9. Cape Town Helicopter Tour

If you’ve been in Cape Town for a while, chances are you’ve seen pretty much everything that needs to be seen. So, why not see it from an angle you haven’t before?

This helicopter tour of the Atlantic Coast is one of the perfect Cape Town excursions for someone who’s seen it all. For 20 minutes, get swept up and fly over the city, its neighborhoods, and its beaches and see how everything beautiful comes together.

On your thrilling ride, you’ll see popular landmarks like the Waterfront, Lion’s Head, Robben Island, and the Twelve Apostles. As you fly, your pilot will drop some informative commentary on the areas to give you better insight into what you see.

After, you’ll stop at your starting point at the Waterfront. We recommend you stay to grab a delicious bite to eat at one of the top restaurants in the V&A Waterfront to end this day tour in Cape Town properly.

Cape Town tour helicopter view

10. Atlantis Dunes

Still haven’t had enough excitement? How about a quad biking and bumper ball tour in the Atlantis dunes? With over 10 square miles of white dunes, you’ll have more than enough space to ride it out, pulling all kinds of tricks and speeds.

The tour is only one hour long, so make sure to enjoy every moment of it. Before it’s time to head back home, you’ll move into the second phase of fun.

With your last bit of energy, enjoy a fun and giggling-inducing game with friends using bumper balls — large inflatable balls worn on your body. This Cape Town trip will surely have your heart pumping, stomach muscles aching, and legs shaking with adrenaline and laughter.

Cape Town tour quad bumper ball

11. Marine Big 5 Safari from Cape Town

Joining a safari is nothing new in South Africa. It is home to the Big Five, after all. But Cape Town does things a little differently. This beautiful city is along the shore, so over here, we have a marine safari instead.

South Africa’s marine big 5 are African penguins, great white sharks, bottlenose dolphins, Cape fur seals, and southern right whales. If conditions are right, you can see them all on this marine wildlife tour leaving from the V&A Waterfront.

Remember to bring your camera and sunscreen because you’ll spend the day on a boat looking for whales, sunfish, and dolphins. If you’re lucky, you might even see the magic of dolphin pods breaching up close. What better way to spend the day than with Table Mountain and Robben Island in the backdrop and bright blue water and sea creatures before you?

Cape Town Tours marine big five

12. Cape Town Street Art Walking Tour

Yes, Cape Town is a metropolis, but that doesn’t mean it can’t add a touch of color. Just outside the city center, the city has thousands of artists hailing from and still living in it. This is evident from the hundreds of street murals painted across its buildings.

You can see these murals in almost every city area, but they are most concentrated in Salt River and Woodstock. Of course, you can have a scavenger hunt with your camera to find the most unique murals, but having a local guide is the best way to see them all.

This street art walking tour allows you to explore the city’s beauty alongside a local guide who can point out the hidden gems. Each painting is unique, with some more abstract while others are painted to convey a message. The murals are an ever-revolving door that changes faces and locations often, so you can take the tour more than once.

Cape Town tour graffiti

Why You Should Take a Tour of Cape Town Wrapped Up

You won’t have to look far to find the best Cape Town day tour, but with such a saturated market, it’s difficult to know which is worth your time and money. Thankfully, we’ve gathered all the city tours worth every penny.

If you want a culturally enriching experience, consider a trip to Cape Town’s townships or the colorful Bo-Kaap. The people are extremely friendly and are eager to showcase their neighborhoods to anyone willing to learn.

But, if you’re more adventurous, you might enjoy a tour of Atlantis’ dunes on a quad bike or Cape Town from a bird’s eye view from a helicopter. Of course, we can’t forget about all the city’s coastal gems. There are ample opportunities to explore its shores, penguins, and marine life, too.

You are spoiled for choice. So, which tour are you joining first?

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