As one of the most thoroughly modern cities on the entire continent of Africa – and one of the most cosmopolitan cities on the entire planet – Cape Town, South Africa is a splendid port of call to enjoy on any cruise. Thanks to its European flair – Dutch and German settlers first started coming here during the 17th century – it is easy to forget that you’re even in Africa when you stop in Cape Town. However, this region has a rich tribal history and there are plenty of opportunities to learn more about it when visiting. From the majestic expanse of Table Mountain to the dark history behind Robben Island, Cape Town is a multifaceted – and fascinating – port of call.
Sightseeing & Things To Do
With its rich history, vibrant city life and compelling cultural and natural attractions, Cape town is positively brimming with great things to see and do. Whether you want to learn more about apartheid in South Africa, check out some African penguins, enjoy a stunning view from Table Mountain – or just immerse yourself in exceptional dining and shopping opportunities – Cape Town is one port of call that you won’t want to miss out on.
There are a myriad of different ways to pass the time while in Cape Town. Consider including one of these key attractions with your visit:
At an elevation of 3,563 feet, Table Mountain is one of the most dominating sights in Cape Town. Cable car rides to the top of this lofty peak are immensely popular, and are a quick and easy way to enjoy a truly stunning view of the large metropolis below. More adventurous types may wish to climb the steep path to the top, which takes an average of two hours.
The Cape Peninsula
There are several different ways to enjoy the Cape Peninsula. Be sure not to miss the penguins at Boulders Bay. You could also stop for a nice picnic at Cape Point. Otherwise, there are four different beaches to stop by along the way; one of them might be just the thing you’re looking for during your visit.
Located just off the coast of Cape Town, Robben Island is a must-see attraction for history buffs, and for those who just want to learn a bit more about the history of apartheid in South Africa. During those dark years, Robben Island is where political prisoners – including Nelson Mandela – were held. Many of the tour guides here were once prisoners themselves, offering you a truly unique and incredible opportunity to hear about what it was like here during Cape Town’s apartheid years.
Two Oceans Aquarium
Conveniently located right within the Victoria & Alfred Waterfront, the Two Oceans Aquarium is a wonderfully modern facility where you can see – and learn more about – a vast array of different aquatic creatures. This is also a perfect place for any family to include during a cruise stop at Cape Town.
The best place to shop in Cape Town is conveniently located right near where most cruise ships dock. The Victoria & Alfred Waterfront is a great spot to find a wide array of local items at bargain prices. If you are in the mood for a bit of haggling, head over to the Greenmarket Square, where you can negotiate for deals with a large number of different local craftsmen.
Best Souvenir To Bring Back To the Cruise Ship
Although Cape Town is well known for its gold and its diamonds, such things may be beyond the financial means of many visitors. Instead, pick up a chicken made out of a plastic bag; these crafts can be purchased from Rastafarians all around Cape Town.
Eating – Sample the Local Cuisine
Dining in Cape Town is always an exceptionally delicious experience. When in season, the oysters in this port of call are to die for. Another great option is sampling a bit of the local Cape Malay cuisine. If you’d like to try a really authentic local dish, look for bobotie. Bobotie consists of minced meat that is seasoned with apricots, raisins and brown sugar, and it is truly delectable. Try out samosas, too, if you’re in the mood for a genuine South African dining experience. Those who would rather stick to more familiar fare will find plenty of options within the Victoria & Alfred Waterfront.
When, Where, and How
When To Go
Most experienced travelers would agree that the best time to visit Cape Town is between January and March. There are less crowds at this time, and the weather is temperate but not overly windy – which can be an issue during other parts of the year.
Where You’re Docked
Most of the major cruise ships dock in Table Bay Harbour. This is convenient, since Table Bay Harbour is within easy walking distance to Victoria and Alfred Waterfront, where many of the key sights can be enjoyed.
Which Cruise Ships Go Here?
Most of the major cruise lines have itineraries that include stops at Cape Town. A few of the most popular cruise lines that stop here are Silversea Cruises, Holland America, and Regent Seven Seas. However, there are hundreds of choices in terms of dates, ships, days at sea and in port when it comes to Cape Town.