This half-day tour will take you through the city center of Cape Town, starting off with the majestic Table Mountain. From there, you’ll make a stop in the Malay Quarter, City Hall, Castle of Good Hope, Company’s Garden, and Cape Town Diamond Works. The tour will give you a fantastic introduction to the city, as it starts you off with the main attractions you have to see.
- Price (per person) – from US$38.70
- Duration – 4 to 5 hours including hotel pick-up and drop-off
- Tour Departure Time – 8:00am, depending on the season
- Pick-Up Place – your centrally-located hotel
- Pick-Up Time from Hotel – 8:00am to 8:30am
- Group Size – small; we were seven on the tour plus the tour guide-driver, making us eight on the minibus
- Not Included in the Price – Food & Tickets for Table Mountain (R360 / approximately US$25)
First on the agenda is probably the most iconic landmark in Cape Town, as this UNESCO World Heritage Site trails through the city and can be seen from almost every corner of the town centre given its magnitude. The views on the drive up are breathtaking in itself with stunning vantage points of the city.
Upon arrival at the Cableway, you’ll be greeted by Lion’s Head (the neighboring smaller mountain that sits beside Table Mountain, which we actually hiked up a few days later – more about this on a separate post) and Signal Hill.
A quick tip for you to save time lining up is to purchase tickets online via this link; you will still have to line up to go on the actual Cable Car that’ll take you up to the summit of Table Mountain, but it will allow you to skip the line to buy tickets. Prices for adults are as follows:
- Morning Entry (08:00-13:00) – R360 / approximately US$25
- Afternoon Entry (13:00 till close) – R300 / approximately US$20
For more details about ticket prices & operating hours, visit this link.
Though it took us a tad bit longer than usual to queue, as we arrived during morning peak hours, it was well-worth the trip. This, even considering that we only had 30 minutes to stay at the summit & it was incredibly cloudy upon getting to the top, so we had no views of the city at all – not a joke, LOL. Nevertheless, the landscapes were fantastic.
We were thinking of going back during the latter part of our trip when it wasn’t as cloudy, but we got absolutely stunning views of the city during our hike up Lion’s Head (again, more on this in another post), that we decided not to! We wished we had more time on Table Mountain though, but that just means we’ll have to do that once we get to go back, right?
Just as you haven’t been to Paris if you hadn’t seen the Eiffel Tower or to Rome if you hadn’t seen the Colosseum, you might as well have missed-out on Cape Town if you skipped on Table Mountain; so make sure you don’t miss out on this majestic landmark!
Malay Quarter | Bo-Kaap
Next on our itinerary is the Malay Quarter that sits by the slopes of Signal Hill. Standing as one of the oldest parts of the city, there’s a particular area called Bo-Kaap that has retained its historical intricacies. These colorful houses were decorated by the owners as the apartheid ended in celebration of individuality & freedom. Not only pleasing to the eyes, but warming to the heart as well.
Cape Town City Hall
The beautifully-structured Cape Town City Hall dates back to 1905, housed on the Grand Parade. Although it is called the City Hall, government offices have since moved to the Cape Town Civic Centre, and it now is used as a venue for events for the arts & culture.
In July 2018, a statue of Nelson Mandela, a recipient of the 1993 Nobel Peace Prize and the first post-apartheid president of South Africa, was erected on the balcony of the City Hall. It was a representation of his polarizing speech after his release in February 1990 after 27 years in prison.
Castle of Good Hope
During this trip, you get a few minutes to quickly see the Castle of Good Hope, a 17th century fort that is now a heritage site.
The next stop on the tour is Company’s Garden, this green oasis & an escape from the hustle and bustle of Cape Town, that I wish we had returned to during the trip. Originally from the mid-1600s and now a heritage site, it offers quite a number of things to do & see, such as a rose garden, a fish pond, a restaurant, museums, and so on.
If I were to go back to Cape Town, which I know I will one day, I’ll definitely give the Company’s Garden a visit once again to see more of it, and probably visit Iziko South African Museum, pictured below.
Cape High Court | Benches
On the way to our final stop, we drove past the Cape Town High Court along Queen Victoria Street, that retained it’s only “White” and “Non-White” benches in the city that unfortunately became a reality in 1953, as cruel as it sounds; but this retention is not to continue on with this disgusting practice, but to remember what not to continue. It was a heart-wrenching end to the tour, but it reminded me of the quote by George Santayana, which I first saw in Auschwitz-Birkenau in Poland that read: “Those who do not learn history are doomed to repeat it.” It was an eye-opening introduction to what we were about to learn about the country’s history in the days to come.
Cape Town Diamond Works | End of the Tour
The final stop on the tour was to learn all about how diamonds in the rough are mined, cut, and polished; we also got time to browse through the pieces on sale in Cape Town Diamond Works, although I didn’t get to take a photo. Instead of getting dropped-off in our hotel, which was actually nearby, we asked to be dropped off at the V&A Waterfront instead. The great thing about having a half-day tour is you get to do so much in the morning, and yet still have more to do after lunch, like we did, namely: have late lunch in V&A Waterfront Food Market and visit Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden – both of which became favorites on the trip; but again – more on that in another post.
Obvious as it is, we had a fantastic time on this tour, and it was a great glimpse to Cape Town that allowed us to list the places (and even restaurants) we definitely wanted to visit during the rest of our stay. Fortunately, this was the first tour we did in South Africa – only three days in the city, and I highly recommend that if you were to take this tour, do the same and go on this half-day trip at the beginning of the whole trip! I promise, you won’t regret it! I know I didn’t…