60 Places to visit in Cape Town

60 Places

To visit in & around Cape Town

The fairest Cape in all the world” 

Sir Frances Drake • 1580
offers many interesting places to visit. 

Here are 60 worthwhile ones, both well known and less known.

Two Oceans Aquarium

The first aquarium open to the public in Cape Town was the small Marine Biological Research Station at St James established in 1912 but, by the end of the 20th century, the Mother City needed a modern aquarium. The dream of two brothers became a reality in 1995 with the opening of the Two Oceans Aquarium - one of the finest aquariums in the world, showcasing over 8000 unique marine creatures of the Atlantic and Indian Oceans. Location: Portswood Square, V&A Waterfront.

Location: Portswood Square, V&A Waterfront 

Information: 021 418 3823 www.aquarium.co.za 

Price: Varies for adults, children, SA pensioners  and students.  

Walking along the western flank of Lion’s Head, you will find a good outcrop of the Graafwater Formation just above the path on your right. Below the path (bottom left of the photo) you will see an outcrop of Cape Granite, which underlies this formation.

Relax with friends or family and enjoy a great picnic.

A panoramic view of the Garden showing the Main Pond (centre left) and the Cape Fold Mountains in the distance.

Stepping stones in the Dell

Scene from the Fynbos Garden

Colonel Bird’s bath is found in the Dell, the oldest part of the Garden.

From Gate 2, there is an impressive approach to the Garden, into which one is led through paved open spaces and stone steps forming an amphitheatre.

Some of the Flora & Fauna found in the Garden

King Protea Protea family

This is South Africa’s national flower. It is the largest Protea in the Protea family and is also known as the ‘king’ of the Cape Floral Kingdom.

King Proteas grow wild in the mountains of the Western and Eastern Cape.

Silver Tree Protea family

These trees, with their silky silver leaves, are

unique to the Cape Peninsula. The wild

population is half what it was 60 years ago.

They are rare and endangered. You can see them in the Peninsula Garden, the Fynbos Walk and Silvertree Trail.

Alice Notten, SANBI

Alice Notten, SANBI

Pincushion Protea family

There are 52 species of pincushion, most of which are found in the Western Cape. They make a rewarding garden plant. They can be

seen along the Fynbos Walk and in the Protea, Restio, Erica and Waterwise Gardens.

Alice Notten, SANBI

Whorled Heath Heath family

This species of Erica used to grow wild in the area between Rondebosch and Rondevlei but the spread of Cape Town’s suburbs caused it to die out by the early 1900s. It was saved from extinction and now can be seen in the Garden of Extinction and Erica Garden flowering between November and February.

Alice Notten, SANBI

Albertina Thatching Reed 

Restio family

The stems of this species are used for thatching roofs in the Cape tradition. Restios, reed-like perennials, show a great diversity of form. Some are as small and light as grasses and others resemble bamboo. See them in the Restio Garden, Fynbos Walk and the Useful Plants Garden.

Alice Notten, SANBI

Wild Almond Protea family

It grows wild at Kirstenbosch and is famous for being the species used by Jan van Riebeeck for his hedge in 1660. See these trees at Van Riebeeck’s Hedge, at the top of the Concert Lawn and edge of the Arboretum.

Alice Notten, SANBI

Red Disa Pride of Table Mountain Orchid family

This is the emblem of the Western Cape and is endemic to this region. Disas can be seen in flower in the Conservatory Bulb House from February to March. In the wild, they are found near streams and on mossy cliffs.

Alice Notten, SANBI

Krantz Aloe Asphodel family

This From May through July, the Krantz Aloe bears flowers of bright orange or yellow. Aloes and many other succulent plants can be seen in the Conservatory, Vygie garden, Mathews Rockery and the Koppie. 

Alice Notten, SANBI

White Namaqualand Daisy Daisy family

Spring is when the Namaqualand daisies put on their annual show of colour. In addition to white, these daisies come in shades of peach, yellow, blue, orange, mauve and purple. See them in the Annual Beds, Peninsula Garden and on the Koppie.

Alice Notten, SANBI

Wood’s Cycad Cycad family

This species is extinct in the wild; only 500

survive in botanical gardens and nurseries

around the world. It can be found in the Cycad Garden just above The Dell. Its base is protected from Cycad thieves by a metal cage. 

Alice Notten, SANBI

Lesser Double-collared Sunbird

These small, brightly coloured birds are natural to Kirstenbosch and visit proteas, pincushions, aloes, tube-flowered heaths and similar plants to

feed on nectar. The Orange-breasted Sunbird, with its purple collar, and the green Malachite Sunbird, can also be seen in the garden. 

Alice Notten, SANBI

The Helmeted Guineafowl

These are common in Africa south of the Sahara, but strangely did not appear in the Western Cape prior to 1900. They can invade picnics and become quite aggressive during breeding season. Stay clear and do not feed them.

Alice Notten, SANBI

Caracal (rooikat • African Lynx)

This is a medium-sized wild cat native to Africa, the Middle East, Central Asia, Pakistan and northwestern India. It weighs about 8–19 kg and can reach a height of 40–50 cm at the shoulder.

At one time, it was rare to see one on Table Mountain but, with the introduction of the Urban Caracal Project, a lot more have been sighted.

Alice Notten, SANBI

For more information

www.sanbi.org (click on Kirstenbosch)

Join the Kirstenbosch family

Become a member of the Botanical Society of SouthAfrica

Tel: 021 797 2090    •   info@botanicalsociety.org.za

Editing: Shelley Brown and Shelley Woode-Smith

Thanks to Alice Notten for photographs and information

© Richard Smith  • 9th edition, 2023  •  Gateway Guides

Richard Smith

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© Richard Smith • Gateway Guides • 2023

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