If Cape Town isn’t on your bucket list, this is your sign to add it! I got to visit Cape Town for the first time in December 2022. Cape Town is a popular tourist destination, especially during the summer. This post goes over what to do in Cape Town in summer.
Table Mountain surrounds this port city on South Africa’s southwest coast. Cape Town reminds me of California, with various things to do. From sandy beaches to endless hiking and delicious food to fun nightlife, there is a little bit of everything for every type of traveler. Summer starts in December in Cape Town, making it a delightful and popular time to explore the city!
See my post on How to Plan a Trip to Cape Town!
See below for what to do in Cape Town in Summer!
Find a coffee shop
Coffee in Cape Town was some of the best coffee (and teas) I’ve ever had. It was nice to start my morning with a delicious latte, fresh croissant, and cheese. There are plenty of coffee shops in Cape Town, and most have a hipster vibe. You’ll find people catching up or working in these quaint coffee shops.
Truth Coffee Shop – A quirky cafe with home-roasted coffee and food items. The interior is decorated with pipes and old metal.
The Strangers Club – This tree house cafe has notable classics and a retail store connected where you can browse while waiting.
Brunch in Sea Point
The food was delicious in Cape Town. Everything tasted fresh and healthy. Good food meant brunches were another great way to start the day. Brunching in Sea Point is a special treat.
Choose from the variety of restaurants along the water or nearby. Then enjoy a delicious brunch and coffee. It’s the perfect place for a meet-up or to enjoy a morning people-watching. After brunch, walk around the neighborhood or along the water.
Shop and eat through the Markets
If you want to eat, shop, and browse around. Farmer’s markets are great places to grab food and shop for local goods or souvenirs.
The Old Biscuit Mill – The Old Biscuit Mill has a range of workshops, designer stores, restaurants, and food stalls. All of the shops sit in a unique, industrial-style setting.
Oranjezicht City Farm Market – This was my favorite market. The Oranjezicht market is open on the weekends from the morning through early afternoon and Wednesday evening. There were plenty of food options, trendy clothes, and home items.
Boschendal Night Market – Enjoy the Boschendal Night Market on Friday nights. Watch the sunset and relax under the stars around the oak trees to enjoy food, wine, and live music.
Take Cape Point Road Trip
The perfect road trip from Cape Town is the Cape Point Road trip to see some fantastic sites. This road trip goes around the Cape Peninsula to see animals, parks, and beaches. You can rent a car for the trip or grab a guided tour.
Cape Point Road Trip
Start with breakfast and head towards Simon’s Town to watch penguins. On your way to Simon’s Town, you can stop by Muizenberg Beach near St. James or grab a picture from your drive up. Then, continue to Simon’s Town to view the penguins at Boulder Beach.
After watching the penguins, you can grab lunch nearby. We went to The Foodbarn Cafe & Tapas for our lunch stop in Noordhoek, Cape Town, which offered creative cuisine with wine pairings. Next, we continued to the Cape Point Nature Reserve. You can spend a whole day in this park, but we were able to spend a couple of hours wandering by the beach or taking trails.
End the evening driving Chapman’s Peak and watching the sunset by the lookout point.
Visit Bo-Kaap Neighborhood/Food Crawl
If I haven’t emphasized enough, the food in Cape Town was incredibly delicious. It’s worth doing a DIY food tour or paying for a guided tour. A guided tour will show you the popular food items and local cuisines for various food and drink choices.
You can kill two birds with one stone by taking a food tour through the Bo-Kaap neighborhood to see this colorful and historic neighborhood. Bo-Kaap is a popular daytime destination on a hillside known for its cobbled streets lined with colorful houses.
Embark on a Hike
Cape Town’s nature is not one to miss. Cape Town is surrounded by many mountains and the ocean, most notably the iconic Table Mountain.
Even if you are not a hiker, there are more accessible walking trails if you do not like tackling the more challenging climbs. However, if you’re an avid hiker, you will be in for a treat as there are plenty of challenging hikes to gorgeous views.
Lion’s Head Summit – This 2.7 out & back trial is near Cape Town, Western Cape. While this trail is considered hard, it is a popular route, and you will find many people during popular times (sunrise & sunset).
See here for more trails to take in Table Mountain National Park.
Relax on a Beach
You can’t come to Cape Town in summer and not head to the beach. There are many beaches to choose from. When I went in December, the water was still cold, but relaxing on the beach was still lovely. The beaches become very crowded as the summer months warm up, so head there early or later in the evening.
Go to a summer concert at Kirstenbosch Botanic Garden
Another fun experience in Cape Town, especially in summer, is attending a summer concert at Kirstenbosch Botanic Garden. The Kirstenbosch Botanic Garden is one of the greatest botanic gardens in the world. As a plus, you can view the eastern slopes of Cape Town’s Table Mountain in the background.
Take a Township Tour Guide
Venture out of the city bubble to learn more about the surrounding and more impoverished areas. Cape Town Townships refer to impoverished regions of the city that came into existence due to discriminatory rules. Township tourism drives job creation as visitors visit the various Cape Town townships.
On my visit, we took a guided tour of Langa Township. We learned more about the township’s history there, saw and supported local artists, ate delicious home-cooked food at Mzansi, and listened to music all night. Visiting Langa was one of my favorite memories of my trip!
Day trip to the Cape Winelands
South Africa has a well-established wine network with the most developed routes in Cape Town and the Cape Winelands in the Western Cape Province. You can take a wine train or hire a private driver to tour your favorite vineyards.
Fairview Wine and Cheese – This vineyard & goat farm has a delicious wine & cheese pairing. Plus, a Mediterranean-style restaurant.
Babylonstoren Wine Estate – This vast wine estate has a fruit and vegetable garden, shops, fine food and wine, and a hotel. We spent much time here on our visit enjoying the gardens and the backdrop of the mountains.
Enjoy a Fancy Dinner
As with all the food in Cape Town, there are plenty of delicious restaurants and fine dining experiences. If you’re a big foodie, you’ll find some excellent restaurants worth checking out.
Thali – Thali is a contemporary Indian restaurant based around the concept of “thali.” Enjoy three courses and delicious drinks at one of my favorite restaurants.
La Colombe Restaurant – La Colombe is one of South Africa’s top restaurants with a whole dining experience. Enjoy many courses in the beautiful restaurant with hill views, and add the wine pairing as a plus.
Join in on the Nightlife
The nightlife in Cape Town is lively, especially come summertime. With many tourists, ex-pats, and locals, the bars and clubs are vibrant throughout the summer and all year. Whether you want to dance, bar hop, or even enjoy a drink at a quiet bar.