I think we can agree that Cape Town is one of the most photogenic cities in the world, and to celebrate this fact we’ve rounded up 50 photos of Cape Town that best represent the pretty city’s people, scenes and landscapes.
50. Truth Coffee
This “steampunk” coffee shop on Buitenkant Street was recently named the best coffee shop in the world by respected travel journalist Tom Midlane. Truth’s interior designed by Heldane Martin draws on the ‘steampunk aesthetic’ which translates into imagery of nineteenth-century heavy industry. We first saw these photos by Shanna Jones on the Colossal website.
49. The Big Issue
Written by professional journalists and sold by disadvantaged individuals, The Big Issue is a social upliftment initiative operating on 4 continents. In Cape Town, The Big Issue is a welcome feature on the streets of Cape Town and friendly vendors can be found at intersections throughout the City Bowl. Big Issue vendors are independent salespeople. They purchase the magazine for R9 and sell it for R18. Find out more at bigissue.org.za.
Situated at the foot of Chapman’s Peak, the Noordhoek valley is one of Cape Town’s most treasured coastal hideaways. It has a rural atmosphere and is famous for the beach, its vast wetlands, the Red Herring and amiable village atmosphere. Photo by Dave Worswick.
47. Groot Constantia
What would a post like this be without referencing wine and one of the many beautiful estates in the Western Cape? Groot Constantia is just one of the established estates that dot the fertile landscape of the Cape wine region. It can get very busy owing to its close proximity to the Cape Town city centre and its popular with large tour groups but it’s also the oldest wine estate in SA. Groot Constantia photo by Gabi Goldberg.
As a major gateway to the Mother City we could not leave out Cape Town International Airport. It’s the second largest airport in South Africa and welcomes well over 1 million foreign visitors annually. Operationally it has been the recipient of many accolades including being voted the best airport in Africa for the third year in a row in 2013. Photo by Kenny B on Flickr.
Set at the foot of one of Cape Town’s most exclusive suburbs, Llandudno’s beach is in the same league as Clifton and Camps Bay when it comes to popularity, only it has a lot less parking space available. Get there early to reap the rewards of this Blue Flag beach where surfers, lifesavers and sunbathers romp side by side in one of the Southern Hemispheres best seaside settings.
44. Greenmarket Square
Merchants from all over Africa converge on Greenmarket Square to sell a wide variety of goods. It’s not so much a locals hangout as it is a hotspot for foreign tourists with a severe souvenir obsession, but even residents can’t deny that the vibe here in the centre of Cape Town is something special. Greenmarket Square photo from fabulousfabs on Flickr.
Festivals and trance parties are part and parcel of living in the Mother City and you can be sure there’s at least one happening somewhere every other weekend. From Rocking the Daisies and Up the Creek to Earthdance, Vortex and many others in between, this is your signal to round up your mates, grab your tent and drive into the abyss of mystical visuals and amazing energy. Photo of Vortex by intothevortex.co.za.
Oudekraal is just one of many hidden nooks on the Atlantic Seaboard. The beach at Oudekraal forms part of the Table Mountain National Park, as such SANParks ask a R15 per adult entrance fee. It’s a popular dive site and swimming spot, and there are public braai spots available. Photo by Damien du Toit (Coda on Flickr).
41. Table Mountain Aerial Cable Way
This should be your first port of call on a trip to the Mother City. The cable way whizzes to the top of Table Mountain at 10 metres per second, all the while providing an easy path to the best views of the Mother City and her surrounds. In this photo by Craig Strachan, Lions Head is visible centre frame with Robben Island in the background.
40. Adderley Street Flower Market
The flower sellers that occupy the arcade off Adderley Street in the CBD have been there for more than 100 years and always deliver a range of freshly cut flowers at reasonable prices. We first saw this photo of the Adderley Street Flower Market by Greg Lumley on the SA Venues blog.
“Why fly? For once you have tested flight, you will walk the earth with your eyes turned skyward, for there you have been, and there you long to return.” It was Leonardo Da Vinci who said that and his words couldn’t be truer when it comes to paragliding in the Cape. Silently gliding over the sea and mountain with just the flapping of your wing occasionally breaking the silence, a Cape Town paragliding adventure might be just what you need if it’s solitude with a view you’re after. Photo by paraglide.co.za.
38. Company’s Garden
This inner city greenbelt is shrouded in Cape history having been established in 1652 by Dutch settlers. Today it’s a favourite lunchtime escape for weary office workers who come to relax in the gardens manicured surroundings. There are also a number of museums in the vicinity, including the Iziko Museums’ South African Museum, the South African Jewish Museum, the District Six Museum, as well as the South African National Gallery. Company’s Garden photo by Rose en Bos.
Since Mzoli’s opened in early 2003, the restaurant has become a popular gathering spot amongst local’s and international visitors alike. People from all walks of life come to Mzoli’s Place in the heart of Gugulethu to shake off all inhibitions and celebrate the Kasi way of life in the most welcoming atmosphere imaginable, not to mention, indulging in the ultimate, authentic ‘ Shisa Nyama’ experience. Mzoli’s photo by Anthony Bianco from The Travel Tart.
Forming part of the Table Mountain National Park, Silvermine Nature Reserve is where local residents go to picnic, hike and mountain bike in amongst indigenous fynbos vegetation. It’s popular because it’s easily accessible from the city and its suburbs, and the hikes are decidedly gentler than the more demanding scrambles up and down Table Mountain National Park. Silvermine photo by Noel Harrison.
Located in one of the most beautiful cities on earth, the University of Cape Town is one of the top education institutions on the African continent. But its accolades are only a small part of a long and proud history that includes being South Africa’s oldest university. Today the campus is one of the most diverse campuses in South Africa, with staff and students hailing from more than 100 countries in Africa and the rest of the world. This interesting fisheye perspective of UCT comes from Richard Whittemore.
34. Kaapse Klopse Carnival
Every year in January the streets of Cape Town come alive with colour and the sound of trumpets as the Cape Minstrels take to the streets in inimitable style. Tweede Nuwe jaar is an age old Cape tradition that was originally introduced by the Muslim slaves who celebrated their only day off work in the whole year. Nowadays men, women and children march from the Grand Parade to the Green Point stadium, singing and dancing. They are clad in colourful, shiny suits, white hats and carry a sun umbrella. Photo by John Carson.
33. Small Wave Grovelling at Muizenberg
The self-proclaimed home of South African surfing, Muizenberg is where you’ll find the oldest surf shop in the country, Gary’s Surf School and a world record for the most surfers to ride a single wave at the same time. Photo by Gero Lilleike.
32. Shark Spotters
Perched on strategic viewpoints above the surf, full time shark spotters operate at Fish Hoek, Muizenberg, St James and Noordhoek all year round. The Shark Spotting programme is a registered NPO managed by Kommetjie Environmental Awareness Group.
31. Market on the Wharf
It’s no secret that Capetonians love all things relating to good food, good vibes and good times and Market on the Wharf at the V&A Waterfront provides a suitable platform for all that goodness to merge. The result – a vibrant meeting place for local merchants, suppliers and visitors where discussion and trade is focused on everything from organic food to sweet treats, oysters, cheese, craft beer and even home ware products and clothing. Photo by Tania Coetzee from chillieandrum.com.
30. Long Street by day
During daylight hours Long Street is a bustling inner city arena full of lunch options, fashion boutiques and antique shops all characterised by Victorian architecture you’ll be hard-pressed to find anywhere else in South Africa. Photo by Lisa from Améliorer la Vie.
29. Long Street by night
At night Cape Town’s iconic street spawns a party scene that’s not for the faint-hearted. Clubs and bars line each side of the street and tourists and locals rush to and fro dodging flashing blue lights, hooting taxis and party snack pushes from the underworld. Photo by ‘Warrenski’ on Flickr.
28. Signal Hill
This is where the city comes for sundowners. Signal Hill is a little more accessible than Table Mountain and Lion’s Head but it still offers truly astounding views. Bring your partner here for a romantic glass of wine before the sun sets, or bring the family for a picnic and an ice cream. It’s also a great spot to get up close and personal with launching and landing paragliders. Signal Hill photo by Kristina from Le fabuleux destin.
27. Atlantic Kelp Forests
While they might seem like a creepy, slimy drawback to your icy Atlantic swim; the kelp beds found close to the shore off beaches around Cape Town are in fact recognised as one of the most productive and dynamic ecosystems on Earth. We first saw this photo by Derek Keats on his Flickr photo set titled – Kelp Beds of the Western Cape.
26. Moonlight Mass
What started as a social experiment has ballooned into a Cape Town institution. Moonlight Mass has been in the spotlight lately and its future was in doubt because the organisers weren’t satisfying the City of Cape Town’s safety regulations for events of this magnitude. We’re happy to report that Moonlight Mass is officially back on as of Sunday, 17 November. Moonlight Mass photo by Africa Bespoke.
25. Big Wave Surfing at Dungeons
Putting South Africa on the big wave surfing map, Dungeons in Hout Bay is a right-hand break known for its power and ability to scare visitors away. Getting to the break is not an easy task, seeing as there is a mountain you have to traverse in order to get there. The best way is to grab a boat out of the bay for a direct ride to the break. Dungeons photo by Andrew Brauteseth.
24. Kloof Street
Durban has Florida Road, Johannesburg has 4th Avenue, and completing the trifecta of popular streets in each of South Africa’s 3 major cities is Kloof Street – the boutique shopping, bar hopping, bistro obliterating, tequila tanking, student swarming delight of Cape Town’s in-crowd. Photo by Karisa Nicholls.
23. Sea Point Promenade
The promenade is much-loved for the walking / jogging / meandering opportunity it offers to anyone who’s looking for a little fresh air and some beautiful views. Busy no matter the time of day, it’s a rare treat to be able to enjoy such untamed beauty while walking on a flat, comfortable path. The promenade also features a free outdoor adult jungle gym. Sea Point Promenade photo by Stephen Cunliffe.
22. Old Biscuit Mill
Every Saturday morning, small farmers, beer crafters, designers, artisan chocolate makers, bakers, and vintage collectors and lovers meet at the Old Biscuit Mill in Woodstock to sell, buy, and share ideas. It opens at 9am and closes at 2pm The building is an ex-biscuit mill, and that’s where the name comes from. Come and explore the Mill and meet some of South Africa’s most talented designers, artists, photographers, and connoisseurs of fine taste and décor. Photo by Themba Mngomezulu.
21. Camps Bay Strip
This is where Cape Town’s idle rich comes to party, soak up the sun cocktail in hand; the ‘strip’ is where lively bars spill on to the pavement and celebrities make merry next to mere mortals. Photo by Nox Rentals.
20. Cape Point
You can only imagine how Dias must’ve felt on rounding Cape Point – the headland at the southeast corner of the Cape Peninsula. It’s a wild stretch and a navigator’s nightmare, but you’ll never have to worry about that as you can drive right up to the point and take the stairs or the funicular to the viewpoint. Photo of Diaz Beach at Cape Point by Glen Avon Lodge.
19. Kirstenbosch Gardens
Nestled on the eastern slopes of Table Mountain, Kirstenbosch Botanical Garden boasts over 22 000 indigenous plant species, and was the first botanical garden to be declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The open-air concerts that are held every Sunday from November to April have come to represent a fitting end to the weekend, attracting the best in local musical talent. Photo by Michael Morris from Trekking Tripod.
18. Robben Island
Mandela’s cell on Robben Island is a stark reminder of the adversity that once plagued South Africa. Everyone should visit Robben Island, if not to be humbled, then to be inspired by the islands history and the stories of the men who rose from obscurity to build a free and fair South Africa. Photo by Sophie’s World.
17. Spring Flowers on the West Coast
Admittedly this attraction is seasonal but when August does eventually arrive the beautiful display of flowers that comes with it is a must-see natural masterpiece. Spring flowers photo by south-north.co.za.
16. Hout Bay
The ‘Republic of Hout Bay’ represents a favourite weekend jaunt for Capetonians. Home to the Bay Harbour Market, Dungeons – Africa’s big wave surf spot, and a lively harbour, it’s no wonder this seaside enclave south of Cape Town has such a popular following. Hout Bay photo by Derek Keats.
15. Clifton Beach in the height of summer
Clifton Beach crowns the Cape Town summer hotlist. Thirty plus degrees on the sand and ten degrees or less in the surf – are you brave enough to tempt the cold Atlantic? Photo by SA Tourism.
14. Fog rolls in over Cape Town City Bowl
Fog creeps in over the Cape Town City Bowl at night. Photo by Mike Hutchings taken from Signal Hill. To the best of our knowledge, Mike’s photo was first published on the 6000 blog.
13. Cape Town Stadium Capacity Crowd
A panoramic shot of Cape Town Stadium taken during a rare rugby match at the ‘new’ stadium. Rugby is usually hosted at the older Newlands Stadium in Cape Town’s southern suburbs. We first saw this photo by ‘Warrenski’ on Flickr.
12. Flo the French Bulldog
Popular pets – French Bulldogs are a part of life in Cape Town and there’s even a Western Cape French Bulldog Club. Photo taken by Travelstart’s Direct Sales Manager Jonty Medcalf. This photo of his French Bulldog Flo was selected for the recent 2013 Cape Town iPhoneography Exhibition.
11. Chapman’s Peak Drive
It’s arguably one of the most scenic drives in South Africa if not the world; Chapman’s Peak hugs the coast on a cliff between Hout Bay and Noordhoek. Affectionately known as “Chappies”, this 9km route, with its 114 curves, skirts the rocky coastline of Chapman’s Peak (593m), which is the southerly extension of Constantiaberg. Photo by Fineplaces.co.za.
10. Great White Shark breach in False Bay
A Great White Shark breaches in False Bay (notice prey in its jaws). Photo captured by renowned Cape Town marine life photographer, Chris Fallows.
9. Lions Head Full Moon Hike
On windless nights when the moon is full hundreds of Capetonians leave work and take the hour long trek to the summit of Lions Head. With the sun setting to the West and the moon rising in the East, the Lions Head Full Moon Hike is an experience like no other and it won’t cost you a cent. Photo by Lee Casalena. Click here to see the 360 panoramic shot.
8. Colourful Huts at Muizenberg
These huts at Muizenberg on the False Bay side are another symbol of the Mother City and her colourful vibrant nature. Photo by Susan Cook.
7. Lightning Strikes Table Bay
An artful photographers touch and mother nature come together in a precise moment as lightning lights up the night sky over Table Bay in Cape Town. Photo by Warren Tyrer on Flickr.
6. Bo Kaap
Cape Town’s colourful Bo Kaap neighbourhood is a visual masterpiece with cobblestoned streets. The delicious smell of Cape Malay fare hangs heavy in the air, intercepted every so often by the call to prayer. Photo by Rama Arya.
5. Kalk Bay Harbour
One of the most charming little harbours imaginable this side of the Cape Peninusla, Kalk Bay Harbour is a quaint neighbourhood dotted with lively restaurants, great ocean-facing pubs and a gazillion stores to explore. Photo by Paul Gilowey from Cape Town Daily Photo.
South Africa’s world-famous wines are produced mostly in the Cape Winelands – a region of great beauty, fertile soil and historic towns surrounded by impressive mountains. One of South Africa’s most visited destinations; the towns of Stellenbosch and Paarl are less than 30 minutes’ drive from Cape Town, while Franschhoek is a little further afield.
3. Boulders Beach
While Boulders Beach near Simonstown is beautiful, probably its biggest charm is the colony of African Penguins that reside here. Photo by Graeme Myburgh.
2. V&A Waterfront
Incorporating an up-scale shopping complex, a world of restaurants, markets, an amphitheatre for outdoor events surrounded by numerous 5-Star hotels, the V&A Waterfront is a Cape Town favourite. Photo by Len Theivendra.
1. Cape Town Aerial Photo
An aerial shot of modern Cape Town with Green Point Stadium in the foreground. Photo by Greg Lumley.
If these photos have made you want to pack up and get a move on to Cape Town then our work here is done. The pictures showcased above are the day-to-day scenes that make the Cape a feature on every nomads bucketlist.
Keen to share your Cape Town photos?
Feel free to post them to our I Like Cape Town Facebook Page and impress would-be travellers with the beauty of the city we call home.
More Mother City photo-blogging goodness available here: 60 Instagram shots to make you fall in love with Cape Town.