Culture

Cape Town: 3 Must-Visit Places That’ll Educate And Inspire You

The South African capital takes its Rainbow Nation nickname seriously.

Whether you're at home or on the road, there's no excuse to miss AWOL ever again. Sign up to our newsletter, and follow us on Instagram.

If you measure a city by its ability to make you reach for your camera, Cape Town wins, hands down. From the historic to the colourful and the straight-up quirky, South Africa’s legislative capital takes its Rainbow Nation nickname seriously: it’s got a little bit of everything.

Here are three places that’ll touch your heart, open your eyes, and (of course) provide some amazing photo ops.

#1 Bo Kaap

Bo Kaap, Cape Town, South Africa

Image: Ken Treloar

Bo Kapp is, without a doubt, one of the most colourful neighbourhoods on the planet. It’s impossible to visit the area’s rainbow Chiappini Street and not experience an instant mood-lift.

Historically known as the Cape Malay Quarter, Bo Kapp forms the heart of Cape Town’s highly skilled Muslim community, which flocked to the region and specialised as tailors and builders in the late 1700s. More recently, as gentrification has spread, Bo Kaap has become a highly sought-after area for real estate.

While modernisation has meant many of the area’s original inhabitants have moved on, you’ll still see families playing guitar on their front porches and hear the daily prayer call from the Auwal Mosque (the first and oldest of its kind in Cape Town) on Dorp Street.

Your Instagram followers might get to enjoy the photos, but nothing beats seeing Bo Kaap up close.


#2 Robben Island

Robben Island, Cape Town, South Africa

Image: Marcus Schwan / Flickr

Despite its current status as one of the most culturally diverse cities on the planet, Cape Town doesn’t sugarcoat its history. In fact, the memorials that dot the streets act as reminders to never repeat the mistakes of the past.

Nowhere is this more affecting than Robben Island Museum, the former prison that held Nobel Laureate and former South African President Nelson Mandela for 18 years.

It’s extremely raw – and what makes the experience even more emotional is that the tours are led by former political prisoners who share real-life stories along the way.


#3 Table Mountain

Table Mountain, Cape Town, South Africa

Image: Christian Perner

Heading to Table Mountain may be a given when you’re in Cape Town, but this mountain must-do really shines when you time your trip just right.

From May until August, the last return cable car from the top finishes at 6pm, but every other month, you can hang out until 7pm (or even until 9:30pm from December 16 to January 15).

And when we say “hang out”, we really mean it. There are protective barriers atop Table Mountain, but, according to the tourists, they act more as a guide than an enforceable rule. We know you want to get that beautiful sunset snap, but safety first, fam!

(Lead image: Dan Grinwis)