Cape Town is a magnificent destination of choice for interns from all over the world and especially the US. Not only are exchange rates extremely favorable, but the wide variety of activities on offer makes an internship in Cape Town a holiday as well. Take a look at our 20 must-do activities while interning in Cape Town. They promise a closer look at some of the Mother City’s main attractions.
1. Cable car up Table Mountain
Possibly the first thing you notice as you touch down in Cape Town is the majestic Table Mountain. It is often one of the first places visitors go to. Recently voted in as one of the 7 Natural Wonders of the World, Table Mountain is Cape Town’s most iconic landmark.
2. Township tour
With such a diverse cultural background and a political history that captivated the world, a township tour is a must for any visitor looking to experience the full spectrum of Cape Town living. Many tourists are often misguided into thinking Cape Town is all about the beautiful beaches and picturesque scenery. However, it is important to understand how the majority of the city’s population lives. A township tour shares insight into how the divisive policies of the Apartheid regime have resulted in lasting socio-economic inequalities.
3. Take a ferry to Robben Island
South Africa’s very own Alcatraz, Robben Island once served as a detention facility. Political prisoners were incarcerated on the island during Apartheid. For 27 years this was also the home of former President, Nelson Mandela. The visit is an inspiring and often emotional experience, as as it serves as a powerful reminder of the price that was paid for today’s democracy.
4. Go beach hopping
Cape Town has some of the most breathtaking beaches in the world. It’s the only city in the world with a coastline that touches both the Atlantic and Indian Oceans. With plenty of beaches on offer, there is one to suite just about any need. Whether you prefer surfing, tanning, fishing, or just some good old fun in the sun. We recommend the majestic beaches at Clifton.
5. Picnic at the Kirstenbosch National Botanical Gardens
Nestled along the eastern slopes of Table Mountain, the Botanical Gardens could best be described as a modern-day Eden for nature lovers. With over 7000 species of fauna and flora, the garden covers a massive 36 hectares. This area encompasses a wide variety of indigenous and other southern African plants as well as birds and animals.
Fondly known as the Cape Floral Kingdom, the Garden was also declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO, which is a first for any botanical garden in the world. It has been a favorite picnic spot for locals for many years, and with all of its beauty on offer almost 365 days a year, its not hard to see why.
6. Visit the Two-Ocean’s Aquarium
Located next door to the V&A Waterfront, the Aquarium is a mecca for ocean lovers. It is one of Cape Town’s top tourist attractions and has over 3,000 living sea animals, including sharks, turtles and many other species of fish and mammals. Feeling brave? Why not jump into the Predator Exhibit for a scuba dive with sharks – no cage required!
7. Drive Chapman’s Peak
We recommend stopping for lunch at the Chapman’s Peak Hotel in Hout Bay before setting off on the world-famous 9 km Chapman’s Peak drive. The drive stretches from the picturesque village of Hout Bay to Nordhoek, and offers many areas along the route where you can stop and take photographs or have a picnic.
Its world-famous views, with sheer cliff-drops to the ocean below and majestic mountain scenery, make “Chappies” a must-do activity. Driving in the slow lane will never feel so good.
8. Take a tour of the Castle of Good Hope
Built between 1666 and 1679 by the Dutch East India Company, the Castle was used as a replenishment station for passing ships on the “spice route”. Over 400 years old, The Castle of Good Hope is the oldest standing colonial building in South Africa. A highlight of the tour is paying a visit to a former slave room. Once the door has been closed, you are engulfed in complete darkness and can feel the absolute helplessness they must have felt hundreds of years ago.
9. Go wine tasting
The Cape Winelands, particularly Stellenbosch and Franschoek, are internationally renowned for award-winning wines and picturesque scenery. Spend a day travelling the scenic wine route while stopping off at wine farms of your choice for tastings fresh from the barrel to see what all the fuss is about. We recommend sampling the Cape Jazz Shiraz at Solms Delta, and visiting the real goat tower at Goats Do Roam!
10. Take a hike
And no we don’t mean get lost. Because of all the mountain ranges in and around Cape Town, this city is any outdoor lover’s dream destination. From beginner hikes that follow gradual contours to more advanced climbs and descents, all you have to do is pick a mountain and begin your journey to the summit of your choice.
11. A sunset stroll along the Promenade
The Promenade is a stretch of land which runs along the beach in the trendy suburb of Sea Point. Take a stroll along the Promenade, particularly at sunset. In addition to incredible views, you will see plenty of locals running, skipping, and walking along the winding pathways. Besides all the eye candy on offer, the Promenade has also recently seen the inclusion of an outdoor gym that can be used by fitness gurus free of charge.
12. Check out Green Market Square
The ideal spot to pick up your African arts, crafts, fabrics, and other local artifacts, the square was built in 1696 and declared a national monument in 1961. With a strong heritage and surrounding architecture that has stood for hundreds of years, the beautiful cobbled square is a great place to bargain with traders for that perfect piece to take back home.
13. Stroll through the Company Gardens
Established in 1952 by Dutch settlers, the Company Gardens, with its impressive flora, has been enjoyed for decades by Capetonians and tourists. In addition to beautiful plants and flowers, the Garden also houses monuments, the Parliament buildings, the Iziko Museum and Planetarium, the National Gallery, and the National Library. Take a lazy stroll between these attractions and be sure to grab a bag of peanuts nearby if you want to feed the squirrels.
14. Visit the penguins at Boulders beach
Popularized after a colony of African Penguins settled on the beach in 1982, the beautiful Boulders Beach in Simonstown now forms part of Table Mountain National Park. This site is one of the few places in the world where penguins wander freely at close range. The colony has grown to more than 3,000 birds. Say hello to Africa’s very own tuxedo-wearing, beach hopping birds of the sea.
15. Sunset from Signal Hill
Owing its name to the use of flags to communicate weather warnings to visiting ships in the 1800s, Signal Hill has now become the best spot for a romantic view of the sunset over the city. People often find themselves lingering around after the sun goes down as the view transforms into a stunning illumination of the city as all the lights come on. You won’t find better urban scenery than this.
16. Visit the World of Birds
Currently the largest bird park in Africa, the World of Birds is home to over 3,000 birds and small animals. Every year approximately 100,000 people visit this wildlife sanctuary. This makes a visit to the spot a must do for bird lovers and outdoor enthusiasts alike.
17. A night out in Long Street
Long Street is the entertainment hub of the city for night life lovers, owing to its large selection of bars, pubs, clubs, and eateries. Make a night of it and hop from venue to venue down the street. We recommend grabbing a burger at Royale and kicking off your shoes for a late-night dance party at the Waiting Room.
18. Paraglide off Lion’s Head
Attention adrenaline junkies: paragliding off Lion’s Head is excellent to take in the beauty of Cape Town while experiencing a rush of pure adrenaline! Excellent safety, affordable rates, and fabulous views could make this one of your fondest memories during your stay in the city. Land on Camps Bay beach and finish the day off with a cocktail at one of Camps Bay’s trendy restaurants.
19. Visit the Tygerberg Zoo
Situated on the city’s outskirts, Tygerberg Zoo covers 24 hectares of land and is the only zoo in the Western Cape province. This zoo specializes in the breeding of rare, endangered and seldom-seen wildlife. With over 150 enclosures, the collection has a whopping 284 species of animals, including monkeys, lions, antelope, snakes, ostrich, zebra, and more.
20. Live show at the Baxter Theater
Since its opening in 1977, the Baxter Theater has played host to many of the best South African performing artists. The Theater provides cutting edge major works from South Africa and abroad with its live shows throughout the year. Be sure to check out the Theater’s quintessential 1970s style architecture.