Unique Things to Do in Cape Town (Approximately Top 10)


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Greetings, Internet Stranger, and welcome to the most unique things to do in Cape Town! Some of you might be wondering what Table Mountain is doing on a list of the most unique things to do in Cape Town. After all, everyone who visits Cape Town can see it, and it’s super popular.

Well, unique doesn’t mean obscure, and Table Mountain is the symbol of Cape Town. It’s unique because you can’t find a place like it anywhere else in the world. But after we visit Table Mountain, we’re going on one of the best off-the-beaten-track food tours in the world, and then we’re going to stuff our faces on some fine dining. Let’s not waste any more time!

Most Unique Things to Do in Cape Town

Where to Stay?

Since we’re looking for the most unique things to do in Cape Town, why not start with a truly original hotel, one that is also home to the oldest vine in all Cape Town?

And if that’s what you want, you’re looking for the Cape Heritage Hotel. This hotel is uniquely beautiful, uniquely well located, and serves a uniquely delicious breakfast.

most unique things to do in cape town

Yeah, the breakfast at the Cape Heritage Hotel is enough to make you crave fruit and yogurt. But they make excellent hot breakfasts to order too.

most unique things to do in cape town

Click here for the a hotel that’s definitely one of the most unique things to do in Cape Town. Or if you hate unique things and want to try something in a different location/price range, click here!

Most Unique Things to Do in Cape Town

What to Pack

  • Cute sandals for stomping all over Table Mountain.
  • Practical boots in case it decides to rain. Your feet will still stay dry as you explore the hidden gems of Cape Town.
  • An umbrella that will stay strong even under pressure from the Table Mountain winds.
  • A cell charger so you will never run out of juice as you snap photos of the best views from Table Mountain.
  • The best travel adapter so you can use your computer, hair dryer, pet robot, etc even if you don’t have South African plugs on your electronics.
  • A wind breaker with a hood because it’s insanely windy on Table Mountain
  • My favorite guide book to Cape Town and the most unique things to do in Cape Town
  • If you want to try some African cooking at home, I suggest Afro-Vegan, which has many wonderful recipes from the African diaspora. (You don’t need to be vegan to like the book; I’m certainly not.)
  • If you’d rather try some South African fiction, get JM Coetzee’s Disgrace. He’s one of the most famous South African writers, and the book is set in Cape Town.
most unique things to do in cape town

Most Unique Things to Do in Cape Town

Morning: Visit Table Mountain

Again, some might be skeptical about the idea that Table Mountain could be one of the most unique things to do in Cape Town. But just look at that gorgeous shape on this rock formation! Name one other city that has something like that–I dare you!

See, told you it was impossible. So just follow me as I take you up Table Mountain first thing in the AM. I’ll even give you a special tour with…

Three Fun Facts: Table Mountain

most unique things to do in cape town
1) Any Tips for Seeing Table Mountain?

Ugh, I have a grillion. Getting up Table Mountain successfully is a pain, but worth it. My first suggestion is that you should buy the Hop on Hop off bus and use that to get to Table Mountain. Sometimes they close the mountain to cars, but they don’t close it to the bus, at least not as easily. So you should be fine. Buy the 2 Day Bus Ticket so you’ll have plenty of time to take advantage of the sightseeing. You can get the bus ticket in advance easily here.

Second, you have to buy your ticket for Table Mountain in advance here or else the lines will be insanely long. They can be very long anyway, so if you arrive and feel like the lines are just too insane, go up the mountain another day and just spend the morning enjoying the views on the Hop On Hop Off Bus Stop. In fact, you can still get some nice views from the bus stop, like my photo above.

Final tip! Get there as early as you can so the line will be the shortest it’s going to be all day.

most unique things to do in cape town
2) How Do I Get To The Top?

Aha! Here we have another of the most unique things to do in Cape Town: the cable car up Table Mountain. It’s the only way to get to the top. (I took this photo above from my cable car, but it is not of my cable car; it is of the neighboring character. I do not know how to exit the cable car while it’s in motion and fly around outside taking photos, nor do I wish to.)

I went to Table Mountain in the high season, just after New Year’s, so the line to get to the cable car was very long. It might not be as long while you are there. The cable cars are old and historic, but they can still move 800 people an hour, which is most impressive in my book.

While you wait on line, some local musicians will play music and dance to entertain you, so it’s a nice gesture to bring cash to tip them. The musicians spoke one of the local languages, Xhosa, and they tried to teach it to a shy European family who had trouble repeating the “clicks” used in Xhosa. So practice Xhosa now, and that way you’ll be ready to demonstrate if the musicians call on you for the language lesson!

most unique things to do in cape town
3) What Do We Do At the Top?

Check out the views!! They are truly some of the most spectacularly stunning panoramas that you will ever see on this or any other planet.

most unique things to do in cape town

See! It actually does look like you are flying over the ocean from up here.

most unique things to do in cape town

You can also go exploring to see the local plants, many of which or perhaps all of which are fynbos, the name for the local shrubby plants that can only be found in South Africa. (I feel like all the plants on Table Mountain are fynbos, but I’m not a fynbos scientists, so don’t quote me on this.)

most unique things to do in cape town

Just be sure to be down at the bottom of Table Mountain at 1 PM. (Keep in mind that there is sometimes a line to get on the cable car down the mountain, but it moves much faster than the line up, and the views are definitely better.)That should give you plenty of time to get to the food tour meeting place at 2. You might have to take the Hop On Hop Off bus one stop to get an Uber, but that should be easy.

most unique things to do in cape town

If this is too jam-packed an itinerary, just spend the whole day tramping on Table Mountain, taking a nature tour of Table Mountain and seeing the sights on the Hop-On Hop-Off bus, and go on the food tour another day. But don’t skip the food tour altogether! It really is one of the most unique things to do in Cape Town.

most unique things to do in cape town

Most Unique Things to Do in Cape Town

Afternoon: A Taste of Africa Food Tour

I’ve taken food tours all over the world, and the A Taste of Africa Food Tour was absolutely one of the most special and memorable. That’s because you are able to try cuisines prepared by people from many African countries who have moved to Cape Town and made it their home.

I will not give my guide a funny name like I usually do because he seemed like a very serious person, and I don’t think he’d like it. Instead I will call him Guide. He was full of knowledge about every stop we visited, and though I don’t wish to spoil the adventure for you, I will give you a TASTE of what to expect with…

Approximately Top 5: A Taste of Africa

most unique things to do in cape town
1) Tanzanian Food

Our first stop was at the Meeting Point, where I got to sample Tanzanian food for the very first time. As you can see, it was a massive amount of food for one person: beef stew, vegetable curry, coconut rice, and fried kale. The food was all delightfully spiced without actually being spicy.

But it’s good that there was so much because Guide said it’s polite to leave a little bread on the plate to show that you were well-fed and just couldn’t finish the meal.

Guide also told me that you’re meant to eat with your hands, though there is a fork and knife provided if you need. I say, dig right in! It’s fun to try new ways of eating. And eating with your hands can be a very sensual experience, as my grandmother always used to say.

most unique things to do in cape town
2) Madam Taitou

I’m sure you’ll look at my photo above and agree that eating a meal in this garden must definitely be one of the most unique things to do in Cape Town. Madam Taitou serves Ethiopian food, which I have had in the United States, but not like this.

Guide indicated that Madam Taitou doesn’t serve their guests the same dishes every time they visit, so I can’t guarantee you’ll have exactly what I had. But I can guarantee that you’ll get a delicious variety of vegetable stews, beef, collard greens, and of course that wonderful spongy Ethiopian bread called injera.

most unique things to do in cape town

Injera is especially important in Ethiopian cuisine because you use the bread as a utensil to pick up the food. This injera had a wonderful tang, and Guide said it was because Madam Taitou imports the special flour so they can make proper injera. Don’t miss the chance to taste it!

most unique things to do in cape town
3) Khadim’s Coffee Shop

Khadim’s Coffee Shop is also one of the most unique things to do in Cape Town because it offers the chance to get a Cafe Touba. This is a special, very sweet coffee preparation from Senegal. I met the owner, who immigrated from Senegal to South Africa all by himself speaking no English at all. But because he was so good at making this coffee, now he is able to own his own shop.

The owner told me that the story is that someone was trying to kill a king and used a dried ground-up root in the king’s coffee. But then the king thought it was delicious and didn’t die even a little.

Cafe Touba is usually made with a lot of sugar, but you can get it Halfway to Senegal or All the Way to Senegal. I recommend getting it All the Way to Senegal, just for the experience, but be warned that it’s very sweet, but with a wonderful spiced taste from the djar, the dried up plant that did not poison even one king to death.

most unique things to do in cape town
4) Eastern Food Bazaar

I hope you’re very hungry because we’re stopping at the Eastern Food Bazaar for a classic South African dish, bunny chow. Bunny chow is more commonly associated with the city of Durban, where we are visiting next. It’s basically a giant bread bowl filled with spicy meat curry. Messy, satisfying, and scrumptious!

Guide told me that bunny chow was a dish that came about because of apartheid. People of color were not allowed to use metal cutlery, so they needed a dish they could eat with their hands.

Plus, they were not supposed to eat meat, so they had to hide the meat in the bread. Honestly, how could anyone say these ridiculous rules out loud and not realize that they were going to be the villains of history for coming up with such a horrible system?

most unique things to do in cape town
5) Honest Chocolate

For the dessert stop, we hit up Honest Chocolate for two pieces of locally made bean to bar chocolate. You can pick any two you like, but I selected the date chocolate and the peanut butter chocolate because Guide said they were the most local.

most unique things to do in cape town

These aren’t included with the tour, but they also had politician heads made from chocolate. I’d definitely call seeing these one of the most unique things to do in Cape Town.

most unique things to do in cape town
6) Openwine

Of course, it can’t be a Cape Town food tasting without sampling some of South Africa’s famous wines! At Openwine, we sampled one white and one red. Guide even asked me if I could figure out the notes in the red, and I didn’t disgrace myself because I could tell that there were cherry notes. At least Guide agreed with me, but it’s possible he was just pretending that I’d been right to end the tour on a positive note.

most unique things to do in cape town

And this is definitely one of the most unique things to do in Cape Town because you can pose for a picture with the same South African wine that Napoleon liked to drink. (You can’t sample it on the tour, though, because it’s crazy expensive.)

most unique things to do in cape town

Most Unique Things to Do in Cape Town

Evening: Dinner at Aubergine

Aubergine is my favorite restaurant in Cape Town. I’ve been here twice, which is saying a lot considering I live all the way around the globe from Cape Town. I think it’s one of the most unique things to do in Cape Town because they serve so many special local ingredients. And the tasting menu is an amazing value considering the quality of the food, especially if you pair it with South African wines.

most unique things to do in cape town

So as you can see, I had just gotten an iPhone 11 and still hadn’t figured out you need to give the camera time to take the picture and so my first course, the tuna, came out blurry. But this was still a delicious dish because you can feast on the two different tuna preparations: raw tartare and seared tuna tatake. Trying the tuna two different ways in the same dish really helps you appreciate the flavor.

My next course was a fantastic octopus dish with international flavors like rice paper and a chili-cucumber granita. I wish I could show it to you, but that photo came out so blurry, I would be ashamed to show it on my blog.

most unique things to do in cape town

I’m not sure I can prepare you for this decadence because we’re having three back to back meat dishes. The first is an Iberian pork loin with sauteed cabbage and pancetta. It’s pork on pork! Iberian pork loin is just so packed with flavor; you can really sense the quality with every bite.

most unique things to do in cape town

Our next course was a duck cannelloni served with a poppyseed and Cassis sauce. This was a unique twist on the way that duck is often served with a sweet sauce like cherries or a l’orange. Plus it was served with duck ham, which is definitely a treat that should work its way onto more menus.

most unique things to do in cape town

For the final meat course, we have a marvelous steak served with forest mushroom dust. The best thing about this dish is how simple it was. That way all your attention can be focused on that perfect piece of medium-rare meat.

most unique things to do in cape town

Of course there’s a cheese course before the dessert course. I mean, we only had three meat courses. Aubergine doesn’t want you to starve to death. This was my first time tasting something called a Dalewood Hugenot cheese, which I assume was made by persecuting French Protestants. It’s got a charming nutty flavor and went down smoothly with Aubergine’s own Chenin blanc.

most unique things to do in cape town

Finally the glorious dessert! Nothing says summer in January like a stone fruit dessert, and this was a roasted peach with orange and lemon-thyme ice cream served with a honey marshmallow. The honey marshmallow was quite sweet, but then the orange and lemon thyme was much more tart and herbal, so the dish balanced out well. A deliciously orange end to a perfect day!

most unique things to do in cape town

Those Are the Most Unique Things to Do in Cape Town!

What do you think are the most unique things to do in Cape Town? Are you ready to start booking your hotel in Cape Town? And is that the blurriest tuna you’ve ever seen? Please leave your thoughts below!

Note: If you want to know how I put my travel itineraries together, just click here. Keep in mind that while each article is about how to spend 24 hours in a place, that doesn’t mean you should ONLY have 24 hours with the most unique things to do in Cape Town.

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