72 Hours In Cape Town – The Ultimate 3 Day Itinerary

Soak up the sun and make tracks as you spend 72 hours in the city of Cape Town. Enlighten all senses by wandering this coastal gem on the southwestern peninsula of South Africa.
Clifton, Cape Town. Photo: kallerna | Wikimedia

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Explore South Africa’s coastal gem in 3 days! Enclosed by two oceans, on the southwest coast of South Africa, sits Cape Town. A beautiful city, thriving with charm and diversity, Cape Town is a popular travel spot for world travelers. It’s one of those places where you can’t go wrong and there is something for everyone. Soaking in the Mediterranean climate, Cape Town boasts culinary delights, history, beaches and so much more.  

Cape Town from the sky! Photo: Martin Clark | Upsplash

Priorities, they’re always different for everyone. Let’s face it though, a good trip needs to soak up the culture, embrace nature, and delight in the food (and wine).  72 hours in Cape Town – an itinerary that you can follow as closely or loosely as you like.

Our Earth Curious guide is broken up into Morning/Afternoon/Evening activities and you can tackle it whole or pick and choose to fill your time. However you go, you won’t be disappointed.

Day 1

Morning – Afternoon: Begin your time with an excursion to Table Mountain. It is sure to tick the culture and nature lover boxes. Sitting proud on the city side, Table Mountain boasts spectacular views of the city and the landscape surrounding it. Using Table Mountain as a starting point is a fabulous way to really understand the beauty of Cape Town.

The cable car goes up to the top of Table Mountain. Photo: Thomas Bennie | Unsplash

With the option to hike (if you’re into that sort of thing) or catch a cable car, Table Mountain won’t disappoint. A five-minute cable car trip or a five-hour hike, it’s up to you.

If you’re keen on more hiking options, along with Table Mountain there are two other beautiful peaks to climb. Signal Hill and Lions Head, both offer the views that we all seek these days. These climbs make for the best panoramic sights and a perfect ‘sunset hunter’ viewpoint. Your nature tank will be full after exploring these mountains!

Lions Head, Cape Town. Photo: Alessandro Porri | Unsplash

Evening: Kick off your sneakers and spend your evening wandering the Victoria and Alfred (V&A) Waterfront. A bustling retail and commercial area, you can find the best restaurants, shops, bars, and entertainment to take you into the night. A large and iconic area that overlooks the harbor, no doubt you will find yourself here again.

Dine to your hearts content at the V&A waterfront. Photo: Louis Hansel via Unsplash

Day 2

Morning: Rich in history, Cape Town has many stories to tell. Explore the vibrant streets of Bo-Kaap, on the fringe of the city center. An easy walk from V&A and the central city, spend a morning wandering the cobbled streets of the colorful houses and buildings. The museum delves into the memories of the area, and the history of slavery along with answers everyone’s question – why is it so colorful? The traditional food of the area shouldn’t be missed and you will find traditional Cape Malay dishes to enjoy for a late breakfast or lunch.

Bo-Kaap in Cape Town. Photo: Nigel SB Photography | Unsplash

Afternoon: While on the theme of history, the afternoon should be spent at Robben Island. Used as a prison, amongst other things in the war, the buildings are a true testimony to the darker history of racism and oppression. A crucial part of history, Robben Island is most well known for being the prison where Nelson Mandela was held for 18 years.  Catch a ferry and take a tour of the island, prison, and other landmarks. Learn about ‘life’ on the island as you explore.

Robben Island, South Africa. Photo: Grant Durr | Unsplash

Evening: Enjoy the evening catching the sunset over the vibrant Camps Bay with beachfront restaurants and bars. A meal and a view? You can never go wrong. Stroll the beach and enjoy a cocktail to lead you into the night.

Camps Bay at sunset. Photo: Jaman Asad | Unsplash

Day 3

Morning: We’re in some of the final hours now but there’s still more to see. Head out to Cape Point and Boulders Beach for a crisp and fresh day. On the southern point of the Table Mountain National Park, you’ll find Cape Point.

With a rugged coastline, ocean views don’t get more picturesque. Around the point, you’ll find Boulders Beach where you can meet the Boulders Penguin Colony. A nesting and breeding area for penguins. Watch them wade in the water and waddle the sandy beach.  

The penguins are smaller than you think! Photo: Casey Allen | Unsplash

Spend time exploring the coastline and lighthouse. See if you can find the Cape of Good Hope sign that will point out when you are at the most southwestern point of the African Continent.

Afternoon: I promised a culinary experience with wine, and while you can’t go wrong with the spots above, Cape Town is known for its wine and landscape. Sweeping views, some by the sea, you can’t miss the vineyards nestled together and wine estates spread over the western cape. Wine bars in the city or wine tours are available and it’s best to choose a winery based on your drop of preference. Perhaps a chardonnay with mountains in view? There is good plenty of wine to go around in Cape Town.

Enjoy some of South Africa’s best wines! Photo: photo nic | Unsplash

The city with it all…

Getting around Cape Town is easy with a range of transport options and tour providers. Ranging from Hop on/off buses to private tours and Ubers, you can be sure to find options that suit your budget. With just 72 hours, it is possible to navigate this city on your own, but the City Sightseeing buses offer smooth and reliable transport, covering the many sights.

For the best areas to stay in Cape Town, check out our guide covering the 4 best areas.

Experiences for all. Mountains and sea. 72 hours comfortably filled to make the most of Cape Town and what it has to offer. You’ll be delighted by what is there and soon understand why it fast becoming such a popular travel destination.


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