Things to do in Cape Town
Hotel tour desk
The Westin’s tour desk, operated by Jarat Tours, should be able to advise and assist with everything, including all of the below options. Please contact Monique or Moerida at firstname.lastname@example.org, +27 21 4129069.
Getting around Cape Town
Cape Town has a bus network (https://www.myciti.org.za/en/home/). This uses pre-paid cards, and is fairly efficient and extensive.
However, Uber is safe, reliable and inexpensive, so we highly recommend that option.
Open bus tour
https://www.citysightseeing.co.za/en/cape-town/open-bus-tours-cpt. This hop on/hop off tour can take you all around the Mother City, and also across the Cape Peninsula. It is highly recommended that you do this once, and early on, as that will give you the “big picture” of Cape Town and its surroundings. The hop on/hop off bus can also be a good way to get to the some of the other sights listed below (Table Mountain Cable Car, Kirstenbosch Gardens, etc.), just make sure you hop on the right tour.
The Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa (https://zeitzmocaa.museum/) is a can’t miss. Housed in a converted historical grain silo, it is both an architectural marvel, and the largest art museum in Africa. It is an easy walk from the conference venue.
The V&A Waterfront
The Victoria & Alfred Waterfront, a short walk from the conference hotel, offers a bevy of restaurants, shops, street musicians and food markets, in the historical (though fully refurbished) setting of the Cape Town Waterfront. This is a prime tourist destination in the city — some will find it too touristy, but it’s worth strolling through at least once.
Table Mountain Cable Car
Take the cable car up to the top of Table Mountain (https://tablemountain.net/) for stunning views across the city and peninsula, and to explore the top of the mountain. The cable car closes during high winds — please check on the day.
Kirstenbosch Botanical Garden
Set against the beautiful backdrop of Table Mountain, Kirstenbosch Botanical Garden with its beautiful flora is a good place for a relaxing walk in the park, or a picnic on the lawn. Don’t miss the Tree Canopy Walkway! If you want to learn more about the Garden, you can join a guided tour. The tours are offered from Mondays to Fridays and leave from the Visitors’ Centre (Gate 1) at 10h00.
Many political prisoners, including Nelson Mandela, were imprisoned on Robben Island during apartheid. The Robben Island Museum at the Waterfront offers guided tours of the island, including the boat trip there and back again.
Originally created for growing fresh produce for ships rounding the Cape, Company’s Garden in the middle of the city is South Africa’s oldest garden. At one of its end you can find the former Slave Lodge and St George’s Cathedral, the oldest cathedral in Southern Africa and the place where Desmond Tutu preached. At the other end there is the South African Museum with its digital planetarium. Company’s Garden also houses the South African National Gallery.
Castle of Good Hope
The Castle of Good Hope is located in Foreshore just a few blocks from the conference venue. The construction of the Castle was commissioned by the Dutch East India Company and dates back to 1666, with additions such as the bell tower coming only a few decades after construction began. It is the oldest colonial-era building in South Africa and is a provincial heritage site. The Castle has an illustrious history, serving as defense headquarters for the South African Army in the Western Cape and being used as a prison during the Second War of Independence of 1899–1902. The Castle houses three museums, including the Military Museum, and is a must see when visiting Cape Town. Enterance fees for adults is only R50 p.p and can be booked online at https://www.castleofgoodhope.co.za/index.php/visitor-info
The Castle is only about a block away from the District 6 museum which is also well worth a visit. Online booking is essential. More information can be obtained from https://www.districtsix.co.za/
Hiking up one of the hundred-odd trails up Table Mountain, or many of the other trails around the city, can be a wonderful experience, but please do not attempt it by yourself, or without someone who doesn’t know the routes. (Like any other mountain, there are plenty of steep falls waiting for lost and unprepared tourists.) Please consult the LOC, as certain members can be persuaded to lead a hiking group.
Hiking up Lion’s Head (start here: https://goo.gl/maps/2Dy6ru1gZKwrBD3M9) is a reasonable proposition for even a lone tourist, as the route is always busy with hikers, and it is almost impossible to get lost. The walk up will take ~1h for a reasonably fit person.
Crime and safety
If you exercise reasonable and sensible precautions, Cape Town is as safe as any other big city in the world. See https://www.drivesouthafrica.com/blog/is-cape-town-safe-for-tourists/ for an overview. Avoid the Cape Flats and industrial areas at all times, do not walk in the Central Business District alone at night (rather take an Uber back to your hotel!), and just be sensible. When in doubt, consult the LOC for advice.