Iziko Maritime Museum (V&A Waterfront)

The Maritime Centre, situated at Cape Town’s V & A waterfront is a major attraction to both locals and tourists.

What makes this maritime centre so special is its vessel exhibition, the SAS Somerset, the only Boom vessel left in the world and previously known as Ship No 280 in 1941. This majestic vessel’s overall lengthy is 59 metres, which makes it such a treat during school holidays as sleepovers are held aboard this ship. Exhibitions in the Maritime centre depicting Table Bay from the 17th to the 20th Century give insight of the development of the harbour.

The Iziko Maritime Centre features an overview of shipping in Cape Town, and the earliest existing model of Table Bay harbour, completed in 1885 by prisoners and warders of Breakwater Prison, forms part of the exhibitions.

Images depicting Table Bay from the 17th to 20th Century give an idea of the development of the harbour.

There is a collection of ship models and objects associated with shipping in Cape Town, in particular the era of mail-ships. Large and medium-sized images support the exhibitions, with the emphasis on the Union-Castle Line.

A key part of this resource centre is the John H Marsh Maritime Research Centre. The Marsh collection consists of various collections including an important archive of nearly 20 000 photographs, depicting 9 200 ships dating from the late 1920s to the early 1960s. It also has an

Cape Town Diamond Museum (V&A Waterfront)

Learn about the world’s most precious gem, from formation to the final polished stone, at the Cape Diamond Museum.

Situated in the bustling heart of the world-famous Clock Tower precinct and Gateway to Robben Island at the Waterfront, the Cape Town Diamond Museum pays tribute to the world’s most precious gem, the diamond. Witness a 3 billion year old story unfold from a diamond’s formation to the final polished stone.

The Cape Town Diamond Museum is a non-profit organisation dedicated to creating a new appreciation for diamonds. A gift from Shimansky to the city of Cape Town.

Museums at the V&A Waterfront

Take a step back in time at the Waterfront’s museums, each one offering unique insight into Cape Town’s cultural and historical past.

Chavonnes Battery Museum (V&A Waterfront)
Time travel to Cape Town 300 years ago… Discover the V&A Waterfront’s rich and varied history on the one-and-a-half hour guided walking tour of the…
Cape Town Diamond Museum (V&A Waterfront)
Learn about the world’s most precious gem, from formation to the final polished stone, at the Cape Diamond Museum. Situated in the bustling heart of…
Iziko Maritime Museum (V&A Waterfront)
The Maritime Centre, situated at Cape Town’s V & A waterfront is a major attraction to both locals and tourists. What makes this maritime centre…
Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art (V&A Waterfront)
Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa (Zeitz MOCAA) is a public, not-for-profit institution that exhibits, collects, preserves and researches contemporary art from Africa and its…

Suicide Gorge (near Grabouw)

Recommended only for hardy and experienced hikers, the Suicide Gorge trail takes you high up into the mountains… and then downhill through the gorge that gives it its name.

You’ll be getting wet on this journey, so bring the appropriate gear, including lightweight hiking shoes, a swimsuit, and a change of clothes – a wetsuit is also highly recommended. Much of the day involves slip-sliding your way along the river, jumping into pools, and sometimes leaping off cliffs into the pools.

Pets are not allowed in CapeNature reserves.

We recommend going to with someone who has been there before.

Contact Cape Nature for more information, bookings and permits.

Die Hel to De Hoek, Groot Winterhoek Wilderness Area (near Porterville)

About 1h30min from Cape Town is a small conservation area is well-known for its rugged landscape and rich heritage. Among the interesting rock formations, exquisite fynbos and clear-water rockpools, you’ll find ancient rock paintings by the San and Khoi people.

It is popular with hikers and mountain bikers, and there are plenty of places to stop for a refreshing swim with not a building in sight.

Kloofing is an adrenalin-pumping way to explore Groot Winterhoek and its clear mountain pools. Die Hel to De Hoek is a demanding kloofing route, with no footpath.

Permits are need, so please contact Cape Nature, and make sure you are prepared.

Krom River Trail (near Paarl)

The Limietberg Nature Reserve offers some of the best hiking trails in the Western Cape, and the Krom River trail in particular stands out, as it guides you past waterfalls and deep, translucent rock pools that are clear enough to snorkel in. The water is ice cold, but that will probably come as a relief after the long hike.

Note: Pets are not allowed in CapeNature Reserves.

Permit required

You need a permit, which can be purchased at Du Kloof Trout Farm (just after the tunnel on your left) or from the CapeNature booking office. Only 24 permits are issued per day to prevent overcrowding, so plan ahead.

Crystal Pools Waterfall (near Gordons Bay)

This hiking trail is ok for anyone who is reasonably fit, and is slightly challenging for those who are not.

The rockpools along the way, where you can cool down during your walk, make it well worth the hike.

The half-day hike takes you through rocky, but generally flat, terrain, and all the way at the top is a wonderful waterfall, but it is quite a trek, so make sure you have plenty of snacks, water and energy to get there.

There’s maximum of 50 people per day is allowed, so try to book as early as possible. Bookings via Steenbras Nature Reserve – you must email.

Silvermine Reservoir

The large reservoir is open to everybody, including your dog, but there are no lifeguards on duty, and so swimming is at your own risk.

There’s a 1km trail around the water with a boardwalk that’s easily accessible for wheelchairs and prams.

There are also loads of picture-perfect picnic spots dotted around the reserve.

Opening times vary, but are typically 8am – 5pm (May to August); Daily, 7am – 6pm (September to April). Entry fees apply. The SANParks’ My Green Card entitles you to 12 free entries into the pay points of the Table Mountain National Park (TMNP) within a one-year period, so that’s good option for frequent visitors.

Maiden’s Cove Tidal Pools (Camps Bay)

Hidden among clumps of rocks, these tidal pools offer spectacular views of the mountain and ocean. Close by, a buzzy restaurant strip beckons, making the prospect of a dip in the pool (or sunbathing on the boulders that surround it) yet another incentive to visit the area.

Maiden’s Cove has a grassy area that’s perfect for a braai or picnic.

Whales and dolphins have been known to pass within sight of the shoreline.

The two largest tidal pools at Maiden’s Cove are located between Glen Beach (a favourite for surfers) and Clifton 4th Beach.

St James Tidal Pool

One of Cape Town’s most well-known and popular tidal pools, you’ll find this one below the railway line, in the seaside suburb of St James, which is between Muizenberg and Kalk Bay.

During summer, the beach and tidal pool become especially busy, so it’s best to get there in the early morning to beat the crowds.

St James is a sheltered, ultra family-friendly beach, making it perfect for sunbathers and young families, though surfers can ride the reef here, too.

St James has the characteristic colourful change rooms which add a bright splash of colour that, with the aqua waters below and children playing on the beach, paints an idyllic seaside-holiday scene.