The best times of the day to see Cape Town’s top attractions in peak season
Cape Town is no stranger to hectic crowds over summer, but there are ways to see its main attractions and still beat the queues.
Whether you want to walk in Nelson Mandela's footsteps, hike up the city's mountains or just laze the day away on its sandy shores, your experience will always be just a little more pleasant when you don't have to elbow people just to take a selfie.
Here's a Capetonian's tips for seeing the sights without facing the crowds over the festive period.
The ferry for Robben Island runs four times a day, but the one with the least crowds is the first one in the morning at 09:00.
Table Mountain Cableway
The quieter times to take the Cableway is in the afternoon - you can buy a cheaper afternoon ticket that's valid from 13:00. Alternatively, you could buy an early access ticket valid between 15 December 2019 and 15 January 2020 that let's you take the cable car at 07:30 in the morning.
While the crowds in summer are most of the day - and even past sunset - your best bet is to wake up even before the crack of dawn to start your hike - remember the coffee! Also if you want to do an evening hike check the calendar if there's a full moon - that's when the mountain is overrun.
Our happy little penguins are amazing crowd-pullers, but if you want to see them without fighting for a photo get there as soon as the gates open at 07:00 from December to January or catch them at sunset an hour before the gates close at 19:30.
The popular beaches' biggest problem is traffic and parking, so like Lion's Head you're going to have to be one of the first to greet the sun. Near the end of the day it also gets a lot quieter as the families leave, if you're keen to also be the last to greet the sun.
Gates open at 06:00 in summer and the crowds at the point will start queuing at 09:00 with all the tour operators, so the best tip is to get in early, go straight to Cape Point with the lighthouse first thing and then meander through the rest of the park at leisure - and remember to check out the almost empty beaches!