There certainly isn’t any shortage of incredible photography destinations in the beautiful country of South Africa. Whether you are into landscape photography, capturing stunning wildlife pictures, or prefer to capture cityscapes in creative street photography shots, South Africa has great places for you to do it all. One of the places that I am very excited to photograph when I visit this autumn is the amazing city of Cape Town. With breathtaking coastal mountains, spectacular coastline that is frequented by African penguins, and truly incredible monuments, Cape Town really is a photographer’s dream. As I begin to plan my trip to South Africa, I am going to share my thoughts on the best Cape Town photography spots with you.
If you follow my blog closely, then you are probably familiar with this exercise that I like to do before big trips. Before visiting a destination, I am a firm believer in not only researching my travel plans but my photography plans as well. While many of the photographs that you will take during your travels will be impromptu, spur-of-the-moment decisions, it can be hugely beneficial to have an idea of what you would like to photograph before you arrive at your destinations.
Knowing which spots are the prettiest to photograph, where the sun will be rising and setting during your visit, and what type of access you will have to those locations will help you plan what type of photography equipment to bring and when and for how long to visit each destination. In this overview of the top Cape Town photography spots, I am going to tell you which spots I am most excited about photographing and what type of photography research I have done on each of these locations. For more information on how I plan for my photography when I travel, please be sure to check out my guides on planning your travel photos and which photography gear to bring with you, both of which I have linked below.
|Guide to Planning Your Travel Photos|
|Essential Gear for Traveling Photographers|
Resources I Used
One of the first steps for any travel photographer who is planning the shots they want to take on their trip is to do some research into the locations they will be visiting. When I started to look into the top Cape Town Photography Spots, the first thing that I did was some research on the Cape Town in general. I was looking for the top places of interest, beautiful landscapes that other photographers have captured, unique landscapes that may be worth photographing, and photography advice from other photographers who have visited Cape Town in the past. To assist you in doing some additional research of your own on Cape Town, I have included a list of some of the resources I used in my planning for you to review below.
- 14 Best Things to Do in Cape Town
- 20 Amazing Things to do in Cape Town, South Africa
- 40 Fun Things to Do in Cape Town, South Africa
- 20+ Most Instagrammable Places in Cape Town
- Ten Most Insta-Worthy Spots in Cape Town
- Top 20 Instagram Spots in Cape Town, South Africa
Photography Spots I’ve Identified
Cape Town is located on the South coast of South Africa and is most easily accessible by flying into the Cape Town International Airport. It’s a big city with a lot to see, so I would plan on spending at least a few full days in Cape Town if you would like to photograph all of the incredible things in and around the city.
If you are planning a few full days to spend in the Cape Town area, it may make sense to split your time up between the sites around Cape Town and the sites that are located on the Cape Peninsula. For instance, on one day you can explore Table Mountain, the Chapman’s Peak drive, Lion’s Head, Signal Hill and the other amazing sights in the area. On your second day, you can focus your time on the sights located on the peninsula, including the incredible Boulder Beach, Cape Point, St. James Beach, and the renown Cape of Good Hope.
For a visual representation of this, please refer to the map that I have included in my top Cape Town photography spots below. The RED circle includes the sights in the Cape Town area and the GREEN circle includes the sights to see on the Cape Peninsula.
|Table Mountain National Park|
|Chapman’s Peak Drive|
|St. James Beach|
|Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden|
One of the most popular sights to see in the Cape Town area is undoubtedly the incredible Table Mountain National Park. This beautiful flat-topped mountain cradles the city of Cape Town and forms a beautiful backdrop to the city. It is also an incredible place to photograph the city from above, which is why getting to the top of Table Mountain is such a popular activity for visitors. If you are up for it, the hike to the top of Table Mountain is very popular. It’s a fairly strenuous, but not overly difficult hike, so you will need to plan for enough time to make it to the top and back down. If you are pressed on time or aren’t up for a lengthy hike, there is also a cable car that will take you to the top as well.
Another of the top Cape Town photography spots that are located near Table Mountain is the infamous Kloof Corner photo spot that is adjacent to the Kloof Corner ridge of Table Mountain. From the Kloof Corner photo spot, you can capture some absolutely epic shots of Lion’s Head and get some photos of the city from a different perspective. It requires a short hike to get to, but I think it is absolutely worth it to get these incredible shots.
Chapman’s Peak Drive
With so much spectacular landscape surrounding Cape Town, there are several incredible drives that you can take around the city to experience some of the best Cape Town photography spots. One of the most popular of these drives is the renowned Chapman’s Peak drive. Stretching from Hout Bay in the North to Noordhoek in the South, the Chapman’s Peak drive offers visitors a wide range of incredible viewpoints in which to photograph the bay and its beautiful coastline. If you love to be on the coast and photograph beautiful coastlines, you won’t want to miss out on this drive when you visit Cape Town.
|East Fort, Chapman’s Peak Drive|
|Chapman’s Peak Drive Lookout|
|Chapman’s Peak Drive Lookout|
|Chapman’s Peak Drive Lookout|
|The Lookout Point on Chapmans Peak|
|Chapman’s Peak Drive Long Beach|
In addition to being one of the top Cape Town photography spots, Lion’s Head is also one of the city’s most recognizable landmarks. Located between Table Mountain and Signal Hill, this charismatic mountain reaches 2,194 feet (or 669-meters) above sea level and forms part of the dramatic backdrop that makes Cape Town’s coastline so iconic. There are many incredible places to photograph Lion’s Head throughout the city, but there are also several viewpoints nearby that offer incredible views of the coastline as well.
Many iconic landmarks around the city are included in the long list of the top Cape Town photography spots, many of which I have already covered so far in my guide. Not to be forgotten, the iconic Signal Hill is a must-photograph landmark for photographers visiting Cape Town. This flat-topped hill that is located adjacent to Lion’s Head and Table Mountain used to be known as “The Lion’s Flank”. Regardless of what you call it, the hill is a fascinating landmark that is showcased in many of the top photographs of the city. It also is conveniently accessible by car, which makes it one of the easiest to access vantage points in which to photograph Cape Town from above.
In addition to the many wonderful photography spots in and around the city of Cape Town, there are also several incredible photography spots South of the city on the Cape Peninsula. Perhaps the most famous of these spots is the iconic Cape Point. If you have the time to drive to the south end of the peninsula, you will find many amazing viewpoints in which to photograph some of South Africa’s most spectacular coastline. This includes the renowned Cape of Good Hope. Although it isn’t actually the most southern tip of South Africa, this rocky headland is one of the most beautiful and infamous points on the country’s coastline. It is definitely a must photograph location for all dedicated travel photographers.
|Cape Point Lighthouse|
|Cape Point Old Lighthouse|
|Cape Peninsula Wooden Walkway|
|Cape of Good Hope Scenic Trail|
|Cape of Good Hope|
While most wildlife photographers who visit South Africa focus most of their attention on the incredible wildlife that is found up North in Kruger National Park, there are some spectacular wildlife viewing opportunities to be had around the Cape Town area as well. In fact, one of my favorites of the top Cape Town photography spots has become renowned because of the frequency with which you can photograph African Penguins. The iconic Boulders Beach is perfectly named because of the large boulders that line the coastline near this beach and offer the perfect perch for these lovable creatures. If you love to photograph wildlife, then Boulders Beach on the Cape Peninsula is a must-see spot for you.
St. James Beach
There are a lot of spectacular beaches around the Cape Town area, and I wish I had room to put more on my list of the top Cape Town photography spots. However, if I had to choose one to recommend for photography above all others, it would definitely be the beautiful St. James Beach on the Cape Peninsula. There are a lot of things I love about this beach, but the colorful changing houses and the amazing tidal pool top my list. The colorful changing houses remind me a lot of the beautiful colored changing houses on Brighton Beach in Melbourne, Australia. They are such a joy to capture in photographs.
Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden
If you love to photograph beautiful flowers and gorgeous landscapes, then one of the top Cape Town photography spots that you will want to visit during your stay is the Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden, located just outside the city. There is an incredible collection of gardens on display for you to photograph, which makes it one of the most Instagram-worthy spots near the city. For an idea of how the gardens are laid out and where to visit, please refer to the map that I have included below.
|Colonel Bird’s Bath|
Located about 6.9 kilometers off the coast of Cape Town, Robben Island is one of the most striking features of the Cape Town coast. It gets its name from the Dutch word for seal and is home to a healthy colony of both sea lions and African penguins. However, wildlife isn’t the only thing worthy of photographing on Robben Island. The island also has some incredible viewpoints in which you can view the city of Cape Town with Table Mountain as a backdrop. In fact, I would recommend visiting the island for this reason alone. For more information on where I would recommend photographing on Robben Island, please check out the photo map I included below.
|Robben Island viewing Point (Looking Towards Table Mountain)|
|Robben Island Lighthouse|
|Murray’s Bay Harbour|
|Robben Island African Penguin Colony|
Located on Devil’s Peak, just outside the city, the Rhodes Memorial is an absolutely spectacular memorial monument that is amazing to photograph. Not only is the memorial itself beautiful to get pictures of but capturing photographs of the memorial and the city below is definitely Instagram-worthy. If you have the time, there are also gardens behind the memorial that are beautiful to photograph as well.