Photography in Cape Town

Table Mountain at sunset - Photographed from Plattekloof Lodge

Many overseas visitors to South Africa stay in Cape Town for a few days before going to the Kgalagadi or Kruger Parks on their photo safaris.

This isn't surprising as Cape Town is the number-1 tourist destination in South Africa with over 3 million visitors per year (compared to the Kruger National Park, which comes in second place with about 1.8 million visitors per year).

We therefore suggest you don't pack your cameras away as there are many opportunities for you to practice your photo skills in Cape Town before you get to the national parks.

Our favorite subjects are the Brightly colored houses at Bo-Kaap...

Bo-Kaap houses with Table Mountain backdrop

and the colored beach huts at Muizenberg Beach...

Many visitors don't realize that there are more huts further down the beach, about 4 kilometers away, at St James beach, which provide even better photos as you have a mountain backdrop and also get the huts reflecting in the water...

There are also many tours and activities to choose from when in the mother city!

We have stayed at various hotels:

Close to the Waterfront:

Table mountain

• The City Lodge Waterfront

• The Cullinan

• The Westin Cape Town (potential good views if you get a room higher up than we had - 3rd floor isn't great!)

• Protea Hotel North Wharf

• Protea Hotel Victoria Junction

• Victoria & Alfred Hotel Waterfront

Canon at Karbonkelberg

Photography in Cape Town & surrounds:

• Cape Sun

• Garden Court Nelson Mandela Boulevard

• Southern Sun Newlands

• Protea Hotel Durbanville (too noisy with travel bags on wheels and hotel luggage trolleys being pulled along the cobbles!)

• StayEasy Century City

• Protea Hotel Tyger Valley

• Plattekloof Lodge

Table Mountain photographed from the Protea Hotel Tyger Valley

Cape Town Waterfront

If you want to get the classic V&A Waterfront photographs with Table Mountain in the background you need to be at the Waterfront and there are regular shuttles and taxis going to the waterfront if you don't have your own transport.

There are, of course, the more expensive hotels such as the Cape Grace right on the Waterfront but most of them face east with Table Mountain behind them.

Cape Grace hotel

You ideally want to be facing Table Mountain with the sun behind you.

Cape Town waterfront

We therefore suggest you go to the waterfront and walk around to find photographic subjects.

Clock Tower at the Cape Town Waterfront
Masthead at Cape Town waterfront

At lunch time we normally sit at quay 5 and photograph the landscape view from one of our favorite restaurants at the Victoria Wharf Shopping Centre.

There are restaurants on the lower and upper level but we prefer the lower level and usually sit at Belthazar or Tasca de Belem.

Just watch out for the seagulls that come to check out you lunch...

Tasca de belem restaurant

Balducci's is also a very good restaurant but it is just around the corner and you cannot see Table Mountain - location is critical!

All the images on this page were taken on one day at the Cape Town Waterfront. Photography in Cape Town is a pleasure as there are so many subjects.

You will notice there are pictures of Table Mountain with cloud, with no cloud and with a rainbow - truly four seasons in a day!

Rainbow at Table Mountain
Table mountain from the Waterfront
Table mountain in Cape Town

If you get bored with photographing Table Mountain then the seagulls will entertain you...

Seagull at Cape Town waterfront
seagull on flagpole
seagull feding junior

... or you should keep a lookout for unusual ships like the Jolly Roger...

Jolly Roger in Cape Town
Jolly Roger flag

2018 Update

We stayed at the new Radisson Red V&A Waterfront Hotel and loved it!!!

Radisson Red looking onto Table Mountain and the waterfront

The view from the rooftop bar and restaurant is amazing...

Sunset over the V&A Waterfront, captured from the Radisson Red hotel rooftop bar

With the Radisson Red being situated right in the waterfront, it's quick and easy to walk to the shops and restaurants by day or night. 

Our gear for Photography in Cape Town

We had the following photo equipment with us:

• Nikon D300 with 18-200 VR lens

• Small tripod (it was too windy to use it so we made sure the VR function was activated on the lens)

• Warm Polarizing filter

• Samsung Galaxy Note 8

Please clean your lenses and filters every day - the salt spray will coat your gear!

The Wine Farms

We also visited some wine farms of which Leipzig Country House in Worcester was quite unusual. The service and food were average but we loved the murals in the old cellars...

Leipzig Leopard mural in old wine cellar
Leipzig Lion mural in old wine cellar
Leipzig ostrich mural in old wine cellar

and in the restaurant...

Leipzig elephant panorama mural

Safety Advice

There is very good security at the V&A Waterfront and we did not feel threatened even once while we were walking around with our cameras.

We still did not take chances and would keep our photo gear close at all times. So as you will see from the above images, there are many good opportunities for Photography in Cape Town, enabling you to practice before you get to your safari destination - the last thing you want is to be fiddling with camera controls and filters while your once-in-a-lifetime photo opportunity fades away!

Make sure you are familiar with your photo gear before reaching the national parks and photography in Cape Town provides a last-minute opportunity!

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