Cape Town shows off its artistic side

Cape Town shows off its artistic side

From contemporary art galleries and guided art tours to street art and township art experiences, Cape Town is a dream destination for travellers seeking out the finest artistic and cultural offerings in Africa.

Creative excellence has long been a calling card for the Mother City and never has that been more palpable than with the imminent opening of the Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa. Excitement is building and the creative energy is at an all-time high in the city as the final touches are made ahead of the museum’s grand opening in September.

The first major museum on the continent dedicated to contemporary art, Zeitz Mocca is “the embodiment of artistry”, with the building itself a work of art. Located in the V&A Waterfront’s historic Grain Silo, the gallery will span nine floors and will include German-born businessman Jochen Zeitz’s renowned private collection of African artworks and installations, as well as “cutting-edge” contemporary art from around the continent.

Once completed, Zeitz Mocca will be home to Centres for Costume Institute, Photography, Curatorial Excellence, the Moving Image, Performative Practice, and Art Education, and will feature a myriad of gallery spaces, a sculpture garden, bookshop, restaurant, technical training areas, research labs and reading rooms. The museum’s ‘Access for All’ policy, will ensure those unable to afford admission will never be turned away, while visitors under 18 will be afforded free entry all year round, meaning the next generation of artists will be able to feed their creative spirit freely.

Zeitz Mocca is the latest edition to the city’s burgeoning art scene, but it is just one experience among a multitude of offerings in a city “overflowing with artistic excellence”, with locals leading the way.

The new Airbnb experiences are also featuring a number of artistic experiences for visitors to take part in. A relatively new offering from Airbnb, the experiences allow those travelling to the city to immerse themselves in activities with locals showing them the ropes. There are a number of options available for those looking at learning about artistry in Cape Town, with everything from sketching classes to electro dancing on the table.

The Mother City has long been a muse for artists, with a natural beauty second to none, but dig a few inches beneath the surface, you will find a city alive with creativity, artistic vibrancy and an exhilarating spirit.


Cape Town is arguably the creative capital of South Africa. The city’s creative energy has over the years created a nurturing environment that continues to draw artists and creatives of all kinds to its shores. It is no wonder then, that Cape Town boasts a wealth of galleries in which to view work spanning a multitude of genres by artists from across the African continent.

Contemporary art galleries

Cape Town has more than 50 art galleries around the city, all of them free of charge, including the Goodman Gallery, the South African National Gallery, AVA gallery and Everard Read to name a few.

From internationally renowned names such as Gerard Sekoto, William Kentridge, Vladimir Tretchikoff and Irma Stern to emerging young talents that could serve as investment pieces.

Guided Art Tours

Get off your feet and soak in what Cape Town has to offer

Get off your feet and soak in what your city has to offer-Photographer Craig Howes, supplied courtesy of Cape Town Tourism

To get a personalised first-hand experience of the art scene in Cape Town, it is recommended to go on one of the many available guided art tours. The guides on these tours are art experts and will know exactly which exhibitions are showing where, to ensure you have a “quality African art experience”. With Art Route Cape Town, there’s also an option to go on a collectors tour, if you’re in the market to buy.

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Public Art Foundries

There are an increasing number of foundries opening up to the public to demonstrate the art of metalwork, ceramic and sculpture.

Some of the top places to visit are Bronze Age at the V&A Waterfront, where the entire bronze sculpting process can be viewed through glass windows, or at the Montebello Design Centre in Newlands where a number of artists work in their studios.

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Street Art Tours

Go on a walking tour of the Woodstock neighbourhood to see about 40 of the more than 100 artworks on display on the walls of local residents. You can also get the opportunity to paint a wall of your own, for an additional cost. Juma is a local street artist who was involved in creating some of the street artworks, and has extensive knowledge on the murals and artists. His street art tours have now also expanded to Khayelitsha and Langa.


Maboneng Township Art Experience

The Maboneng Township Arts Experience is a social entrepreneurship arts organisation that turns township homes into public galleries. It has over 100 gallery homes registered in three cities in South Africa, with gallery home tours available to book in Langa and Gugulethu in Cape Town.


Public Artworks

Cape Town parks, gardens and promenades are home to fascinating pieces of sculpture by South African and international creatives. Meander on the Sea Point promenade to see many public artworks like the “Perceiving Freedom” sunglasses and “Morphous” by internationally renowned Lionel Smit. Nobel Square at the V&A Waterfront boasts four famous statues of four politicians, whilst you can view magnificent Angus Taylor sculptures at the Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens.

First Thursdays

On the first Thursday of every month, arts and culture in Cape Town has a late night, with dozens of art galleries and cultural events showcasing the wealth of talent that the Mother City has on offer. The event is free, with no structured tour, and no schedule to follow. You are free to absorb it all at your own leisure. To ensure your First Thursday can be catered to your own specific preferences, organisers provide a map and highlights of what is on show. From there it is all up to you.

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Art and food experiences

Something for the foodies and the art lovers, there are a number of experiences in the city that combine fine dining with art. The Taj Hotel and La Mouette restaurant feature new artists, wines and dining experiences at different times, while Ground Art Caffe and Solo Gallery Café are both restaurants and galleries at the same time. So sink your teeth into some divine food and feast your eyes on some of the country’s best works during these unique experiences.

* For more information on all of the above, visit