20 Pocket-Friendly Things to Do in Cape Town

[Updated August 2020]

No one can argue that Cape Town is firmly on the world map as an unmissable destination.

What lies beyond its majestic mountain, historical Robben Island, sprawling vineyards and iconic sights? We bring you some of the best pocket-friendly things to do in Cape Town. Join us as we uncover unique places to eat, play, shop, celebrate and relax.

1. Free city walking tour

You never really know a place until you’ve walked in its streets, and with the free walking tours in the Cape Town city centre, you’ll be guaranteed a wealth of knowledge. Tours are conducted every day of the year, and with a friendly guide, you’ll be shown around the city’s main attractions at no price at all! Choose between the Bo Kaap, City Centre or District Six tours for a wonderful walk around Cape Town.

Image courtesy of @capetownfreewalkingtours via Instagram

2. Browse the markets

On trend with the rest of the world, Cape Town has some of the most wonderful markets that you could ever find. Entrance to the markets are free but be warned that you may want to spend more than a few Rands as you taste and sample your way around the freshest produce, tastiest bites and locally-crafted designs. Some of the popular ones include Oranjezicht Farmers Market (Granger Bay), Bay Harbour Market (Hout Bay), Old Biscuit Mill (Woodstock), Mojo Market (Sea Point) and Route 44 (Stellenbosch).

These are some of our favourites:

Bay Harbour Market

Travelstart Cape Town

Image courtesy of @echtafrika via Instagram

Hout Bay’s Bay Harbour Market offers an eclectic stylish wonderland of exquisite art, craft, fashion, decor and live music complemented by the delicious aromas of food to tempt all the senses. With over 100 stalls, this market is a great outing for the whole family. Housed in an old fish factory, it’s the perfect jaunt for those rainy Cape days.

Contact: 083 275 5586 | View location

Market on the Wharf

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Image courtesy of @flobre96 via Instagram

It’s no secret Capetonians love all things relating to good food, good vibes and good times and Market on the Wharf at the V&A Waterfront won’t disappoint in any of these categories. All that goodness comes together under one roof where merchants introduce patrons to a diverse range of tastes.

Contact: 021 418 1605 | View location

Oranjezicht City Farmers Market

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Image courtesy of @eat_southafrica via Instagram

With education and promoting healthier lifestyles at the forefront of what they do, the Oranjezicht market invites you to visit on a Saturday and Sunday to come and experience what low-impact, sustainable community living is all about. In addition to experiencing the wholesome way of life the OZCF has brought to the city, you can also do your weekly food shopping (fresh produce, home-baked bread, organic dairy, free-range eggs, honey, muesli, etc.) and try out some delicious meals. They even have adoption days if you’re looking to add a furry friend to your family.

Contact: 083 628 3426 | View location

3. Hop on and off with the Red Bus

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Image courtesy of @lizzytraut via Instagram

This is probably the best way to get acquainted with any city, in any season. The red City Sightseeing double-decker buses have built a reputation in many towns around the world for being the go-to vehicle for new introductions and bearing finding expeditions, and in Cape Town, it’s no different. Start day one on the red route – a seamless tour of the City Bowl and its surrounds, and then hop on the Blue Mini Peninsula Tour for sightseeing further afield to Hout Bay and the Constantia Wine Valley. Plug in your earphones and be your own tour guide in more than 16 languages. Whether you’re a tourist or not, this is hands down one of the best things to do in Cape Town.

Contact: 021 511 6000  | View location

4. Catch a movie at the Labia Theatre

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Image courtesy of @corli_marx via Instagram

You might have heard Gran and Gramps reminisce about back in the day trips to the bioscope and now you can relive their nostalgia in what is arguably the coolest, most unique and independent art-repertory cinema in South Africa. The curiously named Labia Theatre on Orange Street is where you can still sit on the terrace and sip a drink from the licensed bar or take it into the cinema and enjoy whilst watching your movie. Opened by Princess Labia in May 1949 to stage live performances, this movie house now attracts love-birds and hipsters for its retro décor and affordable movie tickets. Buy a movie ticket and popcorn for less than 100 bucks!

Contact: 021 424 5927  | View location

5. Go museum hopping

Iziko museums

South Africa has the most fascinating history, from the South African National Gallery’s dinosaur fossils to the former home of high-ranking VOC official at the Iziko Rust & Vreugd Museum. Muse around the various museums and pick up some interesting facts for a full day out across the city.

District Six museum

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Image courtesy of @charliegray20 via Instagram

When the apartheid government swooped on District Six in 1965, forcibly removing its residents and declaring the area a “whites-only” zone, the rich fabric of a disadvantaged but vibrant community was torn apart. In an effort to preserve the memories of District Six and create a monument to the thousands of people around the country forcibly relocated under apartheid, the District Six Museum Foundation was established in 1989. In 1994, the District Six Museum came into being.

Zeitz MOCAA

See some of the most jaw-dropping and contemporary African art all in one place, at the Zeitz MOCAA. This highly stylish décor-meets-funk museum has some of the most unique and astounding pieces to view, and a view to kill in the Silo District at the V&A Waterfront.

Image courtesy of @zeitzmocca via Instagram

6. Be cool on Bree Street

For a while now, Bree Street has surpassed the status of up and coming, having grown into the hotbed of quintessential Cape Town culture it is today. Some say it’s Cape Town’s best-kept secret chock-a-block with bars, boutique restaurants, galleries and shops of the international designer and homegrown variety oozing Mother City charm and heritage all the way.

View location

7. Find fish ‘n chips in Kalk Bay

Saturday and Sunday lunchtimes are taken care of when you’re in Kalk Bay as there’s only one meal worth having, and that’s definitely a parcel of fish ‘n chips! While there are many restaurants to choose from, we recommend Kalky’s for an authentic Cape Town experience.

Image courtesy of @carletjie via Instagram

8. Indulge in honest chocolate truffles

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Image courtesy of @_ivan_smith_ via Instagram

Honest Chocolate Café, in Wale Street, is the first chocolate café in South Africa. Relax in the laidback atmosphere and dig into everything chocolate, including truffles, cakes, tarts, and warm drinks – perfect for those chilly days. For the gin lovers, walk through the shop where the courtyard leads you to The (Secret) Gin bar, one of Capt Town’s finest hidden gems.

Contact: 076 765 8306 | View location

9. Say what’s SUP Cape Town?

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Image courtesy of @supcapetown via Instagram

Guy and the SUP Cape Town crew invite you to come down and experience what getting healthy while having fun is all about. From their central clubhouse location at the V&A Waterfront, SUP Cape Town is all about getting on the glassy waters of the canal and getting familiar with one of the fastest-growing water sports in the world.

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10. Cycle along the promenade

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Image courtesy of @camorenmoller via Instagram

Rent a bicycle from Up Cycles at the Sea Point Pavilion and explore Cape Town at your own pace. Pedal along the promenade and make your way to the CBD or Camps Bay for a refreshing drink. You’ll get to have fun while exercising and taking in the Mother City’s beautiful attractions, including Green Point Park and Cape Town Stadium. You can return the bike at any Up Cycles station.

Contact:  074 100 9161 | View Location

11. Discover the truth about coffee

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Image courtesy of @idexela via Instagram

For a coffee roastery experience which has won worldwide acclaim, Truth Coffee is about more than just properly roasted beans. From their headquarters on Buitenkant Street, Truth Coffee draws on the Victorian “steampunk” aesthetic of old to create a one-of-a-kind ambience which leaves patrons with the unshakeable feeling that they’re sipping in a setting that is pioneering something special in coffee culture. All elements are drawn together to converge on the giant vintage roaster – the functioning, mechanical heart of Truth Coffee.

Contact: 021 200 0440 | View location

12. Take a hike up Lions Head

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Image courtesy of @joanna_bogdan via Instagram

The freely accessible Lions Head hike is a hit with locals and visitors. For the price of a bottle of water and a packet of chips, you can enjoy the unsurpassed, 360 views from the top of the city’s second most iconic mountain. It’s about an hour and a half to the top if you’re going at a steady slow pace. Go when there’s a full moon for excellent viewing and a naturally lit pathway to the top.

See how to get there

13. Browse the vinyl at Mabu

Travelstart Cape Town

Image courtesy of @nils_taildeman via Instagram

The art of record collecting is alive and well in Cape Town City Bowl where Mabu Vinyl is at the forefront of this niche sub-culture. Stephen Segerman of Searching for Sugar Man fame is co-owner of the store and is usually available for a spirited chat about the 2012 hit movie in which he featured. Mabu stocks a rare selection of classics with a catalogue including second-hand records, books, comics, CDs, DVDs and cassettes.

Vinyls go for anything from R50. Shooting the breeze with Stephen – priceless.

Contact: 021 423 7635 | View location

14. Find perfect coffee in Khayelitsha

Travelstart Cape Town

Image courtesy of @stew_payne via Instagram

Lolo, Vusi and Wongama are your hosts, baristas and coffee connoisseurs at the Department of Coffee in Khayelitsha. Founded in July 2012 and situated next to the Khayelitsha train station, these three passionate entrepreneurs have filled a much-needed gap in the morning cuppa routine in one of the busiest intersections of the Cape Flats. The Department of Coffee serves a blend of beans that have been specially roasted for them, as well as tea and hot chocolate, muffins and fresh fruit juices.

Contact: 073 300 9519 | View location

15. Turn a chop against the best backdrop

Travelstart Cape Town

Image courtesy of Damien du Toit via Instagram

Set in what is arguably one of the most epic picnic and braai spots in the country, Oudekraal forms part of Table Mountain National Park and is a protected marine area. As such there’s a small fee to enter but the nominal amount is well worth it for the chance to braai South African style next to the sea. Oudekraal features parking, toilets and built-in braais for the whole family, not to mention the epic views and swimming area if you can brave the icy Atlantic water.

Entrance is free for WILD Card and TMNP My Green Card holders.

Contact: 021 428 9111 | View location

16. Grab a sundowner at The Rumbullion

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Image courtesy of @dabbling_in_dubai via Instagram

Set on what is arguably one of Camps Bay’s loftiest viewpoints, The Rumbullion at The Roundhouse eases up on the fine dining atmosphere of the neighbouring Roundhouse and opts for more relaxed picnic-style cuisine on the terraces and lawns. Come bask in the natural, leisurely atmosphere with friends and family, while enjoying The Rumbullion’s delicious pizzas and one of the most enviable views in the world!

Contact: 021 438 4347 | View location

17. Walk the Boomslang at Kirstenbosch

Travelstart Cape Town

Image courtesy of @leonk717 via Instagram

Situated on the eastern slopes of Table Mountain, Kirstenbosch Gardens is internationally acclaimed as one of the seven most magnificent botanical gardens in the world. Home to the ever-popular Summer Concerts and an aerial walkway called the Boomslang, there’s even more reason to visit Kirstenbosch. The aerial walkway offers a fresh perspective over the lush gardens. It’s a 128-metre-long walkway which allows visitors to experience the Botanical Gardens from the treetops of about 450 of South Africa’s 1,000 indigenous species.

Contact: 021 799 8800 | View location

18. Get bargains and cuddles at DARG

Travelstart Cape Town

Image courtesy of @rolandj6 via Instagram

DARG (Domestic Animal Rescue Group) is a pro-life organisation that rescues, cares for, sterilises and finds good homes for abused, neglected and abandoned cats and dogs. The organisation is always grateful for new volunteers – whether you would like to assist at the adoption centre with dog walking, feeding and cleaning, or whether you could offer your help at one of their fundraising events.

Check out their online shop where you can pick up some amazing items at a steal!

Contact: 021 790 0383 / 021 790 2050 | View location

19. Visit World of Birds

Travelstart Cape Town

Image courtesy of Damien du Toit via flickr.com

Set on four hectares of tropical landscape in the Hout Bay valley, a mere 15 minutes from Cape Town city centre, World of Birds is Africa’s largest bird park with 3,000 birds and 400 species. This is an affordable family day out allowing you the most intimate experience with nature. See how you can support this wildlife sanctuary to stay open – they are doing a sterling job of supporting conservation on a global scale by propagating rare birds and mammals in a protective environment.

Contact: 021 790 2730  | View location

20. Pick strawberries at Polkadraai Farm

Travelstart Cape Town

Image courtesy of @fatisphotography via Instagram

A little day trip out of town, enjoy the fruits of your own labour by going strawberry picking at Polkadraai Farm near Stellenbosch. Fun for all ages, Polkadraai Farm invites you to come and “pick your own” from October to December annually when the strawberries are ripe for the plucking. Individuals and families do not need to make a booking but please book a slot if your group is larger than 15 people.

Contact: 021 881 3303 | View location

Also read: Fun day trips from Cape Town

Whether you’re a first-time tourist, repeat visitor or a local, the vibrant Mother City has plenty on offer. We hope our suggestions on budget-friendly things to do in Cape Town adds a spin of fun and flavour to your stay.

Ready to explore the Mother City? Book your flight to Cape Town.

Have we missed any amazing pocket-friendly things to do in Cape Town? Let us know in the comments below!

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All information on this blog page was correct at the time of publishing and may change at any time without prior notice. Travelstart will not be held liable for loss or inconvenience resulting from the use of out-dated or incorrectly noted information.

Featured image courtesy of @neilstapelberg via Instagram

Our Readers Comments

  1. Nice information about cape town places which are best places, a place that draws you in and doesn’t let go. I’d really love to visit Cape Town your photos make it looks amazing! Hiking to the top of lions head is definitely on my bucket list!

    • Hi Tim, thank you for the interest in the posting. Cape Town is exceptionally beautiful and I am delighted to hear that you will be enjoying the hiking spots we have in and around the city. One of my favourite things to do is to take the red tour city bus I normally get the blue city tour which takes you around through Cape Town and then past Kirstenbosch which you can hop off at and do some hiking and sightseeing as well and then hope on again to enjoy the rest of the journey passing and stopping at places like World of Birds and in Hout Bay for amazing fish and chip and perhaps taking a pic with a chubby seal on the jetty and then back on the bus making your way back to town via Camps Bay, and Clifton. I hope we see you soon in Cape Town.

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  4. And soon you will be able to add the Wine Valley Safari to that list, at R180 pp you can hop-on to the Freestyle Wine Safari to explore the Robertson Wine Valley offerings. From olive tastings, grapa and wine to a river cruise and great lunch spots and pairings to select from.

  5. Hey Very nice place Capetown wow and you described very well i am also going there can suggest me some best places is there any adventure places to enjoy

  6. Such a great Place Capetown i really want to Visit there soon and i am planning to go in next month and after read this blog got more information about this place and really it will help me

    • Hi Tanya,

      Cape Town is such an amazing city to visit with so much to see. Everything from the beach, mountains, winelands, great coffee shops and restaurants the list goes on.

      Cape Town will not disappoint. WE look forward to having you in the Mother City.

  7. Such a beautiful image these are.I agree with all points you have given to us. I will follow all of them when i am going to visit cape town. Thanks for the sharing such a interesting article.

    • Hi Hester,

      Thanks for the great feedback and we happy to hear that our readers enjoy what we put out there for them.

      We look forward to your visit in Cape Town.

  8. Please update your Hint Hunt prices they totally outdated, people request games for the quoted price that is years old.

    R230pp (incl Vat)

    We have expanded to the V&A Water Shed from 1st May 2018. We still have the JM Murder Mystery and the Zen Japanese Treasure Hunt at the Old Biscuit Mill

    Thank you

    • Hi Luanne,

      Thanks for contacting us.

      We have placed a disclaimer at the bottom of our blog that all information on the blog page was correct at the time of publishing and may change at any time without prior notice.

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