Creativity, nature and incredible beauty collide in Cape Town, arguably the best destination city in the world. Fashion, food and innovative design dominate this mountain-meets-sea city of dreams.
Above image courtesy of Mike Eloff @thelawry via Instagram
Travelstart’s 2014 list “41 Things to do in Cape Town under R200” is still the ultimate guide to living it up in the Mother City however to complement our favourite list of fun things to do on the cheap, we’ve compiled some new ideas to add to our old favourites. Most importantly none of these activities will break the bank at R250 or less (apart from the occasional splurge) and many are completely free. Here’s to happy exploring!
For amazing flights to the Mother City head over here.
In no particular order:
1. Where’s Wally’s Cave
Image courtesy of Ingebjørg (Inga) Lingaas Instagram
You might have seen photos of this dramatic spot on Instagram and wondered how to find it. Simply take a small detour to the left of the first ladder on Lion’s head, a little bit of scrambling (watch your step!) until you get to a broken-down bench, keep to the lower path and you’ll soon find Wally’s Cave. An absolute right of passage for Capetonians.
Image courtesy of Kate Davies Instagram
2. More Wine Less Whine at Tuning the Vine
Image courtesy of Tuning the Vine Facebook Page
The Cape’s wine farms come to you when you attend the fabulous monthly event “Tuning the Vine”. The best way to spend an evening in Cape Town’s inner city, follow Tuning the Vine’s wine route from bar to bar, meeting with the winemakers themselves, chatting to fellow wine lovers and getting to taste quality wine.
Buy tickets here.
3. Get a shot of caffeine and a dash of Truth at the best coffee shop in the world
Image courtesy of Shanna Jones Photography via D F Bothma
The Telegraph has just lauded Truth as the best coffee shop in the world for the second time in a row. Besieged by accolades, this gleaming steampunk emporium of coffee culture delivers every time. Be sure to try their after work drinks. Note this is also one of the best breakfasts to be had in the city.
Cost: About R90 for breakfast and a coffee
4. Conquer the lower slopes of Table Mountain with Scootours downhill cycling
Kids will adore this rambunctious way to explore the outdoors on an eco-friendly Monster Montain downhill scooter. The most interesting way to explore the lower slopes of Table Mountain.
Cost: R250pp for kids
5. Two-for-one steak special at HQ
Capetonians can be found at HQ on Mondays, defeating those Monday blues with HQ’s delectable two-for-one steak special. Premium steak, chips and salad at half the price. Grab a friend and take advantage of this tasty deal. The restaurant is famed for its steak for good reason.
Cost: R99 for two steaks, chips and salads at lunch
6. All aboard the bright red bus
Image courtesy of City Sight Seeing CT Instagram
Still the most enjoyable way to see the Mother City, the red buses are a friendly reminder of how many visitors flock to Cape Town throughout the year. Even if you’re a local it’s totally worth while seeing your city from the roof of a shiny double decker bus. Choose the route that best suits you and hop on and off as you please.
Cost: R160 and don’t miss out on the Tuesday and Friday half-price special for pensioners.
7. Face your fears of vertigo and go kloofing
Image courtesy of Alex Weiss Instagram
This high-risk, high-reward adrenaline booster isn’t exactly in Cape Town central. An hour’s drive to Hottentots Holland Nature Reserve finds you and a group of like-minded fearless individuals on a kloofing adventure. Jump down a selection of ravines into refreshing cold water, just remember the only way out is forward.
It is compulsory to take someone along who’s been before, otherwise book a guide for the adventure of a lifetime.
R40 conservation fee for adults, R20 for kids.
8. Crispy Italian Pizza at Posticinos
Image courtesy of Posticino Hout Bay
Residents of Hout Bay and Seapoint know the secret of outstanding crispy-based Italian pizza is to be found at the “little place” Posticinos.
Cost: about R100 for a large pizza and soft drink
Address Seapoint: Albany Mews, Corner of Albany Road & Main Road, Sea Point
Address Hout Bay: 6 Main Road, Hout Bay, Cape Town
9. Swim at Silvermine
Image courtesy of Groundhogg via Instagram
The honey-hued water in the reservoir is a much warmer swim than you’ll find in the ocean with the added plus of no shark companions! The reservoir is not used to supply water so can be enjoyed by swimmers with their dogs. There are also many hikes in the reserve including a very popular one to Elephant’s Eye.
Cost: R40 per adult, R20 for kids, free if you have a wildcard
Call: 021 780 9002 (SANParks gate)
10. Cover your ears and watch the noon gun fire at midday on Signal hill
Image courtesy of Cong Liu via Instagram
At precisely 12 noon everyday, rain or shine a distant booming sound will filter over the city. Newcomers get a bit of a fright on a clear day when the sound cuts like a knife. Rest-assured it is the noon gun, Cape Town’s time signal since 1806. Since 1864 the Noon Gun has been fired from the master clock of the oldest timekeeper in the country, the South African Astronomical Observatory. FYI: One day in June 1895 the gun fired an hour and a half too early when a spider interfered with the relay used to remotely fire the gun!
Follow the signs to the gun in the Bo-kaap.
11. Meet a famous author at the Book Lounge
Image courtesy of the Book Lounge via Instagram
This pastel confection of a book shop near parliament is all wooden floors and wall to wall curated books inside. They have an enchanting children’s section and small cafe below and an extensive list of weekly authors and poets who come to read their works at the lounge. Follow them on social media to receive news of who will be reading that evening.
71 Roeland Street
Call: 021 462 2425
12. Splatteringly good fun at Action paintball, Imhoff Farm
Image via Tugwell Hall Instagram
Imhoff farm is perfect for a fun, affordable day out with kids. There are camel rides, horse rides, farm animals and laser tag and paintball.
Cost: R130 per person and additional R35 for 100 paintballs thereafter.
The paintball is open everyday from 9.30am to 5pm, booking is essential. Contact Rod or Robyn.
Call: 021 790 7603
13. Muizenberg Moonlight Meander
An initiative to get to know the people of Muizenberg and enjoy this small seaside hamlet by moonlight. Go along to experience a different side of this popular surf spot.
The restaurants stay open late so walkers can eat dinner after the walk.
Dates for 2016 include: 26 March, 23 April, 21 May, 18 June, 23 July, 20 August, 17 September, 15 October, 12 November and the 17 December.
Meet at 18:00 in front of the Knead.
14. Ice cream by the seaside at the Creamery, Mouille Point
Tucked across the road from the candy-striped Mouille Point light house is the Creamery’s latest addition to its arsenal of excellent ice cream shops.
Choose from flavours like Macadamia nut, rich chocolate, caramel even basil on occasion and enjoy your ice cream while walking along the promenade. The only question remaining is whether to choose a home-made sugar cone or a cup.
163 Beach Rd, Mouille Point, Cape Town, 8005
Closed on Mondays.
15. Be a roller derby rebel and join the Cape Town Roller Girls
Cape Town women with a fearless attitude can sign up for the hard-hitting sport of roller derby. Most beginners have never even skated but with time become formidable competitors. Email Elizabeth at email@example.com to become a part of the team.
16. Ziplining in Constantia
Image courtesy of constantia 1685 via Instagram
Tucked within the mountains above the vineyards on Silvermist Wine estate, home to legendary restaurant La Colombe, you can feed your taste for adventure on 2.3 km of breath-taking ziplines.
You’ll whizz over green canyons faster than you ever thought possible.
The two-hour tour costs R480p/p (so is a bit pricier than the rest of this list) and is open to kids from 8 years old and up.
17. Wine tasting at Steenberg
Image courtesy of Steenberg Farm via Instagram
Steenberg Winery is located on the oldest farm in Cape Town. They have an outstanding restaurant “Catharina’s” as well as delicious tapas at Bistro 1682. Attend a wine tasting at the bar under the green and red glass chandelier, if you’re lucky you’ll get to meet the talented young female wine maker, as formidable as the original owner of the farm Catharina Ustings Ras.
Steenberg Road, Tokai.
18. Ferdinando’s pizza in Obs
Ferdinando, canine extraordinaire, may be there to welcome you to the restaurant of his namesake in Obs. Owned and run by passionate people who love what they do, add to that a secret aioli recipe to make this spot unbeatable.
205 Lower Main Rd, Observatory. Closed on Sundays and Mondays, open every other day from 6pm to 11pm.
19. Take a surfing lesson in Muizenberg then grab a coffee at Knead afterwards
Image courtesy of P Van Rensburg via Instagram
For just R100 you can rent a board and a wetsuit from Gary’s surf school and you’re ready to hit the waves. For a bit more coin you can attend a surf lesson otherwise youtube is your friend.
After a refreshing surf head to the pastel-hued Knead on the ocean front for a well-deserved coffee and pastry.
34 Beach Road, Muizenberg
Cost: R100 for an hour
20. Full moon hike up Lion’s Head
Image courtesy of Mike Eloff @thelawry via Instagram
Climbing Lion’s head is arguably the most popular activity in Cape Town – it’s free and gives you a great workout but isn’t a huge investment of time – you can be up and down in an hour and a bit depending on fitness. Every full-moon hundreds and hundreds of hikers ascend the leonine mountain leaving a silvery trail with their head-lamps. Hike with some friends or ask fellow hikers whether you can join them. Remember to stay hydrated even though it is a nocturnal activity.
21. Silent Disco at the Octopus Garden, St James
Image courtesy of Octopus Garden Restaurant
The new dance craze taking over the world, silent discos make it easy for you to jam to music you actually enjoy while dancing with your friends. Coloured lights on your headphones let other dancers know which DJ you’re tuned in to. You might even end up going for a swim in the tidal pool afterwards.
Octopus Garden in St James near Kalk Bay holds frequent silent discos. Check their Facebook Page for updates.
Main Road, St James
22. Open Streets – Mitchell’s Plane
The Open Streets movement is about bringing communities together in a car-free environment. Open streets aims to “reimagine public life and use our streets differently. Open Streets Cape Town is a non-profit organisation working to create shared spaces that embody respect for everyone and help bridge the spatial and social divides of our city.”
Cape Town CBD has First Thursdays on the first Thursday of every month.
Open streets Mitchell’s plain is taking place on the 3 April from midday to 17:00. You can expect soccer matches, yoga, music and performance art.
23. Tango on the promenade on Sundays
Image courtesy of Summer Tango Series Facebook Page
Why not end the week with a romantic dance on the promenade as the sun dips below the horizon?
17.45 on Sundays at the Seapoint promenade.
24. Sip a coffee at Department of Coffee in Kayelitsha
Image courtesy of the Department of Coffee via Facebook
Wongama Baleni, Vusumzi Mamile and Vuyile Msaku are the powerhouse entrepreneurs behind this cool coffee house. Great coffee and a chance to get out of the CBD and explore other parts of Cape Town.
158 Ntlazane Rd, Village 1 South, Khayelitsha.
Open from 6am to 6pm everyday except Sundays.
25. Clay Café
Image courtesy of letishia_queenbeemktg via Instagram
Kids will love getting creative at the Clay Café in Hout Bay. Cake and the opportunity to paint and design your own plate/ animal figurine/ bowl. Simply choose your clay canvas (prices differ per size) then start painting. Give them 10 working days to fire your masterpiece.
Cost: R35 a studio fee
Prices range from R20 – R250 for your clay canvas.
Old Oakhurst Dairy farm, Main Road
Hout Bay, Cape town
Call: 021 790 3318
26. Breakfast at Hemelhuijs
Image courtesy of ky_scholtz/ via Instagram
The most heavenly place to enjoy a luxurious breakfast- this gorgeously designed restaurant in the Waterkant. The interior is as tasty as the food. Think freshly pressed blood orange with prosecco, old fashioned cinnamon dumplings with home made custard, hollandaise and smoked trout or bacon
scrambled farm eggs, ‘mosbolletjie’ toast and smoked trout among many other delights.
Closed on Sundays.
Hours: 9am to 4pm during the week and 9am to 3pm on Saturdays.
71 Waterkant St
Call: 021 418 2042
27. Take the train to Kalk Bay
Image courtesy of granny lamby via Instagram
Escape the CBD on a cheap and fun train trip on the Southern Line. As you reach Muizenberg the tracks run alongside a sweeping bay of blue. When you get out at Kalk Bay station you arrive directly at the Brass Bell pub with a prime view of the ocean and its own small beach for the kids!
Cost: +/- R20
28. Tunnel tour
Image by Chelsea Morning
This is an entirely different way to get to know Cape Town. Discover the secret tunnels below the City of Cape Town with Good Hope Adventures’ Tunnel Tours. Parts of the underground Canals and Rivers date all the way back to 1652. The guided tour starts at the Castle of Good Hope and either ends back there or by the slopes of Table Mountain.
The tours last 1 to 3 hours.
Cost: from R175 per person
For more information and a booking please call Matt on 082 482 4006.
29. Kirstenbosch Summer Concerts
The last concert of the season is on the 3 April this year, until then there are 8 concerts to enjoy in the most spectacular outdoor arena space in the world- Kirstenbosch botanical gardens.
6 March 2016 – Shortstraw / The Plastics
13 March 2016 – Al Bairre / Bye Beneco
20 March 2016 – Zebra & Giraffe / Monark
21 March 2016 – Jack Parow /PHFAT at Kirstenbosch NBG
27 March 2016 – Beatenberg / John Wizards
30 March 2016 – Of Monsters and Men at Kirstenbosch NBG (R425)
1 April 2016 – Jungle at Kirstenbosch NBG (R425)
3 Apr 2016 – December Streets / The Vanilla
Cost: From R150 except for the Monsters and Men concert which costs R425 a ticket
30. Biltong sandwiches and other delights at Babylonstoren
Babylonstoren will win over kids and adults alike. Friendly donkeys, chickens and turkeys roam in the immaculate and extensive grounds that date back to 1690. Visit the cactus garden, the baby hedgehogs (don’t disturb them while they’re sleeping) or find your own nest (see above). The biltong sandwiches at the Greenhouse are generous and very moresome.
On the road to Franschhoek, R45, Simondium,
Cost: R10 entrance per person
31. Robben Island
Image courtesy of oneikattraveller via Instagram
Taking the boat to Robben Island and visiting Madiba’s cell is an essential experience for local and international visitors.
Cost: R160 per child, R300 per adult
Image courtesy of Sphokazi Bangiso via Instagram
The best backdrop for a braai. Grabs some tjops and head along Victoria Drive.
Cost: R30 per person, R15 per child and free entrance for WILD Card and TMNP My Green Card holders.
33. High tea at the Mount Nelson
Image courtesy of Love My Cape Town via Instagram
So fancy, this is a must for birthday celebrations.There is even a particular Japanese tea you can order where a flower blossoms in the teapot before your eyes.
The morning tea is more affordable and is served from 9:30am–12pm
Price: R225 per person
76 Orange Street
34. Mabu Vinyl
Image courtesy of Niamh Evans via Instagram
You might recognise this iconic South African record store from the doc “Searching for Sugarman”. A must-visit for vinyl lovers, the co-owner Stephen (Sugar) Segerman may be available for a lively chat about the documentary.
2 Rheede Street Gardens
35. Swartkop Mountain above Simon’s Town
Image courtesy of Amy Uzzell Instagram
There is a lesser-known hike in the fynbos above Simon’s Town with breath-taking views of the peninsula. Stop and visit the birds in tuxedos on the way home at Boulder’s Beach.
36. District 6 Museum
Image courtesy of Global Couture via Instagram
To this day none of the original residents of District 6 have been permitted to return to their homeland. The interactive District 6 museum educates and remembers this injustice.
Cost: Free for Ex-residents of District Six &other areas of forced removals and SA pensioners, R30 for adults and R5 for scholars, R15 for international scholars
Closed on Sundays. Open Monday to Saturday from 9am to 4pm.
25A Albertus St & Buitenkant Street
Call: 021 466 7200
37. Beard trim at Yogi’s Barbershop
Image courtesy of Yogi’s Barber Shop via Instagram
Head to Yogi’s for a good chat and the closest shave you’ll get anywhere. Here’s the spot to catch up on local news and look the part at a Capetonian local.
Get a beard styling and trim from R50 to R120, and a hot towel or steam shave for R90 to R120. You can also tame unruly brows with a quick threading. Open Monday to Friday from 08:30 to 17:00 (closed for an hour on Friday from 12:30 to 13:30), Saturdays from 7:30 to 13:00, closed on Sundays and public holidays. Find Yogi’s on the corner of Buitengraght and Dorp street.
Call 021 424 5408.
38. Secret Sunrises
Image courtesy of No Danger Diaries Cape Town
A rave before work? Why not. No Danger Diaries organise secret parties to get you dancing and amped to be awake for work. Dance your way happy and kick start your day in a big way.
Around R80 – R100 a ticket
Find out more here.
39. Cape Town Science Centre
Image courtesy of ifatfinkelman via Instagram
250 interactive exhibits to inspire enquiring minds. Not for profit so donations are very welcome.
370B Main Road, Observatory
40. Spread some sunshine and volunteer at DARG
Image courtesy of the Darg Daysvia Instagram
Make a dog or cat’s day by visiting DARG in Hout Bay. It is possible to take a dog for a lovely walk if you are over 18, or just cuddle the cats and puppies if you’re a younger volunteer. Any help with maintenance or care is appreciated.
Main Road Hout Bay
Call: 021 790 0383
41. Pick roses at Chart Farm, Wynberg
Image courtesy of Nokulunga Mthembu Instagram
Stop and smell the roses at Chart Farm where you get to pick your own heavenly smelling flowers.
Cost: R5 a stem, R3 a stem on Sundays
Opening hours: Daily from 09h00 to 16h30
Chart Farm, Klaassens Road,
Wynberg Park, Wynberg,
42. Get an adrenaline Rush!
Image courtesy of Thinus Van der Merwe via Instagram
Bounce your heart out on trampolines, do epic slam dunks, flips and serious kicks or join their work out classes at Rush! trampolines. There are grip socks to keep everyone safe.
104 Main road
3rd Floor Stadium on Main (Access from the parade area)
Cost: R140 for an hour, discounted for students
Cost: R120 for an hour of jumping
43. Ratanga junction
Image courtesy of Ratanga Junction via Instagram
Scare yourself silly on the sling shot by being catapulted through the air at Cape Town’s popular amusement park.
Costs: R65 per person for a ride on the slingshot, R181 for a full adventurer ticket to the park
44. Catch a film at the Pink flamingo cinema
Image courtesy of Wanderingww via Instagram
The roof of the Grand Daddy Hotel is an uber hip airstream trailer park, bar and outdoor cinema. Attend the pink flamingo cinema sessions throughout the year and watch old favourites aith snacks and an incredible view of the mountain to the side of the screen.
45. Go for a cocktail and a swim at the Cape Royale Hotel
Surely the best rooftop view in Cape Town, swim in the inviting water at the Zenith while catching the last rays of sun bouncing off the stadium. Order an expertly-mixed cocktail or snack on sushi, noodles & tapas.
47 Main Road, Green Point
Call: 021 430 0500
46. Escape the crowds at Beta beach
Image courtesy of Benelibody via Instagram
Sunbathe where the locals go on quiet Beta beach, small and removed from the crowds of tourists in high summer.
47. Sundowners on the rock at the end of Ocean Drive
Make your way past the wedding-cake houses on Ocean View Drive to the very end at what looks like a dead-end. Proceed on foot past the bushes and over the boulders onto a beautiful flat rock that overlooks Camps Bay and Clifton. We promise a secluded and spectacular view whether you’re toasting the sunrise or sunset.
48. Braai at Mzoli’s
Image courtesy of G Hawed via Instagram
The best Shisha Nyama in Cape Town, head to Mzoli’s for the friendly party vibe and an excellent braai.
49. SUP paddle boarding
Join in the latest water craze and try stand up paddleboarding on the charming canals around the V and A Waterfront. During the height of the Cape Town summer (December through February), SUP Cape Town board rental and lessons are available at Clifton 4th Beach too.
Cost: R200 for an hour on the water
Image courtesy of Toad Wart via Instagram
Surely the most spectacular putt-putt course in the world. Families with small kids, couples on dates and friends all congregate here to test their putting skills.
Cost: just over R20 per person you get a club a ball and a pencil and score sheet for the group.
51. Hike up Table Mountain (India Venster or straight Platteklip depending on time) then take the cable car down at sunset, sunset rates
Image courtesy of TableMountainCA via Instagram
Named after the window of rock shaped like the Indian continent this excellent half-day up Table Mountain route is a bit of a challenge but nothing an averagely fit person can’t handle. You’ll pass directly under the cable cars then wend your way around to the back of the mountain taking in spectacular views.
Reward yourself with a trip down on the cable car. Just take your ID or passport along for proof.
Cost: Free if you go on your birthday
52. Cycle along the promenade
Regram courtesy of Duanneaspeling via Upcycles on Instagram
Rent a bike by the sea point pavilion and cycle leisurely up and down the promenade with the skaters, joggers and families picnicking.
53. Get a hair cut in hip Kloof Street
Image courtesy of Jade Kohler via Instagram
Do as the hip crowd do in Cape Town and get a neck-turning hair cut and dye in Kloof Street. Try Scar Hair, “good hair for bad people” or the Fox & Vixen at the top of Kloof. While you’re on your quest for Capetown cool why not get a tattoo at Wildfire tattoos in Shortmarket street.
54. Catch a film and a glass of wine at this cinematic gem
Image courtesy of Design Indaba via Instagram
The Labia cinema is the grand dame of movie theatres in Cape Town. You can drink whatever you like from red wine to vodka slushies from the old school bar and a movie ticket only costs R45 (R40 for pensioners and children and if you are the holder of an Exclusive Books Fanatics Card or student card). They have blockbusters as well as cinema nouveau art releases. It’s convivial, it’s Cape Town at it’s finest. The Societi pasta special on Mondays and Tuesdays allows you to buy two pastas and two movie tickets for just R90. You need to book at Societi beforehand as they are a neighbourhood favourite, then you order the Labia Cinema pasta special and take your slip along to the movie house to be issued 2 free tickets afterwards.
55. Have a summer sunset picnic at Clifton 4th beach
Image courtesy of Eyecu_sa via Instagram
This is the place to be in Cape Town from about 4pm in Summer, especially on a weekend. There are people playing volley ball, the brave and/or crazy taking the plunge in the Atlantic, guitarists strumming, a saxophonist jamming sweet tunes, drummers and happy picnickers. As the sun sets the fire poi artists may come out to play.
What do you love about Cape Town? Let us know in the comments below.