26 Julie 2017

Cape Town was recently voted the second cheapest city to live in the world, although locals may beg to differ. Luckily we’ve put together a guide to how you can navigate the Mother City in a truly wallet-friendly way.

Our advice: print this guide out and keep it in your ever-so-empty back pocket.


Take a full moon hike up Lion’s Head

A fan of hiking and outdoor activity? We’ve got the scoop on of Cape Town’s finest outdoor experiences. Between Table Mountain and Signal Hill you’ll find a mountain steeped in romance and tradition. Climb the mountain just before sunset and enjoy a picnic with a few good folks and the breathtaking view of Camps Bay and Cape Town, basking under the lighting of a majestic Cape Town full moon.

Swing on the Sea Point Promenade

A visit to Sea Point is not complete without taking in the crisp ocean air along the stunning seaside promenade. The promenade is frequented by walkers, cyclists and skaters – a sunset jog is a fantastic idea. Can’t afford an outing to a theme park? Get in touch with your inner-child and swing high in the air at one of the grassy parks or flex those muscles at the innovative outdoor gym. Cape Town is characterised by its amazing sea views and Sea Point exhibits this by providing a perfect vantage point.

Drink in nature in Cecilia Forest

Cape Town’s vast natural beauty is something unmissable and all the serious hikers should head over to the Cecilia Forest to catch a glimpse of the legendary fairies and take a sip of fresh mountain water to revitalise their bodies, whilst opening their minds. Start your hike where Hohenort Drive meets Rhodes Drive in Newlands. The glades, streams, waterfall and mossy paths will soothe your soul and leave you in a state of equanimity.

Experience Cape biodiversity at Green Point Urban Park

Green Point Urban Park is an amazing sphere of natural beauty. It’s spacious and perfect for you to get to know the plant species around you. The setting is an immaculately landscaped greenway that is equally informative for children and adults. The cleverly designed biodiversity garden contains over 300 clearly labelled Cape plant species, making it a free alternative to Kirstenbosch National Botanical Gardens. Afterwards, unwind on the sprawling lawn and enjoy a packed picnic with your family or friends.

Feed the squirrels in Company’s Garden

Just as the Company’s Garden used to enchant ocean-weary travellers who’d arrived to a strange land years ago, today this green patch continues to charm tourists and locals alike. Hemmed in by the busy streets of the CBD, the winding avenues of oaks, the inviting carpet-like lawns and the mosaic of indigenous herbs and succulents are ideal for a few hours spent lazing away a spending-free day. Not to mention, who can resist the cute and fluffy squirrels climbing the trees and hopping right up to you? These bushy-tailed animals don’t want your money, just a few peanuts will do. Bring a picnic blanket and goods from home and come enjoy the idyllic setting with someone special or your loved ones.

Hang up your hammock in De Waal Park

De Waal Park is a community park situated in the heart of the City Bowl. Renowned for its wide variety of trees and its social doggiesphere, both adults and children can kick back, hang up a hammock and take a nap. This is also the perfect spot for some quality time with your family or a relaxing, romantic retreat for couples. Pack a picnic basket and a blanket and have a tranquil day surrounded by the beauty of nature under Cape Town’s sweet sun.For more outdoor options check out our overview of parks in Cape Town. Enjoy some of SA’s hottest local music acts at De Waal Park Summer Concerts

Music concerts are another big part of summers in Cape Town. You usually have to pay to see some of these local music acts, but during magnific summer days De Waal Park plays host to musicians, who get spectators dancing and singing along to some of their favourite local songs. The wonderful thing is that this musical journey is free of charge and the venue it is hosted at, is organic and conducive for a really chilled vibe, suitable for the entire family. For more on De Waal Park Summer concerts check out: Concerts In The Park.


Surf at Muizenberg beach

The surfing culture out at surfer’s corner in Muizenberg has been alive and well for generations now. This little coastal community is filled with friendly faces and awesome vibes. Come rain or shine, cold or hot – the waves are actually best in winter – one of the most legendary ways to reconnect with Cape Town’s majestic oceans is by riding the swells that ebb and flow at Muizenberg beach (or any of the Cape’s iconic surf spots). Get there early to miss the traffic jam! You won’t need a cent to make a day of it.

Take the family on a Muizenberg meander

This walk on the beach occurs every Saturday after that month’s full moon. The family-friendly event focuses on making the Muizenberg beach a safer space for all, but is a fun night out for all ages. The walk commences from Knead Bakery at 6:15pm and attendees are welcome to bring a group of people with – the more the merrier after all!


Fall in love with books at the Centre for the Book

A unit of the National Library of South Africa, the Centre for the Book aims to promote a culture of reading, writing and publishing in all local languages. Look out for their reading–related activities and events such as poetry readings, writing groups and workshops. A visit to their soaring wood-panelled interior will inspire even the most reluctant bibliophobes.

Borrow a book at the Kloof Street Library

Sunny day? The friendly staff at Kloof Street Library will help you choose the perfect novel, African heritage or children’s book, to enjoy in their delightful garden. This quaint library is situated in an old gabled house at the top of the CBD’s buzzy Kloof Street.

Network at Creative Mornings

One Friday of every month a group of creatives get together at different locations to network and share ideas and insights. Started by Capetonian Catherine Henderson in May 2010, the regular 20- to 30-minute morning talks feature one creative speaker and free coffee and snacks. So, start the morning inspired and filled with new ideas.


Join in a Pub Quiz

If you have a thirst for knowledge and beer on tap then throw your hat into the ring for quiz night at your local pub. Most of them have a small fee, but luckily Aandklas in Stellenbosch is for FREE! Take a bunch of mates to their Thursday quiz, have a ball and enjoy seeing how good your general knowledge is!


Amble along Signal Hill

Signal Hill is located next to Lion’s Head, with stunning views of the Atlantic. It’s home to a number of historic features such as the Signal Hill cannon, which originally notified the public when a ship was in trouble. This old Capetonian tradition still takes place every day on Signal Hill, just below the mountaintop. At 12h00 exactly, the Noon Gun is fired – an opportunity for people to set their watches (and block their ears).

Check out the Just Nuisance Monument

This monument in Simon’s Town commemorates Just Nuisance, a Great Dane who befriended the Royal Navy and made such an impression that he was enlisted, wore a sailor’s hat, turned up at functions and did much to boost the morale of sailors at sea. You can also visit the Simon’s Town Museum, which displays his papers, collar and photographs.

Visit all the Iziko Museums

The Iziko Museums regularly have free entry days (usually on public holidays), which make for prime opportunities to explore the extensive art, social and natural history collections housed in these Cape Town institutions. Particularly interesting is the Bo-Kaap Museum, which showcases Islamic heritage  and culture in South Africa, and is set in the historic neighbourhood that is home to many Muslims and descendants of freed slaves. Additionally, The Planetarium, a celestial dome in the South African Museum Building in the Company’s Garden is an incredibly entertaining day out.


Visit the Century City Natural Goods Market

For a free family-friendly outing in the Northern Suburbs, gather the kids and head over to the Century City Natural Goods Market on the last Sunday of each summer month (October to April). Set on the grassy expanse next to the large wetland and bird sanctuary of Intaka Island, this outdoor market is ideally located for a lazy weekend day spent soaking up the sun. No-charge entertainment, like jumping castles, train rides and magic tricks, is on offer; though the expansive green usually provides the little ones with room to engage in more than enough activity. For adults, a variety of artisan stalls are available for your browsing pleasure and live local music acts provide the backbeat to a leisurely day.

Taste some tipple at Wine Concepts on Kloof

This CBD-based wine store has free wine tastings, every single day! Yes, you read that right, you can sip ’n swirl some of the best wines around all for mahala. Tastings take place from 4pm until 7pm on Mondays to Fridays and on weekends from noon until 3pm. And what’s more, you get a cool 10% off any of the wines put up for tasting that day.

Show & Tell at The Drawing Room

This Observatory-based café and art gallery has a variety of exhibition openings and show & tell’s for the public. Known for the delish food and a good cuppa joe, art lovers can catch the work of up-and-coming artists or mingle with like-minded individuals. Keep an eye on their Facebook page for details about upcoming events.

Sample the fare at Neighbourgoods Market

Get a little gourmet Saturday treatment from 9am to 2pm. The bustling Neighbourgoods Market is every foodie’s dream, stocking items from over 100 speciality traders offering fine food, wine and local produce. There are plenty of chutneys, cheeses cakes and wines for you to sample here. A little forward planning for that pay-day picnic never hurt anyone.

More wine tastings (hiccup) at Tjing Tjing

There’s no reservation needed at Tjing Tjing for their free wine tastings on Wednesdays. Just stop by from 5pm onwards to sample some top-drawer blends and meet the winemakers.

Hang out at the City Bowl Market

Housed in a historic hall on Hope Street in the middle of the CBD, the City Bowl Market is a wonderful collection of stalls featuring vintage clothing, great coffee, Nutella-filled crépes, wooden arts and crafts and so much more. Walking around and chatting to the warm and friendly locals will cost you absolutely nothing. The market is open every Saturday between 9am and 2pm and every Thursday evening between 4:30pm and 8:30pm.

Keep it real at the Bay Harbour Market

Described as “a real place for real people”, the Bay Harbour Market (also informally called the Hout Bay Market) is the epitome of Cape Town’s relaxed atmosphere. Trading times are Friday 5pm to 9pm; and Saturday and Sunday 9:30am to 4pm. Keep it real, keep it free and head down to this original and interesting gathering to see what beautiful things people are creating. You might catch a clown entertaining the kids or a musician singing his heart out.


Take a diamond tour at Shimansky

Embark on a fascinating, behind-the-scenes look at experts delicately shaping platinum, learn about the factors that affect the value of a diamond and witness the result of human expertise in Shimansky sparkling showroom. Although the tour is free, you or your girlfriend/wife/partner may emerge doe-eyed for diamonds. Read about the Shimansky diamond tour.

Attend a poetry reading at A Touch of Madness

Situated in an old Victorian house, this Observatory-based restaurant and bar is well-known for its crazy delicious food and madcap atmosphere –the name says it all. If you’re strapped for cash, you can attend their weekly poetry evenings every Monday from 8pm until 10pm. The line-up changes from week to week so come with an open mind and hear from some of Cape Town’s budding poets.

Catch contemporary South African art at Whatiftheworld Gallery

WhatiftheWorld Gallery provides a platform for established contemporary artists and gives collectors the opportunity to discover new artists. Plus you can peruse these works of art for free.  It’s run by one of the co-founders of the NeighbourGoods Market and was one of the first galleries to open in Woodstock. They also represent some of SA’s finest designers (not just artists) – check out their website for more info that you can include. Find more galleries here.

See edgy urban art at Worldart Gallery

Openings at this CBD-based gallery tend to spill out onto Church Street, a pedestrianised mall brimming with African art and craft. Worldart specialises in accessible urban art by young local talent, many of whom are illustrators and street artists.


Walk a dog and make a best friend

If you can’t lift the bank balance why not lift the spirits? TEARS, which is located just off Kommetjie Road on the M5, is a non-profit organisation that rescues abandoned dogs and cats. Donate your time and take part in their dog-walking programme. We guarantee that after a few hours with a furry friend, you’ll feel like a million bucks. Email tears@tears.org.co.za for more information.

Plant a tree and help Greenpop grow

Greenpop plants trees, runs educational programmes and hosts restoration festivals all in the name of a greener future. The NGO spearheads fun events aimed at raising environmental awareness: plant days at schools and football fields, jam sessions in Long Street’s car parks, bicycle rides in Cape Town and tree planting projects in Zambia. You can get involved for free by signing up on their volunteer database.

The Woodstock Street Art Walking Tour

The Woodstock Street Art Walking Tour Is a 60 to 90 minute walk that starts and ends at The Woodstock Exchange in Woodstock. The tour forms part of the Township Art Tours program run by Juma Tours and includes a tour of murals, installations, graffiti and a gallery visit in the greater Woodstock area. There are daily tours that run at 10am; 12pm; 14pm; and 16pm. Get in on this cultural experience. Bookings can be made on routestreetart@gmail.com. The tour is free but gratuities are welcome.

The Cape has so many amazing hiking trails that it can be difficult to pick one! We have done the research for you so that you have all the relevant information at your fingertips and can go ahead and choose the one most suited to you.

Please make wise choices… as some hikes are for experienced hikers and should not be ever done on your own. Rather do them in a group for safety purposes and pack rain gear or a jersey as the weather can change quickly on a mountain. Be sure to pack at least 1 litre of water, some snacks and some kind of sun protection, which is essential.

Table Mountain Hikes

Hiking Up Table Mountain Via Platteklip Gorge

photo of the city of cape town


The Table Mountain cable car is the easiest way to ascend to the top of Table Mountain – the glorious natural heritage site that looms above Cape Town’s city bowl. If you seek a sense of accomplishment and physical exhilaration then ascending to the top via Platteklip Gorge is a must.

The hike begins about 1.6km after the cable car station (to the left) on Tafelberg Road and is well signposted all the way to the top.

Although it is the easiest way to climb to the top of Table Mountain, it is physically taxing, although not requiring much mountaineering skills. The 3km long trail rises by 700m and is a relentless and steep gradient to climb. Only attempt this hike if you are confident that your fitness levels will allow you to ascend at a fair pace.

It is essential to take plenty of water with you on this hike as you’re exposed to the sun for the duration of the hike and you’re not going to find any water on the mountain. You should also pack something warm in your hiking bag as the temperature often decreases by 6 to 8°C once you reach the summit.

The hike will reward you with a stunning panorama of Cape Town as you look down onto the CBD and Camps Bay. You have three choices once you reach the top of Table Mountain:

  • Take the cable car down,
  • Take in the views and return down via Platteklip Gorge,
  • Proceed to hike even further along the multitude of hiking trails.

None of the routes on the top of the mountain require much skill and can actually be regarded as leisurely walks. The most prominent one would be the walk to Maclear’s Beacon which affords you a stunning view of the Cape Flats and Table Bay.

  • Location:
    • 1.6km after the Cable Car Station
  • Distance:
    • 3km (take the cable car down)
  • Elevation:
    • Very steep, climbs 950m
    • It is fairly strenuous but well-marked
  • Estimated Time:
    • 3 – 4 hours
  • General Contact:
    • +27 (021) 712 0527
  • SANParks Emergency Number:
    • +27 (0)21 957 4700
  • Map:

Lion’s Head Hike

photo of lion's head mountain peak


The hike up Lion’s Head is iconic. It is one of the most popular hikes in Cape Town. Its gradient is not as punishing as the climb up Table Mountain and it is arguably a much prettier hike.

This is especially true when you decide to do it at sunrise or sunset. The climb yields some stunning views of the Sea Point area and you also walk through one of the highest concentrations of beautiful Silver Trees, which are endemic to the Cape Peninsula.

The hike is pretty easy to access, even without a car. Cape Town’s transport system will easily get you to Kloof Nek and then it’s a short walk up the road to Signal Hill until you reach a gravel parking area on both sides of the road. You start your ascent via the gravel road, which has a boom.

The popularity of Lion’s Head has fooled many people over the past couple of years as they assume that it is an incredibly easy hike that can be attempted in wholly inadequate footgear, or by relatively unfit people. This has resulted in a few people having to be rescued off of the mountain.

The hike can be deceptively tricky especially if you decide to use the chains to climb the rock face. It is advised to rather use the chains on the return trip if you wish to have a rather exhilarating descent.

An important point to note is that early on you shall encounter a fork in the path. The upper right fork will take you to Lion’s Head. The left hand fork will take you to Lion’s Rump – commonly known as Signal Hill.

You should bring plenty of water along for this hike and make sure to pack warm clothing if you plan to do the sunset hike. Cape Town can get icy once the sun has set, even if you’re hiking.

  • Location:
    • 650m up Signal Hill road
  • Distance:
    • 5km
  • Elevation:
    • 500m, but a gradual slope
    • A fairly easy hike
  • Estimated Time:
    • Roughly 3 hours
  • General Contact:
    • +27 (021) 712 0527
  • SANParks Emergency Number:
    • +27 (0)21 957 4700
  • Map:

Devil’s Peak Hike

photo of devil's peak mountain


If there is one place in Cape Town shrouded in folklore – it is Devil’s Peak. The legend is that Jan Van Hunks, a regular pipe smoker that lived at the foot of the mountain, was often forced out of the house by his wife when he wanted to smoke.

One day while smoking he met a mysterious man who was also smoking. They ended up bragging about how much they smoked and entered into a pipe-smoking contest. The man turned out to be the Devil and Van Hunks ended up winning the contest. The smoke he produced formed the blanket of cloud that is called the tablecloth cloud when it covers the mountain.

Luckily, you won’t meet the Devil or Van Hunks on the hike to Devil’s Peak. There are two routes to the top. The one is an incredibly easy route that involves parking on Tafelberg Road and taking a hike up to the top.

The other route is the ascent via Mowbray Ridge and the Knife Edge Path. This is reserved for expert hikers. If you want to take on the challenge , then head on over to Rhodes Memorial, as the hike begins there.

Your first landmark is the King’s Blockhouse. Climb up to the concrete reservoir behind the Blockhouse which marks the beginning of the Mowbray Ridge. This is a good place to stop as there is usually fresh drinking water in the reservoir.

Your next landmark is a lookout hut perched on top of the cliff. The only way to get there is to ascend straight up from the reservoir. A faint path shall appear on your right a short while into ascent. Do not take that path as it will not take you to Devil’s Peak.

Take a moment to rest at the lookout and take in the view. Take note of the time, as the next turnoff from the main path you need to take should come up in 15 minutes. Continue along the main path until it starts to zig-zag.

A faint path up should appear on the fifth bend – this is known as the Knife Edge Path. You will need to take this path to get to the final ascent to the summit of Devil’s peak. You could continue along the main path to reach Devil’s Peak, but the Knife Edge Path is much more breath-taking, in terms of aesthetic beauty.

Be warned however,if you’re afraid of heights then this is not the path for you as it features precipitous drops on both sides. This path shall lead you straight to the vertical ascent up Devil’s Peak and onto some stunning views of the city.

You descend via the Saddle between Devil’s Peak and Table Mountain. Upon reaching the Saddle you shall encounter three ravines: Dark Gorge, Newlands Ravine, and Els Ravine. The first and last are reserved for experienced mountaineers as they require ropes. Rather head to the far side of the Saddle and climb up high before turning left – signposts should guide you to the top of the ravine.

You descend from the Newlands Ravine down a contour path which takes you back to the Rhodes Memorial where you can head to the tearoom for a well-deserved cup of tea.

  • Location:
  • Distance:
    • 8.5km from Tafelberg
    • 13km from Rhodes Memorial
  • Elevation:
    • 1260m
    • For experienced hikers
  • Estimated Time:
    • 4 hours excluding breaks
    • Over 5 hours with breaks
  • General Contact:
    • +27 (021) 712 0527
  • SANParks Emergency Number:
    • +27 (0)21 957 4700
  • Map:

Kirstenbosch Hikes

photo of kirstenbosch gardens


Many hikes in Cape Town either begin in the Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens or end in Kirstenbosch. You will have to pay an entrance fee for Kirstenbosch regardless of whether you start or end your hike there. The tariffs are as follows:

  • Price:
    • Adults: R60
    • Students: R30
    • Children (6 – 17 years): R15
    • Under 6 years: Free
    • Botanical Society Members: Free
      • (see here for how to join)

The two best hikes are as follows: the hike up Skeleton Gorge and the contour path from Constantia Nek to Kirstenbosch.

  • Map:

Skeleton Gorge

photo of woman at Skeleton Gorge


The hike is incredibly well-maintained due to its constant use and the majority of the hike is well signposted, so there is virtually no chance of getting lost.

It can be a strenuous hike due to its distance and gradient but it doesn’t require much experience, as there are only a few rock scrambles and ladders.

It is best to approach the hike via Skeleton Gorge, as opposed to climbing up Nursery Ravine. Nursery Ravine should rather be used to make the descent.

Nursery Ravine is incredibly steep and can make for a bone-jarring descent that should be done carefully. The rest of the hike is a brief walk along a contour path to get back to the Gardens where you can relax and enjoy one of the most beautiful places in South Africa.

  • Location:
  • Distance:
    • 6.2km
  • Elevation:
    • 930m
    • A strenuous hike but has shade
  • Estimated Time:
    • 3 to 4 hours
  • General Contact:
    • +27 (0)21 799 8783
  • SANParks Emergency Number:
    • +27 (0)21 957 4700
  • Map

Constantia Nek To Kirstenbosch

photo of constantia nek


This hike doesn’t begin in Kirstenbosch but rather at Constantia Nek and ends in Kirstenbosch. It is a favourite early morning hike as you can end it with a lovely breakfast at Kirstenbosch’s restaurant.

The contour path that you follow makes the hike an easy one and is suitable for the entire family. It is fairly lengthy as it takes about 2 hours to do one-way.

It is best to travel in two cars and leave one at Kirstenbosch so that you don’t have to walk back.

The contour path is well-maintained by its constant use. It takes you through a wonderful mixture of indigenous fynbos species and towering invasive trees that form part of the Cecilia Forest plantation. The trail is well-marked and you’ll find yourself leisurely strolling along the trail taking in all of the sights.

  • Location:
  • Distance:
    • 5km
  • Elevation:
    • Relatively flat with a few hills
    • Easy walk for the whole family
  • General Contact:
    • +27 (021) 712 0527
  • SANParks Emergency Number:
    • +27 (0)21 957 4700
  • Map:

Hikes To Waterfalls

The mountainous nature of the Cape Peninsula and our high winter rainfall results in a number of waterfalls around the Cape Town area. They are not as majestic as the Victoria Falls, but are breath-taking nonetheless.

Crystal Pools Hike

photo of crystal pools


This one of the most popular waterfall hikes in Cape Town. It is situated in the Kogelbay Biosphere just outside of Gordon’s Bay near the Steenbras River mouth. The hike takes you up to the waterfall that feeds into the Steenbras River.

It is named after the fact that the hike is dotted with a series of pools that allow for an exuberant swimming experience that has made the hike so popular.

Pack in a costume or wear clothing that dries easily. Please do not dive into the pools, as they are quite rocky.

Due to it’s popularity a permit is required for the hike. The trail is limited to 50 people a day and you will need to email the City of Cape Town in order to acquire a permit. The steps are as follows:

  1. E-mail your name, the size of the group, contact number and the date of the hike to steenbras.naturereserve@capetown.gov.za. The minimum group size is 3 and the maximum is 10.
  2. Await confirmation that you have a provisional booking.
  3. Pay the R60 per person via EFT.
  4. Email your proof of payment to the City on the same email address.
  5. Wait for your permit to be emailed to you.

The hike is only open from 1 November to the end of April and as of this publication – the hike is currently fully booked until April.

Hikers wishing to approach this hike should be relatively fit. They must also not be fooled into wearing flip-flops as the hike has some serious rock scrambles. The hike is well-marked by a series of pegs to keep you on track.

  • Location:
  • Distance:
    • 5km
  • Elevation:
    • There are some gradual ascents
    • It is a fairly easy hike but don’t take it lightly
  • Estimated Time:
    • Roughly two hours, but give yourself time to swim
  • Map:

Cecilia Forest Waterfall

This hike is close to Cape Town and the waterfall in question is on the backend of Table Mountain. You hike up through Cecilia Forest – one of Cape Town’s many plantations, to access it.

Much of the plantation has been felled recently and replaced with fynbos, thus enhancing the natural heritage of the area. If you wish to see the trail in its full beauty then do it in spring when the majority of the trail is through flowering fynbos. The only negative aspect is that the initial stage of the hike has a lot of exposure to the sun and it is thus better to do it in the early morning or late afternoon, or on a cool and cloudy day.

The hike requires you to make your way to the edge of Kirstenbosch, along the same contour path that extends from Constantia Nek. Upon reaching the edge, you will encounter a signpost indicating the various routes.

You must take the route that points you towards the Cecilia Ravine via the way of Rooikat Ravine (labelled as Rooikatkloof on the sign). The rest of the hike is a rather steep climb up a series of wooden steps. The exertion is worth seeing the pristine and tranquil waterfall at the end of the hike. Give yourself two hours to do this hike.

  • Location:
  • Distance:
    • roughly 4km
  • Elevation:
    • 460m
    • It is a fairly easy hike
    • One climb for half an hour
  • Estimated Time:
    • About 2 – 3 hours
  • General Contact:
    • +27 (021) 712 0527
  • SANParks Emergency Number:
    • +27 (0)21 957 4700
  • Map:

Krom River Hike

photo of the krom river pass


The Krom River Hike is a situated well out of Cape Town after the exit of the Huguenot Tunnel. Look for a small road on the left with an “authorised vehicle only” sign. Just like Crystal Pools, this hike requires a permit to ensure that only a few people can use the trail each day. Booking the permit:

  • Contact Cape Nature on +27 (0)21 483 0190
  • The permit must be booked for at least two people
  • Cost: R30 per person

The hike is well marked and follows the river for a while. You will cross over the river several times before the path takes you up a ravine to a rock pool with a waterfall.

This is one of two rock pools along the hike where you can cool off. The path then continues to a bigger and better rock pool. Remember to pack your costume If you want to swim.

The trail will take you through an incredibly beautiful section of the Boland where you will be able to see some of the hardier species of fynbos that exist within the Cape Floral Kingdom.

There are sparsely dotted trees along the wetter parts of the ravine and you can find disas along the final waterfall if you look close enough.

The hike is often closed during the winter months due to the river overflowing after high rainfall. This hike is best done in summer or spring.

  • Location:
    • Park near the Worcester exit of the Huguenot Tunnel by the “authorised vehicles sign”
  • Distance:
    • 7km
    • A moderate fitness level is needed for this hike
  • Estimated Time:
    • 6 hours
  • Map:

Other Hikes Near Cape Town

Silvermine Nature Reserve

photo of silvermine nature reserve


Silvermine is an immensely popular destination for family outings and picnics. It isn’t as far away as Cape Point and the entry fee isn’t as high.

Silvermine has a stunning and easy hiking trail along a gravel road and that takes you on a full circuit of the nature reserve.

You can follow the main road from the parking lot for the duration of the hike, but there are also several trails that fork off from the main path which will take you around the reserve.

Upon leaving the car park, it is best to keep to the left as the right hand track is used on your return. This path will take you below Noordhoek Peak and take you past some truly amazing viewpoints which gives you a bird’s eye view of parts of False Bay.

You can also fork off from the main path and tackle the climb up to Noordhoek Peak if you’re looking to take in the tremendous view the peak offers. It is best to reach the top by late morning else you will be looking into the sun.

If you follow the main path it will take you to the trail that heads to Elephant’s Eye Cave. This can also be accessed from the Tokai Forest.

You can skip this trail and head back down to the car park. But you would be missing out on exploring a cave that offers a unique view of the Southern Suburbs.

  • Location:
  • Entrance Fee
    • Adults, R50
    • Children, R25
    • Wild Cards, free
  • Distance:
    • About 9km
    • The hike is moderately steep but not too strenuous
  • Estimated Time:
    • 3 hours
    • Add an extra hour to explore the caves
  • Contact:
    • +27 (0)21 789 2457
  • Map

Newlands Forest

photo of newlands forest


Newlands Forest is one of the more popular walking locations in Cape Town due to the towering trees which provide ample shade for a leisurely stroll through the forest.

The only downside to Newlands Forest is that it is often quite busy and the various trails within the forest are also poorly marked and inadequately signposted.

It is a confusing labyrinth of trails, but it is difficult to get lost when you bear in mind that your car is always going to be at the bottom of the slope.

You can also reach Kirstenbosch gardens from Newlands Forest via the contour path or make your way to the famous Rhodes Memorial which is perched above the gorgeous Upper UCT campus.

These are both easy hikes, but it is advised to make sure you have cars at the end of both hikes as they are fairly lengthy.

  • Location:
  • Distance:
    • 3km per trail
  • Time:
    • Each circular trail can be done in just over an hour
    • These are less like hikes and more like gentle rambles
  • Contact:
    • +27 (0)21 712 0527
  • Map:

Chapman’s Peak Hike

photo of chapmans peak hike


Chapman’s Peak Drive is famous for its gorgeous views and for being a truly amazing piece of engineering. It also boasts a moderate hike that will leave you winded if you struggle with vertical inclines.

The hike is well sign-posted and the steep vertical climb will take you through beautiful indigenous fauna and give you brilliant views of Hout Bay and later of False Bay. It is an absolute must if you wish to tackle some of the best hikes Cape Town has to offer.

The hike begins just before the ticket checkpoint on Chapman’s Peak Drive so you don’t have to pay the toll fee. It is a very worthwhile hike on a windless day, to have a picnic with an amazing view.

Chapman’s Peak Drive itself was built by convict labourers. The construction started in 1915 on the Hout Bay side with the Noordhoek side being started a year later. The construction from Hout Bay to the lookout point was completed in 1919, but it was only two years later when the road from Hout Bay to Noordhoek was completed.

The drive remains a feat of engineering prowess as the City of Cape Town regularly has to find new ways to ensure that the mountain doesn’t collapse on top of the road. They have set up an ingenious series of measures to catch falling rocks as the area is prone to rock falls further along the road.

  • Location:
    • Above Chapman’s Peak Drive
  • Distance:
    • 2.5km
    • Moderate hike
  • Estimated Time:
    • 3.5 hours
  • Map:
 Credit: vibescout.com

Every year it’s the same old story: how do you keep the children busy during the school holidays? For parents, this doesn’t have to be especially daunting this lovely summer in Cape Town. Don’t sweat it, there is plenty to keep little ones busy and entertained. Here are some ideas for cool activities in Cape Town for the whole family during the school holidays (and beyond).

1. Nature’s Treasure Box Holiday Art Workshop, Kirstenbosch

6 April 2017
The kids are certain to enjoy the Kirstenbosch Summer Sunset Concerts are one of the best ways to spend your Sunday afternoons. Summer isn’t summer in Cape Town without live music performances at Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden on Sunday afternoons. The line-up has been set and the tickets are currently on sale!
Contact: 0217998670
Visit: For tickets and the schedule Sanbi.org/events

2. Go tobogganing in Durbanville

Kids, school holidays, Cape Town, Cool Runnings
Image by John Macgregor

If the weather clears up, why not make good use of the winter sun and take the kids tobogganing at Cool Runnings Toboggan Park in Durbanville? Tobogganing Cool-Runnings-style involves planting your bum on a bob-sled and speeding down the hillside on a 1.2-kilometre steel-pipe track. The speed of all the toboggans is brake-controlled and the rides are very safe for children. Little ones under the age of eight have to be accompanied by an adult. One ride for children costs R40 (up to age 14) and one ride for adults costs R50, with an unlimited day pass costing R280.
Contact: 0219494439 / ops@cool-runnings.co.za
Visit: coolrunnings.capetown


3. Cape Town Science Centre, Observatory

For indoor family fun, the Cape Town Science Centre in Observatory is a great place to indulge your kid’s inner nerd. The Centre’s exhibits are both mind-bogglingly cool and informative. Who says the holidays can’t be educational? During the holidays they have hands-on workshops, science shows, family bingo evenings and even cool stuff just for mums. The SciCafe has a basic menu of filling and healthy options. There’s also free Wi-Fi. Entry to the Science Centre costs from R50 per person.
Contact: 0213003200, info@ctsc.org.za,
Visit: ctsc.org.za


4. The Book Lounge, City Centre

Every Saturday at 11:00, The Book Lounge in Roeland Street has a free story telling session, perfect for 3-8-year-olds. They often have additional activities during the school holidays as well. While your little one is enthralled by magical tales, you can sit downstairs and enjoy a cuppa at their coffee shop or take some time to browse through the myriad of interesting and sometimes unusual books. It’s best to book, so give them a call or visit their website for more information.
Contact: 0214622425,


5. Bishopscourt Village Park

This was recommended by a mom and it sounds like an idyllic spot with a stream to splash in, rocks to clamber over and trees to climb. Not many folks seem to know about this hidden spot – it seems to be one of those “in-the-know” places! To find this secret garden paradise, drive all the way to the end of Upper Noreen Avenue and park along the road (don’t block driveways). There are two entrances: one you’ll see on your left as you drive down the road, marked by a green information board. The other is located near the end of the road, across the lawn, under the trees. Take a picnic as there are tables and benches too.
Contact: info@bvra.org.za


6. Artjamming, Cape Town

Create a masterpiece (or mess) on a blank canvas, while listening to funky music. Artjammers are provided with a menu of 12 different size canvases, easels, a selection of non-toxic acrylic paints, brushes and tools to freely express themselves. Great idea for children’s parties! You’ll find Artjamming studios at the Cape Quarter, Cavendish Square, The Paddocks, V&A Waterfront and the Willowbridge Centre. From R135 a canvas, although combo deals are also available.
Contact: manager@artjamming.co.za


7.Noordhoek Farm Village

Noordhoek Farm Village, is the ideal children’s destination to entertain the kids, with its free, fun activities, age-specific playgrounds and child-friendly restaurants. The playground has been designed to accommodate various age groups with suitable activities and safety features. Parents can enjoy laid-back breakfasts and lunches from Café Roux, while keeping an eye on the little ones – it borders the kids’ play area – Café Roux also offers a kiddies’ menu and hosts birthday parties.


8. Planet Kids, Muizenberg

Planet Kids play centre in Muizenberg has jumping castles, an intergalactic ball wall, fun ramps with a space slide, an outside area with a foefie slide and dream swing, as well as various workshops and other activities. They run special programmes during the school holidays to keep the little ones occupied. Refreshments can be ordered from the Flying Saucer Cafe, where grown-ups can sit and enjoy a coffee while browsing through a magazine. You can also drop the kids off and fetch them later. Kids aged 2 to 13 pay R35 for the first hour or R60 for two hours. Children under 2 years (10 to 23 months) pay R25 for an hour. Adults are free. Cash or EFT only, no credit cards. More pricing options available. Please check the Planet Kids website for more details.
Contact: 0217883070, info@planetkids.co.za


9. Acrobranch, Constantia

Kids, school holidays, Cape Town, acrobranchingAcrobranching gives you and the kids the chance to unleash your inner-ape and go swinging through the tree tops. This is another fantastic holiday activity for the entire family if the weather decides to play along. The Acrobranch park in Constantia consists of three courses, each one equipped with zip lines, sing bridges and Tarzan swings. The courses are family-friendly and safe for children as young as three years of age. The “Yellow Course” is for children ages three and up while the “Green Course” is for children seven years and older. The “Blue Course” includes the other two courses and is for older acrobranchers. If this seems like your kind of fun be sure to check it out. R100 to R180 depending on the course.
Contact: 0212011121
Visit: acrobranch.co.za


10. Bugz Family Playpark, Kraaifontein

Bugz Family Playpark Worm Train
Bugz Family Playpark is an activity-filled park with a huge outdoor playground and an impressive indoor play area suited for children from 2 to 10 years old. There are pedal cars, jumping castles, rowing boats, swing horses, mini tractor rides, a choo choo train as well as free play areas, horse rides and magic shows. When tummies need filling, there’s The Bugz Tent Kitchen and Bugz Too Restaurant. Open from 09:00 to 17:00 every day (except Christmas Day). They also host birthday parties. Adults R50 on weekdays and on weekends, kids R45 on weekdays and R60 on weekends (excluding rides).
Contact: 0219888836, party@bugz.co.za


11. The Giraffe House, Stellenbosch

The Giraffe House in Stellenbosch provides easy access to certain species of wildlife and birds, including giraffe, eland, impala, zebra, springbok, monkeys, owls, storks, parrots, ducks, geese and more. They host animal-themed parties, educational programmes, snake encounters, a play area and bicycle track. There is no restaurant on the premises, but a refreshment kiosk supplies snacks and something to drink. Visitors are welcome to bring a picnic basket (please adhere to their no-alcohol policy). Open daily from 09:00 to 17:00. Read about my experience at The Giraffe House. From R30 a child, and from R50 an adult. Please bring cash as there are no card facilities.
Contact: 0218844506, giraffehouse@gmail.com


12. Clay Café, Hout Bay

Clay Cafe in Hout BayThe Clay Cafe in Hout Bay makes for a day of creativity and recreation for children and parents alike. Choose from a vast array of unfired bisque and a wide selection of colourful paints to create crockery that is both personal and unique. Spend a leisurely day painting in a relaxed environment with friendly staff at hand to assist you with any painting techniques that you might wish to make use of. There is a garden and playground outside so once children are finished painting there is still plenty to explore. Also a great idea for children’s parties! R35 studio fee, plus the price of whichever item you decide to paint, ranging from R20 to R250.
Contact: 0217903318, info@claytcafe.co.za


13. Ratanga Junction, Century City

Ratanga Junction - The CobraAllocate an entire day to the thrills and spills of Ratanga Junction, with rides to suit all ages and levels of bravery. It’s usually open only during school holidays, so check before you head there. Full Adventurer Ticket (over 1,3 m) – R179 a person; Mini Adventurer Ticket (under 1,3 m) – R95 a person; non-rider Fun Pass – R70 a person. There’s a separate charge of R65 for the Slingshot attraction.
Contact: 0215508504, info@ratanga.co.za


14. World of Birds, Hout Bay

World Of Birds, Hout BayThe World of Birds in Hout Bay is billed as the largest bird park in Africa, but most kids prefer the naughty squirrel monkeys who sit on your head and rifle through your pockets, while the meerkats, mongooses, porcupines and guinea pigs also have their devoted fans. The Robin’s Nest offers drinks and snacks as well as light meals. You are also welcome to take your own picnic basket and enjoy a picnic at the Flamingo Terrace (right next to the flamingoes). Adults R95, Kids R45. Pensioners and students (with card) pay R65.
Contact: 0217902730, info@worldofbirds.org.za


15. Kirstenbosch National Botanical Gardens

A sunny day will find many Capetonians lazing on the immaculate lawns of Kirstenbosch National Botanical Gardens, the finest gardens in South Africa. Everyone has their favourite nook – I love the giant trees over the Skeleton Stream, which provide lots of exciting climbing for young adventurers. A raised walkway, named The Boomslang, has been recently built through the Arboretum, between the Protea Garden, Cycad Amphitheatre, the Dell, Mathews Rockery and the Concert Lawn. The boardwalk raises visitors to over 12m above ground, and winds like a snake, dipping through the trees. Adults – R60, kids (aged 6-17) – R15, kids under 6 years of age – free. Students (with card) – R30.
Contact: 0217998899, info@sanbi.org.za


16. City Sightseeing Bus, Cape Town

City Sightseeing BusNearly everyone has seen the big red City Sightseeing Bus, but actually going on it is so much fun (be a tourist in your own city). You can sit and watch the world go by and hop on and off at various places of interest. If you actually listen to the commentary, you will learn a lot about the city we live in and there’s a kid-friendly version too (that’s actually very clever, informative and amusing). Don’t let rain put you off, it’s dry in there! All children get a free activity pack with a colouring-in book and crayons which helps keep them occupied. One day pass: Adults – R170, Kids (aged 5-15) – R90 (when you buy online). Kids under 5 – free.
Contact: 0215116000, info@citysightseeing.co.za


17. Company’s Garden, City Centre

The Company's GardenThe Company’s Garden is a great free spot for families. You can picnic on the grass, play ball games and feed the squirrels and (inevitably) the pigeons. Be aware though that squirrels have sharp little claws! I have seen a few children burst into tears when one of the cute little critters decides to scramble up their bare leg in search of peanuts. The Company’s Garden Restaurant in the park also serves good food, and the outside section is full of interesting things to keep kids busy. You’ll find The Company’s Garden in Queen Victoria Street, at the top end of Adderley Street.
Contact: 0214002521


18. Green Point Park

I love this park (read about how I discovered Green Point Park) and kids love it too. Entrance is free, so pack a picnic and take the kids out for the day. There are play areas for littlies and for bigger kids, so everyone has a good time. Adults can give the outdoor gym equipment a go, or just sit on the lawn or at a table and relax. Leashed dogs and bicycles (or tricycles) are welcome too.
Contact: 0214170120, info.capetownstadium@capetown.gov.za


19. Take a trip on the Atlantic Rail Steam Train


Kids, school holidays, Cape Town, Atlantic Rail Steam Train 2

Image by Adel Groenewald.

If you want to add that extra element of awesomeness to your next family day out, you can do a lot worse than the Atlantic Rail Steam Train. This vintage steam locomotive offers day trips from Cape Town to Simon’s Town on most Sundays, with trips to Spier and Vredenheim in the Stellenbosch Winelandsalso available depending on demand. Get the kids and hop on this old iron horse at 10:30 at Cape Town, take the slow scenic route along the Peninsula and then spend the day in Simon’s Town. The train departs Simon’s Town for Cape Town at 15:15. Passengers are also allowed to get off at Kalk Bay. Booking is essential, and unfortunately, the trips are so popular it’s often booked for months in advance.

Stellenbosch Option: (Includes only your return steam train journey to Stellenbosch) – R300 for adults and R200 for kids
Spier wine Farm Option: (Includes your return steam train journey to Spier Wine Farm, as well as wine tasting (grape juice for children), animal experience at Eagle Encounters, and lunch at Eight Restaurant (3 meals to choose from, beverages not included) – R500 for Adults and R400 for kids
Vredenheim Wine Estate Option: (Includes your return steam train journey to Vredenheim Wine Estate, as well as wine tasting (grape juice for children), animal experience at The Big Cats Park, and lunch at Barrique Restaurant (3 meals to choose from, beverages not included) – R500 for Adults and R400 for kids.
Contact: Booking is essential. Book at info@atlanticrail.co.za

Read more:Atlantic Rail: A 1930s steam train to Simon’s Town
Read more:Take a steam train to Vredenheim in the Stellenbosch Winelands


20. Imhoff Farm, Kommetjie

Kids, school holidays, Cape Town, camel ridesHere’s another fun activity for the odd sunny day this winter holiday. Head to Imhoff Farm in Kommetjie and take a ride along Noordhoek Beach on one of the farm’s five camels. This is one of those activities that’s bound to be a hit with both you and the children. Once you’re done with your camel ride you can also pay a visit to the Higgeldy Piggeldy Animal Farm – where the little ones can play with the farm animals – or have a bite to eat at one of the farmstead’s three restaurants. Imhoff Farm is open Tuesdays to Sundays.
Contact: 0217834545, Info@imhofffarm.co.za,


21. The Playshed at the Oude Molen Eco Village, Pinelands

I met one of my mommy friends here recently and was quite impressed with The Playshed. The kids (make that screaming kid) were having a ball on the jungle gym and zipping down slides, while we enjoyed a cup of coffee and a toasted sandwich. There are magazines on the tables so moms can take some time out and the food is very reasonably priced. Afterwards, we took the kids for a pony ride which was a highlight (and at R10 a ride, well worth it!) Children will love this place – apart from pony or horse rides and The Playshed, there are chickens and dogs too. It’s like a little farm in the middle of the city. If you don’t fancy eating in the Playshed, there’s also a separate restaurant.
Contact: 0741962778, madre@iafrica.com


22. CityROCK, Observatory


Kids, school holidays, Cape Town, CityRock

Image by UltraRob.

If you and the kids feel up to something more challenging, why not try some indoor rock climbing at CityROCK in Observatory. All the climbing gear you need can be rented or bought on site. First-timer to rock climbing? No sweat. You can get a day pass for R105 per adult and R85 per kid (excluding gear). There are also special programmes for children of different ages and skill levels, including a three-day holiday programme. The best option for kids who are new to rock climbing is the test-drive package which includes entrance and gear rental. CityROCK also offers yoga classes. Adults – R175, kids – R155 (includes bouldering and climbing on the automatic belay wall and gear rental). Add R200 per hour for an instructor.
Contact: 0214471326, tarryn@cityrock.co.za


23. Mini train, Mouille Point

I know some adults who enjoy this train too! Catch a ride on this cute little miniature train and enjoy views of passing ships and Robben Island. Then hop off and let the kids enjoy the park with a tricycle track, jungle gyms and rock climbing. R50 per person per ride.
Contact: 0843149200, info@thebluetrainpark.com


24. Kenilworth Karting, Kenilworth

Kids, school holidays, Cape Town, Go-KartFeel like upping the ante and getting the adrenaline pumping? Kenilworth Karting is a great way to add a bit of oomph to your family day out (they also have a track in Canal Walk). This indoor go-kart racing course features a challenging 310m race track and a number of 160cc karts with hydraulic brakes and slick tyres and 140cc GP Junior karts for the little ones. All racers are provided with helmets. Take your pick from the different racing options like the Grand Prix and Endurance options. A five-minute Junior Race (Height Requirement of 1.5m and up) will cost R160 pp for kids and adults.  It’s best to book ahead of time, as there are height restrictions on the ‘Arrive and Drive’ options.
Contact: 0216832670 and 0216836950, info@karting.co.za


25. Butterfly World, Klapmuts

Take a drive out of Cape Town on the N1 to Butterfly World, where you will find a fluttery paradise with butterflies from all over the world. When the kids get bored of the beautiful flying insects, there are meerkats, ducks, goats and chickens to look at. Along with iguanas, scorpions and spiders. Adults – R80, kids – R45.
Contact: 0218755628, bfwtropicalgarden@gmail.com


26. Paintball, Atlantis

Kids, school holidays, Cape Town, paintballU-TAC – or urban tactical – Paintball outside Atlantis is one of the best paintball joints in South Africa and is the perfect place for you and the kids if you’re feeling trigger-happy. What makes U-TAC so special is that it allows you to enact a wide range of military scenarios such as battling it out in a village, in trenches or in the bush. You can also arrange for 48-hour wars or helicopter insertion. The premises also have a tuck shop and braai facilities if you feel like relaxing after an epic family feud.
Contact: 0837789111, info@u-tac.co.za.


27. Iziko Museums, Cape Town


Kids, school holidays, Cape Town, Iziko

Image by Mike Coghlan.

One of the major perks of living in Cape Town is that both the South African Museum and the South African National Gallery are conveniently situated in the City Bowl, around the Company’s Gardens. The Museum and the Gallery – both falling under South Africa’s national heritage institution Iziko – are ideal for a more peaceful, contemplative family day-out. The Museum boasts everything from dinosaur fossils to rock art. The National Gallery houses an impressive range of contemporary artworks, traditional beadwork and textiles and is ideal for the culture vultures in your family. Entry to the South African Museum costs R20 for Kids (aged 6 to 18 years) and R40 for adults. Kids under 5 get in for free.  The same prices apply for the South African National Gallery.
Contact: 0214813800, info@iziko.org.za


28. V&A Waterfront


Photo by Rachel Robinson.

The V&A Waterfront often has special programmes for children during the school holidays. There’s also a play area with all sorts of interesting things, like pirate ships and jungle gyms near the food court.

The Scratch Patch is an inexpensive and fun place for all ages. Kids (and adults) can sort through mountains of gemstones and pick out tiger’s eyes, amethysts, jaspers and more. Cave Golf is another option if you are on a tight budget. It sounds easy, but this version of putt-putt has some tricky ramps, sharp corners and deceptively difficult holes. Operating hours: The Scratch Patch – 9:00 to 18:00, Cave Golf – 9:00 to 17:00.
Price: You can purchase a small plastic bag or container ranging in price from R17 for a small bag to R95 for a large container.
Contact: 0214199429

29. The Two Oceans Aquarium

The Two Oceans Aquarium is hands-down one of the best places in Cape Town for indoor fun (great for rainy days). Apart from the dazzling glimpses it offers into the underwater world, the aquarium also has several activities that will delight young and old alike. Be sure to schedule your trip to the time of day when the penguins, sharks and other fish are being fed. Don’t miss the Touch Pool which allows you and the kids to interact with anemones, starfish and seaweed. For a little bit extra, you can buy tickets for the Penguin Encounter that allows you and your children to come face-to-beak with the super-cute rockhopper penguins. Adults – R160, Kids (aged 4-13 years) R115 and online purchases are R105 for Kids (aged 14-17 years) and R145 adults. Kids under 4 years old are free.
Contact: 0214183823, aquarium@aquarium.co.za


30. Ten-pin bowling, Grand West

Ten-pin bowling is what I call “good old-fashioned fun” and kids from five and up will love the competition! Magic Bowling at Grand West Casino offers 12 lanes of fun bowling pleasure for all ages, accompanied by music and a cosmic bowling experience. So get a group together and go bowling, even if it’s raining.
Contact: 0215354582.


31. Intaka Island, Century City

Intaka Island covers 16 hectares of wetland, birds and flora in the middle of Century City and makes for a good day out if the sun is shining. Catch a ferry ride and take a stroll along the 2km of footpaths, (or get one of the experienced field rangers to lead you). There are special kiddie programmes during the holidays too. Adults – R35, Kids (under the age of 12) and Pensioners – R30. Combo tickets also available, which include a boat ride.
Contact: 0215526889


32. Tots ’n Pots, Cape Town

Tots n PotsWant your kids to cook but don’t want to clean up afterwards? Take them to Tots ’n Pots where they can fling flour and bash butter to their hearts’ content. These cooking classes are run by incredibly patient teachers and chefs around the peninsula – try the Constantia branch run by Deirdre Cargill who loves the hands-on element in cooking. There are many lessons your kids will learn without realising it, but the main aim is to have fun. And they do – whether it’s the actual mixing and stirring, eating their concoctions or decorating their takeaway box – all with mom or dad guiding along the way. Particularly good for smaller kids, you can sign up for a single lesson or a whole course. Some clubs run during the school holidays. They also do birthday parties. There are also branches in Tableview, the Northern Suburbs and the Southern Peninsula. Bookings are essential.
Contact: 0768163892, constantia@totsnpots.com

Credit: getaway.co.za

29 Junie 2017 1

Cape Town winters are known to be wet and grey. What locals like to keep quiet is the fact that in between the miserable days are beautiful, blue-skied, crisp ones. That’s why it’s called ‘The Secret Season’. Fewer tourists are about, there are no crowds to deal with, and even on wet days, there’s plenty to do and see.

Here we list just a few of the things to do when the foul winds from the north-east blow in the clouds and rain. There’s no need to be suffering from Cabin Fever in Cape Town!

1. Take The Train To Kalk Bay And Lunch At The Brass Bell

Gouni-Mae Montgomery

Take the train from central Cape Town to Kalk Bay. The station in Cape Town is under cover and getting off at Kalk Bay, it’s two steps into the Brass Bell, which balances on the sea’s edge – the perfect, cosy, place to watch the moody sea.

The train trip takes just under an hour and the last bit – from Muizenberg to Kalk Bay – runs along the sea, offering spectacular sights.

The Brass Bell has numerous different sections, all right on the sea with beautiful views. Savour a steaming bowl of seafood soup while you watch the rain fall on the wild grey seas.

2. HintHunt


Feeling a little bit of Cabin Fever stuck at home in the rain? Head on down to The Old Biscuit Mill and play HintHunt, the latest game on the block, that’ll see you solving riddles in a little room in order to get out and free yourself from true Cabin Fever.

You play in groups of three to five people and you get an hour to work out puzzles and mysteries and release yourselves from the room. It’s fun, it’s interactive, it gets the old cogs in the brain working, and it’s all indoors!

3. The Heart Of Cape Town Museum

Briony Chisholm

In recognition of one of Cape Town’s most famous sons, Chris Barnard, and his performing the first heart transplant in the world in 1967, the museum is at Groote Schuur Hospital in Observatory. This is where he performed the groundbreaking surgery and the museum chronicles the whole story.

Guided tours are run every two hours, so phone The Heart of Cape Town Museum before going, to book a tour.

4. Drink Red Wine Next To A Roaring Fire

What better way to chase away the rainy day blues, than to sit next to a roaring fire and drink some of the world’s finest red wine, made on our doorstep? The list of places in and around Cape Town that have fires in winter and serve red wine (and great food) is blissfully endless. These are four of our favourites.

Jamie Beverly

Societi Bistro & The Snug

With its bare brick walls, numerous fireplaces and a menu that’ll warm the cockels of your heart, Societi Bistro is a rainy day winner.

If you’re not looking for a meal to accompany your red wine, pop in next door at The Snug. Let’s just say its name is perfect.



Situated on the Sir Lowry’s Pass Road outside Somerset West, Waterkloof is the place to go if you feel like a little drive and some cheese and wine tasting next to the designer open fireplace in the tasting room. In fact, everything here is designer, and beautiful, with a sweeping view across to False Bay.

If a platter is not enough to stave off wet weather-induced hunger, head to the restaurant to sample some of chef Gregory Czarnecki’s incredible cuisine, with a French twist.

Constantia Glen

Constantia Glen

Less than half an hour’s drive from Cape Town’s city centre, Constantia Glen is perched on top of a hill with breath-taking views across the valley to the mountains. The glass-walled restaurant is warm and cosy, with stoves to ensure that the grey cold stays outside where it belongs.

Do a wine tasting and enjoy one of their charcuterie or cheese platters. In winter they usually offer steaming bowls of three different kinds of soup with fresh, crispy, bread. You can get a big bowl of one, or a trio of small bowls of all three – for those of us who want to taste everything!

5. Indoor Bowling

Eric Silva

Want a fun-filled day out of the rain? Head into the suburbs to Let’s Go Bowling indoor bowling in the Stadium-On-Main Centre in Claremont.

As long as you don’t mind renting bowling shoes, all you need is a couple of mates and some team spirit and you’re A for away! Striiiiike!

6. The Labia

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Down past the Mount Nelson tucked in the bend of Orange Street lies another grand old Cape Town dame: The Labia Cinema. Stop sniggering, it’s named after Princess Labia of Italy, and was initially the Italian Embassy ballroom.

It’s the oldest independent cinema in Africa and shows independent, art films. Various film festivals are also run here and they have great 2-for-1 specials (including a meal at restaurants in the neighbourhood) on different nights of the week.

Best of all, they have a fully-stocked bar at the cinema, so grab your popcorn and a warming glass of red and forget about the grey day outside.

See their website for what’s showing on their four screens.

7. Get Cultural: Museums

Mellany Fick

Cape Town, and South Africa, have a rich and chequered past. There are a number of museums scattered about the city – that are warm and dry on a drizzle-filled afternoon – that tell the stories of the people of our land.

In Adderley Street, learn about the slave trade at the Slave Lodge, then open up your umbrella and put on your galoshes for a short walk through the Company’s Garden – past Parliament and Tuynhuis – up to the South African Museum. Warm up with a cup of hot chocolate in their cosy coffee shop before learning about the animals, the geological and archaeological origins and the people of South Africa.

From there, its a hop-skip-and-a-jump across to the Jewish Museum, where the history of the Jewish people of South Africa is beautifully laid out. Make an effort to pop in to see the Netsuke exhibition on the bottom floor – tiny, intricate Japanese carvings.

In Buitenkant Street, the District 6 Museum colourfully chronicles the history of this vibrant area, torn apart by the forced removals during Apartheid.

8. Coffee (& Cake)

Cape Town is Hipster Central. Hipsters like coffee. In fact, so do the rest of us. Result: coffee shops (and really good ones at that) are around every corner. It’s hard to pick only four, but for the purpose of not making this blog 16 000-words long, we have chosen four of our favourites.


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Situated in the heart of Cape Town, Truth. Coffee is a hive of activity. The decor is Steam-Punk – think industrial, richly-patterned trimmings. The staff, too, are decked out in Steam-Punk-style, giving the whole place a rather romantic, movie-type feel. Well, romantic in a loud, busy, trendy way.

The coffee is roasted on the premises (thus the noisiness) and rumour has it that the Eggs Benedict may just be one of the best Cape Town has to offer. Truth. also has free wi-fi and plug-in points for laptops, so you can easily spend a rainy morning drinking coffee and catching up with e-mails in this vibey spot!


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Down the road from Greenmarket Square, around the corner and into Church Street, you’ll find Deluxe Coffee, a little hole-in-the-wall place that just sells coffee. Good coffee.

If you’re looking for a bite to eat with your Deluxe coffee, head a little further up toward the mountain to another side street – Roodehek. There you’ll find Yard – a seriously hole-in-the-wall spot that incorporates The Dog’s Bollocks – known for it’s incredible burgers in the evenings – and, tucked in right at the back, The Bitch’s Tits. It’s there you’ll find Deluxe coffee. They serve a killer breakfast too.

Hard Pressed Cafe

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A relative newcomer to the Cape Town coffee scene, Hard Pressed Cafe in Buitengracht Street opened its doors in 2014.

It’s a funky little place with a great selection of vinyl records to buy while drinking your coffee and munching on any of their freshly-made sandwiches and snacks.

Empire Cafe

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If you’re looking for a view of the wild wintery sea while you drink your coffee, head out to the Empire Cafe in Muizenberg. Don’t feel like driving in the rain? Catch the train and take an umbrella – it’s a short walk from the Muizenberg Station.

The view from the second floor window is over Surfer’s Corner, and the bakery on the premises make croissants, cakes and other delicacies that fill the air with deliciousness.

9. See Some Art

Mellany Fick

What better way to spend a rainy day than soaking up a bit of culture in one of Cape Town’s many art galleries? See the permanent exhibition of art through the ages at the South African National Gallery in the Company’s Garden, and then amble through their changing exhibitions.

South Africa has a diverse and fascinating art world. See what and who are being exhibited in the various Cape Town galleries, such as the Michael Stevenson in Woodstock, the AVA Gallery in Church Street, and the Brundyn+ in Buitengracht Street.

10. Go Rock Climbing

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No, no, you didn’t read that wrong. Here in Cape Town a bit of rain doesn’t put us off getting down (up?) to some good bouldering and clinging onto rock-faces. Enter CityROCK indoor climbing gym in Observatory.

From total beginners to experts training to climb a 30 (that’s a hard climb, for those not in the know), CityROCK has a wall to suit you. And they’re not wet and slippery… because it’s all inside!

11. Go A Little Einstein @ The Cape Town Science Centre

CT Science Centre

Just up the road from CityROCK, on Main Road in Observatory, is the Cape Town Science Centre. Aimed mainly at encouraging the learning of science, technology, mathematics and engineering in kids, it’s an incredibly fun place for adults too.

They have over 250 interactive exhibitions showing off the marvels of all things science. Need I say more? Perfect rainy day activity.

12. Visit The ‘Ariums

Cape Town has two of the best ‘ariums in the country – the star-filled Planetarium and the fish-filled Aquarium.

The Aquarium

Two Oceans Aquarium

Too cold and wet for the beach? Don’t let that deter you from marine activities.

Pop down to the V&A Waterfront and visit the Two Oceans Aquarium – a delight for kids and adults alike.

With an enormous, central, shark- and ray-filled tank at its centre, penguins upstairs and a whole range of seaside creepy-crawlies to see up-close, it’s easy to spend a full day here.

The Planetarium


Next to the South African Museum in the Company’s Garden is the magical Planetarium.

Forget about the rain outside, and the clouds covering the sky, tilt your seat back as the lights dim and you watch the stars and galaxies projected onto the enormous dome above. It’s breath-takingly beautiful!

13. Give A Little Of Your Time

Christopher Griner

Oh, you thought it was all abut you? Nope, it’s not.

How about spending a rainy morning volunteering at one of the literally hundreds of places that are trying to make the world we live in a better place?

There are loads. Here is a list of a couple you could get hold of:

  • Scalabrini Centre: help refugees to draw up CV’s and restore their basic human rights
  • Friends of The Hospital: read/play with the kids at Red Cross Children’s Hospital
  • Ons Plek: a shelter for girl street children
  • Yiza Ekhaya: community project based in Khayelitsha which offers food, care and safe shelter for 250 children & adults on medication
  • SANCCOB: hang out and help out with the li’l penguins
  • Nazareth House: provide residential care to abandoned and neglected children, as well as the elderly

14. Cave Golf

Jessica Spengler

Down at the V&A Waterfront, next door to the Scratch Patch (if you have kids, this is another rainy day treat), lies an intricate little 18-hole Putt-Putt course. Best of all: it’s indoors and quirkily designed as if you’re playing golf in a cave.

Rumour has it that it’s not an easy course, either, with some tricky holes to test your golfing skills!

15. Butterfly World


Head out on the N1 toward Paarl, take Exit 47 and, just down the road to the right, you’ll find Butterfly World, with its 1000 m2 greenhouse. Inside, it’s warm and humid and filled with tropical plants, gorgeous free-flying butterflies and an array of creepy-crawlies and other creatures.

After you’ve marvelled at all the beauty, drive a little further into the winelands and enjoy lunch by the fireside at one of the many wine farms in the area .

Credit: Africanbudgetsafaris

Cape Town and the Cape Peninsula have two glittering coastlines with a beach to suit every mood and moment. Whether you’re after buzzing beachside bars, secluded coves, safe swimming beaches or a romantic spot for a sunset picnic, our guide to Cape Town’s best beaches will point you in the right direction.


Best for: sheltered sunbathing, seeing and being seen, sunset picnics

It takes about 10 minutes to drive from the city centre to any of Clifton’s four beaches. Coves of soft white sand separated by giant boulders that protect them from summer’s ‘Southeaster’  wind, each beach attracts a slightly different crowd though undoubtedly the most popular is Clifton 4th Beach.

In many ways it is the unofficial playground of the rich and beautiful but Clifton 4th is a classic Cape Town beach with a great holiday atmosphere. Toned bodies soak up the sunshine, vendors wander back and forth selling cold drinks and ice lollies, yachts bob about on the aquamarine ocean – just remember that the Atlantic Ocean here is usually quite cold and you won’t be doing much swimming.

Cape Town's Best Beaches

Popular Clifton 4th Beach is the playground for the rich & beautiful.

On balmy summer evenings locals love to round off the day with a sunset picnic on a Clifton beach. Head down in the late afternoon and you’ll find a festive atmosphere with blankets spread out on the sand, baskets stuffed with deli-bought goodies and candles ready to burn late into the night. Just be warned: it’s illegal to drink alcohol on Cape Town beaches (and these popular beaches are effectively policed) and you’ll have to carry all your stuff down from the car park – and back up again – via a long series of steep steps so pack light.

Best for: family fun, sunbathing, beach volleyball, sunset cocktails

Just down the road from Clifton you’ll find the gently curving crescent of Camps Bay – the best known beach on the Cape Town coast. Both locals and visitors flock to this palm-lined strip for people watching, to play beach bats or volleyball, walk their dogs or catch a tan while gazing up at the dramatic peaks of the Twelve Apostles range, part of Table Mountain.

If the wind picks up, nip across the road to one of many restaurants, cafes or fashionable bars where Cape Town’s beautiful people dine on seafood and salad or sip chilled local wine. On peak summer days these restaurants spill out onto the pavements, creating a wonderfully laid-back Mediterranean ambience.

Cape Town's Best Beaches

It’s an easy transition from the broad beach to busy cafes in Camps Bay.


Best for: beach picnics, surfing, body boarding, a local favourite

Twenty kilometres south of Cape Town on the way to Hout Bay, Llandudno may be a bit off the beaten track but this spectacular beach is certainly a favourite among locals. A narrow road winds its way down through an exclusive hillside neighbourhood to a soft sandy cove where you’ll find children building sandcastles, groups of friends playing beach bats and Frisbee, surfers carving patterns on the waves and waggy-tailed dogs bounding about.

As with all the beaches along the Atlantic coastline the sea is so refreshing it can make your skin tingle. However, it’s also a great spot to watch the sunset so take snacks (there are no shops) and a beach umbrella and look forward to serious sunbathing followed by a romantic beach picnic.


Cape Town's Best Beaches

Llandudno Beach is a favourite with locals & is perfect for sunset picnics.


Best for: penguin watching, family fun, safe swimming, snorkelling

For a Cape Town beach with a unique twist head to Boulders Beach; its soft sand and slightly warmer sea (Boulders is on the Indian Ocean’s False Bay coastline) are home to a large colony of endangered African penguins. These endearing birds have become minor celebrities and visitors flock to watch them strut their stuff between the hulking granite boulders – a highly entertaining sight to see.

Boulders Beach lies about 40km south of Cape Town, just beyond the naval base in picturesque Simon’s Town, which makes it a great stop on the way to Cape Point. If you’re travelling with kids, pack a picnic and plan to stay awhile as this is sure to be one of their holiday highlights.

Cape Town's Best Beaches

Watch African penguins strut their stuff at Boulders Beach.

credit: go2africa.com