See&Do South Africa

My favourite almost-free things to do in Cape Town

I am certainly no expert on Cape Town, considering that I’ve lived in Jozi all my life, but that doesn’t stop people asking me how they can enjoy the Mother City whenever they visit and as such, it was time to write a list.

Because I’m so into food, I challenged myself to come up with a list that isn’t completely focused on eating, which was pretty hard. Sometimes, it’s even harder to think of things that don’t cost an absolute fortune too, so I threw that into my challenge alongside not focusing on every restaurant you should eat at when visiting Cape Town! It’s a simple list, but a lot of these are great for families (we did a few with my baby niece) or even if you’re just looking to enjoy the outdoors on your next visit!

It’s a simple list, but a lot of these are great for families (we did a few with my baby niece) or even if you’re just looking to enjoy the outdoors on your next visit!

Climb Cape Town

Last year I did my first hike in forever: I climbed Lion’s Head. It was hectic and gruelling but the views, in the end, were all worth it. This is not to say that you need to attempt this monstrosity of a hike, but Cape Town has tons of hiking and walking options suited to every level of fitness, and to truly understand the psyche of Cape Town, you need to climb all over like a bear on a salmon in a stream. Also, there will always be somebody super fit that will likely make you feel physically inferior and that’s okay…

Read more about my Lion’s Head hike here, or if you’re looking for alternative options take a look at these hikes for beginners.

The view from the top of Lion’s Head, you can see the Cape Town Stadium peeking out to the left of Signal Hill below.

Visit the rooftops

Cape Town has tons of accessible bars and rooftops in comparison to Jozi, and if the price to pay is ordering a drink at the bar, then it’s worth it. There are also lots of accommodation options that’ll allow you onto the roof to snap a few shots, so it’s always worth asking. Cape Town is pretty spectacular at night and if you’re into long exposure photography, then you’ll likely hit rooftop gold at some point!

This view is just below Roeland Street in Cape Town, atop an apartment block. Truth Coffee is right at the bottom in the middle.

Feeding squirrels in the Company’s Garden

When I visited Cape Town in February, we went for a stroll around the Company’s Garden because we were staying nearby. I knew the squirrels and pigeons would be around and I was excited to watch my niece’s reaction. I have to say upfront though, these squirrels are extremely brazen and a little hectic if you’re not prepared. You can buy a small bag of seed and nuts to throw on the ground, but after a short while, they’ll be climbing all over you to get at what’s in your hand. I’m also not sure how healthy it is for the squirrels, but nonetheless Capetonians have been feeding these guys for years and it’s worth taking a turn especially with kids.

That one time I finally got a squirrel to sit still long enough to snap a picture.

Travel down the Cape Peninsula

Leaving the Cape Town City Bowl and winding down towards Cape Point is probably my favourite thing to do. The string of seaside towns on this stretch really haven’t changed much in the last few decades and there’s a definite charm to spending time here. I also discovered there’s a great walking path that runs from Muizenberg, past St James and its brightly-coloured bathing boxes, onto Kalk Bay. The walk is easy, flat and a wonderful way to breathe in some sea air while working off the ice-cream you’ll eat in advance from Ice Cafe in Kalk Bay.

Read: A perfect Cape Town summer

The path leading away from Muizenberg, St James in the distance.

Kalk Bay Harbour is always bustling with boats coming in and out with their catch, and of course, greedy seagulls waiting for some lunch.

Escaping the City

What is obviously wonderful about Cape Town is that the city sort of extends itself into the Cape Winelands. The list of options out here is frankly enormous whilehiel there’s so much to do, one of the most entertaining is the Duck Parade at Vergenoegd Wine Estate. Throughout the day, runner ducks make their way into the vineyards at Vergenoegd to get their fill of grubs and insects that would otherwise plague the grapes. It’s fun for everybody and afterwards you can tuck into a tasty something-something with their artisanal picnics on offers.

The estate has over 1 000 ducks that tend to the vineyards, these are just some of them…

Spending time at the V&A Waterfront

Yes, I know, this is probably the number one most touristy thing you can do in Cape Town, but it doesn’t stop it from being one of the best. Whether it’s watching the giant wheel turn, catching the sundowner yachts come in and out or spotting the lazy seals that flop about near the harbour walls, I love it all! Top foodie tip though, if you’re at the V&A Waterfront, try out the V&A Food Market – it’s a great way to eat out and not break the bank.

Sundowners at Clifton 4th

We met up with a couple of friends in February who suggested we bring along snacks and drinks and enjoy seeing off the day on Clifton 4th Beach. It’s a really wonderful to just catch up and enjoy the outdoors that Cape Town is famous for. It’s also a pretty great spot for people watching!

Just as the sun disappeared behind the horizon, this rather fortuitous moment happened with a passing catamaran.

Wondering where to stay?

Cape Town can be tricky when it comes to accommodation. It either ranges from deathly expensive, to cheap and nasty. I have experienced the full spectrum of this and as such, often use SA-Venues to hunt down the perfect place to stay that won’t cost me my life savings. I would recommend looking for a place in Sea Point, Camps Bay, or near the V&A Waterfront. Each of these has plenty of safe walking streets and the chance to really immerse yourself in the city!

This post has been sponsored by, but all these ideas are my own and have been tried and tested several times. Have fun!


Travel & food blogger helping adventurous South Africans find their next escape.

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