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December 10, 2012

A week of free fun in Cape Town

Photo courtesy Lehva.

Imagine it’s January 1, 2013. You’ve had a hectic week on holiday in Cape Town – exploring the winelands <link>, shopping at the V&A Waterfront, wining and dining in Camps Bay and catching all the sights and sounds of the city on the City Sightseeing Bus. Last night’s New Year’s Eve party on Long Street was epic, and you’re totally amped for the year ahead.

You’ve got a week left before your holiday in the Mother City comes to a sad end, and you’ve got to start watching your budget. And yet you don’t want the fun to stop! Never fear ... there are many things to do in Cape Town that won’t cost you a cent. Here’s a suggested itinerary for the first week of 2013.

Tuesday January 1, 2013

Rub the sleep from your eyes, grab your baggies or bikini and head for the beach. The Mother City is well known for its exquisite coastline, which incorporates some of the finest beaches in the world. These Blue Flag gems are the perfect settings for memorable summer holidays that you'll definitely want to repeat. Think clear, aquamarine sea, soft white sand, hot sun and refreshingly icy water – perfect for clearing your head after a big night out.

Photo courtesy Jason Bagley.

Wednesday January 2, 2013

Celebrate Tweede Nuwejaar (“Second New Year”) with the “Kaapse Klopse” parade of Cape Minstrel bands through the streets of Cape Town. Set yourself up in Darling Street, Adderley Street or Wale Street for the best views of this colourful, boisterous celebration, which takes place every year on January 2.

Thursday January 3, 2013

Chill out in the Company’s Garden. This historical public park, located in the heart of the city centre, was founded in 1652 by the first Dutch settlers when they landed in Cape Town. Read a book, feed the squirrels or simply take in the views. This is the perfect setting to recharge your batteries.

Friday January 4, 2013

Now that you’ve got your energy back, use it to get you to the top of Table Mountain – on foot! There are many hikeable routes up the mountain, varying in length and degree of difficulty. The easiest routes are up Platteklip Gorge, the Pipe Track or Lion’s Head. Don’t forget your water and sunscreen. Cape Town can get scorchingly hot at this time of year!

Rhodes Memorial Lions. Photo courtesy Robert Wallace.

Saturday January 5, 2013

Watch a show at the V&A Waterfront Amphitheatre . There's no denying the allure of the V&A Waterfront. Between all the shopping and delectable dining, catch a dose of culture between 6pm and 10pm in this open-air theatre, where eclectic live performances showcasing local talent take place daily. Shows are free. All you need to pay is attention ...

Sunday January 6, 2013

Visit Rhodes Memorial on the northern slope of Table Mountain. This impressive monument, flanked by eight lion statues, is a tribute to the famous settler and politician Cecil John Rhodes. Enjoy panoramic views from the very spot where, it is said, Rhodes would sit and contemplate the future. Riding the lions is a popular pastime (but you didn’t hear it from us!)


Monday January 7, 2013

Admit it, the firing of the Noon Gun gave you a bit of a start the first time you heard it. But after a few days in Cape Town, it’s kinda become part the landscape. Now this might sound a little geeky, but heading up Signal Hill to watch the firing of the Noon Gun is actually quite a kick. Follow the signs off Buitengracht Street to Schotschekloof for the best vantage point. (Note: The gun is not fired on Sundays or public holidays.)

Of course, this itinerary is just a suggestion. You can choose to mix and match, or start your week of freebies on any day of the year. The only fixed date is the Tweede Nuwejaar celebration, which takes place on January 2 every year. And don’t head up to the Noon Gun on a Sunday or public holiday. The gun is given a rest on these days.

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