Cape Town off the beaten track

Cape Town is a favourite tourist destination and every year, the Mother City welcomes millions of visitors to its shores to experience its unique sights, sounds, history and culture. Things can get a little crowded at the most well-known attractions over season, but luckily there are a few hidden gems away from the main tourist hot spots where you can experience a little piece of Cape Town, the way the locals do.

Get stuck into a fried chicken waffle

Yup, there’s nothing like fried chicken with waffles and maple syrup, especially not at Lefty’s, the little diver bar and eatery in Harrington Street near the Parliament buildings. Its reputation as a lively, slightly odd venue with great food and drink has made it a firm favourite among locals.

A movie at the Labia

Just around the corner from trendy Kloof street eateries, is Cape Town’s grand old lady of film, The Labia. One of the last independent movie theatres in South Africa, the Labia used to be a ballroom back in the day, before becoming a theatre from 1949. Since 1974, it has been playing host to film festivals and art-house films. The Labia is proper old school – with traditional ticket stubs, popcorn in a bag and even a bar where you can buy a drink to enjoy while watching a film, adding to the charm of this lovely little theatre.

Fun Things To Do In Cape Town

Catch up on some reading

If you’re looking for something quieter, The Book Lounge is a literary hide-away, just a block away from Lefty’s. Upstairs the quaint bookstore with its exquisite Victorian-era finishes has everything from the latest bestsellers to works of talented local authors, while downstairs houses a lounge where you can relax, take some quiet time and get lost among the pages of a good book. The shop regularly hosts book launches, readings and talks by both local and international authors.

Go bargain hunting

Just outside the city, in a big parking lot just before Lagoon Beach on your way to Blouberg strand you’ll find Cape Town locals’ favourite bargain hunting ground, the Milnerton Market. Packed with everything from plants to antiques and a bunch of other peculiar odds and ends, the market has been running for more than 20 years and has become a favourite weekend outing for Capetonians.

shopping for books at market cape town

Grab some naan

Another firm food favourite among Cape Town locals is the Eastern Food Bazaar, situated between Longmarket and Darling Street. As the name suggests, you’ll find a wide variety of Eastern and Middle Eastern foods, from Turkish and Indian to Thai and Chinese. One of the reasons why the Bazaar is so popular among locals is because of its value for money offering. The fare is cheap, but the quality is high.

Beta Beach at Bakoven

When the crowds descend upon the beaches of Clifton and Camps Bay, the locals find shelter at Bakoven’s Beta Beach. Tucked away down a little side street, between large boulders, the little patch of sand and clear, cold water is where the locals go to take a dip, read a book, or just bathe in the sun on a hot, clear, summer’s day.

By Stefan de Klerk