There are many ways to enjoy what Cape Town has to offer without spending a fortune. Go easy on your pocket and make the most of the city without breaking the bank. Here are 50 of our favourite things to do in Cape Town for R50 or less.
Updated: 18 February 2021
1. Walking tours of the city
Learn more about the city, its history, interesting facts and take in the beautiful sights with Cape Town Free Walking Tours. Explore with a historic tour, an Apartheid to Freedom tour, a Bo-Kaap tour, and a Taste of Cape Town tour. Each one offers a unique perspective of the city.
2. Visit Green Point Park
A family-friendly space great for a picnic, walk, run or for simply soaking up the sun. There is an outdoor gym, a play park, adventure park and outdoor labyrinth. You can also learn about various plant species as you explore the area.
Cost: Mostly free
There are some magnificent free hiking spots in and around Cape Town. Lion’s Head is one of the more popular ones and, although it can get slightly strenuous, it rewards you with an amazing view at the top. You can also do this in the light of the full moon (head torch is still advisable). Platteklip Gorge takes you to the top of Table Mountain and you can either head left towards Kirstenbosch or right to the Cable Station. Newlands Forest is leafy and most of the way is shaded by the trees. This is a shorter hike and there’s a pretty stream along the way if you want to cool down. Always follow mountain safety rules.
4. Trail running
Cost: Mostly free
There are so many places to do trail runs in Cape Town that it’s tough to list them all. You can run the hiking trails we mentioned before as well as try the 5,3 km Devil’s Peak route where you start at the top of Devil’s Peak Estate and run the gravel paths to Rhodes Memorial. Also try the Constantia Nek routes (some fees apply). Trail running is excellent for fitness and endurance.
5. Audio tour of Groot Constantia
Cost: Free to enter (various costs for meals)
One of the oldest wine producing farms in the Cape, Groot Constantia is steeped in history. This farm boasts fine examples of Dutch architecture and has been producing wine on the estate without interruption since 1685 when Commander Simon van der Stel of the Dutch East Company (VOC) was originally granted the land on which Groot Constantia stands. You can amble around the leafy grounds, or take the free VoiceMap audio tours to explore the farm and its rich history. There’s an Iziko Museum on site and if you get hungry, the farm has two restaurants to choose from.
6. The Noon Gun at Signal Hill
Witness the firing of the Noon Gun at Signal Hill. The cannon at the South African Navy’s Lion Battery on Signal Hill startles the notoriously short-memoried pigeons of the City Bowl every day. Two guns are loaded daily (in case of a misfire – although that’s rumoured to have only happened once in 200 years!) with 1.5kg of gunpowder. The cannoneer raises a flag, and tells the story of the gun and its history. Then, at precisely noon, the gun is fired. Arrive around 11:30 daily (except Sundays and public holidays) to witness the event. You can also purchase some ear plugs: the bang is louder than you think.
7. Stroll through the Company’s Garden
Cost: It’s free to visit
The Company’s Garden is situated right in the city centre of Cape Town. It was planted by the Dutch East India Company in 1652 to produce fresh fruit and vegetables for the ships that were sailing along the spice trade route between Europe and the East Indies, via Cape Town. Today it is home to the oldest cultivated pear tree in South Africa, said to have been planted in 1652; a rose garden built in 1929; an aviary with a variety of birds and many other interesting landmarks. It’s also well-known for the resident and perpetually hungry squirrels, so take along some peanuts to feed to them. What’s more the garden offers free wireless.
8. Beach please
With the spectacular backdrop of the Cape Fold Mountain range, the Cape Town’s beaches are of the most scenic in the world. There are a lot of beaches to choose from since the Indian Ocean and Atlantic Ocean borders the coastal city. Here is a look at some of the best beaches you can visit during your stay in our beautiful city.
9. Kalk Bay, the coolest
In 2018 Kalk Bay was voted the coolest neighbourhood in the world according to Forbes. And we could not agree more. Known for its array of eateries lining the main road, bustling colourful harbour and the legendary fish and chips from Kalkies – this historic little seaside suburb is perfect for a weekend morning of exploring.
10. A self-guided walk at the V&A Waterfront
Cost: Free – just grab a map and go!
The V&A Waterfront, situated at the heart of Cape Town’s working harbour, has a rich and varied history that can be traced back as far as 1654. A great way to discover the stories of this iconic site’s past and its 22 landmarks is to do a self-guided historic walk. Simply grab a map at the Information Centre and off you go. And if you get hungry or thirsty along the way, there are plenty of food and drink places to choose from. A stop at The Creamery at the V&A Food Market for a scoop of their handmade peanut butter ice-cream is a must!
11. Promenade Mondays
* During the Summer season
* Currently discontinued due to Covid -19
This weekly event starts at Queens Beach Parking lot (the last parking lot along the Promenade before you get to Bantry Bay) at 6pm every Monday night and is a fun way to explore the Sea Point Promenade. You will need something that skates – skateboard, longboard, rollerblades, roller-skates or even a BMX – in order to get the most out of this. The event was created in celebration of the lifting of the ban on skateboarding and rollerblading along this area. Click here for more information.
12. Muizenberg Moonlight Meander
In Cape Town, we make the most of the full moon. The Muizenberg Moonlight Meander happens at 6pm on the Saturday closest to the full moon and brings together family, friends and loved ones for a leisurely stroll along the beach by moonlight. The walk starts opposite Knead bakery.
13. First Thursdays
On the first Thursday of every month, arts and culture in Cape Town has a late night, with dozens of art galleries and cultural events showcasing the wealth of talent that the Mother City has on offer. The event is completely free, with no structured tour, and no schedule to follow, you are free to absorb it all at your own leisure. To ensure your First Thursday can be catered to your own specific preferences, organisers provide a map and highlights of what is on show. From there it is all up to you.
14. Live music at your fav market
Who doesn’t love chilling at their favourite market listening to local musos and djs while sipping on a cold one. Both Mojo Market in Sea Point and Bay Harbour Market in Hout Bay have become a hub for local artists to entertain the crowd and keep the vibe going. You’ll also be supporting local when you buy food or shop from the variety of stalls.
15. Explore our neighbourhoods
Taste your way through Langa and Khayelitsha and indulge in a delicious mix of traditional and western food. Siki’s Koffee Kafe is a hub for local entrepreneurs and serves delicious coffees. The Spinach King, situated around the corner from Khayelitsha station, sells delicious spinach bread, muffins and sandwiches made from locally grown spinach. The Khayelitsha Craft Market is also popular and you will find a selection of pottery, beadwork, baskets, paintings, curios and other hand crafted items.
In Langa, Fanie’s Place is the perfect spot to drop in for a couple of drinks. Also make sure to visit Guga Sthebe Arts & Culture Centre in the Langa Township – there’s a community theatre and people can join dance, arts & craft lessons and regular exhibitions expressing local and national art activities.
16. Hippo spotting, eland viewing and bird watching in Rondevlei Nature Reserve
Cost: R12 entry for adults and R6 for kids
Rondevlei is an unexpected treasure situated within the Cape Town suburb of Grassy Park, about 20 min drive from the city centre. Home to 256 species of indigenous plants, it spans 290 hectares and has a museum, a network of footpaths, viewing towers, and several bird hides. It is also home to Hippopotami and 20 other mammal species, including the Cape Grysbok Porcupine, Cape Clawless Otter and Large-Spotted Genet and a herd of Eland. It makes for a really great family adventure.
17. A guided tour of Slangkoppunt Lighthouse
Cost: Adults R16, students & pensioners R10 & kids R8
The bright white Slangkoppunt (Snake Head Point) Lighthouse, situated on the coast in the South Peninsula, is the tallest cast iron lighthouse in South Africa. The internal spiral staircase you will climb during the guided tour takes you up 100 feet from the bottom to the balcony. The views from the top are entirely worth it. The tour will leave you with all sorts of interesting facts including the reason for South Africa being one of the few remaining places to retain actual Light House Keepers.
18. Explore Newlands Forest
Cost: R32 for adults and R16 for children, R28 per vehicle (SA citizens)
Newlands Forest forms part of the Table Mountain National Park and is a great escape from the busy city surrounds. Explore the quiet pathways to find a unique picnic spot or get your coals going at the designated braai (barbeque) area. There is also some great hiking to be done if you follow one of the trails up towards Table Mountain. Always tell someone where you’re going, and never hike alone.
19. Helderberg Nature Reserve
Cost: R25 for adults, R15 for children (3 to 17 years), Toddler, Free (Child under 3 years) R10 for students, R15 for pensioners, R15 per vehicle
The beautiful Helderberg Nature Reserve is located in Somerset West and stretches as far as the cliff faces of the Helderberg Mountain. There is so much to do and enjoy here. There s a plant herbarium, Guinea Gift Shop, an environmental education centre, a picnic area, children’s play area and jungle gym, as well as bird watching, hiking trails and walking trails. Keep your eye on their Facebook page for information on amazing guided hikes.
20. Neighbourgoods Market
Cape Town is full of interesting markets, and the Neighbourgoods Market is one of them. It isn’t just an ordinary market; it’s a melting pot of food, drinks, and crafts. Find it at the Old Biscuit Mill in Woodstock.
21. Explore Intaka Island
Cost: R25 for adults; R15 for pensioners and children under 12
This majestic 16 hectare wetland and bird sanctuary is situated in the heart of Century City. Open 364 days a year, Intaka Island is a unique example of conservation and property development co-existing in harmony.
22. Visit the gardens at Babylonstoren
Cost: Entry per person R10 on weekdays; R20 on weekends.
Situated in Klapmuts, about 40 minutes from the city – the Babylonstoren estate is home to more than 300 varieties of plants. The garden comprises 15 clusters showcasing vegetable areas, stone and pome fruits, nuts, citrus, berries, bees, herbs, ducks and chickens, a prickly pear maze, and so much more. Everything in the garden is edible or has medicinal value. The fruit and vegetables from the garden are harvested all year round for use in two farm-to-fork restaurants on the estate.
23. Mountain biking in Meerendal
Great for beginners and group rides, the tracks at Meerendal are flat and easy to navigate. You start with a bit of an uphill, but then it takes you to the first stretch of single track and onto a zig-zagging uphill that can prove tough on novices. There are spectacular views to take in along the way.
24. Rietvlei wetlands reserve
Cost: R13 for adults, R6 for children
This freshwater wetland is located on the floodplain of the Diep River and has extensive reed beds, a tidal lagoon and flourishing flora and fauna. You can find a wide variety of birds here at any time with over 10 000 individual birds having been counted during the water bird censuses. The Friends of Rietvlei organisation often host holiday programs such as fishing and other activities that start at around R5. There are various walking trails and places for wet water sports enthusiasts to enjoy themselves – as well as braai spots. Click here for more information.
25. Visit SANCCOB
Cost: Between R30 and R50
SANCCOB is a non-profit organisation that aims to preserve and conserve seabirds and other sea life. SANCCOB allows visitors in for a behind-the-scenes tour of the facility where you can get a look at how a seabird hospital works and see how the penguins are treated and fed. If you love what you see and want to get involved, there are various ways to give back to them too.
26. Poolside fun
*All swimming pools are currently closed under Adjusted Alert Level 3 of the COVID-19 lockdown.
Cost: Between R8 and R23
There are many public pools around the city. The Sea Point Pavillion is a popular spot and is situated right next to the ocean. So you get a great view along with a fun swim. The cost to enter is R23 for adults and R12 for children. In Gugulethu you will find Vulindlela Swimming Pool. There’s a main pool and a kiddies one. Entry is R6 for adults and R1 for children. Newlands baths is a popular family public pool with great grassy areas to relax on. The charge is R23 for adults and R12 for children. Trafalgar swimming pool is situated in Woodstock and has plenty of green areas for you to relax on in between dips in the pool. The entry fee is R6 for adults and R1.50 for children.
FOOD AND DRINKS
27. Brekkie on a budget
Cape Town holds good food close to its heart, so there’s no shortage of places to get a good breakfast. Better still there are places to suit any budget. Here are of our favourite places where you can get a great breakfast for under R50.
28. Dim-sum at the Earth Fair Market
Try the Dim sum from Silk Road at the Earth Fair Market every Thursday in the St George’s Mall, Cape Town. R50 gets you a combo of various types of dim sum. Silk Road can also be found at the Neighbourgoods Market in Woodstock on a Saturday and at other markets around the city.
29. Grab some ice-cream
Cost: R41 per scoop
Support local at The Creamery. All the ice-cream is made with organic, locally sourced products. There’s always a flavour of the month but try some of the old faithfuls like sweet cream, toasted coconut, cookie dough and sea salt caramel.
30. Indulge your sweet tooth at Honest Chocolate
Cost: Most of the menu is under R50
This coffee and chocolate shop is situated in Wale Street in the CBD and is known for its handmade chocolate made from raw ingredients and organic Ecudorian cacao with no preservatives or artificial flavouring. You’ll also find dairy free and gluten-free treats as well as damn good coffee. Try the banana bread bunny chow – a banana bread mini loaf filled with macadamia chocolate spread and ice cream for R48.
31. Sip a cold craft brew at Beerhouse
Long Street’s Beerhouse is the place to go for great food, a bustling vibe, and a huge beer menu. Many of the brews are local, and there are plenty under R50 to try.
32. Wembley Roadhouse
Situated in Belgravia Road, Athlone – Wembley Roadhouse has been around for decades and is known for its legendary Wembley Whopper and its hotdogs among many other lekker fast foods. This old school roadhouse where the waiters come to your car to take your food order is the perfect stop to satisfy those late night cravings. Get a single hotdog for under R50, Samoosas and other savoury bites and milkshakes under R50.
33. Enjoy a treat from Charly’s Bakery
Charly’s is an institution in Cape Town, in its characteristic pink building. Try their handmade, delicious cupcakes and cookies, most of which come in well under R50!
34. Coffee at the award-winning Truth Coffee Shop
If you like good coffee served in a gritty and industrialised environment then Truth Coffee is the ideal Cape Town coffee shop for you. Walking into Truth Coffee feels like you’re walking into a Victorian futuristic fantasy: steam punk lovers will be in awe of the well thought of décor. More important than the interior though is the incredible coffee: strong, hot and full of flavour.
35. Cocktails at the Village Idiot
Cost: Starts at R45
The Village Idiot is a vintage Neighbourhood Bar & Restaurant that enthusiastically embraces South African braai culture. The menu is a melting pot of traditional and modern South African cultures, smashed together with loads of flavour. Their cocktails start from R45.
36. Braai at Oudekraal
Cost: R32 per adult and R16 per child
Nestled between Llandudno and Camp’s Bay, you’ll find cosy coves and blissful white beaches peeking from between the huge boulders. Oudekraal has over 40 braai areas, although most don’t have grids, so be sure to bring your own with you! Get there early, as Oudekraal is immensely popular. Call 021 438 9555 for more information.
37. Sign up to Agaaain
Cost: R49 a month membership fee.
38. Play putt-putt
Situated in Mouille Point, mini-golf is probably the best value for money of any outdoor activity anywhere in Cape Town. Families with small kids, couples on dates, and groups of friends all congregate here to test their putting skills.
39. Blue Train Park
Cost: R28 (including one free train ride)
The Blue Train in Moulle Point is the only beachfront miniature railway that has survived in South Africa and which is still running. Besides the Mini Blue Train, the park also has a Mini-Skate park, cement push bike track, Pedal Push Carts, a 30m zip-line, 2x 8m long slide, see-saws, climbing rock, two Jungle gyms, obstacle course, an astro turf soccer pitch and a bunch of other wonderful play features.
40. Visit the Scratch Patch
Cost: From R25 per bag
Did you know that almost half of the world’s gemstones can be found in South Africa? And you could scratch for these gems right here in Cape Town? The Scratch Patch and Mineral World at both the V&A Waterfront and in Simonstown is a cool way to dig for your own beautiful gems. Emmerse yourself in all the stones that cover the floor, then visit the gem exhibitions and shops afterwards.
41. Play some cave golf
Everyone enjoys a game of putt-putt. At the Waterfront you can enjoy this activity in a cave-like setting! It’s fun for the whole family and it’s right next door to the Scratch Patch. It’s also indoors, so can be played and enjoyed in any weather!
42. Strawberry-picking at Polkadraai
Seasonal closure – reopening September 2021
Cost: From R40 per person
The beautiful Polkadraai strawberry farm is located in Stellenbosch. Strawberry-picking is between September and January. Take a stroll through rows and rows of fruit beds with family or friends, and pick strawberries to your heart’s content! There are other kiddies’ activities to do and enjoy here. There’s face painting, pony rides, and a playground.
43. Rose picking
Cost: R6.50 per stem
Stop and smell the roses at Chart Farm. You get to pick your own bunch of heavenly-scented blooms just R6.50 a stem.
44. Clay Café
Cost: R40 per person studio fee, three paints, firing and glazing (meals excluded)
Get creative at the Clay Café in Hout Bay. Design and paint your own plate, bowl or ornament and wait for 10 working days to fire your masterpiece or simply choose your favourite clay canvas from the shelf range with prices starting from R20. It makes for a great family outing.
45. District Six museum
*The District Six museum is temporarily closed due to COVID-19 lockdown restrictions.
Cost: R40 entry for adults
The District Six Museum pays tribute to the history of the diverse District Six community that was forcibly removed in the apartheid era. Experience the exhibitions and read moving accounts of life in the area from residents. You will also see original street signs collected by former residents.
46. Check out the Toy Museum
Cost: R10 per adult and R5 per child
The Warrior Toy Museum in Simon’s Town is lined with dinky toys, dolls, Maccano, collections of model cars, boats, trains, aeroplanes and other miscellaneous toys. Awesome memorabilia from the 70s and 80s is also on display. The friendly owner is known for being full of interesting facts and information.
47. Tour the Diamond Museum
*The diamond experience has been temporary closed due to Covid-19.
The Shimansky Diamond Experience at the V&A Waterfront not only houses millions of rRands worth of diamonds, but also allows you to delve deeper into the history of the precious gem. It includes history on the diamond rush in South Africa, featuring well-known figures such as Barney Barnato and Cecil John Rhodes and lesser-known like the 15-year-old Erasmus Jacobs who unknowingly would begin the story of diamonds in the country in 1867, as well as the history of some of the more famous ‘rocks’ uncovered in the country’s soil, including the Cullinan Diamond, which was sliced and diced and scattered abroad.
48. Iziko Museums
Cost: Between R20 and R50
Iziko Museums in Cape Town offer insight into South Africa’s natural and cultural history. The exhibits range from 700-million-year-old fossils to insects and fish, dinosaurs and wildlife menageries as well as everything space-related at the Planetarium. There are also stone tools dating from 120 000 years ago, traditional clothes from the last century and authentic beadwork.
49. Langa Heritage Museum
The Langa Cultural Precinct is a vibrant cultural location in Cape Town which welcomes local residents and visitors alike. It includes the Guga S’Thebe Arts and Culture Centre, the Old Pass Office Museum and Post Office, and Marikana Park. The centre preserves a rich cultural history and was established to support the creative talent in Cape Town.
50. Learn about the architecture of the Castle of Good Hope
Cost: From R25 to R50
Locally known as “The Castle” this bastion fort built in the 17th century in Cape Town is considered the best preserved example of a 17th century architectural structure in the world.
A bell tower, situated over the main entrance, was built in 1684—the original bell, the oldest in South Africa, was cast in Amsterdam in 1697 and weighs just over 300 kilograms.
The Castle also acted as local headquarters for the South African Army in the Western Cape, and today houses the Castle Military Museum and ceremonial facilities for the traditional Cape Regiments.
Planning a trip to Cape Town? Book flights and browse accommodation now to get the best rates. The Cape Town City Pass gives you access to over 70 of the top Cape Town attractions, tours, and things to see and do, including the popular hop on hop off City Sightseeing bus.
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