Last updated: September 2021
Looking for something unique and exciting to do in Cape Town that will immerse you in the culture of the Mother City? Here are some options for you…
Visit The Bo-Kaap
The Bo-Kaap is a beautiful, colourful neighbourhood near the city centre. Its origins as the Cape Malay quarter date back to the late 1700s when houses were built for slaves to be close to the city. It’s one of the few neighbourhoods that successfully resisted forced removals during the apartheid era, and has retained a lot of its original character.
These days it is one of Cape Town’s most picturesque attractions, with bright, pastel-coloured houses and cobbled streets. The Bo-Kaap Museum is housed in the oldest building in the Bo-Kaap and is a great place to find out more about the history and culture of this special area. It is also home to the Auwal Mosque, the first and oldest mosque in Cape Town, built in 1794.
Join a Secret Sunrise
If you’re an early bird who loves to watch the sunrise and you’re a free-spirited individual – not afraid of self-expression, then Secret Sunrise is a must for you! Sign up to their newsletter to find out the next secret venue where magic happens. For a small fee you get a pair of wireless earphones and are encouraged to dance, meditate… whatever the theme of the day, which often includes dress up.
Visit the Labia Theatre
The Labia is a cultural heritage institution to locals on Orange Street, originally opened by Princess Labia in 1949 as a stage for live performances. Today it’s a quirky movie house, which screens mostly artsy, alternative and foreign films in a relaxed non-commercial setting. They have a licensed bar, so you can enjoy a glass of wine and rub shoulders with Capetonian hipsters and intellectuals before the show.
Get Cultural At Guga S’Thebe
Guga S’thebe Arts & Culture Centre is a must-visit while in Langa. Housed in a brightly coloured building, the centre, like many of the businesses in Langa, is dedicated to the empowerment of the local people. The centre has exhibition areas, where there are regular exhibitions, art studios and a resource centre.
The name Guga S’thebe is appropriate and has a rich cultural meaning. It is derived from the name of the traditional Xhosa platter known as isithebe that is used to serve guests and family members. The word signifies a meeting place and ubuntu because during meal times people sit around the isithebe to share a meal. Fittingly, the precinct is a shared public space where communities can come together and share a meal or their stories.
The theatre, meanwhile, is a part of the wider Langa Cultural Precinct that has preserved the township’s rich cultural history and serves to support creative talent. The theatre project was developed in order to grow local audiences even further. The 200-seater auditorium was planned to cater for theatre, dance, music and film, while the centre as a whole services visual arts, design, crafts and performance.
Toast at First Thursdays
On the first Thursday of every month, the CBD’s galleries stay open till around 9pm for you to explore the cultural and art heritage of the city for free – often with with a glass of wine in hand. There is no tour or guided walk but the idea is for you to go from gallery to gallery on foot and discover what’s on offer. Also note that First Thursdays are extremely popular so try and book a table for dinner in advance if you want to eat on route.
Get active on the Promenande
Connect with like-minded people every evening on the Sea Point Promenade in a fun way – by walking, running, skating, rollerblading or even BMXing as the sun goes down.
Get Romantic at the Galileo Open Air Theatre
This outdoor cinema takes place at a few venues in Cape Town, which includes the V&A Waterfront on a Thursday, throughout the summer months. Movies include everything from old classics to hot documentaries. Doors open at 6pm and movies start at sunset. There is food on sale and chairs and blankets are available for rent – because Cape Town nights can get chilly! Tickets are around R80.