Visitors to the Mother City (or residents looking for something to do) have heard all the same recommendations. The tourist in Cape Town’s to-do list usually looks something like this: hike Table Mountain or take the aerial cableway up there, hike Lion’s Head or watch the sunset from Signal Hill, visit Boulders Beach, and browse the V&A Waterfront.
On your second trip to Cape Town, you were probably told to visit Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens, do a wine tasting and visit a popular art museum (it was the Zeitz MOCAA, wasn’t it?).
Those things are all fantastic, and they’re the top online search results for things to do in Cape Town for good reason. But, there are so many more things to do. And yes, some of them are expensive, and some people are okay with that. However, you don’t need to blow the holiday budget because some of the most fun activities in town are really reasonable.
Some are even free: view street art in Salt River, watch the sunset from Blouberg beach or visit a food market (Hout Bay and Oranjezicht are good options). Here are some other exhilarating ideas.
If you’re on a low budget:
If you’re up for a bit of adventure and don’t mind heights, branch out to some treetop rope courses. Great fun for all ages, rope climbing courses will lead you through the Constantia forest over various obstacles – but don’t worry, you’re always securely attached to a safety harness.
Cost: From R150 per person (kids) and R190 per person (adults)
Stand up paddling
Stand up paddling is a great activity for those keen to get on the water, not in the water. Glide along the canals at the V&A Waterfront, or take your ‘SUP’ to the ocean (no staying dry guaranteed when waves come into play, though!). Many people think surfing experience is required to stand up paddle, but this is not true. Your guide will show you exactly what to do, but essentially, you just…stand up and paddle.
Try: SUP Cape Town
Cost: From R150 per person for 30 minutes
Gather gemstones at Scratch Patch
If you’re delighted by all things shimmery and shiny, this place is for you. Scratch Patch has two branches, one in Simon’s Town and one at the V&A Waterfront. Step into a room filled with polished gemstones, and pick the ones that catch your eye. Some of the treasures you might find are Tiger’s Eye, Rose Quartz, Amethyst, Jasper, Agates and Crystals. If you’re lucky, you might even come across the rarer Lapis Lazuli or Blue Lace Agate.
Cost: From R30 per small bag
Cycle the city
Get that heart rate up while seeing the city at the same time. Cycling is good for your health and also than driving, plus it’s fun to do with friends. With Up Cycles, you can collect your rental at any one of three stations: Camps Bay, Sea Point or the V&A Waterfront, and drop it off again at any of these stations.
Cost: From R90 per person for one hour
If you’re on a flexible budget:
Fly over the water with eFoiling
eFoiling is the new e-biking. There are myriad ways to describe this watersport to someone who’s never heard of it: It’s like an electric surfboard, or a battery-powered wakeboard. But really, the only way to find out is to experience it yourself.
Cost: From R900 per person for a group of three people.
Pedal on a water bike in Simon’s Town
Riding a bicycle on water? Oh, yeah. Water bikes are non-motorised, eco-friendly and designed to be used on the ocean. Water bikers often encounter playful Cape fur seals, African penguins and various other sea birds along the way. Cape Town Water Bikes is the only company of its kind in Cape Town.
Cost: From R490 per person for one hour
Paraglide over the city bowl
Paragliding is not as scary as it looks. In fact, it’s quite peaceful floating through the air. Flights in Cape Town usually set off from Lion’s Head and Signal Hill, giving you a bird’s-eye view of Table Mountain. No experience required!
Try: Cape Town Tandem Paragliding
Cost: From R 1300 per person.
Watch the sunset on a boat cruise
There really is something special about sipping champagne on a yacht. There are several operators departing from the V&A Waterfront, and we definitely recommend a sunset cruise so you can take in views of the Atlantic Seaboard as the sky turns pink and orange.
Try: Cape Town Sunset Cruises
Cost: From R250 per person for a morning or midday cruise, sunset cruises start from R360 per person