After living in Cape Town for six months, you run out of money. So here is my list of Fun and Free Things to do in Cape Town, South Africa. The only expense for these activities is transportation.
1. Hike Table Mountain
Classic Cape Town, this is a must do! There are several ways to hike up Table Mountain. I would suggest the Platteklip Gorge route. This is the best/easiest route to get to the summit.
Another popular route is Skeleton Gorge to Maclear’s Beacon, the highest point on Table Mountain. From here you can walk an extra 15 minutes to a “beach” at the Table Mountain Reservoirs.
2. Sunbathe and get some grub at a beach front cafe at Camps Bay
Most of the restaurants can be quite costly, so if you are on a budget like me, head over to Kauai to get a fruit smoothie or wrap. To get to Camps Bay you can catch a minibus taxi to Cape Town Station (from wherever you are) and then change minibuses to the route labeled Camps Bay.
**Beware, minibuses drive quite erratically and sometimes squeeze up to eighteen people on board so if you get motion sickness this is not for you. To catch the minibus simply raise your hand as they are riding towards you and make sure that you have small change to pay your fare.
3. Explore the quaint village of Kalk Bay
This small fishing village has a lot to offer. Check out the harbor, shops and restaurants to get a feel of life outside the Mother City. To reach Kalk Bay by train you will need to take the Southern Line towards Simon’s Town and get off at the Kalk Bay Station.
4. Wander through the colorful neighborhood of Bo Kaap
Bo Kaap is known for its colorful houses and is largely a Muslim community. Bo Kaap is in walking distance from downtown Cape Town; depending on your location it could take between 10 and 30 minutes.
To get there from downtown Cape town head towards Signal Hill (the small hill in front of Lions Head) and you will run into the beautifully painted houses.
5. Watch the sunset from atop Signal Hill
From Signal Hill you will get a beautiful view of the ocean as well as both Lion’s Head and Table Mountain.
6. Do a ‘sundowner’ hike up Lions Head
Meaning you hike up the mountain just before dusk and watch the sunset from the mountain top. The views are amazing!
This is a very popular activity in Cape Town and many tour companies take tourists groups, however, it is very simple to do on your own. All you need to do is call a taxi and ask them to bring you to the base of Lion’s Head. It should be fairly cheap. Make sure there will be enough moonlight or that you bring a flashlight as it can get dark on the way down! People are known to bring wine and food with them to picnic at the top.
7. Visit the University of Cape Town
Set up on a high hill overlooking the city with a backdrop of mountains, it is arguably one of the most beautiful university campuses in the world.
8. Check out the many beautiful beaches around Cape Town
This beach boasts the famous view of the Mother City, Table Mountain and Lions Head from across the Atlantic Ocean. The best way to visit Bloubergstrand is by car. It is about 20km from Cape Town. *Note you may need access to a car to reach this destination pending cab fares.
Muizenberg Beach is a must visit! It is extremely beautiful, has water much warmer than other Cape Town beaches due to its position on the Indian Ocean and is a great surf spot for beginners and surf pros alike. Muizenberg is a 45 minute train ride from Cape Town. You will need to take the Southern Line towards Simon’s Town and get off at the Muizenberg stop. The train station is basically on the beach.
Located about 18km outside of Cape Town in the direction of the famous Hout Bay. The drive along Victoria Road from the Mother City to Hout Bay is known to be one of the most picturesque coastal drives in South Africa. *Note you may need access to a car to reach this destination pending cab fares.
Clifton Beaches (1-4) are not to be missed. Located right in Cape Town, one must take the minibus from Cape Town Station towards Camps Bay. If you are unsure where to stop, notify the fare collector and he will tell you when to get out. You must walk down a few flights of stairs to get to the beaches from the road.
The Clifton Beaches, surrounded by million dollar houses overlooking the beach from the mountain side, are said to be some of the most beautiful beaches in the world.