Free things to do in Cape Town
Are you looking for free things to do in Cape Town? Do you like being active outdoors? Romantic sunsets? Chilling on beautiful beaches? Then read on, because this list in the inside scoop of Cape Town on a budget.
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Hiking Table Mountain
by Kat of World Wide Honeymoon
One of the first things that you’ll likely see as you approach Cape Town is Table Mountain. This flat-topped mountain is the icon of the cityscape. So making the climb to the top for breathtaking views is a must, especially if you’re spending a few days in Cape Town!
While there is a cable car that can get you to the top for a fee, if you want to get a little exercise, then hiking is the way to go!
To get to the top of Table Mountain, there are a few different routes. The most famous is Platteklip Gorge that starts just past where the cable car station is. It winds its way up the mountain and feels a lot like taking stairs all the way to the top. Many people actually hike up this route and take the cable car down after.
Other routes include Skeleton Gorge that starts in Kirstenbosch Gardens, Woodstock Caves, and Kasteelspoort that starts in Camps Bay. All of these also take about 1.5-4 hours depending on fitness level to reach the top.
However, once you make it to the top, the jaw-droppingly beautiful views of Cape Town below make it worth it. You’ll also see other mountains like Lion’s Head and Signal Hill, and, of course, the coast.
Before you start your hike, though, be sure to check the weather conditions, as it can be dangerous to hike on foggy, rainy mornings. Also, bring a lot of water- more than you think you’ll need! At least two liters of water per person is a good idea. After all, some routes have little to no shade, and it is a mountain hike after all.
If you’re searching for free things to do in Cape Town and want a challenge, then hiking Table Mountain definitely fits the bill!
Wander around in Bo Kaap
by Jess of Tourist to Travellers
Experience a pop of colour when you step into Bo Kaap – a colourful suburb of Cape Town. Formerly known as the Malay Quarter, this is a hot tourist attraction point. Cobbled streets leading to the brilliantly coloured houses end with a view of the majestic Signal hill.
In the 1950’s, Muslim communities residing here used to paint the neighbourhood in bright colours during Eid Celebrations. The 2 storey houses painted in bright yellows, purple, pink stand next to each other blending in. This suburb is now one of the most colourful parts of the world.
Bo Kaap Museum is also a must visit to understand more about the Islamic heritage and their history. Take a walk around the street any time of the day to click those Instagram worthy pictures.
Bo Kaap is located 10 mins from the city centre. One can either hire a cab or drive their own car to reach Bo Kaap. There are numerous major city attractions and adventure activities such as the Castle of Good Hope, Gold of Africa Museum, just a short distance away from Bo Kaap.
Cape of Good Hope
by Kenny of Knycx Journeying
For any first-timers in South Africa, the Cape of Good Hope is a must-see for being a well-known tourist spot in Africa. And it’s free for visitors! The location was discovered by Portuguese explorer Bartolomeu Dias who sailed around the cape. It is an important moment in history as a sea route that leads to direct trade relations between Europe and the Far East was established.
Many visitors may be mistaken that the Cape of Good Hope is the southernmost tip of Africa. In fact, the southernmost tip of Africa is Cape Agulhas, a spot about 150 kilometers away. Technically, the oceanic meeting point is between the two capes and the Cape of Good Hope is named the most southwestern point of Africa.
There are two ways to appreciate the natural beauty of the area. The first way is to go to the Cape of Natural Reserve and walk up to the peak to enjoy a panoramic view of the coastline and the Atlantic Ocean.
The walking trail is fairly easy for visitors of all ages who are generally fit. Or, with a few dollars extra, take a short funicular ride to the top. The second way is to walk down and get close to the coast.
There are numerous walking trails and scenic spots along the coastline in the reserve. And while there are lots of other activities available, just take a moment and explore the unique rock formations and rich flora and fauna. You may spot ostriches just leisurely walking on the side of the road.
Watching sunset from Lion’s Head
By Alya of Stingy Nomads
Lion’s Head mountain is one of the most popular attractions in Cape Town. Watching the sunset from the top of Lion’s Head is one of the best and the most romantic free things to do in the city.
Summer months, between November and March, are the best time for hiking up Lion’s Head. From the top you get 360° panoramic views of Cape Town and its main attractions such as Table Mountain, City Bowl, Camps Bay, V&A Waterfront, Twelve Apostles Mountain, Robben Island, and several beaches.
The hike takes about 1,5 hours; 1 hour to get to the top of the mountain and 30 minutes to walk back. The total ascent is 378 m. It’s not a very tough climb though the last part of the hike involves some scrambling and using ladders and chains. Nothing that requires any skills though some people might find it challenging.
In the summer there are usually hundreds of people hiking up Lion’s Head to enjoy the stunning sunset. It’s better to arrive a couple of hours before sunset to find a parking spot and to have enough time to make it to the top.
An easier free alternative to Lion’s Head is watching the sunset from the top of Signal Hill. It’s a look-out point on the neighbouring hill with great views that can be accessed by car.
by Sunetra Biswas from Globetrotting Su
Spy the brightly red, blue, yellow, green beach huts from afar. And you’ll know you have found the iconic & widely photographed Muizenberg Beach of Cape Town. This laid-back village, Muizenberg, is situated along the False Bay with turquoise waters overlooking the towering cliffs creating the most majestic scenery.
Muizenberg is a paradise for surfers as the warm water and big waves make it an excellent spot for surfing. This beach is the heart of “Surfer’s Corner” with a bustling beachfront. Brilliant opportunities arise for beginners willing to learn this adventurous sport. There are many shops for renting kayaks, surf boards or even paddles. Muizenberg is lively and busy, especially during the holiday season.
The beach is lined with brightly colored Victorian beach huts. Over the years they have attracted photographers and tourists from all over the world. And along with visitors, the warm waters of the ocean tend to attract many White Sharks. Hence there are shark spotters on duty throughout the day.
With changing colors of the flag and a rigorous alert program, they warn the surfers and swimmers of potential danger by these lurking predators. Thanks to these excellent alert services, locals make this beach an excellent spot for many activities. Visit it for safe swimming, surfing, family outings, sun-bathing and just chilling on the beach.
Do you know of more free things to do in Cape Town?
If you have any additions to this list, please let us know and comment below! We hope to have inspired your summer vacation and with you a great time in Cape Town!