Cape Town (and surrounds) on any Budget

August 31, 2021

What is not to love about this funky cosmopolitan city? Cape Town has something to offer for the whole family! There is hiking on table mountain, shopping to fit every budget, wineries galore in the surrounding areas, art galleries, museums, the aquarium and many great places to eat but to name a few of Cape Town’s offerings.

Since I am not from the Western Cape in South Africa, I always feel like real tourist whenever I visit Cape Town. Luckily I have some good friends who live there, and they always show me around, so in this article I’ll give you a good taste of what Cape Town has to offer.

V&A Waterfront

One can easily spend a day at the Cape Town Victoria and Alfred waterfront!

Shop till you drop at the The Victoria Wharf Shopping Centre (open from 9am-9pm) or ride the Cape Wheel which gives you a 360 degree view over the harbor.

If you like museums check out:

  • The Zeitz Museum of Contemporary African Art which is in a converted grain silo.
  • The Iziko Maritime Centre where you can learn more about the history of table Bay Harbor.
  • The Cape Diamond Museum
  • Chavonnes Battery Museum
  • Springbok Experience Rugby Museum

Insider tip 1 : During our busy day at the waterfront we met up with some friends at the Kapstadt Brauhaus. They serve nice food and you can drink beer out of liter sized jugs!

Insider tip 2: For a budget option: grab a takeaway coffee and take a stroll on the promenade for a nice family friendly budget activity. The Promenade (image below) starts on Mouille Point near the waterfront and follows the water’s edge to Sea Point.

Klein Roosboom Boutique Winery

Located in the Durbanville Wine Valley—only 20 km from Cape Town —lies Klein Roosboom Boutique Winery Town’s best kept secret.

Klein Roosboom has a deli and restaurant on site and it is also possible to stroll around on their walking trails or enjoy a picnic on their lawns. For more information about this great winefarm visit their website here: https://kleinroosboom.co.za

Insider tip: What makes this place so special is the different sort of wine tasting experience you get when visiting Klein Roosboom. They have opened old concrete wine tanks to create cosy vintage/eclectic looking caves where you can sit and sample their fantastic wines.

Wine tasting in old concrete tanks which have been turned into 'caves' at Klein Roosboom Boutique Winery
Klein Roosboom Cave

Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens

We started our day off with a hearty breakfast at Moyo Restaurant (my personal favorite) and then enjoyed a stroll around the splendid gardens. I usually skip tourist shops, but this one has some really nice botanical items and other pretty things. Kirstenbosch Gardens is an absolute must visit!

It is also possible to have a picnic at Kirstenbosch gardens but you are not allowed to take tables, chairs, tents, umbrellas etc. into the Garden. Braais / barbecues are also not allowed.

If you don’t feel like eating at one of the three restaurants in the garden, it is possible to get a picnic hamper at Kirstenbosch Tea Room or Moyo restaurant. Kirstenbosch is a bin free environment to keep scavenger animals away, so be prepared to get rid of your own trash! You are also not allowed to bring your dog into the gardens.

Check their websites for the latest updated news and entry fees: https://www.sanbi.org/gardens/kirstenbosch/

Chapman’s peak drive

Take an afternoon drive to Noordhoek via Chapman’s peak and enjoy the wonderful view over Hout Bay.

View over the blue ocean at Hout Bay driving up Chapman's peak
Chapman’s Peak Drive

Insider Tip: Stop over in Hout Bay for some seal snorkeling. Afterwards visit the Hout Bay Market where you can enjoy a unique eating experience.

Table Mountain National Park

Take the cable car up and down, or hike up and take the cable car down or hike up and down if you are brave. However you decide to go up, you will not be disappointed. I guarantee you! The views at the top of table Mountain National Park are truly splendid!

For a great hiking experience I highly recommend Like2Hike. My guide Maretha was extremely resourceful. She pointed out some nasty blister plants to avoid, told me all about the fauna and flora on the mountain and was just the perfect person to motivate me on the way up.

Here is their website for more information: https://like2hike.capetown/.

Insider tip: Avoid standing in two queues and buy your tickets online at https://tablemountain.net/

In Summer it is best to go up very early to avoid the heat. In Winter the best time to go is during the middle of the day. If there is a wind forecast it usually gets worse during the day, so plan to go early morning. If it is too windy, the cable cars will close down.

Panorama view on Table mountain. Green shrubs, rocks, distant mountain views and sunset.
Table Mountain Sunset

Canal walk mall

I’m a mall rat I admit. Just plonk me down in a mall all day, and I’m happy, but in Canal Walk Mall I could easily spend a week! Here are but a few great things that reviewers on the internet have to say about about South Africa’s third largest mall.

  • Great restaurants, entertainment and game centre, movie theatre
  • Lots of parking space
  • Wheelchair friendly
  • Strict cameras and security measures
  • Great location next to FIFA WC stadium
  • Beautiful architecture
  • Clean, light and spacious
  • Shop till you drop!
  • Everything you need under one roof
  • Great selection of local and international brands

Check out their website here for the latest news on their covid policies and opening hours and shopping experiences https://canalwalk.co.za/

Franschhoek

Franschhoek one of the oldest towns in South Africa is only a 75km drive from Cape Town and very well worth visit!

Panorama view of a vineyard in Franschhoek, South Africa
Vinyard in Franschhoek

Here are a few good reasons to visit Franschoek:

  • Visit one of the many great winefarms in the area. One of the best ways to view the winelands is with the winetram https://winetram.co.za/
  • Shop in quaint little stores.
  • Dine in South Africa’s culinary capital.
  • Visit De Villiers chocolate and try some cool dietary alternatives like sugar free, dairy free, gluten free, soya free, keto friendly chocolate. https://us.devillierschocolate.com/
  • Visit the Hugenot Memorial
  • Visit Mont Rochelle Nature Reserve.

Insider Tip: If you want the fine wine and dine experience try Roca Restaurant at Dieu Donne Estate. Here are a few of the dishes we had there. The food and wine-paring was memorable!

Cape Peninsula

The further south you go the starker and more desolate the landscape becomes when you visit The Cape of Good Hope and nearby Cape Point, the most Southwesternpoint on the African continent.

From the parking lot at Cape Point, take the funicular or walk up. It’s only a short walk to the point, from where you can see the lighthouse on a rocky precipice, and beautiful views of the Indian and Atlantic Oceans. Highly recommended!

Insider tip: Do try to have lunch or dinner at the seafood restaurant The Cod Father in Camps Bay. I’m not a seafood and fish eater at all, but let me tell you, I was that day! The Cod Father’s food is delicious!

Robben Island

Robben Island is an island near Cape Town where Nelson Mandela amongst many others had been locked up for 18 years. During the day, Mandela and his Rivonia trial fellows worked in the limestone quarry on the island.

This South African National Heritage Site and UNESCO World Heritage Site is an unmissable experience when visiting Cape Town.

Here you can learn more about getting there and updated ticket prices. https://www.robben-island.org.za/tours

Boulder’s Beach Penguins

On the other side of the Cape Peninsula is Simonstown, main base of the South African navy and nearby Boulder’s Beach, which is home to a colony of around 3000 African penguins!

You can view the penguins’ playing, breeding and feeding habits from the ‘Penguin viewing area’ or from one of the three boardwalks.

Boulders is a sanctuary for the African Penguin so visitors should keep a mindful and quiet distance in order to respect and protect them.

Here you can check out the South African National Parks Brochure about the Boulder’s Beach Penguin Colony if you are interested to learn more about them:

https://www.sanparks.org/assets/docs/parks_table_mountain/boulders-brochure.pdf

Two Penguins nesting at Boulder's Beach South Africa
Boulder’s Beach Penguins

Insider tip: Do try to have lunch at The Brass Bell(built in 1939) at Kalk Bay near Simonstown. The restaurant is tucked into the tidal pool walls, so be prepared to see some water rolling into the restaurant. The Brass bell offers a truly unique dining experience with stunning views over the ocean.

More fun things to do

Here is a handy link below in case you are looking for more fun things to do in Cape Town. Happy travels!

Hope you enjoyed this post! For more travel inspirations in South Africa check out Sun City Luxury Getaway or Six Great Safari Camps in Kruger National Park.

Sincerely,
Elaine

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