10 things to do in Cape Town for less than 200 Rand (that’s around US$20)

Travel September 25, 2013

200 Rand will get you a long way in Cape Town. A looooong way. Our suggestions range from free activities to markets that will soon have your wallet out!

If you have any tips, you can share them in the comments at the end of the article.

Climb Lion’s Head

Photo: meshugas

Lion’s Head is a distinctive slope on Table Mountain where, on a clear day, the views out across the city and towards Robben Island are truly spectacular. The hike takes between two and three hours and features a steep section at the end, where you need to use fixed chains to get over boulders. It’s well worth the challenge!

If you are feeling brave, you could scale all 1,086 vertical meters of Table Mountain, although it can be really challenging if you are not used to climbing mountains. A cable car also runs to the summit, costing roughly R200 (round trip) for adults.

Visit the penguins at Boulders Beach

penguins Cape Town
Photo: Nick Castle

The local sphenisciformes are affectionately known as jackass penguins because their distinctive calls sound like donkeys.  The African Penguin Colony at Boulder’s Beach is the perfect place to meet them. 3 beautiful beaches, 1 penguin viewing area and 3 boardwalks mean you can observe them without bothering them… or risking contact with their razor-sharp beaks.

African curio shopping at Greenmarket Square flea market

At some flea markets, you get the impression that most of the wares on sale have been produced in the same gigantic factory in China. That is definitely not the case at Greenmarket Square, where the stalls are brimming with handmade and local products. The market is open Monday to Saturday between 9am and 4pm. Hout Bay market is also excellent on Friday nights; you don’t even have to buy anything, as the atmosphere is the main local commodity! But you probably will buy stuff too.

Try traditional African cuisine…

okra Africa
Photo: Happy Krissy

You can find flavours from across the African continent in Cape Town, ranging from the local Cape Malay cuisine to more adventurous dishes like Ethiopian injeras (flatbreads), marog (African spinach) and much more. Africa Café in the city centre offers a wide diversity of small dishes from around the Africa… you can get a taste for the continent! Mama Africa on Long Street provides exotic African food including crocodile, as well as a live band every night.

… or some of the world’s finest seafood

At the point where the Atlantic and Indian Oceans meet, there is incredible seafood on offer for much less than you would pay in almost every other major city in the world. For example, Beluga Restaurant is an upmarket eatery on Prestwich Street which feels like it could be in Manhattan… until you see that an impressive sushi platter with wine and desert comes in comfortably under R200.

But it’s not just sushi; because of Cape Town’s location and history, you can get hold of everything from sumptuous shellfish to good-old British fish and chips.

…or gorge on meat at Mzoli’s Meat Market

Mzolis Meat Market
Photo: Andi Gentsch

Each Sunday, Mzoli’s Meat Market in Gugulethu offers a real township experience, where you choose your meat from a well stocked counter, take it to the grill to be marinated in the “secret sauce” and wait as your meat sizzles to perfection on the grill. Once you have finished eating, you can dance away the meat sweats to the funky soundtrack provided by local DJs.

Hidden beaches

There are beaches for all tastes in and around Cape Town, but Bakoven Beach and Glen Beach (next to Camps Bay) are especially appealing if you want to get away from the crowds. Bakoven Beach has more rock than sand, making it ideal for sunbathing in private, while Glen Beach is popular with surfers. The beach expands each summer and then erodes with the winter storms.

Summer music concert at Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens

Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens
Photo: Warren Rohner

On the east slope of Table Mountain, the gardens are world-renowned for their beauty. During the summer months, from November to April, there are open-air concerts each Sunday; best enjoyed with a picnic and friends.

Sunset picnic at the top of Signal Hill

Speaking of picnics, Signal Hill is prime location on a clear evening. During the day, this is where the Noon Gun is fired, a tradition dating back to 1806 when sailors would use the sound of the shot to check the accuracy of their marine chronometers. In the evening sun, it is a beautiful spot to enjoy a view of the city.

V&A Waterfront

VA Waterfront
Photo: Charles Harris Mackenzie

Not the Victoria & Albert waterfront, as followers of British history (or fans of London Museums) may expect, but the Victoria & Alfred Waterfront, named after Queen Victoria’s second son. Cape Town’s working harbour is South Africa’s most-visited destination, with a whole array of shopping and entertainment options available including markets, restaurants and a ferris wheel.

Find out more about why Cape Town is one of our most popular destinations for an English course.

What are your tips for Cape Town? 

Thanks to Torrique Borges and the team at LAL Cape Town for their help with this article.

By Laura Furnari

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