Whenever people travel and explore a new city it is difficult to judge the price of a beer, a burger or any kind of activity. Most people, especially in language travel, are looking for bargains and good deals when visiting new places. Making the step to travel abroad and learn a new language for a few weeks is already very costly. That is why many people try to keep the everyday life in the new temporary home as cheap as possible.
There are a lot of great deals and cheap activities out there in Cape Town to make the most of your time here.
Let us tell you what our top 10 things are to do in Cape Town that make your stay unforgettable without costing you too much.
1. Exploring Cape Town by foot
Are you visiting Cape Town for the first time?
Then you should definitely learn a bit about the city’s history by joining one of the free walking tours. YES, these guided tours are completely for FREE. Currently, 3 different walking tours are offered around the city: The historic city, the Bo Kaap, and Apartheid to Freedom walking tours. You can join them any day of the year at 11 am, 2 pm or 4.20 pm.
The guides are very knowledgeable and give you great insight into Cape Town’s history.
As these tours are for free, they work on a tip basis. In other words, please be so nice and give a tip at the end of the tour to show your appreciation. How much you give depends on you and what you thought of the service you got.
2. Do you rather cruise around?
If you are not a big fan of walking, then maybe hiring a bike and exploring Cape Town on your own is a better option for you. You can do this literally 50 m away from school at the Sea Point promenade. The friendly guys who rent out the bikes are there 7 days a week (weather permitting) until the sun goes down.
Go with some friends and explore the Atlantic seaboard by bike. Certainly, the views are beautiful along the coast and perfect to take some cool photos with the bright orange bicycles. You also do not have to come back to the Sea Point Pavilion as you can drop the bikes at their shop in Camps Bay or in the Silo district at the Waterfront as well. Also, if you are going to Camps Bay you actually get some proper exercise done because there are parts where it goes uphill.
The prices vary depending on how long you are renting the bike for (1h: R75, 2h: R110, half day: R220, more options on the website of upcycle). Included in the price are a helmet and padlock.
3. Train to become the next Tiger Woods
A super fun and cheap activity to do that is right next to the ocean, is putt-putt. You might also know it as mini golf. To practice your golf shots it is fun either just with one other person or in a small group. Tiger Woods once started small as well 😉 Believe me, it is soo much fun.
Furthermore, our teachers also like to go there with their classes as a nice afternoon activity after exams.
The mini golf course is on Beach Road, close to the lighthouse. They have two courses and both have 18 holes which vary in difficulty. One game takes about 30 – 45 min depending on how many you are and how quickly you can pot the ball into the hole. Lastly, it is only R28 per person per game. You will get a scoring sheet and a pencil to keep track of who is winning.
4. Support local artists
Everyone loves live music and everyone loves something for free 🙂
Mojo Market, which is located right opposite IH, is a great place to combine these two. They offer live music every evening during the week from 7 pm. In addition, you can enjoy three different live performances on Saturdays and two on a Sunday. Those start during the day already. It is a great way for you to get a feel of local music and the special vibes it creates. Also, you support South African artists by going. You can find their line up on Facebook and Instagram.
Mojo Market has a lot of different cuisines to offer, from Burger and Pizza to Sushi, Oysters, Indian and Chinese. There is something for every taste and every budget. In the middle of the market is a big round bar with a huge variety of drinks as well as another bar offering 100 beers.
Go and check it out one night!
5. Watch a movie in the oldest cinema South Africa’s
One of my favourite places to go when the weather is a bit moody, is the Labia, an independent art cinema in Gardens. It is the oldest independent cinema in South Africa and was opened in May 1949 by Princess Labia. They are currently celebrating their 70 year anniversary.
It has a very nice old charm about it which I love. It only has 4 screens, some of them are quite small which makes it intimate and cozy. In front is a little courtyard with plants and fairy lights creating a nice atmosphere. Most cinema goers have a drink there before the film starts. Apart from this, the great thing is you can also take your beer/ wine with you for the show.
The films they show are usually not your big blockbusters or marvel films but rather smaller independent productions, foreign and historical films, and Oscar winners.
You find the movie selection and times on their website. Every film at any time is only R50 and if you are here for a while you can even buy 10 pre-paid cinema tickets for only R400!
One more tip from me: If you take a friend, the two of you can get a cinema & dinner special at selected restaurants for super cheap before the film.
6. Dance the night away
Cape Town has a great nightlife with a lot of cool bars and clubs which are pumping every weekend. One activity I can really recommend which gets you going and improves your mood immediately is SALSA. Some places offer free salsa lessons every Friday night.
One of them is a Cuban rum bar on Bree Street called Rum Tum Tum.
The place opens at 7 pm. From 9 pm the free salsa class begins with one of Cape Town’s best Latin dance teachers. After the lesson, the dancefloor is open for everyone to freely dance the night away. The atmosphere is relaxed and fun as it brings a complete mix of people together. And guys, don’t you think that dancing is only for ladies! Every week a lot of guys come to join the party, either with their girlfriends or alone. Yes, some are really advanced dancers. Others just learn how to put one foot in front of the other and swing a woman around on the dance floor. Don’t be shy, just try it out! And if it helps, they have one of the 40 different rums beforehand.
For those eager learners, Que Pasa Latin Lounge offers a big variety of Latin and partner dance classes. They are during the week in different locations around the city. These ones you have to pay for though. But it is definitely worth it.
7. Great deals and great drinks
As mentioned before Cape Town boasts a great selection of bars which are all unique and special in their own way. But something that most of them have in common are drinks specials.
Happy Hour is Cape Townian’s favourite hour and can consist of 2-4-1, 50% off or just discounted specials. Here are a few that we really like and know that you will too.
Village Idiot has 2 great deals on a Wednesday. One for beer lovers: 1 liter jug of Lager or Pilsner for only R70. The other one for gin fans: Double gin & tonic with a wonderful fresh fruit and botanical station where you can add raspberries, thyme or orange slices to your drink for only R40.
All Cape Town branches of Tiger’s Milk give you 2-4-1 on selected drinks from 4-6 pm every day. This includes a choice of beers and ciders, wines and some cocktails.
The Rock and Roll bar Aces ‘n’ Spades have a 50% off special from Wednesday to Friday from 4 – 8 pm on spirits, beers, ciders, and wine.
These are just 3 of my favourite happy hour bars I’d like to share with you right now. However, just have a look at this long list of great deals and great drinks.
8. Feel the rhythm of the drum
History, music, culture, and communication all in one little drum. The African djembe drum is a powerful and traditional instrument in African music.
Its origin can be traced back to 500 AD and has been a vital part of many people’s lives since. It is also sometimes called the “talking drum” as it speaks to your soul and body through its deeply resonating rhythm.
If you want to get a feel for this drum and learn how to play it, you can do that for free every Saturday from 3 – 5 pm at the Touareg Trading shop on Longmarket Street. Everyone gets a plastic chair and a djembe to join a circle on the street. The lead drummer drums specific rhythms and demonstrates where to hit on the djembe to make different sounds. Then everyone drums together. It gives you goosebumps when 20- 30 drums play African sounds all at the same time. Definitely an experience worth a Saturday afternoon.
Don’t forget to tip 😉
9. Jamming in the Park
A lovely day to spend your Sundays in summer is to go to Concerts in the Park.
This organisation plans concerts in different parks around the city, mostly in De Waal Park in Gardens. It is always different South African artists that perform and spread their music all over the neighbourhood. Lots of families and groups of people join together in the park. Everyone brings their picnic baskets and wine to enjoy with the music. Many people just stay relaxed on their picnic blanket and others stand around the stage jamming to the tunes. It is a relaxed and cheap way to end the week and another good opportunity to get to know South African musicians.
10. Just keep swimming
The last thing I want to recommend today, as one of the things to do in Cape Town that do not break your bank, is going for a swim at the Sea Point swimming pools. As the name gives it away, they are located right in the heart of Sea Point at the Pavilion. Hence, they are only 2 min walk away from school. They have 4 different pools: one Olympic size pool, a diving pool, a fun and a kids one. You can go for fun, play a bit in the water and sunbathe on the lawns. Alternatively, you can get your daily exercise done by swimming a few lanes. That is up to you.
During the school holidays, the public pools are always packed with lots of children and families. Otherwise, you have most of the space to yourself. As it is so close to school it is a great little activity to do after school and it only costs around R25.