Explore Cape Town Like A Local: Our Top 10 Things
What better way to explore a new city than to explore it as a local would? Lucky for you, we’re as local as it gets in Cape Town and having explored almost every nook and cranny of this city, we have built up a wealth of local knowledge, tips and advice on how to maximise what may be limited time exploring this city. The good news is that we’re willing to indulge you in some of our top local secrets and spots to check out if you’re on holiday in Cape Town.
- Windmill Beach
As surfers and ocean loving individuals, we have certainly spent our fair share of time navigating the beaches of Cape Town in the hopes of finding something secluded, quiet and serene. Windmill Beach is a beach that ticks all of these boxes and funnily enough, sits right next door to the ever-crowded Boulder’s Beach, which is of course known for its endangered African Penguins.
In fact, Windmill Beach is so close to Boulder’s Beach that your chances of seeing penguins whilst taking a dip in the clear and deceivingly tropical-looking water is very high and often you will have the sighting all to yourself. Make sure to bring your snorkelling and swimming gear as the sea life here is absolutely incredible.
2. A Sea Point Promenade Stroll
This is probably one of the most typically local things that you can do in Cape Town. We all know that more times than not, our holidays generally consist of ‘eat, drink, sleep & repeat’. If you happen to want to get outside & active, take a morning or evening stroll on the magnificent Sea Point Promenade before heading for…yes you guessed it, more food from one of the amazing restaurants in the area (see below for our favourite quick food option).
3. Mojo Market
Grab an early dinner or lunch at the Mojo Market in Sea Point. A relatively new spot that has drawn in locals by the dozen, Mojo Market has an incredible selection of gourmet food, drinks and treats to choose from. With it’s live music, massive range of delectable and mouth-watering food options, this place is high on the list to spend a chilled evening catching up with friends listening to some live music. Our personal favourites include Hokey Poke, Earthfire Pizza and the fresh juice bar.
4. West Coast National Park
We can’t seem to drum in the magnificence of this place enough. The West Coast National Park is situated about an hour’s drive from Cape Town centre and boasts some of the most beautiful landscape that the Western Cape has to offer. Because of it’s location outside of the city & it not being relatively well-known, this place still remains pretty quiet, although on weekends it can get quite busy.
Bring your binoculars for spectacular bird and animal sightings, your swimmers and beach gear as Kraalbaai Beach, situated in the lagoon, is a picturesque, warm body of water that can rival with some of the best beaches in the world. Don’t forget your snacks as there is nowhere to stop inside to get any (except at the over-priced Geelbek Restaurant), or perhaps utilise one of the ‘braai areas’ to have a traditional South African barbecue whilst overlooking the lagoon.
5. Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens
Kirstenbosch, although a very well-known spot, remains one of the most beautiful botanical gardens in the world. Set on the steep slopes of Table Mountain, this piece of heaven is a nature lover’s mecca. The gardens has several great restaurants, fantastic rolling green lawns which offers great opportunities for picnic’s and if you’d like a bird’s eye view of the gardens, enjoy the newly built Tree Canopy Walkway.
In our professional opinion, pack your own picnic, a flask of coffee, a blanket and a book and set up camp on one of the lawns.
6. Kalk Bay
Kalk Bay is situated on the False Bay side of town, a half an hour drive out of the city centre without traffic. This quaint little seaside town is nestled between the mountain and sea and truly encapsulates what laid back Cape Townian living is like.
Take a stroll along the harbour wall and watch the local fisherman feed the already overfed seals, mingle through the cobbled alleyways and pop into the old book shops and antique stores. We just have one request: come hungry. Kalk Bay is home to some delicious restaurants such as Olympia Cafe, Harbour House, Lucky Fish and of course, the institution that is the Brass Bell.
If you’re wanting to end the day off with a sweet treat, stop in at The Ice Cafe on Kalk Bay Main Road and try their liquorice ice-cream. We know…we thought that it was odd at first too.
7. Miller’s Point Rock Pool
If you’re driving towards Simon’s Town, you will see a fair few beautiful looking tidal pools to swim in. Although all of them hold their own beauty and charm, our favourite one that we discovered not so long ago (that’s just how hidden it was), was just as we were leaving Simon’s Town heading towards Cape Point Nature Reserve.
The rock pool can get a little busier on weekends as it has it’s own braai and picnic facilities, but head there for a mid-week dip and make sure to get in using the slide.
8. Learn To Surf At Muizenberg
Cape Town has an ever-growing surf community and it’s for good reason. Although our water temperatures are never quite what we would label as ‘tropical’, it’s nothing that a good wetsuit can’t solve. If you love being in the ocean, we would highly recommend giving this incredible sport a try however it does come with a warning of being highly addictive. Muizenberg itself is known for its very friendly and fun waves perfect for anybody who is learning as well as it’s great vibe due to the popularity of the place.
There are A LOT of surf school’s that operate here so you can just pitch up and book a lesson.
P.S. We highly recommend finishing off your surf with a Yoffi’s Fallafel…please just trust us on this!
9. Open-Air Cinema
If you’re looking for a relaxing night out with your loved ones, grab hold of the opportunity to experience one of Cape Town’s open-air cinema experiences. Our favourite is the Galileo Open-Air Cinema as it can be the perfect place for a romantic night out, fun with the family, or to go as a group of friends. The venue changes constantly and tickets and more information surrounding the venue is available here.
10. Kiteboarding In Table View
We would recommend heading down in the late afternoon when the wind is usually at its peak and watch the colourful kites dot the sky as you watch the sun set. Make sure to bring your camera as the view of Table Mountain from here is spectacular!
P.S. Keep your eyes peeled for the Red Bull King Of The Air kiting event that takes place in either January or February each year.
If you’re looking for a dinner spot, head to Blue Peter for relaxed and scrumptious, pizza and drinks on the beach. If you’re looking for something a little more upmarket, head to On The Rocks in Blouberg for a large wine selection, spectacular setting and fantastic food.
If you are wanting help with organising a trip to Cape Town or Southern Africa safari, please feel free to email us on firstname.lastname@example.org and we will get back to you shortly to help you start planning your dream trip for the best price.