15 Truly Unique Things to do in Cape Town 2017

15 Truly Unique Things to do in Cape Town 2017

You Only Live Once! Time to take the Mother City by its horns.

Instead of making a bucket list (passé, depressing), we’ve created a list of unique, unusual and inspiring things to do in the Mother City.

We’re well aware that Cape Town is a highly sought-after holiday destination (voted Best City in the World by The Telegraph) and we didn’t want our list to read like a tourist brochure. So we left out things like “visit Robben Island” and “climb Table Mountain” (which you’ll find on any run-of-the-mill travellers’ site).

Instead, we handpicked some lesser-known activities in and around our magnificent city that have inspired us to seize the day. We hope our list will do the same for you.

And, as always, if we’ve missed something fabulous, please add it in the comments below. #YOLO!

1. Zip around Chapman’s Peak in a classic (open-top) sports car

What to do in Cape Town
A scenic drive along the coast in an open-top sports car is the stuff of Hollywood rom-coms. Not only will it get the endorphins flowing, it’ll make you feel like a million bucks. Plan your route (we suggest starting and ending at the Paarden Eiland pick-up point, and travelling along Victoria Road to Chapman’s Peak and back along De Waal Drive), pack a picnic, and hit the road! It’s the stuff that memories (and killer Instagram ops) are made of. Feel like splurging? Hire the car for a day or two and traverse one of these magnificent mountain passes.
Why we love it Nothing beats the feeling of the wind through your hair and the sun on your face as you cruise along the road in a stunning car with breaktaking views along the way.
Cost R2 900 (car hire includes 100 kms; R7/km thereafter)
R15 000 (refundable insurance deposit)
R500 – R750 (delivery or collection fee one way. If the car is collected from/delivered to Paarden Eiland, there is no fee)
Contact 083 321 9193, ross-renee@capecobrahire.co.za
Where Cape Cobra Hire, 10 Hermes Street, Paarden Eiland
TIG Reviewer Alicia Chamaille

2. Go clay-pigeon shooting

Clay-pigeon Shooting Cape Town
This is just another reason to visit Stellies. Once you’ve chosen your wine farm (there are two to choose from), a guide will take you through safety measures, demonstrate how to shoot with precision timing, and give you all the ins and outs, so that a barrel load of fun is guaranteed. There are several  great packages to choose from depending on the size of your group and the occasion.
Why we love it It’s a great way to let off steam (and vent pent-up road rage). Simply aim, fire, and watch as the disc shatters mid-air.
Where Slaley Farm, Kromme Rhee Road, Stellenbosch and Wild Clover Farm, Stellenbosch
Cost R125 per person (5 shots per person)
R225 per person (10 shots per person)
R350 per person (Groups of 8 or more, includes 10 shots each, pizza and a glass of beer/wine)
R435 per person (Groups of 8 or more, includes 15 shots each, pizza and a glass of beer/wine)
R650 per person (Groups of 5 or more, includes 25 shots each, biltong platter and soft drinks)
R1 000 (Group of 8 or less, includes 5 shots per person)
R1 500 per person (Groups of 2 or more, includes 25 shots each, personal instruction and private location)
R1 850 per person (Groups of 2 or more, includes 50 shots each, personal instruction and private location)
Contact 076 349 2866, info@clayad.co.za
TIG Reviewer Alicia Chamaille

3. Rent a houseboat in Kraalbaai

Houseboats Cape Town
Baby Blue Too is the perfect houseboat for daytrips and overnight stays in the dreamy lagoon of Kraalbaai on the West Coast. It sleeps up to four (with a squeeze) and accommodates up to 8 for daytrips. Chillax on the deck with a glass of vino and a bite to eat as you glide around the lagoon (you’ll need a skipper’s licence). Or else, remain anchored in one spot and enjoy dipping in the waist-deep clear blue water. In springtime, enjoy Postberg and the West Coast National Park’s amazing array of flowers.
Why we love it What beats lounging around the deck of a boat in the middle of the ocean, and being able to flop in and out of the clear blue water?
Where Indigo Blue Beach House, Basson Street, Langebaan
Cost R695 per person (day trip, includes lunch)
R500 per person (charter, includes skipper, no catering)
R2 500 (one night, self catering)
R3 250 (two-night, self catering)
R700 (delivery fee to Kraalbaai, if you do not have a skipper’s ticket)
R120 per night (mooring fee, collected by SanParks every morning for the overnight package)
R500 per weekend (SUP hire)
Contact 021 683 3698, adventure@gravity.co.za
TIG Reviewer Alicia Chamaille

4. Sleep on Table Mountain

Cape Town Attractions
Image credit: Michelle Seixas

This overnight hike, which begins at Kirstenbosch, offers plenty of fresh mountain air and stunning panoramic views from different vantage points on the mountain. Make stops at the historic Waterworks Museum, the old reservoir, and a rock formation called “the diving board” that’s popular for impromptu photoshoots. Spend the night at the comfortable Overseers Cottage, and wake up feeling invigorated and ready to conquer the world.  
Why we love it It’s the path less travelled, giving mountaineers and city-dwellers alike the chance to explore one of the world’s natural wonders.
Where Table Mountain National Park
Cost R 2 695 (per person for 4 people)
R 2 595 (per person for 5 people)
R 2 350 (per person for 6 or more people)
Includes accommodation, catering, luggage transport, entrance fees and guided tour. Excludes alcoholic beverages and cable car if that is chosen method of descent.
Contact 083 275 7521, info@afrukaecotours.co.za
TIG Reviewer Alicia Chamaille

5. Break plates at Mykonos Taverna

Cape Town Things to do
Image credit: mikaelapace

On the last Saturday of each month, this family-owned (and run) traditional Greek restaurant prepares a set menu and invites patrons to enjoy an unforgettable evening of traditional Greek dancing and plate smashing. While keeping things laidback and festive, the restaurant serves simple and delicious mezze, moussaka, and everything in between.
Why we love it If you’ve ever thrown a plate, you’ll know how cathartic and fun it is. Just give it a smash, and you’ll be hooked.  
Where 343 Main Road, Sea Point, Cape Town
Cost R220 per person (excluding drinks and 10% service charge)
Contact 021 439 2106, info@mykonostaverna.co.za
TIG Reviewer Alicia Chamaille

6. Enjoy sundowners on a yacht in Clifton

Yacht Ride Cape Town
Image credit: Michaella Robertson

A milestone birthday, end-of-year function, new-year kick-off party or just about any special occasion is the only excuse needed to splash out on a luxury yacht cruise. Hop aboard this  fantastic yacht at the Waterfront and sail along the coast to Clifton’s shores. If you’re lucky, you could spot a pod of dolphins hopping along with your boat, while you balance a tall glass of champers and try to snap some incredible panoramic photographs.
Why we love it It’s a relaxing, fun, luxurious (and unforgettable) way to celebrate any special occasion.  
Where Cape Charters, Shop 6, Quay 5, V & A Waterfront, Cape Town
Cost R8 000 (minimum of 2 hours includes soft drinks, water, bubbly and dry snacks)
R12 000 (2 hour sunset cruise includes soft drinks, water, bubbly and dry snacks)
Contact 021 418 0782, info@capecharters.co.za
TIG Reviewer Alicia Chamaille

7. Take a steam train to the Cape Winelands

Activities in Cape Town
Image credit: Neil Betteley

Travel through the winelands – and back in time – on a vintage steam train dating back to the 1920s. The young members of the family will get to experience the vessels that were once the lifeblood of the British Empire, while the older passengers get to relive fond memories from their childhoods. The steam train trip to Spier includes a stopover in Stellenbosch, wine tasting, lunch at the farm and a visit to the wildlife sanctuary at Eagle Encounters.
Why we love it The nostalgia of wooden-bodied coaches, and the sense of Victorian grandeur, is rather special. But while the train itself may be the star of the show, the spectacular vineyards and mountain scenery of the Cape Winelands certainly enhance the experience.
Where African Train Lodge, Monument Station, Old Marine Drive, Foreshore
Cost R550 (adults)
R450 (children between 3 and 12)
Free (children 0 to 2 years)
Contact 021 558 5805, info@atlanticrail.co.za
Good to know Ceres Rail Company also offers steam train rides. Their route runs through the beautiful Ceres Valley. At R800 for a return ticket (plus an additional R150 for a buffet-style lunch), it is on the pricey side.
TIG Reviewer Matthew Flax

8. Do a Tuk-Tuk Wine Tour in Stellenbosch

Wine Tour Stellenbosch
Tuk-Tuk Stellies offer fun wine tours of several notable wine estates in the famous Stellenbosch winelands in, yes, you guessed it: a snazzy tuk-tuk! These chauffeured trips run daily, and you can choose between the half-day tours, with visits to Lanzerac, Morgenhof and Simonsig – or the full day tour, which visits Waterford (for chocolate and wine pairing), Lanzerac, Neil Ellis (for lunch), Morgenhof and Simonsig for some delicious wine tastings, and the odd cellar tour too!
Why we love it It’s a fun, fresh (and hassle-free) way to experience some great Stellenbosch wine estates.
Where Meet at the Stellenbosch Information Centre or arrange for a B&B pick-up in the area.
Cost R500 (half-day tour (10am – 1pm or 2pm – 5pm)
R1 000 (full-day tour, 10am – 4pm, includes lunch and wine tastings)
Book here
Contact 076 011 3016, corne@tuktukstellies.co.za.
TIG Reviewer Tamlyn Ryan

9. Hot-air balloon over the Cape Winelands

Hot air balloon Cape Town
Image credit: Anton Petrus

Trains, trams and automobiles… there are many ways to experience the Cape winelands, but few that allow you to soar over them like a bird. Travelling like the Brothers Montgolfier will certainly give you something to write home about.
Why we love it You’ll get to watch as the crew assembles your heat-powered flying machine, the very first technology that allowed humanity to take to the skies. Following liftoff, you’ll have the best possible view of the rolling vineyards and lush meadows that the winelands are so famous for.
Please note Hot-air balloon trips can be cancelled on short notice if conditions are deemed unsuitable.
Winelands Ballooning operates between 20 November and 2 May each year.
Only one flight is scheduled per day, with four people permitted per flight.
Insider tip The tour operators recommend March as the best time of year to balloon, as weather conditions are generally more stable during that period.
Where Paarl
Cost R3 900 – R4 300 (adult, depending on season)
R2 800 – R3 200 (children 8 –12 years, depending on season)
Includes tea and coffee on arrival, one-hour hot-air balloon flight, ground crew recovery and a full breakfast at the Grande Roche Hotel in Paarl
Contact 015 793 1191, central.res@africantravel.com
TIG Reviewer Matthew Flax

10. Sip Tea Under The Trees

What to do in Cape Town Today
Image credit: Carina 

Situated on a working farm in Paarl, that could have come straight out of Alice in Wonderland, Tea Under The Trees is a wonderfully civilised experience. Their menu offers delicious, farm-fresh eats; there’s also a lovely bric-a-brac shop, as well as a child- and pet-friendly (provided they are leashed) space.
All food is made onsite, using fresh, top-quality ingredients, and the charming venue is also available to hire for special events, such as weddings, kitchen teas and baby showers. And don’t fret too much about bad weather; there are sheltered areas, as well as a veranda and indoor venue.
Why we love it It affords one a truly lovely, relaxed tea experience in pretty (but often overlooked) Paarl.
Where St Pieter’s Roche, Main Road, Paarl
Open Monday – Friday; Saturdays by special arrangement.
Cost Menu items vary: R11 –  R60
Contact 072 871 9103, info@teaunderthetrees.co.za
TIG Reviewer Tamlyn Ryan

11. The Franschhoek Wine Tram

Franschhoek Wine Tram
Image credit: John & Amber

The Franschhoek Valley offers some world-class wine-tasting experiences, and a glimpse into the Cape’s precious heritage. With so much to do and see in this region, the hop-on-hop-off tram tour provides the perfect means of transport, allowing you to hop off at a destination of your choice, and back on again when the next tram arrives. There’s a choice of four routes; the Blue Line, Red Line, Yellow Line and Green Line; each one allowing you to explore a different part of the valley.
Why we love it The tour provides some insight into 300 years’ worth of rich history, while giving you plenty of time to take in the views (and the vino, naturally!)
Where Franschhoek Wine Tram Ticket Office, 32 Huguenot Road, Franschhoek
Cost R220
Discounts for groups of 20+ people
Contact 021 300 0338 or 021 876 4943, info@winetram.co.za
TIG Reviewer Matthew Flax

12. Picnic movie nights at Spier Wine Farm

Picnic Movie Nights Spier
Each year during summer, Spier selects a handful of well-loved movies to screen on their lush Eight Lawns. And, let’s face it, what’s a movie without accompanying treats? Either purchase a gourmet picnic basket for two (R550, includes a bottle of Spier’s signature wine), which you can book with your ticket and collect from the deli (between 6 – 7pm on the night). Or buy drinks and snacks from the Eight to Go Deli.
Please note You cannot bring your own food and drinks; picnic baskets exclude the movie-ticket cost; movies start at 8.30pm, and gates open at 6pm.
Why we love it An outdoor picnic and good movie under the stars on a beautiful Stellenbosch wine farm… what’s not to love?
Where Eight Lawns, Spier Wine Farm, R310 Baden Powell Road, Stellenbosch
Cost
R100 (adult movie ticket)
R70 (child movie ticket)
R550 (gourmet picnic basket for two, excludes cost of movie tickets)
Book online
Contact 021 809 1100, info@spier.co.za (general enquiries)
021 809 1188, eight@spier.co.za (Eight to Go Deli & Picnics)
TIG Reviewer Tamlyn Ryan

13. Kayak with the penguins in Simon’s Town

Kayak tours in Cape Town
The penguin colony at Boulder’s Beach is always worth a visit, but why watch from afar when you can see these wacky water birds up close? The Simon’s Town kayak tours will let you meet them on their home turf, and you can even join them in the water if the tide is right. No previous rowing experience is needed, though bear in mind, kayaking does require some physical stamina.
Why we love it You can avoid the crowds, and enjoy the freedom of the open ocean. Plus, you get a good workout in the process.
Where Wharf Street, Simon’s Town
Please note Dependent on weather
Cost R300 per person (drinking water and equipment included)
Contact 082 501 8930, tours@kayakcapetown.co.za
TIG Reviewer Matthew Flax

14. Camp on the beach in Kogel Bay

Camping Kogel Bay
Image credit: Thomas Hill

If you love camping, beaching and breathtaking scenery, then Kogel Bay Resort, with its camping facilities on the edge of the beautiful and expansive Kogel Bay Beach is the answer. It is perfectly situated, a mere hour away from Cape Town, and also falls under the jurisdiction of the Kogelberg Biosphere Reserve (an area dense in Cape Floral Kingdom plant species), offers ample wildlife and lies along The Whale Coast.
Why we love it It’s the ultimate camping experience, involving an epic road trip via Clarence Drive, one of South Africa’s (and, dare we say it, the world’s) most spectacular drives, numerous affordable camping/ablution facilities, hiking, beach walks, swimming, star-gazing and braaiing.
Where Kogel Bay Resort, Clarence Drive, R44
Cost R124 – R190, depending on the season
Contact 021 856 9622 or 021 856 9623
TIG Reviewer Tamlyn Ryan

15. Navigate the city’s underground tunnels

Cape Town Activities
Image credit: fo8.co.za

Every city has secrets, and Cape Town is no exception. Beneath its streets lies a network of underground tunnels, built between 1652 and 1895 for the purpose of transporting mountain water into the ocean. Now they lie abandoned, but with the aid of a tour guide, you can navigate these dark dungeons and emerge to tell the tale. However, only a true hero will defeat the Minotaur that dwells… oh okay, there’s no Minotaur.
Why we love it You get to play Indiana Jones, as you make your way through dark tunnels, torch in hand. (Minus the tarantulas and deadly traps, though).
Where Castle of Good Hope, Darling Street & Buitenkant Street, Foreshore
Cost R250 – R350 per person
Contact 082 482 4006, mattweisse@mweb.co.za
TIG Reviewer Matthew Flax

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Disclaimer:

The Inside Guide has made every effort to ensure that the information in this post was correct at the time of publication. However, we do not assume any liability caused by errors, such as price, cost, time, and location.

Time of publication: 11 January 2017

18 Responses to “15 Truly Unique Things to do in Cape Town 2017”

  1. Peter de Vries

    Couldn’t agree more: grab ‘m by the horns! Especially in SA. Makes me think of our last trip in December, had an unforgettable time on a houseboat that we rented in Knysna. Can also be found on Airbnb and Homeaway, prices differ a bit. Would recommend it for sure – hope it helps having an unforgettable time!
    Peter

    Reply
  2. Pirate Jones

    Some fun awesome ideas. Living in Cape Town is a blessing in itself, priceless if you ask me.

    For those of you that are winging about the prices. Can I please suggest that you put together a free list and publish it here.

    You’re welcome to add things like:
    free penguin viewing and all year free swims at any of our amazing beaches,
    over 50 free hikes and spectracular views on your doorstep,
    all year round cheap world class wine tasting,
    free animal viewing at Groote Post Wine Estate (as well as tasting),
    don’t forget to mention the Green Card of Cape Point, R135 gets you 12 entries VS. foreign guests which have to pay R135 per entry.

    Reply
  3. Jenny Sutton-Bam

    All sounds wonderful but with these prices, good luck Capetonians. If I could afford these prices I could probably afford to have my own open top sports car, yacht, hot air balloon. Maybe Jacob will give us a handout :-))

    Reply
  4. Carey

    Lovely ideas! Thanks! We have an incredible city and surrounds! For those wanting cheaper options, adapt the ideas to fit your budget… you can always drive your own car along Chapman’s. Or even the M6 from Hout Bay to Sea Point. Take a walk up to the East Fort and soak in the view from up there take your own picnic and the kids can explore.

    Reply
  5. vivian tayrod

    Some of these things may be out of the financial reach of many South Africans but that is true world over – there are lots of things we cannot afford to do anywhere we are or visit – and some of the things are once in a life time things you save for or get as ‘special’ gifts.

    Reply
  6. Dale

    Sad that the average SA family cannot enjoy these perfectly lovely activities. Only for the priv. -I’m afraid.

    Reply
    • Julian

      Kogel Bay seems reasonable? Also the mountain is free – just skip the catering and anyone is good to go. Actually now that I look at it, Tea under Tree is not that bad (R11-R60) and the Spier movie is not much more expensive (obviously not including the picnic) than a normal movie.

      Reply
    • Ilene

      Exactly what I thought when I read this. Cape Town – the city for the privileged! I know there are free things to do like beaches and hikes etc, but having moved from Joburg I realize how segregated this city is and how majority of its inhabitants have never even been up the cable car…

      Reply
  7. Errol Hope

    A unique and fantastic experience for anyone who likes the ocean is Seal Snorkeling by Animal Ocean out of Hout Bay.
    Google “Animal Ocean” for details.

    Reply
  8. Craig

    8 of the 15 truly unique things is not taking place in Cape Town.

    Reply
    • Dawn

      which are those ones Craig ? Saves us wasting time inquiring if you could let me know ! thks

      Reply
  9. Arnie

    For clay pigeon shooting “Valley gun club” is much cheaper.

    Reply
  10. J

    Should have SA citizen rates.

    Reply
  11. Denise Bremridge

    As the Owner of Southern Comfort Guest Lodge, Oranjezicht, Cape Town, I find your ideas great opportunities for Guests and Overseas Visitors who wish to enjoy exploring the Cape with a difference.

    Reply
  12. Heidi

    Totally agree with Keith. Great things to do but totally out of the average SA person’s price range.

    Reply
  13. Keith

    When I got this e-mail I thought great something for the common folk of Cape Town. Silly me! It should read, 15 things for a foreign tourist or those lucky enough to afford it. Here’s a thing how about creating and posting something the average South African family of 4 can undertake, without having to break the bank!

    Reply
  14. Heather

    Tea Under The Trees is a truly wonderful experience. Please be aware that they are only open Monday to Friday and not on weekends.

    Reply

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