17 Unusual Things To Do in Cape Town

17 Unusual Things To Do in Cape Town

Cape Cobra Hire

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 other 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.

Go on a camping adventure with Hey Pioneer

Unusual Activities in Cape Town: Hey Pioneer

We like to call it the Uber of Camping, because Hey Pioneer will set up a camping site for you at a location of your choice. That’s right, they’ll supply the tent, deliver it, and kit it out with all the bells and whistles you need. Talking about bells, their elegant bell tents – perfect for outdoor weddings and parties, families and small groups – come in various shapes and sizes, and there are also smaller tents available for children or singles accommodation. Additional equipment, including braai grids, utensils, cooler boxes, clay ovens, tables and chairs are also available for rent.
Why you’ll love it Because it allows you to sleep under the stars and embrace the outdoors, without any of the schelp factor. If you’re looking for a unique way to celebrate a special occasion, let Hey Pioneer handle it from start to finish – they’ll even clean up at the end of your glamping getaway.
Cost Rates vary according to group size and location.
Rentals are subject to availability, and advance booking is required
Contact 082 494 8452, info@heypioneer.co.za

Wine tasting in a “cave” at Klein Roosboom Boutique Winery

Unusual Things to do in Cape Town: Wine Tasting in a cave

Durbanville has to be one of the most underrated wine-tasting destinations in the Cape. Put on the map by a few wine farms that consistently produce award-winning, cool-climate wines, the Durbanville Wine Valley is often outshone by the more hyped-about regions. (Thankfully! Tourists shan’t have all the fun.) Durbanville Hills Wine Farm might have been a catalyst in the region’s claim to fame, but a lot of people don’t know that their popular sauvignon blanc is made with grapes purchased from surrounding farms. In contrast, Klein Roosboom is a boutique winery, which means it only makes as much wine as its vineyards can produce. Because of its smaller yield, you’ll only find Klein Roosboom wines at its tasting centre. Hidden gem, or what?!
Why you’ll love it To some it might be a drawback, but we love that these superb wines aren’t readily available. It makes them so much more special. Take a scenic Sunday drive along the Tygerberg Valley Road to Klein Roosboom and opt to have your tasting in one of the “caves”. Apart from the fact that the wines really are magnificent, you’ll get to experience them in a truly unique way. Each cosy alcove is quirkily decorated, with pillows, trinkets, vintage furniture and bits and bobs. The perfect outing if the skies are grey. Afterwards, pop in at neighbouring Ntida for a long lazy lunch (the wine there is pretty good, too…)
Cost White-wine tasting: R40 (3 sauvignon blancs, 1 unwooded chardonnay, 1 rosé)
Red-wine tasting: R30 (merlot, cabernet sauvignon, shiraz)
Contact 060 877 2678, info@kleinroosboom.co.za
Location Tygerberg Valley Road, Durbanville, Cape Town
Reviewer Michelle de Bruin

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

Cobra 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! If you’d prefer your car to be delivered to you, that can also be arranged.
Feel like splurging? Hire the car for a day or two and traverse one of these magnificent mountain passes.
Why you’ll love it It’s the stuff that memories (and killer Instagram opportunities) are made of. Nothing beats the feeling of the wind through your hair and the sun on your face as you cruise along the road in a cool car with breaktaking views along the way.
Cost R2 000 (Date Night)
R2 450 (Same Day return)
R2 900 (Next Day return)
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
Location Cape Cobra Hire, 10 Hermes Street, Paarden Eiland
Reviewer Alicia Chamaille

Yoga on a tidal pool with SUPYoga

Unique things to do in Cape Town: SUPYoga

When you live in a city as strikingly beautiful as Cape Town, exercising outdoors is non-negotiable. Obviously when it’s cold and rainy, we do our yoga in a studio, but when the sky is clear, there’s nothing like doing your stretches on the beach, in a forest, or even on the mountain.
Our current favourite is SUPYoga – yoga.on the water! These unique group sessions take place weekly from December to March at the waterwise practices, but times are flexible, and subject to change, depending on the weather.
Why you’ll love it The outdoor setting, gently lapping water, and endless ocean views enhance the overall experience. Plus, you get to go for a refreshing swim while you’re at it (several, in fact, depending on how often you lose balance).
Good to know Private sessions can also be arranged by contacting Bianca.
Cost R280 per person (group lessons; includes class equipment)
R600 (private class; includes class equipment)
R500 (private lesson, bring your own board but receive other class equipment)
Contact 072 245 1209, supyogacpt@gmail.com
Location Camps Bay Tidal Pool

Go clay-pigeon shooting

Unique things to do in Cape Town: Clay Pigeon Shooting

This is just another reason to visit Stellies. A guide will take you through safety measures, give you all the ins and outs, and demonstrate how to shoot with precision timing, so that barrel loads of fun are guaranteed. There are several great packages to choose from depending on the size of your group and the occasion.
Why you’ll 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.
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
Location Wild Clover Farm, R304, Stellenbosch
Reviewer Alicia Chamaille

Rent a houseboat in Kraalbaai

Unusual things to do in Cape Town: Houseboat in Kraalbaai

Baby Blue Too is the perfect houseboat for daytrips or overnight stays in the dreamy Kraalbaai Lagoon on the West Coast. It sleeps up to four (with a squeeze) and accommodates up to eight people for daytrips. Chillax on the deck with a glass of vino and a bite to eat as you glide around the lagoon (one of your crew will 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 you’ll 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?
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 days, one 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
Location Indigo Blue Beach House, Basson Street, Langebaan
Reviewer Alicia Chamaille

Ride a Steam Train to Ceres

Things to do in Cape Town: Ceres Steam Train
Hike Cape Town

Completed in May 1912, The Ceres Railway track remained active until the 1990s, when Transnet Freight Rail (TFR) shut it down for financial reasons. It was reopened in 2012, and currently operates three steam trains; Jessica 3321 and Dominique 3322 (both of which date back to the 1940s); and Bailey 1412. Red Devil 3450 – not in service yet – is a one-of-a-kind South African-built Class 26 locomotive.
Why you’ll love it The old beauty passes through the picturesque Witzenberg and Michell’s Passes en route to Demeter Station in Ceres, allowing passengers to enjoy the sights from the comfort of the spacious Lounge Cars, which were restored and refurbished in preparation for the 70-year-old train’s return to the rails in 2015. Hot beverages, snacks and alcohol are for sale in the Dining Car, and guests have the option of partaking in a buffet lunch at the Ceres Golf Course.
Cost One way trip: R400 (adults); R250 (children)
Return trip: R800 (adults); R500 (children)
Lunch: R150 (adults); R50 (children)
Infants travel free of charge
Book online
Contact 079 077 5332, bookings@ceresrail.co.za
Location Royal Cape Yacht Club
Reviewer Matthew Flax

Sleep on Table Mountain

Unusual Things To Do: Table Mountain Overnight

This overnight hike that starts at Kirstenbosch offers invigorating lungfuls of fresh 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. Then, spend the night at the comfortable Overseers Cottage, and wake up feeling invigorated and ready to conquer the world.
Why you’ll 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.
Cost R2 475 per person (minimum 6 people; maximum 12 people)
Includes accommodation, catering, luggage transport, entrance fees and guided tour. Excludes alcoholic beverages and cableway if that is chosen method of descent.
Please note The venue tends to get booked up very quickly on weekends (Saturdays can be up to a year in advance), so early planning is essential.
Contact 083 275 7521, info@afrukaecotours.co.za
Location Table Mountain National Park
Reviewer Alicia Chamaille

Break plates at Mykonos Taverna

Unusual things to do in Cape Town: Mykonos Taverna
Mikaela Pace

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 you’ll 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.
Cost R220 per person (excludes drinks and 10% service charge)
Contact 021 439 2106, info@mykonostaverna.co.za
Location 343 Main Road, Sea Point, Cape Town
Reviewer Alicia Chamaille

Enjoy sundowners on a yacht in Clifton

Things to do in Cape Town: Cape Charters
Michaella Robertson

A milestone birthday, end-of-year function, new-years 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 impressive yacht at the Waterfront, and sail along the coast to Clifton’s shores, keeping an eye out for pods of dolphins along the way. Make sure you have a requisite glass of champers to hand!
Why you’ll love it It’s a relaxing, fun, luxurious (and unforgettable) way to celebrate any special occasion.
Cost R8 000 (minimum of two hours, includes soft drinks, water, bubbly and dry snacks)
R12 000 (two-hour sunset cruise, includes soft drinks, water, bubbly and dry snacks)
Contact 021 418 0782, info@capecharters.co.za
Location Cape Charters, Shop 6, Quay 5, V & A Waterfront, Cape Town
Reviewer Alicia Chamaille

Do a Tuk-Tuk Wine Tour in Stellenbosch

Unusual things to do in Cape Town: Tuk-Tuk Stellies

Tuk-Tuk Stellies offers fun wine tours of several notable wine estates in the famous Stellenbosch winelands in, you guessed it, a snazzy tuk-tuk! These chauffeured trips run daily, and you can choose between the half-day tours (to Lanzerac, Morgenhof and Simonsig) or the full-day tour (to Waterford for chocolate and wine pairing; Lanzerac; Neil Ellis for lunch; Morgenhof; and Simonsig for a delicious wine tasting, and the odd cellar tour, too!
Why you’ll love it It’s a fun, fresh (and hassle-free) way to experience some great Stellenbosch estates.
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
Location Meet at the Stellenbosch Information Centre or arrange for a B&B pick-up in the area
Reviewer Tamlyn Ryan

Secret Sunrise

Unusual things to do: Secret Sunrise
Lee-Ann Olwage

There can’t be more than a handful of places in the world where people wake up ridiculously early, go to a beach, and dance to music that no-one else can hear… Cape Town is one of them. The sight may seem unusual to anyone who happens to stumble upon these secret events but hey, it’s not about what anyone else thinks…
Secret Sunrise events take place on set dates at randomly selected venues, which have included the likes of St James Beach, Noordhoek and Lourensford Wine Estate. Upon arrival, attendees receive a pair of wireless headphones, and are free to dance before the light of the rising sun, or simply relax and enjoy the view.
Why you’ll love it You get to join in a ritualistic celebration of life, at a time of day when most people are still asleep – there’s something very sacred about that.
Good to know For those who prefer sleeping in, the organisers also host Secret Sunset events – same concept, different time of day.
Cost R90 (early bird)
R100 (regular ticket)
R75 (children under 12)
R120 (Share the Joy ticket to donate a portion to charity)
Book at Quicket
Contact 072 550 8028, capetown@secretsunrise.com
Location Confirmed shortly before each event. See their facebook page for more info.

Hot-air balloon over the Cape Winelands

Unusual things to do in Cape Town: Hot-air balloon
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 you’ll 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.
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 021 863 3192, balloon@kapinfo.com
Location Paarl
Reviewer Matthew Flax

Sip Tea Under the Trees in Paarl

Unusual things to do in Cape Town: Tea Under the Trees
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 you’ll love it It affords one a truly lovely, relaxed tea experience in pretty (but often overlooked) Paarl.
Opening times Monday – Friday; Saturdays by special arrangement.
Cost Menu items vary: R11 – R60
Contact 072 871 9103, info@teaunderthetrees.co.za
Location St Pieter’s Roche, Main Road, Paarl
Reviewer Tamlyn Ryan

Hop aboard the Franschhoek Wine Tram

Unusual things to do in Cape Town: Franschhoek Wine Tram

The Franschhoek Valley is known the world over for its superb cuisine, award-winning wine estates, and marvellous mountain-valley setting. With so much to do and see, the hop-on-hop-off tram tour provides the perfect means to do it all. Passengers can choose to ride the double-decker railway tram, or the open-air bus tram – both of which offer leisurely tours of the picturesque valley.
There’s a choice of four town routes: the Blue Line, Red Line, Yellow Line and Green Line; as well as two valley-based trips: the Purple and Orange Lines. Each line connects eight wine estates while showcasing a separate part of the Franschhoek Valley.
Why you’ll love it You’ll get a glimpse into 300 years’ worth of rich history, while you sip in the views (and vino, naturally!)
Cost R200 (adults)
R85 (children aged 3-17)
Contact 021 300 0338 or 021 876 4943, info@winetram.co.za
Location Franschhoek Wine Tram Ticket Office, 32 Huguenot Road, Franschhoek
Reviewer Matthew Flax

Kayak with the penguins in Simon’s Town

Unique things to do in Cape Town: Kayaking Simon's Town

The penguin colony at Boulder’s Beach is always worth a visit, but why watch from afar when you can see these wonderful water birds up close? The Simon’s Town kayak tours allows you to meet them on their home turf – you can even join them in the water if the tide is right. No previous rowing experience is needed, though it’s always good to remember that kayaking does require some physical stamina.
Why you’ll love it You can avoid the crowds, and enjoy the freedom of the open ocean. Plus, you’ll get a good workout in the process.
Please note These tours are weather-dependent.
Cost R300 (drinking water and equipment included)
Contact 082 501 8930, tours@kayakcapetown.co.za, www.kayakcapetown.co.za
Location Wharf Street, Simon’s Town
Reviewer Matthew Flax

Camp on the beach in Kogel Bay

Unusual things to do in Cape Town: Camping in Kogel Bay
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 you’ll 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, surfing, star-gazing and braaiing.
Please note The sea streams can be very dangerous. Swimming is only allowed when lifeguards are on duty.
Cost R132 – R202 per night (depending on season)
6 people allowed per site
2 vehicles allowed per site
Fishing & surfing permit: R253 per car (no picnics allowed on this permit)
Contact 021 856 9622 or 021 856 9623
Location Kogel Bay Resort, Clarence Drive, R44
Reviewer Tamlyn Ryan

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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: 13 September 2017

Add new comment

27 Responses to “17 Unusual Things To Do in Cape Town”

  1. Rachel

    Another “must do” visit the First South African Perfume Museum and indulge in the Perfume Prive workshop, where you will make your own signature perfume.
    3 Viola Road, Table View.

    Reply
  2. sab

    Some great ideas, busy working our way through the list, may I recommend the segway tours at spier wine farm, totally awesome, unique & the perfect adventure for the whole family from R300pp

    Reply
  3. 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
  4. 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
  5. 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
  6. 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
  7. 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
  8. 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
  9. 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
  10. 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
  11. Arnie

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

    Reply
  12. J

    Should have SA citizen rates.

    Reply
  13. 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
  14. Heidi

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

    Reply
  15. 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
    • Dawn

      How much are they ?

      Reply
    • Linda

      I agree regarding pricing of ‘fun things to do’. We lived in Vietnam years ago and they had three rates. One for the tourists, one for the permanent residents (like us who were working there) and one for the locals.

      Reply
  16. 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
    • Lita Hartman

      I’ve been to Tea Under The Trees several times on a Saturday. I live in Paarl

      Reply
      • Heather

        That must be a new opening time then … great to know, thank you

        Reply
      • Heather

        Their website states only open for special functions on a Saturday so I’m confused by your reply?

        Reply