If you’ve ever visited Cape Town before, chances are you’ve seriously considered moving there for good. Trouble is, living there isn’t the same as a holiday – it’s even better.
Cape Town locals are privy to a lot of low-season action that mere mortal tourists can only dream of. Here’s what they get up to when no-one is looking.
1. Swimming Spots
Cape Town’s nature reserves are well-known for exhilarating hikes among the glorious indigenous fynbos. What you might not know about are the lesser-explored trails leading to several exquisite swimming spots hidden in these landscapes.
Rock pools, dams and rivers are abundant, and most of them are perfectly safe for swimming in. The top two places to take a dip during your trail are the Jonkershoek Nature Reserve in Stellenbosch and Limietberg Nature Reserve in Paarl.
Apart from their tranquil rock pools for dipping, the trails wind past breath-taking waterfalls. Be advised that the water can be a little chilly, but that’s all the better for cooling off after your exertions.
Other great locations to put on your radar include the Palmiet River, Beaerlac Campsite, Silvermine Reservoir, Klein River and Crystal Pools Waterfall in Stanford.
2. Sunday Drives Along the Garden Route
During the quiet Secret Season, Capetonians have the gorgeous expanses of the Garden Route almost all to themselves. At this time of year, many of the seaside towns along this strip have amazing special events and great deals on food and shopping on the go.
If you’re planning a trip to Cape Town soon, make your way there with cheap flights to East London during the quiet time. That way, you can hire a car and spend a few days enjoying the drive along this lush paradise en-route to your Mother City accommodation.
3. Lingering Picnics Along the Wine Route
Stunning scenery, great wines and restaurants to match are all par for the course along Cape Town’s wine routes. Boschendal offers the real deal with gorgeous gourmet picnics, horse riding, wine-tasting and mountain biking up for grabs.
Every estate on the wine route has its charms, a little research will reveal the perfect one for you.
4. Lion’s Head Hikes
Sunrise, sunset, full moon and any time of day, Capetonians love climbing Lion’s Head. The trip to the top is by no means treacherous but it does have a few tricky bits to add interest.
Once you get to the top you’re rewarded with a view of the city from 669m above, with the ocean sparkling beyond.
You simply must set aside a few hours to explore the perimeter or head for the heights when visiting Cape Town. The mountain is part of Table Mountain National Park, so you do need the necessary permits to take part in this local pastime.
5. The Gardens at Babylonstoren
One of the Cape’s oldest farmsteads, Babylonstoren is an epic trip back into a time when people lived off the land. Almost every inch of the 8-acre property is dedicated to some form of agriculture.
There are gardens of prickly pears, vegetables, fruit and indigenous specimens. Beehives are in place to see to the necessary pollination and the current animal menagerie includes tortoises, ducks, and chickens. Gorgeous riverside clivias and huge old towering trees add to the spectacle.
Enjoy the fruits of these labours of love at the Farm Shop, the Hotel & Spa and Bakery during your visit.
6. Night Crawling
The Cape Town locals love their markets and there are plenty to choose from year-round. The weekly night market is one of the best, where you can rub shoulders with local celebrity chefs as they do their rounds snacking on yummy street food and chilling to the laid-back vibe.
The markets take place in the Cape Point Vineyards’ picnic area and boast lovely views, a jungle gym to keep the kiddies busy, loads of parking and grassy spots for plonking down and soaking up the atmosphere.
7. The Delights of Kirstenbosch Gardens
Kirstenbosch Gardens’ ever-changing flowery meadows and secluded paths are another 365-day favourite.
Summertime afternoon concerts bring the venue alive with festive picnickers and the Boomslang walkway through the trees is another big attraction that lures local crowds.
You’ll always find something to admire and appreciate in this verdant, welcoming space.
8. Kalk Bay’s Working Harbour
An ultra-cool red and white lighthouse, blazing sunsets, a bustling pier and the best fish and chips ever (at Kalky’s) are part of Kalk Bay’s unique charm. It’s a charm that had Forbes name this ‘hood as the coolest in all the land, and in fact the world, for 2018.
It’s also a great spot for watching fat seals frolicking on the pier and the huge winter waves are a sight to be seen.
See for Yourself
There are plenty more places and things that are part of life in the Mother City, but we’re not telling.Book your cheap flights to the Cape Town and come discover them for yourself.