Visitors and locals can find plenty to do that doesn’t need to break their budgets! Pack your haversack with energy snacks and refreshments and take a bus to the top of ‘Deerpark Drive’ in Vredehoek that offers numerous short and long walks along the slopes of Table Mountain. If you want to be higher up on the mountain, catch a bus to Table Mountain Cable Station and start your walk from there encountering flora, fauna and waterfalls along the way. It’s not advisable to walk alone but rather in a small group of at least three.
Popular to visitors and locals is ‘The Company’s Gardens’ built by Dutch settlers way back in 1652 to provide sailors with vegetables, fruit and fresh water. As you meander through the rose garden and under trees that are hundreds of years old, take time to feed the squirrels and stop off to see the aviary, fish pond or just relax on the soft green lawn in view of a few historical statues.
Take a whole day out to visit museums! ‘Isiko Museums of South Africa’ operate 11 national museums, namely: the Planetarium, the South African Museum, the South African National Gallery, the Slave Lodge, the Old Town House, Groot Constantia Manor House, Bertram House Museum, Bo-Kaap Museum, Koopman’s-de Wet House, Rust & Vreugd and the Maritime Centre. Prices vary but are all less than R50 for adult admission and if you’re in Cape Town on an Iziko commemorative day, you’ll benefit with admission being totally free. Students and South African pensioners may enter for free on Fridays with proof of either a valid student or pensioner’s card with the exception of the ‘Castle of Good Hope’ and the ‘Planetarium’ which only offer free admission on International Museum Day and Heritage Day.
Parallel to ‘The Company’s Gardens’, in Hatfield Street is the ‘Jewish Museum’ that leaves visitors with a moving and detailed account of the Jewish communities of the diaspora including South Africa’s first, oldest and most splendid synagogue. Hours are from 10h00 to 17h00 Sunday to Thursday, Fridays from 10h00 to 14h00 with the museum being closed on Saturdays and Jewish holidays. The price for adults is R50, pensioners R30 and students under the age of 12 years have free admission. A photo ID document is required to enter this museum.
At the bottom of ‘The Company’s Gardens’ you’ll find ‘St George’s Cathedral’ with its stunning Gothic architecture, rich in history and which during the apartheid years, earned the reputation of being ‘the people’s church’ due to its strong stance against the apartheid government.
Experience historical sites and exercise your legs as you part-take in a walking tour through the city. Built between 1666 and 1679 by the Dutch East India Company, the ‘Castle of Good Hope’ is the oldest colonial building in South Africa and in those days was the heart of administrative, civilian and military life in the Cape. Now located inland after land reclamation, it initially marked the shoreline of Table Bay. The design of the building displays aspects of Medieval and English Renaissance architecture with its unique shape of a pentagon with five bastions. Check the time when visiting the Castle so you don’t miss out on the key ceremony and the changing of the guard including the ‘Castle Military Museum’ and the ‘William Fehr Collection’. The Castle is open for visitors from Monday to Sunday between 09h00 and 16h00 and also offers daily tours. Prices up until March 2015 for adults are R30, children and students R15 and South African pensioners pay only R15.