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Psst. Our Alternative Bucket List of Hidden Gems
It’s the smallest most unique hidden places that make a city. That make your day. Our team is sharing theirs.
From an unknown museum in Khayelitsha to a forgotten town in South Africa and a spectacular unknown tidal pool, this is our first small selection of our hidden gems that we share with our best friends.
1. SWIM WITH THE CROCS
Looking for an alternative to shark cage diving? This is it. Le Bonheur Crocodile Farm presents the opportunity to get up, close and personal with one of Africa’s most powerful predators – from the safety of a secure cage.
2. LEARN ABOUT GANG CULTURE AT THE 18 GANGSTER MUSEUM
The 18 Gangster Museum in Khayelitsha is the first of its kind in Cape Town. Here you’ll learn about gang culture in Cape communities through an educational and interactive tour.
3. TAKE UP A COOKING CLASS IN PRINCE ALBERT
Take up a cooking class with African Relish in the most interesting Karoo town. Prince Albert also invites guests to visit its rumoured-to-be-haunted hotel, restaurants and art galleries
4. A PRISTINE, LESSER-KNOWN BEACH NEAR SIMONS TOWN
Windmill Beach, just past Boulders Beach near Simons Town, is a sheltered nook where fantastic views of the False Bay coastline come standard. The beach’s large, natural pool area is ideal for swimming and snorkelling.
5. ECO-FRIENDLY SIGHTSEEING WITH SCOOTOURS
See the city from a different perspective with an off-road tour by Scootours on an eco-friendly, non-motorised scooter. What’s more is kids ride free every Sunday – family weekend plans sorted.
6. REDISCOVER MATJIESFONTEIN
The forgotten route of Matjiesfontein is the smallest town in South Africa, comprising a grand total of one hotel, a bar, a post office and a restaurant. This two-day railway adventure stops off in one of the Western Cape's most historic towns, with more than a few food and wine tastings along the way.
7. AN ALTERNATIVE TO FIRST THURSDAYS – OBZ ART THURSDAYS
Experience Observatory’s rich creative culture as the hip suburb celebrates its art scene every second Thursday of the month. Start off at Ahem! Art Gallery where you’ll grab a map of all participating spots.
9. TRY A WATERBLOMMETJIE BREDIE
The waterblommetjie is endemic to the Western Cape, where it grows in ponds, dams and lakes. Waterblommetjie bredie (stew) is a traditional Cape dish and can be enjoyed during the late winter/early spring months at the restaurants at Leopard’s Leap and Babylonstoren.
10. THE CITY’S HIDDEN WATERFALL
Not too many people know about Silvermine Waterfall, and fortunately a brief 30-minute walk through the south-eastern part of the reserve will take you to this hidden gem.
11. A CULTURAL HUB UP THE WEST COAST – !KHWA TTU
Discover the culture and heritage of the San, the first people to live in the Cape, with !Khwa Ttu guided tours. Here you can learn about San culture, their food and medicinal plants.
12. VISIT THE BOTANICAL GARDEN OF THE CAPE SOUTH COAST
Discover waterfalls, colourful fynbos and a lush indigenous forest at the Harold Porter Botanical Gardens, a protected reserve near Betty’s Bay. During the summer months, be sure to look out for the elusive red disa flower, the Western Cape's provincial flower symbol.
13. TAKE ON A TUNNEL TOUR
This is a completely new way to see Cape Town - from underneath it. Embark on a tunnel tour and learn about Cape Town’s early history and its close connection with water.
14. EMBARK ON A WALKING GHOST TOUR OF STELLENBOSCH
If you’re in the mood for chills and general eeriness, the Ghost Walk, arranged by Stellenbosch Tourism, is a must. Work your way through shaded avenues, past centuries-old buildings that have (creepy) stories to tell.
15. EXPLORE CERES VIA RAIL
Hopping onboard the Ceres Rail Company steam train is a great way to see the beautiful Ceres valley, with its kloofs, gorges and fruit orchards. During the winter months you may even travel past snow-capped peaks.
16. TRY BOKKOMS
Bokkoms (salted and dried pieces of mullet fish) is a well-known Cape delicacy. Essentially fish biltong, its best enjoyed in the area where it originates from – the West Coast. Try it at Die Vishuis in the town of Velddrif.
18. ANOTHER SIGHTSEEING LANDMARK NAMED AFTER A CAT (NOT LION'S HEAD)
Named for its now-extinct Leopard population, Tygerberg Hill overlooks both the northern and southern suburbs. Enjoy the relatively-easy walk to the top and soak up the magnificent views. Adults pay R13 per person to enter the reserve.
19. WINE CAPITAL OF CAPE TOWN’S DEEP SOUTH
Forget Franschhoek and Paarl, try a wine tasting out at Cape Point Vineyards in the “deep south”. Stop for a bite at their restaurant, or book a picnic on the lawn accompanied by great wine and breathtaking views.
20. A NATURAL SANCTUARY IN KHAYELITSHA
Discover the natural beauty of the Wolfgat Nature Reserve in Khayelitsha.
21. VISIT THE REDWOOD FOREST AT GROOTVADERSBOSCH
Tucked away in the mountains between Swellendam and Heidelberg is the Grootvadersbosch Conservancy, a reserve which is home to a forest of towering redwood trees, the tallest species of tree in the world.
22. GO CLAY PIGEON SHOOTING
Try your hand at clay pigeon shooting for a fun outdoor activity, and an adrenalin-filled day of something different. Take it to the next level and add a helicopter ride to your experience with Cape Town Helicopters.
23. UNCOVER THE EAST CITY DISTRICT
Take a walking tour of one of the most up-and-coming areas in central Cape Town – the East City. Among the places of interest is a vegan fast food eatery open until 3am, a slick retail store built from the spirit of adventure called Just Like Papa and a plastic-free grocer.
24. WAKE UP WITH THE SUN – AND DANCE
Secret Sunrise is a superb way to start the day off with a group of friends. The gathering takes place at various venues around the city, and on arrival you’re handed a pair of wireless headphones to boogie down to whatever is being played on the communal channel.
25. SNORKEL WITH THE SEALS
Explore Cape Town’s underwater magic of coral reefs, shipwrecks and seals with Into the Blue Dive Centre.
26. A SLICE OF ANCIENT GERMANY IN HOUT BAY
Check out the spectacular Lichtenstein Castle in Hout Bay, an exact replica of the original in Germany. Built by German owner/builder Reyneir Fritz in 1998 after 12 years of construction, the castle was sold to a secretive Russian businessman for R23 million in 2012.
27. THE GREEN JEWEL OF THE NORTHERN SUBURBS
Magik Forest is a green space bordered by Durbanville, Bellville and Welgemoed. The series of connected paths is the perfect way to enjoy a peaceful stroll.
28. CAMP AMONGST THE SPRING FLOWERS
Waking up amongst a plethora of colourful flowers is an experience second to none. The Namaqua Flower Camps offer glamping options right in the heart of the mesmerising annual spring flower display during August and September.
Looking for exciting and unique things to do in and around Cape Town? Check our ultimate bucket list.
In the mood for more adventure? Here are some special and unique Cape Town experiences you’ve probably never tried before.
Plan ahead for the warmer months with this summer bucket list.
Looking for a luxury hotel getaway? Reward yourself with one of our exclusive Arabella stay, play and spa package deals.
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