Cape Town is the perfect city to visit if you are on a budget as there are plenty of things to do that cost you little to nothing. You can listen to our Podcast Episode 30 for a discussion of our favourite 12 free things to do in Cape Town and we'll also share them with you here. While we all love free activities, be sure to also not miss our ultimate Top 12 Things To Do In Cape Town.
Located at the most southwestern tip of Africa, Cape Town offers world-class facilities, including a National Park within the city borders. It is adjacent to 2 oceans, the Indian and Atlantic, and it boasts one of the 7 world wonders which is Table Mountain. So you have plenty of reasons to visit. Hiking Lion's Head is something you HAVE to do when in Cape Town. This hike is very popular and can be done by most reasonably fit people. The route is beautiful as it shows you all the different views around the mountain. It should take you up to 1.5 hour to get to the top.
Visit the V&A Waterfront. With its many shops, restaurants and boat trips, most visitors to Cape Town will at some point end up at the V&A Waterfront. A little historic hidden gem which has free entrance, is the former waiting room and embarkation building for the Robben Island prison.
Take a stroll along the Sea Point Promenade. You can enjoy walking here in the morning or rent bicycles and spend the entire Sunday on the promenade. You can walk all the way from the V&A Waterfront to Camps Bay if you like. There are play parks for the kids, the lighthouse, views of Lion's Head and at the Pavillion you can take a rest or have an ice cream.
Visit the Greenpoint Urban Park. This beautiful park boasts a biodiversity garden to explore, a water mill and 2 play parks for kids. There's also an outdoor gym to use or bring your own ball and picnic and relax for the afternoon.
Visit one of the oldest wine estates in South Africa, Groot Constantia. It is about a 20-minute drive from the City Centre and you can enter for free and enjoy the surroundings. If you would like to taste wine, there's a small fee.
First Thursday: This is an AMAZING evening in Cape Town each first Thursday of the month. All art galleries are open until 9pm and around the city centre, you will find live music, DJs and other entertainment which turns the city in a big street party. This is one evening I wouldn't want you to miss when visiting Cape Town.
Free walking tours: There are a few free walking tours available per day, leaving from Green Market Square. You can just tip the guide if you like, which would be nice but the tour itself is totally free. You can either choose a historic city tour or a Bo-Kaap Tour. Or use the Voicemap app for self-guided walking tours. This app is useful for many cities around the world. You can download free walking tours or walking tours that are charged a small fee. For Cape Town, you can find about a dozen different ones and also for the Cape Wine lands and further afield. It is really a great app that takes you to the lesser-known areas in a city. The walks are created by passionate locals who love their neighbourhood.
Going to the beach: Camps Bay must be one of the most stunning beaches in the world with the 12 Apostles Mountain range as a backdrop. Beach access is free just as the Clifton beaches which are often more protected from the wind. The water is freezing as it is the Atlantic but in the heat of mid-summer it is a great way to cool off.
The Table Mountain Cable Car is free in your birthday week, so if you celebrate your birthday in Cape Town, you can get up for free.
Stroll through the Company Gardens. This city park is surrounded by government buildings as well as many museums. There is an indigenous plant and herb garden where you can learn a lot about the medicinal uses of many African plants and herbs. t is a great spot to enjoy a picnic and feed the squirrels. There are people selling peanuts to feed the squirrels.
Visit the African penguins at Boulders Beach in Simonstown. Although there's a fee charged to visit the 'official' penguin beach (and HORDES of people do), you can actually often see these tiny guys from the parking lot next to the entrance or at Sea Forth Beach on the other side and you can save yourselves the entrance fee and see them without hundreds of other people. As much as we like to support the South African National Parks, if you're on a budget, this is the way to go.
Free wine tastings: If you're in Kloof Street, pop in at the Lifestyle Centre and Wine Concepts, they often offer free wine tastings in the late afternoon. Not just delicious also a great way to meet people.