Here's a list of things to do in Cape Town this holiday

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Table Mountain and Cape Town were favourites with tourists in Africa.
Table Mountain and Cape Town were favourites with tourists in Africa.
Hanlie Gouws

Ride a bobsled at cool runnings

Go hurtling down a half-pipe in a bobsled, flying through the twists and curves as you race along the 1,25 km track. It’s fun for kids and adults, and it’s completely safe. The combination of speed and skill makes it a thrilling challenge for even the most die-hard speed freak. Located off Carl Cronje Drive, Tyger Valley. Visit https://coolrunnings.capetown for more information.

Explore SA history at Iziko Museums

The South African Museum, founded in 1825 and situated in the historic Company’s Gardens, has a vast historical collection, ranging from fossils to ancient insects and historical tools. Open between 09:00 and 17:00 Monday to Sunday. Closed on Christmas Day.

Visit the Castle of Good Hope, the oldest existing colonial building in South Africa. Open between 09:00 and 17:00 Monday to Sunday. Closed on Christmas Day.

The South African National Gallery is the Mother City’s premier public art museum, housing a vast and critically engaging collection of historical, modern and contemporary South African, African and international artworks. Open Monday to Sunday 09:00 – 17:00.

The Slave Lodge is one of the oldest buildings in Cape Town. Exhibitions explore the long history of slavery in South Africa. Open between 09:00 and 17:00 Monday to Sunday. Closed on Christmas Day.

Rust en Vreugd – originally built between 1777 and 1778 as a home for Willem Cornelius Boers, a high-ranking official in the Dutch East India Company – sits on what was once the outer limits of Cape Town. It houses a selection of works of art from William Fehr’s private collection that was donated to the people of South Africa in 1965. Open between 09:00 and 16:00 only on Thursdays and Fridays.

The Iziko Planetarium and Digital Dome is the most advanced digital planetarium on the African continent. This world-class, multifunctional facility brings digital technology to Cape Town, creating a space of innovation and discovery where art, science and entertainment meet. Open between 09:00 and 17:00, shows run as per the public show schedule. Closed Mondays and on Christmas Day.

The Old Town House is situated in the hub of Cape Town on Greenmarket Square and houses the Michaelis Collection. The building was formerly the City Hall, built in 1755 in the Cape Rococo style.

Koopmans-De Wet House is a house museum furnished as a home for a well-to-do Cape family during the late 18th century. It houses some of the best pieces of Cape furniture and silver in the country, in addition to a priceless collection of ceramics. Open between 09:00 and 16:00 only on Thursdays and Fridays. Closed on Christmas Day.

The Iziko Bo-Kaap Museum is one of the earliest homes built in the Bo-Kaap area, dating back to the mid-18th century. The museum, situated in the historic area that became home to many Muslims and freed slaves after the abolition of slavery, showcases local Islamic culture and heritage. Open between 09:00 and 17:00 Monday to Saturday. Closed on Christmas Day.

Groot Constantia dates back to 1685, when the land was granted to Simon van der Stel, making it one of the oldest commercial wine farms in South Africa. Its Orientation Centre in the Jonkershuis complex contains panel, object and archaeological displays that provide an overview of Groot Constantia from the past to present, including slavery on the estate. Open between 10:00 and 17:00 Monday to Sunday. Closed on Christmas Day.

Beach fun in the sun

Exfoliate your feet as you dig your toes into the white-washed sand of Bloubergstrand (Kite Beach). Look out across the sweeping blue Atlantic Ocean as cobalt currents carry your gaze toward Robben Island.

Where? Take a drive down Otto du Plessis Drive (M14) between Big Bay and Table View Beach, Bloubergstrand, Blaauwberg, Cape Town.

Sunbathe at one of Clifton’s four gorgeous white-sand beaches.

Separated by naturally situated granite rocks, each is set in its own cove and protected from the wind.

First Beach is usually less crowded and is also off-leash dog-friendly.

It’s also popular for its big waves making it perfect for surfers and other water sports.

Second beach is a popular location among students and beach sport enthusiasts.

Third Beach is reasonably private and quiet while Fourth Beach, the most accessible of the four, is known for its environmental safety and tourist standards and Blue Flag status.

Picturesque Camps Bay, with its great views of the Twelve Apostles and Lion’s Head, offers some protection from Cape Town’s infamous wind.

The Blue Flag beach is popular among locals and tourists as the perfect dip and dine destination with easy access to a strip of cafes and restaurants along Victoria Road.

It also boasts its own tidal pool on the southern side.

Boulders Beach set between large granite boulders on the False Bay coastline near Simon’s Town is home to a large colony of endangered African penguins.

This beach is ideal for children as immense boulders shelter the cove from currents, wind and large waves. But, don’t touch or feed the penguins – they may look cute and cuddly but their beaks are as sharp as razors and if they feel threatened they have no qualms about nipping the odd finger or nose.

Hout Bay beach sits between the cliffs of Chapman’s Peak and the Hout Bay Harbour and is almost a kilometer long, backed by sand dunes. The beach is quite wide at points and is split in the middle by a small river that you can easily cross.

It’s popular with families and is dog-friendly.

There is a stable nearby, and you’ll often see people horseback riding along the beach.

After a day playing in the sand, grab a bite to eat at one of the restaurants in the harbour or the town of Hout Bay.

Take a tour at Sanccob

Sanccob’s Table View centre offers informative tours that are fun and educational for all ages and interests.

Whether you wish to learn, watch a penguin waddle along, hear a seabird squawk, entertain visiting loved ones or are interested in a career in conservation, there is something for everyone to experience at their facilities.

Where? 22 Pentz Drive, Table View.

  • Contact Sanccob at reception@sanccob.co.za or on 021 557 6155.

Learn how to surf

Learn to surf with the majestic Table Mountain in the background at Surf Big Bay, the surf school of choice in Big Bay.

Boasting quality equipment and professional coaching with over 20 years of surfing experience, they offer big group lessons and private lessons to both adults and children aged five and older.

  • Call them on 071 344 0258 for a booking or send an email to info@surfbigbay.co.za.

Sporting fun

Polkadraai Bike Park, off Bottelary Road, is a family orientated bike park suitable for all levels of riders. Open daily, including weekends, from 09:00 to 17:00.

A day permit costs R70 or R100 to include Bottelary Hills trails.

  • Contact 063 379 8415 or polkadraaibikepark@gmail.com.

The 130 km Bottelary Hills Renosterveld Conservancy (BHRC) mountain bike trail network meanders across the rolling Bottelary Hills through working wine farms and pristine Fynbos Renosterveld conservation areas – featuring farm roads, jeep tracks and numerous single tracks.

A variety of routes cater for various skills and fitness levels. Day permits (R70) are available at a number of access points.

The trail park on Bloemendal Wine Estate off Tygervalley Road offers MTB trails that caters for all skill levels, starting with the YBike trail where parents can keep an eye.

The more advanced skill levelled riders can enjoy the world class XCO trail or the Lombard’s Terra for some added excitement to their rides.

Runners can choose between pre-marked routes or follow their own paths on the estate for some additional miles. MTB day permits are R60 or R40 (u-18) and day permits for runners are R30.

Best spots for putt putt

Play 18 holes of 3D glow-in-the-dark mini golf at Glow Rooms SA in Milnerton. Open Saturdays – 10:00 to 20:00 and Sundays 10:00 – 16:00.

  • Call 021 551 2244 or email info@glowingrooms.co.za for more.

Cave Golf offers two popular indoor 18-hole mini-golf courses for people of all ages, one in the V&A Waterfront, the other in Simon’s Town.

The V&A course, located at the Scratch Patch, near the Aquarium, is fun to play, and despite being relatively short and compact, it’s well-designed and challenging enough to be enjoyed even by regular golfers.

Simon’s Town Cave Golf, at the Scratch Patch in Dido Valley, is longer and more spacious.

The course meanders downwards through a series of underground areas that feature rock walls, some highly imaginative cave and mine obstacles and ancient relics, an underground waterfall, and fabulous mineral displays that are embedded in the surrounding rock just as they were originally discovered.

There’s even a section that is lit only by UV light.

The mini-golf course situated on the promenade in Mouille Point, near the lighthouse, offers two different outdoor courses. Each course consists of 18 holes of varying difficulty.

Nature at its best

Rietvlei Nature Reserve, located just off Pentz Drive in Table View, boasts a wetland area that is home to a diverse range of birds including pelicans and flamingos.

If you are a keen water sport enthusiast you will be pleased to know canoeing and waterskiing are also permissible on the lagoon. It is the home of the Milnerton Aquatic Club.

  • For more information, email mac@milnertonaquaticclub.co.za.

Westridge Gardens in Mitchell’s Plain has a variety of flora, including indigenous Cape fynbos. For the young there is a skateboard ramp in the park and a play area facility for children with disabilities. Concerts and festive programmes are held over weekends.

  • For more information contact Rohland Williams on 021 400 6088/9.

Wolfgat Nature Reserve in Mitchell’s Plain is home to endangered dune vegetation and majestic limestone cliffs. The Nature Reserve is named after the brown hyena or “strandwolf” which existed in the Cape until the 19th century. The Cape Flats Dune Strandveld vegetation in the reserve contains over 150 plant species.

  • For more information contact Selwyn Kondowe on 021 392 5134/5.

Edith Stephens Wetland Park in Athlone is habitat to birds, like ibises, egrets, cormorants and the white-backed duck besides fern-like plants.

This park is a must for nature lovers.

  • For more information contact 021 691 8070.

24/7 entertainment at GrandWest

With a bustling casino, a vast selection of restaurants and bars, a theatre, children’s activities and a nightclub, GrandWest Casino and Entertainment World offers a diverse array of entertainment experiences. If gambling is not your thing, enjoy a movie at the cinema or bring the family to the Olympic-size indoor ice-skating rink, state-of-the-art ten-pin bowling alley, kids’ go-karting or the arcades instead.

Gaming fun at Wonderland, N1 CityArcade machines and kiddies rides as well as attractions even teenagers and adults can enjoy. And it is open during loadshedding.

Holiday on ice at CapegateThe holiday ice rink, inspired by Disney, is back in the CapeGate Shopping Centre from 9 December to 15 January. Located on the lower level of the centre, near Entrance 4, the 15 x 8 metre rink will allow 25 skaters per session.

R60 per skater gets an hour on the rink, including skate hire, with super friendly ice-elves on call to assist those who need a helping hand – parents of youngsters are also welcome to join their charges on the ice. It is a fun way for children and young teenagers to cool down in the summer heat.

  • Times: 10:00 – 19:00 daily but closed on Christmas Day and New Year’s Day.
  • Tickets available from Webtickets.

Ride an Ice Slide at Canal walk

Enjoy the coolest experience on one of four different ice slides, snow play and Disney-themed photo booths, at Canal Walk until 13 January 2023 at the mall’s centre court. Closed on Christmas Day.

Slide prices for a full rider: R100 (all access); mini rider: R80 (junior rides and snow play access) and non-rider: R35 (accompanying parents/ guardians and under 2’s). Open from 10:00 to 20:45, sessions last 45 minutes and start every hour on the hour.

  • Book at Webtickets or at the box office at the venue.

Catch a live show, movie

For some entertainment and live music, visit the Wave Cafe Theatre, based at 44 Long Street. Pinocchio will run from Friday 16 to Saturday 24 December. It starts at 11:00 and tickets cost R120. Book via computicket. Local entertainer Alistair Izobell’s Kaapse Jol V2 will run from Tuesday to Saturday until Friday 30 December.

  • Tickets cost R180 and are available on Webtickets.

The Kirstenbosch Summer Sunset Concerts’ star-studded line-up will get people dancing to their favourite music artists this concert season.

The line-up offers a mix of indie rock, folk, swing, soulful house, and jazz performances. On Monday 26 December, Neon Dreams, Majozi and Will Linley will set the tone for the biggest show of this concert season: the New Year’s Eve concert.

Dance your way into the new year on 31 December with performances by Swing City and Mi Casa.

On 1 January, the Queen of Afro Jazz, Judith Sephuma, will take to the stage. Pack a picnic, or pre-order five days in advance from the Kirstenbosch Tea Room or Moyo Restaurant.

The Moyo food trucks will be on hand with a variety of freshly made meals, beverages, and snacks at all shows.

  • Book tickets online at www.webtickets.co.za.

The Galileo Open Air Cinema showcases a new season of cinematic delights with sunset viewings scheduled at Cape Town’s partner venues and into the Cape Winelands.

For the first time, The Galileo will host a festive family show in Stellenbosch for Christmas Eve celebrations.

The season will conclude with a final screening, set up at the foot of the Helderberg mountains on Lourensford Estate on 29 April.

Winelands screenings at The Galileo include ‘Home Alone’ at Stellenbosch Vineyards on Saturday 24 December, ‘The Notebook’ at Nederburg Wine Farm on Saturday 7 January, ‘My Best Friend’s Wedding’ at Leopard’s Leap Family Vineyards on Saturday 14 January, ‘He’s Just Not That Into You’ at L’avenir Estate on Saturday 21 January and ‘The Proposal’ at Stellenbosch Vineyards on Saturday 28 January.

Fun among the vineyards

Enjoy a family day out at Zevenwacht Wine Estate that offers a kiddies picnic basket (R95) which can be enjoyed at the play area.

  • Contact 021 900 5700 or email restaurant@zevenwacht.co.za to book.

The Durbanville Wine Valley is fast becoming Cape Town’s destination of choice with its scenic vineyards, award-winning wines and friendly atmosphere. Each of the 15 wineries – Altydgedacht, Bloemendal, Canto, D’Aria, Diemersdal, De Grendel, Durbanville Hills, Hillcrest, Klein Roosboom, Loch Lynne, Maastricht, Meerendal, Nitida, Groot Phesantekraal wines and Signal Gun – has its own charm and expresses timeless country elegance through the collection of wines they produce and the culinary experiences they have on offer.

The Partybike adventure on the farm Klein Roosboom just outside Durbanville has taken Cape Town by storm judging by popularity.

Bring a group of 8 to 12 friends and peddle your way through the vineyards with a friendly driver.

(You don’t have to peddle if you don’t want to – there is also an electric motor.)

Estate wine and delicious platters can be bought on the farm, ice is provided on the Partybike, as well as Bluetooth for those with their own music playlist.

  • The trip through the vineyards, at R250 per person, lasts two hours and there are beautiful views.
  • Book at Partybike.co.za

At Waterford Estate situated in the Blaauwklippen Valley patrons can enjoy a Wine Drive Safari, a three-hour trip on a Land Rover through the slopes of the Helderberg mountain.

The drive offers guests the chance to taste a host of award-winning estate wines in the vineyards of their origin, as they are expertly guided through all the aspects of what makes the area so biologically diverse and viticulturally so unique.

From bubbles on arrival, to platters of gourmet gold and ending with the iconic Waterford Estate “Wine and Chocolate Tasting” – it makes for the ultimate experience.

Morgenster Estate located close to Somerset West embraces summer by enticing all to enjoy the art of the “Aperitivo”.

With the Italian heritage behind the brand, Morgenster Estate recently launched their new “Aperitivo” offering – a pre-dinner drink; a cultural ritual set for the late afternoon or early evening, between work and dinner.

The family-run estate has launched this new offering set for Thursday, Friday and Saturdays from 16:30 to 18:30.

Visitors can opt to soak in the contemporary interiors of the tasting room, or spill out onto the terrace area to enjoy the last of the sunshine, overlooking the dam and beautiful nature all around.

Aperitivo offerings are served as a seasonal and small selection of Italian-inspired light bites, at R65 per person.

Booking is essential, with the last booking at 18:00.

  • For more information visit tastingroom@morgenster.co.za or call 021 852 1738.

Adventure awaits in Hout Bay

The Cape Town Ziplines Adventure has been described as one of the most memorable activities in the Mother City.

Based at Silvermist Estate in Hout Bay, guests will embark on a guided 4x4 drive into the mountain high above Constantia.

Cape Town Ziplines boarders on the Table Mountain National Park Reserve.

The zipline experience offers guests a tour of the cables starting high in the mountain and slowly descending down the slopes.

The tour, which takes about two hours to complete, consists of seven cables totalling one of Africa’s longest Zipline Tours with +- 2,3 km in total. Some of the ziplines are as high as 155 m.

The longest of the ziplines in the tour is just under 500 m.

The rate is R760 per person. Guests must be six years and older.

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