Seven non-touristy things to do in Cape Town

I literally jumped out of the car in the middle of the desert. I had never seen an insect this big… especially not in my car. My friend Melanie and I were driving from Oudtshoorn to Cape Town, taking the scenic desert route…

My rental did not have an AC. As you might have guesses, it was hot. Not just a little, but freaking hot. I had all the windows down and the speakers on max, listening to some rock tunes. The little Chevy Spark was sweating and so were we.

I noticed a buzzing sound coming from the back of my car. I did not think much of it and kept driving. The next moment, a giant black flying insect popped up next to my face, looking like a floating scorpion with shiny blue wings (To this day, no one could tell me what that was). I hit the brakes as hard as I could.

I screamed like a little schoolgirl, no offense, and jumped out of the car.

The beast disappeared the same way it got in, through the window. I looked at the car key… it was broken. Shit. I held the two pieces in my hand and realized that I had no second key, no cellphone reception and not much water.

There I was… stuck in the middle of the desert. Picture perfect scenario.

I somehow, and I really don’t know how, managed to start the car by sliding the two parts of the key into the ignition and turning them slowly. It worked. Jesus. I kept driving all the way to Cape Town and we never thought twice about taking another break.

The upside: I got a free car upgrade… with AC (and better speakers).

If you ever make it to Cape Town, here are some non-touristy things to do…

Photo of Lions Head by David East on UnSplash
Photo of Lions Head by David East on UnSplash

 

Watch the Sunset at Lions Head

Ok. I guess everyone knows that the Table Mountain is in Cape Town and that you can walk there or take the cable car. That is worth a trip. No doubt. However, it gets pretty busy up there. Especially on the weekend…

There is a great alternative if you want to watch a stunning sunset: Lions Head. This bad boy is located between downtown Cape Town and Camps Bay. The hike up there is easier than climbing Table Mountain.

You will be rewarded with great ocean view and a lovely sunset.

If you can, bring some food and have a little picnic there. It gets pretty chilly after dark… so don’t forget to bring a warm hoody or something. The first time I hiked up Table Mountain I was in a tank top… it was hot all day but up there it got freezing-cold.

Same goes for Lions Head…

Hike Up Devils Peak

I discovered this by accident…

I wanted to hike up Table Mountain and caught the wrong trail. A good hour later, I noticed that this was the wrong way… and what a beautiful wrong way this was.

Devil’s Peak is located on the eastside of Table Mountain and offers the same breath-taking view on the city. I felt like the king of the hill, sitting enthroned on the top of the world, watching the busyness of people trying to reach the Table Mountain top.

Parking is also a lot easier. Just pass the busy main entrance to Table Mountain and park somewhere on the road. From there, just follow the signs…

10 Popular Hotels in Capetown South Africa

Hotels Cape Town: Popularity

Hotel Stars Discount Price per night, from Choose dates

Taj Cape Town

★★★★★

-22%

145112

View Hotel

The Westin Cape Town

★★★★★

-25%

208157

View Hotel

Belmond Mount Nelson Hotel

★★★★★

-55%

322145

View Hotel

Pepperclub Hotel

★★★★★

-31%

13895

View Hotel

Cape Heritage Hotel

★★★★

-18%

10990

View Hotel

Hang-out in Observatory

Observatory might just be the coolest district in Cape Town… especially if you are into old record shops, drinking on balconies and scrabbling through thrift shops. The main street looks like it has been copy-pasted out of an old movie.

Bar goers and late-night party people will definitely find something to do in Obs, as the locals call it. Hostels are cheaper than in downtown Cape Town. Artsy nomads expose their creations in many underground museums and shops. Food is cheap. People are happy. What more could you ask for?

Oh yeah, maybe the insanely good local coffee shops with some of the finest desserts in Cape Town and great live music.

Take a Baz Bus Trip to… anywhere

Baz Bus is a hop-on hop-off bus service designed for backpackers. It is the best way to meet fellow explorers and go on adventures together. There are many Baz Bus routes, ranging from short day trips to rides along the whole garden route.

I took the bus to Boulder’s Beach… You know, where the penguins hang out. Also, I went to the Cape of Good Hope and we even took our bikes on the bus.

Baz Bus is cheap and designed for non-touristy travels.

Admire Street Art in Woodstock

If you like street art, you have to go to Woodstock…

This is probably the hippest district right now and is located between Observatory and Downtown Cape Town. You will find great art exhibitions, cheap local food and student bars. The club scene is big in Woodstock and you will find a place to party every day of the week. I guess students just have too much time these days…

Almost all the buildings are adorned with some paintjob, turning Woodstock into the art capital of Cape Town. Coffee shops are good. Be prepared to see a bunch of MacBooks.

Eat at the local Food Markets

Cape Town offers a myriad of great food markets.

Most of the food, obviously, is farm fresh and you can find amazing dried meat, fresh veggies and local pastry items, among traditional clothing and hand-crafted items.

Young parents stroll around with their kids. People are having a great time, listening to some live tunes. Sometimes you can catch really good free concerts, munching away on a way-too-sweet croissant.

Learn about Organic Agriculture at Oranjezicht City Farm

Right in the midst of the city, you can educate yourself about organic farming on Saturdays between 9am – 2pm (might vary between seasons). The people behind Oranjezicht promote a healthy lifestyle and teach low-impact, low-footprint ways of raising your own organic food.

Of course you can conclude your visit with buying your weekly dose of fresh organic veggies and joining a traditional South African barbecue (Braai) among new-found friends.

How do I find the cheapest Flights to Capetown, South Africa?

To find great flight deals you can use our flight search engine at get.urbley.com/flightsearchengine.

Our Flight Search Engine Searches the web for the best flight deals, and then delivers them to you in an easy to navigate page.

Alternatively, you can book and plan all your flight needs through our partner KAYAK

KAYAK is the world’s leading travel search engine. KAYAK searches other travel sites to give travelers the information they need to find the right flights, hotels, rental cars and vacation rentals. The company’s website and apps also offer tools to help travelers plan and manage their trip, including Price Alerts, Price Forecast and free itinerary management. KAYAK processes over 1.5 billion annual searches for travel information and operates more than 40 international sites in 20 languages.

How do I book hotels in Cape Town

To find great hotel deals you can use our hotel search engine HotelGit.com

HotelGit.com searches the web for the best hotel deals, and then delivers them to you in an easy to navigate page

Alternatively, you can find great hotels via our partners agoda.com, Booking.com and Viator.com

Remember you can Book now and pay later at Booking.com!

How do I find a great deal on hire cars in Capetown, South Africa?

Our Partners Economybookings & Auto Europe, can help you with all your hire car needs.

Economybookings – Cheap Car Rentals Worldwide is an international booking service for cheap car rentals worldwide. 

  • Fast, convenient and profitable car rental at low prices, a wide range of cars, 25,000 rental points, 150 countries. 
  • 24\7 Reservation and support service during your lease. 
  • We find for you the most favorable prices for cars of all classes from more than 800 car rental companies, including all leading brands.

For over 60 years, Auto Europe has been a leader in worldwide car rental services and helped over 10 million travelers find the best options when traveling abroad. Through their long-term relationships with top suppliers like Hertz, Avis, Enterprise, Europcar, National, Budget, Dollar, Buchbinder and Peugeot they offer travelers the best rates at 20,000 pickup locations in over 180 countries worldwide.

Marvin Schulz

Marvin Schulz (7)

Marvin, born in 1986, is author of a German Amazon bestseller and full-time vagabond. He lives abroad for over 1,000 days and shares his experience and fascination for traveling with reallytravel.com readers. He publishes his more soulful and personal writings on his website, www.marvinschulz.com.

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