Leisure activities in Cape Town

leisure in Cape Town
Updated 2022-11-06 13:52

Cosmopolitan, creative, festive and very friendly, Cape Town is a city where life is good and where one feels at home very easily. Located between the ocean and the mountains, it offers many outdoor sports activities but also many cultural and tourist activities. It is also considered the gastronomic capital of South Africa.

Besides outdoor activities and gastronomy, Cape Town has many other attractions: art galleries, museums, gardens and historical buildings. To discover its architecture which mixes Dutch style, classical buildings and art deco, the best is to walk around. But it is also possible to discover the city on board a double-decker bus with an audio guide. Various excursions are offered, and the Cape Town City Pass (valid from two to five days) allows you to take advantage of entries to more than eighty of the best attractions with free transportation by multi-stop bus.

The city's lively neighborhoods

Bo-Kaap, the Malay quarter of the city, backing onto Signal Hill, is one of the most picturesque neighborhoods with its cobblestone streets, mosques and colorful houses.

Long Street, the street of restaurants, bars and nightclubs, with its terraces and wrought iron balconies, is reminiscent of New Orleans.

The Victoria and Albert Waterfront, a lively place by day and night, is a commercial center with more than four hundred stores, eighty restaurants and bars. Numerous art exhibitions and musical shows are organized there.

The Two Oceans Aquarium, with more than 3000 species, allows you to explore the marine life of the Indian and Atlantic Oceans.

Cape Town markets

Cape Town is home to many artists, designers and craftsmen who work with textiles, leather, ceramics, metal, etc.

The Watershed Theater, located at the Waterfront, is a space for the sale of handicrafts, African design exhibitions and temporary international exhibitions. A space is dedicated to children where they can practice activities.

The Neighbourgoods Market is a market that takes place every Saturday and Sunday from 9 am in a former cookie factory Old Biscuit Mill (373 Albert Road, Woodstock). Many artisans and designers exhibit their creations.

Culture in Cape Town

Cape Town, with its theaters, museums, exhibitions and festivals, is a dynamic city with an intense cultural life.

The Artscape theater is the main center of performing arts and offers ballets, theater, operas, etc.

The Baxter Theater is the major venue for live theater.

The Grand Arena hosts exhibitions, shows and concerts. The ice rink is located in this complex.

The Theatre on The Bay offers stand-up shows in its neoclassical building.

Festivals in Cape Town

Many festivals take place throughout the year in Cape Town.

The Tweede Newe Jaar is a street parade that takes place on January 2nd to commemorate the only day of rest that slaves had in Cape Town.

Gay Pride takes place at the end of February or the beginning of March.

The Cape Town International Jazz Festival takes place in April.

Heritage Day is held in September.

The Gay and Lesbian Film Festival is held in October.

The Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens hosts concerts during the summer.

Museums and galleries in Cape Town

The city of Cape Town is full of art galleries in the city center and in the Woodstock district. On the first Thursday of each month, the galleries stay open until 10 pm.

There are also many museums in Cape Town:

  • The MOCAA (Museum Of Contemporary Art Africa), a nine-story museum that houses 6,000 m2 of exhibitions in one hundred galleries.
  • The Heart of Cape Town Museum offers a guided tour of the first heart transplant performed by Professor Barnard in 1967.
  • The Iziko South African Museum is the oldest museum in the country. More than 1.5 million specimens are on display, including fossils, stone tools and re-enactments of indigenous peoples.
  • The District Six Museum,dedicated to the forcible eviction of the multi-racial community from the district by the Apartheid government in 1970.
  • The Castel of Good Hope, built in the 17th century, is one of the oldest buildings in Cape Town. It houses the William Fehr Collection: paintings and drawings from the late 17th to early 19th century. The military museum of the castle allows for discovering the military and political history of the Cape.
  • The Cape Town Sciences Center offers more than 250 exhibits covering disciplines such as mathematics, technology and engineering.

Outdoor activities in Cape Town

There are also many excursions, hikes and activities to do in Cape Town. Below are a few examples:

  • Table Mountain with its cable car to access the summit at an altitude of one thousand meters and contemplate the panorama on the city and the beaches.
  • Signal Hill, where Cape Towners come to picnic and admire the sunset in the ocean.
  • Lion's Head is a rocky peak that overlooks the city at 669 meters above sea level. It is part of Table Mountain National Park, and several hiking trails are available. For thrill-seekers, it is possible to fly over Cape Town from Lion's Head by paraglider.
  • Robben Island was, for nearly 400 years, a place of exile. During Apartheid, many political opponents were detained there, including Nelson Mandela, who spent 27 years there. The museum also offers guided tours with a former political prisoner of the island.
  • The Kirstenbosch botanical garden, which covers 528 hectares on the slopes of Table Mountain.
  • The beach of Camps Bay, bordered by 1000-meter-high cliffs
  • "The 12 Apostles" is considered one of the most beautiful beaches in the world and is nicknamed "the little Saint Tropez".

Sports activities in Cape Town

There are also many sports and arts and crafts clubs for children and adults in Cape Town.

The people of Cape Town are, for the most part, sports enthusiasts as spectators, but they also play sports both indoors and outdoors, as a team or individually, and the city offers a wide variety of clubs: soccer, cricket, rugby, etc. The choice is vast.

The Cape Town Tygerberg Football Association (CTTFA) has about 50 amateur soccer clubs in Cape Town. You can find them on their website.

Rugby fans will have the choice between more than 80 clubs under the umbrella of the Western Province Rugby Football Union (WPRFU).

The Atlantic Athletic Club (AAC) organizes running groups of various levels for inner-city residents.

The Mountain Club of South Africa (MCSA) offers hiking, climbing and expeditions to its members. The club has 14 chapters throughout South Africa and holds annual national meetings.

68 cricket clubs are affiliated with the Western Province Cricket Association (WPCA), and the Western Province Hockey Union has about 30 clubs around Cape Town.

Cape Town has 274 bike paths covering more than 60,800 kilometers, and clubs such as the City Cycling Club, the Cape Town Giants Cycling Club and the 100 Club organize regular outings.

There are many fitness clubs in Cape Town, the best-known being franchises such as Crossfit, Virgin Activ and Planet Fitness, but there are also many independent clubs.

Dance studios offer a variety of styles to suit all tastes: oriental dance offered by Soma, Salsa and Bachata at the Sensagria studio or at the Paradisio Academy, ballet at the Cape Ballet Centre or Ballet on the Kloof, modern jazz or Hip Hop at Ubu Dance Studio or pole dance at South Pole Studio.

Le Cap Sportif is an association open to French speakers and Francophiles living in Cape Town whose objective is to animate the community around sport, to promote the practice of sport and to support the development of sport in disadvantaged communities.

What's on in Cape Town is a full of information and addresses for sports, creative and other activities.

Other things to see and to do in Cape Town

If Capetonians are sporty, they also like to go out and there are dozens of places to go out in Cape Town during the week or on weekends. Long Street is the most festive street of the city and has many bars, restaurants and nightclubs. The Dubliner is one of the most popular bars and features live bands, the Beerhouse is known for having more brands of beer than anywhere else in the city, including craft beers from small producers. For pool lovers, Stone is the place to go. Zulu Bar and Ragazzi offer stand-up comedy nights and Quiz nights or sports event screenings are hosted by pubs.

There are many cocktail bars throughout the city: Wakame in Mouille Point, Asoka on Kloof Street, Beluga in Green Point, Bascule at the Waterfront and El Burro in Greenpoint is known for its Mexican cuisine and wide selection of tequilas.

Bars frequented by students include Stones Pool Hall or Café Obz in Observatory or the Brass Bell in Kalk Bay.

Many establishments offer happy hours, usually from 4 to 7 pm, and give discounts to students upon presentation of their card.

For those who want to spend sleepless nights on the dance floor, Fiction which is one of the oldest nightclubs in the city, the Waiting Room on Long Street, Loop on Loop Street or Decodance, a retro club very famous for its music from the 70s to the 90s, in Sea Point are the places to go. The Cocoon, Riebeek Street, offers a breathtaking view of the city from the 31st floor of the Absa Tower. The Coco Night Club is a chic venue on Loop Street where Coco Fridays and Coco Saturdays are key events.

Cape Town is one of the gayest and LGBT-friendly cities in the world, and there are many gay clubs such as Berta's in Woodstock, the Social Bar and Beefcakes in Greenpoint, the Pink Panther Night Club on Strand Street, the Zer021Social Club on Canterbury Street, etc.

The Waterfront Amphitheater offers concerts throughout the year.

There is so much to see and do in Cape Town that it is impossible to get bored, whether you are on vacation or living there.

Useful links:

City Sightseeing

Cape Town Tourism

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