When considering visiting South Africa, Cape Town is a destination that tops the to-do list for most inbound travellers. Table Mountain, beaches, golf courses, wine estates…the Mother City, as locals call it, and its surrounds offer the full package to visitors.
But Cape Town is known for its temperamental weather, so when the unpleasant weather hits the city, what do tourists do?
There’s a whole world beyond the mountains and beaches that many travellers may not know about and Tourism Update has put together a list of things visitors to the Western Cape can do when poor weather hits.
Two Oceans Aquarium feedings
Home to over 8 000 living sea creatures, this state-of-the-art aquarium at the V&A Waterfront offers visitors the opportunity to see various sea animals being fed. Turtles and stingrays are fed daily at 12h00 and 14h00; animals in the kelp forest are fed on Wednesdays at 13h00; sharks on Sundays at 15h00; and penguins at 11h30 and 14h30 daily.
All-weather theme park
Bugz Play Park is the largest playpark in the Western Cape, and offers entertainment through all weather types. Indoors, a large play area offers activities, rides and games, with a tuckshop and restaurant available for food and beverage purchases.
Image credit: Cape Town Kid
Cape Town Diamond Museum
In the Clock Tower at the V&A Waterfront, visitors can take a tour of the diamond museum, seeing authentic artefacts and stories; and learning about diamonds, from formation to the final polished stone. The Shimansky Diamond Experience Tour is the only of its kind in Cape Town.
Big Box Café
An interesting concept, Big Box is known for its board games – from dice games to wooden and strategy games. A unique menu is available, and the café is wheelchair, deaf and child friendly.
Image credit: Interframemedia
Hope on Hopkins Distillery
Known for its gins, Hope on Hopkins handcrafts three flagship gins, two vodkas, and has a variety of limited-release gins. It also offers gin tasting sessions, and is situated in Salt River.
Image credit: Cape Town Travel
HintHunt Escape Games
The Old Biscuit Mill in Woodstock is a well-known attraction in Cape Town, but not many tourists know of the Escape Game, where a group of three to six players have to solve riddles, puzzles and mysteries to ‘escape’ from a locked room within 60 minutes. Children from age 15 and up can take part.
Image credit: Horux.co
While the Cape is known for its scenic golf courses, it has the indoor variety as well. Cave golf at the V&A Waterfront is an 18-hole putt-putt course that offers a variety of challenging angles, uneven surfaces, steep hills and obstacles. The course has been rated as relatively difficult, but is suitable for all ages.
Image credit: Scratch Patch
The Planetarium offers a multimedia experience, where children can learn about astronomy through a production that incorporates playful characters; while adults can watch a screening of the relationship between the oceans and space. Visitors can also walk through the South African Museum after experiencing the Planetarium, to view whale skeletons and dinosaur fossils.
At the Cape Town Science Centre, visitors can experience multiple floors of interactive displays and activities – including the Human Gyroscope, which simulates the feeling of weightlessness that astronauts experience in space.
Image credit: Holidays and Kids.
Out-of-the-ordinary things to do
- See an Africa Wrestling Alliance (AWA) wrestling match.
- Learn about the first human heart transplant at Groote Schuur Hospital, in the interactive museum, through a virtual tour.
- Indulge in the Long Street Turkish Baths, which offer a 25-metre indoor pool as well as saunas and steam rooms for men and women.
Ways of Wellness Spa
The first organic beauty salon in Cape Town, the health centre in Kenilworth offers numerous one-of-a-kind treatments, including the fish therapy, as well as traditional spa treatments.
Cape Town Comedy Club
The Cape Town Comedy Club at the V&A Waterfront hosts shows every Wednesday and Saturday that feature both renowned comedians as well as up-and-coming performers. Each performance is led by a host and headline act, followed by a supporting comedian and open-mic act. An on-site restaurant and bar are also available.
Casa Labia Cultural Centre
Built in 1929, this national monument is home to a contemporary art gallery, featuring solo and group exhibitions which change regularly. It was the former residence of the Count and Countess Natale Labia. Visitors can enjoy music concerts, art classes and lectures here.
Based in Woodstock, Lady Bonin’s offers tea tastings and pairings, along with a high tea option. The venue also has South Africa’s first take-away tea bar, with over 45 different teas to choose from. The Ceremony Room takes visitors through a range of traditional tea ceremonies.
The Fugard Theatre is situated in what used to be the Congregational Church Hall. It is named after the great playwright Athol Fugard, and there are regular performances at the theatre, from piano recitals to comedy shows.
Bay Harbour indoor market
The Bay Harbour market in Hout Bay is situated in an authentic fish factory in a working harbour, and brings local traders together to offer visitor everything from arts and crafts to freshly baked breads, seafood, and fruit. The market also offers entertainment from local bands.
Must-see museums in Cape Town
- Koopmans-de Wet House: the oldest ‘house’ museum in the country, this museum was known for helping orphans and widows during the SA war.
- Rust en Vreugd: originally the home of a high-ranking official of the Dutch East India Company in 1777, this property now hosts a private collection of works of art on paper, including watercolours, prints and drawings – a donation by William Fehr.
- Bo-Kaap Museum: situated in one of the most iconic areas in Cape Town, the museum pays tribute to the role that the Muslim residents of the area played in the history of Cape Town, and portrays the lifestyle of a 19th-century Muslim family.
- District Six Museum: established in 1994, the museum explores the mixed community of freed slaves, merchants, artisans, labourers and immigrants from around 1960.
- Castle of Good Hope: a true step back in time, this castle, built in 1666, is the oldest known surviving building in SA, and is home to the Military Museum as well as the African pottery collection.
- Springbok Experience Rugby Museum: an interactive journey through the fascinating history of SA rugby.