Activities / Western Cape

A Guide To Entertaining Any Visitor To Cape Town

Updated Wednesday, 2 January 2019

Ever noticed how popular Cape Town is? You just have to look at how many Gautengers have moved here, or the many Europeans, for that matter, to realise that Cape Town really is the happening capital of South Africa.

But because it is popular, it’s also a place many people come to visit. And usually they stay with you. Not everyone is going to understand your partiality, after a week of hard week, for a good book and a DVD (Table Mountain, pah, who needs it!).

Here is our handy list of activities, aimed at a variety of guests, to get you through even the toughest weekend entertaining visitors in Cape Town…

A Guide To Entertaining Any Visitor To Cape Town

A Guide To Entertaining Any Visitor To Cape Town

1. THE GUEST: YOUR SISTER AND HER CHILDREN

The best thing to do with children in the house is to get out!

If you don’t want mud traipsed into the Persian, hand marks on the walls, or pots and pans on the floor whilst the three year old practices his drum rolls, take to the hills with any of these:

  • Art Jamming – not just for kids; pump creativity and colour to a chill out beat; walk in, allow your imagination to run riot. No instructions or classes to hinder creativity; no painting skills required.
  • Cool Runnings – the greatest fun ever, kids love this toboggan track that serves as Cape Town’s summer version of snow tobogganing. It isn’t just for kids.
  • Eastern Food Bazaar – reasonable priced, vibey atmosphere, food without fuss, 11am – 10pm. If you don’t mind it mildly spicy, the food is basic but good.
  • Fish and Chips in Simon’s Town – the best place to eat fish ‘n chips in Cape Town, the Salty Sea Dog has been a fish market since 1925. Make a trip of it, catch the Cape Town to Simon’s Town train line.

A Guide To Entertaining Any Visitor To Cape Town

  • Iziko Planetarium – perfect for rainy days, this celestial theatre in the round transports the audience through the wonders of the universe by recreating the night sky.
  • Learn to surf in Muizenberg – there are at least three surf shops selling their coaching wares, so shop around for the best price. They all agree on one thing: Muizenberg is the best spot to learn quickly and safely.
  • MTN ScienCentre – aimed at children of all ages, this is a world-class interactive science centre with over 280 displays, an auditorium and camera obscura.
  • Sandboarding – tandem run specially designed for parents with kids, head to the Atlantic sand dunes for hours of fun; stand up or lie down boarding.
  • Swim with penguins at Boulders Beach – not only a pretty beach, but the white sands are home to one of only two mainland penguin colonies.
  • Two Oceans Aquarium – one of Cape Town’s favourite tourist destinations, you can’t go wrong with a visit here. Stroll the quay afterwards to spot the seals.

A Guide To Entertaining Any Visitor To Cape Town

2. THE GUEST: YOUR PARENTS IN-LAW

This selection of interesting, and slightly more sophisticated, entertainment will have your parents in-law out of the house more than they are in. And you get to look good in the bargain.

  • Cape Care Route – for a tour of the ‘other’ side of Cape Town. This route visits several projects in the townships and the suburbs. A trip guaranteed to make you look good.
  • Cape Philharmonic Orchestra – you may even find you enjoy 300-year old fugues, Prokofiev or Beethoven (leave Britten and Wagner for later).
  • District Six Museum – an incredible repository on the forced removal of this ‘whites only’ zone in Cape Town during 1965; should keep them occupied for hours.
  • High Tea at the Mount Nelson – no visit to Cape Town is complete without this experience; it’s hard to resist a mountain of sandwiches, cakes, tarts, pies, scones and petit fours.
  • Jou Ma se Comedy Club – to lighten the atmosphere (not if they’re the ‘sensitive’ type).

A Guide To Entertaining Any Visitor To Cape Town

  • Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens – hook mom and dad up with one of the volunteer guided tours through the gardens to take the pressure off you (it’ll take hours). Plenty of shade and benches.
  • Neighbourgoods Market – the Old Biscuit Mill is the best place for breakfast on a Saturday morning, and you may easily get lost in the crowd
  • Open-top Bus Tour around Cape Town – the best way to see Cape Town. Buy them a two-day ticket and they can hop-on and hop-off their way around the city, the peninsula, the Constantia wine route, and out of your home.
  • Oranjezicht City Farm Organic Market – you’re bound to need two Saturday’s worth of outings, and the Oranjezicht market, now at their new venue in the Granger Bay Precinct on Beach Road, is a must-do…
  • Tour of Robben Island – an island 12 km offshore, guaranteed to take the better part of a day. However, avoid if either parent is prone to motion sickness.

A Guide To Entertaining Any Visitor To Cape Town

3. THE GUEST: YOUR OLD ‘VARSITY FRIEND

A chance to get out and about, but also to explore the bits of Cape Town you never manage to get to. If you’re not having fun, neither are they:

  • A Parliamentary Session – it may not live up to SONA standards, but perhaps the honourable members of the opposition, or the red berets, will heckle Zuma to pay back the money…
  • Bathe at Long Street Baths – if nothing else you can upload a couple of pics of the inside of this historic bathhouse, and Turkish baths, to Instagram.
  • Beerhouse on Long – with 25 taps, and 99 bottles of local and international beers, you would have to seriously hate beer to pass up the opportunity.
  • Cape Town Evening Cycle – hit the streets after sundown; it’s a great way to see the city as a visitor, and a rather unique experience.
  • Coffee Culture at Origin – coffee partner to Oway’s tea shop in Claremont, you haven’t done coffee until you’ve done Origin.

A Guide To Entertaining Any Visitor To Cape Town

  • Labia Theatre on Orange – the only independent movie house in the city. You know you want to support it.
  • Pink Flamingo Rooftop Cinema – make sure to look as though you’ve been on the roof of the Grand Daddy Hotel, alongside the Airstream Penthouse Trailer Park, at least once before.
  • Red Sofa Cafe – good coffee, good vibes, people to watch, WiFi – what more do you need?
  • The Dogs Bollocks – this is not a fine dining experience, but the burgers are good.
  • Walk up Lion’s Head – iconic; only once you’re at the top will you understand why.

These lists don’t cut it? Here are a further 2216 different things do in Cape Town.

A Guide To Entertaining Any Visitor To Cape Town

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