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Words: Kit Heathcock Images: Supplied

Summer’s in the city and with the holidays looming, it’s time to forget the chores, slow down and see Cape Town from a new angle. Being a tourist in your own city is all about exploring at an unhurried pace, re-visiting old favourites – how long is it since you last went up Table Mountain? – and taking in newer attractions that you haven’t yet got around to. Make time for sundowners, fish and chips, wine-tasting and artisan ice creams and you’re all set for summer.

City Sightseeing

Ditch the car and see the Mother City from a new perspective on one of City Sightseeing’s open-top red double-decker buses. The hop-on hop-off tours are the perfect way to spend a day exploring the best of Cape Town and make a fun day out for kids, teens and adults. One ticket allows you to keep going all day, both on the short route over Kloof Nek to Camps Bay and the longer Blue Mini Peninsula route over Constantia Nek to Hout Bay.

Up Cycles

Or go for pedal power, and explore the Atlantic Seaboard on two wheels, freewheeling in carefree spirit along the Sea Point promenade, with cycle hire by the hour from Up Cycles. They have drop-and-go stations in the CBD, V&A Waterfront, the Sea Point Promenade and Camps Bay, so you can ride between points enjoying the views and get the My CiTi bus back when you’ve had enough.


The cutting-edge art museum is a must for visitors and locals, both for the largest collection of contemporary African Art in the world, and to marvel at the architecture and the rooftop sculpture garden. There’s a programme of workshops and events through December and January, the current exhibition being “21 years of SA fashion”. SA citizens get free entry on Wednesdays 10am to 1pm and half price on Friday evenings. Explore the vibey Silo District too, the Moët & Chandon Golden Tree an additional feature over the festive season.

World of Birds

This private bird and wildlife sanctuary in Hout Bay is a flutter with colourful birds and charming monkeys, and you can get up close in walk-through aviaries. Providing a home and rehabilitation to all sorts of rescued small mammals, reptiles and birds, the sanctuary is urgently fund-raising to stay open, so a visit supports them in their good work, while making a memorable outing for the whole family.

Table Mountain sunset special

Where better to enjoy a quintessential Cape Town sundowner than from the top of Table Mountain? Take your own drinks and snacks and watch the sun slip into the ocean from the best vantage point in the city. SA citizens get half price tickets after 6pm (until 19 December and again 3 January to 28 February), so it’s the perfect opportunity to enjoy one of the new 7 Wonders of Nature in style.

Free fun

Cape Town has so many iconic public spaces that kids love: the squirrels and huge trees in The Company’s Garden, riding bikes in Green Point Urban Park, and mountain streams in Newlands Forest. Geocaching is a fun way to engage older kids in exploring the city: a GPS directed treasure hunt game with geocaches hidden all over the city, containing a log sheet and sometimes small treasures to exchange for one of your own.


You can’t be a tourist in Cape Town without exploring at least some of Table Mountain National Park. Take a picnic to Silvermine and swim in the reservoir, head to Cape Point for a hike and to explore the coves and beaches, visit the penguins at Boulders Beach or bag a braai spot at Oudekraal. Cape Town residents can buy a TMNP My Green Card to get all these entries at a fraction of the regular price.

It’s no hardship spending the holidays at home in Cape Town. Besides the beaches, our family favourites include picnics in Silvermine, Company Gardens for the Iziko museums and the squirrels, exploring Kirstenbosch, and hanging out at the V&A Waterfront watching the buskers and the boats, and the Cape Wheel.
Jenny Poole

Experience it for yourself:

Nature for locals

For the cost of one entry into Cape Point, Cape Town residents can get a Table Mountain National Park My Green Card, valid for 12 entries over the year into Cape Point, Silvermine, Boulders Beach and Oudekraal. Entries can be used for local friends and family members too. Check out SANParks’ website for more details at

More things to do:

  • Tuning the Vine on 12 December
  • Galileo Open Air Cinema
  • Kirstenbosch Carols by Candlelight
  • Kirstenbosch Summer Sunset Concerts
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