It’s been far too long since I’ve blogged, but that doesn’t mean that I haven’t been doing fun stuff, I’ve just been struggling to find more hours in the day to fit it all in and then blog about it too! It sometimes feels like I need to get out of the cage a bit and who am I to deny my own self its’ freedom? Right.
One of my recent adventures has been to Crystal Pools in Steenbras Nature Reserve (near Gordon’s Bay). It’s a short hike (under and hour and quite an easy one) and you are rewarded with crystal clear natural pools straight out of a National Geographic magazine.
If you’re feeling particularly adventurous, there are quite a few rocks that you can jump off into the pools. You can start off with a 3 metre one, just to test the waters so to speak and then progress to higher ones until you reach your fear limit.
The highest jump is 30 metres, but be careful as anything higher than 20 metres can be really dangerous, even fatal, if jumped incorrectly! I stopped at 8 metres so that I don’t damage my already problematic back. The fear is real, people, even at a safe height, it’s a mind-over-matter battle. Quite ridiculous, really…
These guys below are standing just below the 30m jumping spot… whose keen?
You’ll need to buy a permit beforehand at R60 before they’ll let you in, so email your name, group size, contact number and date you wish to visit the area to firstname.lastname@example.org in order to obtain these. You’ll have to print it out and take with you on the day.
Here’s a great find, guys, and my first ‘Cape Escape’. Beaverlac is an unassuming camping spot just 2 or so hours outside of Cape Town in the Cederberg. Please don’t freak out – I’m not the biggest camping fan but I can do it for a few nights if it’s a beautiful spot and the facilities are good. This spot has both, so we’re all good. There are chalets to rent as well, if you can’t bring yourself to do the tent thing. I won’t judge you.
The main attraction at Beaverlac is their beautiful natural rock pools.
The Main Pool is a great swimming and ‘lounging around on a lilo’ spot. The best part about this pool, though, is the sheer rock face that allows for fantastic fun jumping into the pool. It’s more of a mind game than anything else and it looks easy from the bottom, but when you get up there and peer over the edge, it starts to get a bit hairy. It’s not that far to jump and the pool is so deep that you won’t hit the bottom, but it’s still a game of coaxing yourself over that edge because your mind all of a sudden tells you that you have rocks in your head.
The Secret Pool is not that much of a secret, but if you’re wanting a free natural massage, the secret is to head on to the waterfall and let the water give you an organic head, neck and shoulders massage (trust me to find a way to have an exclusive spa treatment in the middle of nowhere!).
The Totem Pool provides a nice adventure too. I didn’t manage to get to these (because of my stooopid back preventing me from hiking), but a hour or so hike and you get these pools all to yourself with even higher and crazier jumping opportunities, if you feel that those rocks in your head weren’t heavy enough the first time. (Image cred: cape-hike.co.za)
It’s great for a weekend getaway and cheap as chips. Note that booking is required and you can also bring your pooch along for an extra R50 per day! All info here.
Exploring this beautiful city does not need to cost you money. We are lucky enough to have all of this nature and culture and opportunity around us constantly, so it’s easy to tap into when you’re on month-end 2-minute noodles (or anytime, really). Since I moved to Cape Town just under 7 months ago, I have managed to explore the crap out of it without even making a dent. What is even more exciting is that a lot of what you do here doesn’t have to cost you much, or can cost you nothing at all.
I’m constantly doing something fun (and posting my pics to Instagram as proof – ha ha) and my Facebook album “Exploring Cape Town” has become too full to manage anymore. It’s time I started sharing this stuff with you in categories, I guess! So here’s the top things to do in Cape Town for under R100, based on my experience in the past 7 months of living in and loving beautiful Cape Town!
Picnicking on Chapman’s Peak
Here’s a familiar scenario for you. Sunday afternoon, lazy, month-end and no money. Bored.
Option 1: Catch up on series and eat home made popcorn
Option 2: Nap
Option 3: Grab a book, a picnic blanket, a bottle of wine and a friend and go chill on Chapman’s Peak. You’re likely to see something in that water. I’ve often sat and watched dolphins playing in Hout Bay and on this day, caught a pair of whales having a frolick in the bay!
Cost: Nothing. Only a bottle of wine out of your wine rack.
One of my favourites! There are so many hiking trails to choose from that you can find one to suit your specific needs and abilities quite easily.
If you don’t have buddies who are into that, join Meetup and join a hiking group already organised, planned and ready to rock.
Cost: Nada, zilch, niks.
Failed at running due to back issues and trying to strengthen up again with regular walking, biokinetics, blah blah blah. That doesn’t stop me from joining the local races. My favourite is the Park Runs, which are timed 5km runs in various spots all over SA. It’s at 8am every Saturday and if you’re on Discovery, you earn Vitality points for them too! Walkers are welcome and so are dogs. It’s super-chilled. I mean, that is not even my dog. And I just met that other person at the run.
Grab your bike and go somewhere
Another favourite thing to do is just grab my bicycle and ride somewhere pretty. This is Lower Tokai Park and the route is about 6km and flat. Easy to peddle around a few times and easy to jog around. Kids and pets and horses and bicycles all welcome.
Cost: Zero again. See, I wasn’t lying!
Hit the waves!
Cape Town water is fecking cold. And I’m a little scared of waves. But there’s only so much I can keep myself occupied with on the beach so I decided to try body boarding! Blouberg’s Big Bay and Muizenberg are great places to rent some gear and get into the waves. It’s so much fun, I thought my heart was going to explode. I don’t care that I was partying it up with the 7 year olds in the sea, I was happy as a pig in mud.
(I’ve since upgraded to “real” surfing and the fun factor increased substantially)
Cost: R100 for wetsuit and body board rental for 1,5 hours at Surf Emporium in Muizenberg. Surf board hire: R70.
Picnic in Kirstenbosch Botanic Gardens
Kirstenbosch Botanic Gardens is breathtakingly beautiful and their new Boomslang Walkway is pretty rad too. Take a walk and picnic basket and have a nap on the grass.
Cost: R50 entrance for adults
Get your culture on at the National Gallery
You really should get all that culture on if you’re going to be in Cape Town. A good start is the South African National Gallery in Company Gardens. Take a journey through the years with art.
Cost: R30 for adults
Chill with the squirrels in Company Gardens
They’re so cute. Daring, but cute. I try and chase their tails because they feel like fluffy bottle washers. I probably shouldn’t but I do.
GREAT spot, guys, GREAT spot. Super chilled and beautiful. You can braai here too, which is pretty cool. And also tan without getting covered with sand, if that’s what you’re into. The rock pools are freezing, but worth a daring dip.
Cost: R30 for adults. Free for Wild Card holders
Visit the local seals in Hout Bay and devour the fish and chips
Hout Bay has their own little seal community, who hang around the harbour waiting for fish offcuts from the fishing boats. They’re pretty cool. Often angry at being disturbed, but mostly just pretty cool.
Fish on the Rocks is a great spot for some local fishy goodness and the outside area has a beautiful view of the bay. You’ll probably have some seals swimming around in front of you there too.
A glorious day out also calls for a boat trip out to “Seal Island”. It’s heavily touristic but is actually quite fun being out on the open water, seeing the bay from a different perspective. As a bonus, you’ll feel like you’re in another country because you’ll be the only South African on the boat 😉
Cost: Your fish and chips will cost you under R100, I assure you. A Seal Island cruise on the “Calypso” is R65 per adult.
Walk/jog on the Sea Point promenade at sunset
Because if you don’t, you are wasting your life. Just saying.
Wine tasting in Constantia
Okay, so this one barely makes the cut merely because you won’t go to a place for just one wine tasting. You’ll likely order something to eat as well (I highly recommend the cheese board at Constantia Glen) or move on to another farm for another tasting. If you’re clever, you can make it work nicely for you, though.
Most people head out to Paarl, Stellenbosch or Franschhoek for wine days, but the Constantia Wine Route holds some gems as well and is nice and close for those in the Southern Suburbs. Beau Constantia‘s tasting room view is phenomenal.
Cost: R30-R50 for tastings. Beau Constantia charges R30 for three wines, Constantia Glen charges R50 for 6 wines.
And there it is, folks! I will explore some more and write another one of these in the near future I’m sure! If you have any ideas of your own, please send them my way too by commenting on this post.