20 Things to do in Cape Town for under R50

There is so much one can do in Cape Town without having to fork out an arm and leg. Moneybags writer, Alina Hardcastle takes a look at 20 ways to explore the city for R50 or less.

  1. Find gemstones at the Scratch patch

Do you know that almost half of the world’s gemstones can be found in South Africa? The Scratch Patch and Mineral World in both the V&A Waterfront and in Simon’s Town is the place to go digging for gemstones. This is an inexpensive activity and popular with most age groups.

Cost: You can purchase a small bag of gemstones for R17.

  1. Play putt putt at Cave golf

Enjoy a game of putt-putt at V&A Waterfront. You can partake in this activity during your lunch break or on the weekend with the family. They are open daily between 9:00 and 17:00.

Cost: R15 per player

  1. Have a bite to eat at Xpresso Café

In need of a cup of coffee at a reasonable price? Xpresso Café, claims it is South Africa’s best priced coffee shop franchise as it is selling everything on its menu for only R10 each. According to a recent post on their Facebook page and information on their website, the trendy and upmarket coffee shop offers a wide selection of goods such as pastries, sandwiches, freshly squeezed juices and more.

Cost: Everything on the menu is priced at R10

  1. Visit the MTN Science centre

The MTN Science Centre is a great place for families to play around with science. The environment helps inspire individual self-guided learning. There are interactive displays, a fun building site where kids can build house, solve puzzles, and so much more.

Cost:  R50 for adults and youth (3-18 years old); and R25 for pensioners.

  1. Watch a movie at The Labia Theatre

The Labia Theatre is the oldest independent cinema in the country, and they usually have a great mix of arthouse and blockbuster films showing on their screens. To see current movie times, click here.

Cost: All the shows cost R45 per person

  1. Get an ice-cream sandwich from Crumbs and Cream

We realise that R35 for an ice-cream sandwich might seem a bit much, but it’s worth it. Crumbs and Cream offer a variety of cookie and ice flavours as well as delicious toppings.

Cost: R35

  1. Attend First Thursdays

First Thursday, which takes place very first Thursday of the month, is an event that is free to the public. Art galleries and cultural events will stay open until 21:00 or later. There is no set schedule nor is there a tour guide. So make use of the highlight spots on First Thursday website as where you go is completely up to you. If you don’t know your way around the CBD, familiarise yourself with the highlights page on their website, and the specific event you would like to attend using Google Maps.

Cost: free

  1. Lion’s Head

There are some free hiking spots all around Cape Town. Lion’s Head is one of the most popular, although it might seem challenging; it rewards you with an amazing view once you reach the top.  Make sure to follow mountain safety rules.

Cost: free

  1. Live music and entertainment at the Bay Harbour Market

Aside from the stalls where you can buy locally made and crafted gifts and curios, the Bay Harbour Market has live music that you can enjoy for free. Local artists entertain the crowd and keep the vibe going all day and into the evening. It’s open on Fridays from 17:00 until 21:00, Saturdays from 9:30 until 16:00 and on Sundays from 9:30 until 16:00.

Cost: free

  1. Enjoy an ice-skating session at the Ice Station at Grandwest Casino

This one is for the entire family. Enjoy fun filled entertainment, colour lights, and music. Ticket prices include entrance to the Ice Station and the hire of one pair of ice skates.

Cost: R49 or less for a ticket before the 21:00 session.

  1. Free beginners classes at Yogalife

Yogalife offers free beginner classes on Monday and Thursday at 19:30 and on Sunday at 17:00. These classes are taught in an unheated room and very accessible. The instructor breaks down the postures allowing everyone to go at their own pace. This special is valid for one week.

Cost: free

  1. Take a stroll through the Company’s Garden

The Company’s Garden is situated right in the heart of the city centre of Cape Town. It was planted by the Dutch East India Company in 1652 to produce fresh fruit and vegetables for the ships that were sailing along the spice trade route between Europe and East Indies, via Cape Town.

Cost: free 

  1. Rose picking at Chart Farm

The Chart Farm boasts a wide variety of roses, with many well-loved for their scent. Roses are available to “Pick-your-own” as well as ready picked and for special orders. Secateurs and buckets are supplied at the farm stall.

Costs:  R5 per rose picked – so if you pick ten you can stick to your R50 budget. However, roses are R3 each on Sundays..

  1. Children’s grape juice tastingat Spier

This is great way to keep the youngsters busy with a tasting of three different grape juices and educational activity highlighting the role insects play in Spier’s vineyard.

Cost: R35 per person

  1. Enjoy a Citysightseeing Harbour cruise

Enjoy a 25 minute long cruise. Spot the seals and enjoy the city in a whole new light from the sea.  

Cost: R40 per person (R35 if you book online) and R20 for kids

  1. Take a hop-on-hop off train trip along the Southern Line rail route

The Southern Line Rail Route stretches between Cape Town and Simon’s Town. Besides it being a great way of getting from A to B, it’s also a relaxing way of seeing Cape Town’s varied scenes.

Cost: R35 for the hop-on, hop-off ticket

  1. Explore the V&A Waterfront on a self-guided historical walk

The V&A Waterfront, situated at the heart of Cape Town’s working harbour, has a rich and varied history that can be traced back as far as 1654. A great way to discover the stories of this iconic site’s past and its’ 22 landmarks is to do a self-guided historic walk. Simply grab a map at the Information Centre and off you go.

Cost: free

  1. Dine at the Honest Chocolate Café

Honest Chocolate is a small artisanal chocolate company based in Wale Street. Enjoy dairy-free handmade chocolate made from raw ingredients and organic Ecudorian cacao with no preservative or artificial flavouring; and their signature banana bread bunny chow.

Cost: Almost everything on the menu is under R50

  1. Partake in Promenade Mondays

This weekly event starts at Queens Beach Parking lot (the last parking lot along the Promenade before you get to Bantry Bay) at 18:00 every Monday evening. This is a fun way to explore the Sea Point Promenade. You need something with skates i.e. a skateboard, long board, rollerblades, roller-skates etc. in order to get the most out this. The event was created in celebration of lifting of the ban on skateboarding and rollerblading along this area.

Cost: Free

  1. Take your kids to play at the Blue Train Park

The Blue Train Park has been in operation for more than 55 years. The property is approx 3500m2, less than 25m from the Atlantic Ocean with a backdrop of Lionshead, Signal Hill and Table Mountian. Now an iconic feature to Cape Town’s beautiful seaside landscape, this park with its miniature blue train captures the youthful fantasies of both young and old. The park is open from Tuesday until Sunday between 9:30 and 18:00.

Cost: R20 per person (which includes one free train ride). Kids under the age of two years do not pay general access however they must be accompanied by a guardian for which normal fees apply.