One of the realities of being a student is that you’re often cash-strapped. The good news is that you don’t need tons of money to have loads of fun in Cape Town. Here are a few ideas.
Want to explore?
There are plenty of fabulous places to discover on the Cape Peninsula. Visit some by paying R35 for a train ticket to hop on and off the Southern Line Rail Route between Cape Town and Simon’s Town. Grab a cup of coffee or bodysurf at Muizenberg; stop for fish and chips in Kalk Bay; and snap a selfie with the famous Great Dane, Just Nuisance, in Simon’s Town. Go to www.cttrains.co.za.
Take a drive to Kommetjie where a guided tour of the Slangkoppunt Lighthouse – it’s the tallest lighthouse in the southern hemisphere – costs just R10 with your student card. Climb the 144 stairs to the top and you’ll be rewarded with a magnificent view of the coastline. Go to www.kommetjie.org.
Or explore some of the nooks and crannies of historical Cape Town on a Free Walking Tour. These leave from Green Market Square daily at 11:00 and 14:20 – no bookings necessary. You’ll recognise the Nielsen Tours Guide by his or her bright green umbrella. Go to www.nielsentours.co.za.
Cabin fever set in after too many hours indoors? Or maybe your legs are restless and your lungs need airing? Take advantage of some excellent hiking routes, which don’t cost a cent. Head up Lion’s Head or Platteklip Gorge for some cardio walking or take a cooler, less energetic amble through Newlands Forest. Always follow mountain safety rules and preferably hike in groups. Go to www.capetown.travel.
If you’re a runner, there are some lovely, free trail running routes near campus too, including the 5.3 km Devil’s Peak route from the top of Devil’s Peak Estate to Rhodes Memorial. The Constantia Green Belt is another popular route that is a little longer at 9 km, but moderate in terms of terrain and gradient. Go to www.mapmyrun.com.
Then, if the weather’s warm and you fancy swimming surrounded by the sounds, sights and smells of the sea, but the Atlantic Ocean is too chilly for your liking, the Sea Point Pavilion pool is the perfect place. Entry is just R23. Go to www.capetown.gov.za.
Longing to be among the beasts, birds and blossoms?
Situated in the Cape Town suburb of Grassy Park, Rondevlei Nature Reserve covers 290 hectares and is home to over 20 mammal species, including eland, genet, grysbok, hippo, otter and porcupine. There are also more than 250 species of indigenous plants and countless bird species with several hides to view them from. Entry is just R12. Go to www.capebirdclub.org.za.
Or, for just R15, you can visit the Rietvlei Wetlands Reserve near Milnerton, which is inhabited by an even larger variety of birds. The reserve comprises a permanent freshwater lake, shallow pans, extensive reed beds, true riverine habitat and a tidal lagoon. Go to www.friendsofrietvlei.co.za.
If your idea of connecting with nature is a walk on the beach, the Muizenberg Moonlight Meander takes place at 18:00 every Saturday closest to full moon, starting in front of Knead Bakery. Go to www.safertogether.org.
But, if you prefer your slice of nature closer to the city, the Green Point Urban Park is a unique spot nestled between Green Point and the ocean with lovely views of Signal Hill, a labyrinth to walk, plants to admire and lawns to lie on. Go to www.gprra.co.za.
Want to experience something new?
There’s no snow, but that doesn’t mean you can’t toboggan in Cape Town. In Tygervalley, Cool Runnings’ stainless steel track has 17 S-bends, corners and a tunnel. For R55 a run, adrenaline junkies can get their fix of high-speed fun. Go to www.coolrunnings.capetown.
Something else you might consider is joining the free Moonlight Mass cycling tour around Cape Town each month at full moon. Get a bike and meet fellow riders at Green Point Circle at 20:00 in winter and 21:00 in summer. Go to www.facebook.com/CriticalMassCapeTown.
Feeling culturally inclined?
On the first Thursday evening of every month, art galleries and other cultural venues showcase Cape Town talent during free First Thursdays events. With no structured tour and no schedule to follow, you are free to stroll from gallery to gallery. Go to www.first-thursdays.co.za.
If you love books and being surrounded by literary folk, the Book Lounge at 71 Roeland Street hosts amazing free book launches and literary events. Sign up for the newsletter or go to the website to find out what’s planned. Go to www.booklounge.co.za.
Want to learn how to meditate? The Tushita Buddhist Centre offers free introductory meditation classes that are perfect for both beginners and those with some knowledge of meditation. Go to www.meditateincapetown.org.
Want to chill with friends?
In addition to having stalls with locally crafted curios, food and drink, 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 to 21:00, Saturdays from 09:30 to 16:00 and Sundays from 09:30 to 16:00. Go to www.bayharbour.co.za.
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All photographs UCT, Pexels, Freepik.