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21 Free Things to Do in Cape Town for the Budget-Savvy

21 Free Things to Do in Cape Town for the Budget-Savvy

Did you know that behind Cape Town’s fancy vibes and attractions, there’s a whole bunch of cool stuff you can do for free?

From soaking up killer views at Table Mountain to free walking tours, the city offers fantastic experiences that won’t break the bank. Here are the top things to do in Cape Town for free!

Play volleyball with Friends Who Volley

Address: Clifton 1st Beach, Cape Town, Western Cape

Operating Hours:

  • Every Thursday – 5 PM until sunset

Friends Who Volley is a chill gig at Clifton 1st. Think beach volleyball, sunsets, and live music. 

Originally just a bunch of pals wanting to play some beach volleyball, it’s now in its third season and turned into Cape Town’s summer scene.

No need to be a pro; it’s all about having fun. Also, rumor has it that even Springbok Damian Willemse showed up for a game!

Pro Tip:
For optimal beach parking at Clifton, you should arrive early on weekends and during busy seasons; you can choose from the car parks at 3rd and 4th beach or along Victoria Road.

Go for a hike up Table Mountain and Signal Hill

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Route to Table Mountain

Route to Signal Hill

Hiking fans, Cape Town has you covered with Table Mountain and Signal Hill—perfect for a trek and picnic combo. Whether solo or with friends, you can soak in the scenic views and outdoor vibes.

When you aim to reach the top before sunset, you’re in for a memorable experience, soaking in the beauty of Cape Town and Camps Bay under the evening moon. It’s all about the adventure and nature mix in these fantastic spots.

Pro Tip:
You should be ready for fast-changing weather on the mountain, and watch out for the “table cloth,” a cloud cover that can cool things down and block the view. Stay prepared for these unexpected conditions!

Join the Free Walking Tours


Address: Motherland Coffee, St Georges Mall, Cape Town City Centre

Phone: +27 76 636 9007

Free Walking Tours is all about learning while having a good time, offering different tours like historical and Apartheid to Freedom walks. Their goal is to make exploring Cape Town easy for everyone, and they make it work on tips alone—no fixed fees.

They call it “infotainment” because it’s educational yet light-hearted. It’s a popular thing to do in Cape Town, drawing 50,000 guests annually who appreciate the freedom to decide the tour’s value through tipping.

Pro Tip:
You can show your appreciation for the awesome 1.5–2-hour tour with lively guides by considering a tip of at least 100 rand. It’s a worthwhile way to express your thanks!

Celebrate your birthday at Two Oceans Aquarium


Address: Dock Rd, Victoria & Alfred Waterfront, Cape Town, 8002, South Africa

Phone: +27 (0)21 418 3823

Operating Hours: Open daily – 9:30 AM to 6 PM

Two Oceans Aquarium, down in South Africa, is a cool spot where the Indian and Atlantic Oceans meet. It makes for a fun day out with lots of sea creatures to check out.

There are exhibits to teach you more about the animals and how to keep them safe. Oh, and on your birthday, you get in for free, so it’s a neat way to spend your big day with the underwater gang!

Pro Tip:
Boost your daily cardio with a breathtaking 5-kilometre run from Ferrymans Tavern to the Table Bay Hotel, surrounded by the stunning views of Table Mountain and the Atlantic Ocean.

Visit the Centre for the Book

Address: 62 Queen Victoria Street, Cape Town, 8001

Phone: +27 (0)21 423 2669 /+27 (0)12 401 9700

The Centre for the Book at the National Library of South Africa is all about getting people into reading, writing, and publishing in local languages. They set up cool events like reading tours and writing workshops to make literature more exciting.

With wood panels covering the walls, the interior of the place is warm and inviting, which just makes you want to grab a book. And hey, it’s conveniently close to some fancy hotels in Cape Town.

Pro Tip:
After exploring The Centre for the Book, take a brief stroll to discover the Company’s Gardens, a 17th-century public park with historical monuments, museums, and scenic views of Table Mountain. 

Have a picnic at the Green Point Urban Park

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Address: 1 Fritz Sonnenberg Rd, Green Point, Cape Town, 8051, South Africa

Phone: +27 (0)21 417-0111

Operating Hours: Open daily – 7 AM to 7 PM

The Green Point Urban Park is an ideal spot for picnics with family and friends, featuring multiple areas equipped with tables and benches. The park management welcomes dogs, allowing for leisurely walks amid the diverse flora and fauna.

Nature lovers can explore the biodiversity garden and trail to learn about the Western Cape’s flora and fauna. Plus, parents can relax with a drink while kids play in one of the three playground areas.

Pro Tip:
The park has free fitness equipment, cycling lanes, and scenic trails. Make the most of them during your workout.

Watch the sunset at Sea Point Promenade

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Address: Parallel to Beach Road, stretching from Mouille Point to Sea Point, Atlantic seaboard, Cape Town

Sea Point Promenade, known locally as the Prom, is a must-visit in Cape Town. Stretching from Mouille Point to Sea Point, it offers more than just a picturesque stroll along the water’s edge.

It also features an outdoor gym, kids’ playgrounds, and even an Olympic-sized pool. 

And, if you’re into stunning sunsets, this is hailed as one of the best sunset-viewing spots in Cape Town.

Pro Tip:
For a kid-friendly adventure, explore the Blue Train Park featuring the iconic ‘Old Lady’ Mini Blue Train, play areas, a mini-skate park, an obstacle course, climbing rocks, zip lines, and an Astroturf soccer pitch.

Treat your taste buds to a free toffee tasting at Darling Sweet


Address: 7A Long Street, Darling, 7345, Western Cape, South Africa.

Phone: +27 (0) 83 235 4002

Darling Sweet lets you experience the charm of old-fashioned toffee making, offering flavours like rooibos chai and ginger snap. The entire process, from production to cutting and packaging, is a hands-on affair for visitors to witness.

The toffee tasting is on the house, and you’re welcome to sample as many flavours as you fancy. It’s a delightful way to enjoy and learn about the artistry that goes into making their sweet treats.

Pro Tip:
The best time to go is on a weekday when the production facility is open from 8 am to 5 pm. You can watch the toffee makers at work from behind glass and enjoy a free tasting of their products.

Bike along the Camps Bay to Hout Bay

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As you cycle along the beachfront in Camps Bay, you’ll be treated to stunning vistas of Clifton, Camps Bay, and Lion’s Head. The route extends to Suikerbossie before descending into Hout Bay Village.

Once you hit the first set of traffic lights in Hout Bay, make a U-turn and tackle a short uphill stretch before enjoying a coastal ride back to Camps Bay. For those with extra energy, consider extending the journey to the scenic Chapman’s Peak Drive.

Pro Tip:
For an ideal evening in Hout Bay, enjoy a seaside stroll and savour a sunset dinner at Mariner’s Wharf to cap off your day.

Check out art galleries with First Thursdays


First Thursdays in Cape Town is a monthly event happening on the first Thursday of each month. It’s all about exploring the city’s arts and culture scene with late-night gallery openings and cultural events.

It’s totally free, so you can take your time and enjoy it all at your own pace. As the night unfolds, local bars, restaurants, and the lively crowd spill out onto the streets, creating a lively atmosphere that combines arts, culture, and great food and drink.

Pro Tip:
To plan your route, you can pick up a print map at any of the participating venues or download the First Thursdays app. You can also follow your curiosity and see where the night takes you.

Relax at De Waal Park 


Address: Molteno Rd, CBD, Cape Town, 8000, South Africa

Operating Hours: Open daily – 6 AM to 7 PM

De Waal Park, located in the heart of The City Bowl, is known for its diverse tree collection and friendly vibe, making it an ideal spot for both kids and adults to hang their hammocks for a nap.

Families often find it a perfect place to spend quality time together. For a visit, you should bring along a picnic basket, blanket, and hammock to unwind and enjoy a laid-back day in the sun.

Pro Tip:
If you’re up for more than just chilling, catch free summer music concerts in the park. It’s a perfect blend of nature and entertainment for a memorable day out.

Swim at St James Tidal Pool

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Address: Main Rd, Cape Town, South Africa

St James Tidal Pool, found below the railway line near St James Station in Cape Town, is quite the hotspot. Think of those postcard-perfect multicoloured changing huts. 

The best time to visit the pool is early on clear days, as it tends to get crowded.

There’s a family-friendly beach with a windshield, great for sun seekers and kids, while surfers can catch some waves too. There’s also a cool mural on the railway wall by The Beach Co-op; it’s all about greener cleaning for the city’s tidal pools.

Pro Tip:
For a smooth visit to St James Tidal Pool, be mindful of the nearby train tracks and watch younger kids. You can access the pool effortlessly through the undercover passage located beside Folk Cafe, directly accessible from Main Road.

Catch some waves at Muizenberg Beach

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Address: Beach Rd, Cape Town Central 7950 South Africa

Muizenberg Beach is a vibrant coastal spot known for its surfing scene, a tradition that’s been going strong for ages. You’ll love the laid-back atmosphere and the kind people there.

You can enjoy surfing all year round; the water always has awesome waves, no matter what the weather is. For the best experience, plan to get there early to dodge the traffic and catch the waves at their peak, especially during the winter season.

Pro Tip:
Het Posthuys, the oldest building on the False Bay coastline along Mainroad’s historical mile, offers a unique glimpse into South Africa’s early colonial history—a must-see with a captivating story.

Jog in a laid-back setting at Ratanga Park

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Address: 4 Conference Ln, Century City, Cape Town, 7441, South Africa

Phone: 021 552 6889

Ratanga Park, once Ratanga Junction, is a chill spot in Century City for a laid-back jog or leisurely walk. It’s not as crowded as other parks, giving you a quiet escape with cool views of canals and Table Mountain.

Now, it’s a free public space with open lawns, bridges, and a play area for the kiddos—perfect for family picnics or just hanging out. Whether you’re into jogging, family time, or simply enjoying greenery, Ratanga Park is a good spot to visit.

Pro Tip:
There’s a new highlight at Rantanga Junction: hop on the Century City Tramway for a delightful 20-minute ride around Century City on the historic railway line, creating lasting memories for you and the kids.

Trek along the Alphen Trail

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Address: 4 Conference Ln, Century City, Cape Town, 7441, South Africa

Phone: 021 552 6889

Alphen Trail in Constantia Valley is a great outdoor adventure with stunning views of Diep River and Constantiaberg Mountain. As you explore, you’ll see the Alphen Hotel, a national monument with captivating gardens and historical significance.

A scenic route along the Diep River, Alphen Trail offers a variety of views and experiences. You can cross the river on several bridges and explore both banks or enjoy the greenery and flowers of the Le Sueur Meadow near Hohenort. 

Pro Tip:
You can bring your dogs with you as long as they are on a leash and under control. There are also bins and bags provided for cleaning up after them. 

Enjoy the scenic views and fresh air at Cecilia Forest

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Address: Cecilia Forest Hiking Trail, Wynberg NU (2), Cape Town, 7824, South Africa

Cecilia Forest in Cape Town is a gem for nature lovers. The place is a picturesque blend of waterfalls, glades, and vibrant mossy surroundings, making it a perfect spot for a refreshing hike.

The mountain water adds to the charm, offering a drinkable delight. Start your journey from Hohenort Drive, where it intersects with Rhodes Drive in Newlands, and enjoy a serene and cost-free escape in the heart of Cape Town.

Pro Tip:
If you want to see Cecilia Forest’s waterfall, you have two options. You can either start from the car park near the forest or from Kirstenbosch Gardens.

If you choose the second option, you will have to climb up to a dam and then follow a ridge to the contour path. Look for signs that point to Rooikatkloof and Cecilia Ravine. 

Learn about the legend of Just Nuisance

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Address: St George’s St, Simon’s Town, Cape Town, 7995, South Africa

Just Nuisance Monument in Simon’s Town honours a Great Dane named Just Nuisance, a beloved friend to the Royal Navy. The dog often sported a sailor’s hat and attended events to uplift sailors’ morale.

You can learn more about this canine companion by visiting the Simon’s Town Museum, where you’ll find displays featuring his collar, papers, and photographs.

Pro Tip:
You can access Just Nuisance’s grave by car or a short hike from town for stunning bay and mountain views, but be ready for a challenging climb. Don’t forget to check out the dog’s bronze statue at Jubilee Square.

Listen to live music at the Bay Harbour Market


Address: 31 Harbour Rd, Hout Bay, Cape Town, 7872, South Africa

Phone: +27 84 370 5715

Bay Harbour Market is a lively spot where you can immerse yourself in an authentic South African vibe. Alongside unique handmade items, the market offers free live music by local talents, creating a lively and engaging atmosphere.

From leather goods to health products, there’s a diverse range of items to explore. Plus, you can savour freshly made local treats, seafood, wraps, and international cuisines with options catering to various dietary preferences.

Pro Tip:
The market is family-friendly and pet-friendly, so you can bring your kids and furry friends along. There are plenty of activities and games for the little ones, such as face painting, balloon twisting, and puppet shows.

Explore Groot Constantia with a free audio tour


Address: Groot Constantia Rd, Constantia, Cape Town, 7806, South Africa

Phone: +27 21 794-5128

Groot Constantia, a historic Cape wine farm since 1685, showcases impressive Dutch architecture. You can stroll by yourself through the beautiful grounds or opt for a more immersive experience with one of their free VoiceMap audio tours.

They have three different tours to choose from, each giving you the lowdown on different aspects of Groot Constantia’s history. It’s a pretty neat way to soak in the vibe and stories of this historic place.

Pro Tip:
If you have the budget, don’t miss the opportunity to taste some of the award-winning wines produced at Groot Constantia. You can sample up to five wines at the tasting room, or buy a bottle to take home. 

See vintage aircraft at South African Air Force Museum

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Address: Piet Grobler St, Ysterplaat Airbase, Cape Town, 7405, South Africa

Operating Hours:

  • Wednesday to Friday – 7 AM to 3 PM
  • Saturday – 8:30 AM to 12 PM

SAAF Museum, the second-largest military aviation museum in South Africa, lets you explore planes, uniforms, and aviation magazines for free. 

It showcases the SAAF’s history with exhibits on weapons, engines, and artefacts from the Royal Flying Corps.

The library is open on weekdays and has a bunch of aviation stuff for serious researchers. You can see the planes on Saturdays or whichever day you schedule an appointment.

Pro Tip:
You can support the museum by becoming a member of the Friends of the SAAF Museum, a volunteer organisation that helps with the restoration and maintenance of aircraft.

Stroll through the Durbanville Rose Garden

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Address: 33 Drakenstein Rd, Durbanville Hills, Cape Town, 7550, South Africa

Phone: 021 444 9587 / 021 976 3414

Operating Hours:

  • Open daily – 7 AM to 6 PM

Durbanville Rose Garden is a fantastic spot, known for its award-winning beauty. It’s a huge place with lots of different kinds of roses, from old to new, big to small, plain to fancy. 

You can walk around, enjoy the flowers’ sights and smells, and learn about their history and how they grow. The garden is also a place where new roses are tested and judged, so you might see some rare and beautiful ones.

Pro Tip:
The best time to visit the garden is during summer and spring when the roses are in full bloom—great for snapping some beautiful photos.

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