Cape Town on a Budget!

Cape Town has a lot on offer, and as a student in this city, you can quickly spend your budget! Here are some budget-friendly activities and tips to make sure your budget lasts throughout your stay, without compromising on the fun factor!

Cape Town on a budget

Are you on a tight budget in Cape Town, or you have to make your money last a little longer and stretch a little further than an ordinary tourist because you are also studying in Cape Town? Well, that doesn’t mean you cannot go out and enjoy yourself and explore this beautiful city! Here are some budget conscious ideas to make sure your weekends don’t fall short of Amazing!

1. Hiking/Walking
Cost – FREE

I know this sounds like a no-brainer, and not really exciting if you are thinking of just walking around your neighbourhood. But, Cape Town has some really spectacular hikes, trails and walks that you should not miss out on! For one, the most obvious one, is a hike up and down any of the famous mountains right inside the city bowl like Table Mountain (many different routes and trails), Lion’s Head or Devil’s Peak! You just cannot beat the views you get once you have reached the top of these mountains. Also, if you happen to be in Cape Town during a full moon, then you can join many other hikers on a full moon hike of Lion’s Head. Once you get to the top, you can watch the sun set on one side of the City and turn around to watch the moon rise on the other. You can also choose to hike in the Silvermine Nature Reserve where you can enjoy a lovely picnic among some Fynbos (note, there is a R5 conservation fee per car).And while we have mountaisn and caves for you to climb, don’t forget that we also have magnificent beaches for you to walk along. The Muizenberg Mile takes you alongside the beach and through the rock pools from Muizenberg to St. James or Kalk Bay. This is teacher Liam’s favourite walk and you can read about it here. There are so many hikes/walks available here that I could dedicate an entire post to this, but you can get a good idea from here.

2. Rent a bike
Cost – 1 hour R60/ 2hours R90 / 3 hours R120

The promenade, as this long stretch of walkway along the coast, and spans the entire way from Mouille Point to Bantry Bay. Rent a bike and enjoy cruising along the promenade at sunset, or head into the Green Point Park for a picnic, outdoor exercising or learning something new in the biodiversity garden. 

3. Join a Park Run
Cost – Free

Park Runs are organised in many different parks and open spaces throughout South Africa. They are free, 5km timed-runs and are super easy to participate in. You can find all the details on their website. Get fit, and join hundreds of other people looking for some company on an early Saturday morning run.

4. Go to a Market
Cost – Free

Cape Town loves its markets, and we have so many. You can spend every weekend exploring the various markets out there. A firm Saturday morning favourite is the Old Biscuit Mill in Woodstock. Be warned, this is a super popular food and drinks market and it is advisable to get a taxi there as parking is very limited.  Join tourists and locals in savouring some fresh, organic and delicious food! Another local foodie favourite is the Bay Harbour Market in Hout Bay. With a big fireplace in winter, some live music and stalls selling décor items, clothing and much more, this is a really lovely way to spend a Saturday or Sunday. If you are more of a bargain hunter, or are looking for anything from a new tap for your kitchen to a colourful sofa or garden plants, you can check out the Milnerton Flea Market and get your bargaining shoes on. For more info on the different markets, you can go here for a very comprehensive list.

5. City Sightseeing Bus Tour
Cost – R170 (if you buy online)

This may seem slightly pricey, but it is really worth it. Not only will you be able to see the city from the roof of the bus, but you can listen to some historical facts and interesting things in your own language as you are provided with ear phones and can plug in at any seat. You can also hop and off at many different stops and get those photos, grab a drink/snack or visit a museum.

6. City Sightseeing Walking Tour
Cost – FREE

The same company that drives the Red Bus City Sightseeing Tours also offers free city walking tours. This is a guided walking tour and you can learn many interesting historical and new facts about our city including Bo Kaap, District Six, and the City Centre.

7. Go to the V & A Waterfront
Cost – Free (depending on what you do)

The Waterfront is a large shopping complex right on the harbour in Cape Town. You can go shopping in a number of different stores with the latest fashions and trends, enjoy any kind of meal in one of the many restaurants or catch a movie at the cinemas. But, it doesn’t stop there. The waterfront is also home to the Aquarium, Scratch patch, cave Mini Golf and the Springbok Experience. And if that doesn’t quite excite you, then you can get in a helicopter, hop in a boat or see the City from the Cape Wheel (Note that these are all relatively pricey activities!). The waterfront is also the port for the boats going out to Robben Island. But if the budget doesn’t allow for any of the above, the waterfront is also a lovely place to sit and watch the people get on with their business and enjoy some live entertainment shows at the Amphitheatre.

8. Cape Town Stadium Tour
Cost – R45

The Cape Town Stadium was built for the Football World Cup in 2010. You can join a guided tour and learn more about the beautiful architecture and design and get to see the player’s changing rooms and see the pitch up close.

9. Tour the Newlands Brewery
Cost – R50

The Newlands Brewery is home to one of the world’s largest beer brewing companies. Take a tour of the brewery and learn everything beer related and get to see the brewing process. Bonus, you get to do a beer tasting afterwards and sample the goods!

10. Join a UCT club or Society
Cost – different depending on club/society

Remember that as a student at the UCT English Language Centre you get to profit from a wide range of clubs and societies specifically for UCT students. This includes anything from religious groups, to sporting clubs and even ways to give back to the community and volunteer for any number of causes. Read our blog here about some clubs and societies we looked into, or check the UCT page here for a full list.

And lastly, for many activities, museums, tours, etc. you can often get a discount with your student card. Take your UCT English language Centre student card with you and always inquire if there is a discount for students!

Sporty Pam

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