If you’ve been to or live in Cape Town you’ll know we’re all about the outdoors. Sure, we’ve got some amazing indoor options throughout the city, including fantastic museums, restaurants, shopping and entertainment centres (including the Cape Town Big 6’s own V&A Waterfront), but when the sun’s out, the city really comes to life. Just take a quick trip to the Sea Point Promenade, the Green Point Urban Park, or any one of the Cape’s beaches on even a vaguely sunny day, and you’ll see what we mean. And it’s no different at the Big 6: here’s our selection of top outdoor things to see and do in the Cape.
Pack a picnic
There are few simpler pleasures than a picnic in the great outdoors. With prime locations throughout the Cape it’d be impossible to list them all, but if you want to go all out in the most sublime surroundings, you simply can’t beat finding a large green corner in Kirstenbosch Gardens and settling down for the day. There are also amazing facilities at Cape Point overlooking False Bay, and you’ll be hard-pressed to find better views of Cape Town than from Table Mountain. Both Cape Point and Table Mountain have convenient stores where you can purchase snacks and supplies.
Take a hike, or a walk, or even a jog
Fitness fanatics and weekend wanderers rejoice, there are options aplenty throughout the Cape. And all of them are free! Groot Constantia has beautiful trails leading through their serene gardens and historic vineyards which wind through the picturesque estate, and they’re open to both joggers and casual walkers. The nearby Kirstenbosch provides free guided walks of the vast gardens every Monday to Saturday, leaving from the Information Desk at 10h00. There are also a multitude of fascinating trails winding their way around Cape Point, and if you catch the funicular to the top station, a clearly signposted walk out towards the new lighthouse is a great idea for a whole new perspective.
If you’re after views, but not up for a long hike, Table Mountain Cableway offers free guided walks from the Top Station building at 10h00 and 12h00 daily, which will give you fascinating insight into life above the Mother City, and the beautiful panoramic views below. If you’re feeling a bit more energetic, there are a number of longer self-guided routes, walks and trails that you can follow, which will expose you to even more of this New7Wonder of Nature.
The V&A Waterfront running routes are a superb option for fitness fans. These marked trails wind their way through the Waterfront precinct, serving up views of all the major landmarks and attractions, including the iconic Table Mountain. There are two routes of 2.5km and 5km, and both start and finish at the Information Centre, where maps are available.
Enjoy a show or performance
The famous Kirstenbosch Summer Sunset Concerts (see 2013/14 schedule here) offer one of the most celebrated and uniquely Capetonian outdoor things to do on a Sunday evening. With live performances each week from top local and international acts, there are few better places to take in a concert than on the lawns of this botanical garden. The V&A Waterfront also hosts concerts throughout December in the open-air amphitheatre, with the picturesque Table Mountain and harbour as a surreal backdrop.
Both Kirstenbosch and the V&A Waterfront are hosting the Galileo Open Air Cinema this summer, where you can experience a range of classic and old time favourite films under a ceiling of stars. For more information on these, visit the Galileo Open Air Cinema Facebook page.
Dine in style outdoors
Dining outdoors in style, is always special, and it doesn’t get much better than an alfresco breakfast, lunch or supper at one of Groot Constantia’s celebrated restaurants, Simon’s and Jonkershuis. Cape Point’s Two Oceans Restaurant offers superb food served on their famous outdoor deck overlooking False Bay; the Table Mountain Café has great outdoor seating areas to enjoy a meal from the highest spot in the city; and on a good day, outdoor terraces at restaurants throughout the Waterfront come to life, as seats are snapped up by sun-seeking diners.
Get close to nature
Each Big 6 destination is in close proximity to nature, whether it’s the Atlantic Ocean or Table Mountain National Park, and just being outdoors at any of these puts you in a prime spot to take in unique wildlife. The harbour of the V&A Waterfront, and the launch point of the Robben Island Ferry, puts you in close contact with the ever-popular seals, which regularly bask in the sunlight, and a trip out to Robben Island on the open-air ferry will get you close to a variety of birdlife, including the famous African Penguin. Wildlife abounds throughout Cape Point Nature Reserve, and while Kirstenbosch, Groot Constantia and Table Mountain have their fair share of wildlife as well, it’s their proximity to the most spectacular plant life that makes getting outdoors worthwhile.
What are your favourite outdoor activities to do in Cape Town? Let us know in the comments below, or via the Cape Town Big 6 Facebook page. Better yet, snap an Instagram shot of your favourite outdoor moment and tag @capetownbig6.