Local’s Top 10 Things To Do In Cape Town In Winter
The People’s Choice!
The people of Cape Town have spoken!
We asked our fellow Capetonians and Secret Cape Town adventurers what their favorite things are to do in Cape Town in winter and boy did they deliver.
Without further a due, here are the top 10 things to do in Cape Town in winter as chosen by the people of Cape Town. Are you ready for it? Well, here we go!
Have fun winter adventuring & exploring Cape Town!
The perfect outdoor winter adventure!
Turns out going hiking in Cape Town in winter is not only one of our favorite things to do, but the people of Cape Towns’ too – and it really isn’t hard to understand why! Known as one of the Mother City’s best kept secrets, winter in Cape Town is when the city shows off an entirely different side of what it has to offer.
Did you know that winter in Cape Town is also known as the ‘Green Season’? It’s the time of year when all the Cape flora come out to play and the vast Mother City landscapes transform into a glorious lush green paradise. Undoubtedly making it the perfect time of year to explore the great outdoors and discover all of the Western Cape’s stunning natural wonders and beautiful, yet equally thrilling, hiking trails.
Let’s be honest, there’s absolutely no better (or more exciting) way to explore the Mother City’s unapologetic natural beauty and incredible biodiversity than by going on one of Cape Town’s vast, varied, and exhilarating hikes!
The only thing that makes it better is the fact that all of you enjoy it as much as we do!
**Bonus: The milder, cooler temperatures mean you get to experience a lot more of what Cape Town’s hiking scene has to offer – Giving you the opportunity to tick a whole bunch of Cape Town’s best hiking trails off your hiking bucket list.
While we’re merely scratching the surface of the abundance of hiking trails in the Western Cape, here are some of the top hiking trails in Cape Town:
To add a bit more thrill to Cape Town’s already exhilarating hiking scene, here are a few exciting overnight hiking trails avid hikers can look forward to. If you’re an adventurous, daring, thrill-seeking hiker eager to take on some of the most challenging hikes in Cape Town – We’ve got you covered too – Here are the top 5 most challenging hikes in Cape Town and surrounds.
If you’re a beginner hiker looking to experience and explore some of Cape Town’s best and beautiful hiking trails, the Mother City has an incredible array of hiking trails for you too (even if you’ve never hiked a day in your life). Here are some of the best Cape Town hiking trails for beginners that you should absolutely add to your Cape Town hiking adventure bucket-list.
Whether you’re a first-time hiker, eager mid-level enthusiast, or a die-hard highly experienced hiker at heart, here are a few tips and tricks to keep in mind when going hiking in Cape Town.
#2 Go Ice Skating
Whether you’re young or young at heart, who doesn’t love going ice skating in winter? Reminiscent of a winter wonderland, The Ice Station at GrandWest Casino & Entertainment World is one of the best places to go ice skating in Cape Town.
Home to the only indoor ice-skating rink in the Western Cape, The Ice Station at GrandWest invites first-timers, amateurs, mid-level to pretty great, and professional ice skaters to hone their skating skills, all while having TONS of ice skating fun on an Olympic-sized rink. How amazing is that?
Open right throughout the year, ice skating at GrandWest is one of the most exhilarating and popular all-year-round activities enjoyed by kids and adults alike. Without a doubt making going ice skating one of the top things to do in Cape Town in winter as chosen by the people.
**Bonus: The Ice Station at GrandWest offers free-style open-air ice-skating for individuals and groups. It is also a great and incredibly fun way to celebrate a kid’s birthday party, especially if you’re looking for something unique and exciting to do. To put the cherry on top of an already fantastic ice-skating cake – GrandWest ice rink offers special rates for groups.
**Extra Bonus: As the only indoor ice-skating rink in the Western Cape, this is where the pros come to practice their jumps, turns, loops and twizzles. For those looking for formal classes, The Ice Station also offers skating classes, ice-hockey tournaments, figure-skating programs, shows and events. It also has a mini, supervised ice rink for under-fives.
- Location: GrandWest Casino & Entertainment World | Grand West Casino, 1 Jakes Gerwel Drive, Acacia Park, Cape Town
- Contact details: 021 535 2260 | [email protected] | 021 535 2263
- Website: Visit the GrandWest Casino & Entertainment World website for more information | Click here to find out everything you need to know
- Operating hours: The trading hours are adjusted on a regular basis in terms of business requirements. Please contact the outlet directly to confirm their current trading hours | Typical operating hours are: Monday – Thursday: 10am – 7:30pm / Friday – Saturday: 10am – 11pm / Sunday: 10am – 8:30pm
Cost | 1 HOUR SESSION
- Individual: R65 per person
- Group of Ten: R55 per person
- Own Skates: R50 per person
Cost | 2 HOURS SESSION (LAST)
- Individual: R75 per person
- Own Skates: R55 per person
#3 Wine Tasting in the Cape Winelands
Explore & taste your way through the Western Cape Winelands!
In Cape Town, any time is wine time – and we’re ecstatic that the people of Cape Town agree! Home to the largest, and certainly the most unique, wine producing region in Africa, the Western Cape is any wine lover’s dream come true.
Exploring and tasting your way through the beautiful Cape Winelands is one of the most sought-after experiences and things to do in Cape Town all year-round, and definitely one of the best things to do in Cape Town in winter too!
Besides its highly acclaimed and award-winning wine collection, the Cape Winelands is known for its incredible wine routes, exciting food and wine pairing combinations, pristine wine tasting experiences, and world-renowned culinary pursuits. Providing you with everything you could possibly want and need to enjoy a memorable day in the magnificent Cape Winelands.
Even if you’re not a die-hard wine enthusiast at heart, you’ll undoubtedly fall head-over-heels in love with the stunning Cape Winelands’ scenery, remarkable vineyards, captivating charm and allure, and of course the unique way the Western Cape celebrates, loves, and cherishes their vast assortment of exceptional wines.
Not to mention sharing the unforgettable experience with friends and family – There truly in nothing quite like it!
**Bonus: One of the best things about going winter wine tasting in the beautiful Cape Winelands is that several of the Western Cape’s Wine Estates and Wine Farms have fireplaces to keep guests and avid wine lovers warm and loving every second of their Cape Winelands experience.
Here are some of the most popular & renowned wine routes in the Western Cape:
- Stellenbosch wine route
- Wellington wine route
- Franschhoek wine route
- Helderberg wine route
- Breedekloof wine route
- Constantia wine route
- Durbanville wine route
- Elgin Wine Route
- Little / Klein Karoo wine route
- Tulbagh wine route
- Darling wine route
- Walker Bay wine route
- Cape Agulhas wine route
- Cape Point wine route
- Olifants River Valley wine route
- Paarl Vintners wine route
- Robertson wine route
- Swartland wine route
- Worcester wine route
Check out our ‘10 of the best wine tasting experiences in Cape Town’ blog for all your wine tasting pleasure.
…wait, there’s more!
If you’re feeling wildly adventurous and extra daring (and not too bothered by the cold – or willing to risk a bit of chill for a bucket-list worthy Cape Winelands experience) you should absolutely go on the famous, and dare we say legendary, Franschhoek Wine Tram.
Going on the iconic Franschhoek Wine Tram is by far the best, and certainly the most exciting, way to experience everything the majestic Franschhoek wine valley has to offer. From its spectacular mountain range and vineyard landscapes, stunning views, and world-renowned Wine Estates, to the region’s gloriously unique and exceptional array of award-winning wines, the Franschhoek Wine Tram offers guests an unforgettable hop-on-hop-off Cape Town winelands adventure.
It goes without saying that taking a trip on the Franschhoek Wine Tram is a NOT-TO-BE-MISSED experience for ALL avid local and global wine lovers. Even if you’re not much of a wine enthusiast, the experience itself is beyond worth it – trust us!
The Franschhoek Wine Tram offers approximately 8 different routes / lines to choose from with each route including anywhere from 6 – 10 Franschhoek wineries that you’ll get to visit. Click here to find out more about the various Franschhoek Wine Tram lines / routes.
- Location: Franschhoek Square, 32 Huguenot Road, Franschhoek, Western Cape
- Contact details: 021 300 0338 | [email protected] | www.winetram.co.za
- Tickets: You can book the tickets online here| Or visit their website for more information and everything you need to know
- Click here to find out more about ticket pricing, bookings, hop-on-hop-off tour tips, and all other need-to-know information.
#4 Go to a Coffee Shop or cool Café
Winter in Cape Town is the perfect time to explore and discover the best coffee shops & coolest cafés in the Mother City!
In Cape Town, living that cool laid-back coffee shop and café lifestyle is as easy as savoring a down-right delightful knock-your-socks-off cup of artisan coffee or indulging in a delicious baked good. This is only amplified in winter!
In addition to the greatest cups of brew (dare we say award-winning? Or perhaps the BEST you’ll ever have) made especially for your enjoyment, sensational sweet treats, croissants and colorful plates of food, Cape Town’s coffee shops and cafés are all about the vibe too! However, if there’s one thing you don’t have to worry about it’s the fact that the Mother City has the cool, captivating, sassy, never-miss-a-beat coffee shop and café vibe locked down!
From trendy street-side spots, quirky corner coffee shops and cafés, and cozy hideaways to bold and bohemian café and coffee shop escapes, and several hidden gems and secret spots scattered about, there truly is something for every coffee and café lover to enjoy!
While there are countless incredible coffee shops & cafes in the Mother City, here are merely a few of the best coffee shops in Cape Town:
- Truth Coffee Roasting |Cape Town City Centre
- Origin Coffee Roasters | De Waterkant
- Rosetta Roastery | Woodstock
- Olympia Café | Kalk Bay
- Four&Twenty Café & Pantry | Southern Suburb | Wynberg
- Deluxe Coffeeworks | Cape Town
- The House of Machines | Cape Town
- Jason Bakery | Green Point
- Coffee Roasting Co at Lourensford | Somerset West
- Starlings | Southern Suburbs | Claremont
- Department of Coffee | Khayelitsha (*first township-based artisanal coffee shop in Cape Town)
- Kamili Coffee | Cape Town City Centre
- Tribe Coffee Roasting & Café | Woodstock
- De Hoek | Franschhoek
- The Atrium | Cape Town City Centre
- Espresso Lab Microroasters | Woodstock
- Coffee BloC. at Buitenverwachting | Southern Suburbs | Constantia
- Honest Chocolate | Cape Town City Centre (BEST coffee + chocolate spot in Cape Town)
- Loading Bay | De Waterkant
- Grand Art Caffe | De Waterkant | Cape Town CBD
- C’est La Vie | Kalk Bay
- Empire Café | Muizenberg
- Bread, Milk & Honey | Cape Town City Centre
- Molten Toffee | Gardens
- Nourish’d Café & Juicery | Kloof Street, Gardens | Lower main street, Observatory
- Clarke’s Bar & Dining Room | Bree Street, Cape Town CBD
- Yours Truly Café | Kloof Street, Gardens
- Bootlegger Coffee Company | Multiple locations across Cape Town
If you’re working from home, check out our ‘Best Cafés and Coffee Shops to work from in Cape Town’ blog, especially when that ‘work from home cabin fever’ kicks in or if you’re in dire need of some extra motivation, inspiration, or would just like to be around some civilization. You can also check out our ‘Top 5 Coolest Cafés in Cape Town’ blog – For whenever that cool Cape Town café fever strikes!
#5 Go on the Ultimate Cave Exploring Adventure
Going on the ultimate cave exploring adventure in Cape Town and surrounds may seem somewhat out of left field, especially as a winter adventure activity – We can assure you; it most definitely is not! Similar to hiking – which is deemed one of the top things to do in winter in Cape Town for locals and travelers alike – going cave exploring in the Western Cape is right up there as one of the most thrilling ways to explore the Mother City’s great outdoors, hidden gems, secret spots, and incredible natural gems.
The Western Cape is home to several seriously cool, absolutely extraordinary, and down-right thrilling caves – All of which deserve a top spot on your Cape Town adventure bucket list.
…Only if you’re up for it of course!
There is no doubt that going on the ultimate cave exploring adventure is one of the most thrilling things to do in Cape Town for every head-over-heels adventurer, any time of the year, including winter!
Here are a few of the Western Cape’s top caves to explore:
#Boomslang Cave | Kalk Bay
- Difficulty: Easy
- Fitness level required: Low -Moderate level of fitness required
- Start point: Boyes Drive – Echo Valley
- End Point: Boomslang Cave above Kalk Bay
- Average time to the top: Approximately 2 – 3 hours (depending on your fitness and experience level)
- Approximate route distance: +/- 3.9km
- Child-friendly: Yes
Boomslang Cave is one of Kalk Bay’s coolest hidden gems. As it’s a relatively easy hike, it is great for less experienced cave explorers, novice hikers, families with curious and active kiddos, and eager adventurers keen to get out and explore.
Found above Kalk Bay, Boomslang Cave tunnels right through the mountain – making it quite a thrilling experience to tick off your adventure bucket-list.
#Klipgat Cave | Gansbaai
Nestled within the Walker Bay Nature Reserve, a mere three kilometers from the idyllic De Kelders fishing village, Klipgat Cave is another one of Cape Town’s best secret caves and coolest hidden gems.
Beyond its stunning surroundings and spectacular views, Klipgat Cave has quite a bit of history behind it. The cave reached cultural, historical and world heritage significance due to the 1992 excavation when 70 000-year-old human bones and stone tools were discovered within the cave. These bones and stone tools were believed to be left behind by the native Khoikhoi bushman. This undoubtedly adds an extra dose of mystery and thrill to your experience.
Besides its rich history, exploring Klipgat Cave is a real adventure. It boasts two chambers: The first chamber has a rugged rocky surface and leads to the ocean. The second chamber is made up of a small entryway that leads to the main cave excavation site. There is also a boardwalk that circles around the historical site.
**Extra tip: Klipgat Cave is regarded as one of the best whale watching spots in the Western Cape.
#Woodstock Cave | Table Mountain
- Difficulty: Moderate level of difficulty
- Fitness level required: Moderate level of fitness required
- Start point: Tafelberg Road / Rhodes Memorial
- End Point: Upper Aerial Cableway Station
- Average time to the top: 1 – 2 hours one way starting from Tafelberg Road | 2 – 3 hours one way starting from Rhodes Memorial
- Child friendly: Yes
Famously known for its long horizontal crack in the Devil’s Peak mountainside, the iconic Woodstock Cave is one of the largest caves on Table Mountain. This not only makes it a top go-to cave, but offers avid cave explorers and adventures tons of space to discover everything it has to offer.
The hike to reach the Woodstock Cave is relatively easy and doesn’t require a great deal of hiking experience. Once you reach the cave, you will be well rewarded for your hiking efforts with a magnificent view, a shaded area to relax and recharge, as well as a small waterfall to admire and enjoy at your own leisure.
**Extra Tip: Don’t hike this route alone. It’s always best to hike in a group when hiking any of Cape Town’s hiking trails.
#Lookout Cave | Chapman’s Peak
The Lookout Cave is not only one of Cape Town’s top secret caves, but one of Chapmans Peak Drive’s most beautiful hidden gems and best secret sunset spots too. Like all of the Mother City’s best kept secrets, you may need to wander a little off the beaten path to find it.
Make your way along Chapman’s Peak Drive until you reach the famous Chapman’s Peak Lookout Point – This is where the real adventure begins! Positioned just below the pass, you’ll have to climb over the railing and carefully make your way down the mountainside to reach the Lookout Cave.
An extra bonus is that this Chapmans Peak hidden gem has enough space to enjoy a picnic and a few sundowners paired with one hell of a view.
#Stadsaal Caves | Cederberg
While you may need to travel a little outside of Cape Town to explore this hidden gem, it promises to be well worth the trip.
Located just over 2 hours outside of the city center, the Cederberg Wilderness area is considered one of the most undisturbed regions of the Western Cape. With burnt ochre mountains, jagged sandstone rock formations and ancient San and Khoi rock art, it will feel like you’ve escaped to another world entirely.
The Stadsaal Caves is a series of caverns carved into the rock by thousands of years’ worth of wind erosion. These caves were entirely formed by nature and have been touched only by humans in the form of the ancient bushman paintings found on the walls inside. The Stadsaal Caves, together with other nearby landmarks such as the Wolfberg Arch and the Maltese Cross, are some of the most magnificent natural gems in the Western Cape.
How to get to the Stadsaal Caves: To get to the Stadsaal Caves, follow the N7 towards Citrusdal. Continue north from Citrusdal and take the Algeria turnoff to the right onto a dirt road. Continue to the Matjiesrivier Nature Reserve, the caves are located around 5km from the Algeria campsite. You will find a gate barring the entrance to the caves. The gate can be unlocked with the combination attached to your CapeNature permit.
**Important information: As the Cederberg Wilderness is a CapeNature reserve, you will need a permit to enter. You can purchase a permit at Driehoek Farm, en route to the Cederberg, or directly from CapeNature by contacting them on 021 483 0190. The cost of permits is R70 for adults and R40 for children.
#Waenhuiskrans Cave | Arniston
Located just off the sandy shoreline of Arniston, the Waenhuiskrans Cave is undoubtedly one of Cape Town’s best secret caves to explore. Arniston is a small seaside town on the coast of the Overberg region of the Western Cape, approximately 3 hours from the city of Cape Town. It is home to white sandy beaches, turquoise waters, and a stunning shipwreck-strewn coastline rich in history and heritage. But, by far one of its best kept secrets and hidden natural gems is the Waenhuiskrans Cave.
Due to its secret location, the Waenhuiskrans Cave can only be accessed during low tide when you are able to make your way through the shallow waters to the entrance of the cave.
Inside the Waenhuiskrans Cave you’ll discover several rockpools, as well as plenty of rock-dwelling marine life that have decided to take up residence inside the cave. If you’re an avid adventurer and keen explorer, a trip to the Waenhuiskrans Cave in Arniston should definitely be on your Cape Town bucket-list.
**Tip: The Waenhuiskrans Cave can ONLY be accessed during low tide. For your own safety it is vital that you do not attempt the hike at any other point of the day. Take only the essentials along when making your way to the cave. Due to the slippery, seaweed-strewn rocks that lie beneath the water’s surface as you navigate your way to the cave, it is important that you wear shoes that are appropriate for traversing slippery rock beds. If you require any additional information on the tides, be sure to contact Cape Agulhas Tourism (028 424 2584 or 028 424 2883) – they will be happy to give you all the pointers and additional information you need.
Check out our ‘Top 10 Secret Caves To Explore In Cape Town’ blog for everything you need to know about Cape Town’s coolest secret caves.
#6 Enjoy a night out at the movies or theatre
The Labia Theatre
What’s better than enjoying an exciting winter’s night out at one of Cape Town’s most prestigious theatres – The renowned Labia Theatre?!
The Labia Theatre is the oldest Independent Art-Repertory Cinema in South Africa, showcasing the best off-circuit, independent movies, foreign films, documentaries, classics, and other alternative as well as art circuit films. This makes the famous Labia Theatre the epitome of old-school cinema at its very best and any old-school movie buff’s dream come true.
Even if you’re not much of an old-school / classic cinema lover, you’ll undoubtedly fall head-over heels in love with the iconic Labia Theatre and everything it has to offer.
Besides its original and authentic theatre experience, the Labia Theatre Cinema boasts a cosy coffee bar which offers home-made delicacies, a chocolate bar serving sweets, chocolates and popcorn, an outside garden terrace as well as a fully licensed bar to keep visitors and guests entertained throughout the night. In fact, the Labia Theatre is the only cinema where you can sit back, relax, and sip on a drink from the bar all while watching a classic movie screening. This Undoubtedly makes a visit to the Labia Theatre one of the top things to do on a cold day in Cape Town. In fact, this incredible and unique cinema experience can be enjoyed right throughout the year.
**Important note: The Labia Theatre is in full compliance with all COVID-19 government safety regulations and guidelines and have put numerous safety measures in place so that you can relax and enjoy the big screen experience.
- Location: The Labia Theatre | 68 Orange Street, Gardens, Cape Town
- Cost: All shows are R70 | Student / Fanatics / Seniors / Children: R50
- Show times: Subject to the movie
- Contact details: 021 424 5927 | [email protected]
- Website: www.thelabia.co.za
- Operating hours: Open daily from 11am until the end of the last screening at approximately 11pm
- Click here to find out more about the Labia Theatre as well as all the screenings on offer
Other fantastic theatres in Cape Town you absolutely have to go to include:
- Baxter Theatre | Rondebosch
- Theatre On The Bay | Camps Bay | Click here to visit their website for more information
- Maynardville Open Air Theatre | Maynardville Park, Wynberg | Click here to visit their website for more information
- The Masque Theatre | Muizenberg | Click here to visit their website for more information
- Kalk Bay Theatre | Kalk Bay | Click here to visit their website for more information
- Artscape Theatre Centre | Foreshore, Cape Town | Click here to visit their website for more information | Click here to visit their website for more information
- Magnet Theatre | Observatory | Click here to visit their website for more information
- The Barnyard Theatre Tyger Valley | Tyger valley Shopping Centre, Bellville, Cape Town | Click here to visit their website for more information
- The Rainbow Puppet Theatre | Belle Constantia | Click here to visit their website for more information
- Gate69 | Bree Street, Cape Town City Centre | Click here to visit their website for more information
As voted by the people of Cape Town – I think we can ALL agree that watching / going to the movies is without a doubt one of the best things to do in Cape Town in winter.
If you’re not in the mood to watch a movie from the comfort of your own couch, here are some of the top places to go if you’re keen for the real-deal full-screen movie experience:
Move Cinemas in & around Cape Town:
- GrandWest Casino & Entertainment World | CineCentre | Goodwood, Cape Town
- Cape Gate Shopping Centre | Ster Kinekor | IMAX | Cape Gate, Cape Town
- Cavendish Square | Ster Kinekor | Claremont, Southern Suburbs, Cape Town
- Canal Walk | Nu Metro |Century City, Cape Town
- Bayside Mall | Ster Kinekor |Table View, Cape Town
- Blue Route Mall | Ster Kinekor | Dreyersdal, Southern Suburbs, Cape Town
- Tygervalley Shopping Centre | Ster Kinekor | Tygervalley / Belville, Cape Town
- GoDriveIn Roadhouse & Movies | Salt River, Cape Town
- N1 City Mall | Ster Kinekor | Goodwood, Cape Town
- BlkCherryMobile | Park Inn by Radisson Cape Town Foreshore
- Liberty Promenade | Ster Kinekor | Beacon Valley, Cape Town
- Somerset West Mall | Ster Kinekor | Somerset West, Cape Town
#7 Go Whale Watching
Winter in Cape Town is Whale Watching Season & it’s finally here!
Winter in Cape Town is the best time of year to see Southern Right Whales. This undoubtedly makes going on a whale watching adventure one of the top things to do in Cape Town in winter.
Every year, between June and November, Southern Right Whales journey to the Cape shores to mate and calve, giving locals and travelers the incredible opportunity to witness these majestic ocean beings in their natural habitat. The Cape Whale Route is a 900-kilometre-long stretch of coastline that extends from Strandfontein near Muizenberg to Plettenberg Bay in the Southern Cape, giving you ample destinations and opportunities to enjoy incredible whale sightings. Not to mention watch these amazing ocean beings showing off their breaching, fluking, lobtailing, logging, spouting and spyhopping from the comforts of the
Whether you choose to witness them from the shoreline, the perfect ocean view sunset spot or up close and personal on a boat-based whale watching ocean adventure, it promises to be a bucket list worthy experience.
Best places to see whales in Cape Town & surrounds:
- False Bay coastline
- Cape Agulhas
- Hout Bay
- Llandudno Beach
- Chapman’s Peak Drive
- De Hoop Nature and Marine Reserve
- Witsand (also known as “The Whale Nursery of South Africa”)
- The Cape West Coast: Lambert’s Bay; Strandfontein; Yzerfontein; Langebaan; Paternoster; Elands Bay; Saldanha Bay; Melkbosstrand & Doringbaai
- Overberg region: Struisbaai; Arniston; Stanford; Betty’s Bay; Gansbaai & De Kelders
- Cape Town: Llandudno & Hout Bay
- Garden Route: Stilbaai; Sedgefield; Nature’s Valley; Wilderness; Knysna; Plettenberg Bay; Mossel Bay
#8 Chasing & Exploring Cape Town’s Waterfalls, Dams & Rivers
This is by far one of the most exhilarating, invigorating / ‘make-you-feel-completely-and-utterly-alive’ adventurous things to do in Cape Town for both the young and young at heart!
If you’re an avid adventurer eager to discover and explore Cape Town’s vast, varied, and down-right incredible dams, rivers, and waterfalls, here are of some of the ultimate spots:
- Distance from Cape Town: +/- 50 minutes
- Where to find it: Silvermine Reservoir in Table Mountain National Park (via M3)
- Opening times: Silvermine Gate 1: Daily, 8am – 4pm (May to August) | Daily, 7am – 5pm (September to April) | Silvermine Gate 2: All year round – 8am – 6pm
- Contact details: 021 712 7471 | 021 712 0527 | [email protected] (Table Mountain National Park)
- Dog-friendly: Yes, but dog walkers require a Level 1 My Activity Permit | Contact Tokai Plantation Office at 021 712 7471 for more information
Cost: Conservation fees (1 November 2021 – 31 October 2022):
- SA citizens and residents with ID: Adult: R36 | Children: R18 | Additionally R25 per vehicle
Located in the Table Mountain National Park, between Hout Bay and Noordhoek, the Silvermine Reservoir is a real fan-favourite all around.
Besides enjoying a refreshing swim in a stunning location, there are loads of picnic spots scattered around the reserve, making it the perfect place for enjoying a great day outdoors.
**Important note: As there are no lifeguards on duty, swimming in the Silvermine Reservoir is done at your own risk.
- Distance from Cape Town: +/- 2 hours
- Where to find it: King Street, Stanford (via N2 and R43)
- Opening times: Always open
- Contact details: 028 3410 340 | [email protected]
- Dog-friendly: Yes
- Cost: Free for swimming
Located in Stanford, this tranquil river passes through the Akkedisberg Pass and the lush meadows of Stanford on its way to the estuary (Hermanus Lagoon). Its calm waters are perfect for cooling down after a hot summer’s day filled with adventuring and exploring.
The Stanford Wandelpad walking trail meanders along the Klein River, and is easily accessible from several points. However, a map is available at the local tourism bureau just in case.
**Tip: The bottom of King Street is particularly convenient and an ideal location due to the nearby shaded lawns that make for an incredible picnic spot.
#Jonkershoek Nature Reserve
- Distance from Cape Town: 1 hour
- Where to find it: Jonkershoek Nature Reserve, Jonkershoek Road (via N1), Stellenbosch
- Opening times: 1 May – 31 August: 8am – 4pm | 1 September – 30 April: 7am – 4pm
- Contact details: 087 087 4118 (reserve office) | 087 087 8250; [email protected] (permits)
- Dog-friendly: Pets are not allowed in CapeNature reserves
- Cost: R50 (adults) | R30 (children)
The Jonkershoek Nature Reserve is one natural gem that should be on every nature lover’s bucket-list. Located close to Stellenbosch, the reserve includes the smaller Assegagaai Nature Reserve and is home to the imposing Jonkershoek Mountains as well as portions of the upper Jonkershoek Valley.
It boasts two popular and equally thrilling hiking trails, both of which offer beautiful views of the valley and wine farms below. Besides enjoying an exciting hike, taking a dip in the clear river water is by far one of the top highlights of visiting the Jonkershoek Nature Reserve.
**Important note: Only 80 people are allowed into the Assegaaibosch picnic area per day to help with conservation efforts. Admission is on a first-come-first-served basis. No alcohol is allowed into the picnic area.
#Crystal Pools Waterfall
- Distance from Cape Town: 1.5 – 2 hours
- Where to find it: Steenbras Nature Reserve (via N2 and R44)
- Opening times: 7.30am – 2.30pm (office hours) | 6.30am – 7pm (hiking trails may differ slightly according to sunrise and sunset)
- Contact details: 021 444 6927 | [email protected] (bookings must be done via email, at least 3 to 5 working days before your visit) | 021 957 4725 (emergency number)
- Dog-friendly: No
- Cost: R75 per person
If a trip to the legendary Crystal Pools Waterfall is not on your Cape Town adventure bucket list, go ahead and add it right away! Located approximately 90 minutes outside of Cape Town, the Steenbras Nature Reserve offers hikers, adventurers and anyone looking to explore the great outdoors the ultimate escape from the city.
The Crystal Pools Hiking Trail starts on the R44, just after you’ve crossed the bridge over the mouth of the Steenbras River. The trail features indigenous fynbos, beautifully lush surroundings, and incredible views throughout. The first pool is located just 45 minutes from the start of the trail.
In addition to taking an invigorating dip in the cool Crystal Pools water (which may be slightly challenging during Cape Town’s winter season – HOWEVER, if you’re up for it – go right ahead!), you can also enjoy a lovely picnic under the shade.
If you’ve got some extra energy left in your hiking ‘tank’, we highly recommend you continue your journey to the second pool. Boasting some seriously cool swimming and kloofing opportunities as well as a mesmerizing waterfall, it promises to be one exciting adventure you won’t soon forget!
**Important note: To ensure that the hiking trails don’t get too crowded, a maximum of 50 people are allowed per day. This is however subject to change. It is essential to book as early as possible to avoid disappointment as well as to be fully informed of any additional details, changes, or need-to-know information.
**Tip: This hiking trail is suitable for anyone who is reasonably fit, however, it is slightly more challenging for those who are not in tip-top hiking shape. While the half-day hike takes you through rocky, but generally flat terrain, with an amazing waterfall at the top, it is quite a trek. So make sure you are well prepared and have plenty of snacks, water, and energy to get there.
#Krom River Trail
- Distance from Cape Town: +/- 1 hour
- Where to find it: Du Toitskloof (to the left after the Worcester exit of the Huguenot Tunnel), Limietberg Nature Reserve (via N1), Paarl
- Opening times: Daily, 8am – 6pm
- Contact details: 021 871 1535 / 087 087 4145 (reserve office) | 087 087 8250; [email protected] (permits)
- Dog-friendly: Pets are not allowed in CapeNature reserves
- Cost: R50 (adults); R30 (children)
Located approximately an hour from Cape Town, the Limietberg Nature Reserve boasts some of the best hiking trails in the Western Cape – with the Krom River trail being a definite stand-out. This exhilarating hiking trail is a fan-favourite among avid adventurers and thrill-seekers as it guides you past waterfalls and deep, translucent rock pools that are clear enough to snorkel in.
**Important note: You will have to pay a fee to drive through the Huguenot tunnel to reach the Krom River Trail. You will also need a permit. Permits can be purchased at Du Kloof Trout Farm (just after the tunnel on your left) or from the CapeNature booking office. Only 24 permits are issued per day to prevent overcrowding, so it’s important that you plan ahead.
Suicide Gorge is regarded as one of South Africa’s most thrilling and adrenalin-inducing hiking trails.
- Distance from Cape Town: +/- 90 minutes
- Where to find it: Hottentots Holland Nature Reserve (via N2 and R321), Grabouw
- Opening times: Daily, 8am – 4pm (1 November – 30 April) | Closed (May – October)
- Contact details: 028 841 4301/02 (reserve office) | 087 087 8250, [email protected] (permits)
- Dog friendly: Pets are not allowed in CapeNature reserves
- Cost: R325 per person (for Suicide Gorge and Riviersonderend Route, cost of permit included)
The infamous Suicide Gorge is one of the Hottentots Holland Nature Reserve’s most thrilling hiking trails. While it offers hikers a bucket-list worthy hiking adventure and sensational panoramic views throughout, it is only to be attempted by hardy and experienced hikers. This exhilarating Hottentots Holland Nature Reserve hiking trail takes you high up into the mountains, and then right down through the gorge (hence the name). As you’ll be getting sufficiently wet throughout your hike, we highly recommend you take the appropriate gear along, including lightweight hiking shoes, a swimsuit, and a change of clothes – just in case things get a bit wet and wild.
Much of the 16.2km hike involves slip-sliding your way along the natural waterslide. At certain points throughout your hike, you may be required to leap off cliffs (some as high as 14 meters) into the pools below. Thus making it one adrenaline-boosting, thrill-inducing, adventure experience to say the least – perfectly suited to experienced hikers and die-hard adrenalin junkies. However, if you prefer a less intense and daring experience, the nearby Riviersonderend Route offers a similar challenge, but with fewer drops – the highest drop being seven-meters. Whichever route you choose, it promises to be an exciting and unforgettable adventure nonetheless!
- You must have a Special Use Kloofing Permit to go on this hike | Bookings & permits are essential: Tel: 087 087 8250 | Email:[email protected]
- This Kloofing route is not for the faint-hearted! When Kloofing at Suicide Gorge, hikers must be accompanied by a registered and experienced Kloofing Guide or someone who has knowledge and experience of the trail. You can contact CapeNature for information about guides | CapeNature Contact details: 021 483 0190
- Wear lightweight hiking shoes.
- A wetsuit is advisable (as the water is incredibly chilly).
- It is best to use a waterproof bag.
- The route can be exceptionally dangerous in extreme weather conditions and should therefore not be attempted during hazardous conditions.
- The Suicide Gorge Hiking Route is open from 1 November to 30 April.
- As the route is incredibly popular excursions on Saturdays and Sundays must be booked a month in advance. A shorter booking period is allowed for weekday excursions.
- The Suicide Gorge and Riviersonderend Route may be closed at any time, at the discretion of the reserve management (due to inclement weather or other unsafe conditions).
- Hikers are advised to start early and may not set out from the starting point later than 9am. The entry gate closes at 4pm and all kloofers must exit before 7pm.
- No children under 12 are allowed on this trail.
- The reserve office is only open on weekdays, but a staff member will be on duty seven days a week.
- Maximum capacity for each kloofing route per day is 30 people.
- The Suicide Gorge Hiking Trail has little to no shade, and on a scorching hot day, things can get seriously uncomfortable!
- Access will not be permitted in these cases: After the start cut-off time of 9am | To clients without approved kloofing guides | No one is allowed to enter once capacity is reached | Access will not be permitted during high risk times (fire, flooding, etc).
- Reserve office hours are 8am to 4pm weekdays only.
- The entrance gate is open from 7:30am to 4pm.
- Emergency personnel are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Check out our ‘Suicide Gorge Hiking Trail’ Blog for everything you need to know about this remarkable, and equally thrilling, natural wonder.
Check out our ‘Best Dams and Rivers in Cape Town for swimming’ blog for everything you need to know about Cape Town’s best swimming spots.
#9 GO SURFING, KITESURFING OR KITEBOARDING
Cape Town is a hotspot for watersports, and it’s no different in winter. The bigger waves, wind conditions, and warmer ocean temperatures during the winter months of June – September makes Cape Town the ultimate surfing, kitesurfing, and kiteboarding mecca for locals and travelers alike.
For more experienced surfers, the Cape of Storms puts on an impressive display of heart-pounding swells during Cape Town’s winter months, which is bound to get your surf-loving heart racing. It’s no surprise surfers flock from all around the world to experience Cape Town’s winter wave magic first-hand.
Boasting an incredible and thrilling variety of local surfing hotspots ranging from beginner to advanced, means that absolutely EVERYONE can join in on the Cape Town surfing fun and games. Have a look at our ‘Top 5 Coolest Surfing Beaches in Cape Town’ blog for everything you need to know about Cape Town’s coolest surfing spots.
#10 Go on a Cape Town getaway to a place with a wood-fired hot tub
Relaxing in a rustic wood-fired hot tub is without a doubt one of the best ways to unwind, de-stress, and re-charge.
Here are two of the top places in and around Cape Town that have wood fired hot tubs just waiting to be savored and enjoyed by you.
#KolKol Mountain Lodge
- Where: Bot River | Van Der Stel Pass Road
- Distance from Cape Town: +/- 96km
- Contact details: 076 9136014 | [email protected]
- Website: Click here to visit KolKol Mountain Lodge website
KolKol Mountain Lodge is a rustic getaway offering luxurious accommodation on the Van der Stel Pass near Bot River. Surrounded by ample fynbos of the Cape Floral Kingdom in the Kogelberg Biosphere Reserve, visitors will be delighted to find that this lodge offers a truly South African experience.
By far one of KolKol Mountain Lodge’s most sought-after features is a private outdoor wood fired hot tub in each luxury cabin. Each wood fired hot tub was designed by the owners themselves, Karen and Rudi Ootshuyse. Trust us, the second you arrive at KolKol Mountain Lodge you won’t be able to resist the urge to hop right in and relax in your very own private wood fired hot tub all while enjoying a glass of fine local wine.
In addition to all of KolKol Mountain Lodge’s lavish features and amenities, it is set in a tranquil and peaceful environment with sweeping views of the Babylonstoren Mountains. It truly is the perfect breakaway for couples, family, and friends of all ages.
#Honeybee Suite at Platbos Forest Reserve
- Where: Platbos Forest is situated in the Baviaanspoort Hills on the Grootbos Road between Stanford and Gansbaai | Platbos Forest Reserve, Farm no. 987, Grootbos Road (Minor Rd 4026), Gansbaai, Western Cape
- Distance from Cape Town: +/- 2-hour drive
- Contact details: For all accommodation enquiries please call: 0769233349 during office hours, Monday to Friday or email [email protected]
- Website: Click here to visit Honeybee Suite at Platbos Forest Reserve’s website
**Note: Be sure to watch this space for more incredible destinations and getaway spots with wood-fired hot tubs to enjoy this winter in Cape town.
#11 / BONUS: GO ON THE ULTIMATE SUNSET CHASING ADVENTURE!
Going sunset chasing is by far my favorite thing to do in Cape Town all year-round! Maybe it will soon be yours too!
Yes, I know what you’re thinking – It is beyond FREEZING and there is absolutely NO WAY that you’ll be going outside to watch the sunset. Well, let me tell you something, you’ll be missing out BIG time, and in more ways than one.
Cape Town is home to some seriously spectacular sunset spots. There is no denying that the Mother City is pure sunset bliss, known for her stunning sherbet colored sunsets that set the sky alight in a beautiful celebration of colors.
Going on the ultimate sunset chasing adventure has become one of the top things to do in Cape Town all-year round. But sometimes you need to wander a little off the beaten path to find the real sunset hidden gems – That’s when the real sunset adventure begins!
**Here are our top secret sunset and overall best sunset spots in Cape Town, all of which deserve a prime spot on your sunset bucket-list:
- Look-out Cave on Chapman’s Peak Drive | *Secret Sunset Spot
- The Clifton Ridge Rocks | *Secret Sunset Spot
- Lions Head
- Table Mountain
- Signal Hill
- Llandudno Beach
- The ‘Sunset Rock’ | *Secret Sunset Spot
- Diaz Beach | Cape Point | *Secret Sunset Spot
- Kloof Corner
- Bloubergstrand Beach
Check out our ‘Best sunset spots in Cape Town’ blog for everything you need to know about Cape Town’s magnificent and magical sunset spots.