If you’re planning a visit to South Africa’s most cosmopolitan city, you will have likely seen countless suggestions offering popular tourist activities to do in Cape Town. Whilst many of these “must-see” ideas are worthwhile, there are also a number of lesser-known activities to suit all sorts of preferences.
To help you plan your most exciting Cape Town travel itinerary yet, we’ve hand-picked some suggestions that are interesting, unusual and most certainly intriguing.
#1 Savour a Shisha
Better known locally as a hubbly bubbly or hookah pipe, Shisha pipes have been a long-standing tradition in many Middle Eastern cultures around the world. Using a special vaporised tobacco known as shisha, which is flavoured and filtered through water, flavours range from simple cherry tobacco to more elaborate options, such as apple and mint.
Some of the best places to smoke a hookah pipe in Cape Town include Baran’s Shisha Lounge near Greenmarket Square, Mesopotamia on the corner of Long and Church Streets, Baghdad Cafe on the corner of Long and Bloem Streets, and Love on Long, which is located on Long Street.
*While we certainly love the taste and ritual of these unique bubbling pipes, remember that they still contain tobacco and nicotine.
#2 Tour the underground tunnels
Beneath the city of Cape Town, there is a tunnel system that spans from the Castle of Good Hope to Signal Hill. In years gone by, these tunnels were actively used by soldiers and sentry, who needed a quick route to the main Castle base from their look-out point on Table Mountain. While many of the old tunnels have been sealed, some are still accessible and open for pre-arranged guided tours.
Tunnel tours are not for those who battle with enclosed spaces. But for those who love a bit of adventure, the chance to walk deep underground through a series of dark tunnels is sure to be an exhilarating experience.
#3 Play a game of chess or backgammon
For those who like their entertainment on the strategic side, there are a few bars and restaurants in the City that offer chess or backgammon sets for use by patrons.
In the City Bowl and surrounds, restaurants that offer the use of board games include:
- Asoka, Kloof Street: Backgammon for the most part, along with live jazz on some nights
- Dizzy’s, Camps Bay: Backgammon and karaoke, if you’re in the mood for something less laid-back
- Foreign Exchange, Observatory: A wide range of board games
- Hello Sailor Bistro, Observatory: Chess
- Alexander Bar & Theatre, Strand Street: Chess, as well as various live performances
- Luvey ‘n Rose, Loop Street: Chess and art to name a few of the offerings
#4 Explore the city by bicycle
One of the City’s biggest selling points is that there are a number of ways in which to explore its famous streets – new and old. One of the older methods of transportation that is regaining popularity is to explore by bicycle. In the City Centre, there are a number of bike lanes, rental shops and even bicycle tours that give you a unique perspective of this metropolitan hub.
If you’d prefer to explore at your own pace, your best bet is to hire a bicycle for a few hours, or days.
#5 Take a Bo Kaap walking tour
The beautiful Cape Malay Quarter, known as the Bo Kaap, is one of the few places that managed to avoid the forced removals during the apartheid era. This suburb is known for its bright array of different coloured cottages, steep cobbled roads and large number of Mosques. Here, you will find spice shops, museums, art galleries, quaint coffee shops and restaurants serving traditional Cape Malay curries and other treats.
A walking tour is the best way to fully immerse yourself in the Bo Kaap culture, stopping at many interesting landmarks along the way.
Need help planning your itinerary? The 24-hour concierge at Pepperclub Hotel & Spa is on hand to guide you and assist in making any of the above bookings.
Pepperclub Hotel & Spa is a five-star hotel located in the heart of Cape Town, walking distance from all major attractions listed above. For more information, please visit www.pepperclub.co.za