Going out for fun things to do when you’re on holiday can add up and before you know it, you’ve blown your budget. That doesn’t have to be the case if you know where to go.
We’ve scoured the country and found some incredible attractions to visit on a shoestring. Whether you’re keen on getting in nature, interested in history or just looking to entertain the kids with a day out, here’s where to go without spending a fortune.
Rondevlei Nature Reserve
Cape Town has no shortage of beautiful nature reserves scattered across the city, most of which are free or have a minimal entry fee. Rondevlei in Grassy Park is a firm favourite and forms part of the False Bay Nature Reserve. Birders flock to the wetland that contains five hides and two observation towers from which to spot any of the 230 bird species like herons, night herons, egrets, ibis and spoonbill. Or you can simply stroll along the footpath, enjoying the reedbeds, lowland fynbos and strandveld surrounding the lake.
Contact: 021 400 3443
Address: Corner of Fisherman’s Walk and Perth Roads, Grassy Park
The Southern African Foundation for the Conservation of Coastal Birds (SANCCOB) is a non-profit that contributes to the conservation of seabirds through rescue, rehabilitation and the release of ill, injured, abandoned and oiled birds. The organisation treats up to 2,500 seabirds per year, of which a staggering 1,500 are African penguins. You can visit them for a behind-the-scenes educational tour to learn more about how they operate.
They allow four tour groups per day from 10am to 2pm on week days and three tours on weekend days at 10am, 12pm and 2pm. Booking is essential.
Cost: R60 for adults, R50 for kids under 12 and R40 for senior citizens
Contact: 021 557 6155
Address: 22 Pentz Drive, Table View
Iziko Muzeums is the umbrella organisation that operates 11 national museums in Cape Town. Each of them is unique and of great social, historical and cultural significance, giving us a look through the window to the past. You can view anything from a mid-eighteenth-century house in the Bo-Kaap, to learning about the long history of slavery in South Africa, to taking a virtual voyage through the universe at the Planetarium, some starting from as little as R20 entry fee. Visit their website to see which one of these tickles your fancy:
- Bertram House
- Bo-Kaap Museum
- Groot Constantia Manor House
- Koopmans-de Wet House
- Maritime Centre
- Michaelis Collection at the Old Town House
- Rust en Vreugd
- Slave Lodge and Social History Centre
- South African Museum and Planetarium
- South African National Gallery and Annexe
- William Fehr Collection at the Castle of Good Hope
The museums are situated at different locations across the city and have different entry fees.
Contact: 021 481 3800
This vibrant market is where aspiring artists, designers, chefs, poets and crafters from the surrounding areas all come together to showcase their work. Browse the various stalls brimming with handmade gift items, clothing, decor and more, or dig into the scrumptious local foods and drinks.
Cost: Entry is free, choose to buy or simply browse!
Contact: (067) 027-9324 or (071) 996-0080
Address: Lebo’s Soweto Backpackers: 10823A Pooe St, Orlando West, Soweto
Cycle the City
What better way to explore a city than on a bicycle? You can hire one at Mainstreetwalks, so grab a map and plan your route. Remember to pack water and sunscreen, and ask the knowledgeable staff for their recommended pitstops and routes.
Cost: R50 per hour
Contact: 011 614 0163
Address: 264 Fox St, Maboneng
Melville Koppies Nature Reserve
This nature reserve is a Johannesburg City Heritage Site, and is the last conserved remains of the ridges in the area before the discovery of gold in 1886. You will be given a map on entry, so pack a picnic and your sunnies, and head out! The reserve is currently only open on Sundays between 8am and 11:30am, but guided tours for groups and mid-week entry can be arranged.
Cost: R80 for adults, R40 for children
Contact: 027 11 482 4797 or 079 532 0083
Address: 4 Judith Rd, Emmarentia, Randburg
A visit to Durban’s Spice Emporium is a must for any foodie, and more so if you enjoy cooking Indian food. This 100-year old family-owned business makes the rich history and tradition behind the Indian approach to cooking accessible to one and all. You’ll be spoiled for choice the minute you set foot in the aromatic spice store, where you can shop anything from basic quality turmeric powder to various incense and oils.
Cost: Entry is free, choose to buy or simply browse!
Contact: 031 332 5888
Address: 31 Monty Naicker Road, Durban
Moses Mabhida Stadium
The Moses Mabhida Stadium is not only used to host sports events, but offers various entertainment and adrenaline activities too. The Adventure Walk to the top lets you climb the 500 steps of the 106m high arch, and is rewarded with striking panoramic views of the city. Alternatively, opt for the scenic route and hop on the SkyCar which takes you up, minus the climbing (and sweating, and panting).
Cost: Adventure Walk R120 peak per person, SkyCar R55 for adults, R30 for children
Contact: 031 322 9936
Address: 44 Isaiah Ntshangase Road, Durban
Durban Botanic Gardens
At Africa’s oldest botanical garden, you can meander through age-old cycads and other attractions like the Orchid House, the Sunken Garden and the lake. You can also enquire about guided group tours and educational programmes. You can download a map of the gardens here.
Contact: 031 322 4021or 068 598 1396
Address: 9A John Zikhali Road, Berea
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