Apart from the well advertised places to visit, these are my top 10 off- the beat recommendations:

  1. For local music visit The Crypt. Under St George’s Cathedral in Wale Street is the Crypt which hosts live music in the evenings. A good night to go is when they have an open night. The food is good with a number of local dishes. When we last visited they didn’t have an alcohol licence so as with most South African restaurants you can take your own wine for a small corkage. There is a local band playing whilst you eat and half way through the evening musicians start arriving and join the band. It’s unrehearsed, impromptu and very enjoyable. Spending an evening in a crypt is also an interesting place to be. The night we visited was a brilliant night.
  2. The Fugard Theatre near District Six Museum is a lovely little theatre. If they have something of interest it’s well worth a visit. You can even eat before hand at the inexpensive pub around the corner, The Dias Tavern. They are used to theatregoers wanting to leave on time. The food is good and there’s plenty of it.
  3. Labia Cinema. For a nostalgic visit to an old theatre visit The Labia. The lady in the kiosk sells you a ticket and you can buy a glass of wine to take into the auditorium. They show quite recent films and often have good African productions.
  4. Enjoy your lunch in traditional style at The Eastern Food Bazaar in Long Street. All types of Asian and Eastern foods are available to test your taste buds and a fruit lassi to drink is essential. The prices are extremely reasonable and I guarantee you will not want to eat anything more that day!
  5. Tourists and locals alike go here so try the Harbour House restaurant in Kalk Bay. For a special occasion or not, the food is excellent and the sight of the waves breaking against the restaurant windows are unforgettable.
  6. If you haven’t time for a safari, a day trip to Inverdoorn Game Reserve is a must. Or better still stay overnight in one of their unique huts and eat under the stars in the cool evening air. The food is first class; it’s peaceful and just a wonderful place to be. It’s 3 hours drive from the city but the journey over the mountain passes is worth it.
  7. If you feel energetic climb Lions Head just before dusk, take your favourite tipple and delight in a sundowner from the top. Remember to take a torch for the return journey.
  8. Just take one of the many routes and walk up Table Mountain and enjoy the beautiful views, the varied fynbos vegetation and the birdlife. If you are particularly fit, start at the Rycroft gate (Gate No 3 at Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens) and climb up Skeleton Gorge and follow the path to Maclear’s Beacon (highest point) and return via Nursery Ravine.  If you are frightened of heights don’t use Nursery Ravine but return the way you came. Take warm clothes, whatever the weather.
  9. Take a private guided tour of a township and see how the Africans live.  Choose a tour carefully to ensure your money goes to the people who need it.  Enjoy hearing about their culture, singing expertise and preferred dishes. You will be particularly welcome at a vibrant Sunday service.
  10. Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens. Although this is well known I particularly recommend a longer visit. They have free-guided walks at 10.00am led by one of the local volunteers. Enjoy the sheer ruggedness of the rear of Table Mountain, the bird and wildlife, the softness of the deep grass carpet and all the smells of the African plants. There is so much to see here and in my opinion these gardens are more impressive than Kew Gardens. Plus, the weather is a good deal better!