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10 ways to have budget-friendly fun in Cape Town’s CBD


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The Google search for “Things to do in Cape Town for under R200” has seen a 350% increase over the past 12 months.

As July is officially Savings Month in South Africa, now’s the time to live your best life on a budget.

Tasso Evangelinos, CEO of the Cape Town Central City Improvement District (CCID), said: “As Capetonians increasingly feel the pinch, there’s a lot to see and do in the Cape Town CBD that is either free or budget-friendly. We invite you to come into town to enjoy our vibrant downtown, and to support the inner-city economy without breaking the bank.”

Here’s the CCID’s guide to 10 budget-beating venues or experiences in downtown Cape Town:

1. The Company’s Garden

10 ways to have budget-friendly fun in Cape Town’s CBD

Beautiful, historic, child-friendly and known for its resident pigeons, squirrels and trees, the Company’s Garden is a wonderful space.

It was originally used by the Dutch East India Company as a refreshment station on its trade route from Europe to the east to replenish fleets that had been away for months at sea.

Today the Company’s Garden – a national monument (and treasure) – is the green lung of the Cape Town CBD, a favourite among residents and local and international visitors alike. Take yourself on a tour of the trees, some of which are 200 years old or more.

Address: Queen Victoria St

Cost: Free

2. First Thursdays

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Come into town on the first Thursday of every month when art galleries, retail venues and restaurants, bars and clubs stay open to welcome visitors with open arms.

It’s the perfect kick-start to a great weekend …even though it is a Thursday.

The monthly initiative started in Cape Town in 2012, inspired by similar initiatives around the world.

The official organisers put out a programme that includes all the fun things to experience, including galleries and other cultural attractions, as well as retail stores, restaurants and bars.

Promote the CBD’s night-time economy and enjoy the unique downtown vibe.

Where: Cape Town CBD

When: 5.30pm until late (first Thursday of every month)

Cost: Free

Website: https://first-thursdays.co.za/

3. Sky-Hi Ride

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Experience some of the best views of the city and a mighty adrenalin rush. An eye-catching feature on the 28th floor of Hotel Sky, Sky-Hi Ride is a 35m thrill ride that takes you up in a chair lift, giving you a bird’s-eye view of Cape Town.

Weather permitting, the Sky-Hi Ride is open to hotel guests and outside visitors from Tuesday to Sunday from noon until 8pm. You can purchase a ride or observer ticket.

Address: 28th Floor, Hotel Sky, 9 Lower Long St

Cost: R200 per person (Webtickets)

Website: https://sky-hiride.capetown/

4. Iziko South African Museum

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Since 1825, the Iziko South African Museum, located in the Company’s Garden, has captivated millions of visitors with its vast historical collections, ranging from fossils to ancient insects and historical tools.

Little ones will love the whale display, not to mention some of the temporary exhibitions on right now, from JellyWorld (meet the Medusozoa) to an augmented reality experience of Ancient Egypt.

Address: 25 Queen Victoria Street

Cost: R30 (adults); R15 (children aged 6–18); free (children aged 5 and under)

Website: https://www.iziko.org.za/museums/south-african-museum

5. Nelson Mandela legacy exhibition

Cape Town’s majestic City Hall boasts a permanent Nelson Mandela legacy exhibition that’s accessible to the public on weekdays.

The installation, with interpretive panels, audio-visual and interactive displays, honours Madiba’s history and the country’s long struggle for liberation.

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One can either do a guided tour to see the various phases covered including an early life timeline, the 1940s and 1950s in Cape Town, 1960s events leading to imprisonment, prison years on Robben Island, Struggle protests, 1980s negotiations, his release, 1994 democratic elections and presidency and legacy.

To book a 45-minute viewing slot, email Mandela.Legacy@capetown.gov.za. The exhibition is open from 10am to 4pm Tuesday to Friday.

Address: Darling St

Cost: Free

Website: https://bit.ly/3JhTQpu

6. Rethinking the William Fehr Collection

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