If you ever wondered how to truly enjoy Cape Town in spring like locals do, boy, do we have a treat for you. At the risk of giving away any major local secrets, we have selected some of the lesser known (and hugely under-rated) places that are amazing to enjoy during the springtime. And, since the city is certainly springing into its fresh, colourful happy season, we figured now was as good a time as any to share some of our own personal top picks.
Not all of our picks are absolute ‘tell and live to regret it’ secrets, it has to be said. In fact, you would very likely find these on your own without our help if you are friendly with a few locals during your travels. If you are mostly local but formally living somewhere further afield (Joburg, Zimbabwe, the UK or wherever that may be), you may find some ideas that you hadn’t yet thought of trying. Basically, what we want to do is show you a slightly less ‘touristy’ way of enjoying Cape Town sights and sounds this spring.
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Local Guide to Cape Town in Spring
Flowers! Whales! Trees! More flowers! Spring in the Cape is, like many other places that have the joy of changing seasons, quite special, if we do say so ourselves. The air starts to warm after the chilly winter, the countryside starts showing off with a staggering nature show that features wildflowers of virtually every colour you can imagine (many of which clash quite wonderfully), occasional rain showers brighten things up and everyone is hit by a sense of happiness that can only come with this time of year.
Before you use up that extra memory drive on your camera taking pictures of nice-but-kind-of-average spring wonders, here are a few tips to experience a local’s guide to Cape Town over the next couple of months…
1. Instead of Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens… Try a free garden, where you can get all the fresh air and nature you want, without paying a thing. Yes, we know that Kirstenbosch is amazing – if you have not been yet, you should get in at least one visit. Better yet, wait until October or November, when the Summer Concerts and Open-Air Cinema shows kick off. Free gardens and community parks to try include Green Point Urban Park, De Waal Park, Ferndale Nurseries in Constantia (they have bunnies, chickens, ducks and a play area, too!), the Company Gardens off Adderly Street and Arderne Gardens in Claremont (a popular spot for wedding photos – especially on weekends).
2. Instead of Namaqualand… Try a wild flower route that is closer to the city. One of the most famous places to see the flowers in Cape Town is, of course, the West Coast National Park. While this is still somewhat of a drive (a few hours at any rate), the drive itself is all part of the adventure. The Postberg portion of the park is the best spot to see flowers, which start blooming between late August and mid-September. This is a road trip that is worth every second… on the drive itself, you will see plenty of beautiful landscapes pass you by, arriving in ‘flowerland’ to see some of the most incredible displays of nature under the sun.
3. Instead of a franchise steakhouse… Try a genuine South African braai experience at Mzoli’s in the Cape Township. The idea here is spectacularly simple. You buy raw meat inside, and then you take it out back and throw it on the fire. While it’s cooking, you buy a few rounds of beer, which you enjoy surrounded by people of all ages, races and nationalities. This is local dining at its very best. It’s loud, noisy, chaotic and truly one of the best ways to enjoy a meal. It is best to go with friends so that you don’t get lost, or go as part of a tour such as our fantastic Cape Township Tour.
These are just a few ideas on how you can live it up like a local on your spring break in Cape Town… there are, of course, many, many other great ideas out there. So many, in fact, that we’d really love to hear from YOU, our readers. What are your favourite things to do in the city during spring? Share your thoughts below and let us know!