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How to Experience Cape Town like a local

While Cape Town has many top attractions like the Victoria and Alfred Waterfront, Table Mountain and the Atlantic Seaboard coastline, there are vast pockets of beauty tucked away which most visitors never get to see. If you’ve been to Cape Town before, you’re bound to want to get beneath the skin of the city and experience what the locals do, but seldom know where to start. Here’s a few suggestions of moving slightly off the beaten tourist track in Cape Town:

1 – Trailing up hills and mountains.

Cape Town is brimming with trails and hikes with every turn you take; from gentle family-friendly trails up Constantia Nek to lessor-known pathways up to a dam in Simonstown ( where you can literally swim atop a mountain), there is a trail for everyone. Even if you’re not a hiker, you can enjoy a group sunset picnic on top of Signal hill or go on a guided hike ( to suit your fitness levels and that of your family) anywhere in the Table Mountain National Park. So once you’ve taken a ride on the cable car, savour the outdoors in the summer months and get trailing.

Include a Mountain experience in your trip with CTlikealocal ( which includes a guide, drinks and snacks.

Table Mountain

Photo Credit: Shutterstock Images.

2 – Regular Markets

Now’s the time when Christmas markets will start popping up all around the city but those aside, locals love visiting weekend markets ( a few week ones too). Some favorite Stellenbosch markets include Blaauwklippen Family market (Sunday, 10am – 3pm) and Root 44 (Saturday & Sunday, 10am – 4pm) where artisan products, gourmet foods and local treats await. Both offer wonderful play areas for kids alongside with go-cart rides, farm animals ( Blaauwklippen) and outdoor areas to dine.

Firm favorites amongst locals in Cape Town include the Bay Harbor Market in Hout Bay on weekends as well as The Blue Bird Garage Market in Muizenberg on Friday nights, Oranjezicht City Farm Market Day (Saturday, 8.30am – 2pm) and The Neighbourhoods Market in Woodstock on a Saturday morning (9am-3pm). Each of these markets are hosted by local farmers, fine-food purveyors, organic merchants, bakers, grocers, mongers, butchers, artisanal producers and celebrated local chefs bringing their best to the table


3 – False Bay Peninsula Beaches

Whilst most tourists huddle to Camps Bay, clifton and other Atlantic Seaboard favourites, very few ever make it to the False Bay Peninsula beaches ( Boulders aside) where the water is warmer, the tide pools are kid-friendly and ample opportunities await to learn surfing, stand-up paddle boarding or kayaking. Plus quirky seaside towns with fish and chips, antique shops and harbour views await. St. James with its colorful beach huts and calm tidal pool is perfect for families, Muizenberg is the ultimate hub to learn to surf and Fishhoek and Kalk Bay are too wonderful places for habour and beach views along with delicious seafood options.

Top Tip: Combine a beach experience with a mountain one and turn your day into an outdoor city escape.


How to Experience Cape Town like a local

Photo Credit: Shutterstock Images.

4 – Walk the City

Cape Town has some quirky nooks and areas well worth exploring. These are always best explored with a local or a guide. The old Cape Malay quarter of the Bo Kaap bursts with colour and opportunities to make and sample traditional Cape Malay cuisine. Woodstock is further out of the city but is filled with street art and mural works from local graffiti artists. Both make for great photowalks ( with a camera or a phone) but it’s advisable not to do either of these alone

How to Experience Cape Town like a localPhoto Credit: Shutterstock Images.



5 – West Coast

Foreigners and locals alike tend to hurtle up the Garden Route once they’ve enjoyed Cape Town, but the West Coast with its rough Atlantic, national parks, abundance of stars and quiet beaches truly allow you to feel like you’ve escaped the city. Spend the day at Kraalbaai in the West Coast National Park, rent a kayak and enjoy calm, turquoise waters or enjoy traditional cuisine at the Geelbek Restaurant on the lagoon.

How to Experience Cape Town like a local

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With Cape Town gearing up for the busy festive season, it’s always a good idea to know where the locals will be, where the secret nooks are hidden and to peel back the layers of the city. So come and experience the city as a local.