ESL's Cape Town tips - Don't miss out on what the city has to offer!
Check out our insider tips for getting the most out of your time in Cape Town.
Find out what’s going on
A free events guide called LMG (Live Music Guide) found at most bars/pubs/backpackers/record & clothing stores in the city centre and surrounds. You can check it out online at yourlmg.com. Other websites that will keep your finger on the pulse are www.whatsonincapetown.com and www.capetownmagazine.com.
Word of mouth is always one of the best ways to find out what is going on: Cape Town is a very diverse city with many different cultures and interests. Many events are very intimate and not advertised in the popular press, publicized only through word of mouth. Get chatting with locals, perhaps while volunteering at a social project, during a game of football on the promenade or in one of the many bars and cafes on Long Street to find out what’s going on.
Buy cheap tickets online at Webtickets
Online tickets for smaller events in Cape Town can be bought on www.webtickets.co.za, where you can find info for all types of events, including plenty which are not mainstream.
There is a thriving outdoor festival scene in Cape Town, with festivals happening almost every weekend from September to May, in the most beautiful natural winelands locations. This is usually a fun weekend away and a great opportunity to meet some locals in a different environment. Check out our key dates for some highlights in the next 12 months. Speaking of winelands…
Try legendary wine “at source” in the Cape Winelands
South Africa’s wines have become some of the world’s most popular in recent decades and many of the finest come from the vineyards of the Cape. Paarl, Stellenbosch, Franschhoek are all within easy reach of Cape Town and offer a tantalising taste of the good life. Among the key factors in making excellent wine are fertile soil, fresh air and lots of sunshine… add these together and you have an attractive way of life, where great wine is paired with excellent fresh food and enjoyed in the outdoors!
To watch, read, listen
Watch Invictus (2009) Director: Clint Eastwood Cry Freedom (1987) Director: Richard Attenborough Searching for Sugar Man (2012) Director: Malik Bendjelloul
Cape Town cinemas Nu Metro V&A Waterfront (www.numetro.co.za) has 11 screens and almost 1,500 seats. You can catch all of the blockbusters there. Nearby Cinema Nouveau has a more diverse offering, while The Labia (Orange Street, www.thelabia.co.za) is Cape Town’s top art-house cinema and attracts a knowledgeable crowd. Elsewhere, the Pink Flamingo Rooftop Cinema offers a different cinematic experience at the Airstream Rooftop Trailer Park (www.granddaddy.co.za/cinema). The “Short and Sweet” short film season takes place a few times a year; it’s quite niche, but interesting and intimate (shortandsweet.tv).
Read Disgrace by J.M. Coetzee Cry the Beloved Country by Alan Paton The Heart of Redness by Zakes Mda Selected Stories by Nadine Gordimer
Listen $O$ by Die Antwoord African Marketplace by Dollar Brand (Abdullah Ibrahim) Nomvula by Freshlyground Get Busy Living by Goldfish
Long Street is lined with bars and nightclubs, making it the place for partying and mingling; venues come and go so ask around for what’s the latest. Elsewhere, The Assembly (61 Harrington Street, www.theassembly.co.za) is one of the most popular venues in town, with music ranging from live bands to 135-bpm techno. Ace ‘n’ Spades (62 Hout Street, www.www.acesnspades.com) rocks pretty hard all week long and stays open until 2am. Mercury Live & Lounge (43 De Villiers Street) and Zula Sound Bar (98 Long Street, www.www.zulabar.co.za) are two of the more popular live music venues in town, while Cape Town City Hall brings some of Africa’s top artists to the city for its City Hall Sessions. For a change of pace, The Mahogany Room (79 Buitenkant Street) and The Piano Bar (47 Napier Street) are classy jazz joints.