While Capetonian winters can be really stormy and rainy (it’s not called the Cape of Storms for nothing!) this city is often blessed with the most glorious, sunny spells. But what do you do when you’re in the Mother City and your day is set to be a total washout? We’ve put together a few suggestions and activities for rainy days in Cape Town that are bound to add a silver lining.
1. All Tastes And Ages Are Catered For At The V&A Waterfront
The benefit of the V&A Waterfront’s location is that it’s home to a number of first class hotels such as the One&Only, the Victoria & Alfred and the Cape Grace. And so on rainy days you don’t even have to venture very far from your hotel room. Alternatively self-drive into one of the underground parking garages or get you guide to drop you off – a large part of the Waterfront is under cover.
The entertainment options are endless and it’s not hard to see why the V&A is the place to visit for fun things to do on a rainy day: Watch one of the latest movie releases at the multiplex cinema or for an intimate VIP movie experience head to Nu Metro’s Scene. Go on a shopping spree at an endless selection of high-end as well as high street fashion boutiques or go snooping around for incredible African art curios and collectables. Sit down to a lovely lunch or dinner at a multitude of fine dining restaurants or simply grab a gourmet burger or a plate of sushi and a glass of Chenin Blanc. For rugby enthusiasts, there is the Springbok Museum which showcases South Africa’s proud history of rugby champions. The V&A Waterfront also hosts regular international travelling exhibitions (recently showcasing Leonardo Da Vinci and Bodies, as well as Lego art), for some informative, family holiday entertainment.
2. Admire Innovative Local Craft At The New Watershed Indoor Market
The newly refurbished Watershed offers visitors a myriad of beautiful locally made objects and home decor items from jewellery and fashion one-off items to ceramics, textiles and furniture. In most cases the artist is in situ demonstrating their craft. This vibrant and cleverly designed space also hosts exhibitions, workshops and live entertainment and is often rated amongst the top things to do in Cape Town. There is a ‘Wellness at the Watershed’ level that offers visitors a range of treatments to rejuvenate body, mind and soul. Perfect for anyone seeking a cold winters day retail or wellness boost.
3. Watch The Sharks Being Fed At The Two Oceans Aquarium
If you have kids, then the Two Oceans Aquarium is the perfect solution on a rainy day. Just be sure to get there early as you may not be the only one with this bright idea! This indoor underwater wonderland is home to more than 3000 of South Africa’s magical sea creatures amongst them clownfish, penguins, jellyfish, sea horses, spider crabs, sharks and much more.
This world-class aquarium is also the perfect venue from which to observe feedings, which happen every day of the week. On Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays the stingrays and turtles get fed at 3pm, on Tuesdays and Thursdays the large fish eat at 3pm, the sea life in the kelp forest are fed on Wednesdays and Saturdays at 12pm, the sharks devour their meals on Sundays at 3pm and the charming penguins get fed daily at 11:30am (Rockhopper Penguins) or at 11:45am and 2:30pm (African Penguins). Afterwards, you can grab a bite at the kiddie-friendly Shoreline Café or head to the Market on the Wharf for a wonderful collection of artisanal and organic food stalls.
4. Warm The Cockles Of Your Heart In The Winelands
Nothing much beats the winter chills than fabulous food and wine with your loved ones. We suggest going wine tasting in Groot Constantia, the oldest wine estate in South Africa, followed by a mouthwatering meal at one of their two restaurants Simon’s or Jonkershuis. Both feature roaring fireplaces. Or head to Steenberg Wine Estate which also features two incredible restaurants: Bistro 1682 for relaxed tapas and bistro-styled cuisine (when the rain breaks and the sun comes out you can take your wine onto the terrace overlooking stunning water features and the lovely grounds of Steenberg) or visit Catharina’s for a more formal setting.
If you have time to venture further afield, Franschhoek – one of the Cape Winelands most famous towns – is well worth the visit. Here you can take your pick of grand old wine estates and fine restaurants, not to even mention the world-renowned wines. One of our top rainy day picks is Grande Provence Heritage Estate where you can savour award-winning wines and enjoy a gourmet three-course lunch (think French cuisine with an Asian twist). After dessert, you can stroll around their gallery filled with contemporary South African art, all without even having to leave the estate.
5. Enjoy The Buzz Of Trendy Indoor Markets
Cape Town is fast becoming known for its fresh produce and craft markets. The under-cover Bay Harbour Market is well-worth a visit on a grey day. Housed in Hout Bay in an old warehouse, this weekend market (which opens Friday early evenings to Sunday afternoons) sells an amazing array of crafts and clothes, as well as a wonderful selection of foods from beautiful breakfast rolls, to pizza, juicy steak rolls and oysters and champagne. It has a great laid-back Cape Town charm and the market comes alive on Fridays with live music.
Another firm Cape Town favourite is the Neighbourgoods Market at the Biscuit Mill in the trendy, up-and-coming suburb of Woodstock. Open every Saturday until 2pm, this funky indoor market is guaranteed to put a smile on your face as Cape Town’s hipsters and creative’s flock to this weekend foodie mecca. Also housed in an old warehouse this vibrant market has over 100 traders from organic merchants to mongers, bakers, grocers, butchers, local farmers and locally produced specialty goods.
6. Savour A Rotisserie Lunch
What better way to spend a rainy Cape Town day than to enjoy a rotisserie or carvey! Cape Town has an endless selection of restaurants, but an old classic is The Forester’s Arms. For an authentic pub experience with a great Sunday carvery, “Forries” is hard to beat, especially after a brisk walk in Newlands Forest. Add to that roaring fireplaces and a great selection of beers, wines and whiskeys and even the dreariest of days may not seem so bleak.
If you are up for a scenic drive, then we suggest heading to lunch to Leopard’s Leap Family Vineyards in Franschhoek. Perfect for drizzly afternoons, this contemporary winery offers tasty rotisserie-styled lunch from Wednesdays to Sundays that is bound to warm even the coldest of days. This kid-friendly estate offers a range of free-range meats (take your pick from lamb neck, pork belly, chicken and beef fillet) cooked on a spit. There is also a harvest table filled with seasonal salads, freshly baked breads, organic roast vegetables and to-die-for mini desserts. The wines are lovely too, and they even whip up superb wine cocktails. We loved the Chenin Blanc Martini and the Chardonnay Margarita.
7. Learn To Surf At Muizenberg
If you’re going to get wet anyway then maybe learning to surf at Muizenberg is just the answer? The waves are generally better in the winter months, and on a beautiful winter’s day in Cape Town there is nothing as invigorating than to smell the fresh sea air and to taste the salty waves. Grab a surfboard and a wetsuit and book yourself in for a private lesson at either Learn 2 Surf or Gary’s Surf School located right opposite on Beach Road. Winter will never seem dreary again!