If you’re craving something away from well-known and crowded attractions in the Cape, you might want to explore these five lesser known gems. These spots prove there’s more than what meets the eye in the Mother City – you just may be disappointed you didn’t discover them sooner.
1. Cosy Bay / Beta Beach
Tucked away amidst the hustle and bustle of popular Camps Bay and Clifton, Beta Beach offers secluded respite unknown to the vast majority. This tiny hideaway is made up predominantly of course beach sand and large boulders. Situated in the heart of the Atlantic Seaboard in Bakoven, it is characterised by spectacular views of Lion’s Head and the Twelve Apostles. The large boulders not only offer great photo opportunities and leverage to see into the horizon, but they also combat the wind, making for calm water that’s perfect for swimming. The exclusive and quiet nature of Beta Beach means those looking for undisturbed relaxation to sunbathe or get lost in a book will feel right at home. Remember to get there early to secure a good spot, as it can get quite confined once the tide rolls in.
2. Silvermine Waterfall
The Silvermine Waterfall is located at the top of a leisurely walking trail in the plush Silvermine Nature Reserve, home to over 900 species of fynbos. The gentle slope towards the waterfall allows you to absorb the breathtaking view down the valley, populated with proteas, ericas, watsonias, pelargoniums, everlastings and a horde of other plants. This place is great for birdwatching too, as you may spot a sunbird nesting amongst the abundant flora. At the bottom of the waterfall, there are some amazing little rock pools, offering an ideal spot to sit in the shade and have a picnic. With so much to see, this is a great outing for the little ones and the wide road leading to the top makes it suitable for a robust stroller. Don’t forget to bring the dogs along for some fresh air and exercise. Park at Silvermine Gate 2 which on the east side of the reserve. The cost to enter is R5 and free for Wild Card holders.
3. Tyisa Nabanye Market
Tyisa Nabanye, a non-profit agricultural organisation, grows food on the foothills of Signal Hill and operates the weekly Erf 81 food market. Aside from homey cuisine, the market sports second-hand clothing, books, arts and crafts, plants from the nursery and even a petting zoo for kids. Do your bit by getting involved in the planting day or sign the petition against the eviction threat to show your solidarity.
4. Breakfast at Little Stream, Constantia
If you’re looking for a good old fashioned high tea or English Breakfast, the Little Stream tea garden is a hidden gem just waiting to be uncovered. Donated by South African philanthropist Muriel Jones to the YMCA, this 7-acre estate is nestled between the Groot Constantia and Klein Constantia wine estates. The outdoor tea area is cosy amongst the vast landscape of greenery, shady glens, a glistening stream and vibrant flower beds. The menu sports fresh, wholesome food and generous portions. Enjoy sandwiches and salads from their light meals menu or indulge in the delectable variety of homemade scones and cakes. The tranquil rustic setting is child-friendly and the undercover area makes it suitable for inclement weather.
5. Underground tunnel tour of Cape Town
There are many ways to explore the city, but did you know you can venture underneath it too? This unique experience transports you back in time through culturally and historically significant underground tunnel-ways. Built between 1652 and 1895, the tunnels were intended to transport masses of water that flowed from Table Mountain into the ocean, and supplied the Company Gardens and passing ships with fresh water. Later, the tunnels became “gentleman’s walkways” – giving the city it’s very own little Amsterdam, before it was used to dispose of sewerage. As the years passed, the canals were arched over and forgotten about until recently, when they were opened to the public to view their impressive architecture and give locals a new perspective on their hometown.
Photography B Martin