Top 10 Quirky Attractions in Cape Town
March 12, 2012, Posted by Elizabeth Joss
Some oddities here and there are necessary for one’s sanity. As a tourist or a local, you’ll want to venture off into the unknown and visit some of the Cape’s most unusual and fascinating attractions.
Don't miss out on the top 10 quirkiest attractions in Cape Town:
1. The Haunted House
Number 99 Milner Road, Rondebosch is Cape Town’s most suspicious building. With its earth coloured façade and ornate turrets, this Edwardian structure is dubbed ‘The Spook House’ by locals. Rumour has it that the house was occupied by a cult during the 1970’s and that as a result, it has a strange aura that is particularly creepy to residents of the area. Residents have experienced strange sightings from within the house such as slamming doors to flashing lights. The house has made the news on numerous occasions.
2. Muizenberg Beach Changing Rooms
Muizenberg is an eclectic seaside town situated on the False Bay Coastline. The town is best known for the little colourful changing rooms on the beach as well as being one of the best surfing spots in the Cape. Muizenberg is surrounded by quite steep cliffs which provide an excellent rock surface for avid climbers. Visitors to the area may want to do the historical coastal walk from the town to Kalk Bay, another coastal town on the False Bay Coastline. On this walk, you’ll see wonderful old Victorian-style buildings including the South African Police Museum, Het Posthuys and the Natale Labia, buildings steeped in history.
3. Castle of Good Hope
Built in the 1600’s by the Dutch East India Company, the Castle of Good Hope is the oldest colonial building in the country. The Castle is distinctive in structure and it comprises five bastions and a moat. It was built by soldiers, sailors and slaves and it was initially used as a civilian and military post until the settlement in the Cape grew and functions expanded to other parts of the region. Today, the Castle is the seat of military involvement in Cape Town and it houses the Castle Military Museum and Iziko Museums of Cape Town.
4. AmaZink Live
Want a culturally unique experience with the locals? You won’t want to miss the AmaZink Live show, an authentic South African musical and dining experience. Waiters are performers and encourage you to sing for your supper as they present you with a 3-course traditional South African meal. You’ll experience the sights, sounds and energy of South Africa in this show held at AmaZink in Stellenbosch.
5. Long Street
Long Street is the most culturally rich street in Cape Town and there is no shortage of things to do. Long Street has incredible quirky restaurants such as Mama Africa, Mesopotamia, Masala Dosa, Zulu Bar and The Purple Turtle. These themed restaurants are ideal for those who love to immerse themselves in different cultures. The street also has dozens of quaint shops where you can find everything from vintage clothing to music stores and crafts. A stroll down the street is a must for locals and foreigners alike.
6. Kalk Bay and Simonstown
Kalk Bay and Simonstown are two trendy little seaside towns with the most incredible scenery. Located about an hour away from the centre of Cape Town, Kalk Bay is a town synonymous with the creatives and artists of Cape Town. This is the perfect place for those interested in arts and culture. The little fishing village is complete with bohemian shops, antiques and crafts. Simonstown is a short drive from Kalk Bay and equally worth the visit! You’ll want to spend a few days exploring this side of the world.
7. Irma Stern Museum
The Irma Stern Museum celebrates the life of this artist who painted impasto-style portraits and landscapes of an African subject matter. Irma Stern’s work blends African, European and Asian art and the museum is a celebration of all things antique which Stern adored. Irma Stern achieved national and international recognition in her lifetime and if you visit the museum you’ll see works of an exotic nature as well as many collectables from her travels throughout Europe and Africa.
8. Bo Kaap (The Malay Quarter)
Bo Kaap is the most colourful area in the Cape and it is known as the Cape Malay Quarter. Tiny houses in a myriad of colours and quaint cobbled streets are unique to the area. The area is hidden in central Cape Town and tucked into the slope of Signal Hill. Houses date back to the 17th century and the area has the first established Muslim Mosque in South Africa. The houses contrast with tall city buildings from the city centre, making Bo Kaap a true city treasure.
9. Old Biscuit Mill
The Old Biscuit Mill in Woodstock is the perfect market to visit on Saturday mornings. The building used to be a biscuit factory and now houses designer shops, arts, crafts and decadent food stalls. A blend of old and new, the Mill is open from 9am to 2pm and you’ll be able to sample a wide range of local produce, regional organic foods, hand-made cheeses, wood-fired breads, luxury beers and speciality fine foods. There are also some vintage clothing and local designer stalls for fashion lovers. Listen to live music and sit at the big communal table while you wine and dine in local flavour. The Mill is the place for innovative ideas and creative talent across different fields.
10. Gordon’s Bay
This bay is in a truly exquisite location, offering a fantastic mix of scenery to visitors. Situated further afield in the Helderberg Basin, Gordon’s Bay has immaculate scenery and stunning steep mountains all around. The area itself is eclectic in that it has interesting shops, such as Bikini Beach Books, a second hand bookstore right on the beach. The entire shop (which is a converted house) is covered in books, from floor to ceiling, and it is definitely a must-see for bookophiles. Indulge in seafood available from a variety of local seaside restaurants and watch out over the bay towards the infinite mountain range.
What are some of the quirkiest places in Cape Town that you have been to? Tell us below in the comments.