Local, Travel

10 CT Staycations

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You were thinking in advance last year when you booked your leave. You're thinking a beach retreat in Mozambique to wash away your stress – refreshing frolics in the sea, snorkelling adventures, umbrellaed cocktails at a tiki bar, and reclining on the beach. But the last time you flew anywhere you were stripped to your underwear and told to remove the jar of specially bought whiskey-infused marmalade you carelessly put in your hand luggage, so you decide to drive. That was back when petrol was R11,50/litre. Now it's a year later and driving is about as expensive as an air ticket, so that's out too. Enter the staycation. Though the name is slightly stupid and annoyingly catchy, in SA’s current economy, you’re far better off spending your time enjoying the local sites and activities, while eschewing the high petrol prices and tear-your-hair-out air travel. Here are ten budget-friendly ideas for a Cape Town staycation.

  1. Focus on yourself: When you’re not spending some much needed catch up time with your love, your friends or Mr Scruffles, your cat, take some time out to refresh your mind. Meditation has been shown to reduce stress and even has positive outcomes for forgiveness (if Mr Scruffles spent his morning dining on the pair of Steve Madden heels you’d been coveting). You’ll have loads of time to get in those gym sessions you’ve been neglecting. Just 30 minutes each day will boost your energy and improve your mood (plus you’ll feel less guilty about the extra food and wine you’ll likely be consuming).
  2. Take a hike. Speaking of exercise, Cape Town’s got a pretty great selection of trails and mountains that you could conquer. Lion’s Head isn’t the only spot with excellent views. If you’re experienced, Myburgh’s Ravine on the Hout Bay trail has unbeatable flora, and boasts a pretty mean waterfall, too. Those looking for an easy, scenic walk, head along the pipe track, and marvel at the Peninsula.
  3. Get lost at Hinthunt. Channel your inner 10-year-old geek, and make your way to HintHunt in Woodstock (R200pp). In this ‘live escape game’ you and three to five buds will be locked in a small dark room, with an hour to get out and a set of mind-boggling riddles to help you. Probably not for claustrophobes or those easily irritated.
  4. Do a Cape Malay cooking class: Meander through the streets of Bo-Kaap, lingering to Instagram the colourful builds and historic sites. Up the cobbled side roads and between the cheerful houses, you’ll find the Cape Malay food safari (R600pp). Run by Zainie Misbach, a local who started the first Cape Malay restaurant in the Mother City and had a hand in the Noon Gun eatery, it's worth every penny. The three hour experience will fill your head (and mouth!) with the aromatic spices, fruity curries and sweet treats of typical Cape Malay fare.
  5. Join your local pub quiz. With no worries about a pounding hangover or late night, you can afford to get rowdy participating in one of CT’s favourite competitive pastimes. Put your general knowledge to the test with your smartest mates. Oblivion’s Monday pub quiz (R15pp) in the ‘burbs is always festive, with loyal members bearing ridiculous team names, and wine that keeps on flowing. Indulge in epic pizzas and pints of Fosters at the ever-popular Fireman’s Arms on a Thursday (R20pp).
  6. Spa day. After all that boozing, you’ll need a day to unwind in peace. Find one of the city's spas for a full afternoon of blissful spoils. While the effects of the night before are rubbed away, massages can also improve mood and aid in calmness, and they can even boost the immune system. The Arabella spa at the Westin offers a wide selection of treatments that’ll leave you relaxed and rejuvenated.  Plus  you can hang around to enjoy the heated pool, sauna and the spellbinding city views from a water bed.
  7. Read. The pile on your nightstand is starting to look like a Jenga tower. Before your good reading ambitions come tumbling down, find some time to get into your books. Avoid starting season 2 of Orange is the New Black (do that too!) get out and go somewhere you’ll be able to cosy up to your page-turner – a coffee house or Green Point Park. You’ll soon find yourself unable to stop. Looking for a new read? Swing by Cape Town favourite The Book Lounge.
  8. Work on your tan. From late November to February, the tourist-packed shores and Joburg-boet-crowded bars keep you far away. As warmer weather approaches, with a brollie underarm, the latest copy of HL and a coolerbox of treats, head to your favourite (crowd-free) beach and have that beach holiday you always wanted.
  9. Daytime TV. When was the last time you watched Judge Judy slam her gavel? Taken sage advice from Dr Phil? Kept up with Kardashian repeats? Never. Because you’re busy, dammit. But not on a staycation. Make some popcorn, sit back, and watch your guiltiest pleasures, sans guilt.
  10. Hop on the train. Take advantage of the half hourly trips to Kalk Bay. Grab a heavenly ice cream at Ice Café to accompany you on a lazy stroll along the strip (because why not?), and pop into the galleries and antique shops that line the sidewalks. You’ll see yourself as a sophisticate – a worldly person of culture and sweet treats – before heading back to your couch just in time for Judge Judy