With autumn in full swing, Cape Town is slowly shifting out of its summer mode and into its winter mode. Days are getting shorter, and the nights are getting longer and colder.
Electric blankets and feather duvets are starting to find their way out of the linen cupboard and onto beds.
While many locals and visitors are dreading the onset of the cold weather, there are still plenty of things to look forward to once winter kicks in for good… on sunny days as well as rainy days.
Things to do in Cape Town This Winter
Wondering how you are going to survive the chilly winter season? Here are a few ideas that will brighten up even the most miserable of days.
Winter Restaurant Specials – many local restaurants are already starting their specials for 2012, with everything from half-price sushi at Sevruga to discounted six course tasting menus and wine pairing at La Mouette on offer. Winter specials have become something of an institution in Cape Town, giving us good food and wine to survive those long cold months.
Wine Tasting – the cold weather is ideal for a lazy day of wine tasting, with Constantia Wine Route and the Cape Winelands to explore. After sampling your choice of wine varietals, vineyard lunches alongside a cosy fireplace add some much-needed warmth (especially with a glass or two of merlot).
Indoor Rock Climbing – don’t let bad weather stop you from getting your adrenaline fix. City Rock in Observatory has an indoor rock climbing gym that caters to all levels. Strap into your harness and see if you can climb your way to the top without looking down. Afterwards, you can reward yourself with a cold beer at one of the many bars, pubs and restaurants in Obz.
Play in the Snow – in just a few months, Matroosberg Nature Reserve near Ceres will be getting their first snow. The southern hemisphere doesn’t usually get to build snowmen and take to the slopes, but just a few hours outside of the city you will be able to layer up and start building snowballs. The reserve even has private ski track, with a number of snowfields to explore by 4×4.
Comedy Nights – while laughing is good all year round, winter nights are particularly good for mid-week comedy in the city centre. Zula Bar and Ragazzi on Long Street host Monday night comedy, while Mr Pickwicks on Long has a good line-up on Tuesday nights. The Armchair Theatre in Observatory often has comedy on Sunday nights, winding down the weekend on a good note.
Museums and Galleries – when was the last time you visited the South African National Museum? If you’re anything like me, you may have been once or twice in the past few years. Special exhibits change each year however, with many interesting things to see. The SA National Art Gallery is also good for a rainy day, while the Gold of Africa Museum, Bo Kaap Museum, Haas Gallery and District Six Museum are also worth a visit.
Shark Cage Diving – the thought of getting into freezing water on a cold day may seem crazy, but winter is the best month for shark diving and scuba diving. Visibility is excellent during these months, which means better sightings of sharks. If you’re lucky, you may even get to see a Great white breach – that sight alone makes it worth the trip.
As another plus side to winter in the Mother City, holidays during this time are also a lot more affordable. The beaches may be quiet, and the sun may not always be shining, but with so much to do during winter, you will soon find yourself forgetting that summer has come to an end.