While things are pretty dire, water-wise, in Cape Town and all the media reports are bemoaning our decreasing dam levels and dwindling water supply, it’s not all doom and gloom. We’re still privileged to live in one of the most beautiful cities in the world and there are still plenty of fun things to do that won't waste water.
The water crisis is not a reason not to visit. Tourism is a major economic driver for the city, one which we can’t afford to lose. Just because you can't bath, need to shower (for a minute only) in a bucket and use your shower water to flush the toilet doesn't mean you can't still be enjoying all that Cape Town has to offer.
We’ve done the blog to answer everyone’s questions about the Cape Town drought and to encourage visitors to continue coming (but to be aware and obey the water rules!), so we decided to, in true South African style, work out how to make the best of a bad situation.
Here, we’ve gathered some activities that won’t waste water, so that both locals and foreign visitors can still enjoy the beauty of Cape Town and all that it offers.
The sea! The sea!
Swimming pools are out this year but the sea is still there in all its glory: azure waves crashing onto perfect white beaches around the whole peninsula. Whether you're a surfer (or wannabe surfer), boogie boarder, paddler, kite surfer or the kind who loves 'long walks on the beach', Cape Town is the place.
Ten of Cape Town’s beaches have been awarded Blue Flag status for 2018, including Camps Bay, Clifton 4th and Llandudno on the Atlantic coast and Strandfontein, Muizenberg and Fish Hoek on the Indian Ocean side.
Bonus: a good, long swim in the ocean means no need for a shower or, at most, just a quick rinse to get the salt off ... 20 seconds will do it.
Just like the African bush, the African sea can be wild too. If you're nervous about waves and/or sea creatures, fret not. There are numerous tidal pools scattered along the coastline in which you can happily float, without being bothered by waves or things with fins, scales, tentacles or teeth.
Bonus: same as above … less water wasted washing.
The Cape is not only known for its beautiful beaches but also its spectacular vineyards. Just 20 minutes from the city centre lies the Constantia Wine Route, which includes nine wine farms. Organise a chauffeured day trip or hop on the Red Bus, so that nobody needs to be the designated driver and miss out on the fruits of the vine.
A little further afield, but well worth the drive, Stellenbosch, Paarl and Franschhoek offer breathtaking scenery and a smorgasbord of vineyards producing incredible wines. Day trips to these wine routes are offered by numerous operators.
Bonus: There are loads of restaurants in these areas offering culinary delights procured by award-winning chefs.
The gardens lie on the eastern slopes of Table Mountain, beneath its highest point, so they get the highest amount of rain on the Cape Peninsula. Admittedly, even there, this has been minimal in the past two years, but it’s still blooming spectacular.
You see, while struggling a little with the lack of rain, Kirstenbosch includes mostly indigenous – and therefore, water-wise – plants. This means that, despite the drought in Cape Town, the botanical gardens are a pleasure to visit.
Bonus: Scones at the Tea Room.
Almost considered a national sport, the braai (or barbecue) is an essential part of the South African lifestyle. In Cape Town we’re being careful about where we have our braais as lighting fires near dry bush is an absolute no-no, but we're not stopping braaiing for anything.
Bonus: Braaiing saves on water for cooking and washing up … we’re fans of (biodegradable) paper plates and paper cups for cool drinks; beer is drunk out of the bottle.
Speaking of which, Cape Town is Hipster Central and where there are hipsters, there’s sure to be craft beer. The city has had a renaissance when it comes to beer drinking as craft beer brewers pop up throughout the city and surrounds.
Beer tasting is now a thing. If you’re not sure where to start, head to the Beerhouse on Long in the CBD, who have a beer menu that will leave you gob-smacked.
Alternatively, check out our previous blog on cool spots to drink craft beer.
Hop on a plane to Kruger
Okay, okay, we know the Kruger National Park isn't in Cape Town, but we're a safari company ... we LOVE Kruger. Speak to one of our knowledgeable travel consultants and head off away from the water crisis and enjoy a trip into the spectacular bush filled with all the animals and birds that make us love South Africa.
Bonus: There's no water crisis in Kruger (currently).
So now you know, there are plenty of non-water-wasting ways to fill your days in Cape Town and distract you from the fact that you had to use a small bucket of water to complete your ablutions this morning. And then had to use that to flush the loo.
Still have lots of questions about the drought in Cape Town? Then this is for you - Cape Town Water Crisis: FAQ
More ideas on fun things to do, despite the drought? Comment here and we’ll add them.