20 Best Indoor Activities for a Rainy Day in Cape Town

Last Updated on April 3, 2024 by thecapetownblog

It doesn’t rain that much in Cape Town (not compared to my native UK, anyway) but it does happen. In fact, the winters can be pretty wet, so I’ve found it’s always good to have some rainy day activities up your sleeve!

Since Cape Town is usually so sunny, us locals usually just use the rainy days as an excuse to be lazy and catch up on Netflix! And that’s fine if you live here, but if you’re on holiday then that doesn’t really cut it. 

Look, I’ll be honest, a lot of the best things to do here require sunshine. But one of the things I love about this city is that there is a ton of variety, and I promise that a rainy day doesn’t mean you’ll need to be confined to your hotel. So if the forecast is looking dismal, keep on reading because I’ve got 20 fun indoor activities for you to do on a rainy old day in Cape Town. 

1. Explore the Cape Winelands

I’ll preface this by saying that going wine tasting is always better on a sunny day, but this Cape winelands explorer tour is pretty much all indoors. And in fact, I did struggle with the heat making me sleepy when I went on this tour, so going on a rainy day might actually be better in some ways. 

We didn’t spend a lot of time outdoors, save for a couple of minutes wandering the grounds around the wine farms after tasting, so I really don’t think wet weather would put too much of a damper on the experience. The tour took us to three wineries in Stellenbosch, Franschhoek, and Paarl respectively, and all of the tastings were indoors. 

We did a cellar tour at Simonsig in Stellenbosch and had a huge cheese and fruit platter alongside our tasting. Then, we had lunch at the Franschhoek cellar (with a tasting, of course), and finished up with a wine and chocolate tasting in Paarl. The tour is a fantastic way to get an overview of the Cape Winelands, and it’s still a treat even on a rainy day! 

While overall, I do prefer the Constantia wine bus or Franschhoek wine tram, both of those are way better suited to a sunny day. However, this well-rounded Cape Winelands tour is definitely my top choice for when it’s raining.

2. Check out the museums 

I’ll admit that the last thing I want to do on a hot, sunny day is traipse around museums. Being from the UK, I get terrible “sun guilt” which means that when the weather’s good, I have an overwhelming need to spend every second of my free time outdoors. However, Cape Town is home to so many fascinating museums, and a rainy day is the perfect opportunity to go and check them out. 

District 6 Museum

The District 6 Museum shares one of the saddest and most notorious parts of Cape Town’s history: the forced removals of non-white residents in District 6 during apartheid. It’s a really interesting insight into the struggles that many communities underwent during apartheid rule, and it illuminates how the effects of that injustice are still being felt to this day. The museum is open from 9 am until 4 pm every day except Sunday, and tickets cost R63.

Iziko Bo-Kaap Museum

Meanwhile, if you’d like to learn more about the different cultures that make up South Africa society, the Iziko Bo-Kaap museum is the place to go. When I first moved to Cape Town, I had no idea about Cape Malay culture, but it’s absolutely fascinating and key to understanding South Africa’s cultural heritage. So, basically, I highly recommend a visit to this museum, which is open from 9 am – 5 pm every day. For R60 for admission, I don’t think you can go wrong.  

Zeitz MOCAA

I reckon that the Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa, aka Zeitz MOCAA, is the grand dame of Cape Town’s museum scene. Located in an old grain silo, this museum is huge and home to so many different kinds of art that celebrates the cultural diversity and complexity of Africa.

Visiting the Zeitz MOCAA is one of the best things to do in the Waterfront, and they’re open from 10 am until 6 pm every day except Sunday. Admission costs R250 for adults but under 18s go for free, so this is also a great family-friendly activity. Or, if you book your tickets in advance, you only pay R206 and you get a free audio guide!

3. Go for afternoon tea at the Mount Nelson Hotel 

The Mount Nelson is one of Cape Town’s most iconic hotels and so many famous people have stayed here, from Winston Churchill to my personal hero, Jon Bon Jovi. Stays here are pretty pricey, but thankfully their afternoon tea is much more accessible, and it’s also one of the best rainy day activities that I can think of! 

I mean, personally I don’t really want to sit inside and drink tea on a hot day when I could be at the beach, but when it’s raining outside, it’s a whole different story! For R550, you get the fanciest finger sandwiches I’ve ever seen (seriously, what IS pen-ashed ciabatta?!), a welcome glass of bubbly, and lots of petit fours and specialty teas and coffees.

And if you do fancy taking things up a notch, there’s the option to add champagne or MCC (which is South Africa’s equivalent, and just as good in my opinion). I would recommend going for the L’Ormarins Brut for R550 per bottle, because it’s my favourite MCC ever! 

Afternoon tea is available between 12 pm and 3 pm from Wednesday to Sunday. You need to book a table before you go. In the winter, it is often possible to make same-day bookings but during summer it can be more difficult, so my advice would be to keep an eye on the weather forecast and plan accordingly. 

4. Go shopping at the Waterfront

As far as I’m concerned, the Victoria Wharf Mall is the best shopping centre in Cape Town! I love strolling around outdoors at the Waterfront, but on a rainy day, shopping in this huge mall can be a lot of fun. 

They’ve got pretty much every shop you could ever dream of here, including high end designers, huge global brands like Levi’s and Zara, and a huge Woolworths. If you love makeup and perfume as much as I do, I would recommend heading to MAC and Lush. I saved 30% on a Lush perfume by buying it in Cape Town, and MAC makeup tends to be quite a bit cheaper here too. 

The Victoria Wharf Mall is also home to some nice restaurants in case you want to grab a bite to eat. I like Tasha’s, which is a casual, Mediterranean spot, and Willoughby and Co is famous for its sushi. Its location is incredibly underwhelming (it’s just in the middle of the corridor) but I’ve never seen it empty, so you know it’s got to be good. 

5. Take an African cooking class

When my friends and family from the UK ask me about life in South Africa, one of the most frequent questions is “what is South African food?”

And honestly, that’s a complicated question. Obviously, there’s a ton of European influence here, so I think one of the best ways to discover traditional South African cuisine is to take this cooking class

It’s out in Salt River, which is ten minutes from the city centre, but not touristy at all, so it’s a really authentic experience. That’s something I always appreciate – I like to discover a place’s “real” food, not just the touristy stuff. And of course, it’s totally indoors, so what better way to spend a rainy evening in Cape Town?

One thing that I absolutely love about this class is that the hosts just ooze warmth and hospitality. I also really enjoy that you not only get to try traditional African food, but also juice, beer, and coffee. It’s so interesting to see how it differs from the Westernised stuff we’re used to! 

From pap, chakalaka, sugar beans, and meaty beef bones, this class is a real journey through South African cuisine, and the fact you get to help make the meal before the group sits down to enjoy it together makes it even more special. Plus, you’re in a small group of no more than ten, so this is a really close-knit experience and a great way to meet new people in the city. 

The teachers are so sweet, and after the class they email you a PDF with all of the recipes so you can recreate them and impress your family and friends. I really enjoy cooking for my loved ones, so this is a real bonus for me. It costs R1,000 per spot, including all of the food and drink, although remember to bring some cash to tip your hosts – it’s customary to tip 10% in South Africa and honestly, I think that that’s the least they deserve for delivering such a fantastic experience! 

6. Pig out at the Time Out Market

Before I checked out Cape Town’s new Time Out Market for myself, I had heard that it was overpriced and overhyped. But then when I went, I was really impressed by it! They do a great job of showcasing some of the city’s most beloved eateries, and the prices were pretty middle-of-the-road. So on a rainy day, I highly recommend eating your way through it! 

I was SO excited when I saw that De Vrije Burger has a spot there. The original restaurant is out in Stellenbosch, and it’s always packed. My friend and I drove out one day just for the burger, and it was so worth it. If you want to try Cape Malay cuisine, go for Bakarat, or the Yard makes amazing pizzas. 

Sometimes, I love a nice glass of red on a rainy day, so you can head over to Culture Wine and find a tipple that tickles your fancy. It’s one of the city’s top wine bars, so take advantage of their presence here! 

7. Play Mini Golf

There are quite a few places to play putt putt in Cape Town (aka mini golf), but only a few indoor courses. One of the most popular choices is Cave Golf at the V&A Waterfront, which is a kooky course that only costs R40 per player! 

Or, if you’re willing to go a little further afield, you can head to the Glow Rooms out in Milnerton and enjoy a fun, glow in the dark experience. Prices start from R130 per person for an 18-hole game, and this course is so much fun for families in particular. 

8. Go gin tasting at one of Cape Town’s best bars

It’s not much of a secret anymore, but the “Secret” Gin Bar is definitely one of Cape Town’s most beloved places to grab a drink. Tucked away behind the Honest Chocolate Shop, the Gin Bar is famous for its artisan gins and cocktails, and they offer a mixology and gin tasting class every Tuesday night! 

I love gin tasting at the best of times, but this class really takes it to the next level because it also teaches you how to craft the perfect G&T. I’m also a huge fan of the fact that they have non-alcoholic gins so that you don’t have to miss out on this experience if you’re not a drinker. 

South Africa makes some killer gins and it’s so interesting to learn about them from Keenan, the mixologist who leads the session. It’s a small group experience, so it’s also a good way to make some new pals over a few drinks. The class costs R1,204 and starts at 6 pm, and I would highly recommend heading upstairs for dinner at Bodega Ramen afterwards.

9. Bounce to your heart’s content at the trampoline park 

If you’ve got energy to burn on a rainy day in Cape Town, you can head out to Claremont and go for a bounce at Rush. It’s a huge trampoline park with a dodgeball court, a battle beam, and a ninja warrior course. So basically, it’s an absolute blast, for kids and big kids alike. 

The pricing here is pretty simple. You pay R160 for an hour, or R260 for two hours, and then you get an all-access pass to the facilities. You will need non-slip socks though, and you can buy these here on top of your ticket if you don’t already have a pair. 

10. Learn how to make chocolate 

The Makers’ Landing Market is a business incubator slash indoor food market in the old ferry cruise terminal. I think it’s pretty underrated – it’s always been quiet when I’ve visited, despite how many cool local businesses have set up shop here. One of those is Afrikoa, a luxurious bean-to-bar chocolate company who are all about paying their farmers and workers in Tanzania fairly by practising Direct Trade. 

When you take this chocolate making workshop with them, you will learn all about what makes Tanzanian cacao so special, and how it’s grown and turned into chocolate bars. But the best part is, they don’t just tell you, they show you, via lots of chocolate tastings! As a lifelong chocoholic, this is my idea of heaven. 

If you ask me, learning how to temper chocolate and make your own personalised selection is the perfect way to cure those rainy day blues. And for R190 for this class, you really can’t go wrong! 

This experience is available every day except Monday and Tuesday, and you can confirm a time with Afrikoa after booking. 

11. Go beer tasting

There are some fantastic places to go beer tasting in Cape Town. I love the Aegir Project, at the end of Chapman’s Peak Drive, but I think that you’re better off saving that for a sunny day. When it’s raining, stay central and head to BeerHouse on Long Street for their infamous tasting clock. It costs R180 and you get twelve 100ml samples, so this should keep you busy until the weather clears up!

12. Make African Jewellery 

If you’d like to spend a rainy day making something that’s not food or drink, I suggest checking out this shweshwe jewellery workshop. Shweshwe is a South African fabric, which you’ll be making into bold and colourful necklaces and bracelets. I think this would make a fantastic, and very personal, souvenir for a loved one! Or, of course, you can keep your items and wear them yourself. 

The teacher, Thandie, is so welcoming, and she’ll play some local tunes for you to set the mood as you get stuck into your craft. It’s so interesting to learn about jewellery making and I also find it quite a therapeutic activity! You get such a great insight into South African culture, too. 

The class costs between R810 and R900, depending on the size of your group. It takes place at 2 pm on weekdays, and you get free cancellation up until the day before when you book with Viator. There’s a maximum of five people per class, so this is a tight-knit and in-depth experience, rather than a generic, cookie-cutter class. 

13. Catch a movie at the Labia

The Labia is a classic gem nestled in the heart of Cape Town’s city centre. There are no 3D screens or IMAX experiences here. This is an old-school theatre, and that’s part of its charm. I’m not a big cinema goer, but catching a movie here always feels like such a treat. Plus, I love that they show classic favourites as well as new releases. 

There’s an outdoor terrace where you can enjoy a drink before or after your film, and you can even take a glass of wine into the theatre with you! They also offer meal-and-movie combos every day of the week, which are usually great value for money, so I’d recommend checking out their latest deals.

14. Collect gems at Scratch Patch

On a rainy day, scrambling for hidden gems inside the Scratch Patch cave is a fun thing to do with the kids – although adults are welcome, too! You can find lots of semi-precious gems here, like rose quartz and amethyst, and it’s actually a very calming activity, which is great if the kids are acting up on a rainy day. 

Although I do think that Scratch Patch is great for families, people of all ages are welcome. I don’t have kids myself, but I still love a wholesome afternoon, and who doesn’t love pretty gemstones?

Scratch Patch is open from 9 am until 4:45 pm (or 5 pm on weekends), and you can just turn up. The price depends on how many stones you want to take home with you. A small bag costs R35, while the largest size costs R160.

15. Go for dinner at Marco’s African Place

Marco’s African Place is a true institution, because Marco was the first black restaurateur in Cape Town. Ever since he opened his now-beloved restaurant, he’s been taking his customers on a culinary journey. I mean, there aren’t many other places in Cape Town where you can eat crocodile!

If that’s a bit too adventurous, other South African classics like ostrich and springbok are on the menu, too. There’s also live entertainment every night, so you do have to pay a small cover charge of R25 upon entry, but it’s definitely worth it. 

Marco’s is also a fantastic place to try African beer and they’ve got a good selection of local wines, but if what you want isn’t on the menu, you can bring your own and pay R100 corkage.

A night at Marco’s is so much fun and honestly, I think you should go here even if it doesn’t rain! But especially on a wet (and probably windy) evening in Cape Town, nothing beats the warm and vibrant atmosphere here. Be sure to make a reservation

16. Check out the Two Oceans Aquarium

When it’s wet outside, why not enjoy an underwater adventure instead? Cape Town’s Two Oceans Aquarium is renowned for the great work it does with education and conservation. I always want to check out the environmental ethos of places like Aquariums before I visit, because I don’t want to support somewhere that’s damaging our oceans. But the Two Oceans Aquarium has Diamond Status with the Heritage Environmental Rating Programme due to its strong commitment to sustainability.

It’s really quite an amazing place to visit. I haven’t been to many Aquariums in my life so maybe I’m not the best judge, but I think it’s mesmerising! With penguins, kelp forests, sharks, and beautiful jellyfish to see, this is an ideal way to wait out the rain. 

You can buy tickets online or in person on the day, and entry costs R250 per person. You can also go scuba diving, participate in their rockhopper penguin experience, or go on a behind-the-scenes tour to see what goes into running the Aquarium. 

17. Chow down at Mojo Market

Mojo Market is an indoor food market in Sea Point, and it was around long before the Time Out Market was! There are so many stalls here that you’re really spoiled for choice, although some are definitely better than others. 

I love House of Nasi Goreng (which is actually created by a MasterChef winner) and Dashi Poké. Sha Sha Warma is also really yummy if you want something hearty, and Rib Republic does a delicious, dirty rib burger. I’m getting hungry just thinking about all of this! I was really disappointed by Bunka Ramen, though. 

There’s live music here every night at 9 pm, but the market is open all day, from 8 am until midnight, so you can stop in for some shelter whenever the rain starts! 

18. Make your own biltong

What’s the most iconic South African snack of all?

Why, biltong, of course! So I was delighted to discover that you can learn to make it yourself in Cape Town, just up the road from where I live.

This friendly, laid back class in Sea Point delivers way more than I first expected. The hosts are an English and Afrikaans couple, so you get to learn about how these two cultures coexist in Cape Town while you all have a laugh together. Honestly, it’s surprising how the history of biltong is intertwined with South Africa’s cultural fabric.

As well as curing and flavouring biltong, you’ll discover its history and get to eat plenty of it, as there are lots of different types. It’s sooooo good, and there’s even a vegan option!

The hosts also teach you lots of Afrikaans expressions which are a lot of fun to try to pronounce (my favourite is gooi mieles, which means throw corn). I really love these kinds of experiences, where locals welcome you into their homes for a close-knit experience, so I think that this is an awesome way to spend a rainy afternoon in Cape Town. 

This class costs R650 per person, with free cancellation up to 24 hours beforehand. There’s no big tour company behind this experience, just a friendly local couple, so it’s a great one to support! 

19. Paint Pottery at Clay Cafe

When my friend, Sophie, came to visit me a few years ago, she arrived smack dab in the middle of winter, so we headed to Clay Cafe! Painting pottery here is so relaxing, and you can enjoy  yummy tapas and even some wine while you work your magic. 

I’ve made bowls and mugs at Clay Cafe, but you can do everything from vases and butter dishes to kooky-shaped ornaments. You pay per item, and then there’s a studio fee of R45 per person, no matter how many items you paint. Then, food and drink naturally costs extra. 

The only downside is that it can take 6-12 weeks for your items to be fired (and mine have taken even longer before), so this is only really suitable if you’re going to be in Cape Town for a while.

20. Go on a food tour

Okay, so this food tour does involve some walking, but you don’t spend very long outside and it’s worth grabbing your umbrella for. And my former housemate and friend, Marianne, is one of the guides, and she is just a wonderful human! 

The tour takes you to some absolute gems that I’ve talked about elsewhere on my blog, including Marco’s African Place (which I’ve mentioned in this very post!), the Charles, and the Fireman’s Arms. You’ll try some true Cape Town specialties, as well as plenty of drinks, while you explore some of the most colourful parts of the city. 

Marianne really knows her stuff and she’ll make sure you get to try all of the best South African specialties, including koeksisters and pap. The tour starts at midday and costs R1,985 per person, which includes all of your food and drink. A word of advice: arrive hungry! 

Thanks so much for checking out this blog post! Hopefully, it’s given you more of an idea what to get up to in Cape Town when the weather is less than stellar. And if you enjoyed it, then the following posts may also help you plan your trip…

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