2019 is going to be epic! Instead of offering up New Year's resolution ideas (that's so 2018), we want to challenge you to tick these seven items off of your Cape Town bucket list for the year - little things that we think will make life just that little bit better and more interesting for all of us.
Explore a Cape Town neighbourhood
Make 2019 the year that you get to know your Cape Town - pick a community that you've never fully explored and make it your goal to see EVERYTHING on offer there.
The V&A Waterfront is Cape Town’s top tourist destination, known as the place where the “city meets the sea”, with loads of exciting activities to enjoy. Capetonians, as well as visitors to the Mother City, have a wide choice of child-friendly options to choose from as a family, for school group visits, or for birthday parties.
Take a township tour
Explore the bustling communities in Cape Town's township. Take a guided tour of Langa or Khayelitsha with a knowledgeable tour guide, like those at iMzu Tours, or join one of the Mother City's free walking tours. Plus: We think iMzu Tours is awesome!
What other wholesome community exploration trips do you have planned? Let us know in the comments.
Attend a beach, nature or community cleanup
All of Cape Town's beautiful landscapes and communities mean nothing if we don't take care of it. Make 2019 a year of caring:
Throughout 2018, four successful Trash Bash cleanups were run on Cape Town's Sunset Beach - not only cleaning up this patch of coast, but also collecting scientific data about the buildup of pollution on this stretch. In 2019 a new Trash Bash location will be selected - we'd love to hear your suggestions about a strip of Cape Town coast that needs some Trash Bash T.L.C.
The Beach Co-op
Follow The Beach Co-op for the latest updates about their cleanup events, like our collaborative Trash Bash or their New Moon and Dirty Dozen beach cleanups.
Make an Ecobrick and use it for a good cause
What is an EcoBrick? An EcoBrick is a PET plastic cooldrink bottle that has been stuffed so full of non-recyclable and non-biodegradable waste that is so strong it can be used as a building material. South Africa needs materials for a huge variety of projects, so making an EcoBrick at home is a good way to help - especially if you contribute yours towards a definite goal.
Some ways you can use your EcoBricks to do good:
- Get in touch with WasteED to hand over your EcoBrick at one of their drop-off locations.
- Start your own project (here are some awesome ideas)
Discover a new natural wonder
The Mother City owes much of its beauty to the incredible natural world surrounding it. Make sure you visit at least one of Cape Town's world-famous natural wonders in 2019. Here are some suggestions:
Bigger than the so-called "Big 5", be sure to marvel at the southern right whales, humpback whales and Bryde's whales that visit the Cape during their annual migrations.
Southern right whales visit Cape Town between June and Novembers, and can usually be seen caring for their newborn calves before returning to the Antarctic. Humpback whales pass the Cape between May and November during their migration between Madagascar and Antarctica. Bryde's whales live permanently in the waters of the Cape, but they are deep divers and difficult to spot - be sure to keep an eye out for these rare beauties.
You'll be hard-pressed to find a bad whale-watching spot - from Cape Point to Gansbaai, any local community with enough elevation for a good view of False Bay will make an ideal spotting spot.
Explore our wetlands
Whether it is called a marsh, swamp, vlei, bog, seep, fen or pan, a wetland is a unique ecosystem – an area of land saturated with water, either permanently or seasonally. It is usually home to many species of plants and animals.
Wetlands are one of the most threatened habitat types in the world, and Cape Town is blessed to incorporate several thriving wetlands into its parks and reserves. From Rietvlei to Greenpoint, here's why Cape Town's wetlands matter and where you can see them.
Interact with an animal in an ethical way
Young or old, everybody loves animals. Cape Town is filled with opportunities to meet all sorts of critters, but we challenge you to support organisations with good ethics, where you can learn about the conservation issues surrounding South African wildlife and where your interaction can support species conservation efforts. We have a few such offers and a few other suggestions:
You can meet our too-cute rescue rockhopper penguins in an interactive Penguin Experience. These penguins were found stranded on southern Cape beaches and were rehabilitated by the Southern African Foundation for the Conservation of Coastal Birds (SANCCOB) before being left in our care. They cannot be released because of the risk of introducing diseases into wild populations - but they can serve as wonderful ocean conservation ambassadors.
Learn to scuba dive
Iain’s Scuba School at the Two Oceans Aquarium can help! Iain Robertson is our resident dive master, has been operating from the Two Oceans Aquarium for over a decade. If you don't have an Open Water qualification or higher, you are able to do a one-day PADI Discover Scuba Diving course with us, which allows you to do one dive in the I&J Ocean Exhibit on the same day.
Snorkel with seals
Explore the underwater habitat of Cape Town's adorable Cape fur seals with a guided snorkelling trip with the experienced team of Animal Ocean.
The Two Oceans Aquarium Ocean Experience is a unique opportunity to get a lot closer and a bit more personal with the animals of the I&J Ocean Exhibit. Engage with the friendly rescue turtles in a secure environment, and get a privileged look (with mask and snorkel) at the beautiful short-tail stingrays, the man-faced black musselcracker, giant guitarfish and the nearly 200 other fish swimming around this large-scale exhibit.
Give up a single-use plastic item
Say no to a single-use plastic item, and pick up a reusable alternative if you can't live without it! The New Year is an ideal opportunity to find a permanent alternative to one of these waste items that have taken over our lives - and we have an amazing list of suggestions for you.
If you want to make your commitment to giving up single-use plastic shopping bags public, we challenge you to make a Rethink the Bag pledge.
Learn to cook something responsible
Everybody can benefit from being able to cook! Learn to make a wonderful Cape Town classic meal that is healthy and doesn't harm the environment. Here's our favourite suggestion, courtesy of WWF SASSI (Who have an amazing list of sustainable seafood recipes):
Yellowtail on the braai
Line-caught Cape yellowtail are not only delicious, but they have proven to be resilient to fishing pressures in South African waters. Local is lekker with line-caught yellowtail which represents the best of both worlds - a challenging game fish for fishermen, and a scrumptious meal for everyone else.
- 1 x Cape yellowtail
- Salt & pepper
- Olive oil
- 250g butter
- 2 x lemons
- 100ml white wine (substitute white grape juice and a tablespoon of vinegar if needed)
- Tin foil
- Fillet the yellowtail and cut into neat 250g servings. Keep the skin on!
- Rub the fish fillets with salt, pepper and olive oil to taste.
- When coals are ready, and you can keep your hand over coals for 6 seconds, put fish on the grill on skin-side for 3 min to get skin crispy.
- Take fish off the grid and place each individual fillet in tinfoil pocket with a slice of lemon and a dash of white wine/grape juice, finely chopped lemongrass and a half teaspoon of butter.
- Close off tinfoil on top and place back on the grid for approximately 5 min to steam it in its juices.
- Take off and place on a plate with foil to keep fish hot and to keep those juices in.
- Serve with salsa and eat with hands!