Ride a camel, join the circus

You can’t visit Cape Town and leave without seeing the main attractions: Table Mountain, Robben Island, Camp’s Bay and the Waterfront. But there are plenty of lesser known spots that are worth a visit – places even locals haven’t heard of.

With the help of Cape Town Tourism, Cape Point Route, the V&A Waterfront, A Whale of a Heritage Route and the South African Heritage Resource Centre, Weekend Argus put together a list of eight of Cape Town’s hidden treasures.

UNDER THE WAVES: Snorkel with seals at Hout Bay. Credit: INDEPENDENT NEWSPAPERS

You can see the bones of “Fish Hoek Man”, a Khoisan skeleton discovered in a cave in the 1930s. Historians at the time said the family of “Fish Hoek Man” had the largest brain boxes in the region. “Clearly they were clever if they lived in Fish Hoek,” Clifford said.

Call ahead to arrange a visit. It’s open Tuesday to Saturday, 9.30 am to 12.30pm. Call 021 782 1752. Also in Fish Hoek Bay: one of the few remaining whale identification boards on the Sunny Cove coastline.

Rose cooks bananas and plantains imported from West Africa in many of her dishes; one particular dish called ndole combines both coconut and cooked nuts. Dare to order off-menu and Rose will cook up a delightful surprise.

Call 073 368 3603

Though the restaurant does mainly takeaway food, there are tables and chairs upstairs. Everything in the market is 100 percent halaal and alcohol is not served. Between the eight different menus, there is sure to be something for everyone: hot food, cold food, spicy or mild. The Eastern Food Bazaar is at 96 Longmarket Street. Call 021 461 2458

If you want to learn some tricks, come in for a session. An hour on the trapeze is R50 but Slaverse and his groups also do scouting. “We go around and look for kids who are good at gymnastics,” he said. “Then we see if they want to train here, free of charge.”

Run away and join the circus at 2 Willow Road in Observatory. Call 021 692 4287

The school boasts an intriguing past, as it was once the Breakwater Prison. Still in the building are names scratched on the rocks, as well as a punishment treadmill on which the prisoners were sometimes forced to run. Mike Brokenshire, development director of the V&A Waterfront, said the tunnels were made large enough for donkeys to cart materials to and from the breakwater. On special occasions those on historical tours are invited to a dinner inside the tunnel’s entrance.

Historical tours of the V&A Waterfront use this marker to start their journey. Visit the Ball Tower on top of the entrance to the Breakwater tunnels. To book call 021 416 6230

Visitors, supplied with snorkel gear, wetsuits, weight belts, fins and masks, go out to sea on a boat with a skipper and an expert who remains in the water with them. For those who fear a shark attack, Nortge said there has never been an incident involving sharks in either of the bays. You need to be a comfortable swimmer and able to wear a face mask. Rate: R600 per person (But act quickly and pay R250 per person now throughout May.) Call 021 782 7205.

The food demonstration is free with a Foodbarn dinner reservation, but listeners must bring something to take notes: Dangereux does not hand out his recipes. Call the Foodbarn Restaurant at 021 789 1390 to book.

The camels travel in caravans – for the scenic ride, all five camels take visitors on a 45-minute ride around the back of the farm in the fynbos, stopping at a look-out point over the beach. A shorter, eight-minute trip goes around the front of the farm. Visitors can pet and brush the large animals, which Smit said are docile and kind. “I’ve had people of all ages ride my camels,” he said. “From very young up to 90 years old.” Short rides: Adults R50/Children R30. Bush ride: R200. Call 021 789 1711 - Sunday Argus