Cheap thrills: how to enjoy Cape Town's top attractions for less

The iVenture card give visitors to the Mother City a cheaper chance to explore so much more, writes Claire Keeton

02 July 2017 - 00:05 By Claire Keeton

When musician Maya Spector performed for six of us in her apartment below Table Mountain, her voice gave me goosebumps. The next day, watching African crocodiles leer at my son through icy water gave me shivers of a more primal kind.
Those are just two of the more than 60 attractions and experiences you can do with the Cape Town iVenture card, a passport to the city's most treasured sights and tons of lesser known - but no less worthwhile - things to see and do, all at discounted prices.
Here's a quick selection:
Atlantico Tour
Flying with Cape Town Helicopters from the V&A Waterfront out to sea, looking back at the mountain and its minor peaks provides a novel view of the city and its landmarks.
Flying to the west of the Cape Town Stadium and mountain, we had an aerial view of the Atlantic Seaboard before turning around near Hout Bay to land back at the waterfront.WATERFRONT CHARTERS
Harbour and bay cruise
Waterfront Charters offers cruises from the harbour and, after the helicopter flip, it was easy to swipe my iVenture card and jump aboard the Serenity One.
On days when the wind is strong, the sails are hoisted and the sleek catamaran - with attentive crew, a bar and music - truly flies. On this day, though, we motored out. A guide pointed out the Heaviside's dolphins alongside the boat while I attempted to find my sea legs.
Back on land, I leapt into a cabin of the Cape Wheel after another swipe of the pass. From the 40m-high top of the ride, there are fantastic views of the city.COFFEEBEANS ROUTES
Jazz Safari
Maya Spector wonders whether people are falling asleep on her couch when they close their eyes while she sings.
Under the spotlights of Broadway and other stages on which she has performed, she wouldn't see the audience - but it's different when they are in her living room.
Spector sang flawless covers of songs including Back to Black by Amy Winehouse and original compositions, all powerful.
The first stop of the night on this intimate tour hosted by Coffeebean, at the apartment of musician Eldred Schilder, had been equally enchanting. He played the double bass and bass guitar for us, interrupting his recitals with anecdotes and to introduce his two daughters.
His wife Beatrice brought out home-made bread and curry for our group of five US tourists and me .
We all loved the jazz safari guided by Sabelo Maku, who explained how goema and Cape jazz influences go far back to the Xhoisan people.
The line-up and destinations for each jazz tour vary, depending on who is available.BIKES & BITESHalf day city cycle tours
Bikes & Bites is an urban safari on bicycles, a round trip which gives visitors a sense of the CBD and historic Bo-Kaap area.
We started with rooibos tea and rusks at the Bikes & Bites Café in town, before saddling up on either big vintage cruisers or mountain bikes for the morning.
Guide Bradley Campher led us safely to the Castle of Good Hope and from there up through the Company's Garden to Bo-Kaap.
After the hill up to Biesmiellah Restaurant, we savoured the traditional Cape Malay food with bobotie and samosas.Campher comes from an area where gang violence closes the schools but he has escaped this harsh reality by studying, becoming a bike mechanic and now a guide. His favourite tours to do are in the winelands - as long as you don't overindulge.
Following his lead, we cycled from the Bo-Kaap to Sea Point and back to the CBD.
See the face of forced removals
This museum commemorates the soul of a community destroyed by apartheid's forced removals.
The recreated rooms, with artefacts from District 6, the carnival music, photo exhibitions and banners with the names of the residents create a poignant atmosphere.LAGUGU TOWNSHIP TOURS
A sobering look at then and now
Looking through the bars of a holding cell into what used to be a magistrate's court in Langa brings home the brutality of our past.
In that courtroom, countless men and women were prosecuted - persecuted - for the colour of their skin.
If you were black, you could not move freely without a pass book. The Langa Heritage Museum (Dompas Museum) brings to life what that meant every hour of the day.
Our guide Fikile Sikweza also walked with us to the nearby old single-sex hostels. Today, families share the cramped, concrete rooms, another legacy of apartheid.
The tour moved on, stopping at the memorials to Amy Biehl and the Gugulethu Seven and Mzoli's, a popular local restaurant.LE BONHEUR CROCODILE FARM
African croc-cage diving
This is a commercial farming operation near Franschhoek, with about 1,000 crocodiles.
It follows Western Cape nature conservation regulations but it's not a back-to-nature experience.
Aware that a landscaper had been killed by a croc there earlier in the year, my son and I descended inside a cage into freezing water under the eye of dive master Graham Moss.
We saw crocs up close, snapping their jaws (129 muscles to close, only three to open) as they went for the bait dangled near the bars.
Holding a newly hatched crocodile, I saw how sharp their teeth are. Moss says crocodiles have outlasted dinosaurs.
Shark-cage diving
The white-shark cage-diving trip in Gansbaai was a contrast to croc diving as these sharks are in their element. Winter is usually the ideal time to do it because the water is clearer.
Sadly, we didn't get to dive as the sharks were evading orcas in the bay.HOW THE CARD WORKS
There are three categories, which give the holder free access to participating attractions:..

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