If you’re all about the romance on Valentine’s Day but can’t bring yourself to spend a fortune on an over-priced lunch or dinner on Sunday then you’re going to love this list of free and affordable things to do on Valentine’s Day in Cape Town and Johannesburg! From a picnic in the botanical gardens to hiking, star gazing and more there’s something for every type of couple on this list.
Have a picnic at The Company’s Garden
Cost: The gardens are free to visit.
Address: 19 Queen Victoria Street, Cape Town.
Situated in the city centre of Cape Town, The Company’s Garden is the perfect spot for a quiet picnic with your special someone. Bring a blanket and some nibbles and spend Valentine’s Day afternoon relaxing in the shade of tree, while you soak up breathtaking views of the mountain and watch the world go by. We love this spot because it’s so peaceful and even though it’s smack-bang in the middle of the city you can hear little but birds cheeping and kids playing when surrounded by the trees of the garden. Once you’re done chilling out, take a walk around the garden to explore the rose garden and aviary and meet the cheeky squirrels.
Explore the Helderberg Nature Reserve
Cost: R25 for adults, R15 for students, R15 for pensioners, R15 per vehicle.
Address: Corner Helderberg Nature Reserve Road/Verster Avenue, Jeep Trail, Helderberg Rural.
If you and your Valentine are the outdoorsy types then you can’t go wrong with a visit to the Helderberg Nature Reserve. Located in Somerset West, this serene spot is the ideal place to take a break from urban life and it’s just a short drive from Cape Town! Pack a picnic and spend your day exploring the plant herbarium, Guinea Gift Shop, environmental education centre, and lush lawns of the picnic area. Once you’re done chowing down you can also go bird watching, or head out for a slow walk or a hike on the many hiking trails. Find out more here.
Have a romantic beach braai at Oudekraal
Cost: R35 per adult, R15 per child.
Address: Oudekraal Nature Reserve, Cape Point Cape Town.
Nestled between Llandudno and Camp’s Bay, you’ll find cosy coves and blissful white beaches peeking from between the huge boulders. If you’re keen to soak up the sun and have a braai with your Valentine then Oudekraal is the place to do it. The picnic spot has over 40 braai areas. Most of the braai spots don’t have grids, so be sure to bring your own with you. Get there early, as Oudekraal is very popular, especially on a Sunday. Click here for more information.
Have sundowners on Signal Hill
Cost: It’s free to picnic on the hill.
Address: Signal Hill, Cape Town.
This unique hilltop in Cape Town overlooks the city and offers breathtaking views of Cape Town — especially at sunset! Pack a picnic basket and take a quick drive to the top and toast to the good life as you watch the sun set over the city. Just make sure you get there early to reserve your spot as we’re sure this will be a popular place on Valentine’s Day! You could also go for a lunchtime picnic and then go for a walk up the mountain for a more active date.
Go stargazing at The Planetarium in Cape Town
Cost: R60 per adult, R30 for children and pensioners.
Address: 25 Queen Victoria Street, Cape Town.
Iziko’s popular “theatre of stars” is one of only two planetaria in South Africa and offers visitors the ultimate armchair travel experience. The unique celestial theatre in the round uses a top notch star machine and multiple projectors to transport the audience through the wonders of the universe. The best thing about this venue is that it’s open no matter the weather outside! Inside the domed auditorium, the night sky is recreated, so no matter the weather the Planetarium sky is always clear. Find out more here.
Go rose picking at Chart Farm
Cost: Rose picking R6.50 per stem (pick your own) and R7.50 per stem ready picked.
Address: Chart Farm, Klaassens Road, Wynberg Park, Wynberg, Cape Town.
Nothing says; “I love you” like a bunch or freshly picked roses. Chart Farm boasts a wide variety of roses for flower lovers to pick and enjoy at home. Their garden is a sea of beautiful colours and the roses here are always in full bloom! Head through with your special someone for lunch at the Chart Farm coffee shop and then spend the afternoon picking your favourite blooms to display at home. Click here for more information.
Relax at Zoo Lake
Cost: Free to visit!
Address: Corner of Jan Smuts Avenue and West World Street, Parkview, Johannesburg.
Pack your picnic basket, a blanket and head to Zoo Lake for a lunch to remember by the lake. Pick a shady spot under a tree and then spend your time chatting, laughing and enjoying each other’s company. Once you’re done with lunch spend some time enjoying the beauty of the gardens, it takes roughly one to two hours to walk around the lake, depending on the route you take, or head to the lake bed to feed the ducks. The possibilities are endless!
Hold hands while skating at Northgate Ice Rink
Cost: R80 per person | Skate hire: R35
Address: Northumberland Avenue & Olievenhout Avenue, Johannesburg
The ice rink at Northgate Shopping Centre is the ideal place to cool down this Valentine’s Day. Head through for an evening session from 19:30 – 22:00 for a classic romantic date. This is the perfect date for new and long-term couples and you could start the night off with a relaxed dinner at the mall before heading to the ice rink for some exercise. Click here for more information.
Get active at Melville Koppies Reserve
Cost: Free to visit.
Address: Judith Road, Emmarentia, Johannesburg.
If you and your Valentine love doing anything active and outdoors, then a hike at The Melville Koppies will be right up your alley. Melville Koppies East is open to the public daily and is a great place to enjoy the sweeping views of the northern suburbs of Joburg all the way to the Magaliesberg. Secure parking is available at Kloof Road off 7th Avenue, Melville.
Cheers to love at Northcliff Hill
Cost: It’s free to visit.
Address: 1391 Roodeberg Avenue, Johannesburg.
If you’re looking for a romantic place to have sundowners then Northcliff Hill is just the place. Northcliff Hill is the second-highest point in Johannesburg and sitting up on this hill you can take in the expansive, far-stretching views of the leafy northern suburbs. Pack a picnic basket and a bottle of champagne and enjoy each other’s company before heading home for a romantic dinner by candlelight.
Have a picnic at the Johannesburg Botanical Gardens
Cost: Entry is free.
Address: Olifants Road, Emmarentia, Johannesburg.
The Johannesburg Botanical Garden is a popular spot for picnickers — especially picnickers looking for a spot for a quiet date. Bring a blanket and a picnic basket and while away the afternoon with your special someone. With over 30,000 trees, a large rose garden, and plenty of space to relax and stroll the gardens are the ideal place to get away from the hustle and bustle of the city on Valentine’s Day.
Take a lift to the ‘Top of Africa’ at the Carlton Centre
Cost: Adults: R30 per person
Address: 150 Commissioner Street, Johannesburg.
At 223 metres, the view from the 50th floor of the Carlton Centre is one of the most unique in South Africa. Take in the uninterrupted views of the city and beyond from one of the tallest buildings in Africa. If you want a bird’s- eye view of Joburg then there’s no doubt that the Carlton Centre is the place to go! The building has a rich history in South Africa and was once the go-to place for the rich and famous to shop up a storm. The building is open from 09:00 – 14:00 on Sundays and is the perfect start or finish to any romantic date. Find more information here.
After years of working as an Editor and writer for popular websites like Joburg’s Darling, Cape Town’s Darling and Joburg.co.za, Crystal left her sanity and an established career in lifestyle journalism behind to follow her dream of creating a website for the intellectual and discerning woman. Today she spends her time chasing the thrill of being the first to know about ‘the next big thing’. She’ll try anything once and has been known to put her body, hair and health on the line – all in the name of research.