Out of pure frustration from how financially draining December can be, my uncle once said, "the minute you close the gate behind you as you leave your house, you're going to open your wallet at every stop. I'm not leaving my house from now on." 

I always realise how true this is on those rare weekends when I don't leave my place at all until Sunday when I realise that I haven't touched my wallet since Friday evening.

But leaving your house doesn't have to be a taxing event. Nope, not in this economy.

Say no to staying indoors watching reruns of the same old shows on that overpriced satellite TV service just because you're worried about having too much January at the end of your December bonus.

There are, in fact, budget-friendly entertainment options all across our major provinces that you can explore. So budget-friendly that sometimes they're actually free!

Well almost - we know you'll have to put something in that petrol tank or use public transport to get to some of these destinations...

So here's what you can do in your region this holiday season:

Western Cape


Take a hike

Are you even in Cape Town if you don't go hiking on a Saturday morning?

Traveller24 recommends Lion's Head, Wally's Cave, Platteklip Gorge, or Newlands forest for easy hiking that won't take too much of a toll on your body. And Tokai Arboretum for cyclists.

But if you're an adventure-seeker, try Chapman's Peak, Devil's Peak, or Left Face B (not to be attempted by beginners).

For more hiking options, check out other suggestions from Traveller24 here.

Gift Mother Nature

Not all gifts have to be bought. You can plant a tree with Greenpop for free. 

And to find out more about Greenpop's thoughtful intiatives around saving water and the planet, check out their Instagram account or visit their page.

Visit the Hemel en Aarde wine route in Hermanus

“Is wine a constant proof that God loves us and loves to see us happy?” - Benajmin Franklin

This scenic wine route along the R320 with an array of tasty and reputable wine farms, offering free wine tasting seems to agree with Franklin's sentiments.

Sounds more like heaven on earth to me. 

Go see the bubbliest Christmas tree in the country

Image: Supplied

This 10-meter Champagne Tree made entirely from over 1500 recycled Moët & Chandon champagne bottles was brought to life on the 7 December at the V&A Waterfront's trendy and upmarket Silo District.

But the fact that it's at the Silo district shouldn't intimidate you at all. The Moët & Chandon tree is there for you to appreciate for free.

So head over to the V&A Waterfront this December to marvel at the Moët & Chandon Champagne Christmas Tree and make sure to send your messages to the tree via Twitter or Instagram for the duration of the festive season until 3 January. 

Read more: Who says you have to go with a traditional Christmas tree?



Take a stroll through Durban's Botanic Gardens

Known as Africa's oldest Botanic Gardens and popular for it's skyscraper trees, this should be the best place to take time away from al the commercialisation of the festive season.

According to #ThisIsKZN, some of these trees are over 100 years old.

Organise a photoshoot by the Umhlanga Rocks Pier

Pause & Reflect

A post shared by Dane Forman (@dane_forman) on

It's all in the lighting.

Photographers will tell you all about the golden hour. And these would be the best times to take the perfect Instagram holiday snaps.

Warm. Golden. Crisp. Fuzz-and-fuss-free.

Meander through the Midlands

If you're a fan of breathtaking views, this one's for you.

There are five routes which form the Midlands Meander, also known as the 'arts & crafts route'.

Stop and enjoy a few of the attractions along this route at no extra cost to your trip.

Read more: 10 places in SA where you can get a spectacular wedding venue for under R50 000

Eastern Cape


Time to get beachy

According to SA-Venues.com, this is the province with some of the most beautiful beaches in the world. 

The most popular sandy getaway is East London's Nahoon Beach, boasting majestic views from the Nahoon Reef.

And I must add the fact that this is any surfer's Shangri-La. 

Not a surfer but a fitness enthusiast? 

The sand dunes are where you'll bump into fellow trainers at around 6AM every morning. You'd be surprised at how many people are actually still prioritising their fitness and health even during the holiday season.

Read more: These are the top 9 trail runs you really MUST try this summer

Alternatively, go and relax at Bonza Bay Beach or take a late afternoon stroll along the Gonubie Beach Boardwalk.

East London beaches too crowded?

Cinsta and Haga Haga are both just outside of East London and offer appropriate conditions for swimming and canoeing.

You can also whale and dolphin watch for free in Cintsa. Enough said.

Get a good dose of Coffee Bay

How ideal does being in a town with a population of only 258 people sound?

Trés necessarry after a long year in a big city, right?

Well if you're visiting ilali zakho (or not) in the Transkei during the holiday season, take some time out in Coffee Bay while you're there, swim out to Hole in the Wall if the tide allows, and get acquainted with some tourists at the beach.

You're guaranteed to capture a few very dreamy pictures too.

Read more: You know you're from the Eastern Cape when...



Oh, who am I kidding? Nothing's free in this part of the world.

Just joking...

Visit the money musuem


A post shared by David van der Walt (@davidvanderwalt) on

While you're enjoying the spoils of not spending any cash, learn about its history at the Absa Money Musuem in downtown Jozi.

For the art aficionado

bare bones

A post shared by jana (@hellojanamarie) on

This is where some of South Africa's best art is showcased, featuring the works of local artists such as Nelisiwe Xaba, Gabrielle Goliath, and Tracey Rose.

Visit the Goodman Gallery site here to see which exhibitions to look forward to.

Do you have any other free entertainment suggestions you enjoy? Tell us on Twitter or on our Facebook page.