A visit to South Africa won’t be complete without a trip to the beautiful Mother City, Cape Town. Cape Town is a great base to explore the rest of the beautiful Western Cape province. Within the proximity of an 2 hour drive, you can taste wine, visit a penguin sanctuary, stand on the very edge of a continent, and more. Here’s my suggestions for six of the best day trips you can take from Cape Town.
Stellenbosch Wine Route
If you love wine, a vineyard day trip from Cape Town must be on your list of things to do. Stellenbosch is one of the stars of the Cape Winelands and boasts with an array of incredible wines just waiting to be tasted. Most of the wine estates and wine farms offer wine tastings for a small price (some for free if you end up buying the wine) and tastings can include pairings with chocolate, ice cream, cupcakes, cheese and more. A day trip from Cape Town to Stellenbosch is easy to organize with Stellenbosch situated just a 40 minute drive from the city.
Some of my favorite wineries to try:
- Waterford Wine Estate – Offers a chocolate and wine paring
- Hidden Valley – Offers a chocolate and wine pairing
- Clos Melverne – Offers and ice cream and wine pairing
- Babylonstoren – Famous for its organic garden. Try the sparkling wine.
- Rust and Vrede – One of the oldest farms in the valley with spectacular single vineyard wines.
There is a lot of amazing wineries in the area. If you are looking for more recommendations, drop me a note on my contact page and I will give some more suggestions.
Transport: Care hire or organized full day wine tours.
Franschhoek Wine route
The picturesque town of Franschhoek is like a little slice of France in Africa. Together with Stellenbosch, it’s one of the first towns the French Hugenotes settled in when they came to South Africa. It is also another popular wine route and can easily be done as a day trip from Cape Town. Franschhoek has a Wine Tram that runs a few routes through the wine farms in the area. It’s a really fun way to get around and explore some of the wine estates. In town you will also find some award winning restaurants like Petite La Colombe and the amazing coffee roastery Terbodore coffee.
Transport: Car hire, organized wine tours
Muizenberg and Kalk Bay
Muizenberg and Kalk Bay are two beach towns just a short drive from the Cape Town city center. Muizenberg beach is where the surfing culture of Cape Town comes together to catch some waves and bask in the African sun. Go for a surfing lesson at Stoked School of Surf or walk along the Muizenberg catwalk all the way to St. James. Silvermine nature reserve is situated above Muizenberg and Kalk Bay and has beautiful hiking trails. If you’re in the area on a Friday afternoon, head over to the Blue Bird Garage market for some local goods. There’s many dining options in Muizenberg but head to Carla’s for a Portuguese/Mozambican twist or Oroboros tapas bar.
If you move on from Muizenberg to Kalk Bay you can enjoy browsing the curiosity and antique shops for something special and catch a bite to eat at Kalky’s, right on the harbor. The Brass Bell and Cape To Cuba are two popular spots to have some cocktails and great food. If you’re after breakfast, visit the Cafe Olympia for the best freshly baked goods.
Transport: Hire a care or take the train from Cape Town Station to Kalk Bay
Simon’s Town and Boulder’s Beach
Another popular day trip from Cape Town to consider is to take a drive over Chapman’s Peak all the way to Simon’s Town and Boulder’s Beach. Simon’s Town sits on the seaside, about a 40-50min drive from Cape Town. Simon’s Town is a beautiful historical little place and also acts as a Naval Base. Take a stroll along the main street to marvel at the beautiful old houses sitting on the mountain and pop into small art shops or sidewalk cafes like The Sweetest Thing, or Monocle and Mermaid. There’s also the Naval Museum to check out and the harbor where you can eat delicious prawns at Bertha’s Restaurant.
Head to the famous penguin colony of Boulder’s Beach next. You can enter the protected beach where a colony of African penguins live and breed for a small conservation fee of R65 ($4). This is a great activity to do with kids and the beach area is very safe and filled with huge boulders to play or sunbathe on.
Transport: Car hire, train from Cape Town station, or take a combined Boulder’s Beach and Cape Point tour.
Situated 60 km from Cape Town, Cape Point is a spectacular site to see. It forms part of the Table Mountain National Park and the site is filled with hidden beaches, jagged cliffs, baboons, fynbos and much more. You can read my full post on a visit to Cape Point here. Cape Point is the most south-western point on the African content and there are about 26 shipwrecks scattered around the area. Buy tickets from the official site here. If you love nature and hiking, Cape Point will make for an excellent day trip from Cape Town.
Transport: Car hire, combined tour with Boulder’s Beach.
West Coast National Park
One of my favorite places to visit is the beautiful West Coast National Park and the surrounding beach towns of Yzerfontein and Langebaan. Located between 80-100 km from Cape Town, visiting the West Coast National park makes for a perfect day trip. The park is filled with diverse fauna and flora and it is a great place for wild flower watching in spring. On the one side you will have huge white sand dunes and rough sea and on the other side of the park, beautiful tranquil turquoise lagoons. There’s areas in the park where you can enjoy picnics or a quick barbecue.
Transport: Car hire, organized tour from Cape Town
Looking for even more day trips from Cape Town ideas? Why not try a safari at Aquila Game Reserve or go whale watching in Hermanus.
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