One of the best ways to see Cape Town’s landmarks, especially if you have limited time, is to make use of the City Sightseeing Bus, which has three routes to choose from a city tour, mini-peninsula tour and a wine tour.
These tours are set up so that you can get off at various points and choose how much time you want to spend there before catching the next bus. While in transit, you can listen to recorded commentary in six different languages, providing interesting information about the landmarks along the way.
Travelling by car
Chapman’s Peak Drive winds its way between Noordhoek and Hout Bay and is touted as one of the most spectacular marine drives in the world.
Chapman’s Peak is the 593m (1 945ft) high southerly extension of the Constantiaberg, and the 9km (5.6mi) long Chapman’s Peak Drive (when open) offers stunning 180-degree views over the Atlantic Ocean.
The route below the peak was initially constructed during World War I and traverses 114 curves along the rocky coastline. Starting in picturesque Hout Bay, the road winds steeply up to Chapman’s Peak point – revealing exquisite views of the sandy beaches and aquamarine ocean below – before heading down towards Noordhoek.
There are viewpoints en route which are ideal for picnics and sundowners, but keep an eye out for cheeky baboons! These appointed rest areas also offer the opportunity to take photographs of the sheer cliffs and breathtaking seascapes.
During whale season, you might be lucky enough see southern right whales in the ocean below.
Keen walkers will enjoy hiking up Chapman’s Peak and through Silvermine Nature Reserve and the Table Mountain National Park. The plant life is spectacular and includes Cape fynbos, including wild proteas, and indigenous trees.
Riders will enjoy Noordhoek’s Long Beach, renowned for horse-riding alongside the ocean. There are a number of riding schools in the area, and guided horse trails are on offer daily.
For watersports enthusiasts, Hout Bay is an excellent sailing venue, and Hout Bay harbour is a great place to hang out and enjoy the views of this gorgeous bay, while eating fish and chips. The Hout Bay beach is also a good swimming beach, though the water is a bit colder than at Muizenberg and Simon’s Town.
There are numerous restaurants in the villages of Noordhoek and Hout Bay, if you’d like to stop off for a snack or light lunch, and in both you’ll find quaint little shops where you can buy local arts and crafts, deli snacks and clothing.
Enjoy the views of the beautiful False Bay coastline as you wind your way along Boyes Drive to the scenic town of Kalk Bay.
One of the most popular destinations along the False Bay seaboard, Kalk Bay’s Main Road is packed with antique stores, coffee shops, galleries, second-hand bookstores and restaurants.
Essentially a fishing village, Kalk Bay is still a lively working harbour and one of the best places to buy fresh fish straight off the boat. It’s also a great place to take photographs – it’s almost impossible to take a bad picture here!
Kalk Bay is a fun place to hang out and makes for a great day trip from Cape Town. It’s also known for its excellent choice of restaurants. For the best fish and chips this side of the mountain try Kalky’s at the harbour, +27 (0)21 788 1726. It’s also worth visiting the excellent Olympia Café and Deli, +27 (0)21 788 6396, on Main Road.
The Brass Bell, is a Kalk Bay institution, sitting adjacent to the Kalk Bay Harbour – you’re literally on top of the ocean. Eating oysters and drinking G&Ts as you salute the sunset is compulsory on any decent itinerary. Harbour House Restaurant is another spectacular place to view the ocean – and is known for excellent seafood.
When evening comes, there’s lots on offer in Kalk Bay – make sure you pop into Cape To Cuba along Main Road. It’s all mojitos and Che Guevara attitudes.
During whale season, usually between May and October, Kalk Bay is the perfect place to be – take a stroll up Boyes Drive and check out the southern right whales as they frolic in the waves below.
The Cape Winelands region is the source of many legendary Cape wines, the produce of row upon row of grapevines, many of which were first planted hundreds of years ago.
Its classic Cape-Dutch homesteads, mountainous surrounds, grand heritage and sumptuous restaurants have earned the Cape Winelandsthe right to call itself South Africa’s culinary capital.
Franschhoek‘s excellent restaurants are renowned at home and abroad. Add stunning mountains, galleries and antique stores to paint a picture of the hospitality that characterises this small town.
With its historical charm, culture, architectural heritage, wine and one of the largest solid rocks in the world, Paarl Mountain, Paarl is bursting with breathtaking scenery and offers the fitter tourist a choice of cycling and nature trails.
Wellington is famous for its dried fruit, wine estates, olive tasting and leather factories. Don’t miss out on a scenic drive up Bain’s Kloof Pass.
Robertson – the “Garden Town of the Boland” – is the largest wine-producing area under irrigation in South Africa. Robertson is famed for its superior wines and some of the country’s top racehorse studs have been raised and trained here.
Apart from a wide choice of wine estate cellars lined with top-class wines, visitors will discover a variety of locally produced cheeses, olives, export-quality fruit and organic produce to sample and buy.
The sheer beauty of the Winelands not only lures photographers and artists to capture its magnificence, it regularly plays host to weddings, conferences and special occasions.
The more active tourist has not been forgotten either. World-class golf courses and numerous cycling, walking and hiking routes abound.
The route to the Winelands region is a 40-minute drive along the N1 from Cape Town to Stellenbosch. Alternatively, follow the N2 to Somerset West and the Helderberg region.
The Cape Winelands is extensive, so it is advisable to use a tourism brochure to find each wine region. Brochures and maps are available at all tourism offices in the region.
Melkbosstrand’s 7km-long stretch of white sand beckons visitors to slip off their sandals and enjoy a stress-relieving stroll.
Melkbosstrand (“milkwood beach” in Afrikaans) is the first village one encounters on a drive north from Cape Town along the Cape’s West Coast. Bathed by the cold waters of the Atlantic Ocean, “Melkbos”, as it is better known by locals, is the ideal location for long, lazy walks along the beach or surfing at Corner, Tubewave and Derdesteen, spectacular sunsets, safe swimming, kitesurfing, crayfishing, boating, windsurfing and beautiful views of Robben Island and Table Mountain.
Milkwood (Euphorbiaceae) trees grow on the dunes, where the sticky white milk they exude from their leaves has earned them their common name.
Melkbos is renowned for its seafood, which is served at a number of local restaurants.
Thanks to easy access through the surf zone, the National Sea Rescue Institute has built premises on the beachfront here to store rescue boats and equipment.
In 1924 the Cape Lands Development Company pioneered development in Melkbosstrand, then known as Melkbosch Strand, with the building of a post office, café and a few houses, including a Cape Dutch homestead called Die Damhuis, which still stands today. More than 600 plots were eventually laid out, from which the town grew over the years.