you want to do a day trip in and around Cape Town you have
many options to choose from. For example, the Big Six (www.capetownbig6.co.za)
attractions of Cape Town is the perfect place to start. But
remember to start your day trip early as Cape Town is big
with lots to see.
Table Mountain (http://www.sanparks.org/parks/table_mountain/)
a Natural World Heritage Site, is a must see. You cannot visit
Cape Town and not go to the top of the mountain. It has more
plant species than the entire British Isles in total (1470
From the top of the mountain (just over a
1000m above sea level) you have a beaufitul 360 degree view
of Cape Town and surrounds which makes for great pictures.
Most visitors take the Cable
Way up the mountain. Students get special discount here
so remember to take your student card with. The Cable Way
rotates to also give you a 360 degree view up the mountain.
On top there are also many hiking paths all over and down
the mountain. And don’t be surprised if you spot some
Dassies along the way. You can also hike up the mountain and
then take the cableway down, or vice versa. Either way, always
make sure to check the weather and cableway times before you
start a hike. In bad weather Cable Way operations are halted.
Very importantly however, if you decide to
hike up the mountain Plattekloof Gorge is advised for first
timers. Take enough water with (2L per person), good shoes
and a warm jacket. The weather on top of the mountain is very
unpredictable and it can get very cold within a few hours.
It is also advised to take an extra dry shirt with, as you
will sweat a lot when hiking up.
Also look out for their sunset specials during
the summer months. You can take your own snacks and wine with
and have a picnic on top of the mountain. Cable way tickets
are much cheaper just before sunset and it also stays open
for longer. Check out the website for these specials and operating
times during summer.
Waterfront is visited by over a million visitors per month.
It is built next to a working harbour which gives it a great
deal of energy. It has over 400 shops, restaurants, pubs and
hotels all catering to the needs of tourists and visitors.
In addition it also has its own aquarium
that has over 3000 animals. So for a nice day trip on its
own, a visit to the Waterfront is well worth the while.
Island is another World Heritage site in Cape Town. It
was home to many political prisoner including Nelson Mandela
during the country’s infamous past. But it was not always
a prison. From 1846 – 1931 it was a hospital for leprosy
patients, mentally and chronically ill patients. During the
Second World War it was a training and defence station.
Today it is a living museum and can be visited
to see where Nelson Mandela and the other political prisoners
were locked away. The ferry to Robben Island departs daily
from the Nelson Mandela Gateway at the Clock Tower Centre
in the V&A Waterfront. The entire trip and visit can take
up to four hours. Not only is it a living museum, but also
a nature conservation area which is home to African penguins
and other wildlife. Unfortunately the ferry trip has been
described by many as the best part of the visit. Once on the
island you’ll be shuttled around the island to the museum
and taken on the old prison tour. You are not permitted to
leave the group and wander off to explore the island by yourself.
For short boat trips along the Cape coast
you will again have many options to choose from. There are
shipwreck’s to visit, seal watching, sundowner cruises
along the coast, sailing or just cruising around the Cape
harbour. These charters start from either the V&A Waterfront
or Houtbay, depending on your destination. The waters around
Cape Town can get rough so if you suffer from sea sickness,
it is advised to get some tablets and take them early.
To sail or cruise along the Cape Coast try
the Waterfront Boat Company (http://www.waterfrontboats.co.za).
They have different vessles available all offering different
If you’re interested to check out the
Seal colony at Duiker Island in False Bay, try the Circe
Launches and try their different cruises on offer. Prices
are very good and are all departing from Hout Bay Harbour.
also departing from Hout Bay harbour, is another charter doing
seal watching as well as shipwreck and other cruises.
Charters provides luxury ocean cruises and game fishing.
If you prefer and/or want to try offshore tuna fishing check
out the Two Oceans Sport Fishing
Charters departing out of Simonstown (False Bay).
Point is another one of the Big Six attractions of Cape
Town. It is located at the most southwesterly part of Africa
and forms part of the Cape of Good Hope Nature Reserve. It
also has a shop and a restaurant, seaside picnic spots, hiking
routes and bicycle routes. Here you will have beautiful views
of the Atlantic ocean, lots of wildlilfe and greenery. It
is home to over a thousand species of indigenous plants some
of which are found nowhere else in the world. If you’re
lucky, you might be able to spot the very elusive Cape Mountain
On route to Cape Point you will pass the
Cape Point Ostrich Farm. Here you can get some more info on
the life cycle of ostriches, buy some leather and egg shell
products, or relax with a cup of coffee and a light lunch.
Finally, there are a lot of baboons in this
area who have become a nuisance from people feeding them.
They are always nice to take a picture of, but please do not
feed the baboons. There are rangers to protect you from aggressive
baboons, so stay close to them if you can.
If you just want to take a nice day long
drive through the Cape Peninsula (http://www.capepointroute.co.za),
get a map and follow the M3 starting in the town centre, down
to Muizenberg (spot the nice colourful changing rooms), past
Kalk Bay and Fish Hoek. Then make a quick turn to Boulders
Beach to check out the cute penguins, then turn back and over
the M6 towards Chapman’s Peak. This is a toll route
where you must pay to get through. Drive all along this beautiful
strech of coastline down to the Republic of Hout Bay.
Stop over for some great calamari at the
Hout Bay harbour and then head on through to Camps Bay for
a sundowner, past Seapoint beachfront and to the V&A Waterfront
to complete the route. But don’t be fooled, it might
sound short here, but it will take you a few hours to complete
The Western Cape is world famous for its
exquisite wines. In and around Cape Town there are various
well known wine route areas to choose from, each with their
own sub-routes and distinctive characters. They are all good
and offer wine tasting, cellar tours and on-site wine sales.
Many also have restaurants and picnic areas. So depending
on what you are in the mood for and how far you wish to drive
you can choose between any of the following wineroute areas:
There are also companies that offer wine
tours. These are convenient as they know all the nice farms
and then you also don’t have to worry about drinking
and driving. But check out their prices as some operators
can get very pricy. For a full list of Western Cape wine routes
if you want to travel further than the peninsula, check out
Horse riding (http://www.horseriding.co.za)
on Noordhoek Beach is very popular and caters for all types
of riders (from beginners to the pro’s). Here you will
experience one of the most idyllic beaches on the planet on
horseback. Due to its popularity booking is advised prior
to your visit.
The coastal areas around Cape Town are popular
amongst whale watchers. Although whales can be spotted all
along the Cape’s coast, the town of Hermanus, one hour
outside Cape Town, is the most famous spot for whale watching,
especially during the Whale festival in September. For more
details and good spots to check out some whales, go to http://www.whaleroute.com/areas/southafrica/index.htm.
You can make a day trip of it, or a longer weekend trip. Or
go onto the water and check out the whales on a charter (http://www.southernrightcharters.co.za)
up close without disturbing them. Other than the whales, Hermanus
is pretty much a sleepy town and great for relaxing.