To see more than just the Mother City, take a day trip or tour from Cape Town and explore the alluring expanse of the Cape Peninsula. Or even further afield, along the spectacular Cape Winelands and the arid but fascinating Lower Karoo.
Whether it’s nature’s wonders, architectural heritage or relaxing wine tours you’re after, you are sure to find a day trip from Cape Town to suit your delights. Strategically located in the Peninsula, Cape Town is within easy reach of any of these tours.
The Cape Peninsula lies on the Atlantic Ocean at the south-western point of Africa, with Cape Town as the Mother City. The Cape of Good Hope and Cape Point are at the southern end of the Cape Peninsula. Coming from Cape Town, you will find plenty to see until you get to the Cape Point Nature Reserve, known for its great landscapes.
At the end of the reserve lies the spectacular Cape Point with its lighthouse. From here, take a hike to Africa’s extreme southwesterly point. You can choose from numerous day trips from Cape Town to various attractions around the Peninsula.
Some 40 kilometers east of Cape Town lie the Cape Winelands, a series of beautiful valleys with historic towns, hamlets and Cape Dutch homesteads. The surrounding majestic mountains form an impressive backdrop, and the Winelands’ scenic beauty is a main reason for you to visit the wine estates and wineries.
The historic towns of Stellenbosch, Franschhoek, Paarl, Tulbagh, and Wellington are the backbone of the region. Their wine routes represent hundreds of wine and grape producers and the largest winemaking region in the country. As the first point of entry to the Winelands, Stellenbosch is only a 20-minute drive from Cape Town International Airport.
Table Mountain is located on the Cape Peninsula at the south-western point of the African continent, and overlooks the Mother City, Cape Town. The Table Mountain National Park attracts more than 4 million people annually and is the home of numerous unique plant species and animals.
The Table Mountain Cableway will provide you with a quick way to the mountaintop. The rotating gondola gives you a fantastic 360 degrees view as you ascend to over 1,000 meters above sea level. You will enjoy panoramic views of the city, Table Bay and the famous Robben Island.
Every year, some 60,000 visitors make their way past Simon’s Town to see the African penguins at Boulders Beach. Also known as jackass penguins because of their braying, they’re the only penguin species on the African continent. They first arrived in False Bay from Dyer Island near Gans Bay in 1983, and conservation efforts saw the colony grow to over 3,000.
There are great spots at Boulders Beach for camping, but the best area for watching the penguins is at Foxy Beach. You can take three wheelchair-friendly boardwalks through the dunes and vegetation to get up close with the penguins.
The Cape Peninsula lies at the south-western point of Africa, with Table Mountain and the City of Cape Town as prominent features. At the southern end lies the Cape of Good Hope Reserve and Cape Point, the most south-westerly point of Africa. Tours of the Peninsula usually take you along the scenic Atlantic coastline to Hout Bay and the Cape of Good/Cape Point.
Going back Cape Town way, you can visit the naval town of Simon’s Town and seaside villages such as Kalk Bay and Muizenberg on False Bay. Further on, enjoy main attractions such as the beautiful Constantia wine estate and Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens.
Robben island is best known as the place where former South African president Nelson Mandela was imprisoned for 18 years. It lies at the entrance to Table Bay, about 10 km from Cape Town. The island was discovered by the Portuguese navigator Bartolomeu Dias in 1488 and later used as a supply station by the Portuguese, English and Dutch.
Since the late 17th century, mainly political prisoners have been imprisoned there. From 1961 to 1991, a maximum security prison accommodated political prisoners. There are several regular day trips by ferry from the Cape Town Waterfront to the island.
Aquila Game Reserve is just two hours drive from Cape Town, where you can see a wide range of wildlife, including the Big 5. The 10 000 hectare Aquila Game Reserve lies between the Langeberg and the Outeniqua Mountains near the town of Touws River.
Go on an exciting game drive in an open-top ATV. You can see Africa’s wild animals such as the Big 5 – the lion, leopard, elephant, rhino and African buffalo – and various other wildlife types. You can also spot as many as 172 species of birds, which include the magnificent black eagle.
Chapman’s Peak Drive runs between Hout Bay and Noordhoek on the Atlantic Coast and is regarded as one of the most picturesque coastal drives in the world. Initially constructed during World War 1, it consists of 9 kilometers of road with 114 curves. Along the way, it skirts Chapman's Peak, a 593-meter high extension of the Constantia Berg.
The drive runs along the rugged rocky coastline with spectacular views in both directions. It starts at Hout Bay’s fishing harbor and then climbs sharply up to Chapman's Point. From here you have breathtaking views of the sandy bays below, before the road gets to lower levels at picturesque Noordhoek.
The Twelve Apostles mountain range embodies the back of Table Mountain, and overlooks one of the most spectacular stretches of coastline in the world. The range runs roughly from Kloof Nek to Hout Bay on the Atlantic Ocean side of Table Mountain, and is distinguished by rugged crags, ravines and gorges.
Strictly speaking, there are 18 peaks, but if you count protruding buttresses only, there are 12. Each peak has its own identity such as Porcupine, Kasteel, Victoria and Hout Bay Corner. A former Cape governor, Sir Rufane Donkin, named the Twelve Apostles mountains due to the very steep line of sandstone rock faces.
This 10,000 hectare private game reserve lies about 2.5 hours’ drive from Cape Town, in the arid Tankwa Karoo near Sutherland. The reserve boasts the presence of all members of the so-called Big 5 of the wildlife kingdom – the elephant, rhino, buffalo, lion and leopard. The Inverdoorn Game Reserve has also been home to a successful cheetah rehabilitation project since 2001.
It has made a significant contribution to sustain the Karoo region’s biodiversity and has a thriving variety of wildlife. During your safari you will observe amongst other herds of the large eland, zebra and gemsbok. Other rugged characters of the reserve are hippos basking in the dam.