best-western-cape-towns-and-villages

Lovely Western Cape Towns and Villages to Explore

The Western Cape is famous for its charming small towns and villages. In this post, I share some of my favourite, best Western Cape towns and villages. Whether you are looking for an in-land adventure or coastal escape, these local gems are made for travellers to explore.

Exploring the Best Western Cape Towns and Villages

Over the years, I have had the pleasure of exploring most of the well-known, iconic towns in the Western Cape. Growing up in the Klein Karoo town of Montagu allowed us easier access and relaxed road trips to nearby gems.

Although there are many other Cape towns I have explored and loved over the years, I wanted to feature ones I have been to fairly recently so the post is accurate and up-to-date.

In time, I look forward to revisiting old haunts and new town gems alike and adding more towns and villages to this post!

Small Town Charm: Montagu

best-western-cape-and-villages-montagu

The Klein Karoo town of Montagu is famous for its iconic, surrounding mountains, excellent dried fruit and nuts and historic Cape Dutch architecture and national monuments.

This Route 62 town is a hugely family-friendly place (even for pets). Mostly thanks to its safe atmosphere, quiet streets and lovely array of eateries, coffee shops and accommodation gems.

So whether you are craving a relaxing weekend escape or extended stay, Montagu is ideal for visitors, young and old.

Sights to See:

old-english-fort-montagu-quirky-roadside-attractions-western-cape

Some of my favourite sights to see in and around Montagu are the famous Cogsmanskloof Pass (which connects Ashton and Montagu); the Old English Fort; Leiwater Dam (great for birdwatching); and most of all, the beautiful Cape Dutch-style buildings found along Long Street.

Montagu’s NG Kerk, situated in the centre of town, is another iconic landmark.

Popular Attractions:

cogmanskloof-tunnel-route-62-montagu

Some of the most popular attractions in Montagu include the Village Market, the Montagu Nature Garden, Legoland (ideal for rock climbers) and of course, the well-loved Avalon Springs Resort.

Eateries and Accommodation:

Montagu has a lovely selection of accommodation- and food-options to suit every budget and taste. Some of my personal favourite eateries and cafes include The Orchard (Die Boord), Rambling Rose and Die Kloof Padstal.

the-rambling-rose-montagu

In terms of accommodation, I like the looks of:

  • 360 on 62
  • Jonkmanshof
  • Mimosa Lodge
  • Montagu Country Hotel
  • and further afield, the luxurious Aquila Game Reserve or Sanbona Wildlife Reserve

Distance from Cape Town:

+/- 2.5 hours

 

Seaside Stunner: Struisbaai

struibaai-harbour

Struisbaai is honestly one of my favourite little coastal towns anywhere and I have many fond memories from this small Overberg gem.

In fact, to this day, Struibaai’s quaint harbour and beautiful beaches remain perosnal favourites.

Sights to See:

cape-agulhas-southernmost-tip-of-africa

Aside from the gorgeous, Mediterranean-style beaches and adorable, white-washed fishing cottages, Struisbaai also offers the chance to visit nearby Cape Agulhas Lighthouse and National Park.

This park is famously situated at the southernmost tip of Africa. Another great local attraction, also found within the park, is the shipwreck of the Meisho Maru. The shipwreck is accessible via a short seaside hike.

Popular Attractions:

struisbaai-harbour

Safe swimming, gorgeous beach walks, excellent hikes and of course, fishing are just a few of the local activities you can enjoy here.

You can also go for guided beach horse rides or enjoy great local birding.

Eateries and Accommodation:

Struisbaai Sea Shack, The Michael Collins Irish Pub and Restaurant, Zuidste Kaap Restaurant and L’Agulhas Seafoods are just some of the nearby eateries and restaurants to enjoy.

struisbaai-restaurant-burger

In terms of accommodation, you can rent an idyllic beach holiday home or a stay at a place like Agulhas Country Lodge or At Patat Cottage.

Distance from Cape Town:

+/- 2.5 hours

Valley of Wine and Roses: Robertson

best-western-cape-towns-and-villages-robertson

Famously known as the beautiful Valley of Wines and Roses, Robertson has enjoyed great popularity, especially in recent years.

What was formerly a rather sleepy, somewhat unremarkable town has become one of the hottest, most revamped destinations along the famous Route 62.

Thanks to its wine farms and distilleries, vibrant eateries and charming accommodation offerings, this Breede River Valley gem is now a well-loved destination.

Sights to See:

windfall-guest-cottages

Some of the most popular attractions near Robertson include wine farms such as Van Loveren, Bon Courage, Springfield Estate, Windfall and Klipdrift Brandy Distillery (known for its iconic brandy and relaxed setting).

You can also keep an eye out for some charming farm stalls, like Affieplaas Farm Stall, outside town.

Popular Attractions:

windfall-wine-agterkliphoogte-valley

Aside from its wine farms, Robertson is also a wonderful place to enjoy outdoor experiences, including birding, MTB trails, a river wine cruise at Viljoensdrift and much more.

Eateries and Accommodation:

In terms of eateries, there is Four Cousins Restaurant, Bourbon Street, Saggy Stone Brewing Company, Café Rosa and Christina’s Bistro at Van Loveren.

windfall-wine-cottages

For accommodation, try Windfall Wine Farm, Tierhoek Cottages, Orange Grove Farm, Africamps at Pat Busch Mountain Reserve, theLAB, Khanyisa Mountain Lodge or Robertson Small Hotel.

Distance from Cape Town:

+/- 2 – 2.5 hours

 

Cosy, Coastal Gem: Betty’s Bay

bettys-bay-western-cape

This seaside Overberg village may be small but it certainly packs a punch in terms of rich Cape beauty. With gorgeous surrounding views, wonderful outdoor attractions, its own resident penguin colony and more, Betty’s Bay is one of my favourite Cape towns for so many reasons.

Sights to See:

stony-point-nature-reserve-penguins

Because Betty’s Bay falls within the diverse, stunning Kogelberg Biosphere Reserve, it is at the very heart of the Cape Floral Kingdom and doubles as a veritable natural paradise.

With rewarding hikes, refreshing dips in crystal rock pools and river streams, MTB trails, nature walks and more, Betty’s Bay and its surrounds offer sublime outdoor experiences.

best-western-cape-towns-and-villages-bettys-bay

One of the best sights to see near Betty’s Bay is arguably the Stony Point Nature Reserve, home to its own adorable penguin colony.

However, the beaches, scenic Clarence Drive and nature garden and reserves nearby are always winners for tourists, outdoor lovers and families alike.

Popular Attractions:

hiking-kogelberg-nature-reserve

Aside from its beaches – which include Betty’s Bay Main Beach and Silver Sands – Betty’s Bay is right near Harold Porter National Botanical Gardens, Kogelberg Nature Reserve and Stony Point Nature Reserve. These three attractions alone are amazing – but Clarence Drive is another worthy nearby attraction.

Beyond that, you can also visit other coastal towns, like Gordon’s Bay, or villages, like Pringle Bay or Rooi Els.

zigzag-trail-harold-porter-garden

Eateries and Accommodation:

Enjoy a good coffee or meal at local spots, such as Coffee on Clarence or Sea Biscuit.

As for accommodation, try a dreamy holiday rental like BluCabana, Lily, Oystercatcher or Chardonnay Cottage.

Distance from Cape Town:

+/- 75 minutes

 

The Wedding Valley: Riebeek Valley

riebeek-valley-best-western-cape-towns-and-villages

Because I love both Riebeek West and Riebeek Kasteel, it’s hard for me to separate them. So if you are in the valley, I recommend visiting and enjoying both of these beautiful towns.

These Riebeek Valley towns are two of the oldest in the Cape and thus share a rich, colourful history.

Sights to See:

Fondly known as the Wedding Valley due to its popular wedding venues spread between the towns of Riebeek Kasteel, Riebeek West, Riebeeksrivier and Hermon – Riebeek Valley is one of the most gorgeous places in the Western Cape.

riebeek-valley-wedding-venue

Some popular sights include Royal Hotel and its iconic stoep (porch) – perfect for G&Ts –  local olive farms (such as Het Vlock Kasteel or Kloovenburg Wine and Olive Farm), soulful Short Street, local cycling trails and wine farms, like Pulpit Rock Winery or Meerhof Wine Estate.

Popular Attractions:

allesverloren-wine-estate

The local wedding venues, like Allesverloren, Het Vlock Kasteel and more, are also wonderful to explore and admire (especially for perspective couples) – but even driving around the towns offer a visual feast. There is both beauty and charming quirkiness alike.

riebeek-kasteel

Other popular attractions include wine- and olive-tastings, hiking, a visit to the esteemed Royal Hotel, the Karoo-style architecture and splash of colour in Short Street and more.

Nearby Bartholomeus Klip – a luxurious lodge, working farm and nature reserve – is another wonderful place to visit.

Eateries and Accommodation:

Some of the most popular eateries in the Riebeek Valley include Café Felix, The Valley Restaurant, Red Tin Roof and more.

As for accommodation, there are plenty of great options, including The Royal Hotel, Shades of Provence, Riebeek Valley Hotel and Vineyard Views Country House.

Distance from Cape Town:

+/- 60 minutes

 

Whale (Watching) Capital of the World:

best-western-cape-towns-and-villages-hermanus

This popular Overberg town may be famous for its seasonal whale watching – but don’t just jot Hermanus down as a whale town because it offers so much more besides.

With nearby wine farms, incredible seaside accommodation, stunning beaches and truly beautiful outdoor experiences, Hermanus is a vibrant, family-friendly destination with plenty to see and do.

Sights to See:

hermanus-western-cape

Obviously one of the best sights in Hermanus are the whales, who visit annually during whale season. I definitely consider this an unmissable experience – and if you haven’t been yet, it is so worth it!

The Hermanus Country Market is another experience that is considered worthwhile. I haven’t been to the market yet but it’s definitely on my list.

The Cliff Path, with its gorgeous ocean views, is a perfect way to explore the edge of the town. But honestly, even walking about Hermanus is an interesting outing, thanks to the different boutiques and local businesses.

Popular Attractions:

cliff-path-hermanus

For nature addicts, Hermanus’s local beaches – like Grotto Beach or Voelklip Beach -, the scenic Cliff Path and Fernkloof Nature Reserve are all wonderful attractions. Then of course, during whale season, you can enjoy epic whale watching – a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

Wine tasting is another popular experience, with plenty of excellent wine farms nearby in the Hemel-en-Aarde Valley. These include Newton Johnson, Creation Wines, Bouchard Finlayson and others besides.

There are also a host of outdoor adventures, like sea kayaking, horse riding, wildlife spotting, surfing, body boarding and more to enjoy in and around Hermanus.

Eateries and Accommodation:

In terms of eateries and cafes, there are Harbour Rock, Mogg’s Cookhouse, Just Pure Bistro, La Pentola and Fusion Restaurant to name a few.

Hermanus also offers some good accommodation. The Marine, Lavender Manor Guest Lodge, Cliff Cottage and High Season Farm are some of the most well-known options.

Distance from Cape Town:

+/- 1.5 hours

 

Wine, Hikes and History: Wellington

best-western-cape-towns-and-villages-wellington

To me, Wellington is a severely overlooked winelands town and I never understand why. People flock to Franschhoek, Stellenbosch and even Paarl – yet Wellington also offers plenty for both families and avid adventurers to enjoy.

With everything from gorgeous farm stays to lovely eateries and amazing outdoor experiences, Wellington ensures a delightful getaway or day outing.

Sights to See:

kromme-river-wellington

Aside from the town’s historic aspects and quaint beauty, Wellington also has a lovely selection of wine estates and distilleries to enjoy.

bainskloof-pass-wellington

For the nature lovers among us, a drive up Bainskloof Pass is always an unforgettable outing, offering expansive views across the valley.

In the region, there are also some excellent hikes, horse rides and MTB trails to enjoy too.

Popular Attractions:

dunstone-country-estate-wellington

The aforementioned Bainskloof Pass is one of my favourite attractions near Wellington.

Other highlights include local wine estates and distilleries, like Diemersfontein, James Sedgwick Distillery, Doolhof Wine Estate, Jacaranda Wine and Guest Farm and two of my personal favourites, beautiful Dunstone Country Estate and Val Du Charron.

Eateries and Accommodation:

val-du-charron-support-wine-farms-during-extended-level-3
Photo credit: Val Du Charron

In Wellington, there are no shortage of lovely eateries, cafes and accommodation stays.

For eateries, try The Stone Kitchen at Dunstone, Oude Wellington Restaurant, Villamar or Seasons Restaurant at Diemersfontein.

For accommodation, Dunstone Country Estate and Val Du Charron are two options I like. There is also Grand Dedale Country House, Oude Wellington, Lady Loch Guesthouse and Africamps at Doolhof to name a few other options.

dunstone-country-estate-accomodation-pool

Distance from Cape Town:

+/- 55 minutes

 

West Coast Wonder: Langebaan

best-western-cape-towns-and-villages-langebaan

I love everything about Langebaan. It is a truly scenic, peaceful West Coast town – but it also offers great fun for everyone, with plenty of things to see, do and enjoy near this tranquil town.

Sights to See:

Aside from a visit to the West Coast National Park, Langebaan has several gorgeous beaches in and around town, including within the national park.

langebaan-beach

Other town sights include admiring the local boutiques, coffee shops and eateries that are dotted around this charming town.

Popular Attractions:

west-coast-national-park-flower-spotting

Some of the best attractions near Langebaan include West Coast National Park (perfect for seasonal wildflower spotting but it’s incredible year-round); Thali Thali Game Lodge; West Coast Fossil Park; Black Eagle Brewing Company and more.

bontebok-west-coast-national-park

In and around town, you can also enjoy beach rides, kitesurfing, family-friendly beach fun and beautiful wildlife spotting too.

Eateries and Accommodation:

ginja-beanz-coffee-cafe-langebaan

Some of my favourite eateries and breweries in Langebaan include Ginja Beanz Coffee Café, the restaurant at Thali Thali and Black Eagle Brewing Company.

There is also Breeze Restaurant, Pearly’s Restaurant, Boesmanland Plaaskombuis and Die Strandloper.

black-eagle-brewing-company-langebaan

As for accommodation, both Thali Thali Game Lodge and Masada Guest House are two I personally like. But you can also try Club Mykonos, Crystal Lagoon Lodge and The Farmhouse Hotel to just name a few options.

Another West Coast Gem:

Another West Coast gem I love is Yzerfontein. It’s definitely worth exploring when you are in the West Coast.

Distance from Cape Town:

+/- 1 hour, 22 minutes.

 

Land of Fruits and Snowfall: Ceres

Photo credit: Ceres Tourism Bureau via Facebook

Ceres is one of the Western Cape’s most fruitful, colourful valleys and farming towns. It lies in the heart of the Witzenberg, surrounded by mountains, breathtaking passes, farmlands and fruit orchards as far as the eye can see.

But perhaps the most magical time of year to visit is during winter when the mountains and surrounding landscape turn into a winter wonderland, thanks to some of the heaviest snowfall(s) South Africa experiences. As such, the town has even become known as the ‘Switzerland of South Africa’.

ceres-tourism-western-cape
Photo credit: Ceres Tourism Bureau via Facebook

Not only is humble, fertile Ceres a gorgeous town – especially in autumn and spring when nature’s vibrant colours paint their own story across the countryside – but it is also something of a outdoor paradise, thanks to the ziplining, 4×4 routes, MTB trails and beautiful hiking that you can enjoy near this Cape town.

Sights to See:

Just driving through Ceres, with its laid-back farm town atmosphere and pretty architecture, provides a relaxing, interesting outing for city slickers. But it is the surrounding mountains and farmlands that really steal the show here.

mitchells-pass-ceres

If you want to really enjoy the mountains and their full beauty, Mitchell’s Pass is one of my favourite Cape drives and is definitely a glorious sight to see.

Popular Attractions:

Aside from the obvious snowfall frenzies and beautiful Mitchell’s Pass, Ceres also offers plenty of outdoor attractions for visitors to enjoy.

best-western-cape-towns-and-villages-ceres
Photo credit: Ceres Tourism Bureau via Facebook

There is ziplining, hiking, 4×4 trails, nearby game- and nature-reserves, excellent horse rides, MTB trails and golfing for young and old to enjoy. You can also enjoy fun, seasonal cherry picking at Klondyke Cherry Farm.

Eateries and Accommodation:

ceres-western-cape-south-africa
Photo credit: Ceres Tourism Bureau via Facebook

If you get hungry, grab a meal at Pink Lady, Homegrown Bakery Café, Fowler’s Grill and more.

For accommodation fixes, try places like Inverdoorn Game Reserve, Chantilly Guest House, Fairfield Cottages or Steenbok Farm Cottage.

Distance from Cape Town:

+/- 1.5 – 2 hours

 

Historic Cape Beauty: Swellendam

swellendam-western-cape
Photo credit: Swellendam Experience via Facebook

With its historic architecture, beautiful forests, surrounding farmlands and charming town atmosphere, Swellendam is one of my favourite Western Cape towns.

Nestled in the scenic embrace of the Langeberg Mountains and the Breede River, Swellendam is South Africa’s third oldest town – and yet, it has plenty of modernity to keep young and old entertained for days on end.

It effortlessly oozes natural beauty, while also offering some of the Cape’s best outdoor experiences, restaurants and accommodation gems.

Sights to See:

best-western-cape-towns-and-villages-swellendam
Photo credit: Swellendam Experience via Facebook

Aside from the esteemed NG Kerk and local architecture, Swellendam has some interesting local sights to see. Not least of all the gorgeous forests, farmlands and mountain beauty in and around town.

Popular Attractions:

Whether you are after berry liqueur, wine tastings, game drives and picnics, boat cruises, horse riding, hiking and MTB trails or simply just a good coffee shop experience, Swellendam has it all.

There is Wildebraam Berry Estate; Sulina’s Faerie Sanctuary (wonderful for children, with its fairy theme); Drostdy Museum; Marloth Nature Reserve and so much more.

swellendam-mtb-trails
Photo credit: Swellendam Experience via Facebook

Eateries and Accommodation:

Swellendam has no shortage of great coffee shops and restaurants. They include La Sosta Restaurant, Koornlands Restaurant, Old Gaol Restaurant and more.

As for accommodation, the town and its surrounds offer plenty of stunning options, including Schoone Oordt Country House, Hermitage Huisies, The Ecotreehouse and Fazenda to name a few.

Distance from Cape Town:

+/- 2.5 hours

Small Town Charm

These are just some of my favourite Western Cape towns and villages (for now). The wonderful thing about the Cape towns and villages is that they are filled with history, natural beauty and warm hospitality.

I hope you and your friends and family enjoying exploring these gorgeous small towns and villages and seeing all they have to offer. 🙂

 

COVID-19 DISCLAIMER:

Please remember that COVID-19 rules and regulations may affect opening times and availability of local attractions, town activities, restaurants and even accommodation offerings mentioned in this post.

As such, I can assume no responsibility for any closures or limited services.

For the latest provincial and national COVID-19 restrictions and levels, please visit an official government portal.

Please also remember to:

  • Wear a mask in public (fineable by law);
  • Practice social distancing;
  • Sanitise frequently;
  • Stay home if you feel unwell.

Author: Tamlyn Ryan

Content writer by day and blogger by night, Tamlyn Ryan passionately runs her own travel blog, called Tamlyn Amber Wanderlust, from her home base of Cape Town, South Africa. And, despite a national diploma in Journalism, in her free time, Tamlyn’s preferred niche remains travel writing.

Tamlyn is a hopeless wanderer, equipped with an endless passion for road trips, carefully planned, holiday itineraries and, above all else, an innate love for the great outdoors.

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