Day trips are some of my favourite travel adventures… I am a sucker for road trips, hidden gems and new places so a day trip is the perfect chance to enjoy all this and so much more! Happily, there are so many interesting day trips near Cape Town for locals and tourists to enjoy.
In this post, I cover some of my favourite day trips by region so that you can really get the most out of your day while you’re in one place.
My Most Interesting Day Trips Near Cape Town
Whether you go wine farm hopping, dive into nature or road trip to your heart’s content, this post has something in it for everyone.
What’s more, these day trips are perfect for couples, solo travellers and families too – and the best part of all? Most of these are a maximum of two hours outside of Cape Town so you don’t even have to drive too far to enjoy them.
To make this guide more helpful, I have added some highlights and fun attractions to enjoy in each area so you can pick and choose your own itinerary for the day. 🙂
Atlantic Seaboard: Camps Bay to Hout Bay
There is no doubt that the Atlantic seaboard, which stretches from the Waterfront to Hout Bay, offers some of the most spectacular beaches and coastal drives in the world.
Many of Cape Town’s main attractions – like Camps Bay, Clifton 1-4, Chapman’s Peak Drive, Hout Bay and Cape Point – can be found along this incredible stretch.
What I love about the Cape coastline is its immediacy to the Mother City – you can drive for ten, maybe fifteen minutes and you leave the city behind and step into the heart of Cape coastal nature at its best.
Although it is definitely your more ‘touristy’ day trip, it is one that everyone in Cape Town needs to undertake. Especially during summertime when the Atlantic Ocean, sunsets and clear, blue skies are filled with unadulterated natural beauty, sizzling temperatures and promise.
Best for: All ages to enjoy.
Travel Time from Cape Town CBD (one-way): +/- 15 minutes – 30 minutes.
Atlantic Seaboard Highlights:
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1) Clifton 1-4 Beaches
Clifton’s quartet of beautiful beaches are some of my favourite in the Mother City. Flanking Camps Bay beach and separated only by chunky granite boulders, these four beaches offer a lovely experience for all.
Personally, Clifton 4th is my favourite but I’ll let you make your own decision on that. 🙂
2) Camps Bay Beach
Camps Bay Beach is one of the most glamourous beaches in the world, so it’s no surprise it draws the crowds.
I do love the beauty, mountain views and safe beach fun for all that this special beach offers.
Its aqua waters, smooth, bone-white sands, popular tidal pool and stunning surrounding scenery make it memorable every time.
3) Tranquility Cracks and Pipe Trackfarm Hikes (Camps Bay)
Both the Pipe Track and Tranquility Cracks are two of my favourite hikes in Cape Town. And I love that they are joined and you can enjoy both at once!
The Pipe Track is relatively easy and doesn’t require much fitness.
However, you do need to be a bit fitter and more prepared for Tranquility Cracks. It is more challenging and isolated so please hike in a group, pack in plenty of water and food and don’t hike up too late in the day.
The views of Camps Bay and the coastline from these two trails is amazing. What’s more, Tranquility Cracks is one of the most fascinating places to explore anywhere in the Western Cape.
4) Oudekraal Beach
I adore Oudekraal Beach. Although it’s a paid beach, it is one of the finest anywhere in Cape Town.
Personally, I favour it over Camps Bay Beach because it is less crowded and closer to real nature. The views, picnic- and braai-spots and setting are wonderful.
5) Chapman’s Peak Drive
Ah, Chappies… What can one say about this incredible mountain drive other than it is something everyone needs to experience when visiting Cape Town?
With its gorgeous coastline and mountain views, impressive cliff faces that cradle the road, masterful engineering, heart-in-mouth twists and turns and dreamy picnic spots, Chapman’s Peak Drive is an unmissable road trip experience.
There is a toll fee if you go far enough along it. So, if you wish to skip the toll, you will have to turn around at the toll gate and miss out on its full beauty.
6) Hout Bay Harbour
I love the quiet charm and colourful boats that one can experience at Hout Bay Harbour. It makes for a fun outing and there is always something to see and do here.
With a host of local food spots and interesting arts and crafts for sale, it’s a great place to browse, eat at and enjoy.
You can also enjoy some great, affordable boat trips out to Duiker Island, otherwise called ‘Seal Island’ due to its resident seal colony.
I have visited Seal Island twice over the years, first as a school girl and then during university. It’s always a fun, eye-opening boating experience for all.
Deep South Lovin’: Noordhoek to Muizenberg
Locals casually call the Cape Peninsula area spanning from Noordhoek (on the Atlantic side) to the Indian Ocean side and Muizenberg, ‘the Deep South’.
Included in this are some of the Mother City’s best coastal suburbs and local attractions: Noodhoek, Kommetjie, Scarborough, Cape Point, Simon’s Town, Glencairn, Fish Hoek, Kalk Bay and of course, Muizenberg.
For weekend getaways, scenic day trips and special drives along the ocean, the Deep South has always been top of my immediate city list… and here’s why:
Whether you love leisurely, scenic drives along the Cape coastline, cute, friendly neighbourhood cafes or gorgeous beaches, the Deep South is a winner on all fronts.
Personally, it’s one of my favourite destinations near Cape Town and I frequently find myself returning to explore it, again and again.
Best for: All ages to enjoy.
Travel Time from Cape Town CBD (one-way): +/- 35 minutes – 1 hour, 30 minutes.
Deep South Highlights:
Click Here to View My Deep South Highlights
1) Noordhoek Beach
Perfect for long, pristine beach strolls, tantalising views from Chapman’s Peak Drive and dreamy horse rides.
Note: Please be careful when visiting Noordhoek Beach; it has a regrettable history of crime. However, if you are careful and explore in safe groups, you can still enjoy this beautiful beach.
2) Long Beach (Kommetjie)
3) Slangkop Lighthouse
This is one of the Cape’s most famous lighthouses. It’s great for pretty boardwalks and posing for photos.
For a small fee, you can even sometimes enjoy guided tours up to the top apparently.
4) Imhoff Farm
This is a must for farm stall fans, shoppers and animal lovers. With a mix of shops, fun activities, eateries and the wonderful Higgeldy Piggeldy Farm Yard, Imhoff Farm makes for a memorable, family-friendly outing.
5) Scarborough Beach
I love this beach. It’s one of the quieter, less well-known Atlantic-lying beaches.
It is also one of the best for short walks, impromptu beach picnics – and best of all, absolutely stunning sunsets!
There is too much I could say about Cape Point and even the Cape of Good Hope so I will just sum it up in a few short phrases: breathtaking, fierce nature, incredible wildlife and birdlife and the most stunning secret beaches and braai spots around!
Both tourists and locals should explore this unique place at least once in their livetime.
You can really spend an entire day here alone – and I can guarantee it will be amazing!
7) Simon’s Town
Simon’s Town is a port of call that everyone visiting or residing in Cape Town needs to explore – and not just for Boulders Beach either.
Because this unique suburb offers so much history, interesting eateries, seaside charm and all-round family fun.
It goes without saying that this beautifully preserved, paid beach is one of the most iconic anywhere in the world.
If you like the sound of gorgeous, warmer aqua waters, safe, child-friendly swimming, dreamy spots of beach and of course, adorable African penguins, then you will fall in love with Boulders time and time again… I certainly have!
9) Fish Hoek Beach and Jager’s Walk
This is a surprisingly beautiful Cape Town beach and again, somewhat lesser known.
Loved for its safe swimming, stunning vistas and delightful Jager’s Walk, which starts at the beach, it’s a great spot for families and couples to enjoy together.
10) Kalk Bay
Kalk Bay offers a host of charming cafes, quirky shops and other fun places of interest. It’s a place I enjoy walking about and driving around equally.
I especially love the colourful, old Kalk Bay Harbour; it’s a must-visit when you are in the area. Keep an eye out for fresh fish for sale and harbour-side seals.
11) Muizenberg Beach
Muizenberg may be famed for its gorgeous stretch of beach, amazing surfing opportunities and colourful beach-fronting change rooms – but it’s a pretty fun place to spend a weekend too.
There’s a friendly, seaside feeling that permeates throughout. Be sure to check out the local eateries and seaside cafes.
Cape West Coast
The Cape West Coast is one of the most special places in South Africa. With its small town charm, incredible, unspoilt beaches, natural fauna and flora and gorgeous accommodation offerings, there is so much to see, do and enjoy here.
Whether you visit during flower (or whale) season to do some spotting; book a family holiday or cosy seaside getaway; or try some fun outdoor adventure on land and sea – the West Coast is sure to woo you and have you returning again and again to explore this unique coastal haven.
Best for: All ages to enjoy.
Travel Time from Cape Town CBD (one-way): +/- 1 hour – 1 hour, 30 minutes.
West Coast Highlights:
Click Here to View My West Coast Highlights
1) West Coast Farm Stall
I am a huge fan of farm stalls. I think it’s one of the most fun aspects in the Cape and this particular West Coast winner near Yzerfontein is quirky, interesting and fun to explore.
Enjoy a good meal, browse the farm stall goods and say hello to the birds.
Yzerfontein is one of my favourite Western Cape beach towns. I love its intimacy, gorgeous ocean views and beaches and the true West Coast hospitality and small town vibe it gives off.
I have previously joked that they roll up the streets and pack everything away for the night after 15:00 pm because it becomes like a ghost town at certain times. 🙂
But honestly, I love that this tiny town has managed to retain its quiet, peaceful and unhurried way of life, even as the West Coast becomes more and more a traveller’s destination.
3) !Khwa ttu
This unique cultural haven and nature farm near Yzerfontein is one of my favourite places in the whole Western Cape.
Home to wildlife and birdlife, West Coast charm, stunning self-catering cottages and tents and family fun, !Khwa ttu is ideal for weekend getaways, day trips or relaxing holiday breaks.
4) Langebaan Beach
This is one of the loveliest beaches you will find within a town. The main lagoon beach is long, clean and blessed with stunning ocean views and spotless, white beach sand.
It’s one for a romantic or family stroll, even if you are pressed for time and offers great views of Langebaan and its surrounds.
With cafes and restaurants a short walk away, it’s the ideal spot for a pre- or post-lunch beach outing, including some fun water-sport activities.
Langebaan is a lovely West Coast town in general to visit. It’s one of the more family-friendly coastal towns around.
Popular local attractions include Club Mykonos, Sunnypark and of course, the local eateries, boutique stores and accommodation offerings this town offers. Oh and let’s not forget the dreamy coastal charm! 🙂
Because the town is close to the amazing West Coast National Park and other outdoor adventures, it’s well worth a visit – if only for a jam-packed day.
I am not a beer lover in general but if I find an interesting brewery with artisanal or interesting craft beers, I am always down to try them. And one of my best travel discoveries in general remains Black Eagle Brewing Co.
This Langebaan gem, named after a pair of resident African Black Eagles who live near the town, is a delightful spot for so many reasons. It is one of Langebaan’s best kept-secrets and impressive local offerings for sure!
Not only are the owners, Hugo and Elmien, incredible, down-to-earth people, who offer warm, dedicated service to all their visitors – but their selection of break-away brews; quaint, yet vibey brewery housed in an old fish house; and all-round atmosphere are excellent.
Enjoy the board games or platters they offer, while tasting some fine classic beers with a Langebaan twist. 🙂
If you are in Langebaan and its immediate surrounds, this incredible coffee cafe is one you have to try.
Not only do they offer amazing service, warm hospitality and yes, you guessed it, a variety of awesome coffees to enjoy for sit-down or take-home but their food is some of the best I have had.
Fresh, good coffee, stunning food and sincere friendship is what makes this café so special.
I could write about Thali Thali Game Lodge till the cows come home – and I still wouldn’t tire of sharing this West Coast gem with my readers and followers.
This wonderful, family-run nature farm offers everything you could want: a family-friendly atmosphere, romantic self-catering chalets and glamping tents; fun outdoor activities like game drives and archery (by appointment only) and some hearty, delicious West Coast fare too!
If you are looking for a fun day trip or overnight stay near Langebaan, Thali Thali is perfect for so many reasons.
The West Coast National Park is one of my favourite places in South Africa to visit. This special park offers the most incredible wealth of nature- and man-made experiences to enjoy.
With its diverse wildlife and birdlife, rich beauty, cute accommodation (with both cottages and houseboats available for rent) gorgeous lagoon and beaches, outdoor fun and enviable picnic- and braai-spots, this park is perfect for groups of friends, couples and families to enjoy together.
Some of my favourite attractions are the mesmerising Kraalbaai, charming Cape Dutch restaurant, nature walks and hikes, seasonal wild flower spotting at the unique Postberg Nature Reserve (open every year during August to September) and rich wildlife and birdlife.
Groote Post Vineyards, situated close to Darling, is another West Coast favourite of mine. This family-friendly wine estate offers award-winning wines, a fun country market, scenic farm drives and some excellent cuisine too, thanks to its esteemed Hilda’s Kitchen.
Visit them to enjoy some stunning West Coast wines and a truly beautiful estate experience for all ages.
Swartland: Riebeek Valley
I haven’t explored Riebeek Valley or even the Swartland Region half as much as I would have liked to – but I will say it is one of the most beautiful destinations close to Cape Town.
Even based on my short visit a few years ago, I can say without a doubt it is a gem. Sadly, it also feels one of the more easily overlooked destinations – and I can’t understand why.
Famed for its delicious olives, incredible Swartland wine estates, swaying wheat fields, idyllic wedding venues and small town charm, the Swartland is a must-visit destination for travellers, young and old.
Riebeek Valley – which consists of Riebeek-Kasteel, Riebeek-West, Riebeeksrivier and Hermon – is one of the most delightful parts of the Swartland Region and one I thoroughly enjoyed briefly visiting a few years ago.
Framed by the majestic Kasteelberg Mountain, rolling fields and lush vineyards, it’s a truly lovely place to explore. It is also known as the Wedding Valley due to its popularity as a highly sought-after wedding destination.
Best for: All ages to enjoy.
Travel Time from Cape Town CBD (one-way): +/- 1 hour.
Click Here to View My Swartland Highlights
1) Riebeek-Kasteel and Riebeek-West
Although we only passed through Riebeek-West and grabbed a quick bite to eat in Riebeek-Kasteel at the now-closed Mama Cucina – I do remember falling instantly in love with both of these gorgeous Cape towns.
Riebeek-Kasteel is believed to be one of the oldest towns in South Africa and is famous for its olive and Shiraz red wine production. Other highlights here are the beautiful wine farms, accommodation gems, prime wedding venues, cosy restaurants and shops and of course, the annual Olive Festival.
I loved the endless beauty of Riebeek-Kasteel and cannot wait to explore this town – and the Riebeek Valley in general – further in time.
Although we only made a quick stop by Allesverloren, found in Riebeek West, I remember finding myself quietly blown away by its beauty. If any of the local estates and wedding venues appealed to me, it was certainly this one.
Although it’s name means ‘all is lost’ – at Allesverloren, the story is entirely different… Here, among the vineyards, flowers and beautiful vistas, hope springs anew.
Allesverloren offers wine tastings, stunning weddings and other functions and the delightful, family-style restaurant in Pleasant Pheasant, which is child-friendly and charming to look at.
Cederberg Wilderness Area: Citrusdal and Clanwilliam
The Cederberg Wilderness Area is one of the Cape’s most fascinating regions. The untamed wildness and everchanging landscapes of this natural haven make it a nature lover’s paradise. With incredible hikes, vast caves, rock art, rustic accommodation and even wine farms to explore…
The vastness of the Cederberg, which spans some 66 811 hectares, is glorious and quietly soul-altering.
Here, you really can disappear into nature. Or go hours without seeing another human or even an animal.
Consisting of Clanwilliam, Citrusdal and Lambert’s Bay – with plenty of wilderness besides – this unique, mountainous landscape, with its burnt orange, otherworldly rock formations, breathtaking hikes and rich Cape history, rock art, fauna and flora, is a place everyone needs to experience.
I haven’t been to Lambert’s Bay yet – but I was charmed by both Clanwilliam and Citrusdal.
As for the wilderness, well, I think I left a part of my wild heart in those rugged mountains where elusive Cape Mountain leopards roam.
Best for: All ages to enjoy.
Travel Time from Cape Town CBD (one-way): +/- 1 hour, 55 minutes.
Cederberg Wilderness Area Highlights:
Click Here to View My Cederberg Wilderness Highlights
1) Gecko Creek Wilderness Lodge
Situated in a quiet valley between Citrusdal and Clanwilliam, Gecko Creek Wilderness Lodge offers guests a tranquil, relaxing retreat in the heart of Cederberg nature.
Their close proximity to the main Cederberg attractions makes this guest farm the perfect playground from which to explore the Cederberg.
Gecko Creek has both self-catering cabins and safari tents. So, if like us, you want a rustic ‘camping’ experience in nature without pitching your own tent, you can check into a tent or cabin.
We chose to stay in the safari tents, which are more glamping-style than your standard tent offerings, and had a wonderful, peaceful weekend at Gecko Creek.
I remember how, as night fell, my partner said to me, “Do you hear that?” and I replied, “What? The stillness? Yes, I hear it – it’s amazing…”.
All you can hear is this deep, soothing silence – and the stars are something else to behold at night. It’s no wonder the Cederberg is rated as one of the best places for stargazing after Sutherland.
Gecko Creek has both communal bathrooms, washrooms and kitchen facilities. The accommodation has no electric facilities, so, with your torch handy, you can really step back into nature and recharge.
There are solar-powered, piping hot showers – and a lovely swimming pool to dip into when Cederberg temperatures rise, so you have some creature comforts while still enjoying an eco-friendly paradise that leaves very little mark .
Please note: No children under 16 or pets are allowed at Gecko Creek Wilderness Lodge.
2) Maltese Cross Hike
The Maltese Cross hike is one of the best hikes I have ever done. I will be honest: there are parts where you just want to give up and go back down the mountain but push through no matter what.
The reward once you reach the top and see the sheer wonder of this huge, five-storey-high, cross-shaped rock formation, which towers upright into the sky, is something else.
If you follow the instructions and directions from Dwarsrivier Farm, you will have no trouble finding your path and the small parking area, where your hike begins.
This is a moderate uphill climb (7km) that offers breathtaking views out across the Cederberg and allows you to enjoy the wilderness and flora up close and personal.
This scenic hike takes roughly three hours (with a break at the rock formation) but allow for 3.5 – 4 hours if you wish to take the hike more slowly and spend some time at the Maltese Cross.
Please note: For this hike, you require a day permit. You can purchase this from Dwarsrivier Farm/Sanddrif Resort.
Tip: Another incredible hike is the hike to Wolfberg Cracks and Wolfberg Arch.
Unfortunately, when we visited, the area was recovering from devastating fires – but the hike trails have since reopened to the public. You can read about them here.
3) Stadsaal Caves
Some 45 kilometres along the dirt road from Algeria campsite, you will find the turn-off for both Stadsaal caves and the incredible elephant rock art site nearby.
For anyone visiting the Cederberg, both are unmissable attractions and easily accessible with your vehicle (at least as far as Cederberg roads go…). Both are amazing, preserved historic landmarks, though for different reasons.
Stadsaal Caves are a cavernous dome of interlinked caves and tunnels that have endured years of erosion and weather conditions to become what they are today.
The caves were named Stadsaal (City Hall) after the National Party’s members held a meeting there in 1948 before their ascension to power.
Today, you can see many famous political names (including DF Malan) clearly etched on the cave walls, some dating as far back as the late 1800s.
This adds an element of political history to a region that is already such a vital source of culture and heritage in South Africa.
Aside from the main cavernous area, there are small tunnels and cave entrances, as well as plenty of other unique rock formations just outside, all accessible via a trail that circles around the entire rock formation, starting and ending at the main parking area.
The caves are truly amazing and I love the exotic, otherworldly landscape and rock formations that surround them. It is an incredible place to explore.
Please note: You require a day permit to explore the Stadsaal Caves. These can be obtained from Dwarsrivier Farm/Sanddrif Resort or Cape Nature’s Algeria office.
Your day permit grants you access to both the rock art site and the caves.
4) Rock Art (near Stadsaal Caves)
Before you reach Stadsaal Caves, be sure to also make a stop at the fascinating rock art site. Here, you will find elephant paintings – as clear today as they would have been some thousand years ago now – painted onto the smooth stone faces.
Estimated to be at least a thousand years old, the paintings depict three groups of people and a herd of elephants.
It is both humbling and wonderful to think that these paintings, made from a mix of ochre rock, charcoal and white clay (now faded into black and white paint), have stood the test of time and been preserved through both the staying power of the natural paint and conscious conservation efforts over the years.
It was a really unforgettable experience and something that reminded me of just how much of an impact we as humans really leave on this planet… if only in the tales and signs we leave behind long after we are gone.
Please note: You require a day permit to explore the rock art site. These can be obtained from Dwarsrivier Farm/Sanddrif Resort or Cape Nature’s Algeria office.
Your day permit grants you access to both the rock art site and the nearby Stadsaal Caves.
I think one of the last things anyone expects to find in the Cederberg is a wine farm but Cederberg Wines is a lovely estate, situated on Dwarsrivier farm.
It’s pretty strange to drive in the mountainous hills and spiralling dirt roads of the Cederberg and then suddenly find yourself in front of vineyards. Yet that’s one of the things I love most about the Cederberg… You can drive a few short kilometres and in that time, pass rocky cliff faces with sheer drops, gushing, crystal streams and then find yourself slap-bang in a wine farm.
Cederberg Wines truly make wines with altitude… because trust me, you are high up when you reach this estate.
This farm, Dwarsrivier, which is also known as Cederberg Private Cellar and Sanddrif Holiday Resort, offers so many wonderful things for guests to enjoy. Not least of all wine tastings in their chic tasting room, which overlooks a pretty lawn area, outdoor playground and water mill.
They produce a variety of red and white wines. We bought a special bottle of their sustainable Cederberg Shiraz Rose. This was a really lovely wine and I am so glad we left with at least two bottles from this unique wine region.
Hebron, a family-run guesthouse, restaurant-farmstall and flower farm, is a must-visit when you pass Piekenierskloof Pass near Citrusdal. It’s impossible to miss when you travel along the N7, even during the rainiest of weather.
This charming, colourful place is a wonderful spot to grab a bite to eat, shop for fresh flowers or other farm stall products, especially if you want a keepsake from the Cederberg.
They also offer lovely B&B and self-catering accommodation and some child-friendly play facilities. They are perfect for a family-friendly pitstop or relaxing stay.
We had some cake and coffee at their cosy, little eatery and I absolutely loved it.
It has all the charm, warm hospitality and goodness you could want in a little Cape eatery. In true Cederberg spirit, I tried their exotic Carmien Rooibos cappuccino and a dessert and both were excellent.
7) House of Rooibos (Clanwilliam)
Regrettably, we did not manage to properly explore the House of Rooibos – as it was sadly closed on the Sunday when we managed to drive into Clanwilliam.
So although we stopped by, I can’t speak from experience of having visited this local gem.
However, I understand it is a popular local attraction and definitely a place worth visiting so I wanted to include it.
Rooibos, a much loved tea variety, is uniquely limited to the mountainous areas of the Cederberg in and around Clanwilliam. It’s favoured for its wonderful flavour, aroma and health and beauty benefits so, if you’re in the Cederberg, I feel it’s worth stocking up on some rooibos tea and/or products from the source.
For a small fee, you can also enjoy a rooibos tea tasting when visiting and learn more about this special Cape tea.
Even if you are not a huge tea drinker, House of Rooibos offers a unique selection of rooibos-themed goodies worth purchasing.
For more information on House of Rooibos, please visit their website.
Another local gem that was unfortunately closed when we drove through to Citrusdal on the Sunday was Die Sandveldhuisie.
Still, it looked so cute and charming with its cheerful, quirky exterior that I wanted to give this little art and coffee house on Church Street a mention.
Community arts and craft projects are run from this colourful building – but it also doubles as a lovely little coffee shop, with trinkets and gifts available for purchase.
It garners good reviews and apparently offers the best coffee in town so I definitely feel it’s worth a visit if you’re near Citrusdal. It’s usually open Monday to Saturday.
Overberg: Adventures in the Elegant Elgin Valley
The beautiful Elgin Valley is one of my favourite places in South Africa. Elgin Valley is famous for its gorgeous cool climate wines, breathtaking natural Cape Overberg beauty and rich deciduous fruit production – but I think it’s about so much more than that.
To me, this verdant valley offers fun outdoor adventures, family-friendly experiences, great food, excellent cool climate wines, warm hospitality and some incredible accommodation options (everything from glamping to cute cottages) to boot.
It’s one of the most well-rounded places to explore for a memorable day trip.
You can pop by the Elgin Railway Market, visit a local wine farm for a tasting, go ziplining, enjoy MTB trails or simply soak up the natural beauty at one of the local accommodation gems.
Best for: All ages to enjoy.
Travel Time from Cape Town CBD (one-way): +/- 56 minutes to 1 hour.
Elgin Valley Highlights:
Click Here to View My Elgin Valley Highlights
Although there are a number of Canopy Tours South Africa branches dotted across the country, this particular one, Cape Canopy Tour, is run by the same excellent husband-and-wife team who front up Elgin Adventure Centre. As with Elgin Adventure Centre, guests are ensured quality service, great attention to detail and safety and above all, a truly amazing outdoor experience!
With their dedicated, fun team of staff, who provide wonderful insight into the local area, Cape Canopy Tour provides you with the most thrilling, scenic zipline experience.
Head off into the Hottentots Holland Mountains where you can enjoy zipping over waterfalls, ravines and more. It’s a stunning, adrenaline-inducing experience – and one that even children can enjoy!
For more information on this unique zipline experience near Elgin, please see my Cape Canopy Tour review here.
2) Elgin Railway Market and Elgin Steam Train
Another Elgin gem is the popular Elgin Railway Market. Here, families, couples and friends can enjoy a steampunk-style market experience in the heart of Elgin. Housed within a former apple warehouse, the market offers both excellent indoor- and outdoor-facilities and an all-round awesome market atmosphere.
Market highlights include a wide range of stalls (selling everything from fresh produce to gin and even artisanal chocolates, jewellery and more), a fun vibe and great outdoor facilities, like the kids’ playground and climbing wall.
Another ultra-fun aspect about this market is the Ceres Rail Company steam train that normally visits it over weekends. As it runs from Cape Town to Elgin on a return trip, you can even catch this timeless, luxury train ride to the market… You can read all about my own train adventure here.
To read more about the Elgin Railway Market in full, please see my review of it.
Elgin is famed for its delicious cool climate wines – but one thing that many people do not know is that it is also home to a number of incredible wine estates.
Although I have only had the pleasure of visiting Oak Valley Estate (so far) – I have sampled wines from at least two local estates – Oak Valley and Elgin Vintners – and each time, I have been thoroughly impressed by the quality and range of wines offered.
I still have to explore the Elgin wine route – and it’s on my travel to-do list – but I can tell you that you won’t be disappointed. Whether you go for a wine tasting, enjoy a picnic or check into one of the wine farm’s accommodation offerings, you are in for a real treat with these Elgin estates.
Another thing that the Elgin Valley is loved for is its annual Elgin Open Gardens. Sadly, I narrowly missed out on attending this event in 2019 so it is still high on my travel bucket list. But I know many people who rave at the experience and wealth of gardens open to public visitors each year.
Although some of the local gardens and wine estate gardens can be visited throughout the year, many are only open during this seasonal highlight (usually held in September or October).
If you get the chance to attend, Elgin Open Gardens is a must for all garden- and nature-lovers. It’s a truly magical experience and yet another glorious outdoor offering courtesy of elegant Elgin.
One of my favourite Western Cape farm stalls is Peregrine Farm Stall. Well-known and widely loved for their insanely good pies, excellent farm stall offerings and fare and charming atmosphere, this farm stall is a must-visit for anyone driving through or exploring Elgin Valley.
Personally, I also admire how big they are about supporting other local suppliers. Especially as they source artisanal goods and wholesome, responsibly farmed produce.
With its café, bakery and farm stall finds, Peregrine Farm Stall offers a friendly, quality experience for the whole family to enjoy.
Oak Valley is one of the most beautiful wine farms I have visited to date. With its ancient oak trees, lush farmlands home to cattle and acorn-fed pigs, cut flowers, incredible MTB trails and of course, some quality vineyards, it’s one well-worth visiting. For more information on their amazing MTB trails, please check out my post.
They also have their own accommodation offering in the charming 1902 Cottage, which sleeps two adults, making it perfect for a relaxing, romantic couples’ getaway.
To say I love their wines and the stunning Pool Room at Oak Valley is an understatement – I absolutely adore both! In fact, I think Oak Valley wines are some of my favourite of all-time… they are poetic, delicious and entirely unique.
6) E-bike Tours and Other Fun with Elgin Adventure Centre
Does an e-bike and wine tasting tour sound up your alley? Then you will love Elgin Adventure Centre!
Based at the Elgin Railway Market, this local adventure company specialise in a number of stunning outdoor adventures in and around the Elgin Valley.
Think everything from MTB rides and hikes to 4×4 and zipline experiences in the Cape mountains. Elgin Adventure Centre really is your one-stop for everything adventure in this beautiful part of the world!
Helderberg and Overberg Adventures: Gordon’s Bay to Betty’s Bay
Another of my favourite parts of the Helderberg and Overberg Regions are the coastal towns and scenic drives from Strand up to Betty’s Bay and beyond.
There are some gorgeous beaches, charming coastal towns and villages and unique nature experiences to enjoy here.
This route also leads you along one of my all-time favourite coastal roads, Clarence Drive. One that I consider equally as beautiful as Chappies – and yet, it’s completely free to use!
Best for: All ages to enjoy.
Travel Time from Cape Town CBD (one-way): +/- 50 minutes to 1 hour, 20 minutes.
Helderberg and Overberg Highlights:
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1) Gordon’s Bay Main Beach and Bikini Beach
Gordon’s Bay has two lovely beaches in both Bikini Beach (located closer to the Naval College and marina) and Main Beach.
Although I adore both beaches for different reasons, Main Beach feels slightly more accessible and offers easy access to ocean-fronting cafes, restaurants and even the nearby Bikini Beach Books, a local attraction.
Both beaches offer pretty stretches of sand (although Bikini Beach is slightly rockier in places) and idyllic ocean views. Another bonus is they are both stunning spots to enjoy local sunsets from!
You can walk along Main Beach towards Bikini Beach and enjoy both at once.
Bikini Beach is also apparently popular for its swimming, with slightly warmer waters and a sheltered, family-friendly atmosphere.
2) Clarence Drive
The world-famous Clarence Drive is one of the most stunning, scenic mountain-meets-ocean drives you will find anywhere.
Ever since I first explored it way back in 2015, I have been positively in love with this unique, fiercely beautiful drive.
As a coastal link for the Overberg Region, Clarence Drive is a vital access route – but it is also a gorgeous tourist attraction.
Enjoy the sweeping ocean views, breathtaking turns around cliff faces and incredible sunsets this drive offers.
I never even knew Stony Point existed until we enjoyed a fun weekend away in Gordon’s Bay a few years ago. Home to the ever-cute African penguins, Stony Point is like the secret sister to Boulders Beach.
Found in Betty’s Bay, itself a dreamy, little coastal town, Stony Point Nature Reserve is home to one of the largest, successful breeding colonies of African penguins in the world.
For a minimal entry fee, you can enjoy seeing these adorable birds swimming in the ocean, cuddling up in their nests and giving you a good stare, while enjoying a uniquely protected space.
There are good boardwalks, benches and viewing spots and it is happily wheel-chair-friendly making it accessible for all. The reserve is small but very pretty, with lovely ocean and mountain views.
Another wonderful, family-friendly attraction in Betty’s Bay is the beautiful Harold Porter National Botanical Gardens. It is perhaps controversial of me to say this – but honestly, I love this nature garden more than Kirstenbosch.
With its own waterfall, stunning mountain hikes with brilliant nature and ocean views, peaceful lawn picnic spots and breathtaking Overberg flora and fauna, it offers a rich transportation straight into the diverse heart of Cape nature.
Disa Kloof Trail is a family-friendly, short nature walk that takes you past Olive May Porter Bridge, crystal streams, a pretty dam and ends at the gorgeous waterfall. The trail is gentle and wheel-chair- and pram-friendly so it is ideal for all to enjoy.
For the more adventurous, tackle the Zigzag and Fynbos Trails, which reward you with proteas, incredible mountain and ocean views and expansive vistas overlooking the garden and Betty’s Bay beyond.
Please note: Harold Porter garden has a small entry fee – and if you wish to hike Leopard’s Trail, you will need to pay for and secure a hiking permit. All the other trails and nature hikes are free.
Kogelberg Nature Reserve, nestled between Betty’s Bay and Kleinmond, is another unmissable Overberg attraction.
Blessed with stunning, diverse flora and fauna, eco-friendly, luxury accommodation offerings and some amazing outdoor adventure (including hikes, river walks and MTB trails), this is a must-visit for couples, families and nature enthusiasts.
When we visited, we undertook the relatively easy but incredibly scenic, ten-kilometre Palmiet River Trail and I loved it!
Awaiting you on this gorgeous river walk are stunning proteas, crystal clear pools and streams feeding the vital Palmiet River and of course, amazing mountains as far as the eye can see.
Oh and did I mention there is even a secret beach? You can enjoy refreshing swims here… although, take my word on this: it can be pretty icy cold even in autumn so pick a hot day! 🙂
Please note: Kogelberg Nature Reserve is a cash-only facility so to purchase day permits, you need to have cash with you. If not, you can take a quick drive into Kleinmond and draw some there.
Overberg Coastal Towns: Hermanus to Agulhas
The coastal region and surrounds of the Cape Overberg offer plenty of wonderful experiences, cosy accommodation, delightful eateries and of course, incredible beaches, nature experiences and outdoor fun.
One of the best towns to visit is naturally the whale capital, Hermanus, but towns nearby like Stanford, Greyton, Gansbaai, Napier, Arniston and Struisbaai offer their fair share of enviable coastal charm and fun for all.
Another fabulous attraction is the Bot Rivier Lagoon, which offers amazing bird watching, wild horse- and game-sightings and other outdoor thrills, and Botrivier, with its stunning wine farm offerings and arty finds.
Whether you are looking for fabulous weekend markets in the countryside, incredible seasonal whale watching or even shark cage diving with some dreamy country accommodation and food thrown into the mix, look no further than a day trip to this special region.
Even driving from Struisbaai to Hermanus and back is a worthy day trip that allows you to see much of the countryside and gorgeous Cape Whale Coast and rural farmlands.
Best for: All ages to enjoy.
Travel Time from Cape Town CBD (one-way): +/- 1 hour, 35 minutes to 2 hours, 44 minutes.
Overberg Coastal Town Highlights:
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Hermanus is famously hailed as the whale capital of the world in South Africa – and it is definitely the best place to go see these amazing, seasonal visitors!
However, the town offers plenty of family-friendly fun, charm and outdoor adventure besides. Some of the local attractions include nearby wine farms, Fernkloof Nature Reserve, lovely coastal beaches and some impressive restaurants.
You can also enjoy a host of outdoor experiences, everything from horse riding to game viewing and even surfing.
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Photo credit: White Water Farm via Instagram
Although I don’t think I have been to Stanford before (possibly as a child but I can’t recall) – I have heard wonderful things about it from close friends and colleagues who often visit this delightful part of the Cape. So I have no qualms about recommending it. 🙂
I also know that this charming country village is loved for its warm hospitality, family-friendly atmosphere, fun outdoor activities (everything from canoeing to sunset cruises on the river) and cosy accommodation in this tranquil village.
There is plenty to see, do and enjoy in Stanford. This includes visiting the Klein River Cheese Factory, Birkenhead Brewery, local wine farms, like Stanford Hills or Springfontein, Stanford Saturday Market, top local restaurants and Panthera Africa Big Cat Sanctuary to name a few.
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Photo credit: Klein River Cheese via Instagram
Visitors can also enjoy canoeing, picnicking along the river, as well as fishing, whale watching, hiking and more in this richly beautiful area.
Stanford is high on my list of places to visit and explore – and I hope to be able to add it to my blog in time. Until then, you can find more information on Stanford here.
3) Struisbaai and Main Beach
Struisbaai is a sleepy coastal town that comes alive every summer as city travellers flock to its shores – and it’s my favourite seaside town anywhere.
I absolutely adore the main beach – this is where we always went for beach days growing up so it holds a special kind of nostalgia and familiarity for me. Keep an eye out for the giant stingray who sometimes frequents the harbourside.
With its lovely accommodation, beautiful beach (which, at 14 kilometres long, is apparently the longest beach in the Southern Hemisphere) and warm hospitality, this town is a wonderful place to go for a family day at the beach, weekend away with friends or romantic couples’ escape.
Another nearby attraction is Cape Agulhas National Park, found a short drive from Struisbaai.
Agulhas is a small coastal village that edges Struisbaai. It’s also a nice spot for hikes and outdoor adventure thanks to the Agulhas National Park.
Park highlights include the Cape Agulhas Lighthouse, Meisho Maru No. 38 shipwreck and of course, standing at the southernmost tip of Africa where the two oceans, Indian and Atlantic, famously meet.
The boardwalk and coastal settings are fiercely beautiful and well-maintained.
SANParks also has some nice accommodation for visitors to enjoy within the park.
Northern Suburbs: Bellville, Durbanville and Durbanville Wine Valley Attractions
Since moving to the Northern Suburbs in late 2017, I have had the pleasure of discovering more of this region’s diverse mix of rural-meets-urban, gorgeous wine farms and excellent nature experiences too.
When you are planning a day trip in and around the Northern Suburbs, it goes without saying that the Durbanville Winelands are always a good idea.
Here, families, friends and couples alike can enjoy a host of fun experiences, incredible food and wine and best of all, some truly idyllic wine farm settings.
With views of Table Mountain, MCC and macaroons and even hidden wine tasting caves, the Durbanville Wine Valley proves its worth more every time you explore it.
Don’t forget to check out some of the natural attractions too – like Majik Forest, Tygerberg Nature Reserve and even some of the other local parks.
Best for: All ages to enjoy.
Travel Time from Cape Town CBD (one-way): +/- 25 minutes to 30 minutes.
Northern Suburbs and Durbanville Wine Valley Highlights:
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1) Majik Forest
Majik Forest is a beautiful park and forested space in the heart of suburbia. Here, families, avid MTB lovers and exericise groups can enjoy exploring and working out in this incredible space.
Although Majik Forest has battled with crime in recent times – and it is best to visit in a small group – this unique place is still one of the loveliest, most vibrant greenbelts you will find thriving in a city. Best of all? It’s free to visit.
This pretty place is also hugely popular for photo shoots – and is where I chose to have my own blog photo shoot a while ago. 🙂
2) Tygerberg Nature Reserve
Tygerberg Nature Reserve is another gem in the Northern Suburbs. Perched up high above leafy Welgemoed, this nature reserve offers scenic, family-friendly hikes of varying lengths and difficulties; incredible picnic spots that overlook the sprawling Northern Suburbs and Table Mountain beyond and a wonderful wealth of Cape flora and fauna.
This is an unmissable local attraction that you can enjoy for a minimal entry fee.
3) Avondale Open Garden
If you had of told me that Durbanville holds one of the most gorgeous gardens in South Africa in its midst, my first question would have been, “How is that even possible?”
And yet – it is! With Avondale Open Garden, a private garden that is kindly opened to the public for a few days a year (usually around Garden Day in South Africa) – garden lovers, nature enthusiasts and families can enjoy a most spectacular outing in the heart of Durbanville.
It feels a bit like stepping into the Secret Garden, only this one is so perfectly manicured that it is even dreamier!
There is usually a small entry fee to raise funds for vital charity work – but it is worth every penny.
When given the chance, I visit this garden annually and fall even more in love with it each time. 🙂
Durbanville Hills offers visitors gorgeous views (I mean, some of the best around), fun cellar tours, a stunning restaurant and excellent, award-winning wines and wine pairing options.
Everything from cheese and wine to biltong and dried fruit and even crystal pairings, with a souvenir glass.
This is one estate in Durbanville everyone should visit.
5) De Grendel
De Grendel is one of my favourite wine farms anywhere in South Africa. Not only is the estate stunning, with the most jaw-droppingly beautiful views of Table Mountain in the distance – but everything about this estate whispers of quality and care.
From their amazing, award-winning wines to their fine dining restaurant and lovely, refreshing Three Spades Cider, everything offered by De Grendel is top class.
Visit this estate for a delightful wine tasting (I adore their tasting room), special meal and quality from start to finish.
To me, Nitida is one of the most naturally pretty wine farms in the Durbanville Winelands. With two lovely restaurants in Tables and Cassia respectively, good wines and a beautiful setting for all to enjoy, Nitida is a gem of an estate. One that makes its presence felt time and again.
Tables is a great spot for families as it is a very child-friendly restaurant and is honestly as pretty as a picture to look at! They also make some of the best cake around so take note…
While Cassia, which is the slightly higher-end offering, offers incredible breakfasts (and I mean incredible!), lunches and classy dinners.
I love the deck area this restaurant offers, as it overlooks a pretty dam and water feature.
While you are visiting Nitida, be sure to check out the proteas, canons and gorgeous views wrapped around their peaceful dam or even take a short stroll through the nearby vineyards. Again, there are views for days here.
7) Canto Wines
Canto may be one of the newest wine estates on the Durbanville wine block but it is also one of the best.
I love everything about this estate, from its gorgeous setting with the most beautiful chapel-style tasting room and function venue to the incredibly special and fun MCC and macaroon pairing that this estate is now famous for.
It’s possible that I was one of the first to visit this estate when it opened and honestly, it has been wowing ever since.
Canto also offers build-your-own picnics on the lawn, intimate weddings and other incredible events throughout the year.
Meerendal is another lovely, family-friendly estate that offers so much for visitors. Aside from its tasting room, the estate also has its own new farm stall (which looks and sounds great but I have not checked it out yet), luxury hotel accommodation, popular MTB and running trails and even two restaurants in Carlucci’s and IL Tesoro.
The estate is also a great venue for weddings, functions and other iconic events throughout the year. It has previously hosted events such as the Cape Epic, Liefde By Die Dam and KFM K-Day.
Klein Roosboom is another glorious addition to the Durbanville Wine Valley and arguably, one of the best-kept secrets in Cape Town.
This unique, family-run estate offers amazing wine tastings in old, yet ornately decked out ‘caves’, a stunning restaurant-meets-deli offering in Jéan Restaurant and Deli, delicious wines and a fun family-friendly estate worth exploring. They even have a wine party bike now!
Klein Roosboom is also a really pretty estate and possibly one of the loveliest spots around to pop that all important question at…
Diemersdal is one of my most well-loved Durbanville wine farms. With its expansive lawns, interesting, fun Diemersdal Farm Eatery, pretty farm setting and good value-for-money wine tastings, this estate is a winner on all fronts.
It is absolutely perfect for lazy afternoons and soaking up the sunshine with those you love.
Although the Farm Eatery is a little on the pricey side, it is worth spending a bit extra for. Even their coffee and platters are works of culinary art.
If ever an estate was geared towards family fun, it is Bloemendal. With their child-friendly restaurant in Bon Amis, excellent outdoor play facilities, pretty gardens and excellent Biosport cycle track, young and old can enjoy a great day trip to this lovely, down-to-earth estate.
Another thing that is perfect for adults and kids is their tasting room and pairing options – there is even a fun kid-friendly juice and sweet treat pairing that little ones can enjoy while parents enjoy the real (wine) deal. Bloemendal even has a fabulous ice-cream and wine pairing and it is so yummy!
The estate is also loved for its MTB trails, peaceful atmosphere and good wines.
Cape Winelands’ Towns: Wellington, Paarl, Franschhoek and Stellenbosch
It goes without saying that the Cape Winelands – especially towns such as Wellington, Paarl, Franschhoek and Stellenbosch – is one of the world’s most popoular travel destinations.
Not just among wine loving locals but among tourists who come from all over the world to explore this glorious region.
Like many, I have enjoyed everything from amazing award-winning wines, picnics and stunning food to opulent accommodation, dreamy gardens and beautiful travel experiences in this special part of our country and province.
Best for: All ages to enjoy.
Travel Time from Cape Town CBD (one-way): +/- 1 hour to 1 hour, 20 minutes.
Cape Winelands’ Town Highlights:
Click Here to View My Cape Winelands Town Highlights
1) Bainskloof Pass Drive
Considered a national monument, Bainskloof Pass is one of the Cape’s most stunning mountain passes. Both in terms of its natural beauty and its engineering prowess.
Engineered by and named for Andrew Geddes Bain, this mountain pass is one of the most nerve-wrecking, yet rewarding to drive along. And it serves as a vital link for Wellington to towns such as Tulbagh and Ceres.
Personally, it is one of my favourite drives. It’s a place that made a lasting impression on me even as a wilful teenager.
With snaking twists and turns, hectic drops and breathtaking views of both the Wellington valley and the Limietberg mountains, Bainskloof is a wonderful drive.
From Wellington, take a day trip to Ceres, Tulbagh or Wolsley; enjoy a picnic with views for days; or hike in Limietberg Nature Reserve.
There are amazing hikes to enjoy here, with wonderful walks along the river and more.
Dunstone Country Estate is another gorgeous Wellington gem. It is also one of my all-time favourite wine farms and accommodation offerings in South Africa.
Perfect for romantic couples’ getaways, family stays (they even have some pet-friendly accommodation) and restful escapes to the countryside, Dunstone is pure bliss for all.
Another highlight at Dunstone is their delightful bistro, The Stone Kitchen. Here, you can enjoy incredible meals, great service and a lovely time for all ages.
Their bistro is also hugely child-friendly so it is ideal for couples, young families or even groups of friends. Another bonus is that they can host gorgeous functions such as birthday parties, baby showers and kitchen teas.
Another iconic estate is Fairview. Tucked on the outskirts of Paarl, this wine farm is one of the most popular around – and for good reason.
With its famous resident goats, award-winning wines and goats’ cheeses, cosy farm shop, bakery and deli, family-friendly Goatshed Restaurant and beautiful gardens, Fairview is an easy joy to visit.
Fairview is an estate I have visited twice now in recent years and it’s honestly one I never tire of. I know I will return many times yet…
Another of my most well-loved Paarl estates is the time-honoured, award-winning Nederburg Wine Estate. I have a very special day trip memory from this estate.
It is also one of the first Cape wine estates that I properly explored and fell in love with as an adult and budding wine lover.
With its beautiful architecture, peaceful gardens brimming with roses, bouncy squirrels, rolling lawns and sprawling oaks and idyllic setting, Nederburg makes its excellence felt from the moment you set foot on its esteemed ground.
You can visit this lovely estate for wine tastings, to dine at the in-house Manor Restaurant, to enjoy a thrilling side-car motorcycle ride through the Paarl Valley or dreamy picnics at the Manor.
5) Paarl Mountain Nature Reserve and Meulwater Botanical Garden
The more I write or think about my Paarl travel experiences, the more I realise once again how underrated this quaint town is.
Yet, it offers visitors a wealth of wonderous outdoor adventures and enjoyment – everything from MTB trails and fun hikes to pretty picnics and braai spots besides.
Paarl Mountain Reserve and the adjoining Meulwater Botanical Garden are ideal for all this and more.
Best of all, both of these local attractions offer stunning scenery, the chance to escape to nature and allow you to spend quality time with those you love in peaceful, safe surroundings.
The road up to both the reserve and the botanical garden is not the greatest – but you will want to drive slowly and carefully to enjoy the views anyway!
Note: Entry fees may apply.
Located just a short drive away from the reserve and Meulwater Botanical Garden is the equally famous Taal Monument.
This unique monument pays homage to the Afrikaans language and is thus both meaningful and interesting to explore.
Built in 1975 by Jan van Wijk, the Taal Monument is now a popular spot for free guided tours, picnics, sunset photoshoots and more.
Taal Monument and its grounds are especially beautiful and offer the most breathtaking views across Paarl and the winelands. Whether you visit it for a history lesson or to soak up the stunning views, this national monument is well-worth stopping by.
Note: There is a small entry fee to visit Taal Monument.
7) Paarl Rock Hike
Within the Paarl Mountain Nature Reserve, hikers, families and nature lovers can enjoy a very special hike to the famous Paarl Rock. This unique, colossal granite rock is seen from far and wide near Paarl. It is one of the town’s most well-known attractions.
The best part about Paarl Rock is you can walk, hike or drive to it. The hike is fairly easy-going, so even kids can undertake it. (Although for young children, a quick drive to the rock is undoubtedly easier.)
It can be extremely windy atop Paarl Rock. Yet, the views from this natural wonder are some of the most stunning you will find anywhere!
There are also great, scenic viewpoints and other local attractions within the reserve so you can make a real day of it.
After your hike, why not picnic or braai in Meulwater Botanical Garden with your friends and loved ones?
8) Glen Carlou
This award-winning Paarl wine farm is another I love. With its tasting room and restaurant perched up high, this estate offers gorgeous views of the sprawling winelands below.
What’s more, the restaurant at Glen Carlou offers some of the loveliest food and one of the more quietly classy dining experiences I have enjoyed in the Cape Winelands.
Again, the views from the restaurant are, as Glen Carlou says, ‘incomparable’. Enjoy a fresh, tasty lunch at this restaurant, which focuses both on seasonal, sustainably sourced goods and produce.
Wine lovers, meanwhile, can enjoy an excellent wine tasting out on the terrace, in the restaurant or at the counter.
Glen Carlou also has an impressive art gallery. It features a dynamic mix of contemporary, pop and modern artworks by South African artists. It’s certainly another worthy estate attraction.
Babylonstoren is considered by many (including myself) to be one of the most magical Franschhoek wine estates – and with good reason.
On this working farm and wine estate, they have somehow struck a perfect balance between down-to-earth country life and luxury living. The result? A stunning wine farm experience for all ages to enjoy.
The estate is hugely family-friendly with its sprawling garden, which spans across some 3.5 hectares of the farm. Edged by canals, blooms and interesting attractions, the estate garden is glorious to walk through.
Babylonstoren has two lovely restaurants in Greenhouse and Babel. Although both eateries can welcome children, Greenhouse is definitely the better option for families.
Children play more in the garden alongside the eatery than they sit at their tables. This means that parents can enjoy a great meal while keeping an eye on the little ones.
Babylonstoren also offers incredible spa treatments, opulent accommodation, fascinating garden tours and a well-stocked bakery and farm shop.
The farm shop offers all kinds of beautifully curated, tenderly produced goods, ranging from scented candles and soaps to delicious eats.
Note: There is a small entry fee to visit Babylonstoren.
Franschhoek Wine Tram is one of the most fun ways to explore not just the Franschhoek valley but also several great wine farms at once.
Tickets are good value for money and often include wine discounts for tastings. However, all extra activities, cellar tours and restaurant meals must be paid for and booked separately with the relevant estates.
The Franschhoek Wine Tram has several different coloured lines to choose from, like Purple or Blue, with different wine farm options on each line. It’s hard choosing which line to book for – but that just gives you another reason to try it again!
The Franschhoek Wine Tram also offers other curated experiences, such as private wine tram tours, a village walking experience and more. Their family-friendly offerings ensure safe, good fun and stunning Franschhoek day trip for all.
Boschendal is hands-down my all-time favourite wine estate and has been since I first visited it aged seven. Even as a child, I was enchanted by this esteemed, beautiful wine estate, famed for its award-winning wines, amazing winelands’ experiences and great restaurant-, picnic- and accommodation-offerings.
Boschendal is ideal for couples, groups of friends or families to explore. There is plenty for all ages to see, do and savour here.
Enjoy a wine tasting, dine at The Werf Restaurant or The Deli, stock up on goods from the Farm Shop and Butchery or even enjoy a gorgeous Rhone Rose Garden or Werf picnic. (I can attest to the splendour of their Werf picnics.)
Other memorable estate experiences include their thrilling MTB trails, horse riding or farm tours. While children can explore the incredible Tree House playground or MTB pump track.
Boschendal also offers a selection of stunning farm accommodation, everything from charming cottages to the mountain villa. Better still, it doubles as an amazing wedding venue.
I have returned to Boschendal many times over the years – and I know I always will. It’s a rewarding winelands experience if any is!
12) La Motte
To me, La Motte is one of the most elegant, lovely estates in Franschhoek to explore.
I have visited this beautiful wine farm twice. Both times, I have been enthralled by its stunning surrounding views of Franschhoek, impressive artworks and sculptures (dotted around the gardens and estate) and impeccable offerings.
Everything from the La Motte Museum to Pierneef à La Motte Restaurant and farm shop are the last word in quality, beauty and professionalism.
The restaurant remains one of my most pleasant dining experiences in the Winelands. On our last visit, I also thoroughly enjoyed exploring the insightful museum.
La Motte is a breath of fresh air. It is well-worth visiting for stunning wines and food, gorgeous gardens and an all-round memorable outing.
13) Spier Wine Farm
Spier Wine Farm is another of my top wine farms. Not only in Stellenbosch but in general. I love its feel good, family-friendly atmosphere, eco-friendly mindfulness and incredible offerings.
Here, you can enjoy everything from gourmet picnics by the dam to segway tours and the outstanding Eagle Encounters, which offers interactive bird of prey encounters for all ages.
Spier is loved for its wines, amazing food, stunning nature walks and gardens and of course, the unique estate experiences, luxury accommodation and more it offers guests.
If there is one estate I can recommend to anyone – wine lover or not – it is Spier.
Warwick Wine Estate is one of the most lovely Stellenbosch wine farms around. It also happens to be one of the most child-friendly estates in South Africa thanks to its expansive lawns, labyrinth of gardens, incredible outdoor play area, water features and above all, it’s unique ‘picnic pods’.
The fact that they also offer amazing wines and pairing options, excellent, professional service and a beautiful function venue and wedding offerings doesn’t hurt either.
Warwick is another estate I have done a repeat visit of – not for the last time either.
15) Villiera Wines
Situated on the outskirts of Stellenbosch, Villiera Wines promises a wine farm experience second to none. Everything at this estate is done with a mind for the future. Both in their conservation and community efforts, as much as their quality wines.
In addition to their award-winning wines and MCC, this amazing estate also offers unique wine and food pairings such as MCC and nougat, and the most wonderful game drives around the farm. For nature lovers, this is a must-visit wine farm.
Villiera impresses from start to finish and I love that their estate is both sophisticated and down-to-earth all at once.
16) Kunjani Wines
Kujani Wines is one of the most vibrant, warm and pleasant wine farms and hosts anywhere in the Cape Winelands. With their idyllic setting, excellent wines and restaurant and even luxury self-catering cottage accommodation, Kunjani wows from start to finish.
I visited this spectacular Stellenbosch wine farm in early 2020 and fell instantly in love. It was a stand-out travel experience.
There is a peacefulness that prevails over Kunjani. Much like its eye-catching red and grey exterior, you know this is not your standard wine estate… It is something far more special.
I love everything from the amazing wines to the breathtaking deck and elegant restaurant Kunjani offers. Truthfully, I cannot wait to revisit them again in time.
Where to begin to describe the quaint, serene beauty and farm vibes that both Joostenberg Wine Estate and its resident restaurant, The Kraal provide?
From the moment we rumbled down the gentle country lane towards the farm, I knew I would be instantly smitten – and I was.
Joostenberg Wine Estate, with its uniquely beautiful, restored tasting room and incredible wines, is a worthy visit on its own. And that is before you even consider The Kraal.
To say that my Sunday lunch experience at The Kraal was one of my all-time best dining experiences, both in terms of culinary excellence and memorable encounters, is a gross understatement.
I loved every minute – and they really hit their target of focusing on relaxed, country meals shared with those you love.
It is not often I heap praise upon any food and wine experience because, in South Africa and the Western Cape especially, we are blessed with so many – but The Kraal at Joostenberg is unlike any other.
If you love big, generous meals, good wine and even better companionship and service in a dreamy country setting, look no further than a Sunday lunch at The Kraal. While you are there, be sure to sample Joostenberg’s delicious Stellenbosch wines too.
Hazendal is another rare gem in the Cape Winelands. Seamlessly integrating Russian and Cape heritage and tradition with modern-day luxury, Hazendal is a really special revamped addition to the Stellenbosch Winelands.
Add to that, the most gorgeous wine farm setting, with everything from their cosy Babushka Deli, golf course, homestead accommodation to the impressive wedding venues that they offer and you have a dream estate where everything impresses on its own level.
This is another glorious estate for families, couples and friends to visit as there truly is something for everyone to adore here.
19) Stark-Conde Wines
If ever an estate looks like it comes straight off a picture-perfect postcard, then it is Stark-Conde Wines. This is honestly one of the most gorgeous wine farms you will find anywhere.
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I have not yet sampled their wines (although with a tasting room out on the dam, I have to change that soon) – but I loved every single second of my experience here.
Further bolstered by the charming Postcard Cafe, Stark-Conde is a glorious hidden gem in majestic Jonkershoek. It is also the perfect place to get down on one knee and cement your future happiness…
Beautiful Blaauwklippen is another Stellenbosch estate made for family time, special memories and big occasions.
Everything from their long-standing, highly popular Blaauwklippen Family Market to their impeccable wines are a pleasure to enjoy.
Add to that a dreamy glass cathedral and opulent accommodation for hosting weddings in the winelands and you have an estate made for everyone.
Since my visit in mid-2019, the estate has undergone a huge revamp. Everything is seemingly better and more locally focused than ever before.
I can’t wait to visit Blaauwklippen ‘fully loaded’ sometime in the future. 🙂
21) Quoin Rock
Quoin Rock is one of the hottest wine farms to ever hit the Cape Winelands scene. Everything from its classy, fine dining restaurant, Gåte at Quoin Rock to its new picnics and jaw-dropping architectural genius take your breath away.
Quoin Rock is one of the higher end estates around. Yet, even with its luxury wedding and functions venues, quality experiences and dreamy manor house accommodation, there is still something affordable for everyone here.
So you don’t have to break the bank to have an unforgettable outing at Quoin Rock.
For years now, I have been dying to visit De Meye. So when I finally got the chance to do so in 2020, I was beyond excited.
To say this estate lived up to my wildest dreams is an understatement… De Meye has far exceeded them. I have fallen permanently in love with its Cape beauty, gorgeous gardens and incredible farm offerings.
Many people have probably heard of The Table at De Meye (although it recently changed operational hands and is now run by chef couple, Brendan Thorncroft and Leigh Williamson).
After all, they are famous for their stunning afternoon lunches in the Cape Winelands.
But the latest addition to this family-owned farm is the new picnic offering. I have tried many Cape Winelands’ picnic experiences – but this is now my firm favourite.
Mostly because it offers a peaceful farm experience, breathtaking garden setting and almost faultless food spread.
You really do feast like royalty in your own hidden corner of the garden. It is glorious!
Picnic spots are limited to five spots, over Friday to Sunday, so online pre-booking is essential.
In addition to the garden picnics, you can also visit De Meye for wine tastings, cheese platters, special lunches and more. They are also a dreamy wedding venue and are definitely a great place to pop the question too…
Hidden among the foothills of the Banhoek Valley lies the gorgeous Alluvia Boutique Winery. This boutique wine farm packs a punch with its award-winning wines, blissful accommodation, good restaurant (with a dreamy deck) and excellent picnic setting.
The views at Alluvia are, quite simply, sublime and the drive up Helshoogte Pass makes for an unforgettable winelands outing. This is definitely one of the most well-positioned estates you will find anywhere.
With its luxurious accommodation, lovely cuisine and enviable setting, Alluvia makes an instant impression on its visitors.
They offer delightful picnics, which my friend, Alicia, and I tried when we visited for my post-birthday celebration.
Although they have a standard picnic option that sounds great, we decided to try the vegetarian picnic basket for two sharing. Picnics are well-priced and enough for two people.
The picnic itself was good but what really sold us on Alluvia was the gorgeous picnic setting. You can sit at selected spots around the dam (there is even a dreamy jetty spot) and it is absolute country bliss.
We opted to sit under the willow, with peaceful views of the dam and rolling estate vineyards and hills to set the mood for a relaxing picnic.
For its views alone, Alluvia is well-worth a visit but I also like the look of its accommodation and restaurant.
Old Nectar has long been renowned and hailed for its exquisite, historic gardens. The gardens are primarily the genius of much loved, legendary gardenerer and author, the late Una Van Der Spuy.
During much of Una’s lifetime, she devoted her time and painstaking thought to making Old Nectar’s gardens worthy of a true Cape garden.
From 1941 to her passing in 2012, Una lovingly created, improved and cherished Old Nectar’s gardens. She has left a lasting legacy and national monument for generations to enjoy behind her.
These gardens are honestly some of the most beautiful I have ever seen. Each and every discovery in this 4-hectare garden amazes.
Set around the grounds and stately Cape Dutch manorhouse, the gardens are a living dream.
Guests are permitted to bring their own picnic baskets along and enjoy a wonderful outing at Old Nectar.
During your visit, please just be respectful of the on-site private residences and luxury villas that are rented out on a long-term basis.
Opening hours are generally from 09:00 am to sunset and the garden can be enjoyed year-round. I visited in autumn and it was pure magic!
Garden Delights at Old Nectar
Garden lovers will delight at the different sections.
Everything from the magical Pergola Garden (which offers stunning views of the breathtaking Jonkershoek mountains), Round Rose Garden, Waterfall Garden to the Indigenous Garden. That is even edged by a mighty, 20-metre Redwood tree that Una grew from a seed to commemorate the birth of her youngest son, David.
Best of all, visitors can grab a beautifully illustrated Old Nectar garden map and Tree List and explore every inch of the garden, while also reading up on its rich Cape history as they go. There are some 160 different trees to find and identify using the map and tree list.
Note: During COVID times, guests should rather call in advance. Guests may visit in maximum groups of 10.
Route 62 Charm: Rawsonville to Montagu
As my childhood home, the Cape Route 62 has a very special place in my heart. It is where my love of writing, travel and above all, sincere, warm hospitality and good food began.
There are very few corners of the Route 62 that I have not explored growing up. And fewer still that I have not loved.
This world-famous route is adored for its small town vibes, colourful Cape charm and architecture and lovely wine farms.
Yet it also has some of the best food, accommodation, natural scenery and local attractions in South Africa.
Everything from the imposing Langeberg mountains to the quietly peaceful Breede River Wine Valley regions and iconic town attractions draw tourists and local travellers in their droves.
As it is only some two hours’ drive or so from Cape Town, it is the perfect playground for young families, wine enthusiasts, nature lovers and culture vultures alike.
Best for: All ages to enjoy.
Travel Time from Cape Town CBD (one-way): +/- 1 hour, 5 minutes to 2 hours, 30 minutes.
Route 62 Highlights:
Click Here to View My Route 62 Highlights
Situated just an hour’s drive away from Cape Town, the Rawsonville Winelands compose of Breedekloof, Slanghoek, Goudini and Breede River. What’s more, this lesser known winelands region is one of the most gorgeous around.
Loved for its picturesque wedding venues, wine farms, accommodation and impressive encircling mountain setting, Rawsonville Winelands are perfect for a fun day trip. (Or even an extended weekend stay.)
Highlights in the region include Du Toitskloof Wines, Opstal Estate and Restaurant, Slanghoek Mountain Reserve, Dwarsberg Trout Hideaway, ATKV Goudini Spa and more.
Before the pandemic hit SA shores in March 2020, I enjoyed a work breakaway in the Rawsonville Winelands at Goudini Spa. It was a wonderful experience and it definitely made me keen to explore the rest of this region.
2) Van Loveren
Situated just outside Robertson, Van Loveren is an esteemed local estate with a rich history. When visiting the Route 62, it is a must-visit.
With a chic tasting room, delightful bistro in Christina’s and all types of outdoor adventure (from MTB to hiking and birdwatching), Van Loveren offers plenty for young and old to savour.
One of my personal highlights at this wine estate is their fascinating garden tour. It provides wonderful insight into this significant garden planted by Jean Retief in 1939.
You can explore on your own or, for a small fee, join a guided tour. (Guided garden tours include a glass of bubbly!)
Van Loveren also has a wonderful array of wines and tasting options to enjoy.
Finally, we have my hometown, Montagu. This charming small town is one of the most popular Route 62 attractions by far.
Montagu is one of the Western Cape’s most popular small towns. It wows with its quiet charm, beautiful Cape Dutch architecture and natural scenery.
For an escape to nature, the Montagu Nature Garden or local hikes, such as Bloupunt Hiking Trail, Loverswalk and Badskloof Trail, are ideal. The Cogmanskloof Pass and Old English Fort are also well-worth savouring!
I also enjoy driving along the R62 road towards Barrydale – or out to the Keisie and Koo Valleys.
These are just some of my most interesting day trips near Cape Town to explore… I hope you have enjoyed learning more about them and will visit some of the highlights included in this post. 🙂
Please understand that COVID-19 and lockdown may affect opening times, activities and facilities.
Please also be responsible and abide by all COVID19 rules and regulations. This includes wearing a mask, sanitising, staying home if you feel unwell and practicing social distancing.
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.