These past few months with the COVID-19 pandemic, travel in and around Cape Town has been firmly off the cards. But, as the city opens some activities up under Level 3, I wanted to share a few safe, fun day trip ideas.
I was initially unsure whether it was the right decision to share a post like this… But people are going out for day trips, stocking up on goods and exercising whether I blog about it or not.
And I would prefer that they make informed decisions. This is also why I have chosen to only feature activities and places that I trust will have the strictest or safest measures in place.
So whether you ire on the side of extreme caution (code for: largely stay at home) or keep calm and carry on, with your facemask and hand sanitiser at the ready, you can currently enjoy these Cape Town day trips in Level 3.
Important Things to Remember in Level 3
Although Level 3 permits day trips (within your province) and we are able to do more as restaurants and wine farms reopen to the public, I implore you to heed national and provincial lockdown rules at all times.
This includes the following:
- wearing a mask at all times in public;
- maintaining a safe, social distance from others;
- carrying hand sanitiser or washing hands frequently;
- staying home if you feel unwell or are exhibiting any symptoms.
Please also adhere to the safety protocols and restrictions wherever you go. Be it a nature reserve, park or wine farm. The end-goal for everyone should be to keep ourselves and those around us safe at all times.
Day Trip Ideas In and Around Cape Town in Level 3
Here are some activities you can enjoy safely with your friends and family under Level 3. I have tried to largely source places where outdoor spaces are prevalent to make social distancing easier.
Fairview has done so much to help its community, staff and customers since the pandemic hit SA shores, so I am delighted to feature them in another post.
Eat at Goatshed Restaurant:
Under Level 3, Fairview has recently reopened the charming Goatshed Restaurant. As this country-style eatery largely incorporates al fresco dining, it does feel like one of the safer dining out options around.
They have a limited menu (which changes weekly) and all guests are of course required to wear a mask – but it’s a sliver of normality in these crazy times.
Join them on Wednesday – Sunday between 09:00 am – 15:00 pm for a country breakfast or lunch.
For more information on Level 3 dining at Goatshed Restaurant, please contact them directly: +27 (021) 863 3609, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Stock up at the Farm Shop and Deli:
You can also visit the Farm Shop and Deli to stock up on essential supplies. Shop for things like fresh Jersey milk, bread, their famous cheeses, meats, delicious deli products and eggs.
Admire Fairview Estate Gardens and Goat Tower:
If you prefer to stay outside in the fresh air, why not say hello to the famous goats or take a leisurely stroll around Fairview’s beautiful estate gardens? It’s social distancing, farm-style!
On 8 July 2020, SANParks announced that visitors are now allowed to self-drive through the Cape of Good Hope (otherwise known as Cape Point) section of the Table Mountain National Park.
This means you can safely soak up the beauty of the Cape of Good Hope section of TMNP from your car. Enjoy seeing the ostriches, baboons and other wildlife, as you embark on a self-drive excursion. It is the stuff of roadtrip dreams.
Here are a few things you need to keep in mind if you plan to visit:
- There is a daily quota of a maximum 250 vehicles per day. However, no more than 75 vehicles are allowed inside at any given time.
- Daily operating hours are between 08:00 am – 16:00 pm.
- You must complete a COVID-19 questionnaire upon arrival. Compulsory temperature screenings will be performed by the staff. If your temperature tests at 37.4 degrees Celsius and above, you will not be allowed inside the gates.
- No facemask, no entry.
- Self-drive vehicles may not contain more than three (3) people from the same household, while motor bikes are limited to one person per bike.
- You may not hike/walk, trail run, surf, cycle, launch vessels, braai or picnic during your visit. Stay in your car and enjoy the beautiful scenery.
- Stick to the speed limit – and only stop to snap photos in designated areas, as provided.
- Note: The Olifantsbos- and Bordjiesrif roads; Buffelsfontein Visitor Centre; restaurant/shops; the funicular; and accommodation facilities within Cape of Good Hope section remain closed at this time.
For more information, please see here or contact SANParks TMNP directly: +27 (021) 712 0527, TableM@sanparks.org.
One of my favourite Franschhoek estates, La Motte, is welcoming visitors back on weekends again. This means you can now visit the estate on Saturdays and Sundays.
With its gorgeous vineyards, mountain views and magical gardens, La Motte offers plenty of social distancing beauty. Their restaurant is also spacious, making widespread tables easier to cater to.
Enjoy a Meal at Pierneef à La Motte Restaurant
Enjoy some delicious comfort food at Pierneef à La Motte Restaurant. Join them for brunch or a light lunch; you can choose between options like lamb’s ribs, seafood lasagne and rich tomatoey beef olives.
Or simply warm your bones outside in the sunshine or by the fireplace with a cup of coffee or tea.
Pierneef à La Motte Restaurant will be open on Saturdays and Sundays, from 09:00 am – 16:00 pm.
For more information, please contact Pierneef à La Motte Restaurant directly: +27 (021) 876 8000, email@example.com.
Pop by the Farm Shop:
Another great farm shop to visit is La Motte’s. It’s a beautiful space filled with an assortment of baked goods, handmade stationery, books, gifts and even La Motte’s own coffee blend, to name only a few items contained within this treasure trove.
Stock up on supplies or get a special ‘lockdown’ gift for a loved one or friend.
The Farm Shop will be open on Saturdays and Sundays from 09:00 am – 16:00 pm.
Visit the La Motte Museum:
On weekends, you can also visit the La Motte Museum, a place of passion, art and beauty. The museum will be open on Saturdays and Sundays from 09:00 am – 16:00 pm.
Kunjani Wines, a beautiful Stellenbosch estate, is another hidden gem. I love everything about this wine farm so I am happy they have reopened for breakfast and lunch.
Visit the Restaurant
They are now open again for breakfast and lunch every Friday, Saturday and Sunday for the foreseeable future, with all necessary COVID-19 safety protocols in place. The food, atmosphere and warmth of Kunjani is hard to beat; it’s definitely a comfort we could all use right now!
To reserve your table, please email them at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
They are open for breakfast (8:30 am – 10:30 am) and lunch (11:00 am – 16:00 pm), Friday – Sunday.
If you can’t visit Kunjani in person, why not order a homecooked meal from them instead? (Food delivery and collection options are available.) Please see here for more details.
For more information, please contact Kunjani Wines directly: +27 (087) 630 0409, email@example.com.
Another stunning Stellenbosch estate is welcoming visitors again… You can now visit Spier for a good meal, to stock up with goodies from their Farm Cafe, explore the farm’s beautiful gardens or even enjoy a unique experience at the Eagle Encounters.
Spier have been nothing short of incredible relief workers during this pandemic – and it is just another reason I am mildly obsessed with this estate. (Not that I needed another reason to be! 🙂 )
Get Up Close with Some Birds of Prey
This is arguably one of the best animal encounters and family-friendly experiences around. I can strongly recommend Eagle Encounters – and not just because it supports such a worthy cause! It is one of my best, most interactive travel trips. (I think you can see why!)
I am really proud of the amazing work and experiences that are at the heart and soul of Eagle Encounters.
Eagle Encounters is open again so visit them from Tuesday – Sunday, 09:30 am to 17:00 pm for a rare animal encounter with rehabilitated birds of prey, reptiles and other animals.
All visitors must wear facemasks and regularly use hand sanitiser to protect fellow visitors and staff.
Entrance fees are as follows:
- R85 (adults)
- R65 (children aged 3-12)
- R70 (students with valid student cards)
- R70 (pensioners)
For more information, please contact Eagle Encounters directly: +27 (021) 858 1826, firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.spier.co.za/visit/eagle-encounters
Stock up with Farm Cafe Goodies
Spier’s Farm Cafe is a foodie’s delight – and certainly one of my favourite spots in the Cape Winelands!
Whether you are stocking up for goods to go or planning to snack in Spier’s outdoor spaces, this organic farm cafe is for you.
Delicious finds include things like Chef Hennie’s ready-made meals, fresh beef, pork or eggs and fresh fruit and veg produce (free from pesticides and artificial fertilisers).
They have social distancing and hygiene protocols in place (including a limit on shoppers in one space at a time, hand sanitiser stations and regular disinfection), so you can shop with peace of mind. So buy what you need and enjoy it at home or on the estate.
The Farm Cafe food store is open daily from 09:00 am – 16:00 pm. Additionally, you can also shop online here.
For more information, please contact Spier directly: +27 (021) 809 1159, email@example.com.
Enjoy a Meal at Vadas Smokehouse & Bakery
In addition to its Farm Cafe food store, Spier also invites you to enjoy a meal at Vadas Smokehouse & Bakery, which is open Tuesday – Sunday, 12:00 pm – 16:00 pm.
If you can’t visit in person though – fear not because you can order smokehouse platters, pizzas and bakery items online here.
For more information on Vadas Smokehouse & Bakery, please contact them directly: +27 (021) 809 1137, firstname.lastname@example.org.
I have not yet had the pleasure of dining at Jéan Restaurant & Deli (it was definitely on my must-try list before the pandemic hit; I love the look and feel the restaurant emulates) – but I know Klein Roosboom well so I am sure the restaurant and deli is excellent.
Klein Roosboom is a special boutique wine estate in Durbanville – and one well worth a visit.
Back in the day when wine tastings could still take place and COVID-19 wasn’t even the thought of a germ yet (remember those days?), I had the pleasure of visiting them for one of their unique wine tasting experiences.
I loved the visit from the get-go and found it utterly charming and romantic. (Which is also why I featured them on this post here… in case anyone is looking to pop the question during Level 3 life. 🙂 )
Invite Jéan Restaurant & Deli and Klein Roosboom into Your Home
During Level 3, Klein Roosboom has been attracting Northern Suburbs and Cape Town locals (with easy social distancing in place, mind). It isn’t hard to imagine why: they have a beautiful estate and you can now visit them for vineyard walks, good coffee, deli goods and meals to enjoy in the comfort of your home…
So why not buy some deli goods – or order their Sunday lunches or ready-made meals online?
Creative, ready-made meals and Sunday lunches can be ordered online every Friday (before 15:00 pm), ready for collection on Sunday. Please see more details here.
For more information on Jéan Restaurant & Deli, please contact them directly: +27 (079) 693 9646.
Klein Roosboom is open for vineyard walks, coffee and fresh produce as follows:
- Monday – Friday: 09:00 am – 17:00 pm
- Saturday: 08:00 am – 16:00 pm
- Sunday: 08:00 am – 15:00 pm
Ah, Boschendal… This beautiful, historic Franschhoek estate is one of my most beloved wine farms. I have shared this estate with the most special people in my life, both as a child and an adult, and I honestly don’t need much to draw me to Boschendal like a bee to honey…
For those who have visited the estate, you probably know what I mean. What’s more, this gorgeous wine farm has something for everyone – yes, even in Level 3 lockdown life!
Get Back on the MTB and Running Trails
Recently, Boschendal has reopened their MTB and running trails to the public. This means that you can let off some steam, top up your fitness levels or simply spend some quality time outdoors on the estate.
And of course, safety comes first so all staff and guests must have their temperature checked upon entry to the farm. Anyone with or displaying fever symptoms will not be allowed inside. Wearing facemasks and practicing social distancing is essential, as is frequently using the hand sanitisation stations.
With advanced and family-friendly options both, there is something for the whole family to enjoy.
Day- and annual-permits are available from the Trail Centre. Trails open from 06:00 am – 18:00 pm for permit holders.
For more information on the routes, prices and rules for Boschendal’s MTB and running trails, please see here.
Go for a Horse Ride
Another fun outdoor activity available to individuals, couples and families once more is Boschendal’s horse rides.
What better way to practice social distancing than astride a noble steed, while taking in the lovely surroundings?
To book your ride, please contact Boschendal directly on: +27 (021) 870 4211, email@example.com.
Buy Some Boschendal Farm Goodies
Boschendal’s lovely Farm Shop is also at your disposal. Stock up on delicious essentials and goods, like meats, frozen meals, fresh produce and homemade preserves.
The Farm Shop is open Monday – Saturday, from 09:00 am – 16:00 pm and on Sundays, from 09:00 am – 14:00 pm.
You can also order ready-made meals and pre-ordered Taste boxes to collect and enjoy at home… yum! Please see here for more details.
Hike in the Panoramic Paarl Mountain Nature Reserve
Paarl Mountain Nature Reserve has been one of my favourite Cape reserves since I first visited it in 2014.
Recently, I had the pleasure of returning to do the panoramic, family-friendly Paarl Rock hike.
Paarl is famous for the three giant granite outcrops that top its mountain – visible from miles away, they are an incredible sight to behold even from afar.
But close up, they are almost otherworldly. It is a truly spectacular sight.
What surprised me most about the Paarl Rock hike is there are huge boulders all over – and that’s before you even get to the main ones!
Picnic and Explore Meulwater Botanical Garden
The hike started for us at Meulwater Botanical Garden. This small but pretty botanical garden is also worth exploring. It even offers some great, spaced out picnic- and braai-spots to enjoy.
From there, we climbed up a relatively steep gravel road, past the Meulwater Water Treatment Plant and some farmhouses and snaked our way upwards.
Along there – and even the winding, rather rough road up to Paarl Mountain Nature Reserve (a sturdy car, MTB bike, motorbike or 4×4 vehicle is best for this terrain unless you inch up…) – the views of the Paarl valley and beyond are breathtaking.
Every twist and turn offers incredible, sweeping views that are picture-perfect.
Our hike took us up the quiet gravel road. Along the way, we passed two booms (the first being at Meulwater).
I was initially told on weekends there is an entry fee so we expected to pay but no one hiking that day was asked to pay, nor was there a guard present to receive payment.
I assume this is perhaps due to our current COVID-19 climate – but I would just take cash with in case. It is meant to be about R40 per person if and when there is a fee.
The gravel road from the second boom is wide and well maintained enough for cars and bikes so many people drive up to the first Paarl Rock view point, where the main Paarl Rock is, and even to the base of the Bretagne and Gordon’s Rocks too. If you don’t have time to hike, this is a great alternative. 🙂
Our path was lined by beautiful, sleepy proteas and other natural flora, with plenty of birdlife singing and flitting out of sight. Just as a nature walk, it is a real treat.
Climb up the Paarl Rock View Point to See Paarl Stretched Out Before You
After about a kilometre (give or take), you reach the first main attraction: Paarl Rock Heritage Site/View Point.
Here, you can park to admire the view or hike up the Paarl Rock like we did. There are cleverly placed benches and the vast, gigantic boulder outcrop to explore.
A wooden staircase and walkway make for easy ascent – but be careful when you are on the giant outcrop itself. It is smooth and there are not many footholds.
I had on slightly worn down hiking shoes that did not have the best grip, so I was a bit nervous at first – but if you edge along the rougher parts and go slowly, it is safe.
Many people even brought their kids up. While this is fine, please keep a hold of your little ones, as it is slippery, there is a huge drop from all sides and the wind can be something fierce atop that vast boulder outcrop.
But the views are amazing, whether you stay near the start or inch further along to the white beacon.
For me, this was definitely my highlight of the hike.
It was incredible to stand atop there and see the Paarl Valley, full Berg River and peaceful farmlands stretched out before us in patchwork beauty.
After that, we hopped down and carried onto the base of the other two outcrops, Bretagne and Gordon’s Rocks.
Climb On (If You Dare)
The remainder of the hike spanned about another kilometre or so in distance, as, according to Google Maps, the hike is about 2.7 km in total, when starting from Meulwater as we did.
Although, if you like, you can hike from Paarl Main Road and make it roughly 8km+ (one-way) instead.
This stretch was perhaps even more scenic and when we reached the base of the fearsome, vast boulders, there was another lovely wooden walkway.
This leads into a beautiful forest. It’s a short walk down the steps through the trees but so worth it.
Back at the top of the walkway, there is also a nearby, smaller ‘boulder cave’, which was fun to explore.
As for the Bretagne and Gordon’s Rocks themselves, we did not hike up further than the base.
Many people, even with older kids, climbed up – but with my shoes and our pricy camera equipment, we felt it would be too risky to attempt.
I was a bit afraid from my part because on the rockface, it is smooth with not much to grip onto – but it does get safer the higher you get, as there are chains and small, rough steps carved out of the rocks.
(I climbed up a bit of the way and then slid down on my behind/ran off it.)
If you do tackle this climb, I recommend very sturdy shoes with a good grip and a secure backpack so you have your hands free at all times.
A windbreaker or warm, fleecy top is also a good idea because even if the weather is good, it can be freezing on these gigantic boulders!
After that, we hiked back down to the Meulwater parking, invigorated and refreshed after our enjoyable 8km hike.
This is one of my most pleasant, relatively easy hikes to date. It offers stunning natural beauty, amazing 360-degree views and a wonderful safe environment for hikers, MTB cyclists and families to all enjoy together. 🙂
It doesn’t feel too crowded, even on a weekend, and social distancing is a breeze here – so if you are looking for a safe hike during the pandemic, this is it.
Some Important Notes:
For anyone keen to hike in the Paarl Moutain Nature Reserve, please take note of the following:
- Paarl Mountain Nature Reserve is open from 07:00 am – 19:00 pm during summer (1 October – 31 March) – and from 07:00 am – 18:00 pm during winter (1 April – 30 September). No entry is permitted within one hour from closure.
- While many people kept a respectable distance and didn’t get too close to us, allowing for safe social distancing, I was disappointed to see so many not wearing a mask at all… I hiked 8km, 12 000 steps in a mask and I was breathing just fine, even up the steepest, most tiring parts. Please wear a mask when visiting any public place, as you are supposed to!
- Please adhere to social distancing practices, sanitise your hands well before and after your hike. And do not visit the Reserve if you feel unwell.
- Wear good, sturdy shoes and comfortable clothing and pack in water, sunscreen and a warm top or jacket.
For more information, please contact: +27 (021) 807 6231, 073 748 6325, Lindsay.Lewis@drakenstein.gov.za. Alternatively, visit Paarl Online’s website for details.
I am excited to share that Mont Rochelle has also let me know that their gorgeous restaurant, The Country Kitchen, will be reopening from 1 August 2020.
Mont Rochelle is one of my favourite Franschhoek wine farms so it is one I can easily recommend visiting. I love the estate’s incredible setting, amazing staff and overall attention to detail.
With its stunning surrounding views of the Franschhoek valley and wide range of delightful outdoor seating especially, The Country Kitchen is the perfect spot to enjoy a winelands meal, particularly as the weather gradually warms up.
During the restaurant’s temporary closure, the team has been carefully prepping everything. This has meant ensuring all necessary health and safety measures and protocols are in place to protect everyone.
Social distancing and more cautious food presentation measures are just some of the COVID-19 regulations they have put in place.
Based on my previous visits, I am sure they will take every precaution, while also ensuring visitors still have a wonderful time at the estate. 🙂
As of 1 August, The Country Kitchen will be open every Saturday and Sunday and on public holidays between 11:00 am – 16:00 pm. (Please note: The last seating will be at 16:00 pm).
Their food is prepared using only the freshest, seasonal ingredients so quality is assured in that regard too. Join them for a delicious a la carte menu, with the added option of a two- or three-course meal.
And while they can’t sell alcohol (due to the nation-wide alcohol ban), the team has come up with some delicious mocktails and other non-alcoholic options (including beers, ciders, wines and bubbly), soft drinks and hot beverages to choose from.
Family Fun with the Children’s Menu and Jungle Gym
For visiting families, there is also a children’s menu and newly installed jungle gym for little eaters to enjoy before or after their meal.
Visit Mont Rochelle’s The Country Kitchen for a tasty meal and stroll in the country air, as you take in the beautiful, spacious grounds… All of which make social distancing a breeze! 🙂
For more information and to book, please contact The Country Kitchen directly on: +27 (021) 876 2770, firstname.lastname@example.org.
A Few More Great Ideas
Here are a few other fun, safe day trip ideas to enjoy near Cape Town during Level 3:
- Meerendal, Durbanville (Go MTB biking and trail running (see their Facebook page for details and pricing) or enjoy self-service dining at Carlucci’s).
- Hike or walk along the Pipe Tracks (Table Mountain). Please wear a mask and practice social distancing and other recommended safety measures when you hike anywhere.
- Babylonstoren, Franschhoek (dine at Babel or Greenhouse Restaurants or visit their Garden Spa for some pampering).
Disclaimer: At the time of publishing, this post is as accurate and up-to-date as possible. For this post, I have done my best to research accurate, reliable information and recommended safety practices.
Wherever possible, I have sourced my information directly from the newsletters, websites, media releases and social pages of each featured estate and place.
However, should there be any inaccuracies or factual errors, I am happy to make any necessary amendments at any time during Level 3 and beyond. Please do not hesitate to contact me if I missed something or have cited an incorrect detail in this post.
Ideas for Level 2 Travel to the Western Cape
To see some of my ideas for safe Level 2 travel, you can follow my Instagram for daily updates – or read my post on Great Ideas for Level 2 Travel in the Western Cape.
Other ‘Lockdown’ Posts You May Enjoy
In the past few months, while we have all largely been at home, I have also put together several COVID-19-sensitive posts.
They cover topics like best virtual tours, travel-inspired books to read (when you cannot travel) and where fellow bloggers want to travel after the COVID-19 pandemic has passed.
This content may be especially useful and comforting to anyone who cannot safely venture outside their homes in this time. 🙂
If you would like to read these posts, please find the links below:
- 20 Books to Read When You Cannot Travel
- Bloggers: Where We Want to Travel One Day After the COVID-19 Pandemic
- Lockdown Life: Best Virtual Tours to Enjoy in South Africa
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.