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Best Western Cape Road Trips

Let’s face it: road trips come with their own unique share of rituals. The early departures, food pit stops, nostalgic memories and fun experiences. We all have those iconic road trip memories that we could wax lyrical about. In this post, I share some of my favourite Western Cape road trips in the hopes that you will create more memories on the open road with those you love!

Best Western Cape Road Trips

tulbagh-western-cape

From unearthing the Route 62’s country charm to the curling along the Cape coastline, here are some memorable Western Cape road trips to enjoy:

Route 62 Road Trip

The world-famous Route 62 road is one of the most incredible stretches of road anywhere in the world.

Spanning from the Western Cape into the Eastern Cape, this special road – and subsequent road trips borne from it – are the stuff of travel legend.

western-cape-road-trips-route-62-ashton

So it is no surprise to discover that it also affords travellers one of the most charming road trip experiences too.

What Makes This Road Trip Special:

Filled with beautiful Cape small towns, varying mountainous scenery and picturesque landscapes, special cultural and social experiences and above all, amazing countrysides – a Route 62 road trip is second to none.

western-cape-road-trips-route-62

You can travel from Cape Town to Port Elizabeth, discovering amazing towns and attractions along the way.

Roadside/Local Attractions:

Arguably the biggest highlights of this special road trip are the amazing small towns you encounter along the way. Each has its own unique charm and fun experiences to enjoy.

western-cape-road-trips-montagu

By and large, Route 62 towns are also famed for their mountain vistas and warm hospitality. Best of all, they are also entreched in Cape and South African history.

Some of my favourite Route 62 towns include Paarl, Tulbagh, Wellington, Robertson, Montagu, Ceres and Oudtshoorn, to name a few.

Also, be sure to keep an eye out for charming farm stalls and quirky roadside attractions that add a sense of colourful cheerfulness to your journey! ๐Ÿ™‚

route-62-roadside-attractions

Distance in km:

This varies greatly. You can drive from Cape Town to Port Elizabeth. Or, you can simply travel between different towns and regions that the road passes through.

(As an example, Montagu is about 186 km (one-way) from Cape Town if you travel via the N1 and R60, R62.)

 

Cape Peninsula Road Trip

western-cape-road-trips-cape-peninsula

Made up of the Cape Town metropole, Cape Point and False Bay area, the Cape Peninsula is one of the most stunning coastal stretches South Africa – and the world – has to offer.

For those residing in or visiting Cape Town and surrounds, a drive along the scenic Cape Peninsula makes for an unmissable road trip experience!

What Makes This Road Trip Special:

boulders-beach-road-trip

Aside from the stunning beaches and coastline, rocky cliffs and mountain views and beautiful flora and fauna witnessed as you drive, the Cape Peninsula offers so much in terms of travel adventure and outdoor fun.

With everything from world-class beaches like Camps Bay and Clifton, the scenic Chapman’s Peak drive, breathtaking Cape Point and Cape of Good Hope and of course, hikes and rich natural settings, the Cape Peninsula checks all the boxes for a memorable, family-friendly road trip.

noordhoek-beach-non-stop-destination
Photo credit: Non Stop Destination

Roadside/Local Attractions:

Outside of Cape Town itself, don’t miss the local beaches like Camps Bay, Clifton, Oudekraal, Boulders, Muizenberg, Fish Hoek and Cape Point’s own secluded gems like Diaz or Platboom Beach.

platboom-beach

You can also visit local gems like Hout Bay (which offers everything from markets to fun boat trip experiences); wonder at Chappies Peak Drive; head to Cape Point Nature Reserve and so much more!

Distance in km:

If you head from Cape Town CBD to Cape Point Nature Reserve (via Chapman’s Peak Drive) and then onto, say, Muizenberg (via Simon’s Town), you are looking at about 105+ km one-way.

It makes for a stunning day trip!

 

West Coast Road/R27 Road Trip

western-cape-road-trips-west-coast

Known as the West Coast Road or R27, this particular route takes you out of the city and into instant countryside, where rolling fynbos lands, quiet beaches and sand dunes are the order of the day.

What Makes This Road Trip Special:

Aside from the rich natural beauty of the West Coast, which is loved for its idyllic seaside towns, pristine beaches, seasonal wildflower displays and rich wildlife, a road trip along the R27 also exposes visitors to small coastal towns like Yzerfontein, Langebaan, Darling or Paternoster.

thali-thali-game-lodge-game-drive-giraffe

These small seaside towns are blessed with an array of cosy eateries, tranquil accommodation gems and above all, plenty of outdoor activities (from game drives to hikes and beach walks) to keep the whole family entertained.

Whether you are travelling with friends, family or your partner, few outings can be as fun and memorable as a trip to the West Coast, be it for the day or an extended weekend stay!

Personally, the West Coast is one of my favourite regions in the Western Cape to holiday or explore; there’s just so much to see and do here.

kraalbaai-preekstoel

Roadside/Local Attractions:

Some of my personal favourite attractions include the sweet farm stalls that line this road and little towns, like Yzerfontein and Darling, that offer beauty and rich history.

Other local attractions include Groote Post Country Market, Thali Thali Game Lodge (ideal for amazing getaways and game drive adventures), !Khwa ttu (known for its excellent accommodation, MTB and hiking trails and wildlife) and above all, the pristine West Coast National Park.

west-coast-national-park

Distance in km:

Again, this varies on where you are travelling to and from. But generally, if you are travelling to places like Yzerfontein, Darling or Langebaan from Cape Town, you can expect to rack up anywhere from 80- 130 km one-way.

For towns further afield, like Paternoster, this changes to about 160 km one-way.

 

False Bay Road Trip

western-cape-road-trips-false-aby

Similar to the Cape Peninsula trip, a road trip through False Bay is a slightly shorter but no less beautiful way to explore some of Cape Town’s most popular coastal suburbs.

Again, the False Bay suburbs – which range from Fish Hoek to Kalk Bay, Muizenberg and Simon’s Town to name only a few – are some of my favourites in the whole of the Mother City.

I have enjoyed so many wonderful day trips and romantic seaside getaways to this special part of the city so it really has my heart.

Honestly, I can’t understand why more people aren’t as obsessed with False Bay as I am.

jagers-walk

What Makes This Road Trip Special:

I think what makes this road trip so special is the intense coastal beauty, varied beaches and interesting local attractions, like trendy cafes and coffee bars, rich history and slower pace of life that make this part of Cape Town so appealing, especially to families.

boulders-child-friendly-beach

Better still, thanks to its geography and oceanography, the False Bay waters are slightly warmer than those in other parts of the city. So swimming and beach days are generally more enjoyable. There is also incredible surf to be enjoyed here, especially in Muizenberg.

Roadside/Local Attractions:

Apart from the obvious attractions like Boulder’s Beach or Muizenberg Beach, each of these False Bay suburbs offers a plethora of interesting boutique shops, gorgeous beaches, cosy cafes and seaside restaurants and excellent Airbnb/accommodation gems.

simons-town-accommodation

I recommend dedicating at least a half- or full day trip to exploring the False Bay suburbs – but a weekend getaway is preferable.

Distance in km:

A trip from Cape Town to places like Fish Hoek, Muizenberg or Simon’s Town can vary from between 26 – 50 km one-way, depending on where you are going.

Traffic can sometimes get quite hectic though (especially along Kalk Bay Main Road, for example) so you have to be patient.

 

Helderberg-Overberg Road Trips

western-cape-road-trips-kogelberg

Two of the most beautiful regions in the Western Cape are the Helderberg and Overberg Regions.

The two areas kind of bleed into each other so although they are distinctly separate, so I tend to explore them both during my day or weekend trips. Particularly as the scenic Clarence Drive connects the Helderberg Region with the start of the world-famous Cape Overberg Region.

clarence-drive-western-cape

What Makes These Road Trips Special:

Undoubtedly the rich Cape flora and fauna that both regions, especially the Overberg, are so famous for. As a bonus, the Helderberg offers some incredible, family-friendly wine farms – such as Vergelegen and Lourensford.

clarence-drive-rooi-els

There are also an endless array of pretty little beaches, botanical gardens and nature reserves to enjoy from Gordon’s Bay to Betty’s Bay. If you prefer to go slightly further afield, you can even start in Strand and head all the way to the whale capital of South Africa, Hermanus! ๐Ÿ™‚

Roadside/Local Attractions:

disa-kloof-trail-waterfall

Some of the most notable attractions include the beaches that start from Strand and Gordon’s Bay already; endlessly scenic Clarence Drive (perfect for coastal drives and special sunsets), local eateries and beautiful mix of coastline-meets-mountain scenery.

harold-porter-hiking-trails

Then there are some real highlights like Harold Porter, Stony Point Nature Reserve (where you can see more African penguins) and of course, Kogelberg Nature Reserve, where eco-friendly accommodation, hikes and MTB trails and rich Cape nature are found in endless supplies.

stony-point-penguins-betty-bay

Distance in km:

  • Strand to Hermanus: 73 to 90 km one-way (depending on choice of road)
  • Gordon’s Bay to Betty’s Bay: roughly 36 km one-way

 

Klein to Great Karoo Road Trip

western-cape-road-trips-klein-karoo

It has been many years now since I last had the pleasure of driving through the Klein Karoo and onto the start of the Great Karoo, signalled by Prince Albert.

But this is one truly unique, memorable Western Cape road trip that has only increased in popularity over the years.

Again, you can start in the Route 62 towns of Montagu or Barrydale and make your way to Oudtshoorn or even follow the scenic Swartberg Circle Route – which leads from “Oudtshoorn or Calitzdorp over the Swartberg Pass and through Meiringspoort to the towns of De Rust, Klaarstroom, and Prince Albert”.

Either way, you are in for a treat as far as small towns, rich Cape history, flora and fauna, Karoo succulents and impressive Cape fold mountains are concerned.

What Makes This Road Trip Special:

Everything from the varying scenery – which is at times, rugged and arid to lush and edged by snow-capped mountains – to the rich Cape history and culture found in these Klein Karoo dorpies (towns) makes this such a uniquely South African road trip.

Many years later and I still have the most incredible memories from the trips we have made out this way, when we explored places like Barrydale, Oudtshoorn, Ladismith, De Rust and Prince Albert to name only a few.

Roadside/Local Attractions:

Some of the highlights include the towns themselves – like Montagu, Barrydale, Oudtshoorn or Prince Albert – but then you also have attractions like Barrydale’s Karoo Art Hotel, Diesel & Creme, Ronnie’s Sex Shop, Cango Caves, wildlife ranches and game farms and more.

Then of course, there is the stunning Swartberg Pass. This gravel road, which connects the Klein (Little) and Great Karoo, is one of my firm highlights in the entire Western Cape province. The mountain pass is arguably one of the most spectacular passes anywhere in the world.

Distance in km:

  • Montagu to Barrydale: 63 km one-way
  • Montagu to Oudtshoorn: between 240 to 310 km one-way (depending on choice of road)
  • Barrydale to Oudtshoorn: 176 km one-way
  • Oudtshoorn (via N12 and R407) to Prince Albert: 112 km one-way
  • Oudtshoorn (via Swartberg Pass, R328) to Prince Albert: 73 km one-way

 

Garden Route Road Trip

Another truly special part of South Africa for road trips is the verdant Garden Route, which starts in Mossel Bay and runs to the Tsitsikamma forests.

Not only is this lush region one of the most beautiful parts of South Africa but it is technically perfectly poised between two provinces, Western and Eastern Cape, making it accessible to travellers from both. (Although it falls under the jurisdiction of the Western Cape, it happily borders the Eastern Cape.)

What Makes This Road Trip Special:

It has been a few years since I last visited the Garden Route but friends and loved ones go there every year and assure me it is as good, if not better, than I recall.

Honestly, even since age 10, the Garden Route has held my heart as one of our country’s most breathtaking places to visit or live in.

Aside from the picture-perfect coastlines and gorgeous beaches, coastal towns (like Knysna, Wilderness, Mossel Bay and Plettenberg Bay), magical fauna and flora, including famous forests – the Garden Route is an adventure lover’s paradise.

mossel-bay

In the same breath, it is also hugely family-friendly and romantic in its own right. This makes it a haven for couples and families too. Meaning road trips in and to the Garden Route promise fun and special moments for all.

Roadside/Local Attractions:

The most obvious attractions in the Garden Route are the stunning beaches, secluded lagoons and incredible outdoor beauty one can enjoy here.

Then there is the amazing Robberg Nature Reserve; Storms River suspension bridge (a sight to behold);ย  animal sanctuaries like Birds of Eden or Monkeyland; game lodges and parks; iconic Knysna Heads and of course, Tsitsikamma National Park.

Distance in km:

  • Mossel Bay to Plettenberg Bay: 137 km one-way
  • Mossel Bay to George: 46 km one-way
  • Wilderness to Plettenberg Bay: 80 km one-way
  • Cape Town to Knysna: between 488 – 550 km one-way (depending on choice of road)

 

Cape Winelands to Witzenberg Road Trips

mitchells-pass-ceres

Whether you travel from Durbanville, Paarl or Wellington, a trip to Wizenberg is always a treat.

This richly beautiful, fruitful municipality is home to five towns – namely, Ceres, Wolseley, Tulbagh, Op-die-Berg and Prince Alfred’s Hamlet. This municipality offers some of the most peaceful accommodation gems, outdoor adventure and patchwork Cape scenery that you will discover anywhere.

western-cape-road-trips-witzenberg

 

The valley is also famed for export-quality fruits, vegetables and wine. Best of all, it is ideal as a family-friendly or romantic getaway.

What Makes These Road Trips Special:

Aside from the natural country charm that each Witzenberg town possesses, drives from the Cape Winelands (and even Cape Town) are relatively short when compared to other country escapes.

route-62-tulbagh

Better still, there are some fabulous mountain passes along the way – including Bainskloof Pass, Mitchell’s Pass, Nuwekloof Pass and of course, Du Toitskloof Pass.

Roadside/Local Attractions:

dahlia-peach

Apart from the above-mentioned mountain passes, some of the other highlights spread between the Cape Winelands and Witzenberg include Klondyke Cherry Farm (where you can pick seasonal cherries); Matroosberg Nature Reserve (popular for winter snow fun); various hikes, MTB trails and guided horse riding opportunities; local wine farms; Adene’s Farm Flowers and their beautiful open days; and of course a plethora of historical monuments, particularly in Tulbagh.

tulbagh-monuments

Distance in km:

  • Wellington to Ceres: 74 km one-way
  • Tulbagh via Paarl: between 65 – 94 km one-way (depending on choice of road)
  • Tulbagh via Wellington: 53 km one-way
  • Cape Town to Wolseley: 130 – 135 km one-way (depending on choice of road)
  • Cape Town to Ceres: 136 – 144 km one-way (depending on choice of road)

 

Swartland Road Trip

western-cape-road-trips-swartland

The Swartland is one of the Cape’s most beautiful, yet underrated regions. Here, wine, wheat and olives are the order of the day – but this part of the world is also known for its pretty towns (which range from Darling to Malmesbury and the beautiful Riebeek Valley),ย idyllic wedding venuesย and outdoor adventures too.

What Makes This Road Trip Special:

riebeek-valley

I always feel as though the Swartland is one of the most overlooked regions and this is surprising to me.

Because not only is it incredibly beautiful and brimming with outdoor attractions from hikes to MTB trails and nature walks – but it is filled with quiet Cape charm.

riebeek-kasteel

The scenery changes, from peaceful wheat fields one moment to lush wine farms and wedding venues the next.

Everything from the golden canola fields to the picturesque mountains make this a special part of the Western Cape. And that is before you even begin to explore the towns that offer their own mix of characterful beauty, history and excellent Swartland food and wine.

riebeek-valley-wedding-venue

Roadside/Local Attractions:

The Swartland has many different attractions – but one of my main ones is theย endlessly beautiful Riebeek Valley. It’s an attraction in and of itself and is a joy to drive through.

riebeek-kasteel-eatery

Other highlights include Evita se Perron; wine farms like Allesverloren or Kloovenburg; Bartholomeus Klip (home to incredible farm stays and game drives) and a host of cosy cafes, restaurants and accommodation gems, like The Marmalade Cat, Old Dalby Restaurant, The Royal Hotel or Cherry Lane Coffee House and Deli.

allesverloren-wine-estate

All in all, the Swartland Region is the perfect place to enjoy easy road trips andย day trips near Cape Town.

Distance in km:

  • Cape Town to Riebeek Valley: 87-100 km one-way (depending on choice of road)
  • Cape Town to Darling: 72-82 km one-way (depending on choice of road)
  • Durbanville to Malmesbury: 47-56 km one-way (depending on choice of road)
  • Durbanville to Darling: 66-73 km one-way (depending on choice of road)

Cape Town to Constantia Wine Route Road Trip

western-cape-road-trips
Situated close to the Cape Town CBD,ย the Constantia Wine Route is a place of rich Cape history and beauty.
Here, with great mountain vistas, lovely cafes and restaurants and some quality wine farms and attractions to enjoy, visitors are spoiled for choice with a road trip to fair Constantia.
constantia-wine-valley-constantia-glen

What Makes This Road Trip Special:

What makes a road trip to this wine route so special is that, within minutes, you can leave the hustle and bustle of the City Bowl behind and replace it with picture-perfect vineyards, looming mountains and of course, true Cape Dutch beauty.

To date, I have had the pleasure of exploring several Constantia wine farms and every one I have visited – from Constantia’s first, Groot Constantia to theย incredibly scenic Constantia Glenย andย Steenbergย Vineyards – impress in their own right. Some of the estates (like Beau Constantia) are modern and trendy, while others have a more laid-back, family-friendly vibe.

french-dessert-constantia-winelands

Either way, given the wine route’s closeness to both the Cape Town CBD and indeed Hout Bay and Camps Bay, Clifton too – this is one of the mostย interesting city-based road tripsย you can enjoy anywhere.

Roadside/Local Attractions:

Of course, the Constantia wine farms and natural beauty are the main attractions here – but Constantia and surrounds also offer some excellent restaurants and cafes, such as Chardonnay Deli, La Colombe and Foxcroft to name a few.

eat-at-constantia-glen

Then there is the close proximity to sea-hugging suburbs like Hout Bay,ย Camps Bayย and Clifton. You can literally go from a sophisticated day’s winetasting to shoes off and sand between your toes hours later. It’s bliss.

Distance in km:

Distance from Cape Town to Constantia is generally about 18-20 km one-way but some of the wine farms are slightly further out (say, about 30 km one-way).

Take to the Open Road in Style

These are just some of the best Western Cape road trips that you can enjoy. Which are you keen to experience first? ๐Ÿ™‚

Author: Tamlyn Ryan

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

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

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