South Africa’s Cape Town has plenty of attractions to keep you busy on your summer vacation. Surrounded by dozens of wineries, beaches, and rugged cliffs, the Mother City is also home to colorful neighborhoods such as Bo-Kaap and offers dozens of outdoor activities like hiking to Table Mountain and shark cage diving. While there are many interesting places in the city, it is also worth going on day trips from Cape Town and exploring the surrounding region. Western Cape offers a number of attractive destinations and there is no shortage of amazing spots around Cape Town. Check out our list of 5 best day trips from Cape Town.
Located in the heart of Cape Winelands, Stellenbosch is just a 45-minute drive away from the Mother City. This university town is well-known for its lovely markets, Cape Dutch architecture, and amazing restaurants. It is also a major wine destination and you will find eateries here that pair food with local wines. Head out to Church Street to find best restaurants or visit the famous Eagle Encounters rehabilitation center. Don’t forget to go on one of the wine tours, as this is the number one activity here in Stellenbosch.
Buckle up and head south of Cape Town to the lovely seaside town of Hermanus, the whale-watching capital of the world. Yes, that’s right! Hermanus is usually packed with tourists between July and November when Southern Right Whales migrate along the coast to calve. You can spot whales from the shoreline or go on a boat trip for close encounters with Southern Right Whales, Bryde Whales, and Humpback Whales.
3 Boulders Beach Penguin Colony
Ideal for postcard pictures, Boulders Beach Penguin Colony is one of the best day trips from Cape Town that you can have. The main attraction here is the lovely penguins. They came to this area 20 years ago and as the colony grew, they started to use Boulders Beach as their breeding ground. Today, travelers can easily spot a couple of penguins in the coastal area, but for a small fee, they can mingle with thousands of penguins on Boulders Beach. Keep in mind that only a limited number of people are allowed on the beach, so make sure to arrive early from Cape Town.
Nestled just a two-hour drive from Cape Town, Paternoster is a small fishing village that is well-known as a top surf destination and one of the most popular weekend getaway spots for Capetonians. Explore the endless white-sand beaches and see dolphins frolicking in the ocean. Bird-watching is also one of the cool activities in Paternoster, as there are over 250 species of birds using the coastline as their breeding ground. Some of the other popular activities include mountain biking, cray-fishing, hiking, and going on dive excursions. Paternoster is also home to several world-class restaurants where you can try traditional South African specialties.
5 West Coast National Park
West Coast National Park should definitely be included on your list of best day trips from Cape Town, as it is one of the most impressive destinations in all of South Africa. Many people come in August and September during the wildflower season to see the impressive display of flowers and take cool photographs for their Instagram accounts. Outside the flower season, the main attractions include white-sand beaches in Saldanha Bay, hiking trails, and wildlife spotting. West Coast National Park is also a great place for bird-watching.
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