While iconic Cape Town landmarks like Table Mountain, Robben Island and Cape Point will forever be loved and celebrated by locals and tourist alike, the Mother City is filled with hidden gems, secret spots and beloved local hideaways waiting to be explored. Cape Town is widely known as one of the most beautiful and exciting cities in the world, so it really is no surprise that people from all corners of the globe travel to the Mother City to witness some of her world-renowned attractions. This however means large crowds of people yearning to get a glimpse of that Cape Town glory, and who can blame them.
But sometimes you have to wander a little off the beaten path onto the road less travelled to explore something new and perhaps even life changing. If you’re looking for something a little different, yet equally authentic, here are 8 lesser known attractions to visit in Cape Town. And while they might not be as well known, they’ll be sure to capture your heart and keep you coming back for more:
1. Ons Huisie – delicious West Coast seafood at its very best!
Driving along the Bloubergstrand beach front, after making a couple of crooked turns and sharp lefts, you’ll stumble upon the charming beach of Kleinbaai, home to this west coast gem known as Ons Huisie Restaurant. Local seafood, home-made bread, authentic South African cuisine and a glorious dose of west coast hospitality awaits you! Besides all of the delicious food, infectious atmosphere and beach front bliss, it is also known as one of the best sunset spots on the Cape’s west coast. And if you walk a little further along the cobblestone road you’ll be rewarded with a GLORIOUS view of Table Mountain and another cherished local west coast spot, the Blouberg Café.
2. Kloof Corner – time to hike!
Cape Town is the ultimate hiker’s paradise, home to an abundance of exciting mountain ranges and family-friendly trail, it’s no surprise that people flock to the Mother City to experience just a moment of that Cape Town hiking high! Besides the iconic Table Mountain and Lions head, which is certainly the most well-known, there are countless other secrets trials and hidden hideaways waiting to be discovered. Kloof Corner, found in the shadow of Table Mountain, is an absolute must when exploring Cape Town. Known as one of the best sunrise (and certainly sunset too) spots, the magnificent panoramic views of Kloof Corner will be sure to leave you speechless. Not to be confused with Kloof Ridge, Kloof Corner is an easy 30-45 minute hike that promises to give you all the same hiking highs and awe-inspiring moments as the well-known hiking giants.
3. Stony Point Penguin Reserve – spend some time with the glorious African Penguins
Much less well-known than its renowned penguin beach counterpart Boulders Beach, Stony Point Penguin Reserve houses one of the largest African Penguin colonies in the world. Located about an hour outside of Cape Town in the charming sea-side village of Betty’s Bay, this incredible Western Cape gem is certainly worth a visit. Not only will you get to witness these adorable ocean beings in all their glory, waddling, preening and playing about, but you’ll also get to visit the magnificent Betty’s Bay. This picturesque sea-side town situated along the scenic Clarence Drive Route between Pringle Bay and Kleinmond has been known to capture the hearts of all who choose to pay it a visit. This part of the world is also considered the heart of the Cape Floral Kingdom, owed to the exceptional examples of fynbos, and has largely remained unspoilt. And while you’re there, be sure to pay the Harold Porter Botanical Gardens a visit too, it really is quite a treat!
4. The Bombay Bicycle Club – a bohemian Kloof Street gem
Found at the top end of Kloof Street, this vibrant, bold and electrifying Cape Town hangout is certainly no run-of-the-mill tourist attraction. Referring to themselves as Cape Town’s wonderfully wacky bohemian love den at the top of the hill, where everything is possible and always ensues, a visit to the Bombay Bicycle Club is quite the adventure. Being one of several of the Madame Zingara chain of restaurants, they pay tribute to and gloriously celebrate their colourful history and electric past, and you’re invited to come along for every second of the exciting ride! And with a menu that boasts a delicious selection of all-time-favourites, incredible drink specials and an infectious vibe, this is one colourful bohemian Mother City celebration spot you don’t want to miss out on!
5. Oudekraal Beach – beach, braai & a ‘lekker’ vibe!
The Mother City is home to some of the most spectacular beaches in the world. And while the renowned Camps Bay and Clifton beach often take the ‘tourist attraction beach crown’ you’ll be disappointed if you end your journey of Cape Town beach discovery there. The Mother City is filled with incredible hidden beaches and glorious lesser known spots that are sure to capture your beach-loving heart! Oudekraal beach is certainly one of those! Situated between Llandudno and Bakoven, Oudekraal beach is a beautiful small cove surrounded by boulders. This makes it ideal for families with little ones yearning to splash around and have some fun. Oudekraal is also known as a popular ‘Braai’ spot, thereby adding an authentic South African touch to your Cape Town beach day.
6. The Slave Lodge – a glimpse into Cape Town’s history
This surprisingly lesser-visited landmark is not only the second oldest existing colonial structure of the Cape Colony (dating back to 1660) but is also where all the slaves were kept overnight. Although the Afro-Asian slave trade of Cape Town might not be as well known, it is every bit as educational, eye-opening and enriching. This heart-wrenching tale of thousands of people forcibly held within these four walls gives you a true glimpse into the real Cape Town and its deep-rooted history. Exhibitions on the lower level of this museum allow you to explore the long history of slavery in South Africa and is certainly worth a visit.
7. The Silvermine Waterfall – a glorious adventure & incredible view!
There’s just something about a waterfall that awakens the inner child in all of us. And the Silvermine Waterfall truly is a glorious sight! Located at the top of a leisurely walking trail in the plush Silvermine Nature Reserve, a gentle slope will lead you to your waterfall haven. Home to over 900 species of fynbos, incredible rock pools, picnic spots and an extensive bird life, The Silvermine Waterfall is every bit as amazing as it sounds. And how can we forget the views? The Silvermine Nature Reserve boasts breath-taking views that will leave you stunned! This is also a great outing for families, and even the dogs can come along!
8. Cosy Bay/Beta Beach – a hidden beach GEM
With Cape Town being home to so many sensational beaches, how can we not mention one more hidden gem? Nestled between the Mother City’s two power beach players, Camps Bay and Clifton, you’ll find this spectacular little hideaway. This secret spot is surrounded by large boulders, not only making it oh so ‘cosy’ and picturesque, but it also combats the wind. This makes it the perfect spot for some relaxing sunbathing or getting lost in a good book. The calm waters are great for a dip in the Atlantic too! If not for its charm, the incredible view of the glorious 12 Apostles and Lions Head will certainly have you coming back for more!
Whether you’re looking for an undiscovered beach spot, hidden inner city gem, sensational hiking trail or hub of rich culture and heritage, the Mother City has it all. And while all the major Cape Town attractions will always be an incredible treat to see, there is certainly more to Cape Town than merely the headliners. Why not embark on a journey of Mother City discovery and explore a few? It promises to be worth every second!
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