Recently named the ‘Third greatest city on Earth’ by the flagship UK newspaper, The Telegraph, out ranking countless renowned travel destinations and global heavy-hitters, as well as nominated for six World Travel Awards, there is nothing more exciting than exploring the glorious Cape Town outdoors.
From beautiful beaches, vast winelands, incredible National Parks, and countless mountain ranges to iconic landmarks, and world-renowned natural wonders, there is no shortage of thrilling outdoor experiences and adventures to tick off your Cape Town bucket list.
Here are some of the best outdoor things to do in Cape Town anytime of the year.
1. Go hiking
Going hiking is by far one of the top outdoor things to do in Cape Town. The Cape Town hiking scene is thriving, thrilling and like nothing you’ve experienced before. There is no better way to explore all the scenic beauty, landscapes, mountain ranges, and natural gems the Mother City has to offer than by going on the ultimate hiking adventure.
It’s no secret that the Western Cape is known and celebrated for its vast variety of incredible hiking trails. Suited to ALL fitness and experience levels – the Western Cape has the perfect hiking trail for YOU too! Here are merely a few of the top hiking trails in Cape Town:
|Devil’s Peak Hiking Trail
|The Pipe Track
|Tranquillity Cracks Hiking Trail
|Jonkershoek Nature Reserve
|Nursery Ravine Hiking Trail
|Krom River Trail
|Platteklip Gorge Hiking Trail
|Woody Ravine Hiking Trail
|Kasteelpoort Hiking Trail
|India Venster Hiking Trail
|Little Lion’s Head
|Skeleton Gorge Hiking Trail
|Constantia Corner Hiking Trail
|Lion’s Head Loop Hiking Trail
|Suicide Gorge Hiking Trail
|Constantia Nek to Kirstenbosch
|Table Mountain Contour Path
|Tygerberg Nature Reserve
|Cape Point Hiking Trails
To add a bit more thrill to Cape Town’s already exhilarating hiking scene, here are a few exciting overnight hiking trails avid hikers can look forward to:
- The Cederberg Wilderness
- Here are some overnight trail sections with the distance of that section:
- Pahuis Pass – Heuningvlei = 13km
- Kleinkliphuis – Krakadouw Pass = 11km
- Dwarsrivier (Clanwilliam) – Heuningvlei = 12km
- Heuningvlei – Krakadouw Peak = 4km
- Heuningvlei – Boontjieskloof hut = 12km
- Boontjieskloof hut – Crystal Pool = 14km
- Crystal Pool – Sleeppad = 8km
- Crystal Pool – Algeria = 15km
- Rooiberg – Kruisrivier – Algeria = 19km
- Rooiberg – Kruisrivier – Syferfontein – Bakleikraal – Kromrivier = 29km
- The Whale Trail
- Cape of Good Hope Trail
- The Otter Trail
- Boosmansbos Wilderness hiking trail
If you’re a beginner hiker looking to experience and explore some of Cape Town’s best and beautiful hiking trails, the Mother City has an incredible array of hiking trails for you too (even if you’ve never hiked a day in your life). Here are some of the best Cape Town hiking trails for beginners that you should absolutely add to your Cape Town hiking adventure bucket-list:
|The Pipe Track | Table Mountain
|Lion’s Head Hiking Trail
|Kloof Corner | Table Mountain
|Elephant’s Eye Cave | Constantiaberg
|Lion’s Head Loop Hiking Trail
|Table Mountain Contour Path
|Boomslang Cave Hike | Kalk Bay
|Cape Point Hiking Trails: Cape of Good Hope TrailLighthouse Keeper’s TrailGifkommetjie TrailPhyllisia CircuitShipwreck TrailThomas T. Tucker Trail | Shipwreck TrailSirkelsvlei Trail | Shipwreck Trail
2. Go Sandboarding at the Atlantis Dunes
Located approximately 40-minutes from the city center, the Atlantis Dunes is the ultimate sandboarding mecca. It is also one of only a handful of sandboarding locations in the world, undoubtedly making it one of the most thrilling bucket-list worthy experiences and best outdoor things to do in Cape Town.
Want to know the best part? People of all ages and experience levels are invited to join in on the sandboarding fun. Even if you’ve never sand boarded a day in your life, the experienced guides will be right there to help you out along the way.
3. Surf, Kitesurf, or Kiteboard
Cape Town is the ultimate surfing, kitesurfing, and kiteboarding mecca for locals, travelers, and world-renowned surfing legends alike.
Home to some of the most beautiful beaches in the world, coolest waves and a stunning year-round mild Mediterranean climate, Cape Town has fast become a sought-after surfing destination for surfers from around the world. Whether you’re an avid surfing pro looking for your next big wave or a surfing first timer, Cape Town has the perfect spot for you.
Some of Cape Town’s top surfing beaches include:
- Muizenberg Beach Surfer’s Corner | Experience level: Beginner
- The Dunes at Noordhoek Beach | Experience level: Advanced
- Llandudno Beach | Experience level: Intermediate – Advanced
- Long Beach in Kommetjie | Experience level: Intermediate – Advanced
- Bloubergstrand | Experience level: Intermediate
4. Explore & Experience the cool coastal town of Kalk Bay
Previously declared one of the coolest neighborhoods in the world by Forbes, the quirky sea-side town of Kalk Bay definitely lives up to ALL the hype! Located along the vibrant False Bay coastline, this ocean-front fishing village is jam-packed with tons of hidden gems & one-of-a-kind finds, cool surfing spots, thrilling hiking trails, epic caves, a bustling harbor, action-packed adventure experiences, and magnificent marine life. Believe it or not, that’s merely scratching the surface of what Kalk Bay has to offer.
Renowned for its unapologetic scenic beauty, authentic charm, adventurous spirit, and vibrant energy – You won’t find anywhere else quite like it in the Western Cape, or the world for that matter.
**If you’re looking for more exciting things to do in Kalk Bay, here are a few great suggestions:
- Take a refreshing dip in the Dalebrook Tidal Pool and / or Wooley’s Tidal Pool – Take your pick!
- Go cave exploring
- Go surfing
- Visit the Kalk Bay Harbour
- Explore the quirky streets of Kalk Bay
- Hike the famous Boomslang Cave – It is a relatively easy hike perfect for novice hikers, families with kids, and adventure seekers – It is known as one of Cape Town’s more adventurous hikes after all. Click here to find out everything you need to know about the Boomslang Cave hike.
- Enjoy a unique seaside dining experience at the renowned Brass Bell
- Go on an adventure-filled hike from Kalk Bay to the Amphitheatre
- Indulge in a rock-your-socks-off ice cream at the famous Ice Café
- Visit Kalk Bay’s local plant and garden shops – Perfect for head-over-heels plant lovers! The Kalk Bay Garden Shop is most definitely worth a visit!
- Enjoy a cup of coffee & bite to eat at the iconic Olympia Café & Bakery – While an array of breakfast, lunch, and dinner options are available, Olympia is renowned for its freshly baked pastries and bread
- Visit the Kalk Bay Breakwater Lighthouse
- See the cool and charismatic Cape Fur Seals at the Kalk Bay Harbour. You can expect to see these playful ocean beings draped over the pier walls at the harbour. If you’re eager to see these incredible Cape Fur Seals up close and personal – Kalk Bay Harbour is exactly where you need to be!
- Go to the Kalk Bay Theatre & the Kalk Bay Modern Gallery
- Visit the infamous Kalk Bay Expresso – A charming café housed inside a restored Blue Train carriage
- Pop into the vibey beachside cocktail bar – Cape to Cuba
You can easily spend a whole day exploring the streets of Kalk Bay and still not discover everything it has to offer – that’s the beauty and magic of this cool coastal town
**Extra Bonus: Kalk Bay is also home to one of the absolute BEST and highly sought-after local harbourfront fish and chips spots in the entire city – Kalky’s!
Kalky’s is local fish and chips, made the real local way, by real Cape Town locals. Wrapped in a newspaper and served with a hefty dose of salt and vinegar (because that’s the way we do it in the Cape), you will be savoring every single bite – trust us, we know! Paired with a beautiful False Bay and Kalk Bay harbourfront view, it’s pure bliss!
Kalkys’ cool harbourfront setting is every bit as authentic as its incredible fish and chips. No fancy trimmings. No experimental and inventive flavor combinations. Just a laid back, back-to-basics eating area with a big display menu on the wall listing all the fresh and tasty options for the day.
- Where: Kalky’s | Kalk Bay Harbour, Kalk Bay, Cape Town
- Opening times: Monday – Sunday, 10am – 8pm
- Contact details: 021 788 1726 | [email protected]
5. Visit Cape Point
Visiting the renowned Cape Point National Park is not only one of the most incredible and action-packed outdoor things to enjoy in Cape Town, but one of the top ‘not-to-be-missed’ things to do on any trip to the Western Cape.
Cape Point is one of Cape Town’s most magnificent natural wonders and sought-after attractions. Located approximately 60km south west of the city of Cape Town, at the very tip of the Cape Peninsula, Cape Point is the ultimate mecca for nature lovers and adventure seekers.
Besides its unapologetic natural beauty, Cape Point boasts a rich diversity of fauna and flora, secret beaches, endless adventure experiences, and some of the most thrilling hiking trails in the Western Cape. With so much to do, see, and experience, visiting the renowned Cape Point should be on everyone’s bucket-list.
**Things to do at Cape Point:
Go on a Cape Point Hiking adventure:
Some of Cape Point’s top hiking trails include:
- The Cape of Good Hope Trail
- Lighthouse Keeper’s Trail
- The Gifkommetjie Trail
- Antoniesgat Trail
- The Kanonkop Trail
- The Phyllisia Circuit trail
- Cape Point Shipwreck Trails: The Thomas T. Tucker Trail | The Sirkelsvlei trail
Visit Cape Point’s Secret Beaches:
- Diaz Beach
- Buffels Beach
- Maclear’s Beach
- Olifantsbos Beach
Enjoy Cape Point’s exciting outdoor adventures & experiences:
- Some of these thrilling experiences include:
- Sea kayaking
- Mountain biking
- Action-packed nature walks
- Beach hopping
- Coastal foraging
- Deep-sea fishing
- Exploring a wide variety of stunning dive sites on both sides of the Point
Take a ride on the Flying Dutchman Funicular
Explore Cape Point’s vast & diverse fauna & flora
Visit the iconic old Cape Point Lighthouse
*Cape Point Details & Information:
- Location: Click here for a map / directions on how to get to Cape Point
- Contact details: 021 780 9010 | [email protected] | Website: www.capepoint.co.za | 021 712 7471 | [email protected]
- Opening times: October – March & April – September: Monday – Sunday, 7am – 5pm
- Click here for information and details regarding the COVID-19 Government Notice
*Cape Point Social Media:
6. Go on the Ultimate Sunset Chasing Adventure
Going sunset chasing is by far my favorite thing to do in Cape Town all year-round! Maybe it will soon be yours too!
Its time to chase sunsets! There is no denying that the Mother City is pure sunset bliss. Known for her stunning sherbet-colored sunsets that set the sky alight in a beautiful celebration of colors, going on the ultimate sunset chasing adventure is without a doubt one of the best outdoor things to do in Cape Town all year-round.
To put the cherry on top of the Mother City’s sunset chasing cake – or so to speak – Cape Town is home to some seriously sensational sunset spots – perhaps even the best in the world. However, sometimes you need to wander a little off the beaten path to find the real sunset hidden gems – That’s when the real sunset adventure begins!
**Here are a few of our favorite secret sunset & overall best sunset spots in Cape Town, all of which deserve a prime spot on your sunset bucket-list:
- Look-out Cave on Chapman’s Peak Drive | *Secret Sunset Spot
- The Clifton Ridge Rocks | *Secret Sunset Spot
- Lions Head
- Table Mountain
- Signal Hill
- Llandudno Beach
- Kloof Corner
- The ‘Sunset Rock’ | *Secret Sunset Spot
- Diaz Beach | Cape Point | *Secret Sunset Spot
Happy sunset chasing sunset lovers!
7. Go cave exploring
It’s time to go on the ultimate Cape Town cave adventure! Cape Town is home to several seriously cool, absolutely extraordinary, and down-right thrilling caves – All of which deserve a top spot on your Cape Town adventure bucket list. Only if you’re up for it of course?
There is no doubt that going on the ultimate Cape Town cave quest is by far one of the most adrenalin-inducing outdoor things to do in Cape Town for avid adventurers.
Here are a few of Cape Town’s top caves to explore:
- Difficulty: Easy
- Fitness level required: Low -Moderate level of fitness required
- Start point: Boyes Drive – Echo Valley
- End Point: Boomslang Cave above Kalk Bay
- Average time to the top: Approximately 2 – 3 hours (depending on your fitness and experience level)
- Approximate route distance: +/- 3.9km
- Child-friendly: Yes
Boomslang Cave is one of Kalk Bay’s coolest hidden gems. As it’s a relatively easy hike, it is great for less experienced cave explorers, novice hikers, families with curious and active kiddos, and eager adventurers keen to get out and explore.
Found above Kalk Bay, Boomslang Cave tunnels right through the mountain – making it quite a thrilling experience to tick off your adventure bucket-list.
Klipgat Cave, Gansbaai
Nestled within the Walker Bay Nature Reserve, a mere three kilometres from the idyllic De Kelders fishing village, Klipgat Cave is another one of Cape Town’s best secret caves and coolest hidden gems.
Beyond its stunning surroundings and spectacular views, Klipgat Cave has quite a bit of history behind it. The cave reached cultural, historical and world heritage significance due to the 1992 excavation when 70 000-year-old human bones and stone tools were discovered within the cave. These bones and stone tools were believed to be left behind by the native Khoikhoi bushman. This undoubtedly adds an extra dose of mystery and thrill to your experience.
Besides its rich history, exploring Klipgat Cave is a real adventure. It boasts two chambers: The first chamber has a rugged rocky surface and leads to the ocean. The second chamber is made up of a small entryway that leads to the main cave excavation site. There is also a boardwalk that circles around the historical site.
**Extra tip: Klipgat Cave is regarded as one of the best whale watching spots in the Western Cape.
- Difficulty: Moderate level of difficulty
- Fitness level required: Moderate level of fitness required
- Start point: Tafelberg Road / Rhodes Memorial
- End Point: Upper Aerial Cableway Station
- Average time to the top: 1 – 2 hours one way starting from Tafelberg Road | 2 – 3 hours one way starting from Rhodes Memorial
- Child friendly: Yes
Famously known for its long horizontal crack in the Devil’s Peak mountainside, the iconic Woodstock Cave is one of the largest caves on Table Mountain. This not only makes it a top go-to cave, but offers avid cave explorers and adventures tons of space to discover everything it has to offer.
The hike to reach the Woodstock Cave is relatively easy and doesn’t require a great deal of hiking experience. Once you reach the cave, you will be well rewarded for your hiking efforts with a magnificent view, a shaded area to relax and recharge, as well as a small waterfall to admire and enjoy at your own leisure.
**Extra Tip: Don’t hike this route alone. It’s always best to hike in a group when hiking any of Cape Town’s hiking trails.
Lookout Cave, Chapman’s Peak
The Lookout Cave is not only one of Cape Town’s top secret caves, but one of Chapmans Peak Drive’s most beautiful hidden gems and best secret sunset spots too. Like all of the Mother City’s best kept secrets, you may need to wander a little off the beaten path to find it.
Make your way along Chapman’s Peak Drive until you reach the famous Chapman’s Peak Lookout Point – This is where the real adventure begins! Positioned just below the pass, you’ll have to climb over the railing and carefully make your way down the mountainside to reach the Lookout Cave.
An extra bonus is that this Chapmans Peak hidden gem has enough space to enjoy a picnic and a few sundowners paired with one hell of a view.
Stadsaal Caves, Cederberg
While you may need to travel a little outside of Cape Town to explore this hidden gem, it promises to be well worth the trip.
Located just over 2 hours outside of the city centre, the Cederberg Wilderness area is considered one of the most undisturbed regions of the Western Cape. With burnt ochre mountains, jagged sandstone rock formations and ancient San and Khoi rock art, it will feel like you’ve escaped to another world entirely.
The Stadsaal Caves is a series of caverns carved into the rock by thousands of years’ worth of wind erosion. These caves were entirely formed by nature and have been touched only by humans in the form of the ancient bushman paintings found on the walls inside. The Stadsaal Caves, together with other nearby landmarks such as the Wolfberg Arch and the Maltese Cross, are some of the most magnificent natural gems in the Western Cape.
How to get to the Stadsaal Caves: To get to the Stadsaal Caves, follow the N7 towards Citrusdal. Continue north from Citrusdal and take the Algeria turnoff to the right onto a dirt road. Continue to the Matjiesrivier Nature Reserve, the caves are located around 5km from the Algeria campsite. You will find a gate barring the entrance to the caves. The gate can be unlocked with the combination attached to your CapeNature permit.
**Important information: As the Cederberg Wilderness is a CapeNature reserve, you will need a permit to enter. You can purchase a permit at Driehoek Farm, en route to the Cederberg, or directly from CapeNature by contacting them on 021 483 0190. The cost of permits is R70 for adults and R40 for children.
Waenhuiskrans Cave, Arniston
Located just off the sandy shoreline of Arniston, the Waenhuiskrans Cave is undoubtedly one of Cape Town’s best secret caves to explore. Arniston is a small seaside town on the coast of the Overberg region of the Western Cape, approximately 3 hours from the city of Cape Town. It is home to white sandy beaches, turquoise waters, and a stunning shipwreck-strewn coastline rich in history and heritage. But, by far one of its best kept secrets and hidden natural gems is the Waenhuiskrans Cave.
Due to its secret location, the Waenhuiskrans Cave can only be accessed during low tide when you are able to make your way through the shallow waters to the entrance of the cave.
Inside the Waenhuiskrans Cave you’ll discover several rockpools, as well as plenty of rock-dwelling marine life that have decided to take up residence inside the cave. If you’re an avid adventurer and keen explorer, a trip to the Waenhuiskrans Cave in Arniston should definitely be on your Cape Town bucket-list.
**Tip: The Waenhuiskrans Cave can ONLY be accessed during low tide. For your own safety it is vital that you do not attempt the hike at any other point of the day. Take only the essentials along when making your way to the cave. Due to the slippery, seaweed-strewn rocks that lie beneath the water’s surface as you navigate your way to the cave, it is important that you wear shoes that are appropriate for traversing slippery rock beds. If you require any additional information on the tides, be sure to contact Cape Agulhas Tourism (028 424 2584 or 028 424 2883) – they will be happy to give you all the pointers and additional information you need.
8. Go Whale Watching
**Southern Right Whales are the most common whale species spotted in and around Cape Town’s vast ocean waters. However, you might also get the chance to see humpback Whales and Bryde’s Whales – What an unbelievable & thrilling experience!**
There are few things as spectacular as whale season in Cape Town. If you happen to be visiting the Western Cape during this time, WOW, you are in for the mother of all treats! Winter in Cape Town is the best time of year to see whales in the Western Cape as hundreds of southern right whales, humpback whales, and Bryde’s whales migrate along the coast of South Africa every year between the months of June – November – often lingering around until December.
This undoubtedly makes going whale watching one of the best outdoor things to do in Cape Town for both the young and young at heart!
Southern Right Whales, the most frequently spotted whale species, journey to the Cape shores every year to mate and calve in the warmer ocean waters(which is a welcome change from their icy Antarctic habitat). This gives marine-loving locals, tourists, and travelers passing through the unbelievable opportunity to see these majestic ocean beings in their natural habitat. Besides sensational knock-your-socks-off whale sightings and encounters, southern right whales absolutely LOVE showing off their amazing skills and can often be seen breaching, fluking, lobtailing, spouting, spyhopping, and waving their tails out of the water to capture any and all onlookers’ attention – If you’re lucky enough to bare witness to this, make sure you enjoy EVERY single second of it. Plus, it is most definitely a BIG tick off your Cape Town bucket-list, that’s for sure!
Known as the glorious, yet gentle giants of the ocean, Southern Right Whales are extremely playful, active, friendly, and inquisitive. However, that certainly doesn’t mean they don’t have a bold and sassy side – Oh no, Southern Right Whales can be total show offs when they want to be, you just wait and see!
9. Go to Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens
Located on the eastern slopes of the magnificent Table Mountain, Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens is acclaimed one of the great Botanic Gardens of the World. Forming part of the Cape Floristic Region UNESCO World Heritage site, Kirstenbosch is home to more than 20,000 native South African plant species spread across a 528-hectare nature reserve of indigenous forest and fynbos, it truly is any nature lover’s paradise.
Besides its vast natural beauty and top Cape Town garden status, Kirstenbosch offers visitors an endless variety of things to do and see. Not to mention some exciting adventure experiences.
Here is a sneak-peak of what you can expect on your visit to Kirstenbosch:
- Calling all wildlife and bird lovers! Kirstenbosch is home to over 125 bird species, making it any bird enthusiast’s dream come true. You will also encounter several reptiles, frogs, and invertebrates as well as amphibians such as the Chirping Frog, the Cape River Frog, and the critically endangered Table Mountain Ghost Frog.
- Avid hikers can enjoy a variety of hiking trails and walking routes. The Kirstenbosch estate can be explored via five trails of differing levels of difficulty. All are well-maintained, logged footpaths or gravel roads and are sign-posted. The Braille Trailand Boekenhout Trail are ideal forest walks for those pressed for time and the not so fit. The Stinkwood Trail is a relatively short exploration of the oldest part of the forest with some of the largest trees. The Yellowwood Trail and Silvertree Trail are long hikes that take you up to the waterfall and around the estate, through both forest and fynbos. It is also possible to climb Table Mountain from Kirstenbosch, up Nursery Ravine or Skeleton Gorge.
- Kirstenbosch boasts a variety of beautiful garden areas, including the Botanical Society Conservatory, art at the Sculpture Garden, and the Protea Garden, to mention just a few.
- For avid adventurers and thrill seekers, there are tons of hidden gems, secret spots, caves, waterfalls and so much more to be discovered and explored – so get ready for an adventure!
- Beautiful, lush lawns and large shaded trees perfect for picnics and kiddies ruuning around.
- The famous Centenary Treetop Canopy Walk, also known as the ‘Boomslang’, has fast become a fan-favourite Kirstenbosch attraction for both the young and young at heart. The Centenary Tree Canopy Walkway is a curved steel and timber bridge that winds and dips its way through and over the trees of the Arboretum. The Walkway takes visitors from the forest floor into and through the trees and bursts out above the canopy, boasting spectacular panoramic views of the surrounding mountains and Garden.
- The cyad amphitheatre which features life-size models of dinosaurs – this is a real winner with the kids!
- Kirstenbosch also has a variety of restaurants to and curio shops.
10. Enjoy a beach day
There is nothing better than being sun-kissed, sandy-toed, and salty-haired while soaking up the glorious Cape Town sunshine. Enjoying a blissful beach day on one of the Mother City’s beautiful beaches is by far one of the top things to do in Cape Town. Thanks to Cape Town’s lovely year-round mild Mediterranean climate, beach season can be enjoyed right throughout the year.
Whether you’re looking to have some beach fun in the sun, sunbathe, go sandcastle building, learn to surf, enjoy a sunset stroll or beach sundowner, Cape Town’s variety of sensational beaches caters to all your beach-loving desires.
Here are some of our favorite beaches that all deserve to be on your Cape Town beach bucket-list: Camps Bay, Clifton, Muizenberg Beach, Bloubergstrand, Llandudno, Bakoven, Glen Beach, Boulders Beach, Big Bay, Oudekraal Beach, Long Beach in Kommetjie, Noordhoek Beach and Water’s Edge.
11. Go for a scenic coastal drive at sunset, sunrise, or anywhere in between
Watching the glorious Mother City sunset and/or sunrise is by far one of the best things to do in Cape Town in winter (or anytime of the year for that matter). However, seeing the sun set and/or rise while taking a drive along one of the Mother City’s most magnificent coastal roads is a bucket-list worthy experience in its own right.
There is absolutely no denying that Cape Town is home to several of the most beautiful coastal drives in the world, some of which include:
- Victoria Road: This road hugs the back of Table Mountain, passing quiet stretches of the coast as well as some of the most beautiful beaches in the world, including Camps Bay and Clifton Beach. This drive will take you approximately 35 minutes.
- Boyes Drive: This stunning coastal drive traces mountains behind False Bay, boasting beautiful views over the harbour below, before finally winding down and ending at the lively Kalk Bay Harbour. During whale season, between June and November, you might be lucky enough to spot whales frolicking in the bay below, as well as other members of the Marine Big 5! This drive will take you approximately 12 minutes.
- Signal Hill: Signal Hill is a quick drive and it’s close to the city centre, which means you don’t need to travel too far. Once you reach the top you will be able to enjoy magnificent panoramic views of the Mother City and beyond. It’s no surprise Signal Hill is known as one of the best sunset spots in Cape Town. This drive will take you approximately 5 – 10 minutes from the city centre.
- Simon’s Town to Cape Point: This picturesque coastal road gives you the opportunity to wind your way along the quiet, largely untouched coastline all the way to the majestic natural wonder that is Cape Point. This drive will take you approximately 40 minutes.
- R44 From Gordon’s Bay to Somerset West: This scenic coastal drive will take you along the edge of the water through Strand with spectacular mountain range and ocean views all the view through. This drive will take you approximately 25 minutes.
And last, but most definitely not the least – The renowned Chapman’s Peak Drive of course!
- Chapman’s Peak Drive: Named one of the most magnificent marine drives in the world, taking a drive along the picturesque Chapman’s Peak Drive should be on everyone’s Cape Town bucket-list. Affectionately known as ‘Chappies’ by Cape Town locals, this captivating coastal road ribbons along the Atlantic coastline between Hout Bay and Noordhoek.
Showcasing some of the most sensational panoramic views over the Atlantic Ocean, you will pass rugged mountains, picturesque white-sand beaches, and vibrant fishing harbours on your drive along Chapman’s Peak.
** Important note: Chapman’s Peak Drive may be closed during severe weather conditions or due to road maintenance. Contact the customer service line (021 791 8220) or visit their Facebook page or website to check the current status.
Chapman’s Peak Details:
- Location: M6 | Chapmans Peak Drive, Atlantic Seaboard, Cape Town
- Best time: Best during daylight hours | Particularly beautiful at sunset
- Cost: Chapman’s Peak Drive is a toll road, and as such requires as toll tariff fee. Each category of vehicle pays a different tariff and the tariff is applicable in each direction.
- Toll Details: Click here to find out more about the Chapman’s Peak Standard Toll Tariffs | Click here to find out more about Chapman’s Peak Day Passes | Click here to find out more about Chapman’s Peak Frequent User Benefits
**Chapman’s Peak Drive Hidden Gems
Wait, there’s more! If you’re eager to add some adventure and thrill to your Chapman’s Peak Drive experience, here are a few things to look out for:
**Tip: Chapman’s Peak Drive is known for its amazing hidden gems scattered along the route. Two of which include the waterfall walk and the secret Look-out Cave.
The waterfall walk is perfect for nature lovers and adventurers and is found just before you reach the toll gate on your way towards Noordhoek.
The Chapman’s Peak Look-out Cave is not only one of its most beautiful hidden gems, but one of Cape Town’s top secret caves and best sunset spots too. Like all of the Mother City’s best kept secrets, you may need to wander a little off the beaten path to find it. Make your way along Chapman’s Peak Drive until you reach the famous Chapman’s Peak Lookout Point – This is where the real adventure begins!
Positioned just below the pass, you’ll have to climb over the railing and carefully make your way down the mountainside to reach the Lookout Cave. Once you’ve reached this cool secret hideaway and stunning sunset spot, it’s time to sit back, relax and soak it all in. The sheltered sand-stone cave boasts the perfect view over Hout Bay and Atlantic Ocean. An extra bonus is that it has enough space to enjoy a picnic and a few sundowners paired with one hell of a view.
Besides these two must-visit secret spots, there are a variety of look-out points and picnic sites located at various points along the drive. Chapman’s Peak Drive is also known as one of the best places to spot the beloved members of Cape Town’s Marine Big 5. Make sure to keep a look-out for Cape Fur Seals, Dolphins, Southern Right Whales, and African Penguins.
12. See the African Penguins at Boulders Beach
Seeing the African Penguins in their natural habitat is by far one of the top family friendly outdoor things to do in Cape Town all-year round. Home to a thriving population of African Penguins, Boulders Beach is one of the only places in the world where you can get up close and personal with these cool and charismatic ocean locals. This makes visiting the African Penguin colony at Boulders Beach a bucket-list worthy experience in every way.
Besides seeing the African Penguins from the African Penguin Viewing Site in Boulders Beach, you can enjoy a variety of other once-in-a-lifetime adventures such as swimming, kayaking or enjoying a laid-back beach day with them right by your side.
In addition to Boulders Beach, Stony Point Nature Reserve in Betty’s Bay is home to an African Penguin viewing site as well as one of the largest successful breeding colonies of African Penguins in the world.
**Note: Visitors will need to pay an entrance fee (which forms part of a conservation project) to gain access to the African Penguin Viewing Site and Boulders Beach. Your ticket is valid for the entire day. You can choose to exit and re-enter as it suits you (this only applies to the day your ticket was purchased).**Visit the SANParks website for more information regarding Boulders Beach’s Conservation Fees.
13. Enjoy a day at the Company’s Gardens
Established in 1652 by the Dutch East India Company (VOC), the historical Company’s Garden forms a unique oasis in the heart of Cape Town’s inner-city. The Company’s Garden is not only one of the top and most beautiful gardens in Cape Town, it is also home to some of South Africa’s most important landmarks, including the Houses of Parliament, Iziko South African Museum and Planetarium, St George’s Cathedral, and the National Library of South Africa, to name a few.
Besides its historical significance, the Company’s Garden has established itself as the ideal escape from the hype and hustle of the inner-city. Boasting a vast array of trees and a diversity of fabulous flora scattered about, the garden offers visitors several shady spots and benches on which to sit back, unwind, and enjoy the peaceful and stunning surroundings.
While wandering the many scenic pathways of the Company’s Garden, you’ll come across several historical features such as historic statues, a Japanese theme garden, a well that dates back to 1842, and a vegetable garden that recreates elements of the original VOC garden. The Garden also boasts a rose garden, a bird aviary, water features, a restaurant, plenty of squirrels running about, and lovely lush lawns perfect for picnicking under the glorious Cape Town sun.
14. St James Tidal Pool & Coastal Walk
While Cape Town has no shortage of incredible tidal pools (read our post Cape Town’s 19 Amazing Tidal Pools to make sure you visit them all), the St James Tidal Pool is undoubtedly one of the best. Not to mention a real fan-favourite among the young and young at heart.
How to get there: Situated close to the Muizenberg station, you will need to cross over the train tracks and follow the winding concrete path that meanders along the coast. Once you’ve reached your desired destination, a refreshing dip in the cool St James tidal pool waters is an absolute must! It really is the perfect Cape Town summer holiday activity for the whole family.
Besides the not-to-be-missed St James Tidal Pool, the St James coastal walk, which stretches between Muizenberg and St James, sure gives the Sea Point promenade a run for its money. Once known as Cape Town’s Golden Mile, this stunning walkway boasts sensational views right throughout.
As the vibrant False Bay coastline is known for its plethora of thriving marine life, be sure to keep a look out for some thrilling sightings of Cape Town’s beloved ocean locals – African Penguins, dolphins, whales, and of course the wonderful Cape Fur Seal!
The path is concreted the entire way and begins just behind Muizenberg’s railway station (It is highly recommended that you park up that end, rather than at the beach).
Feel free to enjoy the St James coastal walk barefooted (if you so desire), but, as a word of warning, the fishermen tend to leave their tackle on the path whilst fishing just out in front of it, so make sure you’re extra vigilant.
While taking a stroll along the ever-beautiful St James coastal walk is a fantastic and fun time for all regardless of the time of day, the very best time to do this walk is during low tide.
MORE TIDAL POOLS
Because let’s be honest, who doesn’t love taking a cool refreshing dip in one of Cape Town’s amazing tidal pools? Especially on a warm summer’s day!
The Mother City is blessed with countless tidal pools built along the coastline, providing everyone with an incredible, safe and family-friendly space to swim, cool down, have fun, and enjoy the sunset. Get ready to embrace the icy waters of the Atlantic as you spot a few sea slugs or cuttlefish along the way. Not to mention one or all of the members of the Marine Big 5 if you’re lucky!
In addition to the famous St James Tidal Pool situated between Muizenberg and Kalk Bay in the seaside suburb of St. James, here are a few more amazing tidal pools that you should add to your bucket-list right away.
- Miller’s Point | Simon’s Town
- Maiden’s Cove | Between Glen Beach and Camps Bay Beach
- Dalebrook | Kalk Bay
- Camps Bay tidal pool | Camps Bay
- Shelley’s Point | Glencairn
- Milton tidal pool | Milton Beach
- Glencairn | Glencairn Beach
- Buffel’s Bay | Cape Point Nature Reserve
- Soetwater | South of Kommetjie
- Sparks tidal pool | Gordon’s Bay
- Kommetjie tidal pool | Kommetjie
- Saunders | Saunders Beach, between Clifton and Sea Point in the suburb of Bantry Bay
- Silwerstroom | Silwerstroom Resort, Meklbosstrand
- Wooley’s tidal pool | Between Kalk Bay and Clovelly
- Monwabisi | Khayelitsha
- Brass Bell | Brass Bell Restaurant | Kalk Bay
- Harmony | Strand
15. Visit The Crystal Pools
Go on a thrilling and jam-packed adventure to one of the most sought-after and stunning natural gems in the Western Cape – The Crystal Pools.
Crystal Pools is one of Gordon’s Bay and Cape Town’s best kept secrets and bucket-list destinations. Located approximately 90 minutes outside of Cape Town, Crystal Pools boasts incredible hiking trails which lead to a series of mountain pools situated within a beautiful Valley known as the Steenbras River Gorge. Both the Steenbras River Gorge and the Crystal Pools forms part of the renowned Steenbras Nature Reserve, with the hiking trail following the Palmiet River up the gorge.
Crystal Pools, the Steenbras River Gorge, and Steenbras Nature Reserve offers avid hikers, adventurers, and anyone eager to explore the great outdoors the ultimate escape from the hustle and hype of the city.
Need to know information:
- Location: Kogelberg Nature Reserve | Greater Kogelberg Biosphere Reserve, Steenbras Nature Reserve (via N2 and R44), Helderberg Rural, Cape Town
- Operating hours: Office hours: 7:30am – 4pm | Steenbras River Gorge and Crystal Pools hiking trail bookings: Monday – Friday (excluding public holidays): 9:00am – 2:00pm
- Steenbras River Gorge & Crystal Pools operating hours: Hiking trails are only open from 1 November to 30 April each year (closed during winter months) | Hiking trail operating hours are from sunrise – sunset: 6am – 6pm | Steenbras River Gorge & Crystal Pools Hiking Trail operating times may differ slightly according to sunrise and sunset times throughout November – April
- Entrance Fees / Cost: Entry fee for Steenbras River Gorge: R75 per person | Entry fee for the Steenbras hiking trails: R25 per person | For more information and a detailed list of costs please contact 021 444 6927 or [email protected]
- Contact details: General enquiries: [email protected] | Booking queries: 021 856 9622 | 021 856 9623 | 021 856 9620 | [email protected] | Emergency number: 021 444 6927 | 021 957 4725
- Distance from Cape Town: +/- 65km – 80km (depending on route)
- Steenbras River Gorge & Crystal Pools Hiking Trail Carrying Capacity: To ensure that the hiking trails don’t get too crowded, a maximum of 50 people are allowed per day | It is essential to book as early as possible to avoid disappointment
- Essential Crystal Pools Hiking Trail Requirements: You cannot gain access to the area / hike any of Steenbras River Gorge or Crystal Pools’ Hiking Trails without a valid pre-booked and paid permit containing a unique QR Code & proof of identification (driver’s license, ID card, or passport)
- Hiking Trail Permits: To pre-book your Steenbras River Gorge & Crystal Pools permit email [email protected] with ALL relevant information, including the date of your visit and the size of your party / group (a minimum of 2 and a maximum of 10 people are allowed per group) | One permit per person is required | You can only acquire a permit via email, not at the gate | You must pre-book your hiking permit at least two to five working days before your visit |The hiking permit does not authorize abseiling activities.