Being one of the most beautiful cites in the world, Cape Town is home to an endless variety of sensational destinations, natural wonders, blissful beach escapes and hidden natural gems just waiting to be explored and discovered. With each one offering something unique, exciting, awe-inspiring and magnificent. There truly is nothing quite like it in the entire world.
Here are some surreal places in Cape Town you need to visit, some of which you may never have heard of before. But, that’s what makes it even more thrilling and special to explore.
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One of the Cape west coast’s most beautiful beachy gems is the picturesque sea-side village known as Yzerfontein. Situated just 80km north of Cape Town’s city centre, you’ll discover one of the most serene and surreal places in Cape Town you absolutely need to visit, the beautiful beach escape of Yzerfontein.
Boasting endless stretches of white sand and crystal-clear turquoise water, it will almost feel like you’ve escaped to a whole new world entirely all without really leaving the city at all. Known for its natural beauty, vast stretches of beach and pure sense of serenity and tranquillity, the beautiful Yzerfontein is a true west coast gem. Boasting a stunning unspoilt coastline with both rocky and sandy beaches, including the famous sixteen-mile beach which stretches all the way to Postberg Nature Reserve within the West Coast National Park, Yzerfontein is any beach and nature lover’s dream come true.
In addition to its natural unapologetic beauty, Yzerfontein boasts beautiful year-round sunshine and a mild winter climate, making it the perfect getaway and holiday destination for locals and travellers any time of the year. This captivating west coast town is also home to a small craft harbour which is any angler’s dream come true, well known for its snoek and crayfish. In fact, about 60% of all line fish caught on the West Coast happens right here in Yzerfontein.
In addition to its scenic beauty and stunning surroundings, Yzerfontein boasts an endless variety of exciting adventures and amazing experiences. From mountain biking, whale and dolphin watching, bird watching and stunning scenic drives to embarking on several exciting hiking trails and thrilling water sport adventures such as skiing, sailing, surfing, and angling. Yzerfontein has something for everyone to enjoy.
2. Kogelberg Nature Reserve
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Considered by many to be the Cape’s most beautiful protected area, Kogelberg Nature Reserve is another one of the Western Cape’s most magnificent World Heritage Sites as well as a truly remarkable Cape Town natural wonder. The natural reserve is South Africa’s very first registered biosphere reserve and encompasses the entire coastal area from Gordon’s Bay to the Bot River vlei, as well as inland to Grabouw and the Groenland Mountain.
The Kogelberg Nature Reserve’s reputation as one of the Western Cape’s leading natural stunner’s is greatly owed to it being largely untouched, as well as its unspoilt beauty that has endured minimal human interface. It’s real, raw, rugged, unapologetic beauty and untamed wilderness is everything and more you could ever hope to see. Making it any nature lover and adventure seeker’s dream destination to explore, discover and experience.
The Kogelberg Nature Reserve is also considered the heart and soul of the Cape Floral Kingdom due to its exceptional diversity and pristine quality of fynbos. It very well may be the finest example of mountain fynbos in the Western Cape. Making it quite an incredible sight.
If you’re an avid hiker at heart, the Green Mountain Trail located in the Kogelberg Nature Reserve is perfect for you. Forming part of the magnificent Kogelberg Biosphere Reserve, the Green Mountain Trail revolves around the Groenlandberg in the majestic Overberg Region of the Western Cape. This four-day Green Mountain Trail hiking adventure gives avid hikers the opportunity to experience and explore the diversity of fynbos and fruit farms the region is known for. It offers fine, seasonal food, wine tastings and comfortable, four-star luxury accommodation along the route, this is one overnight Western Cape hiking experience unlike any other.
3. Elands Bay
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Considered somewhat of a Cape West Coast hidden gem, Elands Bay is without a doubt one of the most surreal places in Cape Town you need to visit. Especially if you’re looking to experience the perfect breakaway from the hustle and bustle of the city, sit back, relax, reset and soak up all the magnificent beach views it has to offer. It truly is west coast beach bliss at its finest!
The beautiful and charismatic Cape West Coast is one of the most tranquil destinations in Cape Town for whenever you just need a quick break, week-long getaway or a serene escape. Plus, the fact that the unapologetic beauty and tranquillity of the Cape west coast is truly unparalleled, just makes it all the more magical. Not to mention that it’s only a short drive from the Cape Town city centre.
By far one of the most surreal places in Cape Town and the Cape west coast you absolutely have to add to your Cape Town bucket-list is the sleepy fishing village of Elands Bay. This is one of the best things about the west coast gem of Elands Bay is the fact that it is still relatively undiscovered by the masses and large crowds. It’s the perfect escape from the hustle and hype of city life, making it the ideal picturesque beachy retreat to soak up all the magic and beauty the Cape west coast has to offer.
Surrounded by pristine white-sand beaches and sensational ocean views, Elands Bay is a tranquil and serene beach oasis in every way. It also boasts some diverse wildlife, stunning natural surroundings and some of the best swimming spots in Cape Town. Not to mention the fact that it is considered a true local surfing paradise as well as somewhat of a local surfing hidden gem. So, if you’re an avid surfer at heart, be sure to take your surfboard along for some epic Cape Town surfing fun. In addition, if you’re up for a bit of an adventure, by travelling a little further inland you will find a few incredible caves with enchanting rock art. This is believed to be the work of the Bushmen who wandered this land for thousands of years, adding a bit of culture and history to your Cape west coast escape.
Another not to be missed gem found in Elands Bay is Baboon Point, which is known for the distinctive way in which the mountain cuts into the ocean. Baboon Point was recently declared a provincial heritage site and is the only place in Africa where rock art has been discovered so close to the coast. In addition, if you’re an avid bird watcher, exploring the Verlorenvlei wetlands should most definitely be on your Elands Bay to-do list. It’s home to over 189 bird species including around 75 waterbirds, it is a pretty spectacular experience for a head-over-heels bird lover at heart.
4. Cape Point
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There is no denying the fact that Cape Point is one of the most surreal places you need to visit in Cape Town. The captivating and down-right breath-taking Cape Point has undoubtedly established itself as one of the Mother City’s most magnificent natural wonders. Located approximately 60km southwest 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. Offering visitors so much to do, see and experience, it really is no surprise that locals and travellers alike just can’t get enough of Cape Point’s magical charm, beauty, and adventure.
Situated within the beautiful Table Mountain National Park, a declared Natural World Heritage Site, which encompasses the incredibly scenic Peninsula mountain chain stretching from Signal Hill in the north to Cape Point in the south, there is absolutely no denying the unapologetic beauty of Cape Point. In addition to being one of the Western Cape’s most glorious natural gems, Cape Point is rooted in rich history and is widely known as a historical icon of great significance.
However, in addition to Cape Point’s rich and complex history and magnificent beauty, it is also considered the ultimate nature and adventure mecca of Cape Town. From jagged mountain peaks rising from the deep blue, towering more than 200 metres above the sea, plunging cliffs and an abundance of wildlife. With a spectacular display of wildflowers and endemic Fynbos scattered about, Cape Point boasts rich and vibrant biodiversity, making it any nature lover’s paradise. It’s also home to the world’s smallest, yet most diverse and richest floral kingdom in the world, known as the Cape Floristic Region. With the area comprising mainly of the beloved Cape Fynbos, ancient indigenous vegetation that is endemic to the tip of the African continent. It is one of only six floral kingdoms in the world and is the only one that occurs entirely in one country.
Besides its rich, diverse and vibrant fauna and flora, Cape Point is home to a verity of exciting experiences and unforgettable adventures, From exhilarating hiking trails, scenic nature walks, the Flying Dutchman Funicular, a variety of thrilling Shipwreck trails and a range of refreshing tidal pools to beautiful braai (barbeque) and picnic areas, the famous old Cape Point Lighthouse, the Two Oceans Restaurant, the Vasco da Gama and Bartolomeu Dias monuments, some of the most sensational secret beaches in the entire city of Cape Town. Plus the incredible opportunity for some fantastic birdlife, game and whale sightings, Cape Point truly has something for everyone. It’s a perfect place to escape the hustle and bustle of city life and enjoy a magical and exciting day with the whole family.
5. Britannia Bay
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What can we say, the Cape west coast is filled with a truly remarkable and breath-taking treasure chest of beautiful destinations and picturesque escapes. All of which deserve a prime spot on everyone’s Cape Town bucket-list. This is largely owed to the fact that these west coast gems have remained largely untouched and undiscovered by the masses. It provides you with a tranquil beach escape that boasts some of the most spectacular ocean and beachfront views you’ve ever seen. All of which can be savoured, enjoyed and admired in complete serenity. Sounds pretty magical, don’t you think?
Britannia Bay is located approximately 160km from Cape Town, an easy 90-minute drive up the Cape West Coast region. Plus, with all the magnificent beaches, hidden gems, lookout points, secret spots and stunning panoramic ocean views along the way, it will truly make for an unforgettable road trip. Boasting acres of unspoilt, safe beaches, it’s no surprise that Britannia Bay has established itself as one of the most beautiful hidden beach gems in the entire Western Cape. An added bonus is the fact that the bay is very protected, and the water is slightly warmer than most places on the West Coast. This is mainly due to the Benguela current not entering the bay. This makes it a far more pleasurable experience to enjoy a blissful beach day paired with a lovely cooling dip in the ocean waters
But that’s not all, the bay boasts incredible Southern Right and Humpback whale sightings for up to ten months of the year. Which, as you can imagine, is such an incredible delight to watch. As well as the resident dolphins that absolutely love to make an appearance and show off all their tricks and twirls. In addition to the truly magnificent and vibrant marine life, Britannia Bay is also the ideal destination for water sports. Not to mention the fact that Seal Island is only 10 minutes away by small boat. Seal Island is a perfect destination for fishing, diving, and Cray-fishing.
The Britannia Bay fun and games aren’t over yet, it isn’t known as one of the most surreal destinations in Cape Town and the Cape west coast for nothing. Besides its laid-back beachy vibes, stunning scenery, spectacular views and variety of water sports, Britannia Bay is also the ideal destination for any and all nature lovers to explore.
With the incredible West Coast National Park right around the corner, which is internationally renowned among ornithologists to be one of the world’s most important bird sanctuaries, providing a haven for some 256 bird species. Britannia Bay is home to over 200 bird species which attends to the indigenous flowers at the turn of Spring, making it any bird and nature lover’s dream Cape Town destination.
The neighbouring Berg River estuary and the Rocher pan Nature Reserve are most certainly well worth a visit. With so much to do, see and experience, there is no denying that Britannia Bay is a must-visit Cape West Coast destination.
6. Cederberg Wilderness
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Just 3 hours from Cape Town you will encounter the raw, unapologetic and untamed beauty of the Cederberg wilderness, and what a sensational sight it is indeed! 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. Situated only a couple of hours outside of Cape Town, the Cederberg Wilderness area is considered one of the most undisturbed regions of the Western Cape, making it one of the most surreal places in Cape Town to visit on any trip.
This Western Cape natural wonder stretches from the Middelberg Pass in Citrusdal to the north of the Pakhuis Pass at Clanwilliam and forms part of the Cape Floral Region. The Cederberg wilderness is also a World Heritage site and encompasses the 100 km long protected Cederberg mountain range and 71 000 hectares of protected reserve made up of rugged terrain. Boasting a variety of thrilling hiking routes to choose from, the Cederberg welcomes hikers of all experience levels to enjoy one of the most incredible daytime or amazing overnight hikes in the Western Cape.
The Algeria Campsite serves as one of the main hubs from which hikers can explore the Cederberg at their own pace. Offering both camping accommodation as well as self-catering cottages, the campsite has something suited to every overnight hiker. Hikers can also choose to spend the night at one of the many other overnight huts spread throughout the reserve. Some of the famous natural landmarks you can expect to encounter from your Cederberg Wilderness hiking adventure includes the Wolfsberg Arch, a giant rock-formed archway, as well as the Stadsaal Caves, which contains San art dating back thousands of years.
This Cape Town natural gem also celebrates the unique fauna and flora of the Western Cape. It is covered in mountain fynbos, including the laurel protea, the red disa, rooibos, and the rare and endemic snow protea. The rare Clanwilliam cedars, the area’s namesake, can also be found in the higher mountain cliffs. Undoubtedly making it any nature lover’s escape. Be sure to keep your eyes open for some wildlife sightings too! The Cederberg Wilderness is an absolute must-see for anyone visiting the Western Cape
7. The beautiful Franschhoek
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I was filming a job for Expedia in Franschhoek during a bland, overcast evening about 15 minutes before sunset. I noticed a small, clear gap in the sky and realised the sun would appear for a few minutes. 10 years before, I had noticed this pretty scene just outside of the town, so I got into my car and raced here. I had time to pull at my camera and take 5 images before the colour disappeared. • • #franschhoek #winelands #vineyard #capetownmag
Known as one of the Western Cape’s most highly acclaimed, and certainly one of the most beautiful, Wine Routes, the world-renowned Franschhoek Wine Valley undoubtedly deserves to be on every wine lover’s bucket list. Besides being known as the culinary and wine capital of the Western Cape, the Winelands village is filled with so much to do, see and experience. Boasting beautiful blue mountains, ancient oak trees, and historical wine farms as far as the eyes can see, the Franschhoek wine valley is one of the most surreal places in Cape Town you need to visit. It’s bound to steal your heart in a matter of seconds. That’s how magical the Franschhoek wine valley truly is.
Located just a short drive from Cape Town, you’ll find this petite piece of France (Franschhoek means “French corner” in Dutch). From the very second, you arrive, it will almost feel like you’ve been transported to some far-away magical world all without really leaving the city of Cape Town at all. Home to illustrious wine estates, secluded countryside retreats and majestic beauty around every corner, it’s no surprise that the beautiful Franschhoek has become one of the most sought-after destinations in the country for locals and travellers alike. Whether it’s cuisine, culture or outdoor adventures you’re after, you will find that Franschhoek truly has something for everyone to enjoy.
From galleries, restaurants, cafés, coffee shops and of course plenty of exceptional wine and Wine Estates, Franschhoek is the perfect destination for art, culture, food and wine lovers. Home to an endless variety of world-renowned and highly sought-after Wine Estates such as Leopard’s Leap and the iconic Babylonstoren (a historic Cape Dutch farm that boasts one of the best-preserved farmyards in the Cape) and so many more, Franschhoek is one of the most beautiful and beloved wine routes in Africa.
Not to mention the famous Franschhoek Wine Tram which has fast become one of the most sought-after hop-on-hop-off wine tasting experiences for both local and international wine lovers. Besides visiting some of Franschhoek’s most incredible wine estates, it’s tons of fun too! In addition to exceptional wine, Franschhoek is also home to some of the most exceptional restaurants and culinary experiences. It isn’t known as the culinary capital of the Western Cape for nothing.
But, that’s not all this incredible Cape Town destination has to offer. From thrilling hiking and cycling adventures around the stunning Berg River, a visit to the magnificent Huguenot Memorial and Monument (a 70-year-old monument, which commemorates the arrival of the Huguenots (French settlers) and the culture they brought to the Cape Colony), an exciting drive along the spectacular Franschhoek Pass and a day filled with exploring the incredible fauna and flora the Franschhoek region has to offer. With the Mont Rochelle Nature Reserve boasting spectacular views of the Franschhoek Valley, as well as a wonderfully diverse plant life where fynbos thrives. There truly is something for every adventurous soul.
Perdekop and Du Toitskop, two of the highest peaks, can also be found here and reached by hiking trails that range from 2km (one hour, easy) to 13km (six to seven hours, moderate). You can, therefore, choose the walks that suit your fitness level best. And these are merely a few of the incredible adventure experiences that await you at Franschhoek. Besides, you can also go Artisanal Chocolate Tasting, visit a cheesery, visit and Animal Sanctuary as well as enjoy a magnificent garden and art tour of Leeu Estate.
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Located approximately 120km outside of the city of Cape Town, Hermanus is not only one of the most beautiful destinations in the Western Cape, but undoubtedly one of the most surreal places in Cape Town you need to visit. Besides, its captivating beauty and small coastal town charm, Hermanus, which is situated between mountain and sea, has gained worldwide recognition as the world’s foremost land-based whale watching destination. Attracting thousands of visitors each year to witness this magical experience first-hand. However, in addition to being the whale-watching capital of the world, the beautiful coastal town of Hermanus has so much more to offer.
Boasting an unapologetic scenic beauty that is impossible to deny, Hermanus has captured the hearts of locals, travellers, tourists and adventurous souls from all around the world. In addition to its unapologetic natural beauty and stunning surrounding scenery, Hermanus boasts a beautiful year-round mild Mediterranean climate (making it the perfect destination for any time of the year), a spectacular marine life, variety of art and culture experiences, an exciting culinary scene as well as a thrilling variety of outdoor activities and adventures to be enjoyed by all. It’s safe to say that Hermanus truly has something for everyone to enjoy.
In addition to the above-mentioned gems and must-visit locations, the Fernkloof Nature Reserve is without a doubt one of Hermanus’ most beautiful natural gems. Boasting over 40 km of walks, ranging from moderate to strenuous walks in the beautiful mountains which form an imposing backdrop to the town. Not to mention the 14 km of unique cliff walks recently incorporated into the nature reserve which is home to a variety of coastal fynbos and birdlife. Thereby making it any keen adventurer, avid hiker, nature and bird lover’s dream come true.
Besides the natural beauty and endless variety of adventure experiences Hermanus has to offer, it’s also the picture-perfect beach escape for any head-over-heels beach lovers at heart. The pristine stretches of white sandy beaches with crystal clear turquoise waters not only offer spectacular scenic views but the ultimate serene escape for a lovely laid-back beach day of pure relaxation and serenity. But, if you’re up for a bit of an ocean adventure, Hermanus certainly has that too! There are a variety of amazing boating activities abound in the Kleinriver Lagoon, renowned for its incredible bird and marine life. So, make sure to keep your eyes open for some great sightings.
Besides all of the beach bliss and ocean adventures Hermanus has to offer, visitors to this Western Cape gem can also enjoy invigorating horse rides along the beach (which is tons of fun for all ages), a game of golf on the well-known Hermanus Golf Course as well as a visit to the Old Harbour complex in Hermanus which provides visitors with an insight into Hermanus’ past as a Fisherman’s village and marine life.
Just when you think you’ve reached the end of what the magical coastal town of Hermanus has to offer, we throw one more surprise in there – WINE! Widely known as one of the most sought-after and beautiful wine routes in the Western Cape, the Hermanus Wine Route, the southernmost in Africa, is widely known for its top quality, world-renowned wines, and elite Wine Estates and culinary experiences.
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We can’t help but add one more Cape West Coast gem to our list of most surreal places in Cape Town you need to visit. What can we say, we’re all about the Cape West Coast magic and trust us, so you will be once you experience all its beauty, magic and charm for yourself. White sandy beaches, turquoise ocean waters, breath-taking ocean views, a laid-back beach vibe and pure unapologetic natural beauty around every twist and turn is just some of what you can expect from this beautiful and charismatic West Coast beach town. Located approximately 100km from Cape Town’s city centre, Langebaan is one of the most beautiful and surreal places to visit on the Cape West Coast. Offering the perfect picturesque beach oasis for a quick escape from the hustle of the city.
In addition to the white Caribbean like beaches and the crystal-clear waters of the Langebaan Lagoon, the charming coastal town of Langebaan has a variety of hidden gems, natural wonders and sought-after attractions just waiting to be explored and experienced by you. It has also become a top hub for water sports along the west coast with local and international surfers, kite-surfers, kite-boarders and windsurfers travelling from far and wide to experience its windy ways and cool water sport status. In addition, Langebaan is a great place for yachting, angling, and various fishing opportunities.
Not to mention the variety of hiking trails, nature walks, adventure experiences and unapologetic natural beauty this captivating west coast town has to offer. It is home to the renowned West Coast National Park after all. Which has undoubtedly established itself as one of Cape Town’s main and most sought-after attractions, especially during Cape Town’s beautiful flower season when the whole West Coast National Park comes to life with vibrant colours as stunning wildflowers stretch as far as the eye can see. In addition to its natural beauty, authentic fauna and flora and range of wildlife, the West Coast National Park is also home to a few spectacular secret beaches. Including the renowned ‘Preekstoel’ which is absolutely worth a visit. The beautiful coastal town of Langebaan, therefore, has something for everyone to enjoy and explore.
10. Top of Table Mountain
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Standing tall at a staggering 1,086 meters above sea level, Table Mountain is known as the all-mighty giant of the Cape Town skyline. Named one of the New7Wonders of Nature, the majestic mountain is the ultimate mecca for nature lovers, avid hikers and adventure seekers. Boasting a large variety of wildlife, birdlife, and unique fauna and flora. This makes exploring Table Mountain’s natural beauty an exciting adventure in every way. It’s, therefore, no surprise that a visit to the tall-standing mountainous giant of Table Mountain is one of the top Cape Town bucket-list experiences for anyone travelling to the Mother City.
While admiring the iconic Table Mountain from the lower Table Mountain Cableway Station is a truly spectacular sight, nothing beats the magnificence of a Table Mountain summit view or the spectacular view from one of the city’s many incredible vantage points. Few things come close to the view you’ll experience from the top of this majestic Cape Town mountainous giant. And we highly recommend you experience it for yourself!
There are two main ways of getting to the top of Table Mountain and experiencing everything it has to offer. In order to reach the summit, you can either choose to enjoy an exciting Aerial Cable-Way ride to the top. Similarly, if you’re an avid hiker or keen adventurer, hiking your way to the top of Table Mountain is right up your alley. And definitely worth every second! Plus, Table Mountain has a variety of hiking trails to choose from, each catering to different fitness, skill and experience levels. However, whether you choose to hike to the summit or take an Aerial Cable Way ride to the top, one thing is for certain, there is no view quite like it!
In addition to an exciting Aerial Cableway ride or hiking adventure, Table Mountain has so much more to offer. As Table Mountain forms part of the Table Mountain National Park, a magnificent World Heritage Site, it boasts a truly spectacular diversity of fauna and flora, including the unique yet endangered plant diversity known as Fynbos. The approximate 57-square-kilometer area comprising Table Mountain and the Back Table is said to be home to more than 1470 floral species. With many of them being endemic to the area. Truly making it any nature lover’s dream destination to explore.
Once you reach the top of Table Mountain there are also a variety of incredible and exciting things to do, see and experience. From indulging at the Table Mountain Café, buying some souvenirs at the Shop at the Top, finding the perfect spot to enjoy the magnificent view over the Atlantic Ocean, Lions Head, the Mother City and beyond, joining a guided walking tour, going on an exciting hike or enjoying an insightful Audio Tour. To watching a magical sunset from the top of Table Mountain, having a picnic or even abseiling off Table Mountain if you’re looking for a bit of extra thrill. Table Mountain truly has something for everyone!
Regardless of which spectacular and surreal Cape Town destination, you choose to add to your Cape Town bucket-list (although we whole-heartedly believe they all deserve a prime spot). It promises to be filed with unapologetic and unrivalled beauty, tons of adventure and once-in-a-life-time experiences as well as glorious moments of pure relaxation and rejuvenation as you break away from the hustle and bustle of city life and take a moment to yourself to sit back, relax, reset and recharge. There truly is nothing like it! Plus, the fact that you get to do it in one of the most beautiful cities in the world in some of its most beautiful settings and destinations, just makes it all the more special and memorable.
Planning to visit Cape Town in 2020? Learn more about the Mother City, how to get around, free things to do in Cape Town in 2020, and more from our blog. We can help you find the perfect place to stay. Get in touch if you’d like help finding accommodation or Cape Town tours to indulge in when you are around.