When the Cape Peninsula is mentioned in South Africa, travellers immediately think of Cape Town Central. Of course, the capital of South Africa has incredible attractions to visit, including the iconic Table Mountain; however, the Cape Peninsula also has some of the most amazing things to do and see in South Africa.
Of all the drives you can take from Cape Town Central, few are as beautiful as driving around the Cape Peninsula. This spectacular 7km route stretches between Noordhoek and Hout Bay beside the Atlantic Ocean.
You can complete the drive in one day, but if you would prefer to experience the Cape Peninsula more leisurely, there are numerous beachside hotels to stay the night.
If you rent a car, you can arrange what you want to do on the Cape Peninsula to suit your timings. However, if you are not driving, there are day tours from Cape Town Central that will show you the highlights of this beautiful area of South Africa.
During my 2-week Garden Route road trip in South Africa, the Cape Peninsula attractions in this post were some of my favourite things to do in South Africa. I hope they will inspire you to visit them yourself.
Do you need to arrange travel insurance, car hire or accommodation? Please check out my resources page to help you plan your trip.
Cape Peninsula Map
Cape Town Central
Exploring Cape Town Central will be number one on your list of things to do in the Cape Peninsula.
Head to the Victoria and Albert Waterfront and discover fantastic restaurants and bars and the V & A Food Market with artisan stalls selling South African food and beverages, including one of the best coffee shops in Cape Town!
Family-friendly attractions include the Two Oceans Aquarium and the Cape Wheel ride.
See the Cape fur seals lying on the boardwalks and take a boat trip from the harbour to tour Robben Island – the location of Nelson Mandela’s prison for most of his 27 years in captivity.
If you use Cape Town as your base while exploring the Cape Peninsula, many tours will pick you up from your hotel if you prefer not to drive yourself.
Want to save money on sightseeing? Get a Cape Town City Pass for generous discounts on Cape Town’s top attractions.
Cape Peninsula Tours
Camps Bay has many bays and beaches and holds a Blue Flag for beach cleanliness and safety.
Don’t expect warm waters here; the Atlantic Ocean is extremely cold and has massive waves and riptides.
This affluent suburb of Cape Town is still worth a visit with its high-end restaurants, quirky cafes and coffee bars. Stop for a cocktail along the palm-tree-lined promenade and soak up the chilled beach vibes.
If you want to stay in Camps Bay overnight, then the 5-star ocean-front Twelve Apostles Hotel and Spa at the foot of the Twelve Apostles mountain range is the place to choose.
Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens
Named one of the most beautiful botanical gardens in the world and boasting over 9000 plant species is Kirstenbosch Gardens, located near the slopes of iconic Table Mountain.
The gardens span 1,300 acres of cultivated gardens and a nature reserve. The views from Kirstenbosch are sensational, and for a different perspective of the gardens, take to the skies on the 130m canopy treetop walkway.
Areas within Kirstenbosch focus on South Africa’s wildlife and vegetation, and you will spot wide varieties of birds and butterflies that are regular visitors to the beautiful landscape.
For art lovers, an African sculpture trail weaves through the beautiful gardens.
A tour of Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens with a professional guide can be booked if you want to learn more about its history, flora and fauna.
Hout Bay marks the beginning of Chapman’s Peak Drive and is a crescent-shaped South African beach surrounded by mountains on three sides.
The area is popular with locals and tourists, and Hout Bay has some great beachside properties as an alternative to Cape Town.
A popular activity from Hout Bay is the Hout Bay Seal Snorkelling trip.
The Cape fur seals live on nearby Duiker Island, and by joining the cruise, you can see the seals up close and even get the option to snorkel with the seals!
Chapman’s Peak Drive, known as “Chappies” by the locals, is a stretch of winding coastal road that takes you from Cape Town to the Cape of Good Hope. The 9k drive begins in Hout Bay and ends in Noordhoek, although drivers can choose to start the route at either point.
It could easily feature as one of the world’s most scenic routes, as the views are sensational. Mountains cascade down to the sea, creating a dramatic landscape with abundant wildlife present throughout the seasons.
The road supposedly had 114 bends (we didn’t count) and a staggeringly steep cliffside (I can confirm that!), so prepare yourself for a hair-raising but spectacular drive!
At the penultimate tip of the Cape Peninsula is Cape Point. Forming part of the Cape of Good Hope Nature Reserve, an area rich with animals, flora and fauna.
Cape Point can be reached by Chapman’s Peak Drive, and from June to October, it is a good place to spot whales due to the amount of fish in the waters for the whales to consume.
Climb the rocks and cliffs and explore the area before heading to Two Oceans Restaurant for lunch.
Afterwards, reach Cape Point lighthouse using the “Flying Dutchman funicular” or climb the steep steps for spectacular coastal views over the Cape Peninsula.
Cape of Good Hope
The Cape of Good Hope is found at Cape Point and is an area of outstanding natural beauty.
Wildlife can be found at the Cape of Good Hope Nature Reserve, including Mountain zebras, ostrich, antelope and mischievous baboons.
Add over 250 species of birds into the mix, and you’ll see why this is one of the most incredible places in South Africa to add to your trip itinerary.
Take a guided tour of Cape Point Ostrich Farm, join the shipwreck trail or take a boat out to enjoy the spectacular scenery from the water.
Several great beaches can be found here, including Buffels Bay and Bordjiesdrif.
Who would have thought there would be South African penguins happily co-existing alongside day-trippers on Boulders Beach?
A trip to this beach in Simon’s Town to do a spot of penguin watching is one of the best things to do in Cape Peninsula and an experience that will last a long time.
Walk along the wooden boardwalk and admire the penguins of Boulders Beach going about their daily activities, oblivious to the hundreds of human eyes fixated on them.
At the end of the walk, step onto the powder-soft sand and relax alongside these charming creatures. Watch how they enter and exit the water – quite a spectacle – and then join them for a swim.
Boulders Beach is the perfect place to visit from Cape Town. Get up and personal with the penguins (but never touch them) and admire the unusual and stunning boulders along the beach they call home.
Muizenberg has a distinct beach vibe and is one of the most popular surf spots in Cape Town. Take a surf lesson or stroll along the beach and discover Cape Town’s vibrant Victorian beach huts, reminiscent of those along the beaches in the UK.
Stay a while and then head to Kalk Bay, a 5-minute drive from Muizenberg.
Even though the two towns are so close, they are a million miles away in character.
While Muizenberg has a distinct surf vibe and is one of the best places to stay in Cape Town for ocean lovers, Kalk Bay is eclectic and packed with antique and book shops and lots of artisan art handicraft stalls.
South Africa produces some of the best wine in the world, and a visit to one of South Africa’s Cape vineyards can be included on your Cape Peninsula itinerary.
Constantia has several vineyards and is nearer to Cape Town than the popular wine land locations of Franschhoek and Stellenbosch.
Check out my post on the eight best South African wineries in the Cape Winelands for more details on how to get to the wineries and what to expect from your visit.
Please Pin for Future Travel to South Africa
Are you looking for further South Africa travel inspiration? Please check out the following posts:
Table Mountain Hike, Cape Town: The Truth about Climbing to the Summit
10 Ethical and Amazing Animal Encounters along the Garden Route
Visit Knysna Elephant Park and Experience the Ultimate Elephant Sleepover in South Africa
Quatermain’s Safari Camp Review: 3-Nights in Amakhala Game Reserve
South Africa’s Top 8 Most Luxurious Safari Lodges
Thursday 11th of February 2021
Amazing! I know nothing about traveling all over the country, what a wonderful looking place to explore.