When you hear the word “Cape” mentioned in regards to South Africa, you immediately think of Cape Town Central. Of course, the capital city of South Africa has incredible attractions to visit, including the iconic Table Mountain; however, it is the Cape Peninsula that 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 at a more leisurely pace, then there are numerous beachside hotels to stay the night.
If you have rented a car then, of course, you can arrange the things you want to do on the Cape Peninsula to suit your own timings. However, if you are not driving, then there are day tours from Cape Town Central that will show you the highlights of this beautiful area of South Africa.
When I did a 2-week Garden Route road trip in South Africa, these were my favourite things to do in the Cape Peninsula. I hope these locations will give you an idea of what the area offers and will assist you in planning your own trip to South Africa.
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Things to Do in the Cape Peninsula: Days Out in Cape Town
Cape Town Central #1
Exploring the best things to do in Cape Town Central will, of course, be number one on your list of things to do in the Cape Peninsula. South Africa’s capital is always a hive of activity both during the day and at night.
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.
If you are using 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 hold of a Cape Town City Pass for generous discounts on Cape Town’s top attractions.
Cape Peninsula Tours
Camps Bay #2
Camps Bay has a number of bays and beaches and holds a Blue Flag for beach cleanliness and safety. Don’t expect warm waters here though, the Atlantic Ocean is extremely cold, and has really big 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 all around you.
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 #3
Named as 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 an area of 1,300 acres of cultivated gardens and 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 many varieties of birds and butterflies that are regular visitors to the beautiful landscape. For art lovers, an African sculpture trail weaves its way through the beautiful gardens.
A tour of Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens with a professional guide can be booked if you want to find more about its history, flora and fauna.
Hout Bay #4
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 has some great beachside properties to stay in as an alternative to Cape Town.
A popular activity to do from Hout Bay is to join 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!
Chapmans Peak #5
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 and wildlife is abundant 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!
Cape Point #6
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 is a good place to spot whales due to the able 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 #7
The Cape of Good Hope is found at Cape Point and is an area of outstanding natural beauty. A variety of wildlife including Mountain zebras, ostrich, antelope and mischievous baboons can be found at the Cape of Good Hope Nature Reserve. Add into the mix over 250 species of birds, 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.
Boulders Beach #8
Who would have thought that there would be penguins in South Africa 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 that the penguins call home.
Muizenberg Beach #9
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, very reminiscent of those along the beaches in the UK.
Stay awhile 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 terms of character. While Muizenberg has a very distinct surf vibe to it 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 handicraft stalls.
Constantia Vineyards #10
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 is an area with several vineyards and is nearer to Cape Town than the popular wine land locations of Franshoek and Stellenbosch.
Check out my post on the 8 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.
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