The Western Cape is South Africa’s most popular tourist destination, but is still a magical place with enough possibilities to escape the crowds. It’s dramatic setting along the Cape Peninsula coastline with in the centre Table Mountain makes Cape Town South Africa’s most visited, most beautiful and most romantic city.
Table Mountain divides Cape Town in zones with residential areas, winelands, forests, public gardens, hiking routes and wilderness. Cape Town is vibrantly colourful, from the pastel painted houses in Bo-Kaap to the bathing chalets at St. James beach.
The many different faces in the street are proof of South Africa’s rainbow nation. The range and quality of accommodation is brilliant, classy hotels, top notch restaurants, bars and nightlife compare favourably with those of other cosmopolitan cities. Like many ports, Cape Town shows tourists a good time.
The Two Oceans Aquarium, Robben Island, the Waterfront, Kirstenbosch Botanical Garden and Table Mountain are on all tourists things to do list, but your travel to Cape Town is not complete without visiting the ever-growing Cape Flats townships. Only then you can truly understand this city and catch a glimpse of its future.
From Cape Town it is easy to visit the other attractions of the Western Cape, the vineyards in the Winelands, the ostriches in Oudtshoorn, Cape of Good Hope and the Garden Route. Further away the Little Karoos dry interior is punctuated by Afrikaner villages. Accommodation is easily found in luxury Guest Houses, hotels, B&B’s and Self Catering apartments.
The most well known South African Winelands are found around Franssschoek, Paarl and Stellenbosch, an area also known as Boland (Upland).
From a historical point of view Stellenbosch is the most interesting town, Paarl is a busy commercial centre with plenty to see but Franschhoek has the most beautifull location and best restaurants.
Accommodation ranges from backpacker hostels to 5 star estates where you can indulge yourself in great food and wine.
North of Cape Town, the Cederberg Mountain range is one of the most magical wilderness areas in the Western Cape. Here you’ll find high sandstone Mountains, San rock art, grotesque shapes and natural fenomena like the Maltese Cross and the Wolfberg Arch. Citrusdal and Clanwilliam are the best bases to explore the Cederberg, Lamberts Bay on the coast and the old mission post of Wuppertal.
Simon’s Town, South Africa’s main naval base, is exceptionally pretty, with an almost perfectly preserved streetscape. Roughly halfway on your trip to Cape Point it is the perfect place for a mellow break along the Cape Peninsula.
From Cape Town it is an easy day-trip to Boulders Beach, just a few kilometers south the beach hosts a colony of african penguins. Cape Point, at the tip of the Cape of Good Hope Nature reserve, is an awesomely dramatic spot which on no account should be missed.
The Cape Overberg is known as The Whale Coast. Pristine beaches are ideal for swimming and surfing, but more than just sun, sea and sand, delightful culinary experiences accompanied by fine local wines await you. Scenic hikes or just lazing by the pool – the Overberg has it all!
Situated in the southernmost region of South Africa the Cape Overberg boasts endless kilometers of sandy white beaches. As part of the World Heritage Site Cape Floral Kingdom, the region is rich in fynbos, which in turn offers many walking and hiking experiences and turns it into a bird-watchers’ paradise.
Between July and November each year, Southern Right whales can be seen frolicking in the warm waters of the Indian Ocean. For unparalleled viewing, visit the quaint seaside town of Hermanus.
The singularly unique experience of witnessing the meeting of the mighty Atlantic and Indian Oceans at Cape Agulhas, the southernmost tip of the African continent, is a once-in-a-lifetime experience.
The rich history in the Cape Overberg is depicted in museums, some of which occupy an entire village. Among others are the Fishing and Shipwreck museums and one of the only Apple Museums in the world that is situated in the Elgin Valley.
Historic mission stations can be found in the towns of Elim and Genadendal. Pack a picnic basket and go hiking in the dune fields of De Hoop Nature Reserve, or journey on to coastal Gansbaai” that boasts the “Big 2” of the mammal kingdom, namely the Southern Right whale and Great White shark.
From Cape Town eastwards you can follow two scenic routes. Route 62 takes you through some of the most dramatic passes and valley routes in the country.
East of Montagu the R62 meanders into the Little Karoo, the easiest access tothe semi-desert covering one-third of South Africa. The ostrich farms near Oudtshoorn and the Cango Caves are the main tourist attractions in the area.
The Outeniqua and Tsitsikamma Mountains split the coast from the Karoo’s semidesert. Superb beaches and extensive lagoons make up the Garden Route’s outer fringes, the scenery is awesome and constantly changing.
Along the Garden Route all kind of travellers are catered for, plenty of hostels, posh hotels and charming Bed and Breakfasts and Guest Houses.
Though Mossel Bay, Knysna and Plettenberg Bay are pleasant towns to visit, the best is saved for last, Tsitsikamma National Park. A dramatic coastline, indigenous forests, Storms River Mouth and South Africa’s most popular hike, the Otter Trail.
Highlights of the Western Cape
The bizarre sandstone formations and San rock art in Cederberg Wilderness Area
The first class wines and culinary masterpieces in the Winelands
Spotting wales along the southern coast
The breathtaking scenery along the Garden Route
The spectacular mountain passes of the Little Karoo
Hiking at Storms River Mouth, the main attraction of Tsitsikamma NP
Cape Town, South Africa’s most diverse, most beautiful and most romantic city.