8 Scenic Cape Town Neighbourhoods worth a visit

April 28th 2017  |  South Africa, Unique Experiences  |  by  Richard Smith
Kalk bay fishing by wesley nitsckie © South African Tourist Board

We’ve picked the best places surrounding Cape Town to visit for day trips out around the beautiful Cape. From bracing coastal scenery, secluded bays to lush Wineland vineyards, there is something for everyone.

Kalk Bay

Kalk Bay beach family swimming © Explore + Escape

A gem on the False Bay coastline, Kalk Bay is known for its raw beauty, interesting shops, vast selection of restaurants and stunning views. Enjoy sheltered swimming, stand up paddleboarding, and the sandy beach. You could easily spend a full day in this little neighbourhood and still not be able to experience it all. There is a theatre, shops and plenty of bars. The 21 eateries range from Kalky’s Fish and Chips to the popular seafood restaurant dining experience with seafront coastal views at Harbour House. Book the second seating, as you will want to linger.

Kalk Bay Harbour House restaurant

Simon’s Town

Simon’s Town has stunning views in the most beautiful environment of the Cape Peninsula.

African penguin colony on the beach Simon's Town © Explore + Escape

Nestled on False Bay within easy distance of Cape Town, the village is rich in history, character, atmosphere and warmth. Cruise the coast on sea life boat tours, stand up paddle boarding and hike coastal walks to see whales, penguins and seals. The area has many walk in reserves with world heritage status bird life. If you are touring by car you can stop off for photos at the pretty string of seaside villages including Kalk Bay along the way at leisure.

Cape Point

Cape headland © Explore + Escape

Head to Cape point early and you can drive right to the end car park nearest the electric funicular, “Flying Dutchman” which takes you to the famous and popular viewpoint, the Cape Point Lighthouse. You can return or amble back a half hour walk along the windswept path for glorious coastal views. Allow an hour and a half for the cable car and walk, it may take longer if it is busy so try and get there before 9 am when the coaches arrive. In the peninsula reserve you can see wildlife known as the Cape 5; ostrich, baboons, mountain zebra, bontebok (antelope), and tortoise.

Hout Bay

Hout Bay was named by the Dutch explorers who “found” the wooded valley and the name literally means “wood bay”. This timber was used to help build Cape Town.  The views in this sociable village are mesmerizing as Hout Bay is set in a fold of sea-lapped mountains that look out across the Atlantic Ocean. The town is presided over by the Sentinel or Hangberg– guardian of Hout Bay’s treasures.

The protective mountains surround Hout Bay and the long sandy beach which is ideal for swimming and water sports like sea kayaking, sailing, fishing and surfing. The mountains provide excellent hiking opportunities.

Hout bay yachts in harbour Cape © Explore + Escape

The lively Hout Bay fishing harbour is a working harbour for the tuna and cray fishing industries but also hosts many fun activities including boat trips to the Seal Island to see the Cape fur seals, diving & fishing.

You will see locals walking their dogs, riding horses and families playing at the waters edge. The main street in Hout Bay is full of interesting shops and there is an excellent craft market on the green every Sunday. People sit chatting in local cafes as they sample the cuisine in the many restaurants and there is a meandering feel to Hout Bay. There is also a vibrant township called Imizamo Yethu.

Cape Winelands

child and father walking with wild flowers with Simonsberg backdrop Cape South Africa © Babylonstoren

The Cape Winelands, origin of some of the world’s most popular South African wines, is at the heart of the wine making industry. Wine tasting, winemaking tours, excellent cuisine and magnificent scenery collectively create an irresistible attraction for international and local travellers alike.

Most Cape wine estates are characterised by classic Cape Dutch-style buildings and extensive vineyards with picturesque mountains as a backdrop. There is also a distinct European influence in number of regions, thanks to the arrival of French Huguenot, Dutch and German settlers during the 18th century. The Franschhoek wine valley is famous for its food and is acknowledged as the ‘gourmet capital of South Africa’. There are many food and wine festivals held in the Cape Winelands every year. Activities here include visiting the various artisan food shops, art galleries, curiosity and antique shops, mountain biking, cookery courses, wine tram and of course, wine tastings. Stay at Babylonstoren, Boschendal, Delaire Graff Lodge & Spa and Le Quartier Francais.

Constantia Valley

Eagle's Nest winery lunch with wine © Explore + Escape

The Constantia Valley truly is Cape Town’s vineyard within just 9 miles of the city centre. Its history dates back to 1685 and boasts 8 award-winning wine estates, Groot Constantia, Steenberg Vineyards, Constantia Uitsig, Klein Constantia, Buitenverwachting, Eagles Nest, Constantia Glen and Silvermist Vineyards. The Constantia Valley has an appeal that offers something of interest to everyone, from visiting the wine estates famous for their cool climate wines and offering an array of experiences such as year-round wine tastings, picnics, live music and festivals in the warmer months from Sept to April. The mountain ranges and greenbelts offer breath taking photo opportunities, an adrenalin rushing zip lining adventure, mountain biking, horse riding, and a growing number of businesses and shops who have chosen to escape the hustle and bustle of the city. Stay at Constantia Stables

Stellenbosch

Delaire Graff vineyards in the Cape Winelands

‘Stel’s Bush’ named after the founding governor, has hiking trails and art galleries abound, but it’s wine that takes centre stage. More than a hundred wine cellars, most open to the public, surround the oak-lined South African town, with tasting tours operating daily.  The Stellenbosch Wine Festival of the local vintages in February, with around 148 wineries from the Stellenbosch Wine Route coming together at one venue at the end of summer, making this fiesta one of the largest wine varietal tastings in the world. The historic town centre houses the trading-post style emporium Oom Samie se Winkel, the Neo-Gothic Moederkerk (Mother’s church), and museums dedicated to toys, military memorabilia, cars and early life on the Cape. Stay at Babylonstoren, Boschendal, Delaire Graf Lodge & Spa and Le Quartier Francais.

Hermanus

Southern Right whale breaching at Hermanus Escape Explore

Hermanus is a town on the southern coast of the Western Cape province of South Africa. It is famous for southern right whale watching during the southern winter and spring and is a popular retirement town. The whales can be seen from the cliffs in the town centre from June and usually depart in early December. Peak whale season is September-October when the town celebrates with the annual Hermanus whale festival. Whales were once hunted in the nearby town of Betty’s Bay, but are now protected to ensure the survival of the species.

Cliff Lodge beach Cape South Africa

The Old Harbour Museum contains several exhibitions that explain the whaling industry, and the De Wet’s Huis Photo Museum houses an exhibition of photos by T D Ravenscroft that depicts the history of Hermanus. The Whale Museum houses a skeleton of a whale and shows an audio-visual presentation of whales and dolphins twice daily. More than 300 activities here include whale watching, abseiling, treetop tours, quad biking and a 27 hole Hermanus golf course. Discover the wine route, art route, speciality shops and boutiques. Escape to nature and breathe the sea air along the spectacular cliff paths. Meet the world’s only Whale Crier as he alerts you to the whereabouts of the whales by blowing his kelp horn. Admire the diverse floral fynbos kingdom while hiking or biking in the Fernkloof Nature Reserve or relax on one of the Cape’s pristine Blue Flag beaches. Stay at Cliff Lodge or the Marine Hotel.

Any questions?

If you’ve got this far and not found a recommendation that we should have included, please let us know in the comments section below, or pop us an email. We’ll be sure to read your thoughts and may amend the article.

What next?

We would be delighted to help you plan a holiday, or answer any questions if you’re at an earlier stage. Our team of experts have travelled widely throughout Africa. They can offer expert advice on every type of safari from family and beach holidays to riding and primate safaris.  If you would like to talk to someone who has been there and done it, please just send us an email or give us a call.

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