While Cape Town is brimming with spectacular sights and exciting things to do, some of the biggest highlights are located just outside the city on the Cape Peninsula. Plan a day or two to get out and explore this amazing stretch of land with all its unique sights and wonders.
From Cape Town you can take a circular route along some of the most spectacular drives, the most beautiful beaches – some with penguins even – and not to forget Cape of Good Hope with its most Southern tip, Cape Point.
As it comes to the mode of transport there are obviously several ways to do this. You can take a guided tour with one of the many companies around. An easy google search will offer plenty of options to choose from, depending on your preferences. Another way to see the peninsula is the Cape Town Sightseeing Bus, which offers a full tour around the Cape Peninsula!
Personally, I think the best way to explore the peninsula is by rental car at your own pace. All major car rental companies do have outlets in the city center so it’s easy to pick up a car for a day or more. The roads are good, there is not too much traffic and it is not complicated to navigate around the peninsula.
It’s easy to do the entire peninsula in one day. Start early so you have enough time to stop as long as you like along the way. You can of course also split the trip into two days to have more time for each stop or if the weather doesn’t play along you might be better off doing two half days.
You can travel the route in either direction – starting from the Muizenberg side or from the Camps Bay side. Personally, I prefer starting from the Camps Bay side, but many argue that the other way around is better as you drive on the outer side of the road giving you better views over the coast. Therefore, for arguments sake – let’s start the route via Muizenberg. So, let’s get started with your perfect day around the Cape Peninsula!
Stop 1: Muizenberg
Start your morning with a leisurely drive from Cape Town to Muizenberg. The road takes you on the M5 through the leafy neighbourhood of Constantia, from Table Bay to False Bay! It’s approximately a 24 km drive until you see the long-stretched Muizenberg beach. If you park at Surfers Corner it’s an easy stroll to your left along the beach to get some good pictures of the famous colourful beach huts. Back in the 1800’s the beach huts were used as change rooms for ladies to dress into their bathing suits. For a long time now they are Muizenbergs most famous tourist attraction.
The other attraction to Muizenberg is learning how to surf! On a sunny day, especially over the weekends, you’ll see the surf schools in full swing along the beach. With its long stretch of beach and ever rolling waves, it’s Cape Town’s most popular spot to learn surfing. If you are interested, maybe make an appointment at one of the surf schools at Surfers Corner like the Surfshack or Surfers Corner Surf School. Have a little look around or maybe have a coffee at Knead Bakery to kick off the day.
If you want the best views over Muizenberg and the entire 20 km False Bay beach, backtrack a few kilometres out of Muizenberg towards Cape Town and turn onto Boyes Drive towards Kalk Bay. This road offers some of the best views over False Bay. You can stop at one of the lookout points to enjoy the beautiful scenery. Wave hello to the shark spotters, who have their lookout point here. They watch the waters to make sure surfers and bathers on Muizenberg Beach stay safe from the ocean predators. If a shark is spotted in sea below, an alarm is being set off, informing swimmers to get out of the water.
No matter if you choose the coastal main road or Boyes Drive – you’ll definitely catch some stunning sights! But now it’s time to make your way further along the Peninsula to your next stop – Kalk Bay!
Stop 2: Kalk Bay
Just a few minutes drive from Muizenberg you’ll get to Kalk Bay. This little hamlet has a great vibe with its proudly local shops, many outstanding restaurants and the train tracks running right next to the sea! Make sure to stop here to wander the streets, explore the harbour and have a drink and a snack.
Peruse the little shops for clothes, jewellery or other interesting knick knacks! From antiques to locally designed clothes, there is a lot to discover. Choose one of the many cafes to enjoy a little breakfast before or after you explore the shops and sights along main road. The Olympia Café & Deli is a great spot for good food and coffee along Main Road in Kalk Bay plus the Kalk Bay Modern, an art gallery, is situated just above the Café. If you prefer uninterrupted sea views instead of art, maybe try Ohana Café, a great spot for a coffee and a delectable snack.
If you get here closer to lunch time, a do yourself a favour and stop at the Brass Bell, an institution in Kalk Bay with delicious seafood, cold beers and the best sea views from the deck. If it’s a hot day, maybe even take a dip in the tidal pool next to the Brass Bell. The most iconic (and delicious) fish and chips in town can be found at Kalky’s – a rough and ready fish and chip shop at the harbour. It’s a must-eat in Kalk Bay! Have a look around the harbour, where the fishermen come to sell their fresh catches, while amateur fishermen try their luck from the harbour walls. It’s a hive of activity with great views over Kalk Bay and the coast! Spend some time to explore everything Kalk Bay has to offer, it’s a fun and quirky little place!
Stop 3: Simon’s Town – Boulders Beach penguin colony
Continuing from Kalk Bay along the coast you’ll pass through Glencairn and Fish Hoek until you reach Simon’s Town, home to the South African Naval base and the penguin colony. Driving along main road you’ll come past the harbour where South Africa’s impressive Navy ships and administrative buildings are based. Overall however, you feel like being transported to a small seaside town in England! The typical old English houses and churches give this little town a decisively more English charm than South African exoticness.
Once you passed through the town you’ll reach the Boulders Beach Penguin Colony. Visiting the penguins is definitely one of the highlights of the day! Boulders Beach and the penguin colony is part of Sanparks (South African National Parks) so you will have to enter the park to get up close and personal with the penguins. The entrance fee for non-South African adults costs 170 ZAR (about 11 USD), children pay half. If you are South African National make sure to bring your ID so you pay the local fee of only 40 ZAR per adult (about 2.60 USD).
It’s easy to forget time watching these little fellas busily waddling around the beach or diving into the cold ocean. At the main entrance you’ll find a big viewing deck and walkway with the best views over the penguins. You can also follow a little path through the shrubs where the penguins have their nests. At the end of the path you get to the actual Boulders Beach. The beach is situated on the opposite side of the main entrance and it’s a relatively small area open for swimming. This is your chance to share the water with the penguins. It’s a once in a lifetime experience – make the most of it.
Stop 4: Cape Point & Cape of Good Hope
Say goodbye to the penguins and follow the road further towards Cape Point! It’s a scenic drive with some amazing lookout points. Stop along the way to your hearts content to take pictures and enjoy the amazing scenery. Just make sure to keep windows and doors closed when you step out of the car as the resident baboons are known to be pretty feisty, having no issues ransacking tourist cars for food.
From the coastal road you will soon get to the entrance of the Cape of Good Hope National Park. The entrance fee for non-South African adults is 340 ZAR (about 22 USD) and 170 ZAR (about 11 USD) for children.
Driving through the park watch out for wildlife such as ostriches, tortoises and different types of antelopes. Even though you won’t see big cats, giraffes or elephants, it’s still a great feeling spotting the game in low shrubs dominating the landscape here. Amongst others there are two main attractions to visit – the Cape Point Lighthouse and the Cape of Good Hope sign. For the Lighthouse park at the visitor’s center and from here walk up the rest of the way to the Lighthouse. It’s a scenic walk, not too long, but uphill. In case you can’t walk too far or you don’t feel like it, you can take the funicular tram up! From the lighthouse you have the most spectacular views over the sea and the peninsula. A common misconception is that the Indian and Atlantic Ocean meet exactly here, so you often find some poor tourists looking out for an actual line in the ocean! The two oceans however don’t exactly meet here as Africa’s most Southern point is about 220 km further East at Cape Agulhas. Nevertheless, you are standing at Africa’s most South-Western Tip and it is an amazing experience!
The other stop you’ll have plan into your itinerary is the Cape of Good Hope sign! From the Cape Point visitors centre it’s a short, scenic drive to the iconic Cape of Good Hope sign. If you prefer you can also leave the car and hike from the visitors centre to the sign. It is about a 3 hour round trip to the sign and back, so check if you have enough time. Under normal circumstances (read – when it’s not COVID times) you might have to wait until it’s your turn to get a picture with the sign as busloads of tourists lining up to get a snap here. It’s worth the wait though – you are at the tip of Africa!
Along the road leading up to the sign you have the best chances of spotting animals such as ostriches and antelopes as well as sea lions on the rocks close to the beach. Take some time to explore the park and enjoy the unique landscape here.
Stop 5: Kommetjie & Noordhoek
Once you are done exploring, exit the national park and turn left back on the main road towards Kommetjie (pronounced Kommikie). If you feel you haven’t seen enough Ostriches yet, you’ll find the Cape Point Ostrich Farm only a few hundred meters down the road from the park. If you like, stop here and take a guided tour around the farm to learn about the Ostriches as well as the reptile rehabilitation centre here.
Leaving the Cape Point area, you’ll soon get back on the coastal road, taking you past the small communities of Scarborough and Misty Cliffs. Have a little stop at one of the beaches and lookout points!
Soon enough you’ll see the Slangkop Lighthouse, the iconic landmark of the small, laid back community of Kommetjie. Have a quick drive into the village and to the lighthouse or stop at one of the little restaurants here for a drink or snack.
Otherwise drive on towards Noordhoek. On the way you’ll pass the Imhoff Farm – a great place to stop especially if you travel with children. The farm is home to a deli & café, a restaurant, they offer horse riding on Noordhoek beach, there is a petting zoo and a little reptile park. If this is not for you, drive on following the signs to Noordhoek. Stop at the 8-kilometer-long beach for a stroll and / or visit the Cape Point Vineyard, not far from Chapman’s Peak Drive, the next highlight along your route. Stop here for a glass of wine or even a wine tasting overlooking Noordhoek Beach and the vineyards!
Stop 6: Chapman’s Peak Drive
If you look up the most scenic roads in the world, Chapman’s Peak Drive is among the top 10! This beautiful 9 km drive stretches between Noordhoek and Hout Bay and offers some of the most stunning views you can imagine. Driving out of Noordhoek onto Chapman’s Peak, make sure to stop at the first viewpoint you see overlooking the Noodhoek Beach and surroundings!
Enjoy the drive along the winding road and dramatic views of the road, which is hewn into the rocks on the one side and sheer cliffs on the other. Once you hit the highest point along the road, you’ll finally get the first views over Hout Bay. Take a rest here and enjoy the scenery. With a bit of luck, you might be able to spot some whales or dolphins from the cliffs in the sea below. While you make your way down towards Hout Bay you will have to go through the toll gate. The toll fee for passenger vehicles is 52 ZAR (about 3.50 USD) per vehicle.
Chapman’s peak drive was first opened in 1922 until rockfall caused a fatal accident here in the 1990’s. The road had to be re-engineered to protect motorists and was only opened again in 2005. Today the road is strictly monitored and will be closed as soon as there is rockfall or bad weather. As always – stay flexible should the road be closed and postpone your drive along Chapman’s Peak to the next day.
Stop 7: Hout Bay
Coming off Chapman’s Peak Drive you’ll enter Hout Bay, a beautiful little town nestled between the mountains and the bay. Make your way to the Hout Bay Harbour to have a look around. Fishing boats go in and out, while some fisher men are selling their fresh catches. There are some little stalls and shops to have a look around and restaurants with great views over the bay.
Most of the time you be able to see seals lazily hanging around the harbour area, waiting for some fresh catch to fall off for them. They are good fun to watch, so keep an eye out. If you haven’t had the chance to have fish and chips in Kalk Bay, try the fish & chips from the harbour shop in Hout Bay! It’s fresh and delicious! Have a stroll along the beach to enjoy the stunning views and possibly have a drink at Dune’s Beach Restaurant at the other end of the beach. If you travel with kids the World of Birds Wildlife Sanctuary & Monkey Park would be an interesting alternative stop in Hout Bay. Easy to find and situated in the heart of Hout Bay you can discover the resident wildlife here.
Over the weekends the Hout Bay Harbour Market is the place to be. Situated a little further down the road from the main harbour area, this local market offers delicious food, wine, cocktails and craft beers as well as locally made clothes, crafts and art! It’s a fantastic place to spend a few hours sampling some of the delicious dishes and cold drinks in the sun! If you happen to get here on a Saturday or Sunday before 4 pm, make sure to stop by!
Stop 8: Camps Bay
The last stretch of your peninsula trip brings you from Hout Bay to Camps Bay. On the way you have the chance to stop in Llandudno to relax at the beach before ending your day trip. Otherwise enjoy one last scenic drive along the beautiful coast between Hout Bay and Camps Bay. It won’t be long before you see the familiar features of Lions Head again.
If you would like to end this day in style stop at the Twelve Apostles Hotel for a sundowner cocktail on their beautiful terrace. This amazing 5-star hotel is only a few kilometers outside Camps Bay, most popular as a wedding venue and spa hotel. It’s an excellent spot to enjoy the perfect end to the perfect day with a few classy drinks.
If you prefer more choice, drive on to Camps Bay and find your perfect venue here. Being the best spot in Cape Town to watch the sunset, Camps Bay main strip is filled with bars offering amazing views over the beach. Tiger’s Milk is a less fancy, more down to earth venue with great views and good food. If you like to end the day with a treat, choose to eat at Paranga! The seafood is outstanding and you can relax in a nice ambiance after this grand day of exploration.
With this your day around the Cape Peninsula comes to an end and it’s time to make the last stretch back to your accommodation. It’s a long day, but hopefully you enjoyed every minute of it. Pick and choose what fits your itinerary and interests, just make sure you have enough time, so you don’t have to rush! As always, stay flexible as weather can be very different on one side of the Peninsula to the other and you never know what you might get. If you can, keep another day open to possibly finish what you couldn’t do or return to the places you enjoyed the most! It is one of the most beautiful places on earth, make sure to make your own little adventure happen!
Thanks for stopping by and we hope you follow us next time again when we explore the wineries around Cape Town!