A combination of Cape Town, the Winelands and Hermanus makes holidays to the Western Cape some of the most popular in Southern Africa. Beginning with Cape Town which has so much to offer, from scenic beauty to reams of colourful history and buzzing metropolitan hotspots. Perhaps Cape Town's most defining feature however, is the ancient Table Mountain, a dominating flat-topped massif rising from the middle of the city.
The city lives in the mountain's protective shadow, the slopes falling away into urban metropolis, home to plush international hotels and boutique guest houses. Many of the city's premier hotels are centred about the Victoria & Alfred Waterfront - Cape Town's entertainment hub and a working Victorian harbour. This nucleus of Capetonian bustle offers mouth-watering dishes from countless restaurants and the chance to shop 'til you drop. It's also home to the ferry that travels to Robben Island. Once the prison of Nelson Mandela, the island now serves as an echo of the past with extensive tours of the prison and the opportunity to stand in Mandela's cell, which remains unchanged from his tenure of almost two decades.
Outside of the city centre, the suburbs hold equal appeal to their inner city counterparts; look no further than the beaches of Camps Bay and Clifton for the perfect example why. These affluent suburbs are fashionable hotspots for absorbing Cape nightlife and relaxing with an indulgent beach break. Venturing further afield, the Cape Winelands are only around an hour away.
Famous for its culinary delights and spectacular wine estates, the Cape Winelands charm with elegant Cape Dutch architecture and remarkable mountain scenery. Just an hour outside of Cape Town, the Winelands cover a number of pretty historic towns, with Franschhoek, Stellenbosch and Paarl prominent among them. Stellenbosch is particularly elegant, with streets lined by old oaks, plenty of excellent restaurants to enjoy and the Village Museum for a spot of history. The surrounding wine route is the largest in the Cape, holding countless vineyards and a variety of luxury hotels. Exploring by car is the best way to travel: allowing you to take in the dramatic scenery at a leisurely pace, it's also the most convenient method, with the main hotspots a short drive from each other.
From Stellenbosch, Franschhoek is only 30 minutes away and owns perhaps the prettiest setting of any Winelands town - enclosed on three sides by mountains. It's also one of the best places to enjoy some of the region's famed cuisine, complemented by the town's friendly vibe and graceful Victorian architecture. Franschhoek's hinterland is great fun to explore, with adventurous hikes, horse-riding and, of course, wineries to visit and stay on. Set in a large valley nearby is Paarl. Possessing quite the small town feel, in-spite of its considerable size, Paarl has a number of sights to take in around the town. However, it's the suburbs that truly deserve your attention, with charming wine farms dotting the countryside.
Leaving the quiet sophistication of the Winelands behind, the celebrated Whale Route is only a short drive away, offering cosy seaside charisma and remarkable whale sightings. Stay in Hermanus through July to October for the best chance to see these magnificent creatures. Southern right whales are the main species you're likely to see, although all species of whale do pass by.
To get a closer look at the migratory giants embark on a thrilling boat trip out to sea, or let the whales come to you instead. Rather than brave the waves take to the superb cliff-top paths - Walker Bay is the favoured setting for females to travel inshore and calve and sightings are nothing short of breath-taking. While very much defined by whale watching Hermanus also boasts one of the best wine shops in South Africa: the Wine Village, and plenty of luxury accommodation, with many holding cliff-top settings and spectacular ocean views.
A thriving hub of cosmopolitan bustle; climb Table Mountain, experience the buzz of the V&A Waterfront and stay in luxury.
An outstanding area of sandstone mountains, take on hiking trails, discover wildlife and deep valleys and hot springs.
A nature and marine reserve, De Hoop is 3 hours' from Cape Town and offers a variety of accommodation options from which to enjoy land-based whale watching, hiking, mountain biking, birdwatching and snorkelling.
Enjoy magnificent whale watching from July to October, with cliff-top paths and boat trips to bring you closer to the action.
Stunning wine farms, hotels, boutique guest houses and world renowned restaurants set within mountainous surrounds.
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