From scenic natural beauty to reams of colourful history and world-class vineyards, the Western Cape is definitely worth visiting when in South Africa. Although, there are many lesser-known areas of the province that are waiting to be explored.
Perhaps you have previously visited the Western Cape and are wanting to return and explore more... Or it is your first time visiting and you're looking for things to do that are beyond the obvious tourist trail and more favoured by the locals. Our Cape Town based Travel Experts have compiled some of their personal favourite experiences in the Western Cape:
It is absolutely worth visiting Robben Island and Boulders Beach and there is no doubt that the view from the top of Table Mountain is breath-taking, but if you have visited Cape Town before, it is likely you have already ticked these off your travel bucket-list.
“I love taking my kids to Muizenberg Beach to surf at the weekend and the colourful beach huts make this one of Cape Towns most picturesque beaches. Another gorgeous beach is Llandudno – go for sunset as it is spectacular!” –Nicki Malherbe Wray
“On a Saturday or Sunday late afternoon, personally one of my favourite things to do with my son and husband, is to head to More-ish Ice Cream at Eden on the Bay. From here you can stroll along the walk way which leads onto the sandy beach. This leads to Blouberg Beach where you can capture the famous ocean and Table Mountain shot. Woodstock is a really cool and trendy neighbourhood, with art galleries, restaurants, breweries, gin bars etc. It has really cool street and there is a great buzz usually around Albert Road where the Old Biscuit Mill and Woodstock Exchange is located. On Saturdays the Old Biscuit Mill has the popular Neighbourhoods Market where one can enjoy traditional or artisan foods, craft beer, locally designed clothing, pottery, art etc – a really popular hangout for locals. " - Monique Van Eeden
Already hiked Table Mountain? What about the Cederberg Mountains? The rising tors of the Cederberg Mountains pierce the sky with sandstone peaks and sweep away into deep valleys. This is a harsh area of wilderness, beautiful in its remoteness and completely explorable. Or why don't you travel to the nearby small town of Citrusdal to experience the stunning countryside of its surrounds and to try their famed hot springs. Or, for some of the best bouldering around visit the Pakuis Pass. To explore the undiscovered Cederberg area, we recommend staying at Bushmans Kloof Wilderness Reserve and Wellness Retreat.
De Hoop Nature Reserve
You may have already visited the penguins at Boulder's Beach but now it's time to spot the other Marine Big 5 animals: dolphin, cape fur seal, whale and great white shark. De Hoop is a nature and marine reserve situated in the Overberg region of South Africa, approximately 3 hours' drive from Cape Town. The entire length of the De Hoop coast is a marine protected area and this World Heritage Site is an important nursery for the endangered south right whale and a top spot to see dolphins and cape fur seals on a boat tour. We recommend staying at the luxurious Lekkerwater Beach Lodge at DeHoop, a great base if you are wanting to spot the Marine Big 5.
Wanting to experience something different in the Winelands? Why not explore further on two wheels with a bicycle tour of the Drwars River Valley, situated between Franschoek and Stellenbosh. Sample local street food to keep up your energy levels while cycling through the historic towns of Pniel, Kylemore, Johannesdal and Lanquedoc. Why not take a tuk tuk wine tasting tour through Franschhoek and Stellenbosch? Or journey through the rolling vineyards in a vintage style railway tram and open -air tram-bus through Franschohhoek Valley.
The self-appointed 'ostrich capital of the world', Oudtshoorn is a small town on Route 62, packed, unsurprisingly, with ostrich farms - a number of which you can visit. However, meeting the world's largest bird is hardly the only reason to stop-by this unusual destination. Oudtshoorn is also home to the spectacular Cango Caves. Around 50km outside of Oudtshoorn is another worthy attraction: the Victorian village of Calitzdorp. Possessing a somewhat irresistible charm, relax in this quieter alternative to Oudtshoorn and sample wine at spectacular wine estates.
For more off-the-radar experiences in South Africa visit our Rediscover SA page.