For tourists, Cape Town is often their first introduction to South Africa. For many, it is also the starting point for a tour through this extraordinary country. They stay in the city for a day before continuing their journey along the famous “Garden Route”. Or to one of the beautiful nature parks to see wild animals. Understandable but a pity, because the direct surroundings of Cape Town have a lot to offer. Such as Table Mountain, the Cape Peninsula, and the excellent 18th century wineries. In this blog you will find some of the many reasons to spend several days in Cape Town and its surroundings.
In the immediate vicinity of Cape Town, you can make beautiful short and long walks. In our blog with the highlights of Cape Town, we already mentioned the walk at the Lion’s Head. Here are some other hiking areas that you, as an avid hiker, should not miss.
This iconic, over 1000-metre-high mountain is one of the new seven wonders of nature. With good reason as the mountain is home to more plant species per square kilometre than the Amazon! The mountain offers exceptional hiking opportunities for nature lovers and adventurers of all experience levels. There are several hiking trails to climb the mountain, some easier than others. We write about them in our blog on climbing Table Mountain. Is the altitude too much for you? Then take the cable car to the top. Here you have some small trails that lead you along the most beautiful views.
The Cape Peninsula
Just south of Cape Town and Table Mountain National Park is the Cape Peninsula. You have an exceptional number of beautiful walks here. The most famous of these can be found at the Cape of Good Hope in the extreme south of the peninsula. For example, the simple walk to the Cape of Good Hope over a well laid-out path. Or the equally simple walk to Cape Point. But there are also longer walks, varying from 3.5 to 7.5 kilometres.
In the north of the peninsula, you will find most of the hiking trails. At Kommetjie in the west alone, you have three great walks. Just north of that, you can do a fantastic walk to Chapman’s Peak. Also on the west coast of the peninsula, there are dozens of beautiful hiking routes. One that should not be missed is the short walk at Boulders Beach. The walk itself is not very special, but the inhabitants of the beach are: a colony of penguins.
Landscapes in the beautiful Constantia Valley
Just south of Table Mountain National Park lies the valley of Constantia. This is the oldest wine region in the southern hemisphere. The beautiful landscape of Constantia is the perfect place to relax during a visit to Cape Town. Or for hiking, mountain biking or even horse riding. But the main attraction of the valley is the wineries of Groot Constantia, Buitenverwagting, Klein Constantia and Constantia Uitsig. The wineries are located on the beautiful Constantia wine route lined with very old trees. Visit the vineyards before heading to Stellenbosch, Paarl and Franschhoek.
The townships are the communities where people were forced to live (on the basis of race) during the apartheid regime. Because of the poverty in which many people live, they still exist. A tour through a township may seem inappropriate. Yet it is a good way to learn more about the history of South Africa. And to adjust your world view. You will gain more respect and understanding for the township residents.
There are some large townships within the city limits. Langa is the oldest of these. Others are Khayelitsha, District Six, Kayamandi, Gugulethu and Nyanga. These were mostly founded because Langa was bursting at the seams. You have several tours that you can book. For example, a walk through Langa at Siviwe Tours. But you also have combinations of walks and bicycle tours through townships. Like the LaGuGu Township Tour by City Siteseeing through Langa and Gugulethu. ABCD Concepts even offers running or cycling tours through Khayelitsha. And are you interested in street art? Township Art Tours offers cycling tours along the most beautiful murals in Khayelitsha.
Other tour operators that are well regarded include Mile by Mile Tours and 18 GM. Mile by Mile Tours will introduce you to several townships including District Six, Langa, Guguletu and Bonteheuwel. At 18 GM you can enjoy various township experiences in Khayelitsha. Not just walks but also a museum or even a full weekend visit.
The prison museum of Robben Island
Robben Island is located just off the coast of Cape Town. Political prisoners were held here during the apartheid regime. Like Nelson Mandela and Walter Sisulu. The tour consists of a guided bus ride over the island. This is followed by a meeting with a former political prisoner who gives the tour himself. We have written a separate blog about it.
South Africa may be known for the Big Five, but its marine life is just as impressive! Every year, southern right whales What are they? But you may also see humpback whales and orcas. The whales come every year between June and November to mate and calve. They can be spotted less than 100 metres from the coast. The best places to admire the mammals are the higher vantage points along the Valsbaai coastline. Such as Cape Point, and Boyes Drive between St James and Kalk Bay. And at Clarence Drive between Gordons Bay and Rooi Els.