Fabulous day trips from Cape Town
West Coast National Park
About one and a half hours north of Cape Town you will find the West Coast National Park, where there is abundant birdlife, beaches that go on for miles, and an inviting lagoon. Wildlife abounds and many visitors drive through the park to spot its wildlife, from tortoises to buck. There are many activities to keep you occupied for the day – hiking, mountain biking and kayaking are favourite pastimes; or take along your binoculars to do some birding. But there is nothing better than lolling on the white sand near the clear blue lagoon.
The Paarl Winelands
Take a trip into the Paarl Winelands for a bit of wine tasting and a long, leisurely lunch. The Paarl wine route is often referred to as the red route because of the high quality red wines available. Paarl is one of the oldest towns in South Africa, founded in 1687 when Dutch settlers were given farms along the Berg River. The area was quickly established as a great wine-growing region.
A great Saturday morning getaway is Kalk Bay, where you can brunch, browse and buy. The pretty seaside village forms part of Cape Town, but the vibe is laid-back enough for you to feel that you’ve escaped the city. A favourite activity is watching fish being landed at the harbour (some of the fish are immediately cleaned and sold to onlookers).
From July to December, Hermanus comes alive as thousands of people arrive to witness the southern right whales gathering in the waters in search of mates and to calve. The best route is to go over Sir Lowry’s Pass, which has magnificent views of Cape Town. When you get to Hermanus you can choose to take a whale-watching boat or plane, or stand on the cliffs to spot the ocean’s gentle giants. The Hermanus beachfront has an array of restaurants, cafés and coffee shops. Watch out for the whale crier, who sounds his kelp horn when he spots whales off the Hermanus coastline. There are a number of beaches in the area, great for walking, surfing and swimming.
Take a breathtaking road trip along Route 62, which links the Western and Eastern Cape; it is much more than just a road – it is a destination in itself. The route passes through fruit and wine country, taking in great wine stops like Roberston and Ashton. There are many quaint towns worth visiting along the route.