Must-see places to visit in Western Cape Province, Southern Africa.
Resting at the confluence of the Indian and Atlantic oceans, sandwiched between the slopes of the iconic Table Mountain and the glistening sapphire waters of Table Bay, the exceptionally scenic city of Cape Town is in a class of its own.
Some cities boast rich culture, vibrant nightlife, a cosmopolitan atmosphere and extraordinary architecture, while others boast breathtaking landscapes and extraordinary natural wonders. Cape Town is lucky enough to be blessed with all of these attractions and so much more. With its bustling harbour, world-class beaches, top-notch vineyards, and mountainous surroundings brimming with diverse flora and fauna, Cape Town consistently captivates the hearts of all who visit.
The Cederberg was proclaimed a Wilderness in 1973. The wilderness encompasses about 71,000 hectares of rugged, mountainous terrain, making it a top spot in the Western Cape for hiking enthusiasts.
This magical landscaped terrain is located in the Cape Floral Region, only three hours outside Cape Town, but it feels like a different world. The Cederberg Mountains, burnt orange by iron oxide, dominates the landscape. Jagged sandstone rock formations, like the Maltese Cross and the Wolfberg Arch, and ancient San and Khoi rock art make this area truly spectacular. The area is also rich in wildlife, and you may spot porcupines, honey badgers, the Cape clawless otter and the aardvark.
Situated in the beautiful province of the Western Cape in South Africa, Montagu is a popular stop along the famous Route 62, a scenic alternative to the N2 highway.
This quaint town serves as the gateway to the Little Karoo and is well-known for its natural hot springs, heritage and idyllic setting. The rugged terrain features majestic mountains, spectacular passes, vineyards, orchards and rivers. It is a popular destination for rock climbers who flock here to scramble up the many rugged rocky outcrops, and cliff faces encircling this charming town.
Visitors can explore the wide picturesque streets lined with over twenty Cape Victorian national monuments, discover a wide range of wining and dining options, and soak up the scenic tranquillity on one of the many hiking trails in and around Montagu.
Extending across 400 000 square kilometres of the country, the Karoo is South Africa’s largest ecosystem, and its semi-arid scrublands shelter a surprisingly rich diversity of plant, bird and animal life.
Composed of the Great and Little Karoo, this vast semi-desert region may seem harsh and unforgiving to some, but to others, it’s a sanctuary of peace and silence with its own unique, compelling beauty. The Karoo’s landscape is characterised by rugged mountains hiding ancient caves giving way to vast undulating plains peppered with indigenous succulents and grazing ostrich and sheep.
Highlights of the area are the fossil trail in the Karoo National Park and the annual Olive Festival in the small town of Prince Albert.
Set on the banks of the magnificent Langebaan Lagoon, the popular resort town of Langebaan is conveniently located only 120 kilometres north of Cape Town in the Western Cape province of South Africa.
This lovely little town is renowned for the pristine white sand beaches lining its turquoise lagoon, which provides an ideal environment for an array of exhilarating water sports, including water skiing, kayaking, sailing, fishing and kitesurfing. The lagoon also features tidal mudflats, which serve as a habitat for an impressive variety of local and migratory birds.
Visitors can look forward to exploring the nearby West Coast Nature Park, where they can enjoy game viewing, cycling, and hiking, and the West Coast Fossil Park, which offers visitors an informative tour of a fossil dig, the chance to hunt for their own fossils, as well as biking, hiking and horse riding through the park.
Located along the well-known Route 62 in South Africa’s beautiful Klein Karoo, the charming town of Oudtshoorn is known as the ostrich capital of the world. It is surrounded by numerous ostrich farms and the golden arid landscape of the Karoo.
Visitors can enjoy the locally produced wine and port; sample ostrich meat and biltong; learn about the ostrich feather boom at the C.P. Nel Museum; and visit the world-renowned Cango Caves, the largest cave system in Africa featuring ancient rock formations and sparkling stalactites and stalagmites.
Other popular activities include mountain biking, paragliding, horse riding, and taking a day trip to the quaint town of Prince Albert over the scenic Swartberg Pass.
Encompassing the towns of Kleinmond, Hermanus, Stanford and Gansbaai, the Whale Coast is an area of incredible natural beauty and diversity.
This rugged stretch of South African coastline snakes along the Atlantic Ocean, with magnificent fynbos-blanketed mountains rising up from the interior. The spectacular scenery is made up of charming seaside villages, farms, rivers, coves and valleys, and during the right season, the region’s namesake – whales – can be seen cruising and wallowing in the coastal waters.
Visitors can enjoy visiting the little villages dotting the area, bird watching, whale watching, wine tasting, paragliding, fat bike rides, river rafting, game viewing, mountain biking, and golfing. Don’t miss a visit to the African Penguin and Seabird Sanctuary in Gansbaai.
Situated just 140 kilometres from Cape Town and built between the beautiful shores and cliffs of Walker Bay, Hermanus has grown from a small seaside resort town to become possibly the best-known place for whale watching in the world. This town is also famed for its natural scenic beauty, long stretches of pristine beaches and excellent variety of restaurants, cafes and bars. Today, Hermanus is more than just a popular holiday destination and offers visitors all kinds of activities, both energetic and relaxing.
Visitors can explore the Old Harbour Museum, which is comprised of the charming fisherman’s village, the old harbour, and the Whale House Museum; hike through the nearby Fernkloof Nature Reserve and sample an array of top-quality wine along the famed Hermanus Wine Route.
The Garden Route
Sandwiched between the Outeniqua and Tsitsikamma Mountains and the glistening Indian Ocean, this lush 200-kilometre stretch of coastal plain between Mossel Bay and Storms River Mouth provides one of the world’s most spectacular drives.
Whether you are seeking pristine, uncrowded white-sand beaches, world-class golf courses, ancient forests, top-notch surf spots, extraordinary nature reserves, excellent hiking opportunities or exhilarating outdoor adventures such as bungee jumping or ziplining, the Garden Route has it all.
Tsitsikamma National Park is known for its ancient forest, pristine coastline and magnificent rivers. The Tsitsikamma National Park falls within the Garden Route National Park and encompasses a marine conservation belt which stretches five kilometres out into the ocean. It is home to diverse fauna and flora, including over 9000 species of indigenous fynbos. Visitors can look forward to hiking to the Big Tree, an ancient yellowwood, and going on an exhilarating kayaking trip at Storms River Mouth, as well as a number of other activities, including cycling, swimming, zip lining, camping, snorkelling, diving, mountain biking, and sailing.
The resort town of Sedgefield overlooks the mouth of the Swartvlei lagoon. This view is further enhanced by the long beaches and sand dunes that stretch off into the distance in both directions. The town is a treasure trove of varied and beautiful bird species, many of which can be spotted from the numerous hiking trails and bird hides in the area.
The seaside resort town of Wilderness is renowned for its vast stretches of beach and its tranquil beauty. Wilderness overlooks not only the beautiful Indian Ocean but also the placid waters of a vast lagoon system. As you might expect from a town surrounded by nature reserves, rivers and lakes, Wilderness is a popular water sport, hiking and birding destination. Visitors can look forward to kayaking expeditions up pristine rivers, discovering hidden waterfalls and learning how to surf. Don’t miss the opportunity to explore the Garden Route National Park with its abundant wildlife and the neighbouring Outeniqua Mountains.
From the inhabitants and their occupations to the scenery, with its various landscapes, microclimates and vegetation, the picturesque village of Barrydale enjoys harmonious diversity, which is unique for a small town that is typically centred on farming.
Barrydale borders the Overberg and Klein Karoo regions of the Western Cape and has a well-developed tourist infrastructure that ranges from wine farms to flower gardens.
A blend of historical architecture, student life, epicurean delights and oak-lined avenues, Stellenbosch is a picturesque university town surrounded by mountains and vineyards.
A walking tour of the town centre allows visitors to take in its beautifully preserved Cape Dutch and Victorian architecture, as well as the many enticing art galleries, craft shops, clothing boutiques and gift stores, while foodies may prefer indulging in mouth-watering cuisine and fine wines at one of the chic restaurants or buzzing bistros.
Stellenbosch is also the ideal base from which to explore the renowned local wine route, boasting a high proportion of the country’s leading wine estates.