We made a list of the best day trips to take outside Cape Town for those who want to explore further than the urban area. We have curated this list for all the nearby cities, towns, and attractions that are within a two-hour drive. The best thing about living in Cape Town is that there is so much to do outside of the city. I don't know how many weekends we wasted stuck in front of screens, when it would have been so rewarding to explore the beauty that surrounds us.
Day Trips from Cape Town Shortlist
No trip to Cape Town is complete without a visit to Boulders Beach. This beach has been named one of the top 10 beaches in the world by National Geographic, sung about in songs, and was even used as filming locations for Life of Pi. The rocks are made up of Table Mountain sandstone that has eroded into weirdly shaped boulders. It takes around 30 minutes to reach Boulders Beach from Cape Town by car.
At Boulders Beach you will get to see the cheeky Jackass penguins who walk right across the road. It's pretty much like a wildlife safari without any of the effort. Boulders Penguin Colony is home to around 1,500 African penguins. If you visit in the early morning or late afternoon, you will be lucky to see the penguins waddling across the beach towards their nests ready for dinner. Once they have made their way back to shore, they just hang out on rocks and look at themselves whilst quacking away at each other.
Cape Peninsula National Park
If you're traveling around South Africa then there's a chance that you might get slightly tired of seeing the same types of landscapes. That's why we highly recommend taking a day to go and explore Cape Point National Park. The views here will make you feel like you've teleported back in time because these mountains jut out into the ocean, and it's almost like they don't belong!
Cape Point is just a 45-minute drive from Cape Town. There are no words to describe the drive along Chapman's Peak to get there. The breathtaking views of the ocean combined with the feeling you get being so close to nature will have you savoring every moment.
Traveling through Cape Point will lead you right into the heart of Table Mountain National Park where hiking trails await. The most popular route The Cape of Good Hope trail travels along a well-maintained and lit boardwalk to the world-famous sign, located on the rocky shoreline far below. Walk all the way to the end of the trail, and you’ll have reached the most southern point of the Cape Peninsula. Here is the perfect photo opportunity to prove that you’ve visited the most South-Western corner of the African continent. A full circuit requires 2-3 hours without stops, but there are also both easier and more difficult hikes you can do.
The Cape Winelands is one of our favorite things about South Africa because it combines two of our most favorite things, food, and wine! Driving along the beautiful mountains surrounding the wineries makes us feel like we're playing out our best Jackie Chan scenes... without Jackie Chan. Cape Winelands is only around an hour's drive from Cape Town.
It is possible to visit one or two wineries in a day. If you want to hit all the big wineries, we recommend staying overnight. Traffic around Cape Town can get bad at times, and it's not good to spend hours in a car after drinking wine from early in the morning!
Hermanus is an awesome little place that you can get to from Cape Town in less than two hours. The town was once a whaling town, and today it's a perfect destination for nature lovers, whale watchers, divers, and people who love seafood. Hermanus is also home to the African Penguin Colony where visitors will have the privilege of watching these cute little guys do what they do best – be adorable!
Make sure to visit both Napier and Draai-bosch while on the way from Cape Town to Hermanus. They are both home to different styles of wine farms, and both offer beautiful settings and great places for families who want their kids to enjoy some outdoor activities.
It's impossible to visit South Africa without visiting Robben Island. It's also impossible not to learn something new even if you know all about Nelson Mandela or Apartheid because there are plenty of interesting things to discover about those times. There is a museum with artifacts here from the prisoners on Robben Island, and it's worth taking a tour of the island to get an idea of what life was like for those who were sent there. You can get to Robben Island by ferry, which takes about 30 minutes.
The Garden Route is a coast between Cape Town and Port Elizabeth that has some of the most breath-taking scenery we've ever experienced. While traveling through this region you'll come across an almost unending assortment of natural wonders like ostrich farms, giant aloe plants, whales, beaches, forests, vineyards, and gardens! The road itself is also pretty fun to drive especially if you're into mountain biking or just really good at car games.
South Africa is a huge country with something for everyone! The people are generally pleasant, and nature will leave you speechless on more than one occasion. So, if you're looking for some short getaways from the city bustle, I hope this guide has given you some fantastic alternatives.
We are still in our early 30s and want to experience as much of life before we settle down; this is meant to be a list for all ages who love an adventure. If you would like to add something (because there is never enough time), then please do so in the comment section below.