There are many great places to visit as a day trip from Cape Town for any traveler be it an adventurous traveler, a family with children, or a honeymoon couple. From incredible hiking routes to breathtaking scenic drives, from renowned wine routes to diverse wildlife, it will never disappoint you just have to choose the right place for you. There are many incredible things to do in Cape Town and some of the suggested day trips are definitely to include in your bucket-list.
Best places to stay in Cape Town
There are many hotels, hostels, and guesthouses in Cape Town for any budget. My main advice here is to stay at a place near the city center (Long Street, Bree Street), V&A Waterfront, or Green Point these are the best areas to stay for exploring the city.
Amazing hiking day trips from Cape Town
Crystal Pools, Steenbras River, Gordons Bay
- Distance from Cape Town (one way) – 60 km
- Required time to complete the route (excluding the driving time) – 2-3 hours.
- Best months – November to April
- Entrance fee – ZAR 100/US$ (conservation fee – ZAR 75, hiking permit ZAR 25).
- Difficulty level – easy-moderate
A hidden gem near Cape Town with a beautiful hiking trail and fantastic natural pools great for a refreshing swim after the hike. The trail is about a 5 km return. There are a couple of pools you can stop at the first or continue walking all the way to the last one. The trail follows a rocky path with occasional boulders. It is well-marked and has a gradual ascent on the way to the pools. It’s a great place to come for a day, bring snacks, water, and towels with you. The scenery along the trail and at the pools is amazing; massive boulders, mountains, fynbos, and of course refreshing rocky pools.
The hike has to be booked at least 2 days in advance. The number of daily visitors is limited to 50. If you decide to do the hike over the December holidays I’d highly recommend booking a couple of weeks beforehand. Email for reservations – [email protected]. It’s possible to do a guided hike in Crystal Pools that includes transportation permits, a guide, and lunch.
Hiking in the Crystal Pools can be combined with a road trip to Cape Agulhas, or whale watching in Hermanus.
Jonkershoek Nature Reserve, Stellenbosch
- Distance from Cape Town – 60 km
- Required time – from 2 to 8 hours depending on the trail
- Best months – October to April. In the summer months December to February, it’s recommended to start hiking early in the morning before it gets too hot especially if you’re planning to do one of the longer routes.
- Entrance fee – ZAR 50/US$ adults, ZAR 30/US$ children.
- Difficulty level – easy to difficult depending on the route
Jonkershoek Nature Reserve is a stunning place near Stellenbosch even the drive there is beautiful. Hiking here is one of our favorite things to do in Stellenbosch. There are several hiking routes inside the reserve from short and easy walks suitable for the whole family to long and challenging trails for relatively fit people.
Tweede Waterfall is an easy 6 km return trail from along the river; Swartboskloo to Sosyskloo walk is another easy 6 km route suitable for families with children; Panorama Circuit, a challenging 17 km steep trail that offers stunning views of the area and Swartboskloof Trail another long and challenging 18 km route for great views. If you’re planning to do one of the long routes make sure to bring enough water and snacks or sandwiches.
Limietberg Nature Reserve, Rawsonville
- Distance from Cape Town – 80 km
- Required time – 5-6 hours
- Best months – October – December, March – April. It gets really hot here in January and February and unlike Cape Town, this area doesn’t get fresh sea breeze in summer.
- Conservation fee – ZAR 50/US$ adults, ZAR 30/US$ children.
- Difficulty level – easy to moderate
Limietberg Nature Reserve is another hidden gem near Cape Town. There are several day hikes in the reserve that take visitors through fynbos vegetation with fantastic views of the Du Toitskloof Mountains to natural rocky pools and secret waterfalls where hikers can enjoy a refreshing swim and a picnic.
There are five trails: Bobbejaans River Trail – 16 km; Happy Valley Trail – 18 km; Krom River Trail – 14 km (our favorite route here); Eland River Trail – 14 km and Rockhopper Trail – 16 km. All trails except for the Rockhopper Trail and the last part of the Krom River Trail are relatively easy and suitable for families with children. It’s the only trail that starts and finishes at different spots you’ll need two cars or a ride to get back to your car. Krom River Trail is our favorite here, the rocky pools and the waterfalls at the end of it are very beautiful. The trails start at different locations it’s better to decide which one you want to hike before you start driving.
Hiking in Limietberg Nature Reserve can be combined with scenic drives over Du Toitskloof Pass or Bainskloof Pass (or both) and with wine tasting in the Breedekloof Valley.
Harold Porter Botanical Garden, Rooiels
- Distance from Cape Town – 90 km
- Required time – 2 to 5 hours depending on the trail
- Best months – October to April
- Entrance fee – ZAR 30 adults, ZAR12 children (under 6 yo free).
- Difficulty level – easy-moderate
Harold Porter Botanical Garden and the surrounding area is a great place to come for a day from Cape Town. There are several routes from easy walks in the beautiful garden to longer and more challenging hikes up the mountains to the natural pools and hidden waterfalls. Three main trails are Disa Kloof Trail, an easy 1-hour return walk, Zig Zag Trail takes visitors to the look-out point up the hill, and Leopards Kloof Trail, the most challenging route on a narrow path with occasional ladders.
The Garden itself is very pleasant with many beautiful plants and flowers even if you’re not planning to do serious hiking here it’s a nice stop on the way if you’re driving towards Hermanus, Cape Agulhas, or starting your Garden Route road trip. The garden has a nice coffee shop/restaurant and some picnic spots.
Suicide gorge & Riviersonderend Kloofing Trails, Grabouw
- Distance from Cape Town – 90 km
- Required time – 9 hours for Suicide Gorge, 7-8 hours for Riviersonderend Trail
- Best months – November to April
- Difficulty level – difficult – Suicide Gorge, moderate-difficult – Riviersonderend Trail
These two kloofing adventure trails start at the same place, about 20 km north of Grabouw. The Riviersonderend Trail is a much better alternative for those who are never done kloofing before. The hiking part is about 7,5 km return, the kloofing section in the middle has several pools, the highest cliff for jumping is 7 m. There are only a few pools where jumping is the only option for getting down.
The second trails the Suicide Gorge is an adventure not for the faint-hearted or those who are afraid of heights. The hiking part is about 17 km and it’s the easiest part of this route. Jumping and sliding from cliffs into rocky pools is another far more thrilling and a bit scary in the beginning. The highest jump here is 14 m! The kloofing part involves quite a bit of swimming as well. For first-timers, it’s highly recommended to do the trail with somebody who’s done it before or with a guide. You must be confident after jumping off the first cliff there will be no turnaround you’ll have to go on till the end.
For both trails, you’ll need a dry-bag to put your stuff in to make sure nothing gets wet. If you want to take photos or videos GoPro is the best option here. The trails are located close to one of our favorite dog-friendly campsites – Khomeesdrif, you can combine a weekend camping with kloofing.
Wine tasting trips from Cape Town
Constantia wine route
- Distance from Cape Town (one way) – 18 km from Cape Town city center
- When to visit – Monday to Thursday if you want to skip the crowds
- Average cost – ZAR 75-100/US$ for tasting up to 5 wines
Constantia wine route is the closest to the city center place for wine tasting. It’s a great option for those who don’t feel like driving too far. The Constantia Valley is a stunning place with beautiful scenery and some of the oldest wine estates in the country. There are 15 wine farms in Constantia Valley which means in one day you can easily visit ⅓ of them. You can drive yourself or join one of the wine tours that include hotel pick-up and drop-off. If you’re up for an adventure you can do a cycling wine tour through the valley.
Groot Constantia is the one not to miss here. It’s the oldest wine farm in South Africa and one of the oldest in the Southern Hemisphere. Klein Constantia and Constantia Glen are two more farms I’d recommend including in your list. Most farms in the valley do wine tasting without prior arrangement. You can combine tasting with lunch at one of the estates, most of them have great restaurants on their premises.
You can combine wine tasting in Constantia with driving around the Cape Peninsula, or surfing in Muizenberg. If you travel with children before or after the tasting take them to Boulder’s Beach to see cute African penguins or do a boat tour from Hout Bay to see playful seals.
Durbanville wine route
- Distance from Cape Town (one way) – 30 km from Cape Town city center
- When to visit – Tuesday to Friday to skip the crowds, on weekends it gets very busy. Tasting rooms are closed on Mondays.
- Tasting times – 10am to 4pm.
- Average cost – ZAR 50-70/US$ for wine tasting (5-6 wines), ZAR 90-120/US$ for pairing (wine and chocolate, ice cream, nougat, etc.).
Another wine route located not far from the city center. Unlikely the Constantia Valley Durbanville area is overlooked by international tourists but it is a great area to come for a day wine tasting trip from Cape Town. Most of the visitors here are locals that often come here on weekends with families and friends. There are 12 farms in Durbanville that offer wine tasting. Most wine tastings in Durbanville include 5-6 wines or 3 if it’s a reserve collection. To be honest with so many wines to taste we always visit only two estates at a time luckily we live nearby, it’s just a short drive. We usually share one tasting; it’s more than enough for two people (10-12 wines between two farms) considering that we still have to drive back home.
Many farms here have nice playgrounds and some entertainment areas for children. If you travel with young kids Durbanville might be a better option for you than Constantia though I, personally prefer the second for its incredible scenery.
Stellenbosch wine farms
- Distance from Cape Town (one way) – 50 km
- When to visit – in summer months (especially in December and January) Monday to Friday if you want to skip weekend crowds. Saturdays and Sundays if you want to visit local food markets.
- Average cost – ZAR 75/US$5 per tasting (3-5 wines)
Stellenbosch is probably the most well-known wine area in South Africa. With more than 150 farms, it’s difficult to beat it by the number or by the quality of wines. If some wine route like Franschhoek, in my opinion, is more of a romantic/special occasion thing, wine tasting in Stellenbosch is great for anybody; families, a group of friends, or even a single traveler. You just have to find the right wine farms for you. If you don’t want to drive yourself you can join one of the wine tasting tours from Cape Town that include pick up and drop off at your hotel/house. Another option is to use hop-on-hop-off wine buses that depart from Stellenbosch. You can choose one of the three routes: Northern Route Wine route, Southern Route Wine route, or Easter Route Wine route.
Besides wine tasting, there are many other activities around Stellenbosch from hiking in Jonkershoek Nature Reserve and mountain biking one of the trails to off-road driving, visiting the historical museum, enjoying a beautiful sculpture garden.
Franschhoek wine estates
- Distance from Cape Town (one way) – 80 km
- When to visit – Monday to Saturday, some wine farms and restaurants are closed on Sundays. If you come on Saturday you can visit the local food market in the town.
- Average cost – ZAR 75/US$5 per tasting (3-5 wines).
Franschhoek Valley is my favorite place to come for wine tasting. Since the first time my husband brought me here, I fell in love with this charming town and the picturesque surroundings. Franschhoek is a great place to come for a romantic weekend getaway from Cape Town. Here you can find all you need for a perfect weekend – great wine, delicious food, and stunning scenery. We always celebrate our wedding anniversary and Valentine’s Day here.
You can drive to Franschhoek yourself, join a wine tour from Cape Town, or explore the area riding a hop-on-hop-off wine tram. A big advantage of the last two options is that you don’t have to worry about drinking and driving you can test as many wines as you want. Franschhoek wine tram is a unique way of doing a wine tasting. The tram leaves from the town. There are 8 different routes each goes to 5-7 wine farms where you can get off the tram, taste wine, and have lunch. You can drive to Franschhoek yourself and get on the tram there or take a tour from Cape Town that includes a return shuttle to your hotel and a tram ticket.
Wine tasting is not the only activity there are many other things to do in Franschhoek that will be interesting for the whole family. You can drive over the Franschhoek Pass, go on a short hike in Mont Rochelle Nature Reserve, visit the Motor Museum with a great collection of old cars, learn how to make chocolate, and many other interesting things.
Breedekloof wine route, Rawsonville
- Distance from Cape Town (one way) – 90 km
- When to visit – Monday to Saturday, wine farms are closed on Sundays
- Average cost – most farms do tasting for free
If you have to choose only one wine route in Cape Town to do the tasting I’d suggest sticking to Constantia, Stellenbosch, or Franschhoek. If you’ve already visited all the major wine areas around Mother City and looking for more off the beaten track experiences then the Breedekloof wine route is a good alternative. The route is situated in the picturesque Breede Valley near Rawsonville. Most of the wine farms are open for tasting without a prior appointment. Unlike on the popular wine routes, many farms in this area still offer free tasting, some don’t charge for tasting if you buy a bottle of wine. There are some truly spectacular wine estates that produce great wines and have a restaurant on the premises where you can enjoy lunch.
Best day trips to see wildlife
Seals at Hout Bay
- Best time to come – anytime, November – December if you want to see seal cubs.
- Distance from Cape Town (one way) – 20 km
- Seal tour prices – snorkeling ZAR 450/US$, seal cruise ZAR 110/US$
This small town just km outside Cape Town is one of the best places in the city to see sea lions. You can easily see them at the harbor; there are always a couple of seals swimming around fishermen’s boats looking for leftovers. For a close encounter go on a boat tour that will take you to Duiker Island where you can see hundreds of seals.
If you want to interact with these playful creatures you can go snorkeling with them. Don’t worry it’s not intrusive in any way seals are not attracted by the food they approach out of curiosity. As soon as they see snorkelers in the water they come and start swimming around them. Water temperature at Hout bay is between 10°C and 13°C you’ll need a wetsuit for snorkeling. If you join a snorkeling tour your operator will provide all the necessary gear.
Penguins at Boulders Beach, Simon’s Town
- Distance from Cape Town (one way) – 40 km
- Best time to come – between December and February there are many tourists at Boulders especially over the weekends, make sure to come here early.
- Operating hours – winter (April – September) from 8am to 5pm, summer (October – November and February – March) from 8am to 6.30pm, the peak season (December and January) from 8am to 7.30pm.
- Admission fee – foreigners ZAR 170/US$ adults, ZAR 85/US$ children, South Africans ZAR 40/US$ adults, ZAR 20/US$ children.
Boulders Beach is one of the tourists’ favorite places in Cape Town. It’s a beautiful white sand beach surrounded by massive boulders with many cute African penguins walking around. Boulders Beach is a must-include in your Cape Town bucket list if you travel with children they’ll enjoy it a lot. You can go for a swim here if you’re not afraid of cold water. A visit to this beach can be done as a part of a day road trip from Cape Town around the Cape Peninsula. If you don’t feel like driving yourself you can join a half-day tour from Cape Town to Boulders Beach.
Cape Point National Park, Cape Peninsula
- Distance from Cape Town (one way) – 70 km
- The best time to visit – November to April, it gets very windy in summer. In December – January on weekends the park is very busy, you might have to wait at the gate for a while.
- Operating hours – daily from 8am to 4pm
- Admission fee – foreigners ZAR 340/US$ adults, ZAR 170/US$ children, South Africans ZAR 85 adults, ZAR 40 children.
Cape Point National Park is one of our favorite places, it offers some of the best scenery in Cape Town, it’s a bucket list place to include into your Cape Town itinerary. One can easily spend the whole day here exploring the area. There are several not-to-miss attractions here such as Dias Beach, a white-sand beach surrounded by the cliffs, New Lighthouse, Cape of Good Hope, Flying Dutch funicular, and several tide pools and view-points. There are several hiking trails and boardwalks that take you to the most spectacular lookout points or even old shipwrecks if you follow one of the Shipwrecks trails.
Hiking around Cape Point you have chances to see some wild animals such as mongooses, zebras, ostriches, porcupines, tortoises, chameleons, etc. My advice if you have time after visiting the main part of the park drive away to quieter areas your chances to see wildlife there are much higher.
There are several day tours from Cape Town to Cape Point. If you’re into photography you might enjoy the Cape Point Instagram tour. For outdoor lovers, there is a great alternative to sitting in the car – explore Cape Point on an electric bike tour.
Penguins at Stony Point, Betty’s Bay
- Distance from Cape Town (one way) – 90 km
- Operating hours – daily from 8am to 4pm
- Admission fee – ZAR 25/US$ adults, ZAR 15/US$ children
Stony Point Nature Reserve is another great place to see cute African penguins. The beach here is not as picturesque as at Boulders but it’s far less touristy and usually, you can see more penguins here. Wooden boardwalks take visitors along the coast. Rocks and boulders are covered with hundreds of penguins. You can see them swimming, walking across boardwalks, and nesting.
If you want to learn more about the penguin conservation project you can visit Gansbaai Penguin and Seabird Sanctuary, 90 km from Stony Point. It’s a small center where injured penguins get rehabilitated before being released back into the wild. They do daily penguin feeding at 3pm. There is a nice cafe where you can enjoy a cup of coffee with a cake while watching penguins and a souvenir shop at the sanctuary.
A visit to Stony Point can be combined with whale watching in Hermanus and a road trip along the coast.
Whale watching in Hermanus
- Distance from Cape Town (one way) – 120 km
- Best time to come – July to October when Southern right whales come here for mating and calving.
- Boat tour prices – from ZAR 1000 per person (including transfer from Cape Town).
Hermanus and Gansbaai are the best places in South Africa to see Southern Right whales. Your chances of seeing them in the peak season are very high. It’s possible to see them from the shore but for a close encounter go on a whale-watching boat tour. If you want to see calf whales, August and September are the best months for whale watching in Hermanus. On a nice day, you can see several mother-calf pairs. Outside the Southern Right whale season, you can see seals, sharks, dolphins, penguins, and occasional Bridal whales. If you want to see one of the most famous water predators in the world, the great white shark you can combine a whale watching tour with shark cage diving in Gansbaai.
There are other things to do in Hermanus besides whale watching. It’s a beautiful town famous for its great restaurants where you can try fresh seafood and fish and fine wine estates. On a day trip from Cape Town to Hermanus, you can see marine animals, enjoy delicious food, and taste local wines.
Safari in Aquila Game Reserve, Worcester
- Distance from Cape Town (one way) – 175 km
- Best time to come – early morning or evening (after sunset) when it’s not too hot and predators are more active.
- Safari prices – from ZAR 2000/US$ per person including a return transfer from Cape Town, a 3-hour safari drive and lunch.
Aquila Private Game Reserve is only a 2-hour drive from Cape Town, it’s the closest to the Mother City safari park where you can see the famous African Big 5 (elephant, rhino, buffalo, lion, and leopard). Besides the big 5, there are many other animals to see here such as hippos, zebras, giraffes, different African antelopes, and more. The reserve is massive and occupies 10 000 hectares. Safari drives here are 100% wild experience with a touch of luxury. You can combine a safari drive with relaxing at a local spa.
There are several ways to explore the reserve from self-drives to quad bike/horseback safaris and a helicopter fly-in. Another option is to join a day tour from Cape Town that includes transportation from your hotel, entrance tickets, a game drive, and lunch.
Beautiful one-day road trips from Cape Town
Cape Peninsula scenic drive
Driving route: Cape Town – Camps Bay – Hout Bay – Noordhoek – Kommetjie – Cape Point National Park – Simon’s Town – Muizenberg – Cape Town
- Total distance – 144 km
- Best time for the drive – November to April. December and January are the hottest, the windiest months, and the busiest months.
The drive around the Cape Peninsula one of our favorite drives in South Africa is a perfect day road trip from Cape Town. The scenery is amazing and there are many beautiful places to stop along the route. If you want to visit Cape Point National Park, visit penguins at Boulders Beach and stop for photos at colorful beach cabins in Muizenberg make sure to start the drive early to have enough time. Start your day trip with the sunrise at Camp Bay and finish with the sunset hike up Lion’s Head. This road trip can be done with a tour from Cape Town that will take you to the main highlights of the route.
The famous Chapman’s Peak Drive is the most beautiful part of the scenic drive. It’s a 9 km drive between Hout Bay and Noordhoek. There are a couple of viewpoints along the drive where you can stop for photos. It’s a toll road, you’ll have to pay ZAR 52/US$ per car. Around Noordhoek, there are a couple of nice restaurants where you can stop for breakfast or lunch.
Cape Town to Hermanus road trip
Driving route: Cape Town – Gordons Bay – Betty’s Bay – Hermanus – Grabouw – Cape Town
- Total distance – 260 km
- Best time for the drive – November to April, between Christmas and New Year the road to Hermanus gets crazy busy, it’s not the best time for the drive.
Another incredible scenic drive from Cape Town along the coast. The most beautiful part of the road with some stunning look-out points is between Gordons Bay and Rooiels. Driving here you often can see seals, dolphins, and in the right season even whales. There are not many restaurants or coffee shops along the route but there are some amazing places to eat around Hermanus.
You can drive back the same way along the coast or turn inland towards Grabow and drive over Sir. Lowry’s Pass, the view from the top of the pass is quite impressive.
The trip can be combined with hiking in Harold Porter Botanical garden, visiting the penguin colony at Stony Point, whale watching in Hermanus, or shark-cage diving in Gansbaai. Though if you decide to do some of the mentioned activities you have to start driving early in the morning.
West Coast Flower Route
Driving route: Cape Town – Melkbosstrand – Grotto Bay – West Coast National Park (Langebaan) – Cape Town
- Total distance – 180 km
- Best time for the drive – the flower season between August and September when fields along the route are covered in spring flowers.
The West Coast (Namaqualand) completely transforms in spring, usually bare and dry after winter rains, the region looks one big colorful carpet. Thousands of flowers cover the fields along the coast. West Coast National Park near Langebaan is the best place to come for a day trip from Cape Town to see the famous Namaqualand in blossom. There are several short hiking trails inside the reserve. You can spend a couple of hours exploring the park and taking photos.
Admiring flowers is not the only activity on the West Coast. The area is famous for its fresh seafood. The small town of Paternoster, 40 km from Langebaan is the best place to try it.
Best food markets & fruit farms to visit from Cape Town
Polkadraai Strawberry Farm, Stellenbosch
- Distance from Cape Town (one way) – 40 km
- Working hours – September to January daily from 9am to 4pm
A big strawberry farm where the whole family can come to pick berries. Of course, you can buy strawberries at the supermarket but it’s sure more fun especially for children to get a basket and fill it with berries yourself. Prices depend on the size of the basket and start from ZAR 40/US$ . There are many other activities for children on the farm e.g. pony and tractor riding, playground, crafts, etc.
Root 44 Market, Stellenbosch
- Distance from Cape Town (one way) – 45 km
- Working hours – Saturdays and Sundays from 9 am
Route 44 is one of our favorite markets in Cape Town. It’s a great place to come on weekends to meet up with friends and family. Its vibrant vibe and delicious food make it a perfect weekend day trip from Cape Town. You can easily combine the market with the strawberry farm; both places are situated very close.
Spice Route, Paarl
- Distance from Cape Town – 57 km
- When to go – daily from 9am to 5pm. On summer weekends, December holidays, and at Easter, it gets extremely busy here.
Doing a day trip to Spice Route is a great option for those who don’t want to drive around a lot visiting different wine farms and restaurants. It’s a perfect day trip option for families with children. At Spice Route, you can find everything; wine, beer, chocolate and ice cream tasting, home-made preserves, woodfire pizza, cold meats, and all other sorts of delicacies. The farm offers a variety of hiking and cycling routes, craft masterclasses, and even pilates – you won’t be bored here!
Fairview wine & cheese farm, Paarl
- Distance from Cape Town – 57 km
- When to go – open daily from 9am to 5pm. During the December holiday it’s very busy you might have to wait for a while to do a tasting or get food.
Another great farm to come for a day especially if you planning a trip with children. Fairview is situated next to Spice Route you can easily combine both farms without having to drive around a lot. The place is beautiful you can do wine tasting, try different local cheeses, enjoy delicious lunch at the restaurants while your kids watch cute baby goats roaming around, climbing up the goat tower.
Klondyke Cherry Farm, Ceres
- Distance from Cape Town – 170 km
- Season – November for picking cherries, the season varies a bit it’s better to check the farm website to make sure there are cherries.
- Working hours – daily from 8.30am to 4pm
Temperatures in Ceres are significantly lower than anywhere else around Cape Town. It’s one of the few places in Western Cape where you can see snow in winter. Ceres is the only place in the province for growing cherries. You can combine picking cherries with a picnic under the pine trees. And make sure to bring warm clothes it might be up to 10C colder here than in Cape Town.
If you like thrilling adventures you can combine cherry-picking with ziplining in the beautiful Ceres mountains. The total length of ziplines is 1,5 km, the longest slide is 290 m. Ziplining in Ceres is a great day adventure from Cape Town.