The most amazing scenic drives in Cape Town


The area around Cape Town is incredibly diverse and absolutely beautiful and offers a great variety of scenic road trips from stunning coastal drives to mountain passes and vineyards. Driving around Cape Town you can enjoy the stunning scenery, see wildlife, do a wine tasting or try some adventurous activities. Some of the suggested drives we’ve done many times and every time we find new places to visit and activities to do. Out of many things to do in Cape Town scenic drives are something not to miss here.

Recommended tours to explore more of South Africa

Practical tips for road tripping around Cape Town

All roads are tarred you can drive in any car, it can be a nice trip on a motorbike as well but only if you’re a confident driver.

Renting a car is the best way to exploring the area and the easiest way to move around. All roads are tarred you don’t need a 4×4 for this trip. When renting a car make sure it doesn’t have a mileage limit or it’s more than 600km per rental. If you drive the suggested route from Cape Town Airport and back it’ll be just over 600km.

Suggested cars to rent for the trip

*Price for 3 days in US dollars, pick up and drop off at Cape Town Airport.

South Africans drive on the left side of the road like British and Australians if you’re from North America or Europe you’ll have to get used to it.

Every more or less touristy town has at least a grocery store, a restaurant, and a coffee shop.

Power sockets in South Africa are mostly type-M that is not really used anywhere else we’d recommend bringing a travel adapter plug.

The water temperature around Cape Town on the Atlantic side, it’s freezing all year round, between 9-14°C, for any water activities you need a wet suit. It gets warmer inside False Bay (Strand, Gordon’s Bay) and further along the coast, in summer up to 20°C.

On Sunday most restaurants, wine farms, and even shops in small towns are closed. On Saturdays, wine estates are open only half-day usually between 10am and 1pm.


The sea scenery at the sunrise on the Cape Point scenic drive
The beautiful sunrise at Cape Peninsula, one of the most beautiful scenic drives in Cape Town

There are many fantastic coffee shops in Cape Town where you can stop for breakfast and coffee before your scenic drive.

Travel insurance for the trip

Traveling often involves different risks from a flight delay or cancellation to medical emergencies and baggage loss. It’s always advisable to have travel insurance that will cover you in case if something goes wrong especially if you venture to a faraway country like South Africa. Theft or robbery is another important reason to get travel insurance for your South African trip whether you’re planning to visit only Cape Town or to venture on a long road trip around the country. 

It’s better to choose an insurance company that focuses on traveling and has a lot of experience in covering travelers all over the world like World Nomads. Their travel insurance is very flexible, you can buy it on-line while traveling, it takes only a couple of minutes and it can cover the whole trip or only a part of it. Get an instant quote right now!

Stunning coastal drives in Cape Town

The suggested itinerary is for 3 days but you can adjust it to your needs and time, we’d say it’s possible to do the drive in two days but you won’t have time to do any activities only sightseeing. If you have more time you can easily spend 4-5 days or even more if you want to chill in a nice and quiet place somewhere on the sea.

Cape Peninsula scenic drive

Driving route: Cape Town – Camps Bay – Hout Bay – Chapman’s Peak Drive – Noordhoek – Kommetjie – Misty Cliffs – Cape Point National park (Cape of Good Hope) – Boulders Beach (Simon’s Town) – Muizenberg – Cape Town.

  • Distance – 145 km loop
  • Time – anything between 4 and 8 hours depending on how many places you visit.
  • When to do the drive – the area is beautiful any time of the year the best is to do the drive on a nice not very windy day.

A route map of the Cape Peninsula scenic drive
A map of the scenic drive around Cape Peninsula, Cape Town

Highlights of the drive

  • Camps Bay – beautiful beaches, ice-cold water.
  • Hout Bay – the best place for spotting Cape Fur seals on this drive.
  • Chapman’s Peak drive – the most scenic drive in Cape Town.
  • Kommetjie – a beautiful white-sand beach with great waves for surfing.
  • Cape Point National park – where you can spend all day, there are many walking routes, some beautiful beaches, and very cold water.
  • Boulder’s Beach, Simon’s Town – is one of the must-see places in Cape Town. It’s a small hidden white-sand beach surrounded by huge boulders with quite a few penguins swimming and walking around.
  • Muizenberg – a busy surf town with colorful wooden cabins on the white sandy beach.

There are several day tours from Cape Town along the Cape Peninsula that you can join if you don’t want to drive yourself.

Things to do on the Cape Point drive

  • Snorkeling with seals in Hout Bay
  • Guided kayaking tour in Hout Bay
  • Surfing in Kommetjie – nice waves for all levels, there is a board rental place near the beach.
  • Hiking at Cape Point National park. There are several short hikes as well as a 2-day hike with staying at an overnight hut.
  • Swimming, relaxing, and watching penguins at Boulder’s Beach.
  • Surfing or SUPing in Muizenberg, you can get a surfing lesson or rent a board from one of the surf shops here.

Warning!

If it’s a weekend or a public holiday be ready to spend some time queuing to enter Cape Point National park luckily the queue moves quite fast.

Don’t walk after dark on the beaches around Cape Town unless there many people and rather skip Noordhoek beach there were several cases of mugging and hijacking.

If you want to do a hike we’d recommend doing it inside Cape Point National park there are quite a few walks around. Don’t hike in the mountains around Simon’s Town or Muizenberg, even if you’re more than two people there were some mugging and robbing incidents recently. If you like challenging hikes you might enjoy some of the hiking trails up Table Mountain.

Chapman’s Peak Drive

Most of the time the route goes along the coast with many stunning lookouts and endless white-sand beaches. I’d definitely recommend including this drive into your Cape Town itinerary. It’s not a long drive but there is so much to see here that it’ll take you the entire day, the earlier you start the better. The first stop is Camps Bay the fanciest neighborhood of Cape Town and the place with the most expensive property in the country. 

From there you drive over the pass to Hout Bay where you can see seals in the harbor, for tips locals will show you how they feed seals. Finally, you’re getting to Chapman’s Peak Drive. It’s on a toll road you pay ZAR 52/US$3,5 for a car to drive through but it’s totally worth it. It is one of the most beautiful drives in the country!

Cape Point National park

Take your time in the Cape Point National Park. There is a lot to see here. One can spend the whole day just driving and walking around; it’s an absolutely beautiful place. The highlights of the park; Cape Point, Cape of Good hope, the Lighthouse, Diaz Beach, Kleine Bucht, Vasco Da Gama Cross, Bordjiesrif Tidal Pool. The easiest way of getting to the Lighthouse and to the summit of Cape Point is to take a Flying Dutchman Funicular, you can buy tickets online and skip the line.

There are a couple of day hiking trails at Cape Point; Ship Wreck trail (3-5km), Phyllisia Circuit (7km), Kanonkop (5km), Cape of Good Hope Trail (3,5km), Lighthouse Keeper’s Trail (2km). Ask for a map at the entrance, all the trails are marked and relatively easy.

  • Open October – March 6am – 6pm, April – September 7am – 5pm.
  • Entrance fee foreigners – ZAR 340/US$22 adults, ZAR 170/US$11 children, locals – ZAR 85/US$5 adults, ZAR 40/US$3 children.

White sandy Diaz Beach at Cape Point National Park on the scenic drive around Cape peninsula
Beautiful Diaz Beach at Cape Point National Park, one of the main stops on the Cape Peninsula scenic drive

Boulders Beach, Simon’s Town

A small white-sand beach hidden between huge boulders with calm warmish waters is a part of the marine protected area. The exceptional beauty of Boulder’s Beach is not the only reason that attracts visitors to this beach every day, cute African penguins are always around; walking, swimming, or resting on the rocks. Children love this place! Take your swimming costume and a towel you can spend some time here chilling on the beach and watching penguins.

  • Open; December – January from 7am to 7.30 pm;  February – March from 8am to 6.30 pm; April – September from 8am to 5pm; October – November from 8am to 6.30pm.
  • Entrance fee foreigners – ZAR 170 adults, ZAR 85 children, South Africans – ZAR 40 adults, ZAR 20 children.

To top up your marine animals’ experience in Simon’s Town do a snorkeling or a diving trip to see seals and Cow sharks (they are not known to attack divers). Simon’s Town is one of the best spots for diving in Cape Town including diving with sharks. The dives are relatively easy done at about 12m. You need at least an open water qualification to do these dives, snorkeling is also possible. Diving and snorkeling trips are usually in the morning if you stay overnight in Muizenberg it’s a short drive to the dive shop, about 15km.

Muizenberg

A good place for surfing or learning how to surf, there are a few surf shops on the beach so if you have more time you can stay here for a couple of days. Don’t forget to check out the colorful wooden cabins in Muizenberg, awesome contrast with white sand beach and blue sea. One of the top Instagram places around Cape Town.

If you happen to be here on Friday go to Blue Bird Garage and Food market, it’s an indoor market with a huge variety of food, snacks, beer, and wine from steaks to vegetarian dishes, from craft beers to exclusive wines. We even found real Argentinian empanadas (pies) that a guy from Buenos Aires makes himself.  Nice vibe, music, very chilled, and social place great way to spend a Friday night in Muizenberg. The market opened every Friday from 4pm – 10pm.

You can stay in Muizenberg and watch the sunset on the beach or end your day with the stunning Lion’s Head hike and watch the sun going down from the top of it. Lion’s Head is one of the most popular sunset spots in Cape Town.

Places to stay in Muizenberg

Be aware accommodation in Muizenberg is usually booked long beforehand as there are always many tourists here, especially those near the surf spot. If you’re planning to come here rather book in advance.

Cape Town – Hermanus drive

Driving route: Cape Town – Strand – Gordon’s Bay – Rooi-Els – Betty’s Bay – Harold Porter Botanical Garden – Kleinmond – Hermanus – Sir Lowry’s Pass – Cape Town.

  • Distance – 260 km return, one way along the coast, return over Sir Lowry’s Pass. 280 km if driving along the coast both ways.
  • Time – 5 hours for the drive and taking photos, plus extra time for activities.
  • When to do the drive – August & September are the best months if you want to see Southern Right Whale near Hermanus. Summer months, November – March, have the best weather though it gets very windy in December – January. During Christmas and New Year this route is extremely busy.

A route map of the Cape Town - Hermanus scenic drive
A map of the coastal drive from Cape Town to Hermanus

It’s one of our favorite scenic drives that we usually do as a day trip from Cape Town. We’ve done it many times and every time we’re heading that way we get very excited. The scenery is truly spectacular; beautiful mountains, rugged coastline, white-sand beaches, dramatic drops, and diverse marine life. If you want to do the Garden Route road trip from Cape Town this drive is a great way to start it. After Hermanus, you just continue driving towards Mossel Bay where the route starts.

Highlights of the road trip

  • Clearance Drive, a beautiful drive along the coast from Gordon’s Bay on.
  • Rooi-Els – a small town at the sea.
  • Crystal Pools Natural Reserve.
  • Stony Point Nature Reserve, penguins sanctuary in Betty’s Bay.
  • Harold Porter Botanical Garden.
  • Whales and dolphins in Hermanus.
  • Penguins and sea birds in Gansbaai.

Things to do

  • Swimming at Koel Bay at one of the beaches on the way from Gordon’s Bay to Rooi-Els.
  • Hiking in Crystal Pools Nature Reserve, there is a nice 2-3 hours return hike to the falls and natural pools, an 8km walk. Open from November to April, sunrise to sunset. Entrance ZAR60 per person.
  • Surfing at Koel Bay beach, bring a surfboard with you and watch for sharks.
  • Snorkeling at Rooi Els, you can spot crayfish water is not as cold as in Cape Town but you still need a wet-suite.
  • Hiking at the Harold Porter Botanical Garden.
  • Whale watching in Hermanus. The peak season is from August to December, the peak season October – November when Southern-right whales are in the area. Usually, you see many seals and occasional penguins in the water as well during the tour.

Clarence Drive

The Clarence Drive from Gordon’s Bay to Rooi Els is just as stunning as Chapman’s Peak Drive. It’s on the winding coastal road with many viewpoints and some great and usually empty beaches. When you stop at a viewpoint near Gordon’s Bay lookout for seals and dolphins there are usually some in the water close to the shore.


Sea scenery and mountains on Clarence Drive
Clarence Drive, a stunning coastal drive from Gordon’s Bay to Rooi Els

Betty’s Bay

A nice small town of Betty’s Bay with long and usually empty white-sand beaches surrounded by the mountains. A beach is a nice place for a picnic on a not windy day. If after visiting Boulder’s Beach you’re still keen to see more African penguins go to Stony Point Nature Reserve, there are hundreds of penguins there usually chilling on the beach right at the entrance. 

  • Open daily from 8am to 4.30pm.
  • Entrance fee ZAR 25/US$1,5 adults, ZAR 15/US$1 children.

Two penguins in the bush at Stony Point
Cute African penguins at Stony Point in Betty’s Bay

Harold Porter Botanical Garden

This beautiful garden is full of lush green vegetation and flowers. Harold Porter Botanical Garden is a nice place to come for a picnic, to walk around the garden, or have a meal at the restaurant. There are several day hiking trails here; the Zigzag, Fynbos, and Leopard’s Kloof Trails. To visit Leopard’s Kloof or to do the hike there you have to start before 1pm, inquire at the entrance.

  • Open Mon – Fri 8am – 4.30pm, weekends and holidays from 8am – 5pm.
  • Entrance fee ZAR 30/US$2 – adults, ZAR 12/US$1 – children.

Hermanus

If you’re in the area between August and November we’d recommend doing a whale watching tour, southern right whales are in Hermanus this time of the year, and chances to spot them are quite good.

If you want more adrenaline-pumping activity you can do cage diving with sharks where you have good chances to see great white sharks and some bronze whaler sharks. You’ll need the whole morning for any of these activities so it’s better if you stay in Hermanus for an extra night. Shark diving tours leave from Gansbaai, 42 km from Hermanus.

Every year at the end of September the Whale Festival takes place in Hermanus; the food market, music stands, parade, treasure hunt and more is waiting for you here. During the whale season go to one of the restaurants with the sea view you have a good chance of spotting whales while enjoying your meal.

To finish the day you can go on a romantic sunset cruise with a glass of wine to enjoy the stunning scenery and the amazing sunset.

If you have more time you can stay for a night in Hermanus or extend this drive and continue from Hermanus to Cape Agulhas, the southernmost point of Africa (for more details see the drive below).

Places to stay in Hermanus 


Cape Seals sleeping on the rocks
Cape Fur seals on a small rocky island during a whale watching boat tour

Cape Town – Cape Agulhas road trip

Driving route: Cape TownGordon’s Bay – Betty’s Bay – Hermanus – Elim – Struisbaai – Cape AgulhasArnistonNapier – Sir Lowry’s PassCape Town.

  • Distance – 500 km loop (one way along the coast, return inland over Sir Lowry’s Pass).
  • Time – 2-3 days.
  • When to do the drive – summer months November – March is the best weather. December – January might be quite windy. Christmas and New Year very busy.

A route map of the drive from Cape Town to Cape Agulhas
A map of the scenic drive from Cape Town to Cape Agulhas

Highlights of the drive

  • Gordon’s Bay drive.
  • Stony Point Penguins colony at Betty’s Bay.
  • Whales, seals, and penguins in Hermanus.
  • Elim, a small village with cute little houses lined along the main street.
  • The cozy town of Napier with many cafes, restaurants, and souvenir shops on the main street.
  • White fisherman cottages in Arniston
  • Waenhuiskrans Cave in Arniston
  • Cape Agulhas, the southernmost point of Africa
  • Cape Agulhas Lighthouse

You can explore this route by joining a mini-group tour a day group tour from Cape Town to Cape Agulhas if you don’t want to drive yourself.

Things to do

  • Shark cage diving in Gansbaai, all year round though inquire before as sometimes orcas are in the area and sharks (Great Whites) disappear.
  • Wine and beer tasting, there are a couple of places around Hermanus and some on the way to Cape Agulhas.
  • Exploring Waenhuiskrans Cave.
  • Watching the sunset on Struisbaai beach.
  • Spotting Parrie, a huge stingray that lives at the harbor of Struisbaai.

This route is not a day drive but rather a nice weekend escape from Cape Town. You can drive it in one day but you spend more of it sitting in the car and won’t have much time to do things or stop at many places. This route offers a great opportunity to visit both well-known places and off-the-beaten-track locations. Driving along the coast one way and inland back you get a chance to see the beautiful coast, sandy beaches, green rolling hills, picturesque vineyards, and small towns.


A big sea cave in Arniston, one of the highlights of the coastal drive
The Waenhuiskrans Cave in Arniston is one of the hidden gems of the Cape Town – Cape Agulhas scenic drive

Gansbaai and Elim

Gansbaai is a small town the main reason tourists come here is whale-watching or shark diving as the tours start here. Except for these, there is  African Penguin and Sea Bird Sanctuary and Rescue Center here you can see the feeding of penguins every day at 3pm while drinking coffee or eating lunch at the coffee shop. No entrance fee.

From Gansbaai drive through Elim on the way to Struisbaai, it’s a small but lovely fisherman town with white cottages lined up along the road. Just outside Elim, there is a wine estate/restaurant Black Oystercatcher Wines. You can do winetasting here, ZAR70/US$5 per person, they have only fancy expensive wines. They sell craft local beer and souvenirs as well. Over the weekends and holidays, it’s better to book a table beforehand.


Colorful houses in Elim on the scenic drive to Cape Agulhas
Colorful houses lined up along the main street of Elim

Napier

The second option, driving from Hermanus past Stanford through Napier it’s shorter if you take this route you’ll skip Gansbaai and Elim but you get more wine farms on the way. Napier is a lovely town with beautiful old houses, good restaurants, cosy cafes, and souvenir shops. Looks very beautiful in the Jacaranda season between October and December. If you’re a sweet tooth don’t forget to stop in Bredasdorp, next town after Napier on the way to Arniston/Stuisbaai. There is a cafe/shop Soetmuisberg on Long Street (the one you drive on from Napier) they sell the best ice-cream ever, for R18 you get a huge sugar cone topped with a tower of two different flavor ice-creams, from blueberry cheesecake to Bar one and chocolate flavors.

Arniston

Arniston is a small fisherman town where many locals go for the December holiday, the highlights of the town are white-colored fisherman’s cottages at the harbor and Waenhuiskrans Cave. You can visit the cave only at low tide. The only access to the cave except the sea is through a hole in a cave at high tide it’s underwater. The cave is big with a beautiful view over the ocean, it looks like a cave from Pirates of the Caribbean or any other treasure hunting movie. The children will love it! No entrance fee.

Struisbaai and Cape Agulhas

Struisbaai and Cape Agulhas officially are two small towns but in fact one place, it’s a very quiet place out of season, in December-January and Easter many South Africans come here for the holiday. The main thing that attracts tourists here is the Southernmost Point of African continent, the point officially divides two oceans; the Atlantic and the Indian though there is no visible line between them.

Though the point is inside Agulhas National park there is no gate or entrance fee. The Southernmost Point got an upgrade recently a big metal map of Africa with the main geographical attractions was installed at the tip. Another though local size attraction is Parrie the Stingray, a big old stingray that has been living in the harbor for many years. Sometimes there are two or three stingrays in the harbor. Struisbaai has a nice long beach for swimming, running, and watching sunset or sunrise.

The best pizza/seafood restaurant according to locals (we confirm it) is SeaGulls Pub and Grill in Cape Agulhas. They have great wood-fired pizza, delicious seafood, all sort of alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks, and coffee. The vibe is really nice and the staff is super friendly and fun. The top floor is a more informal pub-style place, the bottom floor more opt for a romantic dinner.

Places to stay in Struisbaai/Cape Agulhas


Cape Agulhas lighthouse on the top of the hill
The lighthouse at Cape Agulhas, the end of the scenic drive from Cape Town

West Coast Flower route drive

Driving route; Cape Town – Durbanville wine route (optional) – Melkbosstrand – West Coast National Park – Langebaan – Paternoster – Cape Town

  • Distance – 316 km
  • Time – anything between 6 and 10 hours
  • Best time for the drive – August and September are the best months for driving this route if you want to see thousands of wildflowers covering the fields and the coast along the West Coast

A route map of the drive along the West Coast from Cape Town
A map of the scenic drive along the West Coast Flower Route

Highlights of the drive

  • Durbanville wine route
  • Beautiful coastal scenery; white-sand beaches, sand dunes, etc.
  • West Coast National Park – the closest to Cape Town place to see famous Namaqualand flowers.
  • Langebaan – a chilled beach town popular for kitesurfing.
  • Paternoster – a charming town with great seafood restaurants.

Things to do

  • Wine tasting at Durbanville, the area is famous for Sauvignon Blanc. Many wine farms in Durbanville have interesting pairings e.g. wine and nougat, MCC and macaroons, etc.
  • Hiking/driving and enjoying wildflowers at West Coast National Park.
  • Chilling at the Lagoon in Langebaan.
  • Eating fresh seafood at Paternoster.

Spring is the best time to drive the Namaqualand flower route though the area is beautiful any time of the year and worth visiting even outside the flower season. On the way from Cape Town to the West Coast, you can stop at a couple of wine farms in Durbanville and do some tasting. A big advantage of this drive compared to the other coastal routes is that there is never much traffic even during the December holiday. This drive can be a perfect start for a Cape Town – Namibia road trip.

West Coast National Park

The closest place to Cape Town to see the famous flowers of Namaqualand. At West Coast National Park you can see a unique combination of fields and hills covered in a flower carpet next to white-sand beaches of the Atlantic Ocean. There are a couple of hiking, cycling, and driving routes inside the park that will take you to the most spectacular corners of the West Coast. 

  • Working hours; daily September to March from 7am to 7pm; April to August from 7am to 6pm.
  • Entrance fee (during flower season); foreigners ZAR 210/US$ adults, ZAR 105/US$ children, South Africans ZAR 94/US$ adults, ZAR 47/US$ children. Out of the flower season, entrance fees are lower for foreigners and locals.

A carpet of flowers on the West Coast driving route
The flower season at the West Coast National Park near Langebaan

Langebaan

A small town with a beautiful lagoon and long sandy beaches is one of the most popular places for kitesurfing in Cape Town. Summer months December to February is the best time for kitesurfing here. If you visit it during the flower season, it’s unlikely there will be any wind.

Paternoster

Another small town on the West Coast with traditional fishermen’s white houses, endless white sandy beaches, and beautiful coastline. Paternoster is famous for its fresh seafood and fish restaurants as well as bakeries. It’s a nice place to stop for lunch with beautiful seaviews. 

Places to stay in Langebaan


Langebaan Lagoon at low tide
Beautiful Langebaan Lagoon – a perfect place for kitesurfing

Fantastic inland drives in Cape Town

Cape Winelands drive (Stellenbosch & Franschhoek)

Driving route: Cape Town – Stellenbosch – Helshoogte Road – Franschhoek – Franschhoek Pass – Babylonstoren – Cape Town

  • Distance – 180 km return
  • Time – 1-2 days if you want to do wine tasting and some other activities in the area.
  • Best time for the drive – summer between November to March is the best time for visiting the Winelands. Wine farms get extremely busy in summer over weekends if you have a chance it’s better to do a tasting on weekdays.

A driving route of the Cape Winelands scenic road trip
A map of the Cape Winelands scenic drive in Cape Town

Highlights of the drive

  • Fantastic wine farms around Stellenbosch – you can find some of the best South African wine farms here.
  • The historical center and the University of Stellenbosch – a nice area to walk around and drink a cup of coffee.
  • Jonkershoek Nature Reserve – a stunning place for hiking.
  • Beautiful Helshoogte Road with a couple of stunning estates. 
  • Franschhoek Motor Museum – hundreds of cars from the first motorized vehicles to the Formula 1 racing cars.
  • Wine farms in Franschhoek – this wine route is one of our favorite in Cape Winelands
  • Franschhoek Pass – a beautiful mountain pass with amazing views
  • Babylonstoren – this place has everything; wine tasting, lush green gardens, restaurants, etc. You can easily spend a couple of hours exploring it.

If you don’t want to worry about drinking wine and driving and rather relax and enjoy the tasting you can join one of the wine tasting tours from Cape Town.

Things to do

  • Wine tasting in Stellenbosch
  • Hiking in Jonkershoek Nature Reserve
  • Wine tasting in Franschhoek
  • Riding the Franschhoek wine tram
  • Diving over the Franschhoek Pass
  • Visiting Franschhoek Motor Museum
  • Enjoying the beautiful garden at Babylonstoren

It’s a beautiful drive through the main wine areas in Cape Town with stunning views, great wines, beautiful estates, and many amazing activities. You can do this trip in one day or spend more time in the area there are enough places and things to do to keep you busy for a week. 

Stellenbosch

The town itself and the surrounding area are absolutely gorgeous. Stellenbosch is a bustling University town the only time you can see it quiet is during holidays. The historical center of the town is very nice for walking; old oak trees, colonial-style buildings, the University campus, antique shops, and small cafes. Despite the small size, there are many things to do around Stellenbosch including amazing outdoor activities. Fantastic Stellenbosch wine farms are one of the main reasons that attract thousands of tourists. There are more than 100 wine estates here even if you spend months doing wine tasting you won’t be able to visit all of them. 

  • Wine tasting hours: most farms are open for tasting daily between 10am and 4pm.
  • Price of tasting: ZAR 50-80/US$3-5.

Hills covered in vineyards with the mountains at the back at Tokara wine farm
Fantastic scenery of Stellenbosch vineyards from Tokara wine estate, a must-stop farm on this scenic drive

Places to stay in Stellenbosch

Jonkershoek Nature Reserve

The best place for hiking near Stellenbosch. There are several trails from short and easy routes to challenging hikes that might take pretty much the whole day. If you decide to combine hiking in Jonkershoek Nature Reserve with your scenic drive you’ll need more than 1 day. 

  • Working hours; daily from 8am to 6pm
  • Entrance fee; ZAR 50/US$4 adults, ZAR 30/US$2 children.

Franschhoek

The small charming town of Franschhoek is a great place for a romantic getaway from Cape Town. Located in the picturesque Franschhoek Valley the town boasts some of the finest restaurants and the best wine estates in the country. It’s definitely the place to come if you enjoy fine dining and great wines. You can drive around the valley stopping at different wine estates or take a break from driving and jump on the Franschhoek wine tram. It’s a great way of visiting some of the wine estates on the route. Just like in Stellenbosch there are many amazing activities in Franschhoek besides wine tasting. 

  • Wine tasting hours: most farms are open for tasting Mon-Sat from 10am to 4pm. Many farms and restaurants in Franschhoek are closed on Sundays.
  • Price of tasting: ZAR 75/US$5

Places to stay in Franschhoek


Franschhoek double decker wine tram
Franschhoek wine tram that you can use to visit local wine farms in case you don’t want to drive

Constantia Valley trip

Driving route: Cape Town city center – Kirstenbosch Botanical Garden (Rhodes Avenue) – Rhodes Drive – Constantia Wine Valley – Cape Town city center.

  • Distance – 46 km return
  • Time – 2 hours for the drive and photos plus the time you’ll spend wine tasting, eating, etc.
  • Best time for the drive – any season if it’s a nice and sunny day. Mondays are not great as most wine farms are closed for visitors. On weekends wine estates and restaurants get very busy.

A driving route map of the trip to Constantia Valley
A map of the Constantia Valley scenic drive from Cape Town

Highlights of the drive

  • Kirstenbosch Botanical Garden – the greenest place in Cape Town
  • Rhodes Drive – a stunning 7 km drive
  • Stunning wine estates in Constantia Valley

There are different tours from Cape Town that combine wine tasting in Constantia with other activities you can join one of them if you’re alone or don’t have a designated driver (drinking and driving is never a good idea).

Things to do

  • Walking/hiking or picnicking in Kirstenbosch Botanical Garden.
  • Wine tasting in the Constantia Valley.
  • Enjoying lunch with stunning views over the vineyards at one of the wine farms.

This is the shortest out of the suggested scenic drives in Cape Town but it’s a truly spectacular area. The drive is perfect for a romantic day out it has all you need; stunning scenery, great wines, and delicious food. You can combine this drive with a trip around the Cape Peninsula. 

Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden

Kirstenbosch is the greenest place in Cape Town with several walking and hiking trails of different lengths and difficulty levels. A perfect place to start a day with a picnic on the grass or breakfast at one of the coffee shops inside the garden. Don’t miss the Boomslang (tree snake) tree canopy in the garden. It winds among tree crowns offering great views of Kirstenbosch and the surrounding area. 

  • Working hours; daily September – March from 8am to 7pm, April – August from 8am to 6pm.
  • Admission fee; ZAR 75 adults, ZAR 20 children.

A sky bridge in the tree canopy at Kirstenbosch Garden in Cape Town
Boomslang canopy walkway at Kirstenbosch Botanical Garden, one of the highlights of the Constantia scenic drive

Constantia Wine route

One of the most spectacular wine areas around Cape Town with some of the oldest wine estates in the country. There are 8 wine farms that open to the public for tasting. If you come here on weekdays there is no need to book anything in advance, on weekends and public holidays, it might be better to make a reservation especially if you’re planning to have lunch or dinner at one of the estates. Every wine farm in Constantia is worth visiting but there are two estates that are our favorites; Beau Constantia and Constantia Glen. Both have the best views of the area and great wines. We have a detailed post on Constantia wine farms where you can find more information about each farm.

  • Wine tasting hours: most farms are open for tasting daily between 10am and 4pm
  • Price of tasting; ZAR 100/US$6 per person per tasting (5-6 wines). Nobody minds if you share 1 tasting between 2 people. 

Places to stay in Constantia


View over the vineyards of Constantia, Cape Town
A stunning view of the Constantia Valley from Beau Constantia wine estate

Two mountain passes drive (Paarl)

Driving route; Cape Town – Paarl – Du Toitskloof Pass (Rawsonville) – Slanghoek – Bain’s Kloof Pass – Wellington – Cape Town.

  • Distance – 248 km
  • Time – from 4 hours
  • Best time for the drive – any season on a nice day, not recommended driving over the passes in heavy rain or if temperatures are below 0C. On Sundays most of the wine farms on the Breedekloof wine route are closed if you want to do some tasting it’s better to come on weekdays or Saturday.

A road trip map from Cape Town to two passes near Paarl
A map of the drive from Cape Town over two passes

Highlights

  • Du Toitskloof Pass
  • The drive between the pass and Rawsonville
  • Breedekloof Wine Route
  • Bain’s Kloof Pass

Things to do

  • Driving over Du Toitskloof Pass and Bain’s Pass.
  • Hiking at Limietberg Nature Reserve, there are several hiking trails near the passes.
  • Tasting wines at Breedekloof Wine Route.

A beautiful drive over two fantastic passes with several wine farms along the route, a couple of nice restaurants/coffee shops, and farm stalls. This route is probably one of the most off the beaten track drives near Cape Town. It’s never very busy here even wine farms are not overcrowded on holidays and weekends like on the other wine routes. If you’re seeking a tranquil drive with stunning scenery the two passes is a great option.

Places to stay in Paarl


A picturesque waterfall in Du Toitskloof mountains Cape Town
You can see many waterfalls driving over Du Toitskloof Pass after heavy rains

Trip planning resources

Recommended books and guidebooks

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