With the South African borders closed for international travel for the foreseeable future, many people won’t be taking their much anticipated overseas holiday this year.
While this is devastating news for some, it’s not all doom and gloom. In fact, it’s a wonderful opportunity to explore our beautiful country, especially the Western Cape, and discover all the hidden gems it has to offer.
From our beautiful beaches, delicious wine and food to our incredible hiking and MTB trails, we are going to share some of our team’s top tips and recommendations.
The Western Cape Province has a coastline of approximately 1 000 km. It stretches from north of the Olifants River on the Atlantic Ocean coast, to the mouth of the Blaaukrantz River on the southeast coastline.
While there are so many to visit, we are only going to share our favourites.
- Bakhoven Beach (An intimate beach, perfect for tanning)
- Bloubergstrand & Big Bay (Both great for kitesurfing)
- Boulders (Great for Penguin spotting)
- Clifton 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th Beach (Each beach has a personality of its own, you’ll soon find out which one suits you best! They are separated by boulders, serving as protection from the wind during the summer months)
- Houtbay (Nice long stretch of beach, perfect for walking)
- Kommetjie (Longbeach – excellent for surfing & horse riding)
- Llandudno (Great for surfing)
- Muizenberg (Great for surfing with lots of beachside restaurants and shops)
To get a details of all the beaches in the Western Cape, check out the fantastic list that SA-Venues have put together.
With so many amazing little towns dotted around the province, you could easily visit a new place every weekend, and it’s usually only about a two-hour drive away.
Clanwilliam: Bovlei Guest Farm
“In the peaceful and tranquil Boskloof valley lies the unspoiled Bovlei guest farm, surrounded by the majestic Krakadouw and Cederberg mountains. It offers self-catering accommodation in the 100-year-old farmhouse which offers four double rooms plus the extra option of a separate two-bedroom flat. It is an ideal getaway for more than one family for a relaxed and peaceful outing.”
Choose between one of their farm-style cottages, tented accommodation or bring your camping gear to suit your budget. There is absolutely NO reception which is terrific if you want to get off the grid. Another treat when staying at the cottages is the wood-fired hot tubs on the patio, which is perfect when the weather is cooler.
Greyton: Yellowood Cottage
Megan Tobin has created the most beautiful cottage in the heart of Greyton. It’s warm and welcoming, and within walking distance to the main road with all the restaurants and shops. If you’re a fan of the TinTin comics, then Buzzy and the other Wire Fox Terriers at the cottage will be a welcome surprise!
Elgin: Old Mac Daddy
‘Old Mac Daddy offers trailer units with artist-themed bedrooms and uber-contemporary living spaces as well as comfortable glamping style tented options and two self-catering units for larger extended families or groups of friends.”
According to our Senior Developer Terri-Mae, the on-site restaurant makes the most delicious pizzas, and there are a lot of activities for adults and kids alike. There is a zen spa, archery, mountain biking, kayaking, zorbing, and so much more to enjoy. The Old Mac Daddy is family-friendly and built with kids in mind.
Montagu: The Vineyard Country House
Lauren & Louise have created the most breathtaking B&B that you are sure to love from the second you arrive. The relaxed atmosphere accompanied by the homely rooms is exactly what you need for some R&R. The pièce de résistance is what these ladies can whip up in the kitchen. Their breakfasts are world-renowned, and is sure to make you want to extend your stay! Make sure to visit the hot springs and all of the local stores and eateries while you are there!
Franschhoek: La chataigne Cottages
If you’re looking for peace and quiet, with only the sound of a rippling river in the background, then this is the place for you. The rooms are modern and tastefully decorated, ample in size, and have all the amenities you could need. The town is only a stone’s throw away if you wanted to head to a wine farm, restaurant or to the visit the weekend market.
Plettenberg Bay: Emily Moon River Lodge
This is another one of Terri-Mae’s all-time favourite getaway spots and says that this is the place to be if you want to relax. The lodge itself is stunning, with magnificent views of the Bitou River. The interior decor is African themed and done beautifully. They have two on-site restaurants with the most delicious food! Every room has a stunning view, and wood is delivered to your room daily.
Riebeeck Kasteel : Blaauw Cottage
Riebeek Kasteel is a small town, with welcoming and friendly residents. The accommodation is really cosy and quite modern. Drinks at the famous Royal Hotel is a definite must. There are several wine farms in and around the area, with one of the highlights being Krone MCC. When visiting, give their Krone Night Nectar a try, it’s delicious.
Our project manager Paul insists that Witsand is the ideal place to get away from the hustle and bustle of city life! “Situated at the mouth of the Breede River, Witsand offers 4km of white sandy beaches and is surrounded by the magnificent species of the Cape Fynbos Floral Region World Heritage Site.” Most would agree that Witsand is where you go to experience a peaceful village life that provides food for the soul and a place to relax and unwind.
According to All Trails, there are 124 moderate trails in the Western Cape ranging from 1.9 to 522 kilometres and from 13 to 4,832 feet above sea level.
While we are yet to conquer the majority of them, let’s just focus on our favourites for now.
- Lions Head
- Constantia Nek
- Platteklip Gorge
- The Pipe Track
- Whale Trail hike in the De Hoop Nature Reserve
- Cape Point
- Jonkershoek Nature Reserve
The Inside Guide has done a spectacular job of putting together a detailed list of the best hiking trails in and around Cape Town, have a look at it here.
- Deer Park, Table Mountain (Perfect for a quick Sunday morning ride without having to drive too far if you’re city-based)
- Silvermine Reserve (Nice fast-paced, downhill ride)
- Tokai Forest (Quite a tough single track MTB trail; weekends are very busy)
- Hillcrest Farm (Generally an easy route. Also has a fantastic wine farm and restaurant to visit)
- Contermanskloof (A firm favourite in Durbanville, which is in the Northern Suburbs of Cape Town)
- Meerendal Farm (“The MTB trails make use of the natural contours of the land, thus avoiding any difficult climbs or dangerous rocky descents.” Trails are graded from easy to medium which makes it family-friendly.)
For a more detailed list, please visit MTB Routes.
The Overberg Mountains also offer some excellent trails. Have a look at Trails End Hotel to see how you can enjoy an MTB ride and a weekend away.
According to SA Venues, there are currently some 560 wineries and 4 400 primary producers of vineyards in the Cape. They are divided by the Wine of Origin Scheme into 4 main regions: The Breede River Valley, The Little Karoo, Coastal and Olifants River.
Because Franschhoek has so many vineyards, this is probably the best way to view a lot of the farms in a short space of time. Our advice is to take a few days off, line your tummies before you head off and work your way through all of the Hop-on-hop-off lines the tram has to offer!
“Babylonstoren is one of the oldest Cape Dutch farms. It has a fruit and vegetable garden of beauty and diversity, unique accommodation, fine food and wine, and a sense of wellbeing. Every aspect of it – including the contemporary Farm Hotel & Spa, the Farm Shop and Restaurants – is led by the ever-changing tapestry and botanical diversity of the garden.” A once in a lifetime experience, not to be missed.
Delicious wine and food, picnics with spectacular mountain views, MTB trails, fresh vegetables and shopping – what more could you want on a day out? Because of your enticing surroundings, it’s easy to get caught up in the magic of this place. It’s simply wonderful.
“Dating back to 1685 and described as one of the world’s most beautiful wine estates, Klein Constantia is set amidst ancient trees on the upper foothills of the Constantiaberg, with views across False Bay.” Book a classic five wine tasting followed by some delicious lunch on the patio with friends and you’re guaranteed a perfect day.
With it’s Cape Dutch Architecture and oak-lined avenues, Groot Constantia draws you in from the get-go. Enjoy their delicious wine, have a meal at one of the one site restaurants and don’t miss out on the mouthwatering chocolate & wine pairing on offer. It’s incredible!
A local favourite, not only because of their superb wine and cheese but also because (as they themselves so beautifully state) “Fairview supports the environment and contributes to a more holistic lifestyle. Everything we do is driven by our philosophy of being honest, honouring our heritage and ensuring that ingenuity perpetually flows from our soils and cellars and straight into the heart of your relationship with us.”
For a directory of Western Cape wine farms, kindly visit Wine.co.za and simply enter the area that you are looking to visit.
This, like the wine category, is a bit like asking us to choose our favourite child. There are just so many good options to choose from. The Cape genuinely has the most divine meat and fresh produce. It caters for every diet and, yes, that includes Vegans too!
We’re quite passionate about food at Tenacity Works, so we had to control ourselves to avoid this list getting too long!
- Harbor House
- Willoughby & Co
- Hussar Grill
- Toni’s on Kloof
- Chardonnay Deli
- Black Sheep
- Kloof Street House
- Il Leone Mastrantonio
- Diesel and Creme
For a comprehensive (and unbiased) restaurant guide, please visit Dining Out.
If you’re a Vegan or plant-based eater fear not, we have you covered too. The Cape Town Vegan has spent a good few years compiling the Western Cape Vegan eateries by suburb. If it’s there, he’s listed it!
The Western Cape is a place of natural beauty, with amazing people and adventures around every corner. We know it might not be the South of France, London or Thailand, but it’s still pretty epic in our books and worth taking the time to get to know.
Have you got a few favourites spots that we haven’t listed? Let us know so that we too can start visiting more of what makes our hometown great!