Best Scenic Drives in Cape Town and the Western Cape
South Africa is blessed with many scenic drives which add to the joy of a self-drive holiday, a much needed getaway or a weekend away. The scenic drives in the Western Cape are particularly enjoyable as many include passes cut into soaring mountains with breathtaking views of the surrounding countryside.
For your next break why not find a suitable base for a few nights and then plan a driving trip that takes in scenic trips around Cape Town? Even better, plan a great road trip that takes in a few fun towns along the way. Sunday drives in and around Cape Town also make for a pleasant day out in the countryside. Here are a few suggestions for scenic routes around Cape Town and the Western Cape.
Chapman’s Peak and Silvermine
Set off along the Atlantic Seaboard for glimpses of the silvery white beaches of Clifton and Camps Bay. Even better, why not book a weekend at the Twelve Apostles Hotel and Spa with sweeping views of the ocean at Oudekraal? The road winds through sleepy Hout Bay and then over Chapmans Peak Drive overlooking famous Long Beach stretching to Kommetjie. Then swing left onto Ou Kaapse Weg with panoramic views from the Silvermine Reserve. You can picnic here but why not continue down to the Norval Foundation at the bottom of the pass. Here you can enjoy lunch overlooking the sculpture park.
Cape Point and Simon’s Town
Take the same route as above and once over Chapman’s Peak head towards Kommetjie past historic Imhoff Farm with its cafes and petting zoo. Drive through the pretty village of Scarborough on your way to Cape Point in the Cape of Good Hope Nature Reserve where you can lunch at the appropriately named Two Oceans Restaurant – you could be lulled into thinking you are on the deck of an ocean liner! Return to Cape Town through maritime Simon’s Town and stop for coffee and old books in Kalk Bay.
Sir Lowry’s Pass and Hermanus
Take a weekend break in Hermanus, a popular whale-watching town in the Overberg region, starting with the drive over Sir Lowry’s Pass with views across False Bay and Table Mountain on the horizon. The designated driver will have little chance to glimpse the view but the rest of the route is more sedate. Hermanus overlooks the harbour and ocean and is full of excellent restaurants. You may even spot a family of southern right whales in the bay! For the trip back to the Mother City take the coastal route via Kleinmond and Pringle Bay. Don't overlook the Harold Porter National Botanical Gardens and the penguin sanctuary at Stony point, which will delight the whole family as the inhabitants waddle about their business.
Stellenbosch, Franschhoek and Elgin
No trip to the Cape would be complete without a visit to historic Stellenbosch and the surrounding winelands. After coffee and a walk in the ‘Eikestad’, take the Helshoogte Pass to Franschhoek. The temptation to stop at Boschendal is overwhelming so why not have lunch under the oaks at this grand old Cape homestead. Make vibrant little Franschhoek your overnight stay (or two) and then take the Franschhoek Pass to Elgin with its apple orchards and then wind yourself back to the city via Sir Lowry’s Pass.
Montagu and the Route 62
The USA has the famed Route 66 and we have our very own, the albeit shorter but no less interesting, Route 62, and where better to start your journey than from Montagu. This charming town is home to some superb boutique hotels and the famous Montagu warm baths. Pace yourself and make stops at Barrydale and Calitzdorp which is the port capital of South Africa.
Take a special weekend break at Bushmans Kloof Wilderness Reserve & Wellness Retreat and enjoy the drive through the wheat fields of the Swartland via rural Piketberg and Clanwilliam. Revel in the stillness of this special destination with its treasured rock art and fine dining under the stars. Then make your way back to Cape Town via Tulbagh with its preserved historic homes taking in the picturesque Bain’s Kloof Pass into Wellington.
Cape Town and the surrounding areas sure do have some incredible scenic drives, so why wait? Pack a picnic basket or overnight bag and head out to explore with a self-drive holiday.