My Vacation Lady recently spoke to new clients who were planning a vacation to South Africa that had never materialized and now they were thinking about it again. They were thinking of a 10 night vacation with a couple of days in Cape Town (since there wasn’t much to do), then a couple of days in the wine country. They definitely wanted to go cage diving with sharks and they, of course, wanted to go on a safari.
What they may not have realized that of the 4 things they wanted to do, all were possible as day trips from Cape Town. They would have to travel to do an actual safari but there are no shortages of wild life in and around Cape Town.
So what are some of the things you can see and do and experience in Cape Town?
1. Go whale watching in Hermanus. This is a seaside town about 1 1/2 hours by car from Cape Town and it’s considered one of the best places in the world to go whale watching between May and December. Here’s another tip about Hermanus: you can see whales from the shore! For those of you who are a bit more daring, this is also the place to go shark cave diving.
2. Climb Table Mountain— this plateau overlooks Cape Town and offers spectacular views of the entire area. There are hiking trails carved into the mountain that cater to all levels of hiking experience but for those who prefer to ride, there’s a cable car as well.
3. Visit the Victoria and Albert Waterfront– With over 450 shops and over 80 restaurants, plus museums, this is a must see in Cape Town. One really neat place to visit on the V & A waterfront, especially if you are with kids, is the Two Oceans Aquarium. It houses nearly 3,000 sea animals from the Atlantic and Indian Oceans.
4. Head out to Boulder Beach– less than an hour from Cape Town in Simon’s Town, if you like penguins, Boulder Beach is the place to go. You’ll actually be on a boardwalk overlooking the beach but some actually will walk along the boardwalk too. There are around 3,000 African penguins here making Boulder Beach home to one of the few mainland penguin colonies in the world.
5. Visit Robben Island– You can take a tour of the prison where Nelson Mandela was held. These tours are led by former inmates so you’ll get a real life account of life as a political prisoner.
6. Enjoy South African Wine– Just 45 minutes from Cape Town, the Cape Winelands are home to vineyards that produce such world class wines as Constantia and Stellenbosch. The 3 main towns are Paarl, Franschhoek and Stellenbosch. You can make a day trip from Cape Town or spend a view days sampling wind from some of these wineries.
7. Explore Cape Point – This nature reserve is about a 40-mile drive from central Cape Town and will take about an hour but visitors insist the trip is worth it. Cape Point was once thought to be the southernmost point in Africa but it’s actually the 2nd southernmost point. It’s almost where the Indian and Atlantic Oceans meet and the scenery is breathtaking. You can take a ride on the Flying Dutchman funicular railway up to the lighthouse for spectacular views of Cape Point and the merger of the 2 oceans.
8. Check out some of the unique neighborhoods in Cape Town– Bo-Kaap sits at the foot of Signal Hill and this neighborhood of brightly colored homes. Worth a short visit for some great photo ops and it’s a short walk from the V & A Waterfront.
9. Pick up a map and wander through the walking paths – at the Kirstenbosch National Botanical Gardens. Resting on the eastern slope of Table Mountain, this 89 acre garden is home to over 7,000 species of indigenous plants and while you’re strolling along the garden paths, keep your eyes peeled for some stunning sculptures that are scattered throughout the gardens.
10. Take a daring drive along Chapman’s Peak Drive- Not for the faint of heart, this 9 kilometer route has 114 curves as it skirts the rocky coastline of Chapman’s Peak. It’s one of the most magnificent marine drives in the world and it’s between Noordhoek and Hout Bay on the Atlantic Coast. The drive offers panoramic views of the rocky coastline where you can stop and just absorb the beautiful scenery in front of you.
With some many great things to see and do and experience in and around Cape Town, you can easily spend a week there before (or after) heading out on your safari.
My Vacation Lady can help you plan your vacation or honeymoon to South Africa and other destinations around the world- so contact us and let us show you how our personal approach to vacation and honeymoon planning can make all the difference in your experience!