Cape Town and surrounds

Flying South Barometer - Cape Town and Surrounds

Big 5                               0

General Game             0

Beauty                         10

Family Friendly           9

Birding experience     6

Exclusivity                    5

Romantic                     9

Cuisine                         9


Currency:  South African Rand, credit cards widely accepted.

Weather:  Winter (May - August) 

Cape Town falls within a Winter rainfall region, so you could experience cold, wet days.   Perfect weather for a good bottle of red wine in front of an open logfire!

                  Summer (September - April)

Cape Town is known to have four seasons in one day.  So to use the proverbial saying, make haste while the sun shines!  Don't stick to a scheduled plan for the duration of your stay, rather plan your stay according to the weather. Nothing beats a windstill sunny day in Cape Town so get out to do sightseeing on these days and leave the wine tasting for the rainy days.

Cape Town is not voted as one the most beautiful cities in the world for nothing! Depending on how many days you have for your trip and what you would like to do while in South Africa, a few days should be allowed for Cape Town. There are a number of good accommodation options in Cape Town and depending on your criteria, we can recommend the perfect place to you from a budget bed- and breakfast, to a luxury retreat in the Winelands to a personal, true South African guesthouse.

Robben Island

This is where former president Nelson Mandela was held captive during the apartheid era of South Africa. Mandela was freed in 1990 and became president of South Africa in 1994. Boat trips are done on a daily basis from the V&A Waterfront at the Cape Town harbour. The trips includes some of South Africa’s colourful history as well as visiting Mandela’s old prison cell with guides showing you what happened on the Island. Allow a full day for this unforgettable look into South Africa’s history (and ofcourse some time for shopping at the V&A!).

Cape Point

This is one of the most beautiful parts of an already beautiful city. Cape point is not actually the most Southern tip of Africa as many would have you believe, that honour goes to Cape Agulhas, about a 2 hour drive from Cape Town. Cape Point is however undisputably one of the most breathtaking places you will visit in South Africa. The drive to Cape Point is worth a trip in its own, but you should really get out of your car and walk up to the actual point to experience its true splendour. A lot of time could be spent here and this is the ideal spot to take a picnic along for lunch. Watch out for the baboons however, they will harass you if you put your food on display, so rather go have your picnic elsewhere. Do not leave food lying within view in your car when you go for a walk, they have been known to break into cars to get to the food! And please do not feed them.

Hout Bay, Kalk Bay & Kirstenbosch

Kalk Bay must be Lorraine’s most favourite place in Cape Town and a visit to Cape Town without going to Kalkbay would be like visiting Scotland without going to one of the Whisky distilleries! You get the feeling that you are in a different Country. The shopping here is very different from the rest of South Africa and you get an almost Mediterranean feel. There are lots of little shops around so you really need to get out and start digging. From antiques, old book shops, art, Eastern Clothing boutiques to fabulous restaurants will be found around here. If you are in the area, make sure to visit the Harbour House for lunch. This restaurant is in the Kalk Bay harbour and is build right on the waters edge. During high tide waves will crash into the glass wall, right next to your table. The food is exquisite and the service is very good. It might be a little pricy, but with the view, service and good food I think this is very good value for money.

Hout Bay is just around the point, have a look to see if Chapman’s Peak is open and take a drive along this famous pass overlooking the Atlantic. Hout Bay certainly doesn't stand back for Kalk Bay, in fact the locals refer to Hout Bay as their own republic, the Republic of Hout Bay! There are many restaurants to choose from, some of our favourites are set in the harbour where many yachts are moored and this is the perfect place to have a more festive afternoon in the sun, looking out over the harbour and the activity happening from there. Various boat trips are available to go on, so if you have the time and you have your sea legs on, take a visit to seal Island or go Shark Cage diving, looking for the intimidating, but misunderstood Great White Shark.

Kirstenbosch gardens is the most peaceful and idyllic place in Cape Town. Whether you are into botany, looking for a romantic place to have a picnic, a venue to take to children outside for a bit or whether you are just looking to walk around for a bit, this South African icon is a must visit. You could easily spend the bigger part of the day here and look out for concerts, the stage is out on the big lawns and picnic style concerts is a must see event. 

Table Mountain

For the more energetic, a walk up the mountain is certainly the way to do it. It could be done in a few hours and you could then come down the mountain with the cable car. There is a very good restaurant at the top of the mountain with spectacular views and you can also take a nice picnic along. Again, look out for the baboons and be careful with the spot you select for your picnic. I find that a trip to Table Mountain should not be planned for a specific day. If you wake up and the weather is good, change your plans and go while the going is good. Cape Town is known for 4 seasons in a day so have a good look at what the weather forecast is predicting. A trip up the mountain is not worth it if the mountain is wearing “its blanket”. Cape Wine lands

Well, I suppose it’s about how much wine you would like to experience! The wine lands extend far and wide and certainly can not all be done in one trip. We would recommend a few areas that have particular beauty and some exceptional wines, but if you have enough time, there are many other regions to visit. Most of the estates now have restaurants on site, so don’t eat too much before you set off for the day. Please don’t drink and drive! If you don’t have a designated driver – and you shouldn’t have to make someone miss out on the experience – arrange for a driver to take you out for the day. Not only can you now enjoy some of the world’s best wines, you also get a guided tour as you travel through the region.

If you do not particularly enjoy wine, it certainly does not mean that you should skip the wine country! Quaint little Villages, beautiful scenery and exceptional food are all part of the experience.StellenboschThe town of Stellenbosch has lots of history and it certainly is worth your while to walk along the streets lined with ancient Oak Trees.  Stellenbosch is also very much a student town, so the nightlife is very alive and you should find a few good late night places to visit such as “Die Mystic Boer”. The streets are safe to walk around at night and there are many good restaurants to choose from.There is many Estates around Stellenbosch, a few of the more famous ones includes:Bellevue, Overgaauw, Saxenburg, Jacobsdal, Spier, Meerlust, Beyerskloof, Kanonkop, Warwick, Murati, Blaauwklippen, Ernie Els, Rust &Vrede, Thelema etc. There are many more estates in the area and some of the lesser known estates will provide you with some exceptional wines at very good value prices.


Known as the gourmet capital of South Africa. Here, you will find one award winning restaurant after the other: Rueben’s, Le Quartier Francais, French Connection, Chamonix, Haute Cabriere, La Petit Ferme and many more. The Chocolate factory is certainly worth a visit at the bottom of the main street on the left towards Stellenbosch/Paarl.

Again, there are many Estates that one should visit, but to name a few:

Cabriere, Boekenhoutskloof, Glenwood, Graham Beck, L’Ormarins, Boschendal etc.

Elgin/Walker Bay

This is a beautiful part of the Western Cape and forms a good base from where to explore some wine estates, do some whale watching in season and do some general sight seeing in a beautiful setting.

To many, Hermanus is the place to go. This bustling little town is famous for the “Whale Watcher”. This is a good base to do some good whale watching from but Hermanus is a very “touristy” town. While we would certainly pay Hermanus a visit, we would rather use Stanford or Gansbaai as a base to explore this region from.

Some of the estates to found in this region:

Ross Gower, Whalehaven, Hamilton Russell, Bouchard Finlayson, Southern Right, Ataraxia, again, there are many more to explore. Try in particular the Hamilton Russell Pinot Noir and the Ataraxia Sauvignon Blanc.

Cape Agulhas

This the Southern Most tip of Africa. Struisbaai and the little town of L’Ahulhas are both picturesque little holiday towns. Out of season there are hardly any people, but during the summer holidays things get quite busy for such a small little town. A drive to the Southern most tip and along the coast is absolutely beautiful and if the weather is good, a guided 4x4 tour on the beach is not be missed. From Struisbaai to L’Agulhas and onwards the shore is very rocky with mesmerising waves crashing onto the rocks. There is not much to see in terms of the “Southern Most Tip” apart from a corner stone and flag, but I have been visiting this area on holiday with my family at least once a year since I was 2 years old, so personally I think this is one of the most relaxing and picturesque regions in South Africa.

From Struisbaai to just before Arniston there are no rocks and the white sandy beach stretches for kilometers along this beautiful coast, from the Struisbaai harbour you can walk on white sandy beach for more than 16 kilometres towards Arniston. Beach driving was banned in 1999 and this must now rate as one of the most beautiful stretches of untouched beach I have ever come across. The endangered Black Oyster Catcher is among the many sea birds that can be seen here. Sitting in the Struisbaai harbour waiting for the fishing boats to come in and buying your own fish for dinner is also not an experience to be missed.

Knysna – Wilderness


The drive from Struisbaai to Mosselbay/George/Knysna/Wilderness is a beautiful one through the Overberg. During September, the yellow Canola flower fields will make you stop for some fantastic photography opportunities with the mountains as your back drop. This must rate as one the most beautiful sections of the Garden Route.

As you pass George, the terrain will change and when you next look you enter Knysna with its beautiful estuary. Knysna is certainly a good place to base yourself for a day or two as there are many activities in and around the town. A trip out to Seal Island through the famous “Heads” will remain as one of the scenic highlights of your trip.  Just past Knysna, the small town of Wilderness awaits. The N2 actually misses the town, so be sure to turn of the highway and explore this beautiful little town. If busy touristy towns are not your thing, skip Knysna and stay in Wilderness. The two towns are very close to each other, so Knysna could be explored from the tranquillity of Wilderness. Make sure to get of the N2 and visit the small towns of Belvedere, Victoria Bay where Ernie Els has a home, Buffelsbaai (Buffalo Bay) etc.

The Tsitsikamma forest must rate as one of the most beautiful in South Africa. Just before the Storms River bridge, there is a stop at “the big tree”. From here you can explore the forest on some demarcated walks. For the more adventurous and active, Stormsriver is the perfect place to stay right on the beach and go on a selection of walks ranging from ½ hour to ½ day walks. If you need to get the Adrenalin going, take a bungee jump of the Stormsriver Bridge, the highest in the world at 216 meters.

Safari on the Garden Route – Eastern Cape

The Eastern Cape is Malaria free and offers some exceptional game viewing. There are various privately owned reserves that offer a “big 5” experience. We do however believe that there are so many smaller things out there often overlooked that the focus should not merely be on the big five.

The Addo Elephant National Park is home to one of the densest populations of elephant in Africa. These elephants almost disappeared completely from the area due to farming and large scale ivory hunting at the turn of the 20th century. Fortunately the last remaining elephants were protected and the Addo Elephant National Park was formed in 1931 to protect the last remaining 11 elephant. Today the park has over 550 of these magnificent animals and because they have been protected for such a long period of time, they have become very relaxed and the Addo now offers some of the best elephant viewing in Africa. The Park is certainly not a 'Big Five' destination, but will offer you the best elephant sightings you can imagine, has a good population of Lion, Hyena, nice herds of Buffalo and a very good oppurtunity to see the elusive Black Rhino.

Route 62


Route 62 offers a refreshing alternative to the Garden route. Should you plan to drive from Cape Town to Addo and you have experienced the Garden Route, your journey is not complete unless you travel via Route 62. If you have the time and you enjoy driving, take Route 62 back to Cape Town instead of flying.

This route takes you through the Karoo and some of the old frontier towns along the way. Driving through little towns such as Steytlerville will show you wide double roads leading both ways, build wide enough to allow the old ox wagons sufficient space to turn around. Outside of Steytlerville is the Karoo Hotel, worth a visit but fairly close to Addo for overnighting. Travel through some really remote Karoo landscapes on to Outshoorn. The Cango caves are certainly worth the visit, especially if you have children with you. If you do not suffer from claustrophobia, you are able to crawl through some really tight spaces into some spectacular caves. Oudtshoorn is also the Ostrich capital of South Africa and if you dare, go have an “ostrich ride” at one of the farms. Ostrich meat is approved by the Heart Foundation and is very lean, be sure to try some!

From Oudtshoorn you will travel through Calitzdorp, Port (Fortified wine) Country! If you are travelling further, don’t taste too much of the good stuff, it has a tendency to alter your travel plans and you might find yourself staying a little longer than planned! Barrydale has become a famous little town that has undergone a make-over the last decade or so and has become a must visit place. After Barrydale, you have the option to get back onto the N2 through the Tradouw Mountain pass, spectacularly beautiful! Alternatively, Route 62 will lead you through Montague and on to Worcester where you can get onto the N1 towards Cape Town.

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