During our week in Cape Town, my friends and I spent one day exploring the beautiful Cape Peninsula. We rented a car and drove down the coast, here are all the places we stopped at on our way and some tips for planning your own Cape Peninsula day trip…
Muizenberg Beach – 30 km from Cape Town
Departing from Cape Town, our first stop after about a 30-minute drive was in Muizenberg. Muizenberg is most known for its charming and colorful bathing chalets on the beach – even on a cloudy day in the shoulder season (we visited in September), the beach was picturesque and worth a stroll with the Atlantic on one side and mountains in the background on the other.
While in Muizenberg, we stopped at Knead Bakery for brunch. Expecting a small bakery, we were happily surprised to see the large restaurant with plenty of tables (clearly prepared for the tourist season) and large menu with breakfast served all day. I recommend the sweetcorn fritters with bacon, along with one of their freshly squeezed juices!
Boulders Beach Penguin Colony – 15 km from Muizenberg Beach
Our next stop as we worked our way down the peninsula was the Boulders Beach in Simon’s Town to see South Africa’s penguins! The Boulders Penguin Colony is managed by South Africa National Parks and cost 152 ZAR per person to enter (about $10USD). When you arrive, you have to park in the public parking lot and walk a few blocks through a residential area to get to the park.
Once inside, wooden boardwalks and platforms were built over the beach where visitors can walk and observe the penguins in their natural environment. Though it was fairly crowded, we still were able to see the penguins waddling in the sand and swimming in the ocean, and even mothers nesting with their babies. Having the chance to see Africa’s penguins up close was one of the many highlights of our trip!
Cape Point & Cape of Good Hope – 25 km from Boulder Beach (Simon’s Town)
From Boulder Beach, we headed down to the Cape Point Nature Reserve. After paying the entrance fee of 303 ZAR apiece (about $20USD), it was about a 15-minute drive to Cape Point and the Cape of Good Hope (or 20 minutes if you stop to take photos of the ostriches next to the road!). Cape Point and Cape of Good Hope are actually different parts of the coastline, about a 5-minute drive apart.
We went to Cape Point first, where there was a bit more to do than at the Cape of Good Hope: you can hike up to the lighthouse or take the funicular up and stop in the gift shop. And of course take in the views – you’re right along the coast and there are several viewpoints right by the parking lot.
Then we headed to Cape of Good Hope, the southwestern most tip of Africa with more incredible views of where the Atlantic and Indian oceans meet! We drove from Cape Point but you can also hike between the two, which takes about an hour and a half round trip.
Another thing to note is to watch out for baboons! They are all around the park, especially at the parking lots of Cape Point and Cape of Good Hope. You’ll see them climbing on top of cars and walking around the parking lot and while they generally leave humans alone, just don’t carry food around as that’s what they’re after!
Scenic Drive back to Cape Town via Chapman’s Peak – 75 km from Cape Point
On our way back to Cape Town, we decided to take the scenic route: we’d driven down on the False Bay side (east) of the Peninsula so rather than retraced our steps, we drive back up on the Atlantic side (west) by way of Chapman’s Peak Drive. It was about 40 km back up the way we’d come through Simon’s Town to reach Chapman’s Peak. Chapman’s Peak Drive is 9 km through the cliffs overlooking Hout Bay. There are several spots amongst the winding curves where you can pull off to the side of the road to admire the view and take some photos.
Driving back via the Chapman’s Peak took about 2 hours with our stops and it is a toll road (50 ZAR or ~$3USD). If you take the more direct route back to Cape Town, it takes about an hour and 15 minutes.
Tips for planning your own trip:
- Visiting the Cape Peninsula is easiest either by car or on a guided tour – there’s not an easy way to do so by public transportation. If you choose to rent a car, remember that in South Africa, you drive on the left side of the road!
- If you rent a car, consider renting it for two days and using the second day for a trip to Stellenbosch wine country. We were glad we did this because we didn’t have to rush back from Cape Point to Cape Town to return the rental car at a certain time – and that meant we got to see Chapman’s Peak as the sun was setting!
- We didn’t leave Cape Town until late morning, so if you get an earlier start than us, you can spend more time at one or all of theses places…if it’s warm out, you can plan to spend more time relaxing and swimming at Muizenberg Beach or take the time to hike between Cape Point and Cape of Good Hope.
- Watch out for baboons! I already mentioned the baboons in Cape Point Nature Reserve, but they’re outside of the park as well. Once we left Boulders Beach, we began to see signs about baboons and sure enough, we saw several on the winding roads on our way to the park.
A week in Cape Town is not complete without a day trip exploring the Cape Peninsula. This was one of my favorite days of our trip!
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