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11 Stunning day trips from Cape Town

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Let’s take a drive! Cape Town is such a wonderful city, not least because of where you can go when you leave it behind. A sunny Saturday day trip (sun and Saturday not necessary but always nice) will take you to some fantastically beautiful places. 

We’ve split these Cape Town day trips into three categories or directions — the West Coast, Winelands, and Southern Coast. Whether you want to cruise along the coastline, drink wine with stunning views, or hike in ethereal wonderlands (I’m looking at you, Cederberg), an awesome day awaits.

This post was written in collaboration with Justin Peach, our resident regular day-tripper!

West Coast

With so many places to visit up the West Coast, it was hard to choose what to include here. But we’ve highlighted a few favourites! 


Distance from Cape Town: 1h10 | 82,2km (51 miles)

flower fields outside of Darling

Darling is one of the prettiest towns around Cape Town. In fact, it’s where my husband and I got engaged on a day trip of our own! The fantastic vineyards and craft breweries are what make it famous, but the beautiful cafes and restaurants and the quiet, tall-treed streets make it special.

The museum provides a rare look into South Africa’s history in small towns and farming communities. And just outside of town on all sides, the flower fields and farms are lovely to slowly drive past. Stop anywhere that looks special, and make a full day of it!

wonderful wine and charcuterie pairing at Ormonde

Best things to see

  • Ormonde Wine Estate — the best charcuterie platters I’ve ever had, and brilliant wines on a beautiful plant-filled estate
  • Evita se Perron — a satirical one-man show by Pieter-Dirk Uys, this is a must-see for all South Africans (much of it is in Afrikaans and ‘mengels’, so foreigners will struggle to understand
  • Darling Brewery — one of the best craft brews found in Cape Town is made right here

West Coast National Park

Distance from Cape Town: 1h15 | 98km (61 miles)

west coast national park

While flower season (mid-August to late September) is certainly the best time to visit the West Coast NP, it’s a stunning day trip year-round. You’ll see so much native plantlife and animals, from bontebok to baboons. And many birds! 

This is an expansive national park, with several hiking trails, bird hides, a broad lagoon where you can swim and relax, and two lookouts over the ocean — Tsaarsbank and Seeberg Lookout. Bring a picnic, lots of water and sunscreen, and a camera to document all of the beauty and fun!

Best things to see

  • Flowers flowering — hills and fields covered in native wildflowers and daisies
  • Birds fluttering — a stunning place for birdwatching
  • Animals strolling — you’ll find eland, bontebok and zebra, among others, taking their daily walk

For more info, check out our guide to the West Coast National Park!

Cederberg Mountains

Distance from Cape Town: 3h | 250km (155 miles)

sean chater highlining in rocklands

The whole Wander Cape Town team is obsessed with the Cederberg — we cannot recommend it enough! While you can make a day trip of it, I recommend spending the night so that you can take it in slowly and experience the birdsong and perfect calm of a morning in the mountains. 

There are a few different campsites in the area, our favourite of which are Beaverlac, Jamaka and De Pakhuys in Rocklands

All are really great options, with affordable open campsites, bathrooms and amenities, and glamping options too. But more importantly, all are set in stunning surroundings. Take a hike through the otherworldly rocky landscapes, go swimming in the icy pools, usually tinted deep red by the minerals in the soil and indigenous plant life. 

Best things to see and do

  • Go bouldering — Rocklands in particular is one of the best places for climbing in the whole world
  • Take a hike — such beautiful things to see
  • Watch for native birds — while quite arid, the Cederberg has an amazing amount of bird life


The Cape Winelands is full of things to do and places to see! You could hop aboard a tour bus and get the full Cape Town wine tasting tour, a great way to experience the wines of the area and not have to worry about driving! Alternatively you could enjoy a wine tasting day tour of Stellenbosch. Both are great options.


Distance from Cape Town: 50 minutes | 50km (31 miles)

With more than 100 wine cellars, Stellenbosch is a centre point for wine and wine tasting. But it also boasts some incredible heritage, markets, and restaurants to boot!  

One market that I cannot recommend enough is the Route 44 Market situated just outside Stellenbosch along the R44 towards Somerset West. Here you will find more styles of food than one can imagine along with a bunch of stalls and shops selling jewellery, art, clothes, toys, and much more!

Another must-see when visiting Stellenbosch is De Warenmarkt. It is housed in a cherished 18th-century historical building and is home to a collection of diverse merchants, immensely passionate about their craft.

Best things to see

  • Route 44 Market  — Because we love good food and overwhelming options
  • Spier Wine Estate — Beautiful and affordable 
  • De Warenmarkt — Craft beer, baked goodies, crepes and speciality meats 


Distance from Cape Town: 1h10 | 81km (50 miles)

franschhoek vineyard

The French Corner of the Cape Winelands, this small town of European influence boasts an incredible array of wine farms, restaurants, cafes, breweries, art galleries and stunning views of one of the most beautiful valleys in the Western Cape. One of two things are mandatory when visiting this gorgeous little village: a designated driver or a place to stay the night because there are just too many wonderful wine farms to explore. 

Franschhoek offers what is known as the Franschhoek Wine Tram, a hop-on hop-off tram that runs along old train tracks, allowing you to visit multiple wine farms while sightseeing from atop a tram! How cool? If you’d rather check out what beer Franschhoek has to offer, I’d highly recommend visiting the Tuk Tuk microbrewery in the village or Hey Joe Brewery just outside of the village. 

On top of all this, Franschhoek is surrounded by gorgeous mountains begging to be explored. With over 18 different hiking trails ranging for leisurely 1 hour strolls to multi-day hikes, you are spoilt for choice. My personal recommendations are either the Uitkyk Trail or the Perdekop Trail. 

Best things to see

  • Hop on the Franschhoek Wine Tram — Multiple wine farms and you don’t have to drive!
  • Hey Joe Brewery — Awesome beers in an awesome beer house 
  • Hugenot Museum — Rich history that took place not so long ago
  • Uitkyk Trail or Perdekop Trail — Incredible views 

Jonkershoek Nature Reserve

Distance from Cape Town: 1h | 62km (39 miles)

Jonkershoek Nature Reserve

An adventurer’s dream, this valley has some of the Cape Winelands’ most accessible and beautiful hiking and mountain biking trails along with some awesome wine farms and restaurants to just take in all the views of the surrounding mountains. Nestled in the Hottentots-Holland Mountain range, there is plenty to see and do in the Jonkershoek Nature Reserve.

There is an abundance of hiking trails to choose from in the area! My top recommendation is the Panorama trail. It is fairly tough at 1000 m of elevation with an optional loop that will take you past the waterfalls for a cool-off after an intense hike! Come with the mindset of hiking for the better part of the day. Permits to the reserve can be bought at the gate which is very handy.

The great thing about hiking in this area is that you can visit one of the terrific cafes beforehand for breakfast and coffee and upon finishing the hike check out a wine farm given you are down at a reasonable hour. Some stand-out choices must be the Post Card Cafe at Stark-Condé Wine Farm (kill two stones with one bird) and Lazerac which was the wine farm to bottle the first Pinotage!

Best things to see

  • Panorama hiking trail — Immersed in nature with gorgeous views in every direction (it’s not called the Panorama trail for nothing!)
  • Waterfall hiking trail — Because waterfalls
  • Post Card Cafe — Incredible menu full of so many yummy dishes
  • Lanzerac — Award winning wines 

For more info, read our guide to Jonkershoek Nature Reserve!


Distance from Cape Town: 45 minutes | 60km (37 miles)

You might have noticed a recurring theme in these day trips from Cape Town to the Winelands. Paarl is no exception. This town is home to some awesome wine farms that should be explored given the opportunity to do so! 

But Paarl is home to more than just wine. Paarl Rock is no ordinary rock as it is the second largest granite outcrop in the world! It is also home to the Taal Monument which was designed by architect Jan van Wijk in 1975 to celebrate the Afrikaans language. Free guided tours are available daily to those who visit.

Paarl Rock seems to be the rock that keeps on giving. It boasts some incredible multi-pitch rock climbing so if that is your thing, be sure to bring your gear along. 

On the other side of this giant granite rock is The Spice Route Destination offering beer & wine tastings, bistro dining and artisan crafts, plus mountain bike trails on top of all that! Frankly, this spot should not be missed.

Best things to see

  • Paarl Rock  — Gorgeous views atop one of the largest granite rocks out there
  • Taal Monument — Heritage sight with futuristic design honouring the Afrikaans language
  • Spice Route Destination — Wine, beer, chocolate and artisanal goodies

Southern Coast

You don’t often hear travellers talking about the Southern Coast and what it has to offer but do not be fooled. There is plenty on offer. Whether it be hiking through nature reserves with ocean views, spotting the local wildlife at sea or on land, or learning a little more about the history of these places, there is something to do for everyone! 


Distance from Cape Town: 1h40 | 121km (75 miles)

Humpback whale

Photo by Danel Wentzel for her guide to Cape Town’s marine life

Hermanus, nestled along the stunning Western Cape coastline of South Africa, is a picturesque and charming town celebrated for its unparalleled natural beauty and vibrant marine life. It is an excellent day trip out of Cap e Town with 2 main ways of getting there, both boasting their own adventures and scenic viewsalong the way.

One way to enjoy everything Hermanus has to offer is to do a full day Hermanus tour. From seeing whales to coastal drives and some wine tasting in between, this is an excellent option! Alternatively, if you’re looking for something a little more adrenaline-fueled, a whale watching boat trip from Cape Town should do the trick! 

With its sweeping vistas of oceans and mountains as a backdrop, Hermanus has earned its reputation as one of the world’s prime land-based whale-watching destinations. It is best to take advantage of this whale-watching experience during the winter months. Beyond its marine allure, Hermanus boasts a quaint atmosphere, featuring art galleries, boutique shops, and a variety of culinary delights. Its welcoming community and mild climate make it an inviting retreat for travellers seeking a blend of coastal tranquillity and captivating encounters with nature.

Best things to see

  • Whale watching boat trip — Speed, adrenaline, and whales! 
  • Hermans Coastal Cliff Path — Because coastal views 
  • Old Harbour Museum — Rich fishing history and massive exhibit of a whale skeleton
  • Hermanus Market — Artisanal goods, speciality foods, craft beer and wines. Do you need more reasons?

Cape Point

Distance from Cape Town: 1h15 | 61km (38 miles)

Cape Point views

The meeting point of the Pacific and Atlantic Seas, Cape Point is a must-see on the itinerary of any traveller visiting Cape Town. One could easily spend the entire day in the ‘deep south’ exploring the nature reserve and surrounding areas on the return trip.

It is here that you will find the Cape of Good Hope, home to some of Cape Town’s most scenic hiking spots. The Cape of Good Hope is also an incredible birding spot, home to more than 250 species of birds including one of two mainland colonies of African penguins

I’d also highly recommend visiting the old lighthouse which could be done via a Cape Point Peninsula private tour! Due to the position of this lighthouse, it was often lost in the clouds and caused several mishaps for sailors. A new lighthouse was built in 1911 and to this day, remains one of the most powerful sentinels on the southern coast of Africa. The top of the old lighthouse is now an incredible perch upon which to view the two oceans and the coastline! A definite must.

Best things to see and do

  • Hiking trails — Coastal views and great exercise
  • Birding spot — Diverse collection of birds to be seen in the area
  • Old  lighthouse — Vantage point of the coast, the two oceans, and the nature reserve!

Kogelberg Nature Reserve

Distance from Cape Town: 1h20 | 97km (60 miles)

What’s not to love about this area of the Cape? Home to beautiful lush greenery, stoic mountains, and unending possibilities for adventure, Kogelberg Nature Reserve should not be overlooked when planning your next day outing.

In the reserve, you have plenty of activities to look forward to. Hiking, birding, mountain biking, swimming, even white water rafting and whale watching when the season is right. Kogelberg is one of 400 biosphere reserves around worldwide and will leave you marvelling at its beauty.

Best things to see

  • White water rafting — Fun for all those who enjoy enjoy adrenaline and nature
  • Hiking — Multiple different routes to explore
  • Swimming — Plenty of rivers to jump in to. 


Distance from Cape Town: 2h10 | 163km (101 miles)

Dusky Dolphin pod

Photo by Danel Wentzel

Over the last few decades, Ganbaai has grown from a small town of fishermen with a few hundred villages into what is now a thriving tourist hotspot for local and international travellers. Gansbaai is a relaxed and scenic coastal town for those who are looking to make the most out of a slow weekend.

When visiting, I would highly recommend the African penguin and seabird sanctuary. Here you can learn plenty about the bird wildlife in the area. Following this, I’d suggest you take this knowledge on horseback and explore the Pearly Beach Horse Trail. You’ll be taken into the ocean on horseback which is thrilling and be afforded the opportunity to discover the fauna and flora of the area.

And if you are still unsatisfied, Ivanhoe’s Sea Safari would be your next best bet. This boating experience will have you exploring the coastline and bay while looking for whales, dolphins, sharks, seals, penguins, sunfish and plenty of seabirds.

Best things to see and do

  • Horseback riding along Pearly Beach — White sand, blue sea and gorgeous views on a horse!
  • Klipgat Caves — Natural caves formed along the coast waiting for exploration 
  • Icanhoe’s Sea Safari— So much marine life to be spotted.

Take a day trip

Every direction you turn, the possibilities are amazing (I won’t say endless, but they’d take you a while). There’s no doubt about it — a day trip from Cape Town should be in your Spring and Summer plans! Did we miss your favourite place to explore on a drive from Cape Town? Let us know, we’d love to expand the list!

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