The bucolic suburb of Noordhoek, with its towering backdrop of Chapman’s Peak, feels a long way from the bustle of the Mother City. The area has a rural atmosphere and is dotted with a number of farms and meadows where horses graze. Book a cottage, Airbnb or stay at Monkey Valley Resort to get the most of this beautiful corner of the peninsula.
The beach here is wide, long and unspoilt, ideal for walks and surfing, or hire a horse to canter along the shoreline. Chapman’s Peak Drive is one of the most spectacular routes in South Africa and the milkwood forest stretching from the road down to Noordhoek Beach is worth exploring. Visit Cape Point Vineyards for wine tasting, Café Roux for live music and the Red Herring for delicious pizzas.
For accommodation with the finest views, book at Monkey Valley. The westernmost of its thatched log cabins, especially Crowned Eagle lodge, offers spellbinding vistas of the shoreline stretching dreamily away to Kommetjie.
This quaint seaside town on the western flank of False Bay is the residence of the South African Navy and steeped in nautical history. Charming lanes are lined with restored cottages, while the main street is crammed with shops, restaurants and coffee shops, and a Waterfront Centre set above the town jetty.
Simon’s Town’s historical mile has 21 buildings over 150 years’ old and includes a town museum, navy museum, heritage museum and toy museum. This stretch is also home to the Church of St Francis, the oldest Anglican Church in the country (1814).
The town boasts some beautiful beaches, including Boulders, with its famous colony of African penguins. Seaforth Beach is protected from the wind and offers safe swimming and snorkelling and the nearby country club has a golf course with magnificent sea views.
Book a guesthouse, B&B or hotel in town or one of the more secluded establishments – such as Tintswalo at Boulders, The Tides or Rocklands – in the adjacent suburbs of Boulders or Murdock Valley.
If you’re looking for an escape into wild nature in greater Cape Town, booking a cottage at Cape Point is the perfect getaway. Less than 60 kilometres from the CBD, you’ll be completely immersed in a pristine fynbos, national-park environment.
Visit the park’s two famous promontories – Cape Point and the Cape of Good Hope – as well as the old and new lighthouses. Buffels Bay is a fine swimming beach and there are a number of excellent walking trails, ranging from an hour to two days. Don’t miss the excellent Shipwreck Trail on the west coast, which takes in the dramatic wreck of the liberty ship Thomas T Tucker.
There’s accommodation in the park at Duiker and Eland cottages, both set in the midst of the fynbos and sleeping six, with fully equipped kitchens and linen provided. The spectacular Olifantsbos cottage lies above an idyllic beach and sleeps up to 12.
Durbanville, situated 30km northeast of Cape Town’s CBD, is a fairly large town that has retained its rural essence. Set in a valley surrounded by 12 wine farms, the area is known in particular for its award-winning white cultivars (although there are some excellent reds too).
Try Casia on Nitida wine farm for fine dining or The Tangram restaurant at Durbanville Hills Winery. Jutting out of the hillside with large glass windows, the restaurant has an award-winning menu and a magnificent view of Table Mountain and Bay.
For more active travellers, Durbanville’s hills are criss-crossed by a network of over 150 kilometres of mountain bike trails for beginner through to advanced riders – with lots of climbing and exhilarating downhill descents.
If you’d like to enjoy the views and the singletrack without strenuous effort, try an ebike tour with Cape Town Bike Tours. These guided electric mountain-bikes tours allow you to explore vineyards and endemic renosterveld, while taking you high enough to take in the views alongside the cyclists who summit on their own steam.
To explore the historical and cultural side of this town, visit the Rust-en-Vrede Art Gallery and take a drive past the Onze Molen windmill. For a rural and relaxing stay, try the farm accommodation at Anna Beulah Farm or the guest cottages at D’Aria.
Melkbosstrand is perhaps slightly less crowded than other popular beaches along Cape Town’s coast. Here, where the famous historical battle of Blaauwberg (1806) took place, there’s decent surf, a wide bay for long beach walks and a few good restaurants with ocean views. Watch the sea surge from the stoep of Café Orca, or the outdoor area at Damhuis, while tucking into delicious seafood. Built around 1785, the historical Damhuis was originally used as a barn to store, salt and dry fish and was constructed using a mixture of sand, hay, cow manure and whalebone.
To experience a splendid aerial view of Cape Town and the Atlantic coastline, along with an adrenaline rush, a tandem jump is only 8km away at Skydive Cape Town. Visit Zone 7 to watch (or take part in) off-road motocross and dirt-kart racing situated about 15km outside the town.
For four-star accommodation in a tranquil setting, try The Lodge at Atlantic Beach golf estate on the outskirts of Melkbosstrand, which overlooks the 1st fairway and Table Mountain in the distance.