Travel has become a photographic frenzy, if Instagram is anything to go by. #traveladdict #wanderlust #traveltheworld – it’s all about sharing those photo opportunities, whilst we’re still there.
People everywhere want authentic experiences. Instagram, in particular (but Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest in hot pursuit) makes everyone a ‘travel expert’ as people tap into the power of visual appeal to post their photos for the world to see.
And so travel has become about the beautiful places, spaces and extraordinary spots as we all promote the places we’re visiting, to the rest of the world, with only a few hashtags between us and the moment.
Secret Scenic Spots In Cape Town and Western Cape
M65 BETWEEN CAPE POINT & KOMMETJIE
Whilst every travel brochure will send you to Cape Point (and it really, really is worth going to, for the scenery is out of this world) it can get awfully busy. Instead, drive past the gates of the nature reserve (M4) and cut across the Cape Peninsula on Plateau Road, taking a left to Scarborough, Misty Cliffs and Kommetjie. A gorgeously scenic drive.
This not-so-secret trendy sundowner hangout is everyone’s favourite walk in Cape Town. It’s also everything it’s cut out to be, with some of the most beautifully scenic moments as the sun sets. Walk the promenade on your own, or download the VoiceMap Sea Point Promenade audio tour.
ONSE HUISIE, BLOUBERG
Nothing beats the across-the-sea-looking-at-the-flattop-of-Table-Mountain view. Onse Huisie is a little fish-n-chips restaurant right on the beach on Stadler Road, Bloubergstrand. You can’t beat its position, or the beaches in front of you (the food is also not too shabby).
We had to include Chappies in the scenic spots, even if it is one of the world’s best known nine kilometres of cliff-hugging road and 114 bends, thanks to Mercedes Benz and BMW who have filmed ads on the, now, far from secret drive. It is arguably THE scenic drive in Cape Town for awesome landscape and ocean shots.
LONG BEACH, NOORDHOEK
This long stretch of beautiful beach between Noordhoek and Kommetjie is one of the lesser known, least frequently walked beaches. Yet the scenery is jaw-dropping. Because it is lonely, you might not want to walk it alone.
KALK BAY HARBOUR
Quaint, retro, lively and still active, this fishing village harbour has a fresh fish market, a group of resident seals, and a beauty that is difficult to beat.
TOP OF SIGNAL HILL
The hop-on-hop-off sunset bus route takes visitors to the top of Signal Hill where they can watch the sun go down from a vantage point that includes the Atlantic Seaboard and Robben Island. Best on a warm, windless evening.
BOYES DRIVE JUST BEYOND THE SPEED TRAP
Boyes Drive, on the lower slopes of Muizenberg Mountain, is ideal for spotting whales (August to November) but it is also one of the best viewpoints over this part of False Bay. Stop at a couple of bench spots once you’re safely beyond the speed trap.
WATER’S EDGE BEACH, CAPE TOWN
This pretty, secluded beach lies alongside Boulders Beach, although you have to know how to find it. The little tidal pools are inundated with starfish, anemones, moluscs and other exciting sea creatures.
ROBBERG NATURE RESERVE, PLETT
This beautiful nature reserve, popular with residents of Plettenberg Bay, is often overlooked by visitors to the Garden Route. But the incredible scenery and the chance to get up close and personal with fynbos, seals, dolphins and whales is not to be sniffed at. Do the two-hour walk along the north side to the Witsand sand dune, and back along the south side. Shoes and hats imperative!
One of the best exposed fold mountain chains in the world, the Swartberg Pass in the Karoo is beautiful. A rough drive with hairpin bends there is, nonetheless, an exceptional view around every corner.
Drive the dramatic Clarence Drive between Gordon’s Bay and Rooi Els, in the crook of False Bay. The magnificent Hottentots Hollands mountains plunge to meet the road on one side, the ocean on the other. Drive it slowly and stop often at the rest stops for photo moments. This whole area is part of of the Kogelberg Biosphere Reserve and rich in fynbos.
The scenery from this pass, connecting Stellenbosch with the Drakenstein Valley (Pniel and Franschhoek), is of the best in the Western Cape. If there is one route you must drive, it is this, for it epitomizes the winelands.
KOUE BOKKEVELD – DIE DORP OP DIE BERG
Cold Buck Shrubland lies up above Prince Alfred Hamlet, reached by driving up two mountain passes; often there is snow up here in winter. Route 303 heads through this infrequently driven mountainscape dominated by Cederberg sandstone.
THE CLIFFS OF VERMAAKLIKHEID
The hamlet of Vermaaklikheid lies on the lower reaches of the Duiwenhoks River and is one of those spots few people know about. Where the Duiwenhoks River meets the sea is an outcrop of rock on the east bank. Here is Puntjie. Beautiful doesn’t describe it. Getting into Puntjie is another story. You may have to content yourself with a glimpse through the gate.
WILDERNESS, GARDEN ROUTE
The Western Cape’s place of lakes is where wetlands, rivers, lagoons and estuaries meet dense forests, and steep hills plummet to meet the sandy shores of kilometre-long beaches. Wilderness and little Hoekwil lie between George and Knysna.
STORMS RIVER MOUTH
The Tsitsikamma National Park suspension bridge at the mouth of Storms River is pure #traveladdict. The deep ravine and blue-green of the river where it meets the sea in a crash of turgid waves is the stuff of heaven…
THE BEACHES OF DE HOOP
Whales, whales, whales. And when the whales are not in the bay, then space, space, space. De Hoop, 260 km from Cape Town, has a coastline that can only be described as magnificent.
BAARDSKEERDERSBOS TO ELIM & BEYOND
Baardskeerdersbos is an artists’ hamlet off-the-beaten-track, best reached from Gansbaai, Napier or Stanford. It hosts an art route three times a year. Visit for its beauty and the chance to enter the homes and hearts of the artists who live there.
One of the only remaining pockets of indigenous forest in the Langeberg, Grootvadersbosch lies in a pleat of Cape fold mountain just beyond the little Cape Overberg village of Suurbraak. The beauty of the forest, the hiking opportunities, and the views, are well worth the drive.