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Posted on: Wednesday, 6 March 2013

One-tank trips out of Cape Town

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Find Yourself in Hermanus

Find Yourself in Hermanus

There are weekends when you just need to get away. Recharge your batteries, relax surrounded by nature and out of your own space and home. You don’t necessarily want to break the bank either, so a trip just out of the city is what you most desire. Here are some great places to drive to just outside of town; One-tank trips out of Cape Town:


This seaside town is quiet but has enough shops and restaurants to keep you busy. Its population increases tremendously during the whale festival where radio stations and markets burst out into the streets. You can enjoy the beach, a hike up into the mountains filled with fynbos or pop into an art gallery in the town. Watch Southern Right whales who have migrated to the Western cape’s sheltered bays between June and November.

Betty’s Bay

Beautiful Betty's Bay

Beautiful Betty’s Bay

Whilst Betty’s Bay has its rooted residents, much of the town is occupied by holiday makers who drive up on weekends. You can find yourself soul alone when walking down the street and onto the beach, which is quite welcome if you’re looking to just relax and spend time with family void of traffic and many shops. If you have sand boards, take them with you as we found awesome sand dunes to glide down. There’s a African penguin at Stony Point to visit, but we didn’t need to as all these guys in black and white nestled beneath the bushes in our garden.


Just over an hour and a half from Cape Town is a glorious little spot nestled between the hills, Botrivier and Caledon. On your way down Houwhoek pass, turn left into Botrivier, over railways tracks and onto a gravel path, I suggest you keep going past the farm houses, green hills and cattle. Up in the mountain is a well kept secret called Kol Kol Mountain Lodge. It’s perfect for a romantic getaway with a wooden cabin, heated rock pool and no one else around. Families will really love the bigger cabins with a few rooms.

Lovely Langebaan

Lovely Langebaan


The West Coast’s unspoilt charm makes it one of the best places for a weekend break. Not far along the West Coast road out of Cape Town, you’ll reach this seaside town that has captured the hearts of so many. Rent a house for the weekend, have lunch at restaurants right on the beach and get involved in a number of different water sports.

West Coast National Park

This park is truly an oasis away from the city, once inside you’ll get to spot wild flowers in bloom during spring, spot eland and bontebok and sit in front of the rough waters of the Atlantic Ocean. My favourite beach is right inside this park and goes by the name of Kraalbaai. The water is aqua-marine and is pure tropical paradise. On all my visits, there have only been a few people stand-up paddling boarding or fishing from the rocks. Other than that it was a tranquil mix of a deserted beach and warm water.

Time Out in Tulbagh

Time Out in Tulbagh


I spent many a childhood holiday camping in Tulbagh. If you’re looking for a pretty inland spot between mountains and winelands, then this is the place to go. Be sure you visit a place with a pool as the sea is a while away and the heat can get unbearable in summer. There’s an abundance of vineyards which offer wine tasting, picnics, cycling and fishing. The town has many quaint farm stalls, little restaurants offering home-made food and coffee shops.


Route 62 is well worth exploring for its farm stalls, galleries, restaurant and positioning in what seems to be the middle of nowhere. You will drive through the main road of Barrydale and before you know if it would have disappeared. But therein lays its beauty. Stay in a guesthouse or B&B and find ways to potter about and bide your time in this sleepy town.

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Vaughan McShane


Vaughan McShane travels the world with his wife teaching English, surfing where he finds waves and capturing it all on his GoPro camera. Together they seek new terrain to explore, adventure in unlikely places and delicious cappuccinos. Follow their wanderings on The Travel Manuel and follow Vaughan's adventures on Twitter @VaughanMac.

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