Driving the Cape Peninsula from Cape Town is something that everyone should really do! Why? Because the scenery is beautiful and will give you the opportunity to explore all the cities, little towns, go for a swim or indulge yourself in amazing food along the way.
Hiring a car in Cape Town it’s easy, there are numerous rental services around the city so you don’t have to rush and do it straight from the airport. I recommend you to book the service as soon as you arrive for the days you want, because if you just leave it for the day before, you may not have a lot of choice.
How long does it take to drive the Cape Peninsula?
The usual amount of time to drive the Cape Peninsula is one day.
Saying that, it’s possible to stretch these to two days, if you really want to emerge yourself in all the little towns along the way. I did not have a lot of time so opted for one day.
We left at about 7am from Cape Town and return around 10pm.
We took our time along the way, had nice meals, stopped to go to the beach and enjoyed the views. This is why it’s a good option to rent a car, you can just follow your own pace and if you want to stop somewhere you just do it.
We never paid for parking along the way, even at Cape Point with so many excursions we managed to just park for free. There were a few places, more close to the beach areas, where there were some people with yellow vests helping to park the cars but they did not ask for any money.
The route around Cape Peninsula
The route it’s really easy to follow with a simple map (even without GPS) because it’s just goes around the coast– as seen on the map below.
The simplified version of the route with the main stops is like this:
Cape Town > Camps Bay > Hout Bay > Chapman’s Peak > Cape Point > Simons Town > Kalk Bay > Muizenberg > Constantia > Cape Town
What to see along the Cape Peninsula?
STOP 1 Camps Bay
Some of the most picturesque views not far from Cape Town are in Camps Bay. It’s also one of the best trendy places to visit. There you can relax on the beach or enjoy breakfast while looking at the palm trees, Miami style. Don’t miss the views of the Twelve Apostles.
STOP 2 Hout Bay
This small fishing village is buzzing with locals surfing and tourists enjoying the beach. In here it’s possible to see the Sentinel Mountain Peak and get a boat to Seal Island, where you can play with the Cape Fur Seals. We skipped this last one because the seals are really everywhere, even in Cape Town waterfront. There are also nice shops and restaurants around, it was a shame it was still early for lunch as I would have gone for a very big plate of seafood!
STOP 3 Chapman’s Peak
The drive continues to Chapman’s Peak where you will want to stop in several viewpoints to see the magnificent panorama over the bay and how the mountains touch the clouds. If you’re lucky you can also spot the Southern Right Whales. Unfortunately we went to South Africa in February meaning that it was off the ‘whale spotting’ season. The chance to see them is higher between July and November.
STOP 4 Cape Point
To visit Cape Point there is an entrance fee of R105 p/adult as this is considered to be part of the Table Mountain National Park, together with Table Mountain in Cape Town.
The park is known by the diversity of plants, birds and other animals like baboons and the Cape Town Mountain Zebra, which I did not spot while there.
There is a funicular that takes you up to the top with a cost of R49 p/adult return. Once you arrive from the funicular you have to climb a numerous of stairs that will take you up to the lighthouse which has an amazing view of the bay and the nature reserve.
We decided to have lunch there, as we just feel in love with the views from the Two Ocean’s Restaurant, overlooking False Bay and the delicious menu. There is a cheaper snack restaurant there selling pizzas, sandwiches and other quick snacks.
After lunch we head over to the Cape of Good Hope, one of the most famous areas visited. It was known in the old days by the sailors as a reference point to navigation.
Contrary to what I thought, this is not the southernmost point of the African continent (that’s in Cape Agulhas) but anyway, it’s well worth for the views!
STOP 5 Simons Town/Boulders Beach
We drove through Simon’s Town and it’s nice to go along the coast and see all the Victorian style houses. What we really were excited to see were the penguins in Boulder’s Beach!
In the area there is a large colony of African penguins, also known by Jackass Penguins that walk along the white sand beach and swim along with people. They were so cute and gracious, jumping from the rocks to swim and are clearly used to be in the middle of the many people that came to visit every day. Even if you don’t come for the drive along the Cape Peninsula, do come and see them anyway, it’s not far from Cape Town.
STOP 6 Kalk Bay
Kalk Bay is a fishing village with a lot of beautiful colourful houses where you can see a strong fishing community actively working in the harbour.
We had to spot there for an ice cream and enjoy the ocean breeze!
We also had a look on the fascinating fish markets. Kalk Bay is another place to spot the Southern Right Whales during their season.
STOP 7 Muizenberg
Either this is your last stop before Cape Town or not, don’t miss it! It was one of my favourite places as the town is really cheerful with its colourful beach huts.
Don’t miss the chance to deep your toes in the water in St. James Beach because the water is warm and there is a pool made up in the ocean which is great for a swim!
STOP 8 Constantia
Our last stop, not the most usual one, but we really wanted to have dinner outside Cape Town that day to finish the day in a beautiful way.
The Constantia Wine Route includes some of the oldest wine estates in South Africa, great for a quick trip from Cape Town. We decided to skip this activity as we had already planned to visit Franschhoek (read more here).
Because it was still quite light we spotted Simon’s Restaurant with a space on the open air and little candles and thought it was just the perfect place! The food was excellent, we both had steaks, and of course a bottle of wine, after all we were in the wine country.