From leisurely rambles to invigorating hikes, Cape Town has something for everyone.

Whether you’re after a windswept coastal wander, a mountainous hike with spectacular views, or a leisurely amble through one of the Cape’s lush nature reserves, here’s our pick of the best hiking trails in and around the city. So, lace up your hiking boots and get cracking… And, let us know your thoughts in the comments below.

Important note Although the Cape is rich in natural beauty, tourists and locals are urged to take necessary precautions when exploring secluded areas, as crimes and accidents do happen.
Those venturing into the Table Mountain National Park should have the following emergency numbers on hand: 086 110 6417/ 107 or 021 480 7700. Criminal incidents should be reported to the nearest police station as soon as able.
We also recommend @safetymountain as a useful resource for hikers. This free safety tracking service allows you to notify local trackers of your contact details, intended route and travel time via whatsapp. You are then able to provide hourly updates on your progress, and to notify trackers when you are safely off the mountain.

It helps to have a map, and for that, SANParks and The Inside Guide recommends Slingsby Maps as an essential resource for hiking enthusiasts. Detailed maps of some of the Cape’s best hiking trails are available, including the Pipe Track, Cape Point and the Cederberg. Contact Slingsby Maps at 021 788 4545 for more information.

Hiking Trails in Cape Town

These hikes are within easy reach of town, and will take you far above the bustle of city life.


Hiking Tails Cape Town Lions Head

The distinct slope next to Table Mountain known as Lion’s Head offers magnificent views of the city, Table Bay and the Atlantic Ocean, making it a top spot for Instagrammers.
Starting and ending point Signal Hill Road, at the base of the Forestry Road.
Duration 2 – 3 hours
Need to know You will have to do some climbing, however there are handholds and chains to assist you. If, like me, you’d prefer to avoid the climbing, a roundabout route (that’s still quite steep) adds half an hour to your hike.
Child-friendly? Yes, although they’ll probably want to avoid the climbing chains (and rock scrambling near the end of the trail)
Dog-friendly? No
Contact 021 422 1601 (Kloofnek Office)
021 712 0527,
TMNP emergency numbers: 086 110 6417/ 107 or 021 480 7700
Location Lions Head


Hiking Tails Cape Town Platterklip Gorge

Probably the second most well-known hiking trail in Cape Town (after Lion’s Head), Platteklip is not so easygoing, despite its popularity. Sure, there’s not much climbing or scrambling involved, but there’s a lot of upward walking, which probably makes it the ideal route for a workout. It provides a direct route to the summit of Table Mountain, for those who think taking the cable car is for lightweights.
Starting point Tafelberg Road
End point Upper Cableway Station
Duration 3 hours, though some ridiculously fit people have been known to run up the trail in an hour.
Need to know Platteklip is best avoided on a hot day, as there is little shade to be found along the trail.
Be prepared for all types of weather, and bring a hat, sunblock and jacket.
Proper hiking shoes are required; do not attempt this trail with slip-slops.
If you plan to take the cable car down, make note of operational times and ensure you reach the station before the last cable car leaves.
Important note SANParks has informed us that many rescues are performed at this site, as people underestimate the heat and the level of fitness required, or they miss the last cable car and end up stranded on the mountain at night. Please take the necessary precautions.
Child-friendly? Yes, although take note of the above.
Dog-friendly? Bringing dogs is not recommended on this trail, as they struggle in the heat.
Contact 021 712 0527,
TMNP emergency numbers: 086 110 6417/ 107 or 021 480 7700
Location Table Mountain National Park


Hiking Tails Cape Town Pipe Track

This trail is not only mesmerisingly beautiful, it also has an interesting history, in that it was built for the purpose of servicing a pipeline that used to supply 19th-century Cape Town with water from the Disa Gorge, hence its name…
Starting point The junction of Tafelberg Road and Kloof Nek (you can park your car in the Kloof Nek parking lot)
End point Camps Bay
Duration 4 hours. The route is easygoing, although it becomes slightly tougher after passing by Slangolie Ravine.
Good to know There are a number of trails that lead off the Pipe Track, but these should not be attempted without the assistance of a knowledgeable guide. Many of these trails are not beginner-friendly, and they are not recommended for children or dogs.
If you do have a guide, it’s recommended to visit Tranquility Cracks, a hidden gem that Capetonian hikers have only recently discovered. These are narrow, labyrinthine tunnels through the rock, formed naturally through erosion.
Need to know The Pipe Track can be tough on hot days, as large portions of it are exposed to the afternoon sun.
Child-friendly? Yes
Dog-friendly? Yes, although the Table Mountain National Park is under the jurisdiction of SANParks, which requires that dog-walkers have a Level 1 My Activity Permit (R270 for a year). Contact Tokai Plantation Office (021 712 7471) for more information.
Contact 021 712 0527,
TMNP emergency numbers: 086 110 6417/ 107 or 021 480 7700
Location Table Mountain National Park


Hiking Tails Cape Town Maclears Beacon

At 21 metres above the Upper Cableway Station, Maclear’s Beacon is the highest point on Table Mountain. Plaques at the Upper Cableway Station point you towards the beginning of the hike, and from thereon the trail is marked by yellow footprints. If you do the Platteklip and Maclear’s Beacon trails in one go, then you can truly say you hiked from the bottom of Table Mountain to the very top.
Starting point Upper Cableway Station
End point Maclear’s Beacon
Duration 1 hour
Need to know SANParks does not recommend attempting this trail in cloudy or misty weather, as it becomes more difficult to find your way in such conditions.
Child-friendly? Yes
Dog-friendly? No
Contact 021 712 0527,
TMNP emergency numbers: 086 110 6417/ 107 or 021 480 7700
Location Table Mountain National Park


Hiking Trails Cape Town Tygerberg

Hidden among the hills in Cape Town’s northern suburbs, this lush haven offers an easy escape from Bellville’s urban sprawl. Blessed with a rich diversity of plant and bird life, the 388-hectare Tygerberg Nature Reserve offers spectacular views of city, sea and mountain.
Well-marked hiking trails wind their way throughout the reserve, in some cases climbing up hills that offer unrivalled panoramic views of Cape Town. Table Mountain and Robben Island are both visible from this vantage point and, in clear conditions, you’ll be able to see the False Bay coastline.
Good to know Tygerberg Nature Reserve’s network of walking routes includes a wheelchair-friendly trail, close to the picnic area.
Starting and end point Tygerberg Nature Reserve entrance
Duration Varies
Need to know Be sure to take plenty of water, as the more rigorous trails can be quite testing. You’ll want to pack warm clothing in winter, as it gets quite chilly up top.
Child-friendly? Yes
Dog-friendly? No
Cost R15 (adults)
R8 (under 18s, senior citizens, students)
Free (children under 3, Friends of the Reserve with proof of membership)
Contact 021 444 8971,
Location Tygerberg Nature Reserve, Totius Road, Welgemoed


Hiking Trails Cape Town Kasteelspoort

We love the Kasteelspoort Hiking Trail for its easy access to the mountain, and suitability to all fitness levels. Not to mention the the stunning views of the Atlantic Ocean, Twelve Apostles, and Camps Bay. There are several paths leading to different points – such as the old Cableway Station and the two reservoirs – making each trek a different adventure.
Starting point Top of Theresa Avenue, Camps Bay / Top of Kloof Nek Road
End point Top of Table Mountain / The Woodhead and Helly-Hutchinson Reservoirs
Duration 3 – 4 hours
Need to know While the path is shady in places, it’s best get started in the early morning, and to bring a hat and plenty of water. There is a short section at the foot of Kasteels buttress that requires a certain level of scrambling over rocks, and Kasteelspoort Ravine can be quite slippery (especially after rain), so bring good, gripping shoes and be cautious.
Child-friendly? This trail is not recommended for children or novice hikers, as rock scrambling can be quite challenging at certain points.
Dog-friendly? No
Contact 021 712 0527,
TMNP emergency numbers: 086 110 6417/ 107 or 021 480 7700
Location  Table Mountain National Park


Hiking Trails Cape Town Devils Peak

Aside from having a really cool name, Devil’s Peak offers numerous vantage points for gazing out upon the cityscape as it stretches from the bay to the foot of the mountain. It’s especially exhilarating to walk along the Saddle – the point that connects Devil’s Peak and Table Mountain; and from there you can ascend to the summit, where you’ll be rewarded with incredible panoramic views of Cape Town.
There are three possible routes to the Saddle, with the Tafelberg Road route being best suited to beginners. The Mowbray Ridge route, which starts at Rhodes Memorial, is considered a more tricky ascent; while the Newlands Ravine is challenging but well shaded.
Good to know Legend tells of a Dutch pirate named Jan Van Hunks, who liked to sit upon the mountain and smoke his pipe every so often. One day he came upon a stranger dressed in black, sitting in his usual spot. The stranger, whose face was hidden beneath a wide-brimmed hat, challenged Van Hunks to a contest to see who could smoke his pipe the longest. As the two of them puffed away, a huge cloud of smoke covered the mountain like a tablecloth. Van Hunks finally admitted defeat, only for his opponent to reveal his true identity: he was none other than the devil himself.
So when you see clouds billowing over Devil’s Peak, remember the tale of Van Hunks. Perhaps he is in his usual spot, together with the devil, the two of them puffing away at their pipes for all eternity.
Starting point and end point Tafelberg Road / Rhodes Memorial / Newlands Forest
Duration 4 hours
Need to know Hold onto your hats, it gets windy up top.
Child-friendly? No
Dog-friendly? Yes, although the Table Mountain National Park is under the jurisdiction of SANParks, which requires that dog-walkers have a Level 1 My Activity Permit (R270 for a year). Contact Tokai Plantation Office (021 712 7471) for more information.
Contact 021 712 0527,
TMNP emergency numbers: 086 110 6417/ 107 or 021 480 7700
Location  Table Mountain National Park


Hiking Trails Cape Town Skeleton Gorge

This hike basically takes you from one side of Table Mountain to the other. Starting off in the the serene Kirstenbosch Gardens, you will arrive at the steep ascent of Skeleton Gorge where indigenous trees provide shade. Along the way, you’ll encounter a stream, typical mountain fynbos and some interesting rock formations before arriving at Maclear’s Beacon – the highest point on Table Mountain. Take a rest and enjoy panoramic views of the city and Robben Island.
Starting point Kirstenbosch Gardens
End point Maclear’s Beacon
Duration 2 – 4 hours (depending on your level of fitness)
Good to know Nursery Ravine provides an easier alternative route that also joins up with the Skeleton Gorge trail at certain points. This makes them a popular pairing, with one trail being used for ascent and the other (preferably Nursery Ravine) being used for descent.
Need to know This is a long hike with ladders to assist climbers to the top, and a rockfall to overcome, meaning you have to be extremely fit. Parts of the gorge can be quite slippery, even during summer. It’s recommended to avoid this route during and immediately after heavy rainfall.
Child-friendly? Yes
Dog-friendly? No
Contact 021 712 0527, (Table Mountain National Park)
TMNP emergency numbers: 086 110 6417/ 107 or 021 480 7700
021 799 8899, (Kirstenbosch)
Location Kirstenbosch


Hiking Trails Cape Town Chapmans Peak

Its (relatively) short distance and effortless terrain make this a popular trail. Starting at the toll booths, it offers great vantages of the the Fish Hoek and Hout Bay valleys, as well as Cape Point, Karbonkelberg and Klein Leeukoppie.
Starting and end point Chapman’s Peak toll booths
Duration 1 – 2 hours
Need to know You will need to get a day pass (request one at the toll booth, there is no charge) for safe parking and access to the hiking trail. Also, remember to take a warm top – Cape weather is unpredictable.
Child-friendly Yes
Dog-friendly? Yes, although the Table Mountain National Park is under the jurisdiction of SANParks, which requires that dog-walkers have a Level 1 My Activity Permit (R270 for a year). Contact Tokai Plantation Office (021 712 7471) for more information.
Contact 021 712 0527, (Table Mountain National Park)
021 791 8220, (Chapman’s Peak Drive)
TMNP emergency numbers: 086 110 6417/ 107 or 021 480 7700
Location Chapman’s Peak Drive


Hiking Trails Cape Town Constantia Nek Kirstenbosch

A relatively easy walk on a dirt road and wooden track, it consists mainly of mild uphill sections, but is mostly downhill and flat. Along the way you will enjoy the greenery of Cecilia and Newlands forests and vast views of the slopes of Table Mountain, an aerial perspective of Kirstenbosch, and even views as far as the Cape Flats.
Starting point Constantia Nek
End point Kirstenbosch Gardens
Duration 2 hours
Need to know Guided walks can be booked in advance, and arranged to suit your interests and needs.
Child-friendly? Yes
Dog-friendly? Dogs are not allowed in Kirstenbosch Gardens
Contact 021 712 0527, (Table Mountain National Park)
021 799 8899, (Kirstenbosch)
TMNP emergency numbers: 086 110 6417/ 107 or 021 480 7700
Location Kirstenbosch

Hiking Trails around the Cape


Hiking Trails Cape Town Jonkershoek

This lush nature reserve, situated near the historic town of Stellenbosch, offers four challenging hiking trails, including the invigorating Swartboskloof Trail, which ascends to the top of Kurktrekkernek, and then back down past a waterfall, where you can take a refreshing dip. Alternatively, you could take the more easygoing Swartboskloof to Sosyskloof hike.
Starting and end point Jonkershoek Nature Reserve
Duration Swartboskloof to Sosykloof: 2 – 2.5 hours
Swartboskloof Trail: 6 hours
Panorama Circuit: 6 hours
Tweede Waterval: 2 hours
Need to know Some of the paths can be quite slippery when wet, so tread carefully.
All CapeNature reserves require visitors to purchase a permit before they can access any of the hiking trails. Contact CapeNature to book your permits, or acquire them at the reserve office.
Child-friendly? Yes
Dog-friendly? No
Cost CapeNature Permit: R40 (adults); R20 (children)
Contact 021 483 0190,
Location Jonkershoek Nature Reserve, Jonkershoek Road, Stellenbosch


Hiking Trails Cape Town Bbobbejaans

Situated in the scenic Limietberg Nature Reserve, this trail takes you above the river that gives it its name, eventually ending at a majestic waterfall. Along the way you’ll cross the Witte River, where you can take a refreshing dip in its cool waters.
Good to know There are several other hiking trails in the Limietberg Nature Reserve, including a two-day overnight trail. It’s also the location of the Tweede Tol campsite.
Starting and end point Bainskloof Corner Lodge parking area
Duration 6 hours
Need to know The trail is not recommended during winter, as the Witte River can become quite rough following heavy rainfall.
All CapeNature reserves require visitors to purchase a permit before they can access any of the hiking trails. Contact CapeNature to book your permits, or acquire them at the reserve office.
Child-friendly? Suitable for teenagers, if they are fit.
Dog-friendly? No
Cost CapeNature Permit: R40 (adults); R20 (children)
Contact 021 808 5121 (Tweede Tol campsite)
082 494 9707 (emergency number)
021 483 0190, (booking enquiries)
Location Bainskloof Corner Lodge, Limietberg Nature Reserve


Hiking Trails Cape Town Paarl RockHiking Trails Cape Town Paarl Rock

This hiking trail takes you to the top of a large granite rock that looms above the Paarl Mountain Reserve, offering views of flourishing fynbos fields and the mountains beyond. From here, it’s a short hike to the summit of a second, even larger rock formation known as Bretagna Rock, and along the way you’ll spot a cannon that was once used to signal the arrival of ships in Table Bay.
Feel free to explore the numerous footpaths that wind their way throughout the beautiful reserve and, once you’re done, reward yourself with a relaxing packed lunch in the picnic area.
Starting and end point Meulwater Day Braai and Picnic Site, Paarl Mountain Nature Reserve
Duration 2 hours
Child-friendly? Yes, although keep in mind that there are sections that are not suitable for prams, such as the rocky stairs. Prams can only be used if you are taking the jeep track to the top.
Dog-friendly? No
Cost R52 per vehicle
R17 per passenger (on weekends and public holidays)
Free (weekdays)
Contact 082 744 5900 / 082 335 0461,
Location Paarl Mountain Nature Reserve, 6 Jan Phillips Mountain Drive, Paarl


Hiking Trails Cape Town Jasons Hill

Not only does Jason’s Hill Private Cellar produce multi-award-winning wines, it also boasts a hiking route with enchanting scenery, straggling streams, wondrous waterfalls and abundant wildlife – all of which nature lovers can experience firsthand. The 6.5km trail departs from Jason’s Hill between 8am and 1pm – every Monday to Friday – and between 10am and 1pm on Saturdays.
Starting and end point Jason’s Hill Private Cellar
Duration 3 – 4 hours
Child-friendly? Yes, although children under 18 require parental supervision.
Dog-friendly? Dogs are not permitted on the hiking trail, although there are dogs on the farm who may decide to join.
Cost R30
Contact 023 344 3256,
Location Jason’s Hill Private Cellar, Slanghoek Road, Slanghoek Valley, Rawsonville


Hiking Trails Cape Town Macassar Dunes
Caleb Langton

Follow in the footsteps of the ancient San people, who lived and foraged along this coastline centuries ago. The Massacar Dunes Conservation Area has a rich biodiversity and, as the name implies, a mesmerising landscape of windswept sand dunes. Also to be found within the reserve: the last remaining forest of the endangered white milkwood trees.
Starting and end point Macassar Road, off Baden Powell Drive
Duration Your choice
Child-friendly? Yes
Dog-friendly? No
Contact 021 400 3855,
Location Macassar Road, Macassar / Baden Powell Drive, Khayelitsha


Hiking Trails Cape Town Crystal Pools

This hiking trail is very doable for anyone who is reasonably fit, and slightly challenging for those who are not. The rockpools along the way, where you can cool down during your walk, make it well worth the slog. The half-day hike takes you through rocky, but generally flat, terrain, and all the way at the top is a wonderful waterfall. But it is quite a trek, so make sure you have plenty of snacks, water and energy to get there.
Starting and end point Steenbras Nature Reserve entrance
Duration 3 hours
Need to know The trail is only open from 1 November to 30 April.
Child-friendly? Children under the age of 12 must be accompanied by an adult.
Dog-friendly? No
Cost R65 per person (valid until June 2018)
Contact 021 444 6927,
Bookings must be done via email, at least two working days before your visit
Emergency number: 021 957 4725
Location Faure Marine Drive R44, Steenbras Nature Reserve


Hiking Trails Cape Town Famers Cliffs

This easy-to-follow 8km stone path boasts fantastic views that cannot be seen from a car (so take your smartphone or camera with you). The path winds up and down at various points, with some rock climbing (or boulder hopping if you prefer), with only the calls of the chacma baboons breaking the silence. Once at Buffels Bay beach you’ll find a tidal pool, ablution block and braai area.
Starting point Smitswinkel Viewpoint parking area
End point Buffels Bay beach in Cape Point Nature Reserve
Duration 3 hours
Good to know Take two cars and leave on at Buffels Bay, and take the other to the starting point at Smitswinkel Viewpoint, otherwise you’ll have a long walk there and back in the hot sun.
Need to know There isn’t much shade, so be sure to wear sunblock, bring a hat and plenty of water. 
Child-friendly? Yes, but it is a very long hike for children to do.
Dog-friendly? No
Cost Entry into Cape Point: R145 (adults); R75 (children)
Contact 021 712 0527,
021 780 9010, (Cape Point)
Location Cape Point Nature Reserve


Hiking Trails Cape Town Cape Point

Cape Point is a landform at the southeast corner of the Cape Peninsula, which runs north-south for about 30 kilometres at the extreme southwestern tip of Africa, and is often (mistakenly) cited as the point where the Atlantic and Indian Oceans meet. There are a number of trails, ranging from two-hour to two-day hikes. The scenery along the way is diverse, and includes fynbos and fauna, shipwrecks, whales and vast stretches of empty beaches.
Starting and end point Varies
Duration 2 hours – 2 days (your choice)
Cost Entry into Cape Point: R145 (adults) and R75 (child)
Child-friendly? Yes
Dog-friendly? No
Contact 021 712 0527,
021 780 9010, (Cape Point)
Location Cape Point Nature Reserve


Hiking Trails Cape Town Boesmanskloof

How convenient are mountain passes! Back in the day, if there was a mountain in the way, you’d have to walk over it! Jokes aside, this hike allows you to do exactly that. Where travellers would normally have to drive around the Riviersonderend mountain range to get from Greyton to McGregor, the Boesmanskloof trail takes you right through it, passing by the beautiful Oakes Falls on the way and granting you the opportunity to spot a variety of mountain-dwelling flora and fauna.
Starting point Greyton / McGregor
End point McGregor / Greyton
Duration 6 – 7 hours
Need to know The trail can be hiked in one day, but you will need to arrange transport back to your starting point (whether it be Greyton or McGregor). Or you could just return via the same route the following day.
All CapeNature reserves require visitors to purchase a permit before they can access any of the hiking trails. Contact CapeNature to book your permits, or acquire them at the reserve office.
Child-friendly? No, as the trail terrain is quite strenuous
Dog-friendly? No
Cost CapeNature Permit: R40 (adults); R20 (children)
Contact 023 625 1621 (reserve office)
082 496 2448 (emergency number)
021 483 0190, (booking enquiries)
Location Vrolijkheid Nature Reserve, Reitz Street (off Robertson Road), R60, Robertson


Hiking Trails Cape Town Kogelberg

Rich plant life, majestic mountain peaks and the cool waters of the Palmiet River make the Kogelberg Nature Reserve a favoured destination for hikers. The abovementioned trail is a circular route that covers roughly 24 kilometres, as it takes hikers deep into the heart of the Cape Floral Kingdom. Or you could try the Palmiet River Hike, for a more easy-going adventure.
Start and end point Kogelberg Nature Reserve office
Duration 8 hours
Need to know The trail is long, so hikers are advised to start as early as 10am (8am in winter).
All CapeNature reserves require visitors to purchase a permit before they can access any of the hiking trails. Contact CapeNature to book your permits, or acquire them at the reserve office.
Cost CapeNature Permit: R40 (adults); R20 (children)
Child-friendly? No, as the trail is quite long
Dog-friendly? Dogs are not allowed in CapeNature reserves.
Contact 021 851 6982 / 021 851 4060 (reserve office)
082 783 8585 (emergency number)
021 483 0190, (booking enquiries)
Location Kogelberg Nature Reserve, R44, Kleinmond


Hiking Trails Cape Town Krom River

This noncircular route in the Limietberg Nature Reserve crosses two rivers before it reaches the Krom River waterfall and pool. Follow the white boot prints (painted on rocks along the ravine) for breathtaking views of the surrounding mountains, and into a fairytale-like indigenous forest. Once through the Worcester exit of the Huguenot Tunnel, take the first road on your left to the parking lot.
Starting point Follow the Krom River signs
Good to know There are several other hiking trails in the Limietberg Nature Reserve, including a two-day overnight trail. It’s also the location of the Tweede Tol campsite.
Duration Around 5 hours
Need to know The trail is closed during winter.
All CapeNature reserves require visitors to purchase a permit before they can access any of the hiking trails. Contact CapeNature to book your permits, or acquire them at the reserve office.
Child-friendly? Yes
Dog-friendly? No
Cost CapeNature Permit: R40 (adults); R20 (children)
Contact 021 808 5121 (Tweede Tol campsite)
082 494 9707 (emergency number)
021 483 0190, (booking enquiries)
Location Limietberg Nature Reserve, 267 Main Street, Esterville, Paarl



A week is a good amount of time to spend in Cape Town. It’s long enough to take in the big attractions, but also focus on your own particular interests and really get under the skin of the city. Cape Town has a lot going on, and it’s worth spending some time getting off the beaten track, making friends with locals, and getting to know the authentic Cape Town. There’s enough time to take it easy, explore the places you fall in love with, or get to know the locals.


Day 1: Broad strokes

The first day is great for taking in as much of the city as you can, to get the big picture. The best way to do this is to get aboard the hop-on-hop-off City Sightseeing bus. It’s well worth getting hold of an iVenture card, which gets you free entry into many of the city’s top attractions. Start the day by catching the bus from the V&A Waterfront and heading straight for the city’s centerpiece—Table Mountain. You can hop off here and take the Aerial Cableway to the top. From there, you’ll have panoramic views of the city and coast. It’s a great way to orientate yourself, and the views are magnificent. There’s a wifi lounge at the top, where you can grab breakfast and a coffee.

Next, you’ll head over the mountain to the Atlantic Seaboard. Here, especially in Camps Bay and Clifton, you’ll find some incredible beaches, bars and restaurants, making this a fantastic spot to spend the afternoon. Get some sun, have lunch, sip on cocktails, or walk the Sea Point Promenade. There’s loads to see here, so you can spend a few hours in the area. Just make sure you leave time to head back to the Waterfront and catch a ferry to Robben Island, where Nelson Mandela and other political prisoners served their time during the apartheid era.

At sunset, settle yourself at one of the picturesque bars at the Waterfront, to watch the sun go down and enjoy some cocktails, craft beers, or fine local wines. There are endless dining opportunities here too, so you might want to stay for dinner.


City sightseeing bus


Day 2: Wining and dining

On your second day, spend some time exploring the Cape Town wine routes. It’s worth picking one and setting aside the day for it. There are five main wine routes to choose from, each with their own character. Constantia is close to the city, and it is home to some of the country’s oldest and most prestigious wine farms. The Helderberg is famous for its white wines, particularly chardonnay and sauvignon blanc. Stellenbosch has about 150 estates to choose from, making it a good option if you want to be spoilt for choice. Franschhoek is really pretty and it is home to the Franschhoek Wine Tram, which allows you to enjoy the day’s tasting without worrying about driving. They’ll even hang on to your wine for you and arrange shipping. The Durbanville Wine Route is also fairly close to the city, with fantastic views of Table Mountain and intense, fruit-driven wines. Whichever you choose, you’re sure to find beautiful scenery, award-winning wines, and some exquisite cuisine.

Stick around for lunch. Many estates have fine-dining restaurants on site, while others have pre-packed picnics or more casual eateries. No matter your taste or budget, there is sure to be something that appeals to you.

Come evening time, you’re likely to be ready for an early night, or you may consider booking a night in the Winelands and dining at one of the fine restaurants there.


Constantia wine route


Day 3: The South

On day three, we head south. Get an early start, and make your way to Kalk Bay. You might want to hire a car, take the train, or find a tour operator that can customise a tour for you. African Eagle Day Tours does customizable full day tours, and is an accredited tour provider. The trip to Kalk Bay is lovely and scenic, and once you’re there you’ll find some lovely spots to grab some breakfast. Olympia Café does great cooked breakfasts, and their baked goods are delicious. You can browse the quirky shops and explore the harbour while you’re there.

Next, carry on further to Simon’s Town. This is where you’ll find Boulders Beach, home to the colony of African Penguins. You can take a dip with these creatures, or admire them from the walkway. Once you’ve spent some time there, it’s time to venture further south to one of the most beautiful spots in town.

Cape Point is the star of the day three show. Here, you’ll find a spectacular sight with towering stone cliffs, endemic fynbos, breathtaking bays, beaches, and rolling green hills and valleys. The climb to the top is steep and requires some fitness, but you can opt for the Flying Dutchman Funicular to take you to the top. Spend a few hours here taking in the astounding natural beauty and endless ocean views. You can also visit the Two Oceans restaurant, which offers casual but delicious dining with truly phenomenal views.

As the day draws to a close, head back into town for the evening. Consider checking out one of the 50 restaurants that locals love, to find a restaurant close to where you’re staying. If you’re up for more activity, you could take in a show at one of Cape Town’s theatres.



Day 4: Road trip

Cape Town has plenty to offer, but it also makes a fantastic base for exploring the surrounding areas of the Western Cape. Day four is about halfway through your trip, and a great time to get to know the outlying areas. You could head off in any direction, depending on your interests and the time of year. If it’s between September and November, consider driving up the West Coast to see the fields of wildflowers in bloom. Between June and October, it’s whale season, and a trip to Hermanus would offer the chance to see these majestic creatures of the deep calving just off shore. The Karoo, to the north, offers vast scrubby landscapes, small quirky towns, and a taste of rural South Africa. You could also take a trip to Aquila Private Game Reserve, where you’ll have a chance to see the famous Big 5 up close on a safari. There are endless options, and each is as appealing as the next.

In the evening, save your energy for tomorrow. Consider a quiet night, get together with your new Cape Town friends for dinner, or enjoy a drink at one of Cape Town’s best sundowner spots.


Scenic drive Chapmans Peak Cape Town


Day 5: Do your own thing

Day five gives you a chance to slow down and focus on the things you’re really interested in.There are some fantastic museums and art galleries, and Cape Town has a rich history to explore. The beaches are also great on a good day. It’s up to you—this is your day, but we’ll give you a few ideas. You might consider a street art tour of Woodstock, or a cooking course that’ll teach you how to make real Cape Town cuisine. You could visit the city’s museums, or check out the amazing art galleries.  Whatever you choose to do, set aside a few hours to visit the Zeitz MOCAA, where you can explore nine floors worth of art from Africa and its diaspora.


Woodstock streetart building


Day 6: Live like a local

Day five is all about getting into the Cape Town spirit. You’ve ticked off most of the biggest attractions, and now it’s time to look a little closer. Explore the City Bowl’s many shops, restaurants, coffee shops, and markets. Spend some time in Greenmarket Square, finding some keepsakes to take home. Go for a city breakfast on Long, Bree, or Kloof Street, where you’ll find all sorts of establishments catering for any tastes.

For lunch, head to Gugulethu, one of Cape Town’s townships, for lunch at Mzoli’s Place. It’s a a popular gathering spot for Cape Town locals and a major tourist attraction. Numerous celebrities have visited, including Jamie Oliver, who was apparently very interested in the ingredients of the basting sauce, but they are a closely guarded secret. You’ll pick your meat cuts, find a seat at a communal table, and sip some local beer, while the cooks grill your food to perfection over open fires. On weekends it’s a lively, festive, and authentically South African vibe.

As evening approaches, make your way to Cape Town’s biggest party hub, Long Street. Here, you’ll find pubs, clubs, and live music venues galore. Whatever your taste in music and nightlife, Long Street is where you’ll find it. It’s time to eat, drink, and be merry with the locals.


The infamous Mzoli's Meat

Mzoli’s is a must


Day 7: Sunday Funday

Even if your last day isn’t a Sunday, it’s the perfect chance to slow down, admire the views, and be outdoors. Sleep in, if you like, and get a late start with one of Cape Town’s favourite brunch spots.

Once you’re well fed and ready for the day, you have some choices. Kirstenbosch Gardens is an amazing place to spend an afternoon. It was the first botanical garden in the world to be established (in 1913) to protect local flora. Its lawns are ideal for picnics and there are several walking trails. You can spend the rest of the afternoon here, exploring or lounging on the lawns. If you’re feeling a little more energetic, try out one of the hikes that Cape Town is famous for. There are loads of options, of varying degrees of difficulty. It’s a good ides to get started early if you’re hiking, before it gets too hot and sunny.

As the sun goes down, head for one of the best sundowner spots in the city to bid farewell to your new favourite place.




27 April commemorates the day in 1994 when the first democratic election was held in South Africa. Today, South Africa celebrates Freedom Day to mark the liberation of our country and its people from a long period of colonialism and White minority domination (apartheid).

Apartheid ‘officially’ began in South Africa in 1948, but colonialism and oppression of the African majority had plagued South Africa since 1652. After decades of resistance, a stalemate between the Liberation Movement and the Apartheid government was reached in 1988.

The ANC, South African Communist Party (SACP), Pan African Congress (PAC) and other organisations were later unbanned on 2 February 1990, and a non-racial constitution was eventually agreed upon and adopted in 1993. On 27 April 1994, the nation finally cast its vote in the first democratic election in the country. The ANC was then voted into power, and Nelson Mandela was inaugurated as the President of South Africa on 10 May.

It is important to note however, that “freedom” should mean emancipation from poverty, unemployment, racism, sexism and other forms of discrimination. We are 15 years into our new democracy and many of these issues are still rife in our country. We are still a long way away from solving many of the legacies of Apartheid and now face new challenges, like the growing inequality among South Africans and political and economic instability in the region caused by a new elite who are interested in pursuing their own interests.

Freedom Day therefore serves as a reminder to us that the guarantee of our freedom requires us to remain permanently vigilant against corruption and the erosion of the values of the Freedom Struggle and to build an active citizenry that will work towards wiping out the legacy of racism, inequality and the promotion of the rights embodied in our constitution.








“Simonites” who live in this unique and attractive town will affirm that the best times of the year in Simon’s Town are the early and late winter months. These are the months when the rest of the Cape Peninsula is cold, wet and windy!

The secret lies in the fact that Simon’s Town is one of only three or four sea-side towns in South Africa that are north-facing, and Simon’s Bay is also sheltered from the strong north-west winter winds by the Cape Peninsula mountain chain on its northern and western aspects.

The climatic advantages of this sheltered bay, compared to the storm ravaged Table Bay, were appreciated by Simon van der Stel when in 1687 he personally surveyed and named Simon’s Bay. His recommendation to the Dutch East India Company (VOC), that Simon’s Bay become the winter harbour for their ships, was only implemented in 1744 after many sailing ships had been storm-wrecked in Table Bay. The Royal Navy also appreciated the safe shelter of Simon’s Bay and moved the headquarters of the Cape Fleet there in 1814. Simon’s Town has remained the main South African Naval Base ever since.

The historic village faces the sheltered bay with its placid waters which change colour with the tides and temperatures of the sea, or reflect the pale pink and silver shades of sunset. In winter the sun rises in splendid morning colours over the Hottentots-Holland Mountains across False Bay, and bathes Simon’s Town in warm winter sunshine for a far longer day than in most other places in the Cape Peninsula.

Of course it does rain occasionally in winter, but the long, cold and dreary days, associated with the Cape in winter are few. Even the strong, sometimes gale-force, north-west winds do not cause the havoc and damage seen along the Atlantic coast and in Table Bay.

The residents of Simon’s Town therefore seldom find it necessary to light a home fire or indoor heater in winter. In the mornings they sit on their sun-filled balconies overlooking the calm waters of Simon’s Bay, the busy harbour and the yacht basin. When the rain does come, it is usually very welcome!

The town centre is quiet in winter and parking is not a problem! Some residents may appreciate the absence of tourists, but most are happy to share this secret season and to welcome our visitors all year round.

What is there to do in Simon’s Town in the so-called off-season? For a start, Simon’s Town offers a large selection of restaurants and places to stay. There are two excellent hotels in Simon’s Town and a third in Glencairn, while numerous B&B or self-catering establishments offer a wide choice of alternative accommodation. Most are listed on this website. The town also offers a wide selection of excellent restaurants from five-star establishments to casual dining at smaller eateries, or “fish and chips” on the town jetty.

Winter is a time for walking, and from Simon’s Town you can walk south along the sea shore towards Cape Point, or north towards Fish Hoek and Muizenberg. The more energetic can walk up the Red Hill road, or via mountain steps, to the signal station and Just Nuisance’s grave on the plateau above the town. Long Beach provides a wonderful walk at sunset or the early morning, and a walk along Willis Way will take you past the Penguins, Boulders Beach and the Golf Course, with changing views across False Bay.

The Historic Mile, extending from the railway station to the Old Burying Ground, is a gentle one and a half kilometre walk. It passes many historic buildings such as Admiralty House and the newly-restored Palace Barracks, the ornate dockyard gates, the British Hotel and Jubilee Square, the centre of the town with a wonderful view over the yacht basin, and the life-size statue of that famous dog, Just Nuisance!

Along the way you will find inviting places to enjoy a cup of coffee, or a pancake, and perhaps take time to browse in several antique and curio shops. From Jubilee Square the road ascends slightly to pass the Dutch Reformed Church, where the music of the original South African Anthem, “Die Stem” was composed. The Historic Mile ends at the Old Burying Ground on the right with a fine view of the Harbour and the Martello Tower on the left. The Old Burying Ground which dates from 1813 has many graves of historic interest, including those of Boer Prisoners of War, some of those who perished in the Birkenhead tragedy, and of many young seamen lost at sea. A little further on Seaforth road leads down to the penguin colony.

The South African Navy is an integral part of Simon’s Town and although the harbour and dockyard are closed to visitors, the comings and goings of our own ships and visiting vessels are visible from almost anywhere in the town, and dockyard tours are arranged from time to time. The colourful yacht basin, home of the False Bay Yacht Club, lies alongside the harbour and the old Cable Restorer, docked on the outer harbour wall with its restaurant, “The Roaring Forties”, is available for special functions.

Should inclement weather occur, this is an ideal time to visit one of our several museums. The Simon’s Town Museum in Court Road is one of the best small museums in the country and the Naval Museum alongside it is of special interest. There are also the Toy Museum and the Heritage Museum nearer the centre of the town. The Bronze Age Foundry has a superb gallery, where bronze castings of international standard are on exhibition and for sale, and there is also a permanent Art Gallery in the Quayside Centre. The Simon’s Town Public Library, situated on the main road opposite the Police station, has attractive reading rooms and a large collection of books and magazines.

For the more adventurous, what better than a trip on the Bay? The Spirit of Just Nuisance operating from the town jetty offers cruises with an excellent commentary around the inner bay and harbour. Boat trips to Seal Island, Cape Point & whale watching (June-November) leave from the same jetty. A guided kayaking excursion to visit the penguins by sea is also highly recommended. Visitors are always welcome at the Simon’s Town Country Club which offers bowls and squash and has a formidable golf links. There are several safe beaches where some intrepid Simonites swim all year round, despite the cold water!

Close to the town several interesting and scenic routes explore the “Deep South”. Red Hill road provides spectacular views over False Bay, and of Simon’s Town and the harbour lying in the shelter of the Simon’s Berg. At the top of Red Hill a road turns off to the signal station and the grave of Just Nuisance, and then winds down towards the Atlantic Ocean. An impressive array of very large stone sculptures for sale stands alongside the first T-junction and is well worth a visit.

From here one road leads straight on to the entrance of the Cape Point Nature Reserve and Cape Point, while the right hand fork brings you to the picturesque village of Scarborough and then along the seaboard, with the huge Atlantic rollers breaking below, to Kommetjie. Here it is worth visiting the impressively tall Slangkop Lighthouse, open to visitors, and also the famous Kommetjie surfers’ beach. The road continues in a north-westerly direction towards Fish Hoek, but you can turn right at the crossroads, and return to Simon’s Town via Glencairn.

Cape Point and the Nature Reserve can also be reached by simply continuing along the Simon’s Town main road passing the golf course and Miller’s Point, after which the road ascends to the Park entrance. Baboons are almost always encountered along this road. Enjoy their antics, but please do not feed or tease them!

The friendly people of Simon’s Town will be happy to share their secret season with you, whether it is as a day visitor or a longer stay. We know that you will be back, or perhaps even wish to join the many who have been fortunate enough to make Simon’s Town their home.



Visit the Cape Peninsula during our “secret season” (moderate temperatures, great sunsets, no crowds…) and take advantage of our Winter Special: 20% off B&B with complimentary Soup & Sherry by our fireplace.
(April – Sept). www.marinerguesthouse – – 021 786 4528.