CapeTownMagazine.com

The Western Cape small towns bucket list

We'll get through this. CapeTownTogether
Follow our social channels for useful news,
daily local champions + find moments of joy
 
+27(0)72 350 2062
Ideas Cartel - 113 Loop Street
www.capetownmagazine.com/subscribe
CapeTownMag
CapeTownMagazine.com
capetownmag

The Western Cape small towns bucket list

Locals share the special experiences in their small towns


The Western Cape covers an area of almost 130,000 square kilometres that is divided into six regions: Cape Town, Cape Karoo, Garden Route and Klein Karoo, Cape Overberg, Cape Winelands, and the West Coast (Weskus). Each district holds secrets for even the most seasoned of Western Cape adventurers: feeding stingrays by hand, a teetotalers tasting at a wine estate, taking Table Mountain by zipline, surging the tide in a river mouth, galloping through vineyards, and seeing the ancient gong rocks played by the Khoi. Here are 50 fun adventures to do in the Western Cape before you die. 

 

CAPE KAROO

The Cape Karoo is where to go when you want to escape the pace of city life and get off the grid. A place of wide-open spaces, incredible beauty, wildlife, clear skies and magical sunsets, the Cape Karoo has a number of nature reserves and game farms with an abundance of game. The Karoo National Park, for example, is home to black rhino, lions and more. There is also an abundance of sheep, which roam around nibbling a wide range of indigenous, aromatic plants. This is why the Karoo has become famous for its succulent and tasty lamb dishes. Be sure to sample some when in the area.

Image by: Simon Pocock 

 

1. SEE ANCIENT GONG ROCKS AND ENGRAVINGS IN BEAUFORT WEST

Beaufort West is famous for endless landscapes, wildlife and bright blue skies, but the rock engravings at Nelspoort that span centuries are one of its best-kept secrets. The ancient gong rocks are at the same site, and these were once hammered to create a resounding boom by the Khoi who lived here.


Beaufort West | beaufortwest.net

2. EXPLORE THE KAROO BY TRAIN

This ancient place offers hours of uninterrupted landscape, which you can see on the luxurious Rovos Rail or the more affordable Premier Classe, Blue Train and Shosholoza Train. Be sure to stop off at Matjiesfontein, a tiny 19th Century town, seemingly untouched by time that was once considered the jewel of the Western Cape.

 
 
 
View this post on Instagram

A post shared by Rovos Rail (@rovosrail)

Rovos Rail | rovos.com 

 

CAPE OVERBERG

This is an abundant area: panoramas of wheat fields and gorgeous nature spaces, large harvest of fruits, great diversity of marine and other wildlife, and many coastal towns. There’s Hermanus, famous for its whales and gorgeous coastline; the beautiful Elgin Valley, known for its apples and exquisite wines; Swellendam, a jaw-dropping natural wonderland. With gentle hills and foreboding mountain ranges enclosed by ocean, the Cape Overberg is a favourite getaway for adventurers.


Image by: Kelvin Trautman

3. SNORKEL IN A KELP FOREST IN THE KOGELBERG BIOSPHERE

Kleinmond a favourite weekend getaway for Capetonians because it’s close. Home Grown Tours takes you off the beaten track to the area’s little-known highlights. Snorkel in a kelp forest, a la My Octopus Teacher, or send the kids on a half- or full-day educational and fun Home Grown Junior programme. “Betty's Bay, Pringle Bay and Botrivier have so much to offer. Local cheese, olives, olive oil, wines and art are on the menu,” says Letitia from Home Grown Tours.


Home Grown Tours | www.homegrownsa.co.za


4. FEED THE STINGRAYS AT STRUISBAAI

Cape Agulhas sunsets and sunrises are famous and, for memory’s sake, grab a photo here at the southernmost tip of Africa. But another thing that’ll make Struisbaai  memorable is feeding the stingrays. You can buy sardines and they’ll gently eat them right out of your hand. The stunning Blue Flag Beach, hiking trails, and lagoon at Suiderstrand make it an epic coastal getaway. Stay the night at the nearby Cape Agulhas Backpackers is just 300m away from Blue Flag Beach.


Home Grown Tours | www.homegrownsa.co.za


5. SLOW DOWN IN STANFORD

According to the Stanford Tourism Manager, the town is from another time: “a time when life was slower. When families connected more and children roamed the safe streets barefoot, with their dogs in tow.” Embrace the slow life and picnic on the banks of the Kleinriver, between impressive mountains and the blue ocean,or explore the hiking, biking and horse-riding trails. There’s also Walker Bay, which produces the country’s most southerly wine, while the region boasts fantastic seafood, artisanal cheeses, and much more for which to pair it with.


6. STAY OVERNIGHT NEAR THE CAPE AGULHAS NATIONAL PARK

South Point Self Catering Accommodation is just a one-minute walk to the gates of the Agulhas National Park and historic lighthouse. It makes a great base for exploring the area, and according to owner Hilary Marshall, you can expect “spotlessly clean, upmarket, stylish, affordable accommodation with private entrances”, along with “pristine coastline and beaches, and friendly people”.


South Point Self Catering | www.south-point.co.za 

 

7. LISTEN TO THE MUSICAL PEBBLE BEACH AT SUIDERSTRAND 

Suiderstrand is a tranquil village in the Agulhas National Park only 4km from the southernmost tip of Africa. Lorraine van Zyl, owner of Southern Beach House, says “Suiderstrand is a great place to break away. It is safe and tranquil with no shops or restaurants and limited cell phone reception.” There’s also the musical pebble beach. Visit in the quiet mornings to listen to the waves wash over the pebbles, creating the most beautiful sound.


Southern Beach House | southernbeachhouse.co.za

 

8. SPOT THE RARE BUTTON QUAIL AT SANDBERG FYNBOS RESERVE

A Fynbos Safari doesn’t offer the big game you’d normally associate with a “safari”. “Here, it’s all about zooming in on the small and unique wonders of Fynbos,”says Gerhard van Deventer, owner of Sandberg Fynbos Reserve, like the rare and endemic button quail (Turnix hottentottus), or the carnivorous drosera plant. “Sandberg Fynbos Reserve has some of the highest plant biodiversity per square meter in the world,” continues Gerhard,  “Standing in this kind of abundance is a once in a lifetime experience”


Sandberg Fynbos Reserve | facebook.com/sandberg.fynbosreserve

 

9. TAKE A TIGER’S PORTRAIT AT PANTHERA AFRICA, STANFORD

Stanford’s big cat sanctuary is only an hour and a half from Cape Town. It is home to big cats rescued from canned hunting, circuses and households all over the country, according to founder of Panthera Africa Cathrine Nyquist. You can photograph the beautiful leopards, Bengal tigers, cheetahs, caracals, and lions - and rest assured you’re supporting an organisation that does not allow interaction, breeding or trading with these majestic creatures.


Panthera Africa | pantheraafrica.com


10. WATCH WHALES BREACH IN HERMANUS

Hermanus is famously the best land-based whale-watching spot in the world, and no Western Cape bucket list is complete without it. It’s a favourite breeding ground for the Southern Right whale, and if you visit from May to October and you’re virtually guaranteed a sighting. Something you might not know about the area is that it is also South Africa's finest Pinot Noir- and Chardonnay-producing region. Frieda Lloyd, Cape Whale Coast Tourism Manager suggests, “there are wine routes linking Elgin, Bot River, Hermanus, Stanford and Elim with safari vehicles taking tours”. 


Cape Whale Coast | whalecoast.info

 

11. TAKE THE SCENIC CLARENCE DRIVE TO KLEINMOND

The coastal Clarence Drive (R44) links the towns of Rooiels, Pringle Bay, Betty’s Bay and Kleinmond. The route runs like a ribbon through a stretch of fynbos linking mountains with the Atlantic Ocean, explains Anecia Abrahams, Tourism Officer for Kleinmond Tourism. “The Kogelberg Biosphere Reserve, South Africa’s first UNESCO recognised biosphere, dominates the landscape with indigenous forest, fynbos and a variety of birds and animals. Here you escape to nature.” Stay the night in one of the accommodation venues close by, like Our Nest or the Wild Fig (where you can see fossils very few know about), or browse Holidayscape.co.za for more options.


Kleinmond | kleinmondtourism.co.za

 

12. HAVE LUNCH ON THE TERRACE AT WHALER’S POINT, KLEINMOND 

Whaler’s Point’s terrace overlooks the ocean, the perfect spot for whale watching during season thanks to its uninterrupted views. There are also many stunning hiking trails nearby, especially in the beautiful Kogelberg Nature Reserve.


Whaler’s Point | www.whalerspoint.co.za

 

13. VISIT THE PENGUINS AT BETTY’S BAY

A lot of people know about the popular and wonderful Boulders Beach, but there is another colony of African penguins living in a spectacular lesser-known location just an hour from Cape Town. The Stoney Point Nature Reserve is home to one of the biggest colonies of African penguins, and you can stroll along the boardwalk peeking into their nests and watching them waddle down to the water. Don’t miss the lesser-known botanical garden Harold Porter, with its cool rock pools. Stay nearby at Kapensis Guesthouse or Rocky Pools on your visit to see the endangered African penguins.

 
Stony Point Nature Reserve | capenature.co.za

 

14. ENJOY A MEAL AT ON THE EDGE, BETTY’S BAY

On the Edge is located just at the entrance to the African penguin colony, making it a perfect stop for cake and coffee or a great lunch. Try the fish and chips or the calamari: both are crowd favourites. The restaurant is housed in the old Waaygat Whale Factory, where you can explore the area’s history as a whaling station.


On the Edge Restaurant | facebook.com

 

CAPE TOWN

With a history as rich as it is diverse, the Mother City is the province’s crown tourist attraction . Its abundant natural beauty and heady mix of cultures blended in a tumultuous past make it one of the world’s most cosmopolitan and intriguing cities to visit. There’s the wonder of popular Table Mountain, and in summer the many beaches across the city’s coastline are packed with both locals and foreigners alike. It is also quickly becoming a favourite for those seeking extreme adventure, plus it’s the gastronomic capital of South Africa, with many Capetonian restaurants consistently topping the local and international lists.

Cape Town’s heritage has great depth and its stories can be found in many museums and heritage sites around the city. From its colonial past, to the emotional and torrid history of Robben Island and District Six, Cape Town’s tale is equally one of tragedy and heartache, inspiration and triumph.

 

 

15. GO ZIPLINING AT TABLE MOUNTAIN 

You’ll never forget the feeling of flying off Cape Town’s iconic Table Mountain. The fresh air, views, adrenaline rush, and truly unique perspective of this iconic attraction and the surrounding views are exhilarating. “The Cape Town Ziplines are amazing”, Damian from SA Forest Adventures told CapeTownMag. “They really have the best views, and best of all, they are planning new fun adventures at the site.”


SA Forest Adventures | saforestadventures.co.za

 

16. SEEK OUT CAPE TOWN’S BEST GATSBY

Looking for this celebration of junk food in a city of fine dining is the equivalent of the sassy street tour versus a gallery run, but if you’d like to understand one of Cape Town’s oldest cultures, then the Gatsby is a way to do it. People swear by their favourite vendor, and you can find them all in the broader city, from meaty options to even a vegan choice.

 

17. YOU CAN TRAVEL THE WORLD IN FOOD IN THIS CITY

Cape Town has a robust culinary scene. Not only is it home to world-class chefs such as Liam Tomlin of Chef’s Warehouse and award-winning Luke Dale-Roberts, but there are many more local and international chefs bringing their culinary traditions to the city. For instance, local entrepreneur Naadiya Moosajee and her husband Veysel Bogan, from Sanliurfa in Turkey, bring us the heavenly (and halaal) tastes of his country’s cuisine at Eatstanbul.

 

18. SEE THE CITY’S YOUNG TALENT ON STAGE

The Magnet Theatre is an innovative project for the city’s creative youth and, besides offering a full-time and job-creation programme, it puts on shows every year. The work is politically and socially relevant, and powerful. Covid-19 has put performances on hold, but you can see what’s on and upcoming on its site.

 
 
 
View this post on Instagram

A post shared by Magnet Theatre (@magnet_theatre)

 Magnet Theatre | magnettheatre.co.za

 

19. TAKE A WALKING TOUR OF CAPE TOWN’S STREETS

One of the nicest ways to get to know a city – even if it is your own – is on foot. Cape Town Free Walking Tours are offered by professional tour guides who lead a route through the streets, telling stories all the way and stopping at notable points. Participants are encouraged to leave a tip, but otherwise the walking tours are for free.


Free Walking Tours | freewalkingtourscapetown.co.za

 

CAPE WINELANDS

The Cape, in particular, is intrinsically tied to the vine. It’s a region home to a number of world-class vineyards in towns such as Stellenbosch, Franschhoek, Paarl, Wellington and Robertson. Set aside plenty of time for the Cape Winelands, not only for the wine but because it offers world-class fine dining in Franschhoek and Stellenbosch, in particular. You can also add craft beer and whisky to the itinerary now, as the region is quickly becoming a leader in both.


 

20. TAKE A WINE TOUR ON AN E-BIKE

Grab an electric bicycle and take a guided tour of Banhoek, Franschhoek or Stellenbosch through scenic routes, visiting some of the Cape’s top wine farms on the way – and you won’t even raise a sweat. These unique experiences are family-friendly (there are kid’s seats and half-wheelers) and the e-bike assists with pedalling, thanks to its battery. If you plan on taking some bottles home, the bikes have saddlebags. So get into some spectacular mountain and vineyard views with Vine Bikes


Vine Bikes | vinebikes.co.za

 

21. CANTER THROUGH THE VINEYARDS 

Cross the Wild will take you on a ride through vineyards and orchards of the Cape Winelands, with the Simonsberg and Drakenstein mountains as the backdrop. ⁠There are two-hour sunset rides, half-day and full-day rides to choose from. The half-day and full-day prices include wine tastings and lunch. Everyone from first-time riders to experienced equestrians are catered for.

 
 
 
View this post on Instagram

A post shared by Cross The Wild (@xcrossthewildx)

Cross the Wild | crossthewild.co

 

22. FYNBOS CUPCAKE AND WINE PAIRING AT DELHEIM

Pretty much anywhere you go in the Cape Winelands region offers fantastic wines, great views and a little something unique. Delheim, for instance, is located in scenic Stellenbosch and offers Fynbos Cupcake and Wine Pairing.It’s perfect for those with a sweet tooth and it’s an experience that is delightful. While you’re there, sample the award-winning wines and at Delheim Wine Farm.


Delheim | delheim.com

 

23. TASTINGS FOR KIDS (AND TEETOTALERS) AT CREATION WINES 

Creation Wines takes care of everyone on the drinking spectrum: try the gourmet canapés served with a specially curated selection of wines, or a three-course brunch pairing. However, uniquely it also offers a non-alcoholic tea pairing and even a kids’ pairing menu with Creation Cordials.


Creation Wines | creationwines.com

 

24. BLEND AND BOTTLE YOUR OWN STELLENBOSCH WINE

If you want to take home a special, personal souvenir from your Cape Winelands adventure, you could consider blending and bottling your very own wine. You can do this at Middlevlei, where visitors receive a test tube for blending and measuring, as well as several of the wine farm’s single varietal wines, and these can be combined to create your own blend. The experience also includes freshly baked potbrood and home-made snoek pâté.

 
 
 
View this post on Instagram

A post shared by Middelvlei Wine Estate (@middelvlei_wine)

Middlevlei | https://middelvlei.co.za/ 

 

THE GARDEN ROUTE AND KLEIN KAROO

This is one of the most beautiful, diverse and awe-inspiring regions in the country and for this reason is one of the best loved road trips. Stretching from Witsand to Plettenberg Bay, right around to Oudtshoorn as well as Calitzdorp and Ladismith on the world-renowned Route 62,  adventure lies around every corner. It runs through some fantastic small towns, and there are loads of distractions along the way, from olive and fruit farms and lesser-known, but equally impressive wineries, to a host of nature reserves.  

While the Garden Route is often celebrated for its exquisite coastal beauty, brilliant beaches and marvellous lagoons, it is also a golfer’s paradise with a number of world class courses on offer, including Fancourt and Pinnacle Point, with many designed by world famous golfers. For the adventurous, there are few better playgrounds to explore, with a myriad of trails, running through indigenous forests and up epic, jaw-dropping passes, while for those who prefer the water are sure to be spoilt by what is on offer in Knysna, Wilderness and Plettenberg Bay.

Image by: Kelvin Trautman 

 

25. EXPLORE THE SO-CALLED “BUBBLY ROUTE” IN PLETT

Plettenberg Bay is all about that beach life: sun, sand, friendly people, and an outdoorsy vibe. But it has more to offer than that: all the wine farms in the area produce an MCC, so you can spend an afternoon exploring the “Bubbly Route”. It is the smallest wine of origin region, but it delivers big results.

Plett Winelands | plettwinelands.com 

 

26. SEE GREAT WHITES FROM DRY LAND AT ROBBERG NATURE RESERVE 

According to Patty Butterworth, Projects Manager for Plett Tourism, Robberg Nature Reserve is “one of the only places in the world where you can watch great white sharks in their natural habitat from land”. And it isn’t just sharks you can spot: the bay is filled with marine life  like humpback, southern right, and Bryde's whales, orca, as well as common, bottlenose, and humpback dolphins,  Cape fur seals, African penguins, and over 365 endemic bird species.


Plett Tourism | www.pletttourism.com 

 

27. ATTEND SA’S ONLY SUCCULENT FESTIVAL IN CALITZDORP

Located about 4 hours from Cape town is the quaint heart of the Klein Karoo: Calitzdorp. You’ll find three of the world’s biodiversity hotspots here, according to tourism manager, Erina Meiring. They include Fynbos, Succulent Karoo and Subtropical Thicket, and the town hosts South Africa’s only succulent festival annually in September. It is also renowned for its superior Port-style wine: don’t forget to pick up a bottle to take home. The scenic town is also rich in history, and makes for a wonderful weekend away.

Calitzdorp Tourism | calitzdorp.org.za

 

28. DO A GIN AND CHOCOLATE PAIRING AT INVERROCHE

The Hessequa Region includes Heidelberg, Witsand, Riversdale, Vermakelijkheid, Stilbaai, Jongensfontein, Melkhoutfontein, Albertinia and Gouritsmond, and it marks the start of the Garden Route. It is home to many unique attractions: The House Of Aloes, Grootvadersbosch Nature Reserve, Julius Gordon Africana Centre, Old Jail and Coffee Shop, Bali Trading, Baleia Winery, Pili Pili Adventure Centre, Garden Route Game Lodge, Kasselshoop Cheese, Oudewerfskloof Olive Farm, to name just a few. One of our favourite stops in the area is Inverroche Gin, where you can do tastings, tours, and even make your own gin.

 
Inverroche Distillery |  inverroche.com

 

29. DISCOVER THE LEAST-TRAVELLED MOUNTAIN PASSES IN SA

The Hessequa Region is also home to the Gysmanshoek Pass and Garcia's Pass: some of the least travelled mountain passes in South Africa. They are also amongst the most beautiful passes in the country. There are many camping facilities, biking and 4X4 trails for the adventurers among you. But there are also peaceful, clean beaches and locally produced wines, if you prefer a little more sophistication in your escape.


Hessequa: The Explorers Garden Route | www.explorersgardenroute.co.za

 

30. DRINK FROM CLEAR MOUNTAIN STREAMS IN SWARTBERG

The Swartberg Circle Route encircles the Swartberg Mountains along the R328 towards Prince Albert. “Stop as many times as you like along the way and drink from the clear mountain streams before returning along the R407 via Klaarstroom, "suggests the Tourism Manager for Oudtshoorn and De Rust Tourism, Corleen Barnard…"A short hike to the Meiringspoort waterfall will feed your soul as you admire the amazing rock formations in the ‘poort’.”

 
Swartberg Circle Route | swartbergcircleroute.co.za |

Image by: Simon Pocock

 

31. MEET THE OSTRICHES IN OUDTSHOORN 

“By the turn of the twentieth century the use of prime ostrich feathers in ladies clothing was high fashion, especially in England and Europe,” Oudtshoorn Tourism Manager Corleen Barnard explained. “Feathers were light and easily imported and fetched incredibly high prices. The resultant prosperity had a profound effect on Oudtshoorn and its immediate environment.” Outdshoorn owes a lot of its history as a town to these tall, flightless birds, and there’s much more to them than meets the eye. The town has many farms where you can get up close to these fascinating creatures.



Oudtshoorn Tourism | oudtshoorn.com  

 

32. EXPLORE THE WORLD’S LONGEST WINE ROUTE ALONG THE R62

“Primarily known as the ostrich capital of the world, Oudtshoorn has quickly gained the reputation of being a cultural, heritage, adventure and sports hotspot”, says Corleen Barnard,  Oudtshoorn Tourism Manager. Few people know that you can access the town via the scenic and famed R62, which holds the title of the world’s longest wine route.

 
 
 
View this post on Instagram

A post shared by Helen (@helensenekal92)

Route 62 | route-62-info.co.za 

 

33. VENTURE INTO THE CANGO CAVES OR DIVE WITH CROCODILES

“A visit to Oudtshoorn is not complete without seeing the world famous Cango Caves, Africa's largest heritage show cave system,” Oudtshoorn Tourism Manager Corleen Barnard told CapeTownMag. But there’s more to the area than the caves. “Enjoy some of the local Karoo cuisine with a crisp chardonnay, admire the fauna and flora, venture on a game drive, partake in elephant feeding, engage with breath-taking big cats or take a plunge in the world’s first crocodile cage dive,” Corleen suggests.

 Oudtshoorn Tourism | oudtshoorn.com

 

34. SEE MUSIC, ART, AND THEATRE AT THE KKNK

With an annual rainfall of less than 150mm per annum, Oudtshoorn is the ideal location for outdoor adventures like hiking, cycling, and exploring the wonders of nature in one of the nearby nature reserves. It also makes the town a wonderful location for events, from mountain bike races, to national sports championships. But the biggest event on the calendar is the annual Klein Karoo Nasionale Kunstefees, held in March or April.

 
 
 
View this post on Instagram

A post shared by KKNK (@kknkfees)

 Klein Karoo Nasionale Kunstefees | kknk.co.za

 

35. GO BERRY PICKING IN GEORGE

George is the halfway mark along the Garden Route, and makes an excellent base to explore from (especially for those with kids). It’s all about the great outdoors, and with paragliding, canoeing, abseiling, rock climbing, horseback rides, kayaking, golfing and mountain biking on offer, you’re unlikely to run out of things to do. If you’re travelling with kids, make sure to stop by RedBerry Farm. Aside from strawberry picking, you can enjoy trail runs, mini train rides, pony rides, and bunny feeding, or even get lost in the largest permanent hedge maze in the Southern Hemisphere at Redberry Farm.


Redberry Farm | redberryfarm.co.za

 

36. ALL ABOARD THE OUTENIQUA POWER VAN

“Travel on the Outeniqua Power Van along the railway track and unwind with lovely views of George and surrounds”, recommends Melanie Martins, Tourism Official for George. The route starts at the Outeniqua Transport Museum, where you will be taken back in time, and winds its way through narrow mountain passes, six tunnels, fynbos and forest, before summiting the mountain and offering spectacular views of the valley. On the way back, there’s a picnic stop to look forward to.


Outeniqua Power Van | visitgeorge.co.za

 

37. SHOP AT THE SATURDAY MARKET IN SEDGEFIELD 

The Wild Oats Community Farmers’ Market is more than just a market, according to owner Susan Garner. “What this initiative has achieved is the blending of people from diverse backgrounds, uniting urban and rural in an important educational experience about local food sources, nutrition, environmental awareness and agricultural issues”, she says. Expect fresh local produce and a festive vibe with live music.


Wild Oats Community Farmers’ Market | www.wildoatsmarket.co.za

 

38. SURGE THE TIDE AT SWARTVLEI RIVER MOUTH 

Just 100m from the N2, you’ll find Sedgefield: a pocket of nature with ancient sand dunes, ocean views, and prolific birdlife. Sylvia Ferguson is the owner of Crane Walk Corner, a guesthouse in Sedgefield. “The sentinel dune presiding over Sedgefield, Cloud 9, is a premier paragliding destination”, she says.  But the most fun you can have in the town is surging at the Swartvlei Rivermouth. “You can free float or use any kind of floating device. Locals even do it with their dogs”,  Sylvia explained. You just get in the water and let the tide take you a good half a kilometre down river.


Discover Sedgefield | discover-sedgefield-south-africa.com 

 

WEST COAST (WESKUS)

The Cape West Coast (Weskus) is a place so awe-inspiring, so jaw-droppingly beautiful, and so magical, you would need weeks to take it all in. Stretching from Malmesbury, just outside of Cape Town, to the border of the Northern Cape at Touws River, the Cape West Coast is best known for its beautiful beaches and the quaint, seaside towns that populate the region. Towns such as Langebaan, Lambert’s Bay, Paternoster and Saldanha have all become a home-away-from-home for many Western Cape locals and are havens for those looking to escape the city.

The region is also famous for its bountiful seafood, with snoek, mussels and crayfish in abundance and understandably the area has become a mecca for restaurants specialising in seafood dishes, the ingredients of which are usually fresh from the ocean in which they line. But the Cape West Coast is not just about the sea and all things related to it! There are many wonders that lie inland with the aptly named town of Darling famous for its wildflowers, which are in full bloom over September, and its locally produced wines, while the Cederberg Mountains boast century-old rock art, warm, welcoming locals and some of the best hiking, mountain biking and bouldering in the world.

Image by: Kelvin Trautman

 

 

39. ATTEND THE SNOEK AND PATAT FESTIVAL IN GOEDVERWACHT

There are few things more Weskus than snoek, and that’s why there is a whole annual festival dedicated to the salty, flaky fish. It is called the Snoek en Patat Fees, and it is held in June every year. Visit the festival to sample traditional Western Cape flavours, such as braaied snoek and sweet potato; roosterkoek and strong coffee.

Snoek en Patat Fees | goedverwacht.com

  

40. HIKE THE 16 MILE BEACH IN YZERFONTEIN

“Yzerfontein is known for its Sixteen Mile Beach, stretching north from the main beach of the town to the West Coast National Park,” says Karen Schrader, owner of Yzerfontein Accommodation. It’s the longest unbroken beach in the country and you can spend hours strolling, walking your dogs, swimming and enjoying the views. There’s also the 16 Mile Beach Adventure, which is a slack-packing adventure that includes tasting local wines and a traditional West Coast dinner. It’s especially magical during wildflower season, from August to October.

 
 
 
View this post on Instagram

A post shared by Darryl Burger (@horizonwanderlust)

Yzerfontein Accommodation | yzerfonteinaccommodation.co.za

 

41. TRY BOKKOMS AND SKILPADJIES IN NAMAQUA 

The Namaqua West Coast is rich in heritage and culture. It is home to San rock art, missionary outposts dating back to the 1700s, historic forts, and historical grazing grounds of nomadic Khoi pastoralists. Eonie van Schalkwyk, social media manager for the Namaqua West Coast says you can’t skip the food: “The delicacies of the Namaqua West Coast are a window to its heritage. Try bokkoms and crayfish, but also skilpadjies (liver in caul fat) and its sausage-equivalent, the pofadder”, Eonie advises. Plus, there’s the “famously succulent lamb, farm-style preserves, and nuggets of sweet skuinskoek fried bread”. Farm stalls are dotted all over the region, so make sure to stop on your road trip to stock up on these delicacies.

 
 
 
View this post on Instagram

A post shared by LekkerBraaiRSA (@lbraai)

 Namaqua West Coast | visitnwc.com

 

42. WILDFLOWERS (AND BABA-BOUDJIES) TO BLOW THE MIND

The Namaqua wildflowers are without a doubt the region’s most famous attraction, and for good reason. Few places on earth offer such a kaleidoscopic display of colour in the springtime. It is a completely natural occurrence, and it varies depending on the weather. Good winter rains can make for a bumper flower season, but hot easterly winds can shorten the lifespan of the blooms. The show usually starts at the end of July and comes to an end early in October. Also take in the Knersvlakte: one of the richest and most diverse succulent regions in the world, and home to a third of the world’s dwarf succulents. Its miniature succulents come in all shapes and sizes and are known colloquially by names like baba-boudtjies, krapogies and vingers-en-duimpies.

 
 
 
View this post on Instagram

A post shared by Namaqua West Coast (@namaquawestcoast)

Namaqua West Coast | visitnwc.com

 

43. DRINK IN THE LITTLE-KNOWN WEST COAST WINE ROUTE

Follow the West Coast Wine Route, which leads through the Olifants River Valley to Doringbaai and Lambertsbaai,” suggests Eonie van Schalkwyk, social media manager for the Namaqua West Coast. The route is well marked and easy to follow and most wineries have their own tasting facilities.You’ll find charming, family-run farms, some of South Africa’s most famous mega-wineries, and everything in-between. The Olifants River Valley has ideal growing conditions to produce distinctive wines, explains Eonie: “fertile soil, a relatively mild climate, a low rainfall and cool sea breezes slow down ripening in the summer months and produce outstanding grapes”.

 
 
 
View this post on Instagram

A post shared by Namaqua West Coast (@namaquawestcoast)

West Coast Wine Route | westcoastwineroutes.co.za

 

44. HOP ON, HOP OFF ALONG THE WEST COAST 

Azul Coastal Tours offers a unique way to experience the West Coast, customised to your interests. Their Hop On Hop Off Experience allows you to explore your favourite West Coast town and enjoy the activities on offer. Explore the history of human evolution at Eve's Footprint, !Khwa ttu San Heritage Centre, and the West Coast Fossil Park. Take the N7 leads to the mountains of the Cederberg, packed with adventure activities and the most amazing rock art. Or, enjoy the wildflowers stretching from around Darling to the Namaqua West Coast. It’s up to you.


West Coast Hop On Hop Off Experience | www.wchoponhopoff.com

 

45. SUPPORT A LOCAL JEWELLER IN LANGEBAAN

Wherever you go in the Western Cape, there are local artisans and businesses that need your support now more than ever, like Nicolante Jewellery Shop in Langebaan.“Lockdown gave us all a knock”, says director Chante Craill, “Our shops are our only income and we rely on people from other places to support us”. Also make sure you check out Annie se Markie for handcrafted home decor and clothing, Hyssop for health products, and grab a coffee and pastry from GingaBeanz before you leave town.

 Nicolante Jewellery Shop | nicolante-jewellery-shop.business.site

 

46. TASTE TOFFEE IN DARLING 

Most people head in the direction of Darling for wine, wildflowers, and West Coast scenery, but there’s plenty more to do there. Aside from the relatively well-known Evita se Perron, Darling Museum, and Darling Brewery, you can head to Darling Sweet to taste all their toffees: honey and salt, bird’s eye chilli, ginger snap, and rooibos chai are just some of the fascinating flavours on offer.

 
 
 
View this post on Instagram

A post shared by DARLING SWEET (@_darling_sweet_)

Darling Sweet | https://darlingsweet.co.za/

 

47. TAKE YOUR DOG ALONG FOR A GAME DRIVE AT !KHWA TTU 

!Kwah ttu is a San Heritage Centre, where you can explore rock art, medicinal herb gardens, and learn about the lives of the San people from guides of San heritage. But aside from the fascinating history and educational aspects, it has plenty more to offer. There are luxury bush tents with showers under the stars, modern, chic chalets, and game drives. Plus, the whole lot is pet-friendly: if your pooch is on-lead and well behaved, he or she is even allowed to join you for a game drive at !Kwah ttu.

 !Kwah ttu | www.khwattu.org

 

48. SIP A UNIQUE, TROPHY-WINNING WEST COAST PINOTAGE 

The West Coast is extremely popular in flower season and its rugged coastline attracts many people. But the region is also celebrated for its many award winning wines, on of which can be found at Ormonde Wine Estate. They took home the 2020 Old Mutual Trophy for Pinotage. According to Berinda Basson, Marketing Director for Ormonde, the pinotage has “a cool climate terroir showcasing a very unique Burgundy style - a true South African gem”.


Ormonde Wines | www.ormonde.co.za

 

49. FOILBOARD ON THE LANGEBAAN LAGOON 

The Langebaan Lagoon is set against a backdrop of Postberg, which is breathtaking during wildflower season. The turquoise water against the vibrant blooms makes for pretty stunning scenes. It’s also a watersports hotspot, according to Vicki Muylaert, general manager for Wind Town SA. She says, “Langebaan Lagoon has plenty of light wind days which are perfect to learn how to Foilboard. Failing that, Langebaan has the very best conditions to learn how to kitesurf in the summertime, one of the best spots to learn in the world!"

Windtown SA | windtown-sa.com

 

50. UNRAVEL DARLING’S SECRETS ON A MYSTERY TRAIL

“The Darling Mystery Trail combines history, fun and wit”, says Stephan Moser, director of Darling Routes, “The old village of Darling is rich in Victorian architecture and offers wonderful views on gardens and landscapes. Participants will search for a message, find a hint on a mysterious flower or use a compass. All riddles are family-friendly and arranged in the secure and relaxed surrounding of this quaint village.” Think geo-caching meets treasure hunting, in a scenic and historic village. After a busy day of mysteries, rest up at the nearby Darling Lodge Guest House.


Darling Mystery Trail | www.mysterytrail.info

 

By Lauren Edwards

 

For more information about Cape Town and the Western Cape click here.

---

There are over 50 things to do from our ultimate Cape Town bucket list

Parents, you’ll love all these fun activities you can do with your kids

Take yourself on a unique day tour around Cape Town.

---

Use our events section for an up-to-date overview of what’s happening in the city, ‘burbs and dorpies. Join our newsletter and get quick access on the go by adding us to your mobile home screen for the ultimate guide to discoveries in Cape Town.


Follow and like us on TwitterFacebookLinkedInInstagramPinterest for updates.

 

Cape Town Events Calendar
June 2021
SUN MON TUE WED THU FRI SAT
1 2 3 4 5
6 7 8 9 10 11 12
13 14 15 16 17 18 19
20 21 22 23 24 25 26
27 28 29 30

FABER restaurant food and wineThings to do this Father’s Day

Beer, biltong, golf, movies, gin-making, special lunch + more

Samadhi HouseUber luxury Cape Town villa at an ...

House, cottage, tennis court, gym, pool + incredible views at an excellent special

Maker's LandingMaker’s Landing, the Waterfront’s ...

Sticky koesisters, authentic Cape Malay curry and gorgeous harbour views

Scootours Flow Trail family-friendly adventure Adventurous mountain scooter ride for ...

A normal day at the office, on a wine farm scootering down Scootours’ newest Flow Trail

Villieria WinesMost reasonably priced wine and Cap ...

R40 to taste 6 top Cap Classiques + you can go on a game drive

Cloud 9 Boutique Hotel Locals stay free at this Boutique Hotel

Spectacular offer: This is what we know

Cape Bike Travel Adventure alert: 4 awesome routes with ...

Cape Bike Travel recommended road trips: gravel, tar, mountain passes + amazing scenery

Zsa Zsa Cape Town Craving a wild night out? Zsa Zsa Cape ...

Nightly live performances, theatrical cocktails + decadent menu

Leopards LeapLeopards Leap serves succulent ...

It’s family friendly, has a harvest table, plus there’s a big lawn to play on

Beach barA beach bar in Paarl!

Pizza, beach vibes, cocktails, and stunning views, the recipe for a perfect day

Gabriëlskloof Wine EstateReaders special: 10% off at ...

It’s relaxed, there’s space for kids to play + dogs are welcome

Kiff Kombis Tours Kiff Kombi local special: fall in love ...

Travel, eat, drink with friends in a vibey kombi, driver included (20% off price)

Wolfkop Camping Villages and Nature ReserveWolfkop holiday specials: glamp for up ...

Plus 9 activities also at half-price: bodyboard the Olifants, hike, see rock paintings ...

Produce marketBuy fresh fruit and veg from the farm + ...

Fresh Produce Market is in 3 locations + 1st 100 to buy get free goods

Chard Grill & Wine Bar kitchenWeekly burger specials plus 2 happy ...

R99 for two burgers and R30 for all wine, beer and gin

CoupleWhat to watch at The Galileo open-air ...

Classic movies on Fridays to Sundays.

Riebeek Kasteel EventGallery Riebeek Kasteel shows off the ...

This country village also offers good food, excellent wine + lots of history

Rupert Museum Add Rupert Museum to your Stellenbosch ...

Legendary Sam Nhlengethwa has an exhibition and playing personal vinyl collection

Glen carlouFine art, excellent wine, delicious ...

Take the day and visit this top wine farm to view local art and eat exceptional food

T-Roc PartnerPre-order the T-Roc from Barons Cape ...

Most exciting is T-Roc’s competitive price

LeMottetastingVirtual and on-site wine tastings at ...

Or do this specialised La Motte wine-tasting virtually

La MotteSip and Swirl the Nectar of Yesteryear ...

These wines are limited + can only be tasted here

Leopards LeapLeopard’s Leap: come for wine ...

3 ways to taste the 5 Leopard's Leap wine ranges

GiveawaysTravel Tips