One of my goals in 2016 is to explore. I love visiting galleries, going to places I've never seen and discovering new restaurants & cafés (who doesn't, right?). One of my favourite forms of exploration is going on road trips. Whether that's a road trip along a scenic route or a trip to a historic village, it's always plenty of fun. When I was living in South Africa we did road trips all the time because there are so many beautiful places to discover. And places in South Africa are quite far from one another so trying out a new restaurant has sometimes accidentally turned into a road trip as well. In Europe we wouldn't think of driving 45 minutes to a restaurant (I need less time to leave the country), but in Cape Town, that's no big deal. And I love that, it led to so many spontaneous trips & great evenings. Road trips aren't always easy to plan, though, especially when you're in a new country. I remember planning road trips without having a single idea where to stop. It's great to be spontaneous but it's helpful if you know where to stop on the way. That's why I thought I would share my road trip trip to Cape Point & Cape of Good Hope with you, a trip including a scenic drive along the coast and most importantly - penguins! So if you want to read more about my experience & tips for the perfect Cape Point road trip, continue reading. x
We started our road trip at Clifton Beach, one of the most beautiful beaches of Cape Town. It's important to mention that Clifton Beach consists of several beaches, number 4 being the most popular one. Try to start your day early so that you got more time to relax and enjoy the stunning landscapes South Africa has to offer. After exploring Clifton you can head down the coast until you reach Camps Bay, another beautiful beach that can get quite crowded during summer. We did the road trip in October so we pretty much had the beach to ourselves. Camps Bay is also the perfect place for grabbing a coffee or a snack if you're hungry (and for having cocktails but that's a bit early right?). If you don't want to stop at Camps Bay you can head straight down the coast to Oudekraal & Llandudno.
Llandudno and Oudekraal are two of my favourite places around Cape Town. Oudekraal is a nature reserve that also has a tiny beach and an amazing picnic area (so maybe rather buy a coffee-to-go at Camps Bay). If you want a bit of peace and quiet make sure to stop there and walk down to the beach. After stopping at Oudekraal you should continue your way down the coast and your next stop should be Llandudno, a beach that you will never forget, even if you might forget the name. I am really glad we stopped there, the beauty of it just blew my mind and it wasn't crowded at all - there just were some people walking their dogs. Llandudno is my favourite beach to visit in CT (together with Muizenberg, more about that later!), I love the laid back atmosphere, that you have to walk down to the beach and that it feels like a hidden paradise.
After spending some time in the sun (you might even like the beach so much that you will cut your trip short and spend the rest of the day relaxing in the sand) you can continue driving down the coastline. The next place we stopped at was Haut Bay, a bay with a little harbour and a beach with a stunning view. If you get to make the trip on a Saturday or Sunday you should definitely visit Haut Bay Market for an early lunch. They got amazing food from all over the world, pretty much everything from samosas and dolmadacias to tomato soup and tiny chocolate cakes (I'm such a foodie that I did a whole post about the best restaurants in CT, you can find it here.) They also sell some unique clothes and souvenirs at Haut Bay Market and if you're tempted to get a typically African hairstyle you're at the right place too (although it is cheaper at less touristy places).
Leaving Hout Bay it is time to make your way to Cape Point. We did plenty of photo stops on the way and there are some more beautiful beaches on the way, if you want to spend more time sunbathing. Chapman's Peak Drive is definitely one of the most beautiful drives of all the drives I can think of, the landscape was simply stunning and it almost looked photoshopped. You have to make sure in advance if Chapman's Peak Drive is open though, it can be closed due to strong wind sometimes. If it's open, make sure to take this route to Cape Point, you certainly won't regret it! And driving along Chapman's Peak you can't help but fall in love with South Africa.
Finally! After driving for 3.5 days (don't worry, I'm only joking) you will reach Cape Point - as you can see from the sign you have to pay to enter Table Mountain National Park but as you can probably guess, it's worth every cent. And you only have to pay about 7 Euros for some stunning views. Driving through the park was an amazing experience and we even saw two ostriches and a few baboons - one of them actually sat down on our car so that we couldn't leave. They look cuter than they are to be honest haha. Some tips: The pizza shop at the corner looks tempting after a long drive but it is very expensive so rather bring your own food (and hide it from the baboons!). Also don't forget to bring a jacket, it can get very cold and windy at Cape Point and the Cape of Good Hope. Speaking of - Cape Point and Cape of Good Hope aren't far from each other so make sure you get to see both - I loved seeing the Cape of Good Hope although it was nearly impossible to take a picture of it without having a group of people standing behind it haha. Anyway, just stand there for a few minutes, look at the sea and enjoy the feeling of freedom.
Now to the most important part of the road trip: PENGUINS. Near Simon's Town, you can find Boulder's Beach, a beach where penguins live. And where you can go for a swim. With the penguins. Boulder's Beach is a unique place, the beach is stunning by itself, the penguins make it even better, they even come up to your beach towels and walk around you. You have to pay for the entrance though and when I first did the Cape Point route I went to a beach nearby where I could see penguins without paying for it - so there is a cheaper alternative. I didn't mind paying for the entrance when I visited again though because like I said, Boulder's Beach is really beautiful.
After saying good-bye to the penguins I would head straight to Kalk Bay, one of my favourite places around Cape Town ( and one that was close to my workplace, yay!). Kalk Bay is a tiny village with loads of independent little shops, cafés and bakeries. You can get cute souvenirs, vintage clothes and furniture, locally produced honey and other interesting products. When we went to Kalk Bay we decided to have a crêpe with ice cream in a restaurant that's a remodelled train. How amazing is that? Kalk Bay also has some amazing ice cream parlours, a café called Lekker where you can get the best cake and the best milkshakes - I can definitely recommend the Crème Brûlée one. I should stop talking about food so let's talk about drinks instead: Kalk Bay has an incredible cocktail bar that is kept in a Caribbean flair with palm trees and a swing. So swing by (oh that pun) and enjoy one of their cocktails!
Last but definitely not least, Muizenberg, my happy place. I lived and worked close to Muizenberg so I got to spend a lot of time there. That sounds very cheesy but I love everything about this place - the colourful houses, the restaurants and the atmosphere. I could spend hours at this beach just watching people surf, I would never get bored. We usually went for a walk along the beach or relaxed in the sand before having dinner at one of the restaurants - I loved Slow Life and Primi Piatti (an Italian chain restaurant) but there are more options that that. If it was still warm at night I would buy a pizza and have it at the beach and I can strongly recommend doing that, it will make your day even more unforgettable. After seeing Muizenberg it's time to end the road trip. If you still haven't had enough you could drive up to the top of Signal Hill afterwards for an amazing view over the city but that's completely up to you. Anyway, I hope you enjoyed hearing about this road trip. If you ever visit Cape Town, this is a thing worth putting on your list!