Cape Town’s South (Scenic Route – Drive)

Wow, I can’t believe I’ve finally got myself into gear, and actually written a post! Wild Rover has been ‘ready’ for nearly a year now, but I’ve been straggling behind with sitting down to write travel pieces. But I’ve done it and I’ve started with what I know best; a drive I do myself every few months.

Noordhoek Beach This drive takes you from the city, down to Muizenberg, all along the coast to Cape Point, then through Kommetijie to Noordhoek, along Chapman’s Peak, though Hout Bay and back to town. First check the wind conditions at Cape Point for the days you’re here. I use Wind Guru – the temperatures might be a little off, but the wind is always pretty accurate. I say check because trust me, you do not want to be there in a gale (which is a fairly regular occurrence). So choose the calmest day to head down south. Most important: road trip sound track – it could only be ‘Down South’ from local boy, Jeremy Loops.

Head out of the city on the M3 towards Simonstown, then turn down onto main road and take the coast road all the way through.

Kalk Bay

Kalk Bay

Stop in the little fishing town of Kalk Bay, a bohemian quarter popular among locals and tourists alike. Have breakfast and suburb coffee at The Annex, and make sure you sit up at the top under the tree for stunning views over the harbor.

Simonstown

Simonstown

Carry on along the False Bay coast through Fish Hoek and Glencairn, into Simonstown, home of the SA Navy. Make a quick stop at The Sweest Thing Patisserie to stock up on some padkos (Afrikaans for ‘road food’, snacks) for later.

Boulders Beach

Boulders Beach

Just the other side of town, you’ll find Boulders Beach. The beach is home to the famous, cheeky Jackass Penguin colony. It’s well worth stopping here to spend some time with the little guys. Be warned – they look much prettier than they smell!

Cape Point

Cape Point (bottom) and the Cape of Good Hope (far left)

15 mins further down the road, you’ll find the entrance to Cape Point Nature Reserve. You could spend days hiking or cycling around the reserve, but being pushed for time, I suggest heading straight down to the Point itself. There is a vernacular that takes you up to the top (newer) lighthouse that allows you views over the older lighthouse and the furthest point of the reserve below. There is a restaurant with breathtaking views next to the parking lot, but I feel the owners rest entirely on the fact that they have a captive audience, and so allow the food and service to be despicably below par. I suggest eating your ‘padkos’ in the car instead – making sure you close all the windows to keep the baboons out. They make look like cute monkeys, but they are bigger than you’d expect, with massive canines and love nothing more than robbing tourists of their lunch. Return on the same road you came in on, but at the bottom of the first hill, hang a left and take some pics at the Cape of Good Hope (no, not the same as Cape Point). Leave the gates and take the road left this time. You’ll drive along the reserve for ages and eventually come to a bizarre triangle turn (I grew up on a farm up the hill, and have never understood this piece of road, ever.) Anyway, go left here towards Scarborough. This road takes you on another scenic piece of coastline, but this time along the more rugged Atlantic (you’ll have been next to the Indian until now). I know that scientists, geologists and goodness knows who else are undecided as to where the oceans meet exactly, but the difference in sea temperature from one side to the other is ridiculous. So if you want to swim, do it before you get to Cape Point, as the False Bay side is MUCH warmer than the Atlantic side.

Slangkop

Slangkop Lighthouse, Kommetijie

Once past Slangkop lighthouse and through Kommetijie, you’ll head a bit inland. From here, head into Noordhoek (don’t worry, it’s all sign posted) and make your way to Cape Point Vineyards. They only do white wine here, so red fans could skip this, although the view alone is worth the drive up.

Cape Point Vineyards

Cape Point Vineyards

If wine tasting isn’t your bag, stop off at Noordhoek Farm Village instead. Have cake and a coffee at the Food Barn or a pint and garlic pita at The Toad. Either way, you’ll need your strength for the next part of your drive, Chappies.

Chapmans Peak

Chapman’s Peak Drive

I don’t think there are too many people who have come to Cape Town and not had a meander along Chapmans Peak Drive. It may only be 9km long, but it’s elevation and 114 bends make it seem much longer. This is a toll road, so you’ll have to cough up R38 for a normal car (click here for current rates), but the scenery is worth every cent. There are quite a few laybys along the route for photo ops, and at the far end, there are gorgeous spots to stop and have a picnic or sundowners.

Leopard Bar

Leopard Bar, 12 Apostles

Drive through Hout Bay, and take Victoria Road towards Camps Bay. Now, you can’t come to Cape Town and not have sundowners at the 12 Apostles. This 5 star hotel is set on the mountain just above the road and The Leopard Bar is where you want to be. The bar has a balcony with seemingly endless sea views. We’ve had to physically drag visitors away from here before. If you feel the same, then book at table at Azure, set on a bigger deck area below the bar. If you have other dinner plans, then carry on along Victoria Drive, and turn up just before Camps Bay. This will take around the top of Camps Bay and down Kloof Neck, back into the City Bowl.