Capetonians are often teased about living the holiday – and, this is true to an extent – as we call one of the world’s most popular holiday destinations “home”. However, a change of scenery is always welcome, even for those who live in the Mother City. If you find yourself with a free Saturday and itchy feet, we’ve put together a few destinations just outside the city that will have you immediately compiling your road trip playlist. Let’s look at a few road trips within easy driving distance from Cape Town.
Aquila Private Game Reserve
Just before Touwsriver, you’ll find a taste of the wild in the Western Cape. An easy drive along the N1, Aquila Private Game Reserve boasts all Big 5, along with a newly-renovated spa. Offering half- and full-day packages, expect to see elephants, rhino, lions and more – as well as enjoy a generous African buffet meal.
Distance from Cape Town: 2 hours (175km), with a shuttle service available.
The wonderful West Coast
Particularly popular during wildflower season, from August to October, the West Coast is barely an hour from the CBD and feels like another world. With lagoons and beaches reminiscent of the Mediterranean, set against endless carpets of vibrant flowers, it’s easy to make a day of the area. If you want to experience some local culture while you’re there, then we suggest looking into the San Bushman Cycle Tour, which allows you to explore the history of the !Khwa ttu people, who have been in the area for over 2,000 years.
Distance from Cape Town: 1 hour to Darling
Winelands Cycling Tour
While the Winelands are perhaps the most popular weekend attraction for Capetonians, the Winelands Cycling Tour offers a new way to experience this beautiful area of the Cape. Starting from 20 to 40km outside of Franschhoek, you are led through this picturesque area by a qualified tour guide, and are able to enjoy unlimited wine tastings – as long as you can stay on your wheels! Including lunch and an opportunity to explore galleries and boutiques in the area, this day trip could help you burn off some of the calories you’ll no doubt accumulate through the day.
Distance from Cape Town: 45 minutes to Franschhoek. A shuttle service is available.
A seaside escape to Hermanus
One of the most famous whale-watching towns in the world, Hermanus is under two hours from the city, making it a popular day-trip destination. A bustling town, set against the rocks and cliffs of the coast, it has small-town charm – but comes alive during whale-watching season – from October onwards. With the Hemel-en-Aarde wine route just outside town and plenty of kayaking and water sports options, the family-friendly town offers something for everyone. A must-visit if you’re in Cape Town for more than a few days.
Distance from Cape Town: 1 hour 45 minutes
Sandboarding and quad biking in Atlantis
No, we’re not referring to the lost undersea city. This perfect combo allows you to slide down massive sand dunes – and drive back up. Only 40km from the city, expect a fun day of adventure, and a few stiff muscles the next day. If you aren’t comfortable on a board, don’t worry – you’ll receive a lesson from a local pro before you hit the dunes.
Distance from Cape Town: 40 minutes
Coastal ride in a vintage sidecar
Get out your leather gloves and headscarf, and take a trip into a different era. Following Clarence Drive along the coast – named one of the most beautiful roads in the world – you’ll go through Gordons Bay and Betty’s Bay before stopping for a scenic lunch. Keep your eyes peeled for whales, dolphins and seals as you relax and simply enjoy the ride.
Distance from Cape Town: 2 hours
Franschhoek Wine Tram
A different style tour, this old-fashioned tram allows you to explore a number of wine estates in the famous Winelands town – without having to worry about driving between destinations. Based on a hop-on, hop-off experience, you can choose the estates that most catch your eye, hop off, taste their wares, and move on to your next destination. A winelands experience with a difference.
Distance from Cape Town: 45 minutes