Travel Guide: Visiting Cape Town
The desirable destination of Cape Town is known for its mountains, beaches, restaurants, buzzing nightlife, and cultural and historical attractions.
But it also offers a gateway to so much more than the city itself. For those using a car, the Western Cape offers a wide variety of destinations within easy reach.
Avukile Mabombo, Group Marketing Manager of Marriott International’s Regional Office in Cape Town, advises travelers to take advantage of accommodation specials such as advance booking discounts offered by Protea Hotels in the region. “Book before the end of October and receive 20% off, or make your reservation more than 30 days in advance from November and get 15% off your stay,” he says. Anyone who joins Marriott Rewards (at no extra cost), will receive an additional 5% discount. Marriott Rewards members can use their rewards points for accommodation, food, and experiences in key locations from which to explore the province.
Mabombo shares some ideas for day trips, weekend stays, and full road trips.
Cape Town Day trips
Hermanus, at just a 90-minute drive from Cape Town, is easily achievable as a day trip. The town is a haven for whale watching between June and November. While there, you are spoilt for choice for restaurants and seaside scenery in abundance. Bientang’s Cave is a local treasure ? located in a cave and spilling out onto the rocks of Walker Bay.
Or, just 90 minutes up the West Coast, Langebaan is home to the famous “Die Strandloper” experience, with a multi-course fish barbecue on the beach. Just before Langebaan, visit the West Coast National Park, where you can view local flora and fauna, walk along scenic trails and barbecue or picnic in allocated areas. The park is also home to the beautiful turquoise Langebaan Lagoon for those interested in sailing, kayaking, windsurfing, water skiing, or just relaxing and taking in the view. While in the area, stop en route at Route 27 Roosterkoek for this delicious traditional delicacy with any number of fillings.
The Cape Winelands (exploring Paarl, Stellenbosch and Franschhoek) are an obvious choice for a day trip for incredible scenery, mouthwatering food offerings and the opportunity to taste and buy some of the best wines the country has to offer. The Franschhoek wine tram Hop-on, hop-off tour is an ideal way to explore the area and learn about its 300-year-old history. Of course, to enjoy a wider variety of wines, an overnight stay in the area might be required. Protea Hotel by Marriott Stellenbosch with its location in the middle of a vineyard offers an authentic Winelands experience.
Cape Town Weekends away
With a weekend free, it’s worth spending more time exploring all of these regions further. The Overberg region includes Grabouw and the Elgin Valley, Hermanus, Stanford, Betty’s Bay, Gansbaai, and Arniston, among other destinations. In the Overberg coast, home to the Kogelberg Biosphere Reserve (considered the “heart of the Cape Floral Kingdom”), the African Pride Arabella Hotel and Spa, Autograph Collection offers a comfortable stay in magnificent surroundings.
While Saldanha Bay, 40 minutes up the West Coast from Langebaan, is an excellent base to explore a variety of seaside towns and attractions. Enjoy the wonderful sea views and delicious seafood at the Mussel Cracker Restaurant.
Nearby Darling is also a popular weekend destination for Capetonians, just an hour from Cape Town and packed to the brim with restaurants, foodie experiences, and activities. It is home to Tannie Evita Bezuidenhout’s dinner theatre Evita se Perron and Darling Brewery. A visit can also easily be combined with a West Coast seaside exploration.
Cape Town Road trips
For a leisurely, scenic experience, the Cape Route 62 tourist route spans from Cape Town to Port Elizabeth and takes a slow meander through Paarl, Wellington, Tulbagh, Ceres, Worcester, Robertson, McGregor, Bonnievale, Montagu, Barrydale, Ladismith, and Oudtshoorn, with many more scenic detours along the way. This route is more about the journey than the destination, and visitors should stop and take in the scenery and visit coffee shops and farm stalls, wineries and breweries, and iconic roadside stops like Diesel & Crème diner and Ronnie’s Sex Shop (a pub with a great story behind the name).
Or the N7, stretching from Cape Town to Namibia, boasts varying landscapes and scenery, and a wide variety of attractions ? offering access to Piketberg, Citrusdal, Clanwilliam, Van Rhynsdorp, the Namaqualand region, and Port Nolloth all the way to the Namibian border posts at Vioolsdrif or Alexander Bay.
Of course, the famous Garden Route is on many a bucket list ? stretching along the south-eastern coast of South Africa from Mossel Bay to the Storms River via Knysna, George, Wilderness, Oudtshoorn, Plettenberg Bay, and Nature’s Valley. Knysna is also reachable via a 55-minute flight from Cape Town. Protea Hotel Knysna Quays is located in the heart of the city’s popular Knysna Quays Waterfront on the picturesque Knysna Lagoon, offering not just scenic beauty but a buzzing shopping and social scene.
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