Trip idea / South Africa

Road Tripping

South Africa’s West Coast

Explore the Western Cape

The spectacular Garden Route road trip in South Africa is world-renowned but those who choose to spin the compass west will turn their back on tourists and discover a more genuine South Africa, full of natural beauty.  This itinerary offers a chance to embrace the landscapes, culture and wildlife of the real South Africa in the scenically beautiful Western Cape.

The lowdown

  • Must do

    Visit vibrant Cape Town with its cosmopolitan, buzzy vibe.

  • Must see

    Explore the West Coast, a wonderful alterative to the well-trodden Garden Route. Wander around quant fishing villages with excellent rustic restaurants.

  • Must visit

    See the brightly coloured carpets of wild flowers in the West Coast National Park. Visit wine and olive farms in the mountainous Winelands.

  • Getting there

    You can fly directly to Cape Town from the UK, and there’s no jet lag.

  • Best time to go

    August/September is the best time to see the wild flowers and whales.

Your journey begins in Cape Town, where you can rub shoulders with penguins on Boulders Beach or take in the views from Table Mountain. From here, you’ll travel up the West Coast, an area still wild, beautiful and unexplored by tourists where friendly locals like to keep things authentic. Soak in seascapes, unspoilt beaches, rural fishing villages and expanses of wildflowers. Finally, end with a few nights in the Winelands visiting arty towns, sampling South Africa’s finest wines, breathing in fresh mountain air and strolling around pretty vineyards.

    Cosmopolitan Cape Town

    Cape Town is a compelling mix of chic modernity and old-world elegance. World-class dining and stunning vistas merge seamlessly with Malay and African heritage. The panoramic views over the ‘Mother City’ from Table Mountain, and Robben Island where South Africa’s most beloved legend, Nelson Mandela, spent 27 years hard labour are just two of the ‘must-see’ places.

    Other interesting attractions include the Cultural History Museum, the Castle of Good Hope and the lush Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens. Greenmarket Square’s local crafts markets and the Bo-Kaap’s colourful Cape Malay buildings add a sense of Africa to cosmopolitan Cape Town.

    For more adventure, spend some time with the penguins at Boulders Beach, stopping at historical naval base Simons Town. If you have any energy to spare, there’s the opportunity to paddle board with seals or try your hand at surfing before taking a hike to the continent’s most south-western tip – Cape Point.

    All-Natural Beauty

    Leaving the bustle of Cape Town behind, it’s about a three-hour drive to Paternoster on the R27. With the smell of sea salt in the air and open blue skies, this is a road made for road-tripping – wide, empty and scenic as it hugs the coastline. Stop for lunch at rustic restaurant Strandloper. Simplicity is the key here, where fresher-than fresh seafood is grilled in front of you, and tables are spread out on the beach, where you can feel sand between your toes. The relaxed seaside village of Paternoster, with its whitewashed fishermen’s cottages, unspoilt beaches and Cape Columbine Nature Reserve will be your base for the next couple of days.

    From here you can head off to the West Coast National Park which has a diverse array of mammals and birds including antelope species as well as ostriches, bat-eared foxes and grey mongooses. With carpets of brightly coloured Namaqua daisies its floral displays are quite spectacular.  Flamingos and African oystercatchers will keep bird-lovers thoroughly entertained and during season, whales and dolphins may occasionally be spotted off-shore. Kayaking in the tranquil waters of the turquoise lagoon gives a unique perspective on this national park.

    Inland, there’s the Cederberg mountains – where the world’s supply of rooibos tea is produced. The plateaux is the perfect place for hiking and trails uncover the age old rock art, protected by overhanging ledges.

    Lesser-visited winelands

    Swapping the sea for fresh mountain air, a 2-hour drive takes you to the Cape Winelands. Stop for lunch at Riebeek Kasteel, a quirky wine growing area that’s far less commercial than some of its more famous neighbours such as Franschhoek and Stellenbosch.

    Home for the next couple of days will be a wonderfully restored Victorian Farmstead set within its own private 4,000-hectare fynbos nature reserve. Morning and evening nature drives are included where you’ll encounter zebra, ostrich and the endangered geometric tortoise.

    There are plenty of vineyards to explore nearby where you are not enjoying walks, bike rides, birdwatching, canoeing and fly-fishing on the lake within the reserve. Cuisine is a highlight here, so 4 course dinners making good use of the abundant local produce are included and you can even get involved with a cooking class.

    All of our itineraries are tailor-made to your specific requirements Please contact us for a quotation and to discuss your holiday requirements in more detail.