The Scenic Cape Peninsula

(Article by Liz K)

A veritable Mecca for international and national tourists, the Cape Peninsula is a melting pot of diverse cultures, sounds and tastes, and is alive with creativity and colour. No matter where you go, you will be awed by the beauty of the scenery, creative freedom, and the incredible spirit that is inherent in Capetonians.

Robben Island

Robben Island, internationally infamous as the island on which Nelson Mandela and various other political prisoners were imprisoned during apartheid, was originally a leper colony. It is a World Heritage site and museum and can be accessed by a ferry that leaves from the V&A Waterfront 3 times daily, weather permitting. Former inmates conduct guided tours.

Victoria and Alfred Waterfront

The Victoria and Alfred Waterfront is an all-inclusive harbour and its attractions include more than 400 stores, countless bars and restaurants, historical landmarks such as the Clock Tower and the original Breakwater Prison, the Two Oceans Aquarium, movie theatres, museums and outdoor theatres. The 50m high Wheel of Excellence offers visitors a bird’s-eye view of the V&A Waterfront, Cape Town Stadium, Robben Island, Table Mountain, the City Centre and Paarl mountains.

Table Mountain

Table Mountain, possibly one of the most distinct silhouettes in the world, was recently voted as one of the official New7Wonders of Nature. Take a10 minute ride in a cable car ride to the top with a 360 degree view of the city. Once at the top the 2kms of different pathways will lead you to views of Cape Town, Table Bay, Robben Island, the Cape Flats and the Cape Peninsula. Table Mountain Café caters for the vast and changing tastes of all visitors, from light snacks to full meals and a selection of fine wines.

Bo-Kaap & De Waterkant

Bo-Kaap, also known as the `Malay Quarter’ is predominantly made up of the descendents of the Indonesian and Malaysian slaves brought to Cape Town by the Dutch in the 16th century. This olde worlde suburb with its cobbled streets is known for its brightly coloured houses, and for being the spiritual home of the Cape’s Muslim community. It is also host to the Bo-Kaap Museum, restaurants that serve the best traditional Cape Malay meals and South Africa’s first official Mosque. 

De Waterkant lays next to Bo-Kaap and is a trendy area full of 19th-century homes that have been transformed, giving it a vibe similar to New York’s Greenwich Village and London’s Soho. The area, with its numerous shops, art galleries and restaurants is the hangout for international fashionistas and the local gay community.

Hout Bay

Travelling around the coast to the South, one comes upon Hout Bay, a harbour town that is internationally recognised for its fish and chips and world famous Dungeons reef break, one of the 16 recognised big-wave spots in the world. Other attractions include World of Birds, a thriving tuna, snoek and crayfish industry, harbourfront emporium and many great restaurants.

Chapman’s Peak Drive & Noordhoek Beach

Hout Bay links with the `Deep South’ via Chapman’s Peak Drive, a 9km marine drive along the spectacular coast to Noordhoek. The drive has 114 curves and skirts the rocky coastline of Chapman's Peak, the 593m high southerly extension of Constantia Berg.

Noordhoek Beach or Long Beach, at the other end of the drive, is 7 km of powder white beach that offers, swimming, surfing, horse-riding and the most awesome sunsets.

Cape Point & Cape of Good Hope Nature Reserve

Cape Point is often mistakenly referred to as the southernmost tip of Africa, but it is not (Cape Agulhas is); it is, however, the place where the Atlantic and Indian Oceans meet. The Reserve is rich in cultural and natural heritage and offers 200 bird species, buck such as the Eland, Red Hartebeest and Bontebok, Zebra, fynbos, isolated beaches, the famous Cape Point viewing post, the Flying Dutchman Funicular, the Two Oceans Restaurant and much more.

Boulders Beach, Simons Town & Kalk Bay

Simon's Town Main Road

Carry on following the coastline and you will come across Boulders Beach, renowned for its colony of endangered African Penguins. Watch out for baboons on the way.

Still further on is the charming and historic naval town, Simon’s Town, named after Simon van der Stel, the first Cape Governor. It is home to the SA Naval Headquarters and an impressive statue dedicated to a member of the Royal Navy – Able Seaman Just Nuisance, the dog.

Further down the coast is a picturesque, arty, bohemian but thriving little fishing harbour village. Members of the local fishing community go out daily from Kalk Bay harbour in brightly coloured vessels to earn a living. The harbour also hosts a Fish Market and trendy Seafood Restaurant.

Other places of interest in the Peninsula include:

Old Slave Lodge/Cultural History Museum
Groot Constantia
Greenmarket Square
Castle of Good Hope
Noon Gun
Lion’s Head
Rhodes Memorial
The Company Gardens
District Six & District Six Museum
Township Tours
Best Blue-flag beaches

(Images source:

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