8 Western Cape Destinations You Need to See

The 8 Western Cape Destinations You Need to See

Although I had traveled extensively in South Africa previously, this would be my first travel adventure to Western Cape. The focal point of my trip would exploring be Cape Town and the other top Western Cape destinations.

My travels through the Western Cape, South Africa would be a mix of surfing, hiking, cultural exploration and some destination travel.

Best Western Cape Destinations

Best Surfing on the Western Cape is Fall/Winter Season

Please join me in my write up below for some great photos and travel information about the most amazing, fun things to do in Western Cape. 

Western Cape Climate Considerations

In the southern hemisphere the seasons are inverse compared to up north. As a result, first time visitors should be prepared for the Western Cape climate. You need not expect any snow storms or hurricanes, but bear in mind that in the southern hemisphere, winter is summer and summer is winter.

Ultimately, seasonal fluctuations in the Western Cape climate can effect some activities but nothing too serious. For example, sun bathers best wait until summer months.

However, for surfers the water is freezing year round and you need a sufficient full body wet suit. Since my visit was centered around surfing I was coming during the Fall/Winter season when the waves were the best and biggest.

However, Fall season is also an ideal time for a combination of surfing and the best Western Cape destinations.   

#1 Table Mountain – Best Western Cape Destinations

The Western Cape coastline is characterized by craggy mountains and beautiful beaches. As a result, it is one of the most scenic destinations in the world.

However, there is a notable exception to the rough craggy mountain scenery and that is Table Mountain, which has a flat top. Table Mountain is a prominent feature of the Cape Town skyline and the most rewarding of the Western Cape destinations.

How do you get to the top of Table mountain? There is an easy way and a hard way to get to the top. I suggest climbing to the top of Table Mountain using the trail system (the hard way).

Hiking up Table Mountain is an exhilarating experience that will surely get your heart beating fast. Not only because of the climb but also because of the awe inspiring views of Cape Town and the surrounding area.

Table Mountain Western Cape Destinations

Camps Bay is that little coastal enclave located in the Table Mountain foothills.

However, don’t stress if you are not up for the climb because there is a cable car that can take visitors to the top (when it is operable). Although I noticed it was not running when I was there, possibly because of high winds.

I was staying below the mountain in Camps Bay and I had hiked all the way from my condo. This is a bit extreme, so I suggest driving to the Table Mountain parking lot and hiking in from there. Nonetheless, Table Mountain is the most famous and certainly the undisputed #1 Western Cape destination. 

Climbing Table Mountain Best Western Cape Destinations

The final approach to the summit of Table Mountain in Cape Town South Africa.

Table Mountain Best Western Cape Destination

The views from the trail to Table Mountain are awe inspiring. Hiking is the most rewarding method to enjoy the best Western Cape destinations.

On the top you will be rewarded with sweeping panoramic views of Cape Town and the surrounding Western Cape. Fortunately, once you arrive on top it is flat and hikers will enjoy the boardwalk and the walking trails.

Most essentially, there is a pathway that walks around the perimeter of the summit. So you can enjoy the views and catch your breath.

Table Mountain Best Western Cape Destination

The boardwalk exposes some of the best views from the top of Table Mountain.

Photo Views from Table Mountain Summit - Western Cape Destinations

Photo of Cape Town and Robben Island from the Table Mountain summit.

#2 Kommetjie – Best Western Cape Destinations

Kommetjie, South Africa (pronounced Ko-me-ky) is an idyllic beach town about 30 kilometers south of Cape Town. There are several reasons that Kommetjie is one of the top Western Cape destinations.

Best Western Cape Destinations

The scenic coastal drive is natural attribute that supplements Western Cape tourism.

First, the drive down the coastal road from Cape Town to Kommetjie is the most scenic 30 kilometers you will ever see.

Second, there are several great local beaches for long walks and sunbathing.

Third, after climbing Table Mountain you will need a day of rest.

Last but not least, there is world class surfing here if you are so inclined. 

Drive to Kommetjie, Western Cape Best Destinations

The scenic drive to Kommetjie, South Africa is one of the most fun things to do in Western Cape.

I enjoyed Kommetjie so much I rented a beach house there and stayed for 6 weeks after I left Camps Bay! There are also hotels in Western Cape that are available for shorter stays.

However, in order to surf in Kommetjie you will need to get along with the locals, but with a little diplomacy things should be fine. Good luck!

Kommetjie Beach Western Cape Destination

Photo of Kommetjie beach while approaching on the coastal road from Cape Town. Kommetjie is a combination of several Western Cape points of interest.

Kommetjie Beach - Western Cape Best Destinations

Kommetjie is an idyllic little beach town and it is one of my top Western Cape destinations.

#3 Cape of Good Hope – Best Western Cape Destinations

The drive to the Cape of Good Hope is about 60 kilometers south of Kommetjie. However, the Cape of Good Hope is not the southern most point of Africa!

Geographically speaking, Cape Agulhas is the southern most point of Africa (don’t worry we will get there soon).

Cape of Good Hope Western Cape Best Destinations

These baboons can be found near the Cape of Good Hope

This small detail notwithstanding, Cape of Good Hope is the more scenic of the two capes because it is perched on dramatic seaside cliffs. Plus, it is closer to Cape Town than Cape Agulhas.

Most essentially, there are lots of hiking trails around the Cape of Good Hope to enjoy and also a bit of wildlife.

The region between the two capes is the point of confluence between the Benguela current and the Agulhas current.

In contrast, the Benguela current is a cold water current flowing north up the southwest coast of Africa. However, Agulhas current is warm and it flows south along Africa’s eastern coastline.

Cape of Good Hope

This iconic coastal view from lookout tower at Cape of Good Hope is fantastic. Additionally, the hiking trails in the area make this a combination of awe inspiring Western Cape destinations.

Best Western Cape Destinations

The jagged cliffs at Cape of Good Hope add some diversity to the best Western Cape destinations.

Best Western Cape Destination

There hiking trails lead to awesome beaches near Cape of Good Hope.

#4 Cape Agulhas – Best Western Cape Destinations

If your goal is to reach the southern most tip of Africa, don’t forget to visit Cape Agulhas! It would be a great shame go home with a guilty conscious because you cut corners.

The drive to Cape Agulhas takes you additional 150 kilometers south of Cape of Good Hope. You can enjoy the endless sweeping rural countryside of Western Cape, South Africa plus you will have the nostalgic honor of having set foot at the southern most tip of Africa.

Cape Agulhas is certainly one of the top Western Cape destinations for geography enthusiasts!

Cape Agulhas - Western Cape Best Destinations for Scenic Fun

That’s me at Cape Agulhas in South Africa. This is the southern most point of Africa and it is where the Indian Ocean meets the Atlantic.

Best Western Cape Destinations

Cape Agulhas lacks the dramatic cliffs at other Western Cape destinations. Nonetheless, visitors will find lots of scenic beauty there.

#5 Victoria & Alfred Waterfront

Although Victoria and Alfred Waterfront is very popular in Cape Town, it is #5 on my top Western Cape destinations list. Indeed, Cape Town is a fair city and the V&A Waterfront is it’s main attraction.

There is a big shopping mall, lots of cafes and things like this. However, shopping malls and cafes are pretty much the same anywhere. Therefore, Victoria and Alfred Waterfront is the most ascetic of the Western Cape destinations, nothing special here.

Although if you enjoy ecotourism then you can book a cage dive with great white sharks and also take a helicopter tour of Western Cape. The ticket offices are located at the waterfront. 

However, cage diving has become a controversial Western Cape tourism attraction. As a surfer and a responsible global citizen I do not think feeding great white sharks is good entertainment. Additionally, I think the helicopter tours were way over priced and I decided to pass.

#6 Diamond Museum – Western Cape Destinations

Most essentially, diamonds and precious minerals are a very large part of the South African economy. Indeed, South Africa is the world’s top source for diamonds. The Cape Town Diamond Museum can be found near V&A Waterfront and it is one of the most novel Western Cape destinations.  

Plus, entry is free, courtesy of Shimansky Jewelers. Shimansky is the owner of the museum and they have a chain of jewelry stores specializing in diamonds. As a result, you will learn about the origin of diamonds in South Africa and see many samples in their showroom.

At the museum you will learn some fascinating details. For instance, did you know De Beers was a Boer farmer who was more interested in farming than diamonds? Have you ever seen black diamond?

The diamond museum will definitely appeal to anyone seeking Western Cape destinations with educational attributes.

Best Western Cape Destinations

Robbens Island as seen from the Table Mountain top. Discover the rich history of Cape Town South Africa

#7 Robben Island – Western Cape Destinations

In addition, you can catch the boat to Robben Island from the V&A Waterfront. This is the one of the best cultural attractions in Western Cape. It is probably the most political Western Cape points of interest. 

Unfortunately, I get sea sick really easy on tour boats. However, I was able to view Robben Island from the top of Table Mountain! Therefore, I will just say I was there if anyone asks me!

Although if you want to you can venture out, it is about a 10 kilometer boat ride.

#8 Stellenbosch – Western Cape Destinations

There is lots of very good, very affordable wine produced in South Africa. The European colonists discovered long ago that the Western Cape destinations were ideally suited for growing grapes.

Indeed, some vineyards in South Africa date back over 300 years! Stellenbosch vineyards are the top Western Cape tourism attraction for wine connoisseurs.

Stellenbosch is located near Cape Town and wine lovers can choose for an extended stay if they wish. There are many hotels in Western Cape that cater to wine enthusiasts. 

All of the red wines from the western cape are good and they go great with local red meat such as springbok. However, I didn’t care much for the white wines that they produce here. Something just wasn’t quite right, especially with the chardonnay.

Are Western Cape Tourism Destinations Safe?

South Africa has always had a relatively high crime rate compared to most other countries. Unfortunately, it appears that things have not gotten much better since the last time I was here.

During my most recent visit, there was a murder on one of the more obscure local hiking trails. It happened in a suburb about 20 kilometers south of Cape Town. The victim was a local Afrikaner.

I never had any direct contact with crime in South Africa. However, when there is that much poverty surrounding smug little enclaves like V&A Waterfront something has got to give. It is best to be cautious and stick to well populated, well lit areas.

Conclusion

I hope you enjoyed my list of fun things to do in Western Cape. Great surf, great hiking, great scenic fun, great wine (also very affordable), great beaches, great weather, great natural landscape. Western Cape South Africa is one of the world’s most diverse destinations.

 

Additional sources:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cape_of_Good_Hope