10 Awesome Day Trips from Cape Town, South Africa – Essential list to see

Published on: June 22nd, 2019 at 10:30 am

Even though exploring Cape Town city centre and all it has to offer will keep you satisfied and make you fall in love with this place, I would recommend not to stop there. Make sure that you also plan a weekend trip from Cape Town or even make these attractions a priority. Each of these day-outings from Cape Town offers something incredible to witness and experience. One day you could be drinking some of the best wine while completing a Stellenbosch wine tour and the next you could visit Boulders beach and find yourself staring for hours at these cute little local residents living here.

There are plenty of wonderful things to do in the heart of Cape Town even on a budget, as I mentioned in my blog “Cheap and easily reachable attractions in Cape Town”. But if you feel adventurous and have a little extra cash in your pocket, my advice would be to explore the magical areas that are hidden an hour or two of driving from the city. If you combine these attractions, you can create yourself an unforgettable trip, that will feed your body and your soul.

10 perfect Cape Town day trip adventures

Below are trips I did either by hiring a car or via an organised tour while I spent two weeks falling in love with South Africa and in particular Cape Town. Find details of Cape Town tour prices now and ensure all tours are run by a trusted and professional company you can rely on.

Find the best prices from a variety of rental car companies in Cape Town

Best Day Trips From Cape Town:

Stellenbosch Wine Tour

The Stellenbosch wine tour offers one of the day-outings from cape town
The Stellenbosch wine tour offers a great day from Cape Town with some incredibly beautiful views to match the delicious wine.

You will hardly miss out on the word Stellenbosch when in Cape Town. It is a very popular destination for wine lovers and adventurers that come to visit from all around the world. You may have a lot of experience in wine tasting, or just be up for a relaxing afternoon that will calm you down and take your taste buds to a whole new world.

Either way, grab your place and check it out as Stellenbosch wine tour is what to do when in Cape Town.

The Stellenbosch wine tour is a unique version of a daily trip from Cape Town that offers some incredibly beautiful views that match the delicious wine. Stellenbosch is the second oldest (after Cape Town) city in SA and it is full of oaks and rich in heritage.

How to get to Stellenbosch?

There are two options. You can choose to go with a tour, as I did, or you can hire a car. If you choose the tour, you are sure you will get to taste as much of the delicious wine as possible without needing to drive back to Cape Town and that is why I would recommend it. 

Grab a tour to Stellenbosch Wine Country

Whichever option you decide to choose, a trip out to these awesome wineries is one of the must do day-outings from Cape Town, it became one of the highlights of my trip. Although the group of 7 strong Irish lads also made it a pretty memorable trip as well.

If you choose the tour option, this is how your day will look like. It will start when you are picked up from your accommodation and transported to the wineries, from here you will begin the tour at one of the 4 wine estates you can expect to visit. You are taught all about the process involved in making the wine in this region, some of the unlikely employees that are crucial to ensuring the grapes stay safe and of course the most import part taste testing the wine.

Throughout the day you will taste the wine on its own, paired with cheeses, chocolates and of course enjoyed over a freshly made lunch menu that uses the finest ingredients that are also sourced locally. After lunch, you will get the option to enjoy a tour through one of the wine cellars themselves located onsite, even having the chance to taste the wine straight out of the cellar.

There are even some famous ducks that work in the Stellenbosch wineries that you might visit if you choose this weekend trip from Cape Town. These ducks are vital employees at one of the wineries in Stellenbosch.

The famous ducks that work in the Stellenbosch wineries that you might visit on a weekend trip from Cape town
These ducks are vital employees at one of the wineries in Stellenbosch.

Keep in mind: This is a great day trip option when in Cape Town, but a word of warning from my own experience. The drive back is a long one, roughly one hour, and in that time, it is possible for the wine to catch up with you. Drink in moderation or you will end up like me, sleeping for the next 15 odd hours and then feeling a little unwell once awake. I still think it was worth every minute of it though.

Grab a tour to Stellenbosch Wine Country

If you decide to hire a car and tour the wineries yourself then think about spending the night in the area.

Best priced accommodation options in wine country

Visit Boulders Beach

Boulders Beach is a spot located further south of Cape Town, just past the friendly town known as Simon’s Town. Boulders Beach is one of the most famous beaches in Cape Town. It is famous for two things, one being that it is a nice spot to be able to swim in a sheltered beach cove, perfectly safe for kids. It’s also rarely busy and has plenty of rock-pools where the hot South African sun warms the water perfectly and creates inviting natural spa baths.

Rent a car and drive yourself from Cape Town

The other and more important reason the area has become known as one of the favourite day trips from Cape Town for tourists is because of the local residents that call this place their home. The one and a half hour trip to visit Boulders beach is famous for the local population of African Penguins. Some 60,000 tourists visit Boulders Beach each year simply to stand and watch these cute little animals go about their daily lives. Here the time stops while you observe these amazing creatures without you even realising it.

You can either book a tour to visit this area from Cape Town or do as I did and hire a car and experience it all at your own pace.

Truthfully I found the entry price a little expensive as I have watched penguins in the wild before, in Tasmania, where there is no fee. On a positive note though the money is used as funding to keep the conservation efforts running and ensuring future penguins have this place to call home.

Watch penguins as you visit Boulders Beach
The locals at Boulders Beach offer hours of entertainment if you have time to watch them while doing a visit to the area.

Entry fee to visit Boulders Beach:

The entry fee for international travellers is R152 or $10 per person, for SADC Nationals R76 or 5$ per person and for South African Residents it is R39 per person or $2,50.

International Travellers – R152 p/person ($10USD)

SADC Nationals – R76 p/person ($5USD)

South African Citizens & Foreign Nationals with South African Residence – R39 p/person ($2.50USD)

Keep in mind: In the end, it was a little more expensive to hire the car and do it myself. I combined this with a visit to Cape of Good Hope National Park as do most of the tours and I mention more on this place next.

I suggest this tour that combines the two places

Go to Cape of Good Hope National Park

Views of Cape of Good Hope National Park, enjoy a weekend trip from Cape Town
Awesome views to be enjoyed everywhere inside Cape of Good Hope National Park.

If you have made the effort to go and visit Boulders Beach to see the African Penguins, then I strongly urge you to travel an extra 30 minutes along the coastline and make this a full day trip from Cape Town by exploring the Cape of Good Hope National Park. This is one of the most interesting day trips from Cape Town. If you have booked a tour to see the Penguins, chances are you can find a dual option that will enable you to include both locations when booking.

I suggest this tour that combines the two places

The national park itself is set inside a fenced-in area that is home to over 250 different bird species as well as having wild buck, baboons and even zebra. This place is part of the Cape Floral Kingdom and a UNESCO World Heritage site. The baboons are cheeky buggers and certainly not shy of humans so please take extra care around these animals.

Also, inside the park, you can find many different hikes or walking paths where you can plan an adventure or simply check out the stunning views and beaches located throughout. The other part of the park that you must venture to, is the Cape of Good Hope Lighthouse. This is actually the most South-Western part of the African continent and a pretty sweet spot to take some wonderful photos. Climb the stairs to the top of the lighthouse and stare out into the never-ending horizon below, these waters are actually the same ones I went Tuna Fishing in and it is also an activity I would recommend to any fishing lover.

Read about my tuna fishing trip in Cape Town

When you come to that point, you can see how small you are compared to the endlessness of the sea. I was amazed while observing the dance of the birds between the sky and the ocean.

Even while driving through Cape of Good Hope National Park you will get lost in the beauty of its heavenly nature. It is a place to go when you choose to ease your mind, cuddle with the wind and breathe air that whispers the song of the ocean.

Entry fee to the park:

The entry fee for international travellers is R303 or $20 per person, for SADC Nationals R152 or $10 per person and for South African Residents it is R76 per person or $5. If completing a trip as part of a tour double-check that these prices are included.

International Travellers – R303 p/person ($20USD)

SADC Nationals – R152 p/person ($10USD)

South African Citizens & Foreign Nationals with South African Residence – R76 p/person ($5USD)

Keep in mind:  If your planning to do any of the hikes or longer walks inside the park you will need to plan ahead your routes. You also won’t have time to do these if travelling on a tour.

I suggest driving yourself if you want the chance to walk or hike any of the trails

Visit Hout Bay for lunch

Another of the day trips from Cape Town I strongly recommend is a drive to Hout Bay. It is only around 20 minutes’ drive from Cape Town and is considered the halfway mark if driving this direction to Cape of Good Hope National Park. The bay itself is known to have some of the best fish and chips in the Cape Town area.

Some tours combine Hout Bay, Cape of Good Hope and Boulder Beach

You can enjoy the views of the whole harbour while eating delicious and fresh seafood on the wharf, which is located in the town. You will be very satisfied with this one as it’s very hedonistic.

The other cool attraction that was on offer while out on the wharf was the chance to feed the local fur seal. They are very photogenic and friendly.

Fair warning though, the seal community have a strong smell of fish penetrating from them and their breath is rather potent.

You can get to Hout Bay by hiring a car or hopping on a tour that includes lunch or a visit stop in Hout Bay.

Grab a tour to Hout Bay and relax

Do a tour of Langa Township

A trip to Cape Town will never be complete unless you do a tour of the Langa Township just outside of the main city. These townships were set up during the pre-apartheid era in the 1920s and designated to the black Africans. It is a lively community that speaks mainly in their traditional language known as Xhosa.

You will be shown through the town by a local guide, who will even attempt to teach you some of this language. The Xhosa language is famous for having a serious of “clicking” sounds that represent a letter, not easy for anyone not brought up speaking it. Without a guide, these townships are considered a dangerous place for tourists so I would strongly suggest only travelling to the region in a tour group.

Only travel to here on an organised tour

Most tours will explain to you the culture and history within the established township as well as take you to some of the most iconic and important places in their town’s history. You will hear some versions of history you thought you knew but told in a completely different way in these parts, it can be a heavy experience.

The tour will likely finish in a famous restaurant that serves some delicious local dishes, including fried chicken. This is a restaurant that Jamie Oliver himself has toured and learnt the art of how to make this delicious chicken.

Visiting Langa Township near Cape Town is one of the day trips from Cape Town you have to do. The Langa Township tour opens your eyes to the way other communities are living just outside of Cape Town, the population numbers living in each of these communities staggered me. Certainly one of the must do day-outings from Cape Town.

Visiting Langa Township near Cape Town is one of the day trips from Cape Town you have to do
The Langa Township tour opens your eyes to the way other communities are living just outside of Cape Town. One of the must do day-outings from Cape Town.

Keep in mind: Remember this is strongly suggested to only visit as part of an organised tour group and is not one of the day excursions from Cape Town that you should do alone. 

Only travel to here on an organised tour

Visit Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden

A tour of Kirstenbosch garden is one of the most famous daily trips from Cape Town. This wonderful green area rich in diversity among the plants and the animals is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is an ideal place to walk and observe the beauty of nature while breathing the cleanest air nurtured by wonderful trees around you. You can also choose to have a picnic there or visit an event because Kirstenbosch is often hosting art venues.

According to SA Tourism, Kirstenbosch is home to 7,000 different plant species and it is a part of the Cape Floral kingdom. In the garden, you can observe many different flowers and smells, you can also see the national flower called King Protea. There are also as many as 125 different types of birds.

One of the must do things when in Cape Town is walking on the Treetop Canopy Walk. It is an areal walk allowing you to observe the amazing nature that mother Africa has to show. This walk will offer something very similar to a birds-eye perspective, which I find very amazing.

Hiking to Tabletop from Kirstenbosch is also possible to do when in Cape Town. Try a different route to most people if you feel like discovering more of nature on offer.

Hike in an organised tour to ensure you don’t get lost

If you’re a nature lover, searching to get out from the noise and hectic city tempo and make your overall trip well balanced, going to Kirstenbosch gardens is most likely what to do in Cape Town for you.

You can get to Kirstenbosch by a hop on hop off tour, as part of a tour that also visits other sites or by hiring a car. The hop on hop off version is cheaper yet it is very practical.

Keep in mind: As always, check the weather, you could be a little bit disappointed if it begins to rain.

Shark Cage Diving

Shark Cage Diving is one of those things that possibly you find on your bucket list and Cape Town is a place to do it.

This day tour is an amazing option if you like to combine being adventurous and still learning about our environment. Facing the giant creatures that live under the sea is an opportunity you shouldn’t miss.

Most of these tours include fresh meals, a boat tour and biologist that will provide you with some insightful information about these amazing creatures called the white sharks.

The only thing is that this activity depends very much on the weather and the period. This is what affected my experience. Obviously, if the weather is not on your side, this day trip from Cape Town won’t happen. Also, there are some periods in which white sharks refuse to visit close to the cage or boat. That happens every now and then and cannot be predicted. So be prepared that this is something you should book in advance but cannot be sure that you will get there.

So this day outing from Cape Town is a little bit risky, but it is worth a try. Of course, if your tour doesn’t run then you will get a full refund.

Stare face to face with a white shark on this tour

World of Birds and Monkey Park

This is the largest bird park in Africa and one of the largest ones in the world.

It is a must for all nature and animal lovers. The place was originally set up as a support for endangered species and turned into a sanctuary for weak animals later. World of Birds is one of the main keys of Cape Town tourism.

There are around 3000 animals of 400 different species. It is a place where you can explore and photograph all different kinds of birds and at monkey feeding times you can become very good friends with them. Monkeys love to climb on humans.

There is a cute little cafe if you get thirsty or hungry in the process of enjoying the environment and the lovely creatures.

This amazing daily trip from Cape Town can be organised with your visit to Hout Bay Valley since it is located just there in Valley Road, 10km outside of the city. You can hire a car, or get on the blue line of Hop on Hop off bus.

Find the right tour for you to World of birds and monkey park

Working hours are from 9am to 5pm every day. The price is 130R or 10$ for adults and 50R or 4$ for children.

This place is very child-friendly and a perfect activity to do for a family travel trip.

Boost Your Adrenaline and Use Your Body – Surfing, Paragliding, Zip-Lining, E-Biking

There are also many different adrenaline-boosting and body-focused activities that this city has to offer. If you have some extra time, explore these, you may have an unforgettable experience.

With an amazing ocean, you have many options when it comes to surfing in Cape Town. If you have done it already, you can join the crew in Muizenberg and feel the flow of a surfing team. If not, you can always hire a private instructor and learn right there. But keep in mind that the sea can be pretty freezing so prepare yourself well. Cape Town offers great waves all year round but the best season to go is from April till August.

Paragliding and zip-lining are also on offer in Cape Town, there are many amazing options to choose from depending on what views you’d prefer. I would definitely recommend trying on one of these tours because it is such a special way to enjoy the wonders of Western Capes flora and fauna.

You can also have a fun and dynamic tour around the wonders of nature with an electric bicycle. This is a wonderful balance between being active with your body and enjoying the scenic views offered all around.

Find a full list of the outdoor activities available in Cape Town

I also did an awesome “Tuna Fishing Trip” during my stay and if you are into fishing, I highly suggest you look into it. The tuna are amazingly huge in this area and it was a unique experience to be a part of this fishing process. I have a blog on the fishing in Cape Town and also a recap of how my fishing trip experience was.

Here are my favourite daily trips and adventures available just outside of the city of Cape Town. I encourage you to go outside of the city centre and make your stay even more amazing with these daily trips from Cape Town. For a full list of Cape Town tour prices and the amazing variety on offer just head here and explore them knowing they are all operated by a leading professional tour company.

Of course, you will want to spend some time in Cape Town itself as well so use my Cheap and easily reachable attractions in Cape Town blog to get some great ideas.

I explored and studied a lot of Cape Town and Southern Africa while I was travelling about the region. On this website, you will find a full list of Cape Town blog posts as well as many African blogs featuring safari ideas and an extensive travel guide to Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe.

Enjoy, explore and let me know how your experience was.

Please do me a favour and write a comment in the section below or get in touch with me if you manage to do other day-outings from Cape Town or in particular the diving trip. I would also love to see some video footage of what I missed.

Organise Your Trip: Travel Advice and Tricks I Personally Use

Book Your Flight

Heading to either Skyscanner or Momondo are my methods of choice for this. They are my favourite as they search for flights from different companies all over the world. You can filter the results to suit your needs and ensure you land the best price every-time.

Book Your Accommodation

This is an important part of any holiday you’re going on. Read all the reviews and get the right accommodation via TripAdvisor. They even show you the best prices available at the time for that room from suppliers like Booking.com.For booking a hostel your best bet is to start with HostelWorld or possible even use CouchSurfing if you’re on a real budget.

Don’t Forget Travel Insurance

Travel Insurance is a must these days so you have a piece of mind you’re covered for anything that could go wrong while on your trip. I now never go on a trip away without travel insurance. I’ve been using World Nomads for the past few years.

My favourite companies that offer the best service and value are:

  • SafetyWing (cheaper option to just cover you for health issues)

Looking for the best companies to save money with?

As I have been travelling frequently over the last few years I’ve learnt some great tools to use for saving money when travelling. I have a travel resource page that lists all the trusted companies I personally use and rely on. I think you will find them good as well.

I also have a couple of great blogs that share quick and easy ways to save money on flights or accommodation. Take a look and save some cash on your next trip.

The Best Place To Book Your Tours

If you are someone you likes to have the best tours in one place and read reviews from other travellers about their personal experiences of each different tour then the best platform to use is GetYourGuide.

They offer the best tours, have money-back offers in case your trip is cancelled and ensure the price of each tour is the lowest possible.

Like with any tour I mention you will be most likely able to get CASH BACK when you book simply by being signed up to EBATES. Not sure what Ebates is? Have a read about how you can save on almost all your online purchases now.

Please do me a favour and write a comment in the section below or get in touch with me if you manage to do other day-outings from Cape Town or in particular the diving trip. I would also love to see some video footage of what I missed.

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List of the best Day trips from Cape Town

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Happy Travels, Brodie

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Last Updated on: February 6th, 2020 at 5:01 pm

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