Our insider tips for exploring the Western Cape

Boasting both Indian Ocean and Atlantic Ocean coastlines, the Western Cape is essentially divided into four areas – West Coast (the Wes Kus in Afrikaans), the Cape Winelands, the Overberg, and the Garden Route and Klein Karoo. If you are thinking of visiting this area of South Africa, we’ve shared our top tips for how to get the most out of your time there.

Our insider tips for exploring the Western Cape

West Coast

This area of coast stretches all the way along the West Coast and up to the Namibian border, with interesting spots including West Coast National Park, Langebaan, Yzerfontein, and Paternoster.

This is also the area that has the largest concentration of wildflowers in the country, stretching from Cape Town to Cederberg, and then onto Namaqualand. Each year, in August and September the landscape explodes into colour as some 3,500 different species of wildflowers emerge in a Super Bloom. This whole area is great for road-tripping and for exploring small towns such as Clanwilliam, Citrusdal, and Darling. We recommend a visit to the award-winning Darling Brew in Darling, which does amazing cheese platters and draft beer on tap.

Cape Winelands

The emphasis here is on the many wine estates, world-class restaurants, and bakeries. The restaurants not to miss are Terra del Capo at Anthonij Rupert Wyne Estate and Chefs Warehouse at Maison in Franschhoek. To work up an appetite, there are lots of great hikes and walks in the Mont Rochelle area above Franschhoek, as well as cycling and even paragliding for the brave.

The Overberg area 

In September, the canola fields are all abloom, creating magnificent stretches and even entire farms of luminescent green and yellow flowers. What’s really unique and special is the Hemel-en-Aarde Valley, which stretches from the town of Hermanus all the way through to Swellendam. Here you can find smaller, more boutique, cold-climate wine estates such as Creation, Hermanuspietersfontein, Hamilton Russell, and Bosman Hermanus. There’s some amazing champagne tasting in this area as well.

Further along the coast is the absolute gem of the De Hoop Nature Reserve, which has become the place where you can see the largest concentration of southern right whales and their calves swimming close to the shore. This is a protected marine area, and every year offers more sightings of whales giving birth or with their calves. This year alone, 472 whales with calves were counted in a single day.

De Hoop has an array of accommodation types for all needs and budgets. As well as being great for whale watching outside Hermanus, it has game drives and wonderful uninterrupted wild beach walks. For the more adventurous, The Whale Trail covers 56km along the coast and is considered the best for ‘slackpacking’ - assisted hiking with overnight stops along the way.

 

What’s also unique about the Overberg is the relatively new Agulhas Wine Triangle, which has the southernmost vineyards on the African continent. Unique wine estates such as Black Oystercatcher, Land’s End, and Strandveld Vineyards are worth a visit if you are in this area. This is also an incredible region to explore, with flourishing plants and protected wetlands exposed to the Atlantic and Indian oceans. There are also lots of B&Bs and self-catering accommodation to choose from.

The Garden Route & Klein Karoo

This area is the adventure capital of the Western Cape, with ziplining, quad biking, paragliding, and river tubing all on offer. Or you can explore the area on foot or by car. Among the many types of accommodation is luxury barefoot glamping in tents in some beautiful wild locations, especially popular with couples and the young at heart.

To book your South Africa holiday including the Western Cape, call your Travel Counsellor today.

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