|Self Drive Holidays in Cape Town and
the Surrounding Areas by Sarah Manners
Cape Travel & Accommodation Guide
Cape Town is a vibrant, cosmopolitan
city with dramatic mountains as a backdrop, and expansive oceans stretching
as far as the eye can see. This world-renowned holiday destination is consistently,
rated the best South African tourist city and each year there are even
more visitors arriving on its shores. What is truly unique about Cape Town
is that you can journey from wine farms to shopping centres to Table Mountain,
in a scenic 30-90 minute drive.
Top Cape Town Destinations
enthusiasts will love the Cape Point Nature Reserve situated a scenic 25-minutes
south of the Cape Town CBD, in the 22 100 hectare, Table Mountain National
Park. The ocean at the nature reserve is crystal clear; this is where the
warm Mozambique current of the Indian Ocean and the cold Bengula current
of the Atlantic Ocean meet. There are hundreds of species of flora and
fauna to observe whilst driving through the reserve there are also spectacular
snorkelling spots, barbeque spots and the acclaimed Two Oceans Restaurant
which offers world class cuisine and spectacular vistas over False Bay.
When we think of Cape Town,
we often think of world famous Table Mountain. At a height of 1,073 metres,
it is the single most prominent feature of the Cape Town region and one
of the cities greatest tourist attractions. Whether you chose to travel
up via the cable car or hike up one of the many paths once you reach the
top you will be overwhelmed by some of the most gorgeous vistas imaginable.
The Cape Town beaches are
some of the most beautiful in the world. Most are in close proximity to
vibrant restaurants and bustling shopping centres. Spending lazy summer
days on the beach are a favourite pass time amongst visitors to the Western
Cape and once you've had your fill of the sun what could be better than
sipping cocktails at one of the beachfront cafes over looking the exquisite
African sun setting over the clear ocean water.
Victoria and Alfred Waterfront, a popular hotspot among locals and international
visitors, is a must visit on your self drive holiday in Cape Town. Live
entertainment takes place in the amphitheatre and you can browse and buy
anything from couture to curio at the craft markets and the wide variety
of stores located within the V&A. Marine lovers should not miss a visit
to the Two Oceans Aquarium. One of the greatest highlights at the aquarium
is the predator tank, which is home to several Ragged Tooth Sharks.
A short boat ride from the
V&A Waterfront lies Robben Island; former home to Nelson Mandela while
he was imprisoned under the apartheid regime - a South African national
monument not to be missed by visitors to the Cape.
Drive up the West Coast
Approximately an hour from
Cape Town lies the West Coast - a region of sheer beauty, which stretches
400km across the coast and consists of several small towns and villages,
each with its own particular ambiance. The best time to visit is spring
when the wild flowers are blooming and form a carpet on the ground from
coast to mountain. The West Coast wildflowers are world renowned, and people
come here each year, to view this spectacular sight. There are 38 towns
along the West Coast and a self drive holiday up the coast stopping in
at as many of them as possible will be highly rewarding. Each town has
its own unique attractions and apart from the magnificent wild flowers
the entire coast offers excellent opportunities for water sports and extreme
South Africa has earned
international acclaim as one of the world's best wine producing nations.
The Western Cape is home to South Africa's premier wine industry and the
Stellenbosch, Paarl, Franschhoek, and Constantia wine routes are all within
45-minutes drive from the heart of Cape Town. These wine routes consist
of a number of wine estates, where you can sample award-winning wines,
take in some of the most spectacular scenery and have lunch in an acclaimed
restaurant. The wine estates are set in impressive expanses of vineyards;
with Cape Dutch style farmhouses, and incredible landscapes. The best way
to see these estates is to drive the wine route at your own pace, stopping
at locations along the way that tickle your fancy. No holiday to South
Africa is complete without a day on one of the Western Cape's gorgeous
wine routes and don't forget to buy some wine while you're at it - you'll
appreciate it when you get back home.
From July to December each
year South Africa becomes home to thousands of whales who leave the icy
Antarctic to mate and birth their calves. The Western Cape is a hot spot
for whale watching as these majestic creatures entertain crowds year in
and year out by breaching and flipper-slapping, while frolicking off the
shores of Cape Town. Although you can spot the whales from almost all of
the beaches the best place for whale watching is in Hermanus. The quaint
town of Hermanus is a scenic hour's drive from Cape Town and is recognised
by the World Wildlife Fund as the best land-based whale watching area in
the world. Apart from all the awesome whale watching opportunities the
town is alive with endless other attractions such as unspoilt beaches,
boat trips, restaurants, craft markets and art galleries. A trip to Hermanus,
the heart of the whale coast, is not to be missed.
The Opportunities are
Located at the tip of Southern
Africa the Western Cape is a treasure trove of gems waiting to be discovered.
This article only highlights a few of them - once you've been to Cape Town
a part of you will always long to return.
Cape Accommodation and Information