If there’s one thing I tell my people not to miss when visiting Cape Town is a day trip to the absolutely stunning Cape Point. Cape Point is home to the famous Cape Point lighthouse as well as the Cape of Good Hope where the Indian and Atlantic oceans meet. It is not the southern most point of South Africa, that honor goes to Cape Aghulas but that is a 3 hour drive from Cape Town.
Cape Point, along with visiting Boulders beach home to the African penguin colony, Muizenberg beach, and the Chapman’s peak drive make for the absolute perfect day trip from Cape Town. If this sounds like something you’re keen to do, then all you’ll need to know about planning the day will be in this post!
If you’re staying in Cape Town, make sure to also read my Ultimate Cape Town Travel guide for insider tips on what to do and see in the mother city.
Which places to visit
From Cape Town, a visit to Cape Point would be enough to satisfy the average person’s lust for adventure. However, there are so many more beautiful places to visit around the southern tip of the western Cape that it would be a shame to not do so. I’ve been to Cape Point at least a dozen times and these are the places I always take my friends in addition to Cape Point itself:
- Hout Bay
- Chapman’s Peak Drive
- Boulder’s Beach
- Cape Point & Cape of Good Hope
- Muizenberg Beach
There are many other places to discover for this trip but if you only have a day, you don’t want to overdo it and focus on really visiting the above places. Rushing through Cape Point is not worth it!
A Day Trip Itinerary for Cape Point from Cape Town
So now that you’re keen and ready for visiting Cape Point, this is how I would arrange the day. This is of course really only applicable if you’re self-driving or you have a private driver taking you around. If you go on an organized tour, then you’ll follow whatever schedule they’ve laid out for you.
9:00am – Leave Cape Town and drive towards Hout Bay
10:00am – Enjoy fish and chips at Snoeckies, enjoy Hout Bay beach
11:00am – Drive along Chapman’s Peak until you reach Boulder’s Beach
11:30am – Visit the penguins at Boulder’s Beach
1:30pm – Arrive at Cape Point, walk or take funicalar to the top of the lighthouse
3:00pm – Leave Cape Point and drive to Muizenberg Beach to look at the iconic colorful houses
5:00pm – Leave Muizenberg Beach back to Cape Town
6:00pm – Arrive in Cape Town.
Booking an organized tour
If you’re not keen for driving, then rest assured, there are many tours you can book that will take you to most of these places. This is what I do when I plan honeymoons for my readers to the Rainbow Nation as most honeymooners aren’t keen to drive on the other side of the road. If you are keen for driving, rest assured that the roads around Cape Town are in perfect condition and the traffic is pleasant.
On Viator, I normally book this tour for my readers as it visits all the main sights I’ve listed below, as well as a wine farm in Constantia. It is a bit rushed for my liking but it is a fair price for what it is.
Alternatively, you could just book a private driver for the day and tell them to make all the stops listed on this post. They may even have more insider tips than me and take you to cool spots I’ve never heard of before! My preferred tour with be the small group Instagram Cape Point tour that visits all the places that I highlight on this itinerary and in a small group setting.
Map of the Cape Point Itinerary
I always find a good itinerary on Google Maps to be the most useful. This helps you visualize what your day is like and how to plan your drive to all the main sights.
Hout Bay and Chapman’s Peak Drive
First up on the Cape Point day trip is a drive to the lovely beach-side town of Hout Bay 20 km south of Cape Town. You can drive along Victoria Road in Camps Bay and hug the coastline down towards Hout Bay.
Hout Bay is a suburb of Cape Town and where many families live to escape the city life of Cape Town at more modest prices and lower decibel levels. As you get into the town, you’ll notice the township at the entrance which really encapsulates the income divide of South Africa. As much as I love the country and its natural beauty, I do not turn a blind eye to its problems stemming from Apartheid and beyond.
There isn’t too much to do in this town besides enjoy the view from the beach at Hout Bay. Grab a morning coffee from Vida E Caffe and enjoy a lovely stroll along the quiet beachfront of the town. If you’re hungry and want to try a seafood institution, the drive to Snoekies nearby. They serve delicious fish and chips, squid, prawns, and much more. I always get their Hake and Prawns combo, eating it on their benches while enjoying the views of the Atlantic.
Chapman’s Peak Drive
From Hout Bay, continue along the main road climbing up towards Chapman’s Peak. Chapman’s Peak is the name of the mountain that hugs the coastline between Hout Bay and Noordhoek. It’s a 9km drive along the mountain side well above the ocean. It offers some of the most spectacular views in the world of the Atlantic and nearby beaches.
Take it slow, soak up the views, and stop at the various lookouts to really enjoy the views! If you’ve road tripped the Big Sur in California, this really reminds me of that but a more stunning rendition of that.
This is a toll road at R50 per car (subject to change in the future of course) and you are able to pay with credit cards. The road is quite narrow so you’ll want to really pay attention to the road even though it is quite easy to get distracted by the beauty of the area.
As you exit Chapman’s peak, the next stop is at the iconic Boulder’s Beach in Simon’s Town. Boulder’s Beach is home to thousands of African Penguins that make a permanent home in these parts. Most people associate penguins with Antarctica which is not untrue. Those are the emperor penguins but there are many other species of penguins that reside in South Africa and South America.
Boulders Beach located in the stunning naval town of Simons Town outside Cape Town is popular for the penguin colony found here. The scenery in this area is beautiful with panoramic views over the bay while a number of gorgeous restaurants and cafes as well as boutique shops line the streets making a trip to Simons Town the ideal day-trip from the Cape Town.
Boulders Beach is home to a unique land based colony of penguins and they rule the rocks, ocean and sea here and humans are simply visitors. There is a beach here open to the public where you can swim next to the penguins if you’re lucky. In the summer months, this beach will get packed as it is very small and is a huge tourist attraction. I’d recommend bringing your bathing suits on the trip as you may feel the urge to swim towards the penguins.
Otherwise, I would go straight to the viewing platforms of the penguin colonies. The entrance fee is R150 or so as of 2019/2020 and this will likely increase as the rand depreciates. The main entrance can have long lines so the trick is to buy tickets at the small booth in the main parking lot and walk towards the main entrance.
From the main entrance, you can continue to walk straight to the main viewing point, or right towards a more secluded viewpoint. Both viewpoints will afford you fantastic views of the penguin colonies and beach.
There’s not much else to do here besides walk a few steps and see the huge flock of penguins. Some of them get very close to people and aren’t scared. Do not touch them (obviously).
From Boulder’s beach, continue along the main road to the southern point in the peninsula. You’ll see signs to turn to as you drive up the mountains. The entrance fee is roughly R300 per person as of 2019/2020 and is subject to increase as the rand depreciates.
As you enter the park, you will immediately notice the breathtaking scenery and flora of the the mountains. There are a few places to take photos right off the side of the road here.
Cape of Good Hope
The first stop is the Cape of Good Hope. It is about 10 minutes after the entrance and the signs to turn right can be hard to read. You’ll find the iconic Cape of Good Hope signage on the rocky beaches. The sign reads the longitude and latitude of the coordinates where the Atlantic meets the Indian oceans. Expect big crowds here in the summer months!
Cape Point Lighthouse
Both the old and new lighthouses are quite a sight to behold. The Old Lighthouse, 238m above sea level, is easily accessible from the trail and funicular. The New Lighthouse, constructed in 1919 and electrified in 1936, is the most powerful light in Africa with a candlepower of 19 million.
It’s an estimated 1.5h walk to the new lighthouse via the Lighthouse Keepers trail. From here you’ll get a great view of the 200m cliff face towering out of the ocean with the Old Lighthouse perched at the top. The views of the ocean from so high above the cliffs is absolutely stunning.
You can also take a funicular to the top of the lighthouse if you do not want to walk. It costs about R100 per person round trip and takes only 5-10 minutes. Alternatively, you could take the funicular to the top and walk down. Keep an eye out for baboons as they’ve been known to grace the area!
Cape of Good hope Hike
From the main grounds of Cape Point, you can also do the Cape of Good Hope hike. This hike is roughly 1.5 hours round trip and ends at the Cape Point sign (see section above). Note that if you don’t have a private driver, you’ll need to walk back to the starting point. If you want to see the rest of the sights on this tour, you’ll need to start much earlier to have enough time to make it in time.
I’ve done this hike before and it is absolutely worth it if you have the time. There is a beach you can access that is devoid of people and the blindingly white beaches are a sight to behold.
Last on the list is the most iconic Muizenberg Beach. Drive back towards Simon’s Town and past it for another half hour until you reach the town of Muizenberg. Park your car anywhere near the beach and walk towards these brightly colored houses.
These houses are empty wooden structures painted with bright varying bright colors right on the Muizenberg’s sandy beaches. I thought people used to live in these houses but they are all empty and far too small.
The bathing box is a throw-back to the “bathing machine” of the 1800’s—a cart-like structure that was wheeled down to the water’s edge, allowing the ladies to change into their chin-to-ankle bathing wear and frolic modestly in the shallows.
Some huts, in recent years, fell into disrepair and with the threat of removal of the huts as recently as 2017, there was a huge public outcry. The plight of the beach hut is close to the heart of every “Muizenberger” and together with the mountain, surfing and beach walks makes up the locals’ love and passion for this much loved attraction.
Bright, vibrant and very photogenic, these beach huts make for the ultimate Instagram photo. Whether you choose the ocean or the mountains as your backdrop, you can bet that no picture will turn out poorly. We did a mini photo shoot of our own here while admiring the breathtaking ocean views of the Cape.
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