Road trips in Cape Town and the Western Cape

Hit the road and explore the Western Cape

There’s no better time to hide away the phones and the tablets, pack the bags into the boot of the car, and hit the road than on a long weekend. Take a look at some of our favourite road trip destinations in the Western Cape.

Gansbaai

Time on the road: Just over two hours from Cape Town.

What to expect: You won’t find many towns as unassuming as Gansbaai. Just over two hours from Cape Town, and just 30 minutes from Hermanus, this Overberg town has a lot more on offer than the Great White sharks for which is has become famous. Fat bike tours, drip caves, whale watching and more, this charming town in the Overberg is perfect for weekend getaways.

FRANSCHHOEK


Time on the road: Around 1 hour from Cape Town

What to expect: This is food and wine country where world renowned chefs pair culinary delights with award-winning vintages. Home to some of the country’s best restaurants and most spectacular estates, boasting some of the most glorious MCCs. But it’s not just the food and wine. The main street of this vibrant village is lined with shops, specialist stores and arts and crafts studios and galleries, and is very much the heart of Franschhoek. There are plenty of accommodation options ranging from 5-star country lodges to cosy B&Bs.

Where to stay: La Petite Dauphine   

PATERNOSTER


Time on the road: Around 1.5 hours from Cape Town

What to expect: This quaint fishing village is a favourite destination for Western Cape locals looking to get away from the urban grind. Paternoster offers prime West Coast living with its white-washed fishermen’s cottages, pristine white sands and fresh crayfish sold off the beach. Paternoster has a few restaurants, a lodge, a hotel and loads of accommodation establishments offering typical Western Cape hospitality and spectacular views. Activities include kayaking, hiking and bird watching, while collectors can browse the local art scene for paintings and pottery.  

Where to stay:  The Standloper Ocean Boutique Hotel and Abalone House.

GREYTON


Time on the road: Around 1.5 hours from Cape Town

What to expect: Step away from your phone and hide the tv remote, because nature beckons… Hiking, mountain-biking and horse-riding are favourite pastimes in Greyton with plenty of trails to be explored around the area. Take a leisurely pedal through the village before heading out towards the mountain paths that lead to cool crevasses and ponds. And make sure you don’t miss out on Greyton’s morning market where everything from fresh local and organic produce, to home-crafted items, paintings, sculptures and jewellery can be found.

Where to stay: The Post House

ELGIN


Time on the road: Around 1.5 hours from Cape Town

What to expect: Elgin is often overlooked, a blink-and-you-miss-it kind of place, but don’t make that mistake! The Elgin valley is an adventure lover’s dream with great wine, cider and food thrown in for good measure. With endless trails perfect for mountain bikers, trail runners and hikers, Elgin is the go-to place for weekend warriors, with soft, forest tracks and more technical rocky sections the order of the day. Other activities include kayaking, quad biking and zip lining in the Hottentots Nature reserve. If you’re looking for something a little less hair-raising, visit Everson Cider for a tasting and a tour of Charles Fox MCC. Make sure you stop off at Peregrine’s Farm Stall on the way through – and on the way back – for the best baked goods in the Western Cape.

Where to stay: Old MacDaddy and Trail’s End

SWELLENDAM

Time on the road: Around 2.5 hours from both Cape Town and George

What to expect: One of the oldest towns in South Africa, Swellendam is the perfect place to unwind for a couple of days. The backdrop of the Langeberg Mountains and surrounding farmlands, along with the beautiful Marloth Nature Reserve, provide visitors with epic views, crystal waters and copious trails to explore. Swellendam is a nature lover’s paradise and offers tons of outdoor activities – with everything from horse riding to mountain biking available. Swellendam is also a haven for foodies with a number of restaurants to choose from, including La Sosta, which is regarded as one of South Africa’s best Italian restaurants.

Where to stay: Schoone Oordt Country House in town or Jan Harmsgat Country House.

MATJIESFONTEIN


Time on the road: Around 2.5 hours from Cape Town

What to expect: This gem of a hamlet has a long and storied history, and while it may have lost some of its original grandeur – ‘The Grand Duchess of the Cape Karoo was established in 1884 - it is still one of the most popular stayovers in the Western Cape. Consisting of a hotel, a railway station, and a collection of museums, Matjiesfontein holds a charm that speaks to a bygone era, and the old Lord Milner Hotel still welcomes plenty of feet through the door. Take a bus tour of the main stretch – you won’t be gone longer than 10 minutes – explore the old museums, and sink your teeth into the Karoo lamb for dinner. 

Where to stay: The Lord Milner Hotel

Elgin is often overlooked, a blink-and-you-miss-it kind of place, but don’t make that mistake! The Elgin valley is an adventure lover’s dream with great wine, cider and food thrown in for good measure.

Discover the Western Cape on these awesome road trips.