Western Cape Hotels
Wicked Western Cape
South Africa’s Western Cape is one of the country’s most popular tourist spots for good reason. From the coolness of Cape Town to the natural wonders of Olifants River Valley, prepare to be dazzled, busy and in a semi-permanent state of intoxication… ... Read more »
Hit up the wineries in Stellenbosch, Paarl and Franschhoek for plenty of grapey goodness. And speaking of Stellenbosch, try to stay sober enough to explore the classic architecture and visit the luscious Jonkershoek River Valley and Eerste River nature reserves. Small wonder these are the places the Saffas themselves go on holiday. Check out Bertram House for an insight into 19th century South African life and the SA Airforce Museum in Ysterplaat for military memorabilia. Whoever said alcohol and heavy machinery don’t mix have obviously never travelled the Western Cape!
Western Cape’s Top 10
10. South African Museum Learn about everything South African at this haus of history.
5. Wilderness National Park A stunning group of waterfalls, lakes and secret beaches are surrounded by emerald forest.
9. Cape Winelands Stunning countryside and the best plonk in town.
4. Oudtshoorn Home to the famous Cango Caves and hundreds of ostrich farms. Try to score a ride on an ostrich…
8. Beaufort West This charming bohemian district is famed for its kooky boutiques and eateries, as well as the cool kids who hang there.
3. Cape Peninsula The place to come if you want plenty of beach action. Camps Bay and Clifton are postcard-perfect.
7. Karoo National Park Spy on buffalo, rhinos and eagles at this magnificent park.
2. Victoria and Alfred Waterfront This lush waterfront area in Cape Town is perfect for a spot of luxe shopping and full of chic drinking holes.
6. Hout Bay One of the most picturesque seaside villages in the region. Devour a seafood platter while watching the boats.
1. Table Mountain This iconic natural beaut is renowned for its unique, flat peak.
Western Cape History
- Rietpoort Cathedral – A 1937 station established in the Western Cape by missionaries.
- Ancient Rock Paintings – Prehistoric art by the San can be viewed at several locations like the Sevilla trail.
- Robben Island – The 17th-century prison island where many political prisoners were held during apartheid, including prisoner 46664, Nelson Mandela.
- Khwa ttu San Education and Culture Centre – A place to learn about the first people of ancient South Africa.
- Stellenbosch Village Museum Houses – Four historical houses, the first of which was built in 1709.
Western Cape Art & Culture
- Oyster Festival – A 10-day feast and party in Knysna.
- The Kaapse Klopse – Cape minstrels offer a carnival around New Year that dates back to 1907.
- Animal Sanctuaries – Some places have many museums, while Western Cape has animal sanctuaries, a testament to the value of wildlife in South Africa.
- AmaZink – A musical dining extravaganza that offers authentic South African cuisine.
- Franschhoek Motor Museum - Incredible collection of old preserved and restored cars.
Western Cape Shopping
- Bo-Kapp – Part of old Cape Town that offers a historical look of cobbled streets along with interesting little shops, crafts and quaint eateries.
- V&A Waterfront – Handcrafted work like beading, art, jewellery, clothing and decorative items can be purchased here.
- Mielie Food Garden and Organic Market – The profits are used to establish and perpetuate organic community gardens in neighbouring townships.
- Wineland – Wine and delicious brandies are popular Western Cape offerings that you can purchase straight from the vineyards.
- Wild Oats – Community market with a flea market atmosphere, offering fresh produce and great handcrafted items.
Gay & Lesbian Western Cape
- Hot House – This European-style steam bath is a great place to relax with its own lounge, maze, sauna, shop and even private cabins.
- Green Point – Western Cape’s gay village district with all the gay nightlife one could ever desire.
- On Broadway – A cabaret restaurant offering drag on Tuesday and Sunday.
- Lipstick Lounge – Though closed on Mondays, this is a fantastic venue that serves ladies.
- Pink Loerie Mardi Gras – April or May, a weeklong gay fest in the Knysna area that includes a parade, dancing, partying and celebration.
Western Cape Outdoor
- Gouritsmond – Four hiking trails amidst wonderful wild plants and animals provide a more laid-back Western Cape adventure for those looking for light exercise.
- Table Mountain – A 1085m mountain with interesting cloud cover and at least 11 recognized viewpoints to see the city below.
- Hermanus Whale Watching – A kelp horn blown by the only Whale Crier in the entire world signals an incredible opportunity to learn about whales June through December.
- Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden – A special botanical garden meant to preserve the herbal treasures of South Africa.
- Boulder’s Beach – Home to 3,000 endangered African Penguins.
Western Cape Sport
- Zip slide along Western Cape's canopy heights in lush Ceres.
- Experience the thrill of mountain biking along the beach or down a woodland trail.
- Climb the mountain cliffs and abseil back to the base in an adrenaline-pumping drop.
- Head to the deep blue waters for parasailing, fishing and skiing.
- Dive into the waters of Gansbaii where great white sharks hunt.
Western Cape Events
If you like smooth jazz and gooey pots of cheese, you’re in luck! The Jazz and Cheese Fondue Fest in June/July features both, with a hefty dose of wine thrown into the mix.
Held every August, the Swellendam Canola Karnaval is packed with a bunch of things to see and do, from fun runs and art exhibitions to off-road races and tours of the canola factory.
Stuff your gob and drink like a fish at the Hermanus Wine & Food Fair in August, all the while soaking up plenty of live entertainment.
The Clanwilliam Wild Flower Show is a flora fest that also features lively concerts, art exhibitions and hiking activities each September.
World-class comedy comes to Nando’s Cape Town Comedy Festival in October. Score a ticket to the ‘Best of the Fest’ if you fancy splitting your sides.
When To Go
Each area has its own distinct climate, but most provinces veer towards a Mediterranean-style climate. Expect 27ºC (80ºF) summers and 12ºC (54ºF) winters.
The months of March and April are a great time to visit the Western Cape. Temperatures are mild and the flora is in full bloom.
Visit in June/July to see the snow-capped peaks of Mount Boland and Mount Cedarberg.
InterCape buses are a great way to explore. They’re decently priced and have a good number of routes.
Metrorail trains are best for longer trips.
Some places on the Western Cape aren’t accessible by public transport, so hiring a car may be a better option.
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