Cape Town

Cape Peninsula Scenic Drive

There are most probably only a hand full of scenic routes around the world that can hold a candle to the roads that circle the Cape Peninsula to form the Cape Peninsula Scenic Drive. From the winding M3 route through leafy southern suburbs, the vistas of Boyes drive above Muizenberg, the splendour of Chapman’s Peak between Noordhoek and Hout Bay to the last stretch along the Atlantic Seaboard past Llandudno through Campsbay, Seapoint and then full circle back to the City of Cape Town, this is a true “bucket list sightseeing experience”.

Cape Scenic Route - Self Drive or Bus option

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There are many ways of experiencing the Cape Scenic Route. A popular way of seeing the more northerly section is taking the Cape Town City Sight Seeing Bus around to Kirstenbosch, Hout Bay and the Atlantic Seaboard.

Each year around early March, the famous Cape Town Cycle Tour is held roughly along the route described above. You can see the cycle tour map and get more official information on Cape Town Cycle Tour here

Great stop overs along the Cape Peninsula Scenic Drive route include the following:

Cape Point Nature Reserve 

See a Antelope, Chacma Baboons, unique fynbos vegetation and dramatic land and seascape vista. A restaurant, curio shops and funicular railway ride to the top of the main Cape Point view platform, ensure a great afternoon’s entertainment. Here is some more great info about Cape Point and the Nature Reserve 

Simon’s Town – history, culture, cuisine and collectables

This characterful little town has the charm of a classic British seaside village from the 1800’s with beautiful architecture from that era, witness to the influence of the Empire, after the Royal Navy seized Simon’s Town from the Dutch in 1814. Wikipedia has a great list of Simon’s Town heritage sites 

Simon’s Town also has many great antique and art shops, with some great eateries dotted all round. A prominent feature is of course the Naval Base which hosts a unique Submarine tour. Find out more right here 

Another unique Simon’s Town attraction is the Warrior Toy Museum which holds a valuable collection of collectable antique and more recent toys for boys and girls, both young and old. See detail here

A prime attraction on the outskirts of Simon’s Town is of course the African Penguin colony of Boulders Beach. The beach forms part of the Table Mountain National Park Marine Protected Area and an entry fee is charged to the beach and penguin colony enclosure. Read more here about this great, “bucket list” experience! 

Another charming experience is to take the Metro Rail train to Simon’s Town along the seaside railway line, either starting from Cape Town station, or from any of the coastal stations, like Muizenberg, or Kalk Bay. See the Metro Rail train timetables here (scroll down to “Area South” for Simon’s Town’s PDF download) 

A historic steam train trip to Simon’s Town runs twice a month, from Cape Town on Sunday mornings and return in the afternoon. Booking well in advance is advised and you can book via this link 

Boyes Drive Scenic Pass and lookout Points

Beautiful scenic lookout stops can be made along this short elevated route above Muizenberg and Kalk Bay. It can get quite crowded at times, especially during the whale season when Southern Right Whales come toe False Bay to Calf and nurse their young between August and December. Whales can be seen breaching, when they launch straight up and almost completely out of the water and then come splashing back down with a thunderous crash – a special treat that never looses its thrill factor.

Kalk Bay – Culture and Cuisine awaits

This quaint little village boasts a great selection of antique Shops, book shops, art galleries and restaurants and is well worth a visit. Check out this great blog for the latest info on the shops, eateries and a whole lot more.

Chapman’s Peak Drive – a highlight of the Cape Peninsula Scenic Drive

Originally built in the early 1900’s and opened for traffic on 6 May 1922, Chapman’s Peak drive allowed the direct Atlantic seaboard side connection of Noordhoek and Houtbay. This pass is definitely a one of the top highlights of the Cape Peninsula Scenic Drive. It also offered a rather exciting drive with most spectacular views of the Atlantic ocean and Hout Bay below. The magnificent pass, which hugs the mountain side with sheer cliffs above and below, along most of its 9 km and 114 curves, can be enjoyed to this day. This is all possible only due to concerted efforts to save the pass from extinction threatened by rock fall hazards and deterioration. Today the upgraded and well maintained pass employs 1.6 km of catch fences, a 150m long half tunnel and various engineering strategies like terrain modeling and various concrete canopies to protect the people and their vehicles below. Rockfall hazards still exist in heavy weather though and the pass is therefore not always open. An affordable toll is levied for passage through “Chappies” as it is affectionately know. Get up to the minute open/closed status, other essential info and more on the history and engineering of Chapmans Peak Drive on this website

Houtbay – much more than just a fishing village

Houtbay is a working fishing village, with the harbour and waterfront development boasting great restaurants, offering seafood and other specialties. It is a popular tourist destination with many B&B’s and holiday facilities. Boat rides to view the seal colonies on nearby Duiker Island are very popular. A great variety of arts and crafts abound and the Hout Bay Harbour Market with its great art, crafts and food stalls, has become a popular weekend attraction.

The World of Birds in Hout bay is well worth a visit. Here one can walk through 100 spacious landscaped aviaries and marvel at over 3000 animals and birds representing over 400 different species. Most of these have been rescued from certain demise. The World of Birds relies on public funding so do go and support them – you will not regret it! Have a look at The World of Birds’ website

Read more interesting facts on Houtbay here

Campsbay & Clifton – world class beaches on the Cape Peninsula Scenic Drive

Lying on the last stretch of the route back to Cape Town and just a few minutes from Bayview House, Campsbay Beach and the four distinct white sandy sections of Clifton are arguably the most renowned beaches in South Africa. The suburb of Campsbay offers great shopping and top restaurants, while the beachfront facilities are world class. Definitely the right spot for walking on the beach, a game of valley ball, or simply shaking out your towel on the white sandy surface and worshipping the sun!   

Bayview House is an excellent base from which to embark on your Cape Peninsula Scenic Drive adventure.  The location is  just beneath Lions head and practically in the shadow of Table Mountain.  It overlooks Cape Town City Bowl, the V&A Waterfront and Table Bay with the rest of the Cape Peninsula just waiting to be explored.  

Table Mountain Information

A mountain is a mountain is but a mountain – unless it is Table Mountain of course. Recently voted one of the seven natural wonders of the world, Table Mountain is the perfect backdrop to the tourist city of Cape Town.  Below we provide essential Table Mountain Information for those who are looking forward to be visiting this natural wonder.

View from the Top of Table Mountain

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Thousands flock to the top of Table Mountain each year to enjoy the natural beauty and awesome views.

Table Mountain Unesco World Heritage Site

Cape Town is arguably one of the world’s most attractive and most popular tourist destinations. The Table Mountain experience is certainly a must on the Cape Town tourist’s itinerary. Table Mountain is located in the Cape Floral Region Protected Area, a UNESCO World heritage site and forms an important part of South African National Parks’ extensive protected nature areas.

Table Mountain Information Links
For more info on the UNESCO World Heritage site see this link  
You can also learn more about South African National Parks

Table Mountain Aerial Cable Way

Millions of people have climbed the slopes of Table Mountain. The view over Cape Town, Table Bay, Robben Island, Lions Head and the expanses of the Atlantic seaboard is certainly worth the effort. At the time of this writing over 24 million people have opted instead to take the famous Table Mountain Aerial cableway to the top of this notable landmark. * Note that the cableway will be closed between 27 July and 9 August 2015 for annual maintenance.
For ticket sales and more Table Mountain Information follow this link

Hiking Table Mountain and Lions Head

Table Mountain offers hundreds of hiking and climbing routes, all with nuances of natural and scenic beauty that rival most of the top locations around the globe. With a unique combination of flowering fynbos, proteas and interesting mammals such as the Cape Rock Hyrax, or Dassie. The Rock Hyrax is a furry rodent sized critter which surprisingly, shares a common evolutionary ancestor with the Elephant and the Sea Cow, or Manatee.  Most of Table Mountain’s hikes are accessible during all seasons and many information and map sources are available for navigating the popular routes. Many routes can be treacherous though and unless you are very experienced it is advisable to join a guided group instead of going it alone. Rock climbers and free-climbers also rate Table Mountain with its wide range of difficulty grades as a must on the bucket list.

Lions Head, which looks down on Bayview House, is a very popular climbing option as it can easily be enjoyed during a half day excursion. The route is generally accessible to young and old of moderate fitness with just a few chain assisted inclines along the way.  A slightly longer, alternative route, also offers the option to bypass the chain assisted climbing sections. From the top of Lions Head one can enjoy unsurpassed 360 degree views of Cape Town City, Table Mountain, Robben Island and Table Bay. Lions Head is also famous for the night hikes organised during full moon and other brightly moonlit dates.

Bayview House, the renowned guest house, is of course located practically in the shadow of Lions Head and Table Mountain. Bayview’s guests can take advantage of its prime location, by hiking from the guest house, or take a few minutes’ transport to get to the start of the top hiking trails nearby.  Christine, the owner will be glad to provide visitors with additional Table Mountain Information and offer insights into a myriad of Cape Town’s wide variety of tourism highlights.

Cape Town Waterfront

The V&A Waterfront, also known as the Cape Town Waterfront, is home to a myriad of great attractions, restaurants, entertainment and shopping experiences. With its setting in Table Bay Harbour, framed by the skyline of Cape Town City and Table Mountain, it is no wonder that the Cape Town Waterfront has become one of South Africa’s most visited attractions.

The development was started in 1988 around the historic harbour basins, named during the 18th century after Queen Victoria and husband Prince Albert of the old British Colony.

Today, with extensive residential development and hotels, many call the Cape Town Waterfront home, while thousands visit the area on a daily basis to enjoy the many attractions and sights.

Swing Bridge at V&A Waterfront Clock Tower

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The swing bridge periodically opens to allow larger vessels to enter the harbour basin.

The following list presents some of the top attractions around the V&A Waterfront: 

Two Oceans Aquarium – This is one of the top aquarium installations in the world with many great activities and exhibits to explore. The facility is especially child friendly with many hands-on activities, like the Penguin Experience and Touch Pool among the favourites. Feeding Times are also very popular, especially at the shark tanks.Visitors can further opt for a 90 minute catamaran boat ride around Table Bay to experience an eco-education cruise, whilst looking out for sunfish, whales, dolphins and seals. A brand new predator and shark exhibit will be opening soon and will feature a 10 meter long by 4 meter wide acrylic tunnel which promises stunning and intimate viewing of these fascinating sea creatures.

You can read more here >> Two Oceans Aquarium 
Also check out the 2 Oceans Aquarium’s Facebook page for updates on events and the launch of the new predator exhibit. 

Watershed Crafts – A huge variety of arts and crafts await at the Watershed Craft Market. This recently upgraded facility offers design, art and craft lovers some of the top African, South African and a international creations. Health and wellness offerings, ranging from Shiatsu, Reiki, natural beauty and foot treatments.
See more here > Watershed Crafts 

Market on the Warf – Just around the corner from the new Watershed Craft Market is the famous V&A Market on the Warf. The market features a collection of top purveyors of delectable gastronomic treats. Freshly roast coffee, chocolatier’s creations, craft beers, Champagne and oysters, Pizza, Fish & Chips and many more, share the culinary stage at this popular Waterfront food market.
Have a look at the Market on the Warf website for more info.

Cape Town Waterfront Restaurants – The V&A Waterfront has become one of South Africa’s most notable culinary centres with a selection of over 80 restaurants. The restaurants range from upmarket bistros, specialty eateries and cultural food experiences, to well known family restaurant chains.
Here is a great listing with more info on each

Waterfront Retail Shops – over 450 retail shops makes the V&A Waterfront one of the country’s most sought after shopping destinations. From top international brands to unique local offerings, there is literally something for every taste and need. Movie theatres and performing arts venues provide the latest in entertainment for a wide variety of tastes.

Entertainment and things to do – The Cape Town Waterfront has become famous for regular events and free entertainment, with bands and other performers spicing up the atmosphere all around. The Victoria and Alfred Waterfront also facilitates many adventure tours and must see exhibits, like the Springbok Rugby museum which is a permanent feature, or visiting exhibitions like that of LEGO brick sculptures by New-York artist Nathan Sawaya which was held recently.
To see what is coming soon to the Waterfront, check out this link 

Top Guest Facility Bayview House, is situated  just a few minutes drive from the V&A Waterfront.  Bayview offers guests a quality of service and personal care, that is reflected only by the best that Cape Town and top facilities of the V&A Waterfront have on offer.