Day 306: Cape Town Area Highlights

In the midst of working alongside Lorna and Marty (When People Make a Difference), we were also able to spend our free time exploring the beauty of Cape Town, the beaches, and a few gorgeous wineries.  Here are a few photos from the beauty we experienced:

Boulder’s Beach:  This area is gorgeous, with green/blue waters and tall mountainous backdrops.  Boulder’s Beach inherited its name because of the enormous granite boulders you’ll find on the sheltered beach areas.  It is also one of only two areas off the coast of Cape Town where you can stop in to see the Penguins (see South African Penguins) up close and personal, in their own habitat.

The view from Boulder’s Beach

Below is a photo from Betty’s Bay, where you can also visit the penguins without the massive crowds you may find at Boulder’s Beach.  If you enjoy wildlife and more particularly, penguins, then here is a place where you can just sit and observe them in their habitat.

Beautiful penguins near Betty’s Bay

Here are the famous colorful beach houses that sit on a beautiful, very long stretch of beach in False Bay, Muizenberg.  This is a great beach area and we saw tons of kitesurfers on the day of our visit, as the winds were very strong.  False Bay got it’s name because when explorers and traders arrived, they mistook this extremely large bay as Cape Point.

False Bay, Muizenberg

All around the surrounding Cape Town area, you will find many winery-filled towns, two of which are Franschhoek and Stellenbosch.  Both Franschhoek and Stellenbosch are fun, relaxed places to visit.   They are very different from each other but both have beautiful settings, delicious meals, and outstanding wine.

Franschhoek is small, intimate, and friendly, with almost everything centered on one big main street.  It caters primarily to tourists, and offers great restaurants, cafes, and bistros. The surrounding areas also offer a number of fantastic wineries.  Parking was not a challenge, as there were plenty of spots available, and little traffic.  It was very easy to navigate and a great stop on our way to the Hermanus area from Wellington.

Stellenbosch is much larger, with even finer dining, cafes, bistros, and even art galleries.  Stellenbosch does not cater solely to tourists, but to the local people as well as university students, so you will find a lot more variety, as well as affordable pricing.  The surrounding winelands are just stunning, and it was a ton of fun exploring some of the older, more historical, charming wineries.  One of our favorites was Vergelegen Estates, with its 300 year old Oak Trees.

Vergelegen and its 300 year old trees

Vergelegen and its 300 year old trees

Under the Oaks is one of the first places we visited with our dear new friends Attie and Wena, (the parents of our friends in Chicago). It is just beautiful, with green rolling land, horses and cows in the distance, and a gorgeous mountain background.  The wood fired pizza was some of the best we’d ever had, and the setting spectacular.

Below is one of the pretty vistas we got to enjoy while driving around the Wellington area that day.  Wellington is just north of Cape Town and it’s worth a little exploration.

Such dramatic scenery with beautiful spring flowers blooming!

If you have time, take a day to visit Kirstenbosch National Botanical Gardens, the “most beautiful garden in Africa.”  It’s lovely, quiet, and very relaxing.  My recommendation is to pack a delicious picnic lunch, pick a gorgeous spot (perhaps near the water), and just enjoy the day.  Also, make sure to take a walk on the Tree Canopy Walkway, beginning on the forest floor, and extending high above the canopy for spectacular views of the surrounding mountains and colorful gardens.

Cape Town is a lovely destination for so many reasons.  I feel like this post could have gone on and on and included so many more photos, but I’ll stop for now.  Thanks for taking the time to read.

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