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17 Best Day Trips From Cape Town South Africa

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When it comes to finding the best day trips from Cape Town, South Africa, you’re in luck! 

Cape Town is one of my favorite cities in the world. Other than the fact that it is breathtakingly beautiful between the ocean views and mountain peaks, there are a lot of fun things to do in Cape Town

But, more importantly for this article, is that there are plenty of great day trips around Cape Town as well you can enjoy. 

How to Spend 3 Days in Cape Town, South Africa | 3 Day Cape Town Itinerary

In fact, I’ve come up with 17 best Cape Town day trip ideas! This means that you can easily base yourself in Cape Town, spend a few days in the city, and then embark on some epic day tours. 

In fact, on our first trip to South Africa, we did just that! We spent 5 days in Cape Town and took a couple of day trips during that time in between getting to know the city. 

So to help you pick out some incredible Cape Town day tours for yourself, let’s talk about them below! 

Cape Town waterfront from V&A Waterfront

17 Best Day Trips From Cape Town South Africa

Whether you enjoy wildlife spotting or wine sipping, these are hands down the best day trips from Cape Town South Africa you’ll be sure to enjoy.

1. Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden

Rhodes Dr, Newlands, Cape Town

Kirstenbosch Gardens outside of Cape Town- 3 Days in Cape Town, South Africa

Okay, this is technically more of a day trip around Cape Town, as this large garden is at the base of Table Mountain and in the city. 

But you could spend quite a lot of time here! For starters, the views of the gardens and Table Mountain are absolutely stunning! You’ll want to enjoy time spent exploring these massive gardens.

Make sure to visit the Fragrance Garden, Peninsula Garden, Proteas, Fynbos Garden, and Sculpture Garden, as well as walk along the Tree Canopy Walkway! 

Aside from the gardens, there are also several trails for hiking including the Silverstone Trail (7.75 km), the Yellowwood Trail (3 km), Stinkwood Trail (1.45 km), and more! 

For those who enjoy birdwatching, this is the place for it! With so much local flora, you’ll love spotting the birds among it. 

And if you’re there in the summertime, they also host concerts here! 

To make a whole day of it, be sure to pack a picnic lunch to enjoy during your time there, or you can stop by the Kirstenbosch Tea Room. 

Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden Hours: Daily from 8 am-7 pm during the summer (September-March) and 8 am-6 pm during the winter (April-August). Conservatory is open daily from 9 am-5 pm. 

Admission: R220 (about $12 USD) for non-resident adults. 

2. Table Mountain

Tafelberg Rd, Gardens, Cape Town

Platteklip Gorge on Table Mountain

Again, yes this is also in Cape Town, but Table Mountain National Park is really big. So while yes, you could take the cable car up the mountain and enjoy the views before returning, for an epic Cape Town day trip, hiking up Table Mountain is amazing! 

Note that this is a challenging hike, though, especially if you choose to hike up Platteklip Gorge. This is the most popular route for hiking up Table Mountain, especially as it begins on the same road as the cable car. 

It is mostly like climbing up a large staircase most of the way up. This trail also takes about 1.5-2 hours to make your way up the mountain, and you will NEED to pack plenty of sunscreen, water, and snacks.

Chris and Kat at the top of Table Mountain
Don’t let the smiles fool you! We were struggling when we made it to the top!

Trust me on this one. On our first trip to Cape Town, we only brought 16 oz of water for both of us and it was a huge mistake. Thinking we’d be fine as we’re runners who run frequently in the heat, we were quickly humbled.

We ran out of water about a quarter of the way up, and thankfully a kind person gave us a large bottle to share to make our way to the top. Once there, we ran to the cafe to grab more water, sports drinks, and snacks. 

So pack some snacks, bring tons of water (at least 2 liters per person!), and pack sunscreen. Even on cooler days, the sun shines brightly and you’re in direct sunlight in the gorge. 

View of Lion's Head and city bowl, Cape Town, South Africa

But there are actually several ways to hike up Table Mountain, and you can explore the national park while up there. Some hikes take between 3-4 hours total, while others can take up to 6+ hours depending on your fitness level.

Other hiking routes include Skeleton Gorge, Kasteelspoort Hiking Trail, and India Venster.

And for those who prefer not to hike Table Mountain alone, here is a hike with an expert guide. The guide will give you information about the area and wildlife, and they’ll know exactly how to get up the mountain and when to take breaks. 

Book it here!

Cable Car Hours:  Hours vary and closures occur due to wind/fog. Check here for daily times

Cable Car Admission: R420 (about $22 USD) for the morning round-trip or R360 (about $19 USD) for afternoon. One way tickets are R240 (about $13 USD). 

3. Robben Island

Robben Island Cape Town

Located off the coast near Cape Town, this island is most famous for being the place where the former president of South Africa, Nelson Mandela, was jailed for 18 of his 27 years in prison. 

It now symbolizes freedom from oppression and celebrates democracy. And you can visit the former prison-now-turned museum. 

A guided tour here begins with the ferry ride over to the island, followed by a tour of historical sites. Visit the prison where several South African freedom fighters were held and even see Mandela’s cell. 

Book it here!

As this tour is about 3-4 hours, you can even combine it with a private Cape Point tour and see the penguins. Book it here!

Robben Island Museum Hours: Monday-Sunday from 8 am-5 pm. 

Admission: R600 (about $32 USD) for non-South African adults.

4. Visiting Constantia is One of the Best Day Trips From Cape Town

Steenberg rose sparkling wine

You’ve explored the day trips around Cape Town, but let’s get a little out of the city a tiny bit and into wine country! 

Did you know that there are quite a few wine areas outside of Cape Town? Constantia is the closest, and it is actually a suburb of Cape Town. 

It is only about a 20-minute drive to some of the vineyards here from downtown Cape Town! 

Constantia is not only one of the most prestigious suburbs of Cape Town, but it is the oldest wine-growing region of South Africa’s wine country! Some of the first vines were planted here around 1692!

So while over here in the US, we’re finally starting to see more South African wines in wine shops and on grocery store shelves, they’ve been making wine for a long time. 

So rent a car or even take Ubers to take you around to the vineyards in this area like Groot Constantia, Constantia Uitsig Wine Estate, Beau Constantia, and even Steenberg. 

Groot Constantia vineyards

Some of these wine farms, like Groot Constantia, are the oldest in the country. And they’re incredibly stunning to boot. 

Notable wines here include Sauviginon Blanc and Bordeaux-type blended wines. 

Or, if you want to explore Constantia during a day seeing the city, you can just book a ticket on the Cape Town Hop-On Hop-Off Bus Tour to see places like Groot Constantia and Beau Constantia, where it makes stops on the Wine Bus Tour. 

Book it here!

5. Sip Wine in Stellenbosch 

Annandale wines

Want to get a bit further from the city? Then definitely check out Stellenbosch. This is one of the most popular wine regions in South Africa. The town here is very beautiful, and there are plenty of great places to eat and museums to visit. 

The Stellenbosch Village Museum includes 4 historical houses you can visit and feel like you’re stepping back in time. 

But aside from museums, you’ll definitely want to go wine tasting. Wines grown here include Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Syrah, and Chardonnay. 

cape winelands one-day itinerary

Aside from these varietals, you’ll definitely want to try Pinotage in Stellenbosch. This is a South African varietal that was made here and is a cross between Pinot Noir and Cinsaut grapes. 

Some notable wineries to check out here include Kanonkop, especially for its Pinotage, Delaire Graff Estate, Rust en Vrede Wine Estate, and Annandale Wines. 

You can certainly do this on your own (just have a DD) and rent a car, or you could take a tour of the area with transportation included. 

Here is a great day tour option of 4 estates in Stellenbosch! It also includes pairings with cheese, chocolate, and meats. 

Book it here!

6. Paarl

White wine at Bocca

Of all the wine regions outside of Cape Town, Paarl can be the most overlooked. This means you’ll have fewer people exploring this area compared to Stellenbosch, Constantia, or even Franschhoek! 

But Paarl is also great for wine tasting as well as golfing and hiking in Limietberg Nature Reserve. 

Wines made in Paarl include Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinotage, Syrah, Chardonnay, and Chenin Blanc. 

Some places to visit in Paarl include Bacco Estate Winery, Nederburg Wines, Landskroon Wines, and even the Spice Route Destination. 

While I couldn’t find any exclusive Paarl tours, you can either book a private driver, or book this tour that includes visits to estates in Stellenbosch, Paarl, and Francschoek. 

Book it here!

7. Franschhoek is One of My Favorite Day Trips From Cape Town

Franschhoek scenery

Franschhoek is known as the food and wine capital of South Africa, which means you’re definitely going to want to head to a nice restaurant to chow down here! 

While I recommend Protege for its tasting menu with wine, there are plenty of great restaurants in the town of Franschhoek to enjoy! 

Aside from that, this is another great wine region in South Africa. This is also the area of South Africa known for its sparkling wines. This is where to find the iconic Cap Classique sparkling wine made from Chardonnay and Pinot Noir.

Boekenhoutskloof with the family

Other varietals grown here include Syrah and Cabernet Sauvignon. 

Some great wineries here include Haute Cabriere and Colmant for their Cap Classiques, Boekenhoutskloof for bold reds, Leeu Passant Winery, and La Motte Wine Farm. 

Again, there isn’t an exclusive tour of Franschhoek from Cape Town, but you can either hire a private driver or book this tour that I mentioned above that stops in Stellenbosch, Paarl, and Franschhoek.  

Book it here!

Alternatively, you can also just rent a car and drive, but please have a DD. 

8. Franschhoek Wine Tram

Franschhoek Wine Tram 2

Okay, another alternative to driving around or taking a tour of the wineries in the area is actually to book the Franschhoek Wine Tram

This is an adorable tram and bus hop-on hop-off system that takes you around to various places in the Franschhoek Wine Valley to taste wine without having to worry about driving between spots. 

Now I’ll admit, this is best done if you plan to stay the night in Franschhoek so you can just stumble home afterward. However, you can also have a DD drive to/from Cape Town as well. 

Franschhoek Wine Tram tracks

To experience the Franschhoek Wine Tram, I suggest purchasing tickets in advance! This can be done on their website, and you must pick a line. I’ll be honest, we went on the Orange Line and LOVED it. 

It was such a fun time stopping off at different wineries including Plaisir, Noble Hill, Bacco Wine Estate, and Solms Delta. This line also includes a stop at the famous wine estate of Babylonstoren! 

This is one of the best tours from Cape Town! 

9. Hout Bay 

Ever wanted to get up close and personal with some seals? What about enjoying some super fresh fish and chips? 

Hout Bay is only about 30 minutes from Cape Town and is a great place to enjoy this and more! 

In fact, you can even book this tour in Hout Bay to snorkel with seals

While there aren’t many tours that include transportation to just Hout Bay, this would be a great place to drive from Cape Town if you were to rent a car! 

10. Cape of Good Hope

Kat and Chris at the Cape of Good Hope

For one of the best day trips from Cape Town, you’re going to want to book a Cape of Good Hope Tour

Enjoy the best of the Cape Peninsula including stops to see the iconic Chapman’s Peak, Hout Bay, Cape Point and the Cape of Good Hope, and Boulders Beach to see the penguin colony. 

This is a fantastic way to see the Cape of Good Hope and perhaps spot wildlife in the Cape of Good Hope Nature Reserve- we’ve seen ostriches both times we’ve been! 

Book the tour here!

Ostrich at the Cape of Good Hope

11. Take Photos or Surf in Muizenberg

Day Trips From Cape Town | Muizenberg Beach

Just about a half-hour from Cape Town is Muizenberg. This area is well-known for its sandy beach with the most iconic and colorful beach huts. 

Yes, you can certainly take photos by the beach and enjoy the perfect beach day outside of Cape Town here. 

But what is more, this area is known for surfing. So if you want to surf, or learn to surf, there are a few places to do that including Gary’s Surf School, Surf Emporium, and Soft Surf School. 

Many of the schools here offer lessons for beginners and even intermediate surfers. 

Again, there aren’t a lot of tours direct from hotels in Cape Town for this, but you can drive here to participate! 

12. Go on a Safari! 

elephants on safari

While Cape Town isn’t a big safari destination (that would be near Kruger National Park in the north), it doesn’t mean you can’t go on a day trip to see wildlife at a game reserve. 

In this epic day tour from Cape Town, you can potentially spot the Big 5. Aquila Game Reserve is only 2 hours from Cape Town, and this tour includes transportation, a 3-hour game drive, lunch, water, and a welcome drink. 

Spot leopards, rhinos, buffalos, lions, and elephants during the most incredible time out on safari. Then, you’ll be transported back to Cape Town to enjoy the city in time for dinner. 

Book it here!

13. Get Up Close and Personal With Sharks

Shark Cage Diving 2

Want to get your adrenaline pumping? Then venture over to Gansbaai where you can take a boat out near Dyer Island, get in a cage, and dive with sharks! 

While this area used to be known for great white sharks, sadly, orcas have hunted and chased them off in recent years. However, there is still a chance to spot them. In fact, on our recent visit, Chris saw 2!

But you’ll also spot other sharks like bronze whaler sharks as well as other marine life like sting rays and even a seal or two! 

This day trip is fantastic with transportation to and from Cape Town, and you have a marine biologist on the boat! 

Book it here!

14. One of the Best Day Trips From Cape Town: Marine Big 5 Watching and Whale Watching From Cape Town

Southern right whales

On my recent visit to South Africa, I chose to do this excursion in Gansbaai rather than shark cage diving and it was incredible! 

For starters, you try to see the Marine Big 5: sharks, whales, seals, penguins, and dolphins. 

And while we didn’t get to see any dolphins, we did see sharks near where they shark cage dive. We also got to see penguins swimming in the water as well as thousands of seals on Dyer Island! 

Seals on Dyer Island

But to top it off, we also spotted 2 southern right whales as well as bryde’s whales. It was seriously so cool to see these magnificent creatures in the wild! Both my mom and I were so pleased with this tour. 

This tour includes an option to book transportation to and from Cape Town, as well as a light lunch and a marine biologist onboard. 

Penguins in the water

Book it here!

15. Cape Agulhas

While many are familiar with the Cape of Good Hope, did you know that isn’t actually the southernmost point of South Africa?

That distinction goes to Cape Agulhas. This is where the two oceans meet: the Indian Ocean and the Atlantic Ocean. 

And you can visit this on a day trip from Cape Town! This tour stops in Hermanus for whale watching as well as Cape Agulhas to see where the oceans meet and see one of the oldest lighthouses. 

This tour also includes a stop to see one of the largest penguin colonies in Africa. 

Book it here! 

Penguins at Boulders Beach6

16. Gordon’s Bay

Located about 45 minutes from Cape Town, on the other side of False Bay, is the charming town of Gordon’s Bay. 

It is actually known as another suburb of Cape Town, but this is a fun area to explore for both hiking in places like Steenbras River Gorge nearby as well as relaxing on the beach. 

It is actually a great place to visit during the summertime if you want to get away from the more crowded beaches around Cape Town. 

You’ll want to rent a car for this day trip! 

Camps Bay in Cape Town | South Africa honeymoon guide | Cape Town Honeymoon | Fun Things to Do in Cape Town For Couples

17. Jonkershoek Nature Reserve

If you’re renting a car and want to go hiking, then head to Jonkershoek Nature Reserve. Located about an hour away from the city, you’ll be close to Stellenbosch here. 

So you know you’ll have some stunning views of the vineyards during your hike as well as lovely mountain peaks. 

There are plenty of hiking trails here including Jonkershoek Waterfalls Day Hiking Trail, Kurktrekker Waterfall Viewpoint, Canary Path via Jonkershoek Trail, Twin Peaks, and more!  

It is recommended to bring plenty of water, snacks, and sunscreen, and go early in the day to stay cooler. 

Also, some of these hikes can be quite challenging, so be prepared! 

These are the 17 best day trips from Cape Town, South Africa that you’ll love! 

When to Visit Cape Town

Colmant in the Winelands

Cape Town is great to visit year-round, but for beach days and better weather overall, you’ll want to visit in the summertime. This is between October and April. 

Note that winter isn’t so bad for visiting, as Cape Town doesn’t get terribly cold. However, it does tend to be more rainy and overcast, which could affect your day trips from Cape Town like hiking. 

We’ve been to Cape Town both in May and September and both times were great. This is more shoulder-season and the hotel prices were reasonable and it wasn’t as crowded as the high summer months. 

However, depending on the day tours from Cape Town you’d like to choose, that may affect when you visit. 

For example, the best time to see southern right whales is between June through October. However, if you want to have a beach day, you’ll want to aim for December-March. 

Where to Stay in Cape Town

Wine at our Cape Town hotel

Here are some places to stay in Cape Town depending on your budget. 

Budget: Blue View Village and Apartments

This is in Camps Bay and has amazing views of the sea. Plus, it has free parking, a pool, and you’re within walking distance to the beach! 

Book it here!

Mid-Range: Radisson RED V&A Waterfront, Cape Town

This is located on the V&A Waterfront, making it easy to walk around to several places in the area. Rooms here have great views, and they have a rooftop pool and bar. 

Book it here!

Luxury: The Silo Hotel

Built in a renovated old grain siloh complex, this is a luxury hotel. It is located on the V&A Waterfront above the Zeitz MOCCAA Contemporary Art Museum. Enjoy the rooftop pool, spa, wall-to-ceiling windows with amazing views, luxurious rooms, amazing dining options, and a balcony. 

Book it here! 

Getting to Cape Town

Neighbourgoods Market Entrance

Getting to Cape Town is pretty easy as there is a big airport here. You can either fly in from Johannesburg, or there are even a few airlines that fly into Cape Town from the US like Delta from Atlanta, and Newark and Washington with United. 

For the best flight prices, check Skyscanner

Other Tips

Here are a few tips before you embark on enjoying the best places to visit outside of Cape Town! 

  1. For rental cars, we love checking Skyscanner. Find the best deals before you book on Skyscanner. 
  2. Be vigilant. I feel like I say this all the time, but pickpocketing and theft do happen. Just keep an eye on your things and carry your purse in front of you. I always carry my anti-theft crossbody bag to prevent getting pickpocketed.
  3. Don’t wear flashy things. Same as above: don’t wear fancy jewelry. This will make you more of a target for muggings or pickpocketing.
  4. South Africa uses the South African Rand. Currently, that equates to about R18.77 per $1 USD, R13.81 to $1 CAD, R12.39 to $1 AUD, R23.63 per £1, and R20.26 per €1.
  5. Want more travel ideas for South Africa? Check out these posts:

Which of these places to visit outside of Cape Town would you most like to go to? Which are your favorite Cape Town day trips?

Pin it here!

These are the best day trips from Cape Town South Africa | Boulders Beach | Cape of Good Hope | Franschhoek South Africa | Stellenbosch South Africa | Cape Town Day Trips | Safari From Cape Town | Table Mountain Cape Town | Robin Island Cape Town | Constantia Cape Town | Franschhoek Wine Tram | Shark Cage Diving Cape Town | Whale Watching Cape Town | Things to Do in Cape Town | Getaways From Cape Town
These are the best day trips from Cape Town South Africa | Boulders Beach | Cape of Good Hope | Franschhoek South Africa | Stellenbosch South Africa | Cape Town Day Trips | Safari From Cape Town | Table Mountain Cape Town | Robin Island Cape Town | Constantia Cape Town | Franschhoek Wine Tram | Shark Cage Diving Cape Town | Whale Watching Cape Town | Things to Do in Cape Town | Getaways From Cape Town
These are the best day trips from Cape Town South Africa | Boulders Beach | Cape of Good Hope | Franschhoek South Africa | Stellenbosch South Africa | Cape Town Day Trips | Safari From Cape Town | Table Mountain Cape Town | Robin Island Cape Town | Constantia Cape Town | Franschhoek Wine Tram | Shark Cage Diving Cape Town | Whale Watching Cape Town | Things to Do in Cape Town | Getaways From Cape Town

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