Located at the southwestern tip of South Africa, Cape Town sports beautiful bays, picture-perfect lakes, and mesmerizing farmlands. It’s famous for its incredible landscapes, rich history, and magnificent wineries and vineyards.
While there are plenty of breathtaking locations inside Cape Town, you’d be surprised to learn there is plenty more right outside that is a traveller’s heaven. Undoubtedly, the best thing about the ‘Mother City’ is the beauty and nature that surrounds it.
Everything is within a close radius of the city: from endless wine tasting to underwater diving amongst the seals!
Find out the best day trips from Cape Town, how to get there quickly and what to do there.
Things to do in Cape Town in one day
1. Cape Point
Cape Point is a must-visit destination in South Africa, located 56 km from Cape Town. It takes a total of an hour and 20 minutes to drive to reach Cape Point by car.
As you drive towards the beautiful National Park, roll your windows up, or the baboons might pay you an unwelcome visit. Moreover, pack some light meals or fruits to avoid shelling out extra cash on snacks.
Cape Point covers an expansive area that encompasses several trails, diving sites, and exotic beaches. You might need a whole day or even more to explore the scenic beauty.
You don’t want to miss any of the following places once you have entered the breathtaking Cape Point Peninsula.
- Cape of Good Hope
- Boulder’s Beach
- Boulders Penguin Colony
- Diaz Beach
Once you are done exploring the beautiful beaches, the scenery, the wildlife, and the top of the peninsula, make a stop at the Cape Point Vineyards to taste one of the best wines in the world.
2. Cape Winelands
The Winelands of Africa promises the most irresistible scenery in the world along with one of the best wines and mouth-watering food.
If you are in Cape Town, there is no reason to miss out on the iconic Winelands located only 30 to 40 minutes out of the town. While there are plenty of destinations to visit in Cape Winelands, you can go through a few famous ones together if you have a day to spare.
The most popular ones are Stellenbosch, Franschhoek, and Constantina – each with its own set of quaint little cafes, vineyards, and stellar beauty.
The best way to go through the Wineland is ‘The Wine Tram’ that takes you from vineyard to vineyard without a hassle. However, if you are travelling with young friends, take a Wine Tuk Tuk Tour to enjoy a much more relaxed and fun adventure–sipping wine along the way.
3. Hermanus Cliff Path
The Hermanus Cliff Path is one of the town’s most stunning locations, widely famous for whale watching and gorgeous views. The path runs along for almost 12 km and is excellent for hikers, bikers, and walkers alike.
Truly, it is also one of the most beautiful driving routes in the world, brazed with greenery, water, and the faint smell of the ocean.
4. Hermanus Whale Watching
Hermanus is also ranked among the top 12 best whale-watching destinations in the world-by-World Wildlife Foundation (WWF). The options are endless – take a walk, a boat, or even board a flight to view one of nature’s iconic mammals in their true galore.
One of the best locations in Hermanus for seeing the whales closely is Siever’s point. The Voelklip and Grotto beaches are also famous for spotting these large mammals in their habitat.
You’d be astonished to see that you can spot the whales as close as five meters from where you are standing at some points. That’s a moment you shall cherish forever on your best day trips from the Cape Town itinerary.
5. The Old Harbour Open Air Museum
The Old Harbour Open-Air Museum in Hermanus is another sight you shouldn’t miss. The once famous fishing village has been preserved in its cultural heritage in its original form.
The small neighborhood feels like you have crossed over to another world.
6. Pearly Beach
If you are looking to mingle with seals, penguins, and dolphins, take the sea kayaking trip along Walker’s Bay. Similarly, if horses are your preferred ride, head over to Pearly Beach for an exhilarating raw experience.
7. Fernkloof Nature Reserve
A trip to the Fernkloof Nature Reserve is an experience you don’t want to leave behind on the best day trips from the Cape Town bucket list. The excellent geography and abundant species of plants are unique characteristic of this Greenland, which spans 1800 hectares.
8. Boulders Beach
There is no shortage of cerulean beaches in South Africa, but the Boulders beach is famous for something more than that. Let’s put it this way: Would you like to swim with the main characters of ‘Happy Feet’? Surely you can’t turn down this offer.
The beach gets its name from the ancient giant boulders that protect it from massive waves and mighty winds, all in all, making it an ideal safe spot for swimming.
Head over to the family-friendly swimming beach, where you can see cute little penguins flapping their wings. The white sand beach is great for kids who can climb on the huge granite rocks and meet the cute black and white animals upfront.
Before you head over to your day trip, make sure to check the tide. A high tide means you will miss out on the penguin galore and struggle for space too. Moreover, avoid weekends as the beach tends to get very crowded.
9. Gansbaai, Cape Town
Gansbaai is not just another stretch of water; there is a fair reason to be one of the best travel destinations.
It is well known for its inhabitants–the great white sharks. If you have a thing for them, you must make sure to include this village in your adventure bucket list.
The experience may not be for the faint-hearted; it’s best suited for those who want to swim with sharks. Hire a shark cage diving expert and enjoy swimming with the magnificent creatures in the pristine aquamarine water.
10. Klipgat Caves
Another breathtaking location situated right next to Gansbaai are the Klipgat Caves. You will enjoy the walk up the caves and the views from the top, as much as you would love the beauty of the majestic caves.
The important archaeological site is a throwback to how our ancestors begin their lives as modern men. The ruins of the caves point towards the fact that Homo Sapiens inhabited these caves around 70000 years ago, making this an iconic rich cultural site.
Once you are done discovering the mystery of the caves, you can spend the day lounging at the sandy beach close to it, a perfect getaway point.
11. Franskraal Beach
Franskraal Beach is a secluded spot for tourists adorned by its unflinching white sand and impossibly sky-blue water.
You may not see many people here but you will get to witness rare bird species and exotic sea creatures. Time to grab your binoculars and your scuba diving suit to catch nature at its best on your day trips from the Cape Town bucket list.
12. West Coast, Cape Town
The West Coast is famous for its colorful wildflowers, nature reserve, pristine beaches, and unbelievably diverse landscapes.
It spans around 1800 miles in length and is only a few hours away from the buzzing city of Cape Town. The West Coast National Park is a picturesque place for sun, sea, and thrill. The beaches are unmatched, and you have access to an array of activities, including bird watching, cycling, and whale watching.
Hire a tour guide or plan your trip for an adventure-filled day. Don’t forget to check out the Langebaan Lagoon and the Saldanha Bay.
13. Atlantis Dunes
There is enough reason why Atlantis Dunes is rapidly becoming a tourist hotspot. In particular, you might have seen the sandy landscape in a few movies or adverts as it provides a mesmerizing backdrop.
This retreat will not only prove to be tranquil but also exquisite, leaving you in awe of nature’s beauty. Hop onto a jeep to experience every inch of this terrain. However, if you are looking for adventure, choose from sand-boarding, Dune Thrasher, or the Quad-bike.
Enjoy as you bump up and down the mighty dunes and as the warm sand touches your body. The extreme sport is limited to very few places in the world, Atlantis is one of them.
14. Table Mountain National Park
For those looking for a day trip in Cape Town that truly takes the whole day, Table Mountain National Park is a great option. It’s ideal for both sightseeing tourists and adventure seekers. For the latter, there’s the chance of hiking up to Table Mountain.
Also read: Top rated tourist attractions in Cape Town
Once you get to the top, the views are majestic. However, make sure to keep a check on the visibility the day before as sometimes it’s not quite clear, which means no photos for Instagram. Nevertheless, the hike is worth it, especially when you’re with other hikers.
The best hiking trail is Kloof’s Corner hike (not Kloof’s Corner Ridge, which is pretty challenging).
For others, there’s the convenience of cable cars. You can book those in advance online to avoid the long queue.
Author Bio: Kyle Kroeger is the owner of ViaTravelers.com. Via Travelers is a modern travel blog providing the best tips, hacks, and itineraries to ensure you have an amazing adventure.