What to do and see in Western Cape, South Africa: The Best Places and Tips

October 1, 2017 Fernanda Pittenger

South Africa’s most popular tourist destination offers the urban thrills of Cape Town, its adjacent wine country and an aura of the rich political history of South Africa. The Overberg's perfect whale-watching perches provide excitement of a different nature. The Garden Route's lakes and forests and the Klein Karoo's ostrich-farming towns and vineyards present another take on the Cape. For extra kicks, try bungee jumping or cage-diving among Great Whites.
Restaurants in Western Cape

1. Table Mountain Aerial Cableway

Tafelberg Road | Lower Cable Station, Cape Town Central 8001, South Africa +27 21 424 8181
Excellent
71%
Good
23%
Satisfactory
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Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 12 reviews

Table Mountain Aerial Cableway

The best views of Cape Town are seen from the top of Table Mountain. The Cableway takes you to the summit in under 5 minutes and the cable car's rotating floor ensure that all visitors get a 360 degree aerial view of the city. The 65-passenger cable car runs from Tafelberg Road to the top of Table Mountain. To date the Cableway has transported more than 26 million visitors to the summit. 900 000 visitors from all over the world use the Cableway annually.

Reviewed By Joachim P - Stockholm, Sweden

This one has been on my bucket list for ten years and on my third attempt the weather was finally on my side. Spectacular views over Cape Town and the Bay. The walk on top of the Table Mountain is breathtaking as well. Highly recommended but make sure you book your ticket online in advance.

2. Table Mountain

Table Mountain National Park, Tafelberg Rd, Gardens,, Table Mountain National Park 8001, South Africa +27 81 762 5551
Excellent
81%
Good
15%
Satisfactory
2%
Poor
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Overall Ratings

5 based on 16 reviews

Table Mountain

The mountain in the middle of Cape Town offers many hikes and magnificent views in all directions.

Reviewed By 811michael - United Kingdom

We visited the stunningly beautiful Table Mountain. The cable ride to the top of the mountain was great fun with some absolutely incredible views, and once we were on top of The Table Mountain it was like stepping into heaven as you are lost for words on the breathtaking views and the amazing surrounds. Visiting Table Mountain and witnessing the majestic views was like being on the edge of space and seeing the beautiful clear blue sky on the horizon and all the beautiful areas and the coastline in the distances was just an experience we will never forget. Me, my wife and our daughter had the most amazing experience as the views and the surrounds made us feel like being lost, but in the right direction. This was without a doubt one of the highlights of our incredible South African holiday.

3. Victoria & Alfred Waterfront

19 Dock Road | Merchant House, Cape Town Central 8002, South Africa +27 21 408 7600
Excellent
59%
Good
31%
Satisfactory
8%
Poor
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4.5 based on 9 reviews

Victoria & Alfred Waterfront

The V&A Waterfront is a 123-hectare mixed-use destination, and one of Africa’s most visited cultural and historical hubs. Set on the edge of a natural, historic working harbour with the iconic Table Mountain as its backdrop, it offers local and international visitors a cosmopolitan mix of experiences ranging from leisure, shopping and exclusive entertainment. It also offers prime residential and commercial property. The prime positioning of the V&A Waterfront boasts sweeping views of the ocean, city bowl and mountain peaks. Up to 100 000 people visit every day during peak season. Contributing R259.1 billion in nominal terms to the South African economy over the last twelve years, the V&A Waterfront’s cumulative contribution to the provincial GGP since 2002 was over R227 billion. The property also reported a 19% increase in retail trade sales for 2014, marking four consecutive years of consistent growth since 2011. By end 2014, total visitor numbers to the property had grown to 24 million a year. Although the V&A Waterfront remains South Africa’s favourite attraction for international visitors, they account for only 23% of all visitors. Visits by locals increased to 63%, while 14% of visitors were from upcountry. With 22 official landmarks on-site, it is also part of South Africa’s historical legacy. Jointly owned by Growthpoint Properties Limited and the Government Employees Pension Fund (GEPF), represented by the Public Investment Corporation Limited (PIC), the V&A Waterfront was developed in 1988 by the state-owned transport corporation, Transnet Limited, while official commercial trading commenced in November 1990.

Reviewed By bandaStamford - Stamford, United Kingdom

This is a very picturesque part of the Cape Town waterfront featuring a working harbour, museums, hotels, restaurants and shops. Some of the craft stalls sell an interesting range of local products - not much tourist tat evident,thankfully.

4. First South African Perfume Museum

Lambrecht Street | Franschhoek, Cape Town Central 7690, South Africa +27 72 342 4174
Excellent
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5 based on 175 reviews

First South African Perfume Museum

We invite you to visit us in Franschhoek in the heart of Cape Town- one of the most beautiful. diverse, and exciting city in the world,. At the first South African Perfume Museum you can explore an extensive and comprehensive permanent collection that includes antique masterpieces., You'll also experience engaging, cutting-edge exhibition and workshops that reflect a fresh view of the amazing world of perfume. The Mission of the our Museum is to act as a bridge between the rich heritage of world of perfume, as embodied in its collection, and the unique experience of each visitor. Dedicated to the primacy of the visitor experience, committed to excellence in every aspect of its collection and workshops, and drawing on both new and traditional tools of communication, interpretation, and presentation, the Museum aims to serve its diverse public as a dynamic, innovative, and welcoming place for learning through the amazing art of perfume.

Reviewed By Maya L - Johannesburg, South Africa

This unique museum is rich in vintage, classic and antique artifacts which get woven in the ancient story of perfumery expertly. Presented as a guided tour given at the Museum this magical journey thru time culminates in blending of one's own scent under the expert guidance of the owner and her highly trained personnel.
It is definitely as must when in Cape town, a one of kind experience that is not offered anywhere else.
if you find your self in Capetown do not miss out on this experience it is well worth the
trip make sure you book in advance though, the experience is exclusive and available by prior booking only.

5. Fynbos Trail

Walker bay Conservancy, 7220, South Africa +27 82 464 5115
Excellent
97%
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5 based on 122 reviews

Fynbos Trail

The Fynbos trail is a unique nature experience in the heart of the Cape floral Kingdom that can be undertaken as a fully guided and catered slack packing trail or as a self-guided and catered trail. The trail has a two or three night option and takes hikers along a beautiful stretch of trail through coastal and mountain fynbos, remote Forests and visits some fascinating environmental and social projects along the way.

Reviewed By Robyn312673 - Stellenbosch, South Africa

What an amazing experience. The whole team were unbelievably friendly professional and knowledgable. Christoff was a walking encyclopedia identifying flowers, birds, trees and insects with such enthusiasm . The food was delicious and served with such friendly staff. Accommodation was comfortable and clean. Thanks Sean for firing up the Jacuzzi to ease our tired muscles and giving us an informative wine tasting of Lomond wines. The trail ended with a delicious lunch served at Grootbos Lodge with welcoming staff. All in all I don't think I can fault anything . Thank you to everyone involved and for all the gifts especially Seans field guide to the Grootbos .If you are thinking of doing this trail book know you will be so pleased you did.

6. Green Mountain Trail

Houw Hoek Village, Elgin, South Africa +27 28 284 9827
Excellent
95%
Good
5%
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5 based on 125 reviews

Green Mountain Trail

The Green Mountain Trail is a four day hiking trail around the Green Mountain in the Overberg region of the Western Cape.Traversing a tapestry of fynbos and fruit farms this slackpack trail offers fine food and comfortable overnights in the Cape Winelands of South Africa. Accommodation is in four star country guesthouses. Delicious , wholesome meals are provided throughout.The trail meanders around the Groenlandberg, part of the Kogelberg Biosphere Reserve. Guided by THETA accredited guides you learn about the biodiversity and the history of the area. Swimming in rock pools and dams on a hot day is as refreshing for the body as it is for the soul.The Green Mountain Trail is a moderate walking trail with distances varying between 11kms and 18kms each day. The effort level, as gauged by Slackpacker S.A., is set at 3.5 with 5 being the most difficult.The trail traverses privately-owned land. All landowners are members of the Green Mountain Eco Route, the world’s first biodiversity wine route, and part of the region’s efforts to conserve the environment and promote responsible tourism. All members are Biodiversity Wine Initiative champions. This enlightened initiative unites conservation and agricultural development in a complementary, mutually beneficial manner. As part of the Green Mountain Trail’s social responsibility programme, hikers are encouraged to Walk with an Alien, a project in which a personalised walking stick is carved from alien vegetation by local communities.

Reviewed By huys25 - Amsterdam, The Netherlands

This 4-day slack-packing walk with maximum 8 persons and two guides is very well organised and includes two excellent overnight accommodations. Two nights in the Porcupine Guest Farm and two nights in the Wildekrans Country House. The hike makes in the four days a large circle and crosses different micro-climate zones, each with different vegetation patterns, including a vineyard. In addition, the areas which had been burned off a number of years ago (both planned and natural fires) showed interesting differences in vegetation. The guides had a story for each section, as well as being very knowledgeable about the plants of the Fijnbos and the small animals living there. In the forest Amphitheatre of the Paul Cluver wine estate, Guide Jeff gave us a wonderful opera performance. What a magnificent singing talent! We were lucky with excellent weather and the Fijnbos in bloom. The tour included three wine tasting events, as well as a delicious complete buffet lunch on a hillside overlooking a Wine Estate.
The slack-packing tour is very well organised by Alison Green. Please take her advice for having well worn-in shoes and walking some hilly terrain beforehand. Two persons on our tour could not complete the 60 km. One got a failing knee and the other one had serious blisters on both feet because of poor shoes.

7. Robberg Nature Reserve

8 Plettenberg Street, Plettenberg Bay 6600, South Africa +27 44 533 2125
Excellent
83%
Good
14%
Satisfactory
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5 based on 1 reviews

Robberg Nature Reserve

Reviewed By Sue S - West Yorkshire, United Kingdom

Just outside Plettenburg Bay. Small entry fee to reserve but you can stay as long as you like. Limited parking. Good toilet facilities in car park. There are several routes of various length through the reserve with spectacular sea and cliff views. We saw lots of Cape fur seals. However, all of these routes require a good level of fitness. Even the shortest circular route involved some scrambling up a steep rocky path.
Closed walking shoes are a must (lots of ants), plenty water, sunscreen and binoculars.
Small picnic area at car park.
Well worth a visit.

8. Horse About Trails

De Heuvel Farm | R46 between Tulbagh and Wolseley, Tulbagh, Witzenberg Municipality 6820, South Africa +27 82 884 9881
Excellent
91%
Good
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5 based on 111 reviews

Horse About Trails

Horse About Trails offers magnificent horse trails and activities in the Western Cape. Just over an hour from Cape Town, situated in the majestic Witzenberg Valley, we are conveniently located between the towns of Tulbagh, Wolseley and Ceres, with Riebeek Kasteel and Worcester within easy reach and en route to Citrusdal and the Route62. Take a step back in time on one of our scenic trails in the foothills of the majestic Witzenberg Mountains, through vineyards, Forests and farmland, set against a backdrop of arresting beauty.Our horse riding trails are suitable for all levels of rider. Experience the magic of a moonlight ride or book a romantic picnic after your horse ride.

Reviewed By Uje2014

Jo and John are absolutely great. We were a group of seven friends and a child. They kindly accommodated us, as we could catch neither the morning ride nor the afternoon one, and they accepted to book us in between (12 pm). Though we were all beginners, we enjoy the one hour and a half of walk through the forest and the beautiful scenery. I would warmly recommend to all, beginners and experienced the same as they also have paths with obstacles for jumping.
Removed a star/dot in the rating as I feel the bathroom facilities have room for improvement.

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