When visiting Cape Town there is a lot on offer, one would be hard pressed being idle for too long. Especially in our high season with endless summer days still lighting the sky as late as eight o’ clock in the evenings. Our beautiful vistas and weather make for packing a punch and long and lazy cocktails. With all of this in mind, this makes our city more than worth a visit… so let me tell you about leaving your SeaSky Villa for a day trip to visit our most southern tip, known as the Cape Peninsula.
As you travel South of Cape Town, to what Capetonians have fondly nick – named “the Deep South” the peninsula is dotted with scenic and interesting places to visit.
False Bay: Simon’s Town
Originally a naval port filled with history and a huge offering for visitors with young families.
What you need to see and do here:
The beach is a protected enclave hugged by giant boulders, creating intimate tidal rock pools – perfect for the bucket and spade family. There is an entrance fee and because of this, it’s clean and safe and ultimately a highly desirable place to be.
Do set off early to secure your spot on the silvery sand, as its get very busy.
Not only is it a boutique beach with magnificent views of the Hottentots Holland Mountain Range across False Bay, but it is also home to the African penguin. These land and sea birds totter about in their best and the local municipality has provided suspended board walks for easy viewing. There is also a visitor’s centre where you can learn more about these endangered creatures and even take a soft toy penguin back home if you wish!
The Toy Museum
If you are interested in the history of toys, everything from train engines and antique dolls, and everything in between is to be found here. Personally I think this is more a visit for moms and dads, than for young children
The Scratch Patch
Looking for a place where your children can lose themselves in the search for gems of all shapes and colours? If by now you are a bit tired and tetchy, then the Scratch Patch is the place for you and the kids. There is a lovely tea garden where you can rest, while your young ones immerse themselves in hundreds of gems filling little bags to take back home. You pay according to the bag size that you choose and it really is not expensive. There is also a precious gem shop where you could pick up a prize piece of individual jewellery for yourself or a friend. In an extension of the shop, you too could pick out some magnificent stones for a stunning piece of jewellery.
Lunch time calling
Simon’s Town has a myriad of eateries, something for everyone. From light café meals, to a local fish and chips parcel. An ice-cold beer or chilled glass of sauvignon blanc awaits at most of these establishments.
Some sixty kilometres from the city of Cape Town, Cape Point is part of the Table Mountain National Park. Declared a National World Heritage site, it extends all the way down a finger-shaped peninsula known as Cape Point. This is where our two oceans meet, the Indian and the Atlantic. Legend and truth donates that this is where many early sailing vessels met their demise in the rough and roiling oceans, as the hot and cold currents collide.
There is an entrance fee to this reserve, but its well worth the spend.
It is a splendid reserve to spend the day, it offers many coastal pockets to park off with a picnic, or to catch some sun, bearing in mind that you are spoilt for choice being on a peninsula with a different ocean on either side. Some of Cape Town’s most pristine and untainted beaches are to be found here. Some beaches take a bit of work to get to, by trundling along what sometimes seems endless board walks, but the effort is so worth the virgin vistas when you arrive.
There is a steep walk up to the very top of the peak, but doable if you are moderately fit. Or you could conserve your energy for this long and jam-packed day and take the funicular. Once you are at the top, the views, the wild winds, the spitting crashing oceans are an arresting experience for the senses! Hold tight to your young ones, your sun hats and if you are wearing a dress, you might find you are doing a Marilyn Munro twirl as the very wild spirit at play makes fun of you. As long as weather permits, you should aim to accomplish the trip to the top.
Should you be ravenous on your way down, there is a world-class restaurant that over looks the Indian Ocean to the east. Its vistas take your eye across False Bay and all the way to another peninsula where you can see places like Pringle Bay and Hangklip a good 33 kilometres across the bay. Here you can dine on the very best seafood our city has to offer: fresh oysters, crayfish, mussel pots and beautiful line fish.
You can sit outside on a stony veranda with our beautiful fynbos (our natural flora) surrounding you, or you can sit inside and still enjoy the magnificent vistas through large paned windows.
You might even dine with a baboon ducking and diving for your food – but fear not, there are handy spray bottles filled with water. One squirt and they’ll be off!
Now we are on the Atlantic Ocean, on the other side of Cape Point where we find another beautiful rugged seaside town, dotted with unconventional homes and inhabited by unconventional people. A couple of great places for a quick bite to eat, if you are vegan or vegetarian you will feel right at home here. The earth is important to the people who live here… organic, home grown, grass fed and free range are the order of the day. It’s all happening here! Let’s not forget the beautiful beach, with its jagged rocks and sea weed fringes. Scarborough is a favourite seaside escape for the Capetonian city dweller, lots of dream builds and second homes happening here.
A bit further along from Scarborough, about two kilometres away, is a tiny conservation village known as Misty Cliffs, all of five kilometres in total.
Most days this little village experiences a natural phenomena of swirling steamy mist rising from the ocean, no matter the weather. At times it dissipates and then reappears again, almost like you are living in a constant sauna. There is nothing more but a handful of homes here as you pass through, from high-end luxury, to a fisherman’s bungalow on the beach. As brief as this little village is, you will feel her magic as you pass through. This is a great surf spot, as the breakers are huge and ideal.
However, the little Witsands beach close by is not really for swimming, more about lazy picnics and tidal pools.
Kommetjie (it means small basin and is pronounced commey-key)
Next stop is Kommetjie, a small seaside community, home to the Slangkop (snakehead) mountain range hugging the coastline, hence the Slangkop light house that warns ships off her craggy coastline in bad weather.
Festive beer gardens serving rustic tasty fare and some of the best pastries you will eat are all to be found here, a haven for artists and ceramicists alike, not to mention an army of surf seekers – but you will also find traditional fishermen in tiny boats, trawling the ocean for tasty crayfish.
A mix of eclectic and luxury sprawling homes spill down to the water’s edge. Here the philosophy is waste not want not, lots of recycling and up cycling going on here, with a huge respect for the preservation of a clean ocean. This seaside town sports my personal number one top vista in our entire city of Cape Town: when you travel up Mountain Road and find a spot where you can see clearly between the houses, you will take up a view across the water to Chapman’s Peak and beyond right through to the Table Mountain Range. It is so exquisitely beautiful, it simply has to been seen.
Leaving Kommetjie, you bypass Noordhoek and find yourself in Fish Hoek – a commercial seaside town. Here we find a mix of Capetonians, those retired and those who are setting about the purchase of their first home, still in the early stages of life. You will see white-haired men with salt encrusted beards, industrious middle-aged women scurrying about getting their shopping done, tattooed and beringed young people who are seeking a simpler way of life. Treasures found here are simply a safe and fantastic beach for the kids, lots of ice-cream and pizza and a beautiful catwalk to trundle on at sunset.
If you’ve taken this trip you will have come full circle around the southern peninsula. A great day out!