Enthusiastic travellers to South Africa know why this fascinating country attracts millions of tourists year after year. Cape Town and the surrounding Winelands are particularly popular, and those who have been there will find a new reason why the city between the Atlantic and Indian Oceans is high on the list of personal favourite places. Of course, some sights like Table Mountain - Cape Town's landmark - cannot be missed. But sometimes it's worth leaving the beaten tourist track and discovering Cape Town away from the crowds. We will tell you a few insider tips that will make your visit to Cape Town unforgettable and yet you will not miss a single sight.
Panoramic view over Cape Town from Lion's Head
It is not as famous as Table Mountain, but the view from Lion's Head is as fascinating for many as its famous counterpart - if not better. The distinctive rock owes its name to its shape, because it looks like a head resting on the ridge of Signal Hill. Together, the two mountains look like the body of a lion - hence the name Lion's Head. The ascent to the 670 metre high rock takes about one to two hours and is easy to manage, only the last quarter is climbing, difficult passages lead over metal ladders. But the effort is worth it: the breathtaking panoramic view stretches from Camps Bay in the south to the centre of Cape Town in the east to Robben Island in the north. And best of all: you can see Table Mountain as well! You should definitely have enough provisions (water and something to eat), sun protection, a jacket and sturdy shoes with you. Avoid the midday heat as there is no shade along the way. Especially popular are the full moon hikes (don't forget your flashlight!. A headlamp would be even better, so that you have your hands free on the last, somewhat impassable section). This adventure, when the sun rises above the sea below and the moon above Table Mountain, is a very special experience. However, it is best to climb Lion's Head during the week, and many locals also do the tour on weekends.
African penguins in Betty's Bay
The Big Five have a great fascination for every tourist, but South Africa's wildlife has another attraction to offer: the African penguin. At Boulders Beach in Simon´s Town, 40 minutes by car from Cape Town, a single couple was discovered in 1983. Today more than 2000 wild penguins cavort here - an attraction that attracts hundreds of thousands of visitors every year. During a walk along the wooden walkways, one can not only observe the animals at close range, but also the other tourists. Betty's Bay is much quieter. Here, a penguin colony lives about an hour and a half away from Cape Town. Unlike Simon's Town, Betty's Bay is not on the main route to Cape of Good Hope, so there are usually more penguins than humans on the beach of Stony Point Nature Reserve. Visitors can enjoy the animals in their natural habitat. Observe the surroundings and walk along the jetties through the colony. Other bird species can also be seen here, such as three different cormorant species. The Stony Point Nature Reserve is open from 8 a.m. to 4.30 p.m. (last admission at 4 p.m.), adults pay 25 Rand, children 15 Rand.
The former harbour area, the V & A Waterfront, has developed into an attraction for tourists. Countless shops, cafés and restaurants line the two large harbour basins, excursion ships sail into Table Bay and music groups provide entertainment. There is much to discover in this lively atmosphere. However, as there are many well-known chains and brands everywhere, you should make a detour to the city centre, to Long Street to be more precise. Here you will find some of the beautifully restored Victorian houses with wrought iron balconies and many junk and antique shops. At the southern end, you can stroll directly along Kloof Street. Eating, shopping, strolling and staying can be combined in this charming corner of Cape Town and in the boutiques you can get a chic piece from a local designer with a bit of luck. And in one of the many restaurants you will find a cosy place to end an eventful day in Cape Town with a glass of wine.
Chat with the winery owner
Apropos wine: Even among the wineries in the Winelands, which are located in the hinterland of Cape Town, it is often the case that the larger and more famous a winery is, the more tourists flock to the tasting room. The smaller a winery is, the quieter and more charming it is. Several wine lovers have discovered a true gem in this way, because quite a few wineries often turn out to be a hidden jewel with an atmospheric ambience that makes a visit to the Winelands unforgettable. Our insider tip is Eikehof, for example: here you will be warmly welcomed and personally advised by the owners François and his wife Elize and can enjoy the delicious wines from the most beautiful end of the world in a relaxed, familiar atmosphere in the shade of the old oak trees.