Photo Highlights of the Cape Peninsula

Photo Highlights of the Cape Peninsula

Photo Highlights of the Cape Peninsula

Our guide’s name was Steve Martin. “He better be damn funny” said Lissette. He wasn’t that funny actually but he was a great guide, filling us with history, trivia, and occasionally quizzing us to ensure that we hadn’t fallen asleep in the back seat.

Our tour consisted of the coastal attractions of the Cape Peninsula, the jut of land that sticks out into the two oceans that meet just south of Cape Town. It was a full day tour comprising of the sites highlighted in red on the map below. The sites in blue, which we visited on our own, should also be covered as part of a Cape Peninsula tour (which, if you start very early, can be done in a full day).

Highlights of the Cape Peninsula. Map

 

I’ll let the photos do most of the talking on this post.

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1. Hout Bay

Hout Bay. Photo Highlights of the Cape Peninsula

Hout Bay was our first stop with Steve Martin. I’ll be referring to him as “Steve Martin” and not “Steve” in this post because it is how Lissette would address him (example: “So Steve Martin, have you lived in Cape Town your whole life?”). I guess if you have a name like Steve Martin you have to be reminded it every moment of every frigin day.

Hout Bay has a beautiful spot on a bay (Hout Bay) and is a popular spot among 1) tourists taking boat trips to nearby Duiker Island (home of a huge colony of seals) and 2) locals coming here for supper and drinks at a few restaurants along the waterfront (‘Dunes’ is a great spot for drinks while watching the sunset according to Steve Martin). We actually previously passed through Hout Bay when taking the Blue Peninsula tour with Citysightseeing (which I’ll mention again at the bottom of this post because their double decker buses will take you to a couple of the sights highlighted below). I’ll say this – Hout Bay is beautiful and tranquil and you’d never know that you are just 30 minutes away from downtown Cape Town.

Hout Bay. Photo Highlights of the Cape Peninsula

 


 

2. Chapman’s Peak Drive 

Chapman's Peak Drive, Cape Town, South Africa

Above: viewpoint on Chapman’s Peak Drive looking towards Hout Bay.

Chapman’s Peak Drive starts just south of Hout Bay. It is one of the most famous drives of the entire world, a privately owned road (you have to pay a toll), that is featured in car commercials around the globe. The road is carved out of a mountain and extends for 9 km and 114 curves. Look down and you’ll see the surf crashing against cliffs below. It is quite spectacular. The drive around Chapman’s peak finishes at a viewpoint overlooking Noordhoek Beach on Chapman’s Bay.

Below: Noordhoek Beach.

Noordhoek Beach. A highlight of the Cape Peninsula

 


 

3. Cape of Good Hope Nature Reserve (and Cape Point)

Cape of Good Hope, South Africa

The Cape of Good Hope Nature Reserve is part of Table Mountain National Park (which extends all the way from Signal Hill in Cape Town to the tip of the peninsula). It, along with Table Mountain itself, are the two ‘must see’ highlights in the park. Most people think Cape Point, the tip of the Cape of Good Hope, is the southern most spot in Africa. It’s not, the southern most point is actually Cape Agulhas a bit further east. So, as the sign above says, the Cape of Good Hope is “The Most South – Western Point of the African Continent”.

Cape Point, South Africa

Above: Cape Point extends out into the ocean while above sits the old lighthouse which would warn ships about the rocks.

Cape of Good Hope is famous for a few other things though. 1) it is at the confluence of both the Indian and Atlantic Oceans (although, again, Cape Algulhas is the official geographical divide) and  2) it is infamous as the “Graveyard of Ships”. The reason for this? It is officially the windiest place in Africa. Imagine being out at sea in a wooden boat, facing gale force winds, competing currents (warm currents from the Indian and cold currents of the Atlantic meet here), and seeing the huge cliffs looming in front of you. I have the greatest respect for the early explorers who had to circumvent the southern tip of Africa in their search for a route to South Asia.

Views of Cape Point, South Africa

Highlights of the Cape Peninsula

lighthouse, Cape Point

Above: the lighthouse, completed in 1859..

Highlights of the Cape Peninsula .
Below: inland, looking towards to promontory of Cape Point.

Photo Highlights of the Cape Peninsula

.Below: the rugged coastline of Platboom Bay.

Photo Highlights of the Cape Peninsula

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There’s lots of wildlife to be found in the Cape Hope Natural Reserve, the most notorious being the Chacma Baboon. We didn’t see any however, despite Steve Martin driving through some of the less visited spots in the park looking for them. No luck. We did however see antelopes (below) as well as a huge snake:

Photo Highlights of the Cape Peninsula

snake on the road, South Africa

Above: Mole Snake crossing the road. Steve Martin told us that they’re not poisonous and make popular pets. Maybe that was his attempt at humour. Ehh…no thanks.

 


 

 4. Boulder’s Beach (penguin colony)

Penguin at Boulder's Bay, Cape Peninsula

After a short stop for lunch in Simon’s Town, Steve Martin took us to Boulder’s Beach, known for its colony of  African Penguins (previously referred to as Jackass Penguins which was changed when deemed non-PC). We were suddenly surrounded by hordes of tourists disembarking from tour buses, all racing and jostling to take their selfies. Boulder’s Beach is one of the most touristy venues in the whole Cape Town region. Still, a pretty stop, especially if you like penguins.

Boulder’s Beach. Photo Highlights of the Cape Peninsula

Boulder’s Beach. Photo Highlights of the Cape Peninsula

Boulder’s Beach. Photo Highlights of the Cape Peninsula

Below: ‘McDonald’ who we bought this wooden turtle from. This Dude Rocks. We’ve met many incredibly friendly and open Africans in Cape Town, many with unusual names. A sampling of names from a month here: Patience, Learnmore, Onenisome, Alfonce, Archiford, Lucky, Relief, Abide, Anyway. We will often ask them about their names and they’ll just laugh.

Cool guy at Boulder's Beach

 


 

5. Muizenberg Beach

Muizenberg Beach, Cape Peninsula, South Africa

Coming back up the peninsula, our last stop with Steve Martin was Muizenberg.

Muizenberg is known for it’s long beach, Great White Sharks (see the shark flag below), and for surfing. There are a lot of surf shops and surfing schools along the beach. Muizenberg also has these pretty cabanas where you can change into your bathing suit..

Muizenberg Beach, Cape Peninsula, South Africa

Muizenberg Beach, Cape Peninsula, South Africa

 

Muizenberg was our last stop with Steve Martin. We had started out at 8:30 am and by the time we got back into downtown Cape Town it was 4:30.

 

 

But there are a few other spots on the Cape Peninsula that have to be visited.



6. Groot Constantia

Groot Constantia, Cape Peninsula, South Africa


Groot Constantia is the oldest wine estate in South Africa and is also the easiest to visit
. If you can’t make it to the vineyards of Stellenbosch and Franschhoek, then it is an absolute must. Why? 1) the setting is gorgeous, 2) the wines are great and you can do different wine tastings 3) Groot Constantia has a Cape Dutch-style manor house which is one of the best example’s of Dutch colonial architecture (now a museum) 4) the Jonkershuis restaurant on the premises is fantastic. Great place for lunch and a couple of glasses of wine.

We visited Groot Constantia on our own using Citysightseeing’s Purple Tour (Citysightseeing runs the Hop On, Hop Off buses). We had only intended to spend a few hours but ended up there the whole afternoon, drinking wine and just enjoying the setting. Lots of fun.

Groot Constantia, Cape Peninsula, South Africa

wine tasting at Groot Constantia, Cape Peninsula, South Africa

Groot Constantia, Cape Peninsula, South Africa

 


 

 7. Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens

Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens, Cape Town


The Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens
usually makes it on any ‘Cape Peninsula’ tour and we would have come here with Steve Martin if we hadn’t already done it one our own.

It is one of the most beautiful botanical gardens in the world and one of Cape Town’s highlights. It is also easy to get to, either through Citysightseeing’s Blue Tour or by taxi/uber from downtown. Read here for our post on Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens.

flowers-at-Kirstenbosch-Botanical-Gardens, Cape Town

 

Practical Information

You can book a Cape Peninsula tour here. It includes all of the above as well as the beaches of Clifton and Camps Bay (which I covered in this post). You’ll see some of the most amazing geography on earth.
– Citysightseeing (click on that orange link to buy tickets) can be used to visit 3 of the stops above. The Blue Tour takes you to Kirstenbosch and Hout Bay and also connects to the Purple Tour which will take you to Groot Constantia. We spent 2 days on the buses (on 4 different circuits) and loved it – it’s perfectly suited to the geography in the Cape Town region and the best way to see everything.

 

Related: 15 Things to Do in and around Cape Town

 

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Photo Highlights of the Cape Peninsula

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24 Comments

  1. Thank you for an interesting excursion, Frank.
    When I have read how Lissette was calling this guy, the name plus surname, I remembered one phrase: If your surname is Ferrari, you have no right to make pampers. So this guy will always be Steve Martin, but not just Steve.

  2. I also had Steve Martin as my tour guide. He was the greatest! I booked through a large tour company that I am sure subbed out to a smaller company. My sister is headed that way now and I’d like for her and her family to utilize his services. Do you know what company you booked with or how I can get that info?

  3. Just back from CPT, seen all the sights shown above, wonderful. I have a positive view of Western Cape, people there have a generous heart and it\’s also a well-organized society. SA (that province at least) is definitely a great destination, and not very expensive. I appreciated that the VAT on purchases is refunded at the airport. No tourist tax either. Honest to a fault, which can\’t be said of most of South /Central America . I definitely will go back to SA.

    1. That’s great to hear Lionel! Yes, the friendliest people we’ve met through our travels. Now you’ve got me missing South Africa again.
      And the place you booked on the Garden Route ended up being good? I remember you mentioning it and how cheap it was.

  4. Thanks for another great comprehensive round up. I know whose site I will be reviewing when I finally get to South Africa!

    I hope I don’t see that snake though!

  5. The real question is… did Steve Martin know who Steve Martin actually is?

    My other question is … is it just me or did that giant boulder, surrounded by penguins on the beach actually look like a giant penguin?

    Inquiring minds want to know!

    1. Ha! Yes, he knew who the real Steve Martin is. And you’re so right – that rock looks like the Penguin god…maybe that’s why they colonized this stretch of coast?

  6. It always amazes me how similar the sea cliffs and coast around Cape Town are to our own here in Cornwall and the SW of England. Though with added penguins of course! Shame you didn’t have them to yourselves, though I can understand why it’s so popular, just can’t get my head around penguins on African beaches! If you have time you should head further along the coast towards Hermanus and stop at Betty’s Bay for the penguins there…we didn’t see another soul when we went, plus we got lucky with the wildlife and saw some rock dassies!

    1. Hi Heather. Really, you have geography like that in the SW of England?
      Thanks for the tip, we’ll be going to Hermanus next week on our way to the Garden Route. Will check out Betty’s Bay.

  7. Hahah! You gotta love the name!! I’m with Spanky, l would have said the same thing 🙂 . Touristy or not, l would definitely visit the Boulder Beach. Even the big boulder rock looks like a penguin resting. Lovely images as usual. Incredible vistas!!!

  8. Yes! Cheers to Steve Martin!! So glad he worked out and you guys enjoyed the tour. Your pictures are amazing! It was a bit foggy when we explored the peninsula, so the views weren’t near as dramatic as what you guys experienced. We did see tons of baboons on the road though! Steve Martin told us a story about a baboon who jumped into one of his friends cars when they were out taking pictures, and locked all the doors so they couldn’t get back in!

    1. Rats, well no baboons for us. They’re incredibly smart as well as vicious if they don’t get what they want. I wouldn’t want to come back to a locked bar with a baboon in the driver’s seat 😉

  9. I saw this beautiful country for the first time through your photos and articles. I had no idea it was so breathtaking!! I always love all of the practical information you give the reader. If I ever get to visit this paradise, I’ll be sure to request Steve Martin be my tour guide! I had no idea there is a penguin colony in South Africa, that really surprised me!! Love all the photos!!!

  10. When I saw the first photo of the beach I though – nothing special, there are beaches like this all over northern Europe. But then, while scrolling down, the cliffs and landscapes really reminded me of Ireland and they were really spectacular. But then – the penguin beach is something unique and absolutely amazing! I love this place! Thanks for the guide, I’ll use it when visit South Africa! Are the penguins there all year round?

    1. Hi Tomasz- yes, they are there year round.
      Yes, the landscapes and flora/fauna in SA really unique. An incredibly beautiful place. And the people incredibly friendly, the friendliest we’ve met anywhere…

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