South Africa‘s Western Cape is one of the best self-drive destinations in the country. There are dozens of incredible routes, towns and cities to explore, many of which are just a short drive away from the popular city of Cape Town.
Whether you’re looking for mountains, ocean, wine farms, scenic drives, or simply to get away from it all, there are dozens of stops to consider. If you’re planning to explore the Western Cape by car, here are the stops you can’t miss.
No longer a sleepy fishing village, Paternoster is fast becoming one of the best foodie retreats for Capetonians. In recent years there’s been a surge of celebrated restaurants that take full advantage of the charming seaside location. There’s also a surplus of accommodation, from rustic cottages through to high-end hotels and apartments. And yet, in spite of the town’s popularity, it has retained most of its charm, and the sheer beauty of the unspoiled beaches make it a perfect stop on a road trip up the west coast.
Riebeek-Kasteel, named after Dutch explorer Jan Van Riebeek, is a beautiful small town packed full of fertile olive groves and vineyards. There are several celebrated wine farms in the area, and many also produce remarkable products with the olives that thrive in the region. With the beautiful Kasteelberg Mountain nearby, and a charming historical centre, it’s a perfect stopover on any road trip — be it for a few hours or a full weekend.
Slightly further afield is the colonial town of Matjiesfontein, which in most respects feels like a throwback to an altogether different time in history. The entire town has been a national heritage site since 1975, and many make the trip out there simply to explore the classic Victorian buildings and fascinating Lord Milner Hotel.
Close to the very southernmost tip of the African continent is the quiet seaside town of Struisbaai. It consists of little more than a humble harbour, a few houses and cottages, and a handful of unpretentious bars and restaurants. Many people make the detour off the main roads to visit the small town because of its location on the continent and its main claim to fame as the meeting point of the Atlantic and Indian Oceans, but the sheer understated beauty and simplicity of the region has made it a firm favourite on Western Cape road trip itineraries.
Road trippers flying down the national N2 highway to the Garden Route often skip over the small town of Swellendam, but to their detriment. This beautiful Overberg town not only offers spectacular hiking in the nearby Langeberg Mountains, but it also offers a selection of popular restaurants, coffee shops and historical sights.
Stanford has become a popular road trip stop for many people looking to explore the popular Cape Overberg region. Its proximity to Hermanus and Gansbaai make it a perfect stopover point for people looking for whales and sharks, but the sheer natural beauty and growing number of popular restaurants, wine estates and several outdoor and adventure activities mean it requires much more than just a brief overnight stop.
Greyton is a peaceful village that seems to run at its own pace. Though it’s become a popular stop for Capetonians looking to escape the city for a weekend, and retirees looking to spend a little bit longer, it’s lost little of its original charm. The small village atmosphere, good restaurants, beautiful scenery, and proximity to some of the region’s best driving roads make this a perfect town to aim for on a road trip through the province.