August 3

The 11 Best Day Trips In Cape Town


August 3, 2017

So you’ve seen the photos of Cape Town’s perfect coves and the magnificent mountain that rises above them, you’ve heard that it’s one of the great foodie destinations in the world and the perfect add-on to an African safari. You’ve heard the hype and it sounds like just your type. But what exactly are the best ways to spend your days in this city of pretty bays? We’ve already made a list of the best things to do – The Ultimate Guide to Cape Town: The 56 Best Things To Do. Now we’re going to tell you what the best day trips in Cape Town are, and who to do the activities with.

Due to Cape Town’s popularity, there is an abundance of tour guides and companies. But some stand out above the rest. The ones that do create experiences that perfectly fit your interests and personality. They’ll show you the best of the Cape in the easiest and most enjoyable way.

The 11 Best Day Trips in Cape Town

1. Explore Sideways in Cape Town

Enjoy this tour in Cape Town
Image credit: Explore Sideways

If you want to delve deeply into the world-class wine regions of the Cape, then have a look at Explore Sideways. They really offer some of the best day trips in Cape Town. You can choose from over 20 curated tours and can also tailor your own experience with them. Their highly-qualified specialists will introduce you to the hidden gems of Cape Town, Stellenbosch, Franschhoek, Constantia, Cape Point, Hemel-en-Aarde and beyond. Some of the more interesting experiences Explore Sideways offer are the off-the-beaten track, immersive food and wine journeys in the Winelands, 4×4 Table Mountain safaris (that include local wines), sundowners on a power boat and sailing adventures in Table Bay.


2. African Lynx

African Lynx tours In Cape Town
Image credit: African Lynx

African Lynx offer ‘Cape Experiential Travel,’ which is based on three aspects; a private guide, a private Land Rover modified just for day trips around the Cape, and an experience crafted just for you that is drawn from the team’s lifelong knowledge of our beautiful region. Some of their popular activities are a veld braai in Cape Point overlooking the ocean, morning hikes with the researchers at Cape Leopard Trust in the mountains above Franschhoek tracking the elusive cats, and a backroads tour of the Winelands that ends with a fire made from old vines and a steak braai. Perks include their “coffee with a view” stops in the mornings and artisanal G&T sundowners on the way home.


3. Wine Fairy

Wine fairy tours in Cape Town
Image credit: Wine Fairy

Katie, ‘The Wine Fairy’, is one of our favourites and our travellers love her. She loves to share her passion for the Winelands and is the perfect companion to South African wines. If you want to learn about South African wines the WineFairy is the one for you as she will take you through tutored tastings and touring all the while having the time of your life. As she says herself, “Wine is often thought of as elitist and can be quite intimidating, I strive to demystify the mystery that is wine and just simplify the essence of what is in your glass and why you like it. You’d be amazed at how exciting it is when someone just ‘gets’ it.”


4. NAC Helicopter Tours

Helicopter flight in Cape Town
Image credit: NAC Helicopters

See the beauty of the Cape from above with NAC, who offer chartered or private helicopter rides in Cape Town. There are five different routes to choose from, all offering an unforgettable experience. The Cape Point Tour is the most extensive tour of the Cape Peninsula, flying around Table Mountain and over Camps Bay, Noordhoek, Simon’s Town, Muizenberg, and Constantia. There’s probably no better way to appreciate the Cape’s fair beauty than from a helicopter.


5. Rhino Africa Private Guiding

Penguins in Boulders Beach, Cape Town
Penguins in Boulders Beach, Cape Town.

If you’re wanting to tick off the best day trips in Cape Town then look no further than our very own Rhino Africa Private Guiding. From boat trips to Robben Island, seeing the penguins at Boulder’s Beach, visiting Franschhoek’s world-famous wine region to panoramic views from atop Table Mountain we’ve got you covered.

Our personal guides have over 20 years guiding experience, and have been guiding Rhino Africa’s clients for more than 10 years so they know every corner of the Cape and also instinctively know what is best for each guest. But don’t be fooled by their professionalism, these guys are incredibly friendly and warm-hearted, which is proably why they’re so popular!


6. Woodstock Street Art Tours

Street Art in Woodstock, Cape Town.
Street Art in Woodstock, Cape Town.

Woodstock is a semi-industrial area on the outskirts of Cape Town’s CBD that has undergone a gradual urban renewal process over the past decade. It’s now a creative hub of the Mother City, with street art playing a major part in transforming the area into a safe and vibrant community. It’s this transformation that lies at the heart of artist Juma Mkwela’s street art tour, a 90-minute guided walk through the alleys and streets of Woodstock. Juma is a friendly and cheerful host with an in-depth knowledge of the art that adorns the walls and buildings of Woodstock, as well as the artists who created them. The array of work is as vast and diverse as the artists that created them, both local and international, young and old, unknown and world-famous, who have come to put their mark on the walls of Woodstock.


7. Travel Designer

Experience Cape Town uniquely
Image credit: Travel Designer

Ozzy creates personalised, tailor-made experiences that allow you to feel like a Capetonian and understand the city from a local’s perspective. Motivated by the artists, eateries and hotspots he supports, Ozzy’s passion for the people, the planet and good times is legendary. His ‘Cape Town Legends’ concept allows visitors to see the city through local eyes, whether that’s while in a cooking class with chef, Jade de Waal, or having a coffee with South Africa’s famous cartoonist Zapiro, or going on a thrilling drive along Chapman’s Peak in a sports car manned by experienced rally driver, Michelle Hambley-Grobler. You tell Ozzy who you are and what you like and he shapes an experience just for you that you won’t find anywhere else.


8. Ilios Walk to Freedom Tour

Robben Island with Cape Town in the background
Robben Island with Cape Town in the background.

This full-day bus tour helps visitors learn about South Africa’s past injustices and travel to various fascinating neighbourhoods throughout the city. Some of the points of interest include the colorful neighborhood of Bo-Kaap, a living cultural museum and site of the largest mosque in the Southern Hemisphere; District Six, a former inner-city neighborhood where more than 60,000 residents were forced to leave during the 1970s by the apartheid regime; Gugu S’Thebe Arts & Cultural Centre in the township of Langa where a local resident will also take you on a guided walk; and Robben Island, where Nelson Mandela was held prisoner for 18 years.


9. Free City Walking Tours

Free City Walking Tours in Cape Town
Image credit: Free City Walking Tours

Use your feet to hit the street with Cape Town’s free walking tour. There are three walking tours that leave Greenmarket Square at different times in the day. The historical tour takes you to the Castle of Good Hope, Parliament, the old president’s house and the Company’s Garden. It works on a tip basis. You pay what you think is fair so the tour guides, who are locals, are sure to be enthusiastic and engaging while they share the Cape’s fascinating history with you. There is also a Bo-Kaap Tour and an Apartheid to Freedom Tour.

10. Shark Cage Diving Tour

Shark Cage diving in South Africa is a lifetime experience – thrills guaranteed!

Known as the Great White Shark Cage Diving Hotspot of the world, Cape Town offers unrivalled encounters with one of the world’s most feared predators. Operating around the world famous Dyer Island near Gansbaai, Marine Dynamics offer a 2 ½ hour trip that will introduce you to the Marine Big 5 – whales, great white sharks, dolphins, seals and penguins. They boast the biggest and only boat with upper deck for great photography and surface viewing of the incredible apex predators. Sightings can be seasonal so we recommend you ask about the most recent sighting before booking.

11. Seal Snorkelling Tours

While snorkeling in Cape Town, you’ll be able to witness the extraordinary marine life of this part of the world.

Near the old fishing village of Hout bay there is an island called Duiker Island that is home to about 5,000 Cape fur seals. With Animal Ocean, you can take a boat out to them, plunge into the cool Atlantic Ocean and snorkel and interact the seals while they cavort around you like the ocean puppies they are. The seals are not fed or trained, they behave naturally and interact with snorkelers and scuba divers on their own terms. Visitors can always see seals in the water and due to a kelp forest, the shallow shelf and colder water, there are no sharks present. This is a memorable wildlife adventure that brings you mask-to-whisker with playful and inquisitive wild animals in their natural habitat. Read our blog on seal snorkeling here.

Seal Island Tour at Hout Bay

A seal jumping out of the water near Seal Island
Seal jumping out of the water. Credit: Simon Watson

If you prefer to stay out of the water, take a 40-minute trip to Seal Island to see the Cape fur seals sunbathe and splash from onboard the Circle Launches boat. It has ample seating outside on the deck and indoor cabin seating when the weather is on the rougher side. Perfect for children, be sure to allocate some time to explore the Hout Bay market and grab fish and chips at the harbour afterwards.


The Best Day Trips in Cape Town – make it yours!

Now that you know what are the best day trips in Cape Town, come and live them! Let us make your journey to Cape Town memorable with passionate and responsible consultants, giving everything you need with minimal fuss.

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About the author 

Matthew Sterne

Matt discovered a passion for writing in the six years he spent travelling abroad. He worked for a turtle sanctuary in Nicaragua, in an ice cream factory in Norway and on a camel safari in India. He was a door-to-door lightbulb-exchanger in Australia, a pub crawl guide in Amsterdam and a journalist in Colombia. Now, he writes and travels with us.

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