The Western Cape: Places to Explore


  • Arniston (Waenhuiskrans)

    Although its official name is Waenhuiskrans, and that's what you'll see on maps, this lovely, isolated vacation village is almost always called Arniston—after a British ship of that name that was wrecked... Read more

  • Betty's Bay

    Betty's Bay, or Betty's, as the hamlet is fondly known, is worth visiting for its penguins and botanical garden. The village is made up of retirees and weekenders wanting to escape the city hustle. The... Read more

  • Bredasdorp

    This sleepy agricultural town has a certain charm, as long as you don't catch it on a Sunday afternoon, when everything's closed and an air of ennui pervades the brassy, windswept streets. Each spring... Read more

  • Citrusdal

    As you might guess from the name, Citrusdal is a fruit-growing town. It sits by the Olifants River valley, surrounded by the peaks of the Cederberg, and is known as the gateway to the Cederberg. For the... Read more

  • Clanwilliam

    Although the town itself is uninspiring, it's no surprise that half the streets are named after trees or plants. Clanwilliam is at the edge of one of the natural jewels of the Western Cape—the Cederberg... Read more

  • Darling

    Darling is best known for two draws: its sensational wildflowers and its sensational performer, Pieter-Dirk Uys, otherwise known as Evita Bezuidenhout. The wildflowers are usually at their best August-October... Read more

  • Elands Bay

    Mention eBay auctions here, and most people will stare at you blankly. But mention the E'bay left-hand break, and you'll get nods of approval and instant admission into the inner circle of experienced... Read more

  • Franschhoek

    Franschhoek (French Corner) takes its name from its first white settlers, French Huguenots who fled to the Cape to escape Catholic persecution in France in the late 1600s. By the early 18th century about... Read more

  • Greyton

    The charming village of Greyton, filled with white thatch cottages and quiet lanes, is a popular weekend retreat for Capetonians, as well as a permanent home for many retirees. The village offers almost... Read more

  • Hermanus

    Pristine beaches extend as far as the eye can see, and the Kleinriviersberg provides a breathtaking backdrop to this popular resort, the Overberg's major coastal town. Restaurants and shops line the streets... Read more

  • Kleinmond

    The sleepy coastal town of Kleinmond (Small Mouth) presides over a magnificent stretch of shoreline, backed by the mountains of the Palmietberg. It's a favorite among retirees, but more and more city-weary... Read more

  • Langebaan

    Probably the most popular destination on the coast, Langebaan is a great base from which to explore the region, and the sheltered lagoon makes for fantastic water sports, especially windsurfing, kite surfing... Read more

  • McGregor

    Saved from development as a result of a planned mountain pass that never materialized, McGregor is the epitome of the sleepy country hollow, tucked away between the mountains, and is one of the best-preserved... Read more

  • Montagu

    Montagu bills itself as "the Gateway to the Little Karoo," and its picturesque streets lined with Cape Victorian architecture lend this some credence. Today the town's main attraction is its natural hot... Read more

  • Paarl

    Paarl takes its name from the granite domes of Paarl Mountain, which looms above the town—paarl is Dutch for "pearl." The first farmers settled here in 1687, two years after the founding of Stellenbosch... Read more

  • Paternoster

    Paternoster is a mostly unspoiled village of whitewashed thatch cottages perched on a deserted stretch of coastline. The population here consists mainly of fisherfolk, who for generations have eked out... Read more

  • Riebeek West and Riebeek Kasteel

    Drive through the small agricultural town of Malmesbury and over the Bothman's Kloof Pass to these twin towns named after Jan van Riebeeck, the 17th-century Dutch explorer of the Cape. The towns developed... Read more

  • Robertson

    Robertson was founded primarily to service the surrounding farms, and it retains its agricultural and industrial character. The town largely lives up to its mantra of "small town, big heart"—the townsfolk... Read more

  • Somerset West (Helderberg)

    Somerset West, nestled at the foot of the Helderberg Mountains, is just 30 minutes from the center of Cape Town and close to Gordon's Bay and the Strand beaches. Once an important farming town, former... Read more

  • Stellenbosch

    You could easily while away a week in this small, sophisticated, beautiful, and absolutely delightful town. South Africa's second-oldest municipality, after Cape Town, Stellenbosch actually feels old... Read more

  • Swellendam

    Beautiful Swellendam lies in the shadow of the imposing Langeberg. Founded in 1745, it is the third-oldest town in South Africa, and many of its historic buildings have been elegantly restored. Even on... Read more

  • Tulbagh

    Founded in 1743, the town of Tulbagh is nestled in a secluded valley bound by the Witzenberg and Groot Winterhoek mountains. A devastating earthquake in September 1969 shook the city and destroyed many... Read more

  • Worcester

    You're unlikely to linger in Worcester, by far the largest town in the Breede River valley. It's often termed the region's capital by locals, and with good cause. Much of the town's burgeoning commerce... Read more