The 4 Most Scenic Drives in the Western Cape That Aren’t Chapman’s Peak
In any conversation about scenic drives in the Western Cape, Chapman’s Peak looms large.
And with good reason!
This winding road, clinging to the cliffs of the Atlantic seaboard, is justifiably famous for the natural beauty it puts on display.
But Chapman’s Peak’s popularity means that other, equally stunning drives in the Western Cape get short thrift. Which is why I’ve put together these 4 options for drivers looking for something a little different to the usual touristy fare.
For those visiting Cape Town, this may necessitate the use of a hire car, but the extra effort is well worth it for the chance to see beyond the confines of the city, to the broader vistas of the Western Cape.
And with the availability of car hire from Cape Town Airport, why miss out?
Starting an easy 45 minutes from Cape Town, Clarence Drive winds along the False Bay coast from Gordon’s Bay to Kleinmond and beyond.
Gordon’s Bay itself is a pleasant stop, with a locally notable fish shop on the small beachfront, and Bikini Beach further down the road for those interested in getting a tan on its sheltered sands.
Once you leave Gordon’s Bay, the road winds along the mountainsides to Rooi Els – this first part of the drive is arguably its most visually arresting, as you track alongside the sea below.
At the right time of year, you can even spot the odd whale in the waters below.
Further North, Route 62 is the road that links many of the towns in the Klein Karoo.
Climbing through mountains to an arid and arresting landscape, this road is great for those willing to undertake the multi-day journey necessary to really appreciate its gifts.
A good starting point is Montagu, famed for its hot springs and historic buildings. On the other end of the Route, you’ll find Oudtshoorn, home to the Cango Caves, where the brave can wiggle and crawl through the complex of ancient rock formations.
For those interested in a shorter inland journey, Bainskloof Pass will take you through the mountains North of Wellington into winding canyons of natural splendour.
The pass is only 18km from end to end, but it’s nevertheless a lengthy drive – and that’s fine.
With every corner of the narrow road exposing a new sight of the canyon below and rocky crags above, Bainskloof is an excellent choice for the adventurer looking for an exploratory day trip.
Boyes Drive to Cape Peninsula
While Chapman’s Peak gets most of the traffic to the pinnacle of the Cape Peninsula, this road from Muizenberg provides its own treasures to those willing to find them.
Taking you above the often busy Main Road to Kalk Bay, Boyes Drive gives astonishing views of the seas of False Bay.
Dropping into Kalk Bay itself, you can easily follow the road onward towards the Cape Peninsula, exploring the nature reserve found at this lonely tip of the African continent.
Along the way, stop for fish and chips, or pay a visit to the penguins at Builders Beach: the choice is yours.