5 Scenic drives in and around Cape Town
Cape Town has to be, without a doubt, one of the most beautiful cities in the world. With the city itself nestled along the slopes of Table Mountain and bordered by the Atlantic Ocean, driving around the Cape Peninsula can reward you with some breath-taking scenery. Here are our Top 5 picks of scenic drives in and around Cape Town:
1. Chapman’s Peak Drive
Chapman’s Peak Drive is, without doubt, one of Cape Town’s most famous roads. Linking the suburbs of Noordhoek and Hout Bay this road provides some of the most awe-inspiring views in Cape Town. The road itself is literally cut out of the side of Chapman’s Peak and over 9km and 114 curves it winds its way along the coast in the most spectacular of fashions. On one side of the road is Chapman’s Peak; on the other side, an exceptionally steep and rocky drop-off leads to the chilly Atlantic Ocean. The road cut provides great exposures of Table Mountain Sandstone and Cape Granite, a geological contrast which makes for some wonderful photographs. Chapman’s Peak Drive is a scenic, if not a physically challenging, highlight in both the Two Oceans Ultra Marathon and the Cape Argus Pick ‘n Pay Cycle Tour.
2. Boyes Drive
Boyes Drive is perhaps one of the lesser known drives when it comes to out-of-towners, but this elevated road, on the slopes of Muizenberg Mountain provides fabulous views of Muizenberg and False Bay. Linking the suburb of Lakeside in the north to Kalk Bay in the south, a number of viewing points along Boyes Drive provide fantastic photo opportunities over the Cape Flats, False Bay and over towards the Hottentots Holland Mountain Range. From late winter (July/August) to early spring (September/October) Boyes Drive provides the perfect vantage point for whale watching.
3. Llandudno to Sea Point
The drive along the M6 onto Victoria Road carries you along the western part of the Cape Peninsula, heading towards central Cape Town. From the turn-off to Llandudno Beach, sheltering under Little Lion’s Head at the southern-most part of this route, you’ll gradually descend from an elevation of 180m above sea level to sea level. Along the way you’ll pass steep drop-offs and rocky beaches, which eventually give way to a glorious stretch of pristine white sand at Camps Bay Beach. From here you wind your way through a millionaire’s mile, crammed full of beach front apartments and massive mansions carved into the cliffs, through to Sea Point, home of Cape Town’s 2010 World Cup Stadium.
4. Signal Hill
Signal Hill, home to the Noon Gun, fired each day by the South African Navy, provides visitors to Cape Town with one of the best drives for viewing Table Mountain, central Cape Town, the V&A Waterfront and Robben Island. The narrow winding road provides plenty of scenic viewpoints from which you can capture some spectacular photographs of Cape Town, particularly at sunset and in the evening. Come nightfall, Signal Hill provides a fantastic vantage point from which to enjoy the night lights of Cape Town and the impressive facades of Table Mountain and Devil’s Peak.
5. Sir Lowry’s Pass
Whilst not classified as part of central Cape Town, Sir Lowry’s Pass is a drive worth doing. The pass crosses the spectacular Hottentots Holland mountain range and, at its highest point of 420m, provides a perfect viewing point for False Bay to the west and the Hottentots Holland range to the right. At the base of the pass, you can find the towns of Somerset West and Gordon’s Bay – both popular residential areas within an hour’s drive of Cape Town.