On Point: Hidden gems in the Cape Peninsula
Each year millions of tourists touchdown in the Mother City for a good time of exploration, nightlife, food, and cultural experiences. From April to June 2016, the Western Cape was the second most visited province in the country with nearly 400,000 tourist arrivals.
A sad reality is that many tourists end up seeing more of our beautiful city than some locals do in their entire lifetime.
Home to various markets, uncrowded beaches, vineyards, and sights that’ll leave you breathless, the Cape Peninsula is quite a wonder to behold.
Here are some things not to miss when you find yourself in the picturesque peninsula:
This laid-back full service restaurant and cafe is located just around the corner of Muizenberg beachfront, in the old Balmoral building. Here you’ll find fewer crowds than the cafes on the beachfront, and dare we say better coffee too.
Blue Bird Garage Market:
Nestled unobtrusively on the edge of Muizenberg, you’ll find the Blue Bird Garage Food & Goods Market just off Main Road in an old postal plane hangar. Open every Friday night, you can expect to find a little bit of everything here – from collections of local artisans, speciality cooks, bakers, and designers, handpicked local wines, craft beer, live music, as well as a fun kids area.
Why not explore False Bay a different way by renting a retro cruiser-style bicycle from Ride on in Surfer’s Corner? Pack some sunscreen and snacks, and cruise down the road past St. James, Kalk Bay, all the way to Fish Hoek, if you’re feeling energetic.
This colourful, quirky restaurant has a beer garden with a view that’ll make your beer taste twice as nice. The bonus is that it’s kid and dog-friendly. Think Alice in Wonderland meets Under the Sea. Think bright colours, fairy lights, wooden floors and a piano in the corner. Lazy summer weekends are perfect here with live music and waves crashing in the background.
Many come to Kalk Bay for a walk in the quaint streets, to eat an ice cream, and perhaps shop some antiques. But the truth is, you haven’t experienced this old fisherman’s town until you’ve tasted the catch of the day. For real old-school fish and chips, best to drop by Kalky’s, located in Kalk Bay harbour. The generous portions and rustic setting make it an experience to remember.
Located near the penguin colony of Boulders Beach, Windmill Beach is a spot you don’t actually want people to discover. It is mostly sheltered from the wind (except the South Easter, unfortunately) which makes it a go-to spot for sunbathing, picnics, swimming, and snorkeling. Thanks to the big boulders keeping out rough waves, it’s ideal for families with little ones.
Whale View Manor:
Just as you’re about to exit Simon’s Town, Whale View Manor House towers out on your right. Complete with a spa, restaurant, and the beach right across the road, this guesthouse offers all you need to detox and destress.
Black Marlin Restaurant:
Used as a whaling station in the 1800s, the Black Marlin Restaurant and it’s rich history guarantees an idyllic lunch or evening dining experience. During July to December (whale season), you can sip on your wine and indulge in your meal whilst watching the big friendly giants sidling peacefully along the coastline.
Millers Point camping:
Right next to Black Marlin Restaurant is Millers Point, sit¬u¬ated approx¬i-mately 6km south of Simon’s Town. With only 16 camping spots, the resort boasts its own secluded beach, green lawns scat¬tered with benches where you can unwind and absorb the endless views over False Bay.
Probably one of the best-kept secrets of the Cape Peninsula, Smitswinkel Bay is great for snorkelling, diving, spearfishing, and trek netting. Accessible only by foot (roughly a 15-minute walk down the steep hill) or by boat, the effort to get there is well worth it. Think private beach – just you and your crew, sand, sun, and sea.
The Village Hub:
The Village Hub, located in the sleepy seaside village of Scarborough is a place owned by locals, run by locals, for the benefit of locals and visitors alike. A place that’s run in harmony with the needs of the community. Inside the Village Hub, you’ll find the charming Foragers Deli, which offers everything green: from locally-grown veggies, free-range poultry and pasture-reared meats, to artisanal cheeses and hand-crafted chocolates. In addition, they have wheat-free, gluten-free and lactose-free products, as well as holistic beauty products and toiletries, and green household cleaning products.
Apart from the great food and setting, Cape Farmhouse also provides a unique outdoor concert venue in the Deep South. The regular summer Saturday live music events showcases local talents and makes for a perfect family outing.
This small, vibey coffee shop and restaurant is a stone’s throw from the famous Slangkop Lighthouse and the “Kom”, and five minutes from a number of world-class beaches and surfing spots. Complete with a garden with an enclosed play area, plus seating inside for chillier days, this spot is ideal for an after-surf coffee or beer, or a weekend dinner with friends.
On the doorstep of Chapman’s Peak lies the Monkey Valley Resort, tucked away on the side of the mountain amidst the trees. It’s a place that locals love for a sunset drink or a pizza on the wooden deck overlooking Noordhoek Long Beach.
Silvermine Dam, Ou Kaapse Weg:
If you take the first right turn off Ou Kaapse Weg, coming from Cape Town, you arrive at the Silvermine Nature Reserve which forms a part of the Table Mountain National Park. From the gate, it’s about 2,5km to the Silvermine Reservoir. There are several picnic and braai spots around the dam and you can swim in the dam year-round.
Cape Point Vineyards Market:
Set against the backdrop of the Silvermine Nature Reserve with sweeping views over the Noordhoek valley and Long Beach, this vineyard has it all. Get there early on a Thursday evening to grab some eats and drinks from one of the many food stalls, and enjoy a mellow evening with friends and family watching the sunset.
The Cape Peninsula has something hidden around every bend of the road, it’s up to you to get out there and discover!
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