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Pocket Guide: Western Cape

Mountainous wilderness rolls down into golden beaches in the Western Cape, one of South Africa’s most beautiful provinces. Here you can experience the laid-back culture in the stylish city centre of Cape Town, the nation’s legislative capital. Alternatively, tear yourself away from the attraction-packed city to unearth vineyard-covered hills, breathtaking ocean vistas and charming towns.

Where to Stay in the Western Cape

The Western Cape is a vast region, offering all manner of accommodation options. Cape Town, the busiest destination in the province, has slick apartments and luxurious hotels, ideal for access to the city’s numerous sights and events.

Staying outside of the city offers a different kind of Western Cape experience. Find a room in a deluxe oceanfront hotel in Hermanus and you might be able spot whales from your window as well as visiting the surrounding nature reserves. The Garden Route, a glorious stretch of coastline between Mossel Bay and Plettenberg Bay, tempts visitors to the region with spacious accommodation in tranquil and often secluded corners of the countryside.

Urban Explorations in Cape Town

Cape Town, the provincial capital of the Western Cape, is a lively and colourful city that combines fashionable quaysides, electric nightlife and poignant and stirring historical sites. Climb to the plateau of Table Mountain for a complete view of the city, which is contained within a crescent of hills and mountains. To experience the city up close, wander around the Victoria and Alfred Waterfront, a historical harbour now lined with stylish shops, restaurants and events venues.

Coastal Escapes in the Western Cape

The dramatic landscape of Cape Point, below the city centre, gives just a hint of the spectacular scenery that exists on the Western Cape’s stunning shores. Rent a room by the ocean for panoramic ocean views and the chance to spot southern right whales breaching the water. Cape Agulhas, the most southerly point in Africa, is a land of stirring, windswept beauty. There are myriad beaches to choose from. You could chill out on Pringle Bay in Overberg for great swimming or go windsurfing on Bloubergstrand.

Inland Experiences

Of course, visitors to the Western Cape won’t be confined to the coast. Sip on globally acclaimed wines in the vineyards of Stellenbosch or hike through the sandstone rock features of the Cederberg Mountains. Take a wildlife-watching trip into the Karoo, a local name for the vast inland wilderness that stretches across the north of the Western Cape.

Western Cape for Families

Children will have a wild time in the Western Cape, entertained by both family-friendly attractions and the many wild animals they might see. Ratanga Junction, a rollercoaster-filled theme park, and the Two Oceans Aquarium will delight young visitors to the province. Their highlight, however, may well be meeting Africa’s most majestic creatures at Knysna Elephant Park, where the extraordinary mammals roam freely through grassland.

Wherever you stay in the Western Cape, adventure is just a moment away. You can choose the kind of holiday you want, whether that be a city break spent exploring the vibrant communities of Cape Town or a longer holiday that involves disappearing into South Africa’s heart-stirring wilderness.