Cape Town’s natural beauty is awe inspiring. And the best thing about it, is that it’s entwined in the cityscape. Instead of roughing it up on dirt roads, you can hit a tar road and soak up the mesmerizing scenery whizzing by. But beware, you won’t be the only one hitting the road, so choose the timing of your scenic drive in Cape Town carefully.
As with all major cities, mornings and afternoons are the peak traffic times. And over the weekends roads can become heavily congested on a beautiful sunny day. But even if you get stuck in traffic, the epic landscapes will keep you entertained. Cape Town scenic drives offer you it all – meandering bends, panoramic views, and engineering feats.
The Best Scenic Drives in Cape Town
Whether you are simply driving from one activity to the next, or you plan a scenic drive in Cape Town – the spectacular views along the way are an awesome bonus!
Chapman’s Peak Drive
This one is the big honcho of scenic drives in Cape Town. The locals refer to the 15km (9 miles) drive as Chappies. It has a total of 114 curves! The road’s name is in remembrance of John Chapman, a Captain’s mate of an English ship called the Consent, which arrived in Hout Bay in 1607. In 1915 planning of the mountain-hugging road started. It was officially opened on May 6, 1922. The road was re-engineering to prevent rock falls, and reopened in December 2003. To maintain the road, a small toll fee is required, R31.00 for motor cycles and R47.00 for motors.
During turbulent weather, the road is closed for safety reasons. There is also regular maintenance projects to keep the cliffs stable. The road hugs the cliffs, with sheer drops to the expansive Atlantic Ocean on the other side. There are various lookout spots along the way for you to pause and admire the view.
Visit www.chapmanspeakdrive.co.za for more information and to keep up to date with road closures.
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This winding ocean scenic drive in Cape Town lies on the other side of the Chapman’s Peak drive. It’s almost as winding as its cousin, with just as much mountain and ocean wonder. A few of the highlights include an expansive view of Llandudno near the Suikerbossie Drive, the magnificent Twelve Apostles, and Lion’s Head in the distance. You’ll catch different glimpses of the breath taking scenery in both directions.
This is a short drive, so you’ll have to go slow to soak up all the beauty. It is an alternative to the bottom coastal road linking the little coastal neighbourhoods of Fish Hoek, Kalk Bay, and Muizenberg. Elevated above the ocean, you’ll find yourself staring in pure awe at the rolling waves of Muizenberg. As you round the bend back towards the city, the Constantia valley will charm you with its own picturesque mountain views.
You can also extend this drive past Fish Hoek towards Simon’s Town, if you prefer ocean views over mountains. Although, you can’t really escape the mountains, they continue to hug the road on the one side. Follow the M65 further towards Misty Cliffs and Scarborough for a truly nature-filled outing. Here you’ll find the mountains change to rocky cliffs, instead of the rolling green hills found closer to the city. The road also leads to Cape Point and the lonesome Kommetjie lighthouse.
R44 from Gordon’s Bay
This one you can keep for a weekend getaway, or simply a daytrip. Travel on the N2 towards Gordon’s Bay and swing away from the main highway onto the R44. Another winding scenic drive in Cape Town, with the mountain on the one side and the expansive Atlantic Ocean on the other. Take your time and pull over regularly for epic Instagram shots. You’ll spot Table Mountain across False Bay. Get ready to inundate your eyes with the wild blue ocean and lush green mountains! You can follow the road all the way to Hermanus, or stop at one of the other little coastal towns along the way such as Kleinmond or Betty’s Bay.
If you want to create a loop trip, travel along Sir Lowry’s Pass on the N2, and the R43 towards Hermanus and do the coastal road on your way there or back.
Cape Town to Melkbosstrand
The West Coast road has its own unique charm. It’s not as dramatic as the other scenic drives in Cape Town, but on your way back into the city, you will be intrigued with Table Mountain following you all the way, steadily “growing” bigger and bigger as you near the city again. Stick to the R27 coastal road that will take you past the most popular kite surfing spots as well.
On the lonely stretch out of the city there are various little beaches you can stop at to soak up the mountain views. If you get the timing right for your scenic drive, you’ll catch a stunning sunset across the Bay.
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Tafelberg Road to Signal Hill
This one is a great little mini scenic drive in Cape Town. The Tafelberg Road hugs the side of Table Mountain next to the bottom Aerial Cableway station. After the steep winding road, you will be greeted by one of the new Seven Wonders of the World in all its glory. Follow the road past the cableway station towards its end next to Devils Peak. On one side the mountain looms up next to you, and on the other the city lies in the valley.
Plan your trip just before sunset to watch the sun colour the mountain and then the city lights popping up. Or you can drive towards the other side on the Signal Hill Road, across Kloof Nek road, to watch the sun set across the ocean.
A Little Bit Further
We’ll let you in on a little secret, the mountain views outside the city are almost more mesmerizing than the ones within the city borders!
Cape Town to Worcester
The N2 highway (toll road) will take you through the Huguenot Tunnel towards the Du Toits Kloof pass. Get ready to catch your breath when you exist the tunnel, the mountains in the valley are spectacular. You can also use the alternative routes to bypass the toll road, offering you an even more scenic drive.
Worcester to Swellendam
Not as famous as its cousin, Route 62, but this scenic drive is just as stunning. The route travels through unspoiled nature reserves and the looming Matroosberg Mountain range. Eventually the road will lead you to the Bree River, with lush vineyards along the way. Create an alternative loop back to see as much as possible of the Klein Karoo on your trip.
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