"A Quick Tour of the Western Cape" Cape Town Travelogue by travelmad478

Cape Town Travel Guide: 2,700 reviews and 6,271 photos

We rented a car and drove out of Cape Town for a week's holiday in the Western Cape, staying in bed and breakfasts along the way. The first place on our route was South Africa's wine country. We drove through Stellenbosch and Franschhoek, stopped in at a bunch of vineyards and bought some fabulous wines, and ate some of the best food ever. Both the wine and the food were so cheap and so good that I wanted to move to South Africa right away...

This photo was taken at a winery near Franschhoek.

Montagu

We drove east from Franschhoek to the small town of Montagu, which boasts a natural hot spring and some interesting geology. While there, we hiked through the hills and took a dip in the hot springs at the Avalon Springs Hotel. Montagu is pretty small and sleepy, but pleasant.

Arniston

From Montagu, we drove back to the coast to stay in the village of Arniston. This is a very pretty fishing village with a beautiful, wild beach that was a lot of fun to wander around on. We spent a good two hours poking through tidal pools there.

De Hoop Nature Reserve

De Hoop Nature Reserve is a great day trip from Arniston, and it was almost deserted when we went there in late March. The park is very large, with driving loops and hiking trails throughout. Lots of wildlife can be spotted there (we saw zebras, bontebok, ostriches, and a huge number of birds). The area along the coast is a fantastic range of enormous white sand dunes that are really an amazing sight. Visiting De Hoop definitely requires a car, and it's well off the beaten track, but I really think it's worth a special trip. You can learn more at the <a href="http://www.southafrica-travel.net/Parks/e_dehoop.htm" target=newwindow>De Hoop homepage</a>.

About those ostriches...

The whole time we were driving around the Western Cape, Helen, Kathy, and I were frustrated by our lack of ostrich photo opportunities. So we were thrilled when, driving away from De Hoop back toward the main highway, we came across an ostrich farm where there were a few birds standing next to the fence at the side of the road. We stopped the car to take a photo, and the next thing we knew, ostriches from all over the huge field started walking over to us (apparently in the hope that it was feeding time). We ended up with a group of about 20 ostriches standing in front of us, their beady eyes following our every move. There was nothing else for it but to start leading a chorus of "Kumbaya." I haven't laughed so hard since!

Hermanus

Our last stop was Hermanus, a beach resort about two hours outside Cape Town. We wandered down to the beach, which was a pretty beautiful view. Hermanus nightlife is pretty typical beach-resort fare, but if you're in the right mood, it can be a lot of fun.

  • Page Written Dec 27, 2001
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travelmad478

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