Cape to Cape drive is one of our favorite road trips in South Africa; beautiful, many things to do on the way and it’s a relatively short drive, about 400km. There is some confusion with two points Cape Of Good Hope, Cape Point and Cape Agulhas.
To clarify Cape Agulhas in Struisbaai is the Southernmost Tip of African continent, Cape of Good Hope and Cape Point are two scenic capes close to Cape Town, scenery wise they are more impressive than Cape Agulhas; dramatic cliffs, white-sand beaches, breath-taking lookouts and ice-cold blue waters of the Atlantic Ocean.
The Cape of Good Hope to Cape Agulhas drive can be done as a separate trip from Cape Town and back or you can combine it with the Garden Route road trip and continue driving along the coast after visiting the Southernmost Tip of Africa.
If for whatever reasons you don’t want to rent and explore the area on your own you can do the same route in two days by joining two different tours. For example, Day 1 the Cape Peninsula – Cape Point and Penguin Explorer Full-Day Tour from Cape Town. Day 2 the Southernmost point of Africa – a day group tour from Cape Town to Cape Agulhas. Both tours start and end in Cape Town which means you don’t have to pack and move to a different hotel somewhere along the route.
Recommended tours to explore more of South Africa
Map of Cape Town – Cape Agulhas road trip
Cape Town – Camps Bay – Hout Bay – Chapman’s Peak Drive – Noordhoek – Kommetjie – Misty Cliffs – Cape Point National park (Cape of Good Hope) – Boulders Beach (Simon’s Town) – Muizenberg – Strand – Gordon’s Bay – Rooi-Els – Betty’s Bay – Harold Porter Botanical Garden – Kleinmond – Hermanus – (Gansbaai – Elim) – Napier – Bredasdorp – Arniston – Struisbaai – Cape Agulhas.
Total distance: 412km
Why we like Cape Town to Cape Agulhas drive
- Stunning scenery: sandy beaches, coastline, cliffs, mountains, viewpoints.
- Short distances between places of interest, no sitting in the car for hours.
- Many things to do: diving, snorkeling, hiking, swimming, surfing, going out on a boat etc.
- Different accommodation and food options for any budget.
- Some great wine estates on the way.
- Good chances to see animals; seals, dolphins, whales, sharks, penguins, sea birds, ostriches, dassie, deer.
- It’s suitable for any type of travelers; adventure seekers, comfort lovers, families with small children, honeymoon couples or backpackers.
Practical tips for the trip to the Southernmost point of Africa
All roads are tarred you can drive in any car, it can be a nice trip on a motorbike as well but only if you’re a confident driver.
Renting a car is the best way to exploring the area and the easiest way to move around. All roads are tarred you don’t need a 4×4 for this trip. When renting a car make sure it doesn’t have a mileage limit or it’s more than 600km per rental. If you drive the suggested route from Cape Town Airport and back it’ll be just over 600km.
Suggested cars to rent for the trip
*Price for 3 days in US dollars, pick up and drop off at Cape Town Airport.
South Africans drive on the left side of the road like British and Australians if you’re from North America or Europe you’ll have to get used to it.
It’s not a camping trip there are a couple of caravan parks in Struisbaai and Cape Agulhas but they’re quite empty most of the time except Christmas and Easter holiday.
Backpacker hostels can be found in Muizenberg, Betty’s Bay, Hermanus, and Struisbaai.
Every town has at least a small shop but if you need a proper supermarket you can find them in Muizenberg, Strand, Hermanus, Napier, Bredasdorp.
The water temperature around Cape Town on the Atlantic side, it’s freezing all year round, between 9-14°C, for any water activities you need a wet suit. It gets warmer inside False Bay (Strand, Gordon’s Bay) and further along the coast, in summer up to 20°C.
On Sunday most restaurants, wine farms and even shops in small towns are closed. On Saturdays, wine estates are open only a half-day usually between 10am and 1pm.
Travel insurance for the trip
Traveling often involves different risks from a flight delay or cancellation to medical emergencies and baggage loss. It’s always advisable to have travel insurance that will cover you in case if something goes wrong especially if you venture to a faraway country like South Africa. Theft or robbery is another important reason to get travel insurance for your South African trip whether you’re planning to visit only Cape Town or to venture on a long road trip around the country.
It’s better to choose an insurance company that focuses on traveling and has a lot of experience in covering travelers all over the world like World Nomads. Their travel insurance is very flexible, you can buy it on-line while traveling, it takes only a couple of minutes and it can cover the whole trip or only a part of it. Get an instant quote right now!
Places of interest on the route from Cape Town to Cape Agulhas
- Camps Bay
- Hour Bay
- Chapman’s Peak Drive
- Cape of Good Hope
- Cape Point
- Boulders Beach
- Gordon’s Bay
- Crystal Pools Park
- Penguins at Betty’s Bay
- Cape Agulhas
Best season for the scenic drive
- November to March – long hot sunny days, no rain, though December and beginning of January are usually quite windy.
- April and May – still good weather, days are shorter, nice and warm, more chances for rain.
- June to August – days are cool and short, many parks close earlier, a lot of rain but you can be lucky and get a couple of nice days.
- September and October – beginning of spring, warmish days, everything is green after winter rains, flowers, and fruit trees in blossom.
Cape Town to Cape Agulhas – a 3-day road trip itinerary
The suggested itinerary is for 3 days but you can adjust it to your needs and time, we’d say it’s possible to do the drive in two days but you won’t have time to do any activities only sightseeing. If you have more time you can easily spend 4-5 days or even more if you want to chill in a nice and quiet place somewhere on the sea.
Day 1. Cape Town – Cape of Good Hope – Muizenberg, 120km
Cape Town – Camps Bay – Hout Bay – Chapman’s Peak Drive – Noordhoek – Kommetjie – Misty Cliffs – Cape Point National park (Cape of Good Hope) – Boulders Beach (Simon’s Town) – Muizenberg.
The drive can take anything between 7 and 10 hours, depending on how much you stop on the way.
Highlights of the day
- Camps Bay – beautiful beaches, ice-cold water.
- Chapman’s Peak drive – one of the most scenic drives in South Africa; along the coast with many lookouts.
- Cape Point National park – where you can spend all day, there are many driving and walking routes, some beautiful beaches though water there is freezing cold.
- Boulder’s Beach, Simon’s Town – a small hidden white-sand beach surrounded by huge boulders with quite a few penguins swimming around.
- Muizenberg – a busy surf town.
Things to do
If it’s weekend or public holiday be ready to spend some time queuing to enter Cape Point National park luckily the queue moves quite fast.
Don’t walk after dark on the beaches around Cape Town unless there many people and rather skip Noordhoek beach there were several cases of mugging and hijacking there recently.
If you want to do a hike we’d recommend to do it inside Cape Point National park there are quite a few walks around. Don’t hike in the mountains around Simon’s Town or Muizenberg, even if you’re more than two people there were some mugging and robbing incidents recently.
Chapman’s Peak Drive
Most of the time the route goes along the coast with many stunning lookouts and endless white-sand beaches. It’s not a long drive but there is so much to see here that it’ll take you the entire day, the earlier you start the better. The first stop is Camps Bay the fanciest neighborhood of Cape Town and the place with the most expensive property in the country.
From there you drive over the pass to Hout Bay where you can see seals in the harbor, for tips locals will show you how they feed seals. Finally, you’re getting to Chapman’s Peak Drive. It’s on a toll road you pay ZAR45 for a car to drive through but it’s one of the most beautiful drives in the country and absolutely worth it!
Cape Point National park
Take your time in the Cape Point National Park there is a lot to see here, you can actually spend the whole day just driving and walking around, it’s an incredibly beautiful place. The highlights of the park; Cape Point, Cape of Good hope, the Lighthouse, Diaz Beach, Kleine Bucht, Vasco Da Gama Cross, Bordjiesrif Tidal Pool. The easiest way of getting to the Lighthouse and to the summit of Cape Point is to take a Flying Dutchman Funicular, you can buy tickets online and skip the line.
There are a couple of day trails; Ship Wreck trail (3-5km), Phyllisia Circuit (7km), Kanonkop (5km), Cape of Good Hope Trail (3,5km), Lighthouse Keeper’s Trail (2km). Ask for a map at the entrance, all the trails are marked and relatively easy. We have done all of them as a part of a 2-day Cape of Good Hope hiking trail. Opened October – March 6am – 6pm, April – September 7am – 5pm. Entrance fee ZAR145 adults, ZAR75 children, children under 6 years free.
Boulders Beach, Simon’s Town
A small white-sand beach hidden between huge boulders with calm warmish waters is a part of the marine protected area. Exceptional beauty is not the only reason that attracts visitors to this beach every day, cute African penguins are always around; walking, swimming or resting on the rocks. Children love this place!
Take your swimming costume and a towel you can spend some time here chilling on the beach and watching penguins. Opened; December – January from 7am to 7.30 pm; February – March from 8am to 6.30 pm; April – September from 8am to 5pm; October – November from 8am to 6.30pm. Entrance fee ZAR75 adults, ZAR40 children.
To top up your marine animals’ experience in Simon’s Town go for a diving or snorkeling trip to see seals and Cow sharks (they are not known to attack divers) the dives are relatively easy dives done at about 12m. You need at least an open water qualification to do these dives, snorkeling is also possible. Diving and snorkeling trips are usually in the morning if you stay overnight in Muizenberg it’s a short drive to the dive shop, about 15km.
A good place for surfing or learning how to surf, there are a few surf shops on the beach so if you have more time you can stay here for a couple of days. Don’t forget to check out the colorful cabins in Muizenberg, awesome contrast with white sand beach and blue sea. One of the top Instagram places around Cape Town.
If you happen to be here on Friday go to Blue Bird Garage and Food market, it’s an indoor market with a huge variety of food, snacks, beer and wine from steaks to vegetarian dishes, from craft beers to exclusive wines. We even found real Argentinian empanadas (pies) that a guy from Buenos Aires makes himself. Nice vibe, music, very chilled and social place great way to spend a Friday night in Muizenberg. The market opened every Friday from 4pm – 10pm.
Places to stay in Muizenberg
Be aware accommodation in Muizenberg is usually booked long beforehand as there are always many tourists here, especially those near the surf spot. If you’re planning to come here rather book in advance.
Day 2. Muizenberg – Betty’s Bay – Hermanus, 134km
Muizenberg – Strand – Gordon’s Bay – Rooi-Els – Betty’s Bay – Harold Porter Botanical Garden – Kleinmond – Hermanus.
Driving can take between 6 and 8 hours with stops for photos, lunch, sightseeing etc.
Highlights of the day
- A beautiful drive along the coast from Gordon’s Bay on.
- Rooi-Els – a small town at the sea.
- Crystal Pools Natural Reserve.
- Stony Point Nature Reserve, penguins sanctuary in Betty’s Bay.
- Harold Porter Botanical Garden.
- Whales and dolphins in Hermanus.
Things to do
- Swimming at Koel Bay at one of the beaches on the way from Gordon’s Bay to Rooi-Els.
- Hiking in Crystal Pools Nature Reserve, there is a nice 2-3 hours return hike to the falls and natural pools, 8km walk. Open from November to April, sunrise to sunset. Entrance ZAR60 per person.
- Surfing at Koel Bay beach, bring a surfboard with you and watch for sharks.
- Snorkeling in Rooi Els, you can spot crayfish water is not as cold as in Cape Town but you still need a wet-suite.
- Hiking in the Harold Porter Botanical Garden.
- Whale watching in Hermanus, season from August to December, the peak season October – November when Southern-right whales are in the area. Usually, you see many seals and occasional penguins in the water as well during the tour.
Gordon’s Bay drive
The first part of the drive from Muizenberg to Gordon’s Bay is not that spectacular though you drive between sand dunes for some time. From Gordon’s Bay on you’re back on the scenic coastal road with many viewpoints and some great and usually empty beaches. When you stop at a viewpoint near Gordon’s Bay lookout for seals there are usually some in the water close to the shore.
A nice small town of Betty’s Bay with long and usually empty white-sand beaches surrounded by the mountains. A beach is a nice place for a picnic on a not windy day. If after visiting Boulder’s Beach you’re still keen to see more African penguins go to Stony Point Nature Reserve, there are hundreds of penguins there usually chilling on the beach right at the entrance. Opened daily from 8am to 4.30pm. Entrance fee ZAR20 adults, ZAR10 children.
Harold Porter Botanical Garden
A beautiful garden full of lush green vegetation and flowers, a nice place to come for a picnic, to walk around the garden or have a meal at the restaurant. There are several day hiking trails here; the Zigzag, Fynbos and Leopard’s Kloof Trails. To visit Leopard’s Kloof or to do the hike there you have to start before 1pm, inquire at the entrance. Opened Mon – Fri 8am – 4pm, weekends and holidays from 8am – 5pm. Entrance fee ZAR25 – adults, ZAR10 – children.
If you’re in the area between August and November we’d recommend doing a whale watching tour, southern right whales are in Hermanus this time of the year and chances to spot them are quite good.
If you want more adrenaline-pumping activity you can do a cage diving with sharks where you have good chances to see great white sharks and some bronze whaler sharks. You’ll need the whole morning for any of these activities so it’s better if you stay in Hermanus for an extra night. Shark diving tours leave from Gansbaai, 42 km from Hermanus.
Every year at the end of September the Whale Festival takes place in Hermanus; the food market, music stands, parade, treasure hunt and more is waiting for you here. During the whale season go to one of the restaurants with the sea view you have a good chance of spotting whales while enjoying your meal.
To finish the day you can go on a romantic sunset cruise with a glass of wine to enjoy the stunning scenery and the amazing sunset.
Places to stay in Hermanus
Day 3. Hermanus – Arniston – Cape Agulhas, 158km
Hermanus – (Gansbaai – Elim) – Napier – Bredasdorp – Arniston – Struisbaai – Cape Agulhas.
The drive can take between 6 to 8 hours.
Highlights of the day
- Elim, a small village with cute little houses lined along the main street.
- The cozy town of Napier with many cafes, restaurants and souvenir shops on the main street.
- White fisherman cottages in Arniston
- Waenhuiskrans Cave in Arniston
- Cape Agulhas, the southernmost point of Africa
- Cape Agulhas Lighthouse
Things to do
- Shark cage diving in Gansbaai, all year round though inquire before as sometimes orcas are in the area and sharks (Great Whites) disappear.
- Wine and beer tasting, there are a couple of places around Hermanus and some on the way to Cape Agulhas.
- Exploring Waenhuiskrans Cave.
- Watching the sunset on Struisbaai beach.
- Spotting Parrie, a huge stingray that lives at the harbor of Struisbaai.
There are different route options; first is driving from Hermanus through Gansbaai and Elim, skip Napier and keep driving on the gravel road towards Arniston and Struisbaai. This route is a longer route, adds about 30km but it’s always more fun to go through the countryside instead of sticking to the main road.
Gansbaai and Elim
Gansbaai is a small town the main reason tourists come here is whale-watching or shark diving as the tours start here. Except for these, there is African Penguin and Sea Bird Sanctuary and Rescue Center here you can see the feeding of penguins every day at 3pm while drinking coffee or eating lunch at the coffee shop. No entrance fee.
From Gansbaai drive through Elim on the way to Struisbaai, it’s a small but lovely fisherman town with white cottages lined up along the road. Just outside Elim, there is a wine estate/restaurant Black Oystercatcher Wines. You can do winetasting here, ZAR70/US$ per person, they have only fancy expensive wines. They sell craft local beer and souvenirs as well. Over the weekends and holidays, it’s better to book a table beforehand.
The second option, driving from Hermanus past Stanford through Napier it’s shorter if you take this route you’ll skip Gansbaai and Elim but you get more wine farms on the way. Napier is a lovely town with beautiful old houses, good restaurants, cozy cafes and souvenir shops. Looks very beautiful in the Jacaranda season between October and December. If you’re a sweet tooth don’t forget to stop in Bredasdorp, next town after Napier on the way to Arniston/Stuisbaai. There is a cafe/shop Soetmuisberg on Long Street (the one you drive on from Napier) they sell the best ice-cream ever, for R18 you get a huge sugar cone topped with a tower of two different flavor ice-creams, from blueberry cheesecake to Bar one and chocolate flavors.
Arniston is a small fisherman town where many locals go for the December holiday, the highlights of the town are white-colored fisherman’s cottages at the harbor and Waenhuiskrans Cave. You can visit the cave only at low tide, check tides here. The only access to the cave except the sea is through a hole in a cave at high tide it’s underwater. The cave is big with a beautiful view over the ocean, it looks like a cave from Pirates of the Caribbean or any other treasure hunting movie. The children will love it! No entrance fee.
Struisbaai and Cape Agulhas
Struisbaai and Cape Agulhas officially are two small towns but in fact one place, it’s a very quiet place out of season, in December-January and Easter many South Africans come here for the holiday. The main thing that attracts tourists here is the Southernmost Point of African continent, the point officially divides two oceans; the Atlantic and the Indian though there is no visible line between them.
Though the point is inside Agulhas National park there is no gate or entrance fee. The Southernmost Point got an upgrade recently a big metal map of Africa with the main geographical attractions was installed at the tip. Another though local size attraction is Parrie the Stingray, a big old stingray that has been living in the harbor for many years. Sometimes there are two or three stingrays in the harbor. Struisbaai has a nice long beach for swimming, running and watching sunset or sunrise.
The best pizza/seafood restaurant according to locals (we confirm it) is SeaGulls Pub and Grill in Cape Agulhas. They have great wood-fired pizza, delicious seafood, all sort of alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks and coffee. The vibe is really nice and the staff is super friendly and fun. The top floor is a more informal pub-style place, the bottom floor more opt for a romantic dinner.
Places to stay in Struisbaai/Cape Agulhas
The road trip cost
Accommodation – a dorm bed between ZAR160 – 190; a double room from ZAR500.
Petrol – the drive is only km, you’ll spend on petrol depending on a vehicle.
Entrance fees – Chapman’s Peak toll road – ZAR45; Cape Point National Park – ZAR145 adults, ZAR75 children; Boulders Beach – ZAR75 adults, ZAR40 children; Harold Porter Botanical Garden – ZAR25 adults, ZAR10 children; Penguin Sanctuary, Betty’s Bay – ZAR20 adults, ZAR10 children.
Food – cooking your own meal is always the cheapest option, this way you can get away with ZAR150-200 per day. Eating out from ZAR150 pp per meal.
Activities – these always add quite a bit to a budget but usually make a trip more exciting; seal and Cow shark dive in Simon’s Town – ZAR1950 pp; surfing lesson in Muizenberg – ZAR400 pp (individual lesson) including gear; surfboard rental – ZAR70 per hour; Whale watching boat tour in Hermanus – ZAR1200 pp; shark cage diving in Gansbaai – ZAR2100 pp.
Wine estates and breweries on Cape to Cape route
There are many wine farms in and around Hermanus that offer wine tasting and have restaurants you can basically spend the whole day enjoying exquisite red and white wines and delicious food. You can follow the official wine route and go to all 13 wineries or visit some of them.
- Bouchard Finlayson Winery (Hermanus), probably one of the finest wine estates in the area. Tasting 3 wines – ZAR20, 6 wines – ZAR40.
- Creation Wines (Hermanus).
- Hermanuspietersfontein (Hermanus).
- Hamilton Russel Vineyards (Hermanus).
- Birkenhead Brewery & Winery (Stanford). Except for wine and beer they have different flavored ciders.
- Black Oystercatcher wines (Elim), tasting ZAR70 per person, they make their own beers some of them have quite a unique taste e.g. coffee with condensed milk.
Restaurants on Cape Town to Cape Agulhas route
Jakes on the Common (Noordhoek), cool design, great staff, good food. A good place to stop for a drink, a cup of coffee with dessert (they have great ones) or lunch. We loved their Tasting Platter for Two, it was too early for lunch.
The Foodbarn (Noordhoek), a great variety of food; breakfast, deli, tapas, a la Carte menu, tasting menu (min. 5 people) and good wines. The place is quite expensive but you can spoil you a bit and enjoy a tasty meal.
The Brass Bell restaurant and pub (Kalk Bay) this place is popular with locals; fresh seafood and fish, steaks and pizzas plus a great variety of wines (red and white). The restaurant sits on the rocks right at the sea great view and fresh air are guaranteed.
Cape to Cuba restaurant (Kalk Bay) has a unique design, it’s worth to stop here just for a cup of coffee or a cocktail, a little Cuba on South African soil. Tapas menu, meat, fish, burgers, desserts and of course cocktails. Colorful and vivid place good for meeting up with friends or a small romantic dinner.
Tiger’s Milk Kitchen Bar (Muizenberg), a place to go for a party dinner, a big open plan restaurant, with a cool vibe, pizzas, steaks, tacos, burgers and big bar menu. Great place to eat with friends, not for a romantic dinner.
Bintang’s Cave (Hermanus) located all the way down to the sea, saltwater splashes refresh you on a hot summer day. Don’t be surprised if while eating you see a whale or a dolphin in the sea not far away. It’s the place to be if you’re a seafood lover, fresh oysters, calamari, crayfish, mussels, and fish perfectly fried or grilled with cold white wine, lunch or dinner in this amazing spot is something special.
55 Knots (Struisbaai), great view from the terrace, breakfast menu, quite good pizzas, seafood, fish and meat dishes. Probably the best coffee in Struisbaai/Cape Agulhas. Gets quite busy in December, January and sometimes over the weekends.
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