From vibey bars and trendy restaurants to stunning sea views and iconic Table Mountain, it’s no surprise that the Western Cape is one of the most popular holiday destinations in South Africa. But if you’re not really into crowds and prefer something a little further off the beaten track, there are plenty of secret spots, tucked away towns and hidden hangouts to satisfy your anti-tourist wanderlust.
Bars and Restaurants
Keen for a drink but don’t feel like jostling at the bar? Julep is an understated cocktail bar hidden at the bottom of a quiet alley just off Long Street in Cape Town. With a cool 1920s vibe, live music and signature cocktails, you can’t go wrong. Wine lovers can take a tour up the heavenly Hemel en Aarde Valley near Hermanus with a stop over at Mogg’s Country Cookhouse for some hearty fare. Or get your culture fix at the new Kaffa Hoist Café espresso bar and restaurant in the township of Langa. For something really unique, get in touch with your senses at Blindiana Barista Coffee Shop and Museum in Worcester, South Africa’s first-ever coffee shop, restaurant and museum inspired by the blind.
Sightseeing and adventure
While’s there no shortage of popular hikes, ocean adventures and outdoor activities to be had, the Western Cape also has plenty of lesser-known destinations if you know where to look. Discover the all-but unknown Cave on Chapman’s Peak Drive for a miraculous sunset view all to yourself. Hop on the train to Simon’s Town and take in the amazing scenery as you trundle past picturesque fishing boats, quaint shops and maybe even spot a whale or two! Hikers will love wandering along the rugged rock art trail in the Cederberg Mountains, while Langebaan’s Lagoon offers swimming, horse-riding and kayaking on its secluded beaches. Another quiet destination is Nature’s Valley, the tiny, lesser-known cousin of bustling Knysna where lush forests and a beautiful beach await.
Markets, arts and crafts
The Western Cape is jam packed with markets selling everything from food and clothing to local art, handmade crafts and more. Swing by Lourensford Market for their enchanting Friday Twilight Market. Or head out to Velddrif’s quirky Bokkom Laan market. Located down a dusty side street, the playful stalls sell an eclectic mix of fun trinkets, tasty jams, vintage clocks, unique art and more. Up for a road trip? Then you’re going to love a ride along Route 27 where the freshest seafood, open-air beach restaurants and amazing sea views are on offer at every stop