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Southern Peninsula

Africa's best authentic tailor-made safaris

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Southern Peninsula

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By Devryn Panaino

Safari Travel Planner

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The Cape Peninsula is a rocky outcrop that reaches into the icy waters of the Atlantic Ocean like a giant curved finger. At its southernmost point lies the Cape of Good Hope, so called because of the optimism it gave to early trading seafarers rounding the tip of Africa en route between Europe and the Far East.

One of the breathtaking vistas from a stopover on Chapmans Peak Drive.
Geographically speaking, the Cape Peninsula starts in Mouille Point near the city center of Cape Town, encompassing the Atlantic Seaboard, with the Table Mountain range running the length of the 52km (32mi) long outcrop. Ask any local, however, and they’ll point you to the tip of the peninsula between Hout Bay and Simons Town, commonly known as the South Peninsula.

The South Peninsula is best known for Cape Point Nature Reserve, a UNESCO World Heritage Site within the southern section of the Table Mountain National Park. The 77,5km2 (30 square mile) reserve contains dramatic scenery of the Atlantic coastline, several pristine footprint-free beaches, several hiking trails, and two lighthouses with incredible views of the peninsula’s southernmost point. You might even spot some game here – keep an eye out for zebra, eland, bontebok, and ostrich.

Horse riding on Noordhoek beach is an incredibly serene experience.

The small-town feel of Noordhoek, Kommetjie, and Scarborough on the peninsula’s western side is favored by visitors who want to escape the city’s busy suburbs and popular beaches. At the same time, surfers are equally fond of the less crowded surfing conditions.

On the eastern side of the peninsula lies Simon’s Town, a historical maritime town and headquarters of the South African Navy. The town is steeped in centuries-old naval history, and the picturesque St George’s Street is lined with preserved Dutch-style buildings now home to boutiques, eateries, antique shops, and coffee shops.

The Cape fur seals have made Boulder's Beach their home.

The most famous attraction in Simon’s Town is the African penguin colony, which calls Boulders Beach home. The beach is part of the national parks network, and visitors can view the penguins from an elevated platform or swim alongside them at the adjacent Foxy Beach.

Highlights
  • During whale season from June to November, it’s possible to spot migrating Humpback, Southern Right, and Bryde’s whales rounding Cape Point. These gentle giants can also be spotted from elevated coastal vantage points like Boyes Drive, Chapmans Peak, and Clarens Drive. For an up close and personal experience, boat trips are available from Simon’s Town harbor.
  • Chapmans Peak Drive on the western side of the Southern Peninsula sits right at the top of South Africa’s most scenic coastal drives. The pass is a feat of engineering, and the views will leave you breathless.
  • Boulders Beach in Simon’s Town is a protected coastal habitat for a resident penguin colony and one of the only places in the world where you can get close to African penguins. Swimming alongside these unique sea creatures is certainly a bucket list experience!
Travel Tips
  • Cape Point is about 70km (43mi) from the center of Cape Town, and there is no public transport connection, so you’ll need to take a bus, taxi, or self-drive to get there. The drive itself takes about an hour and a half. It is a great self-drive destination and a spectacular scenic drive that is best undertaken as a day trip. If you head out early, you can also visit nearby coastal towns such as Hout Bay, Simon’s Town, and Kalk Bay.
  • If you prefer not to self-drive, numerous sightseeing bus companies and private tour operators offer half and full-day sightseeing tours to the tip of the peninsula and its surrounding towns and points of interest.

 

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Copyright © Discover Africa Safaris | Southern Peninsula | Last Updated: 29 September 2023