The long stretches of secluded coastline and unexploited fishing villages of South Africa's Western Cape are still considered a kind of local secret. If you travel here, you may feel as if you've discovered something that international tourists have not yet found out about. Take a tour through the heart of Cape Town by foot or by bicycle, and then explore some of the Western Cape's World Heritage Sites and national parks. While you are here, visit a refuge and education center to learn more about eagles or Africa's large cat species, take a shark diving excursion in Gansbaai, and see the historic prison of Nelson Mandela on Robben Island. And at the end of a long sojourn of hiking, biking, exploring the coast, whale watching, and learning about South Africa's complex history, come back to Cape Town to experience the restaurants and theaters of the Victoria and Albert Waterfront.
Here are a few additional suggestions of things to do in the area:
-Hike up Table Mountain: This is a brilliant way to experience the breathtaking scenery of South Africa.
-Take a culinary and winery tour: Sample the best cuisine of world-class western cape restaurants while exploring the internationally known Franschhoek, Paarl, and Stellenbosch wine lands.
-Visit the Kirstenbosch National Botanical Gardens: Come to these botanical gardens during the spring and summer to experience a dazzling array of native plants in full bloom and learn more about the natural history of the Western Cape area.
-Visit the Knysna Elephant Park: Located between Knysna and Plettenberg Bay, this wildlife park offers an opportunity for close contact with protected resident elephants. Also be sure to visit the Elephant Sanctuary at the Crags.
-Travel the Swartberg Pass: Take a scenic drive along the unforgettable Swartberg Pass, a stretch of road recognized as a World Heritage Site.
-Boulders Beach: This is a wonderful place to have a look at the famous penguins of Cape Town.
Luckily, there are plenty of vacation rentals available in Cape Town, during every season of the year. For your next getaway, book a beautiful and affordable condo near Eland's Bay or Lambert's Bay, which provide access to some of the most important sites in the Cape area.
As featured in USA TODAY and recommended by Travel + Leisure in its annual Villa Guide:
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