There comes a day when you have to give yourself a break from the luxury of Cape Town restaurants, galleries, festivals and events. Treat yourself instead to a day away one of the many charming villages found on every compass point around this exciting city.
Head south this winter with a trip to Constantia in the southern suburbs where you will find a verdant wine valley and gracious homesteads.
Just 15 minutes from the city centre, Constantia is one of the city’s oldest suburbs. Steeped in history the valley is awash with quaint Cape Dutch architecture, world class wines, unique shops, art galleries and five-star dining at first class restaurants. There are several popular hikes along the green belts and the village is close to the celebrated Botanical Gardens of Kirstenbosch.
To the north, Kuils River, at the foot of the Bottelary Mountains, is fast-becoming a favoured weekend escape for locals, just 30 minutes from the city.
A pleasant drive through these fertile smallholdings and trading stores reveals cyclists, hikers and dog-walkers making the most of the country surroundings, and a stop at Zevenwacht Wine Estate is a must. Here you can picnic among the lovely gardens, enjoy a spa treatment, catch a meal or try out some of their award-winning wines.
A 45 minute drive west of Cape Town lies Stellenbosch, South Africa’s second oldest town. The students of Stellenbosch University enjoy one of the most idyllic and picturesque settings of any university town, in a cosy yet cosmopolitan environment.
Walk along roads lined with oak trees, popping in to the charismatic shops and admire the Old Dutch architecture. Delve into history at the museums and make sure you stop off for an unforgettable lunch, with wines to match, at one of the local wine farms.
The trendy fishing village of Kalk Bay, and neighbouring St James village are full of Bohemian shops, erstwhile antiques, crafts and cosy restaurants. Only 30km from the Mother City, both of these destinations offer a chance to watch the catch of the day make its landing on the shore on-board the local fishing boats, or throw a line of your own.
Of course the fish and chips is to die for and the locals are typically charming small-town folk. Stroll the streets of this quirky area, shop up a retro storm, or take your sense of adventure to the surf on the local reef.
Climb to the top of the country’s tallest cast iron lighthouse at Kommetjie, just 40km north of Cape Town, for glorious views over Hout Bay and Cape Point. The pace of this small west coast village with its mystical blend of beach and mountain is leisurely and open-hearted.
Watch (or join) the local kite surfers and surfers in the waves before dining on the freshest crayfish. Take a tour of the village and meet some of the local fisher folk, watch birds, enjoy the farmyard at Imhoff Farm or simply navigate the footpaths to appreciate the indigenous flora.
Explore outside of the city to experience a luxury Cape Town day out within an hour’s drive of the city when you visit these nearby villages