Cape Town is a wonderful city and all, but our road trip getting out of Cape Town was the best part of our South Africa trip!! We left our Airbnb in Seapoint early in the morning at 8 am and slowly made our way to the Cape of Good Hope, making a pit stop at Simon’s Town to see the African penguin colony there.
TRAVEL HACK: Quick tip, go to your Google Maps app on your phone and download the entire area between Cape Town and Cape Point offline. You do this by connecting to wifi, opening the menu by tapping on the three bars in upper left hand side, then open Offline area, tap on Custom area and move the map around to get the area you want to download highlighted and press on download. Once the map is downloaded, you search and navigate with it without any internet!
To get started, we took Chapman’s Peak Drive down to Simon’s Town by taking Victoria Road South. You will get a beautiful view of Table Mountain. We left early in the morning so we got to see some fog rolling over the edge, almost like a waterfall! Chapman’s Peak Drive is a toll road and it costs R42 (~$3) to drive it one way. If you decide to take the same road back to Cape Town, you will have to pay the toll again. Chapman’s Peak Drive is similar to route 1 in California, where it winds around the rocky coast of the Cape peninsula. Drive carefully since there are a lot of sharp turns! Also, there are a lot of turn offs to take in the view and get some pictures. I found this amazing bench with a view at one of the stops!
Once you get to Simon’s Town (45 minutes later), enter Boulder Visitors Centre into Goole Maps to navigate yourself to parking for the penguins. Follow the signs that say “penguins” to the visitor’s centre. Once you get to the entrance, you will see two paths, one to the right that is a wooden pathway and one on the left which is the ticket entrance. Take the path on the right! This will lead you down to a secluded beach where you can see a handful of penguins up close and personal. It’s about a 10 minute walk down, and you’ll see a ticket entrance. Hold onto your tickets (R35 for adults and R10 for kid over 2) because it will get you into the other part of the park (the left pathway).
Elara LOVED it down at the beach. She played in the sand, crawled after a penguin and dipped her toes in the ocean. The water here is a bit chilly, but you could swim around if you wanted to.
Elara kept leaning down trying to reach the penguins, so we eventually put her down and she kept crawling after all the penguins! She also might or might not have eaten some sand.
We then walked back up the wooden walkway and went through the other entrance. We just showed them our tickets and walked through. This side of the beach has a TON more penguins, but you can only view them from a wooden walkway. FYI there are parking attendants that watch your car, it’s customary to tip them once you’re back from your outing. Tipping R2 – R5 is normal based on how long you stay.
From Simon’s Town we entered Cape of Good Hope into our navigation and went on our way. I suggest stopping somewhere in Simon’s Town and loading up on snacks as there aren’t many places to stop and get food on the way. It took us about 45 minutes to get there. There is an entrance fee of R135 (~$10) per person and babies are free. You will get a map at the entrance, just follow the map to the Cape of Good Hope. There are a few signs that you can take pictures with. We stopped for a few seconds since it was pouring rain!
Then we took off for Cape Point. There is a cable car that you can take to the top for R65. We opted to stretch our legs and climb the stairs up. It took us 30 minutes. If you have a toddler or small baby, just take the cable car and save yourself the hassle. Rhut ended up carrying the baby on his shoulders, and then half way up we realized her hiking backpack carrier was in the car!
The view from above is gorgeous! Rhut was inspired enough to Simba Elara into the air a la The Lion King. It only seemed appropriate.
There is a restaurant and a pizza place up top if you’re hungry! We walked all the way down and hopped in the car to drive around the park and check out other stops. We even stumbled upon a group of ostrich babies!
After we were done, we headed to Table Mountain Aerial Cableway. It took us about an hour to get there. You’ll see a bunch of cars parked on the side of the road, just park there.
If you go earlier than 6pm, I suggest buying your ticket’s before hand since the line for pre-ticketed people is MUCH shorter. Tickets are half price after 6pm and the last cable car down is at 8 pm, which you can buy at the counter.
At the top there are a few walking paths. Most the paths around the top are not stroller friendly. If you go with baby I suggest wearing the baby instead. Luckily our stroller folds up and is light and compact, so we just carried it with us.
Keep an eye out for hyraxes aka dassies, small groundhog-like creatures that like to run around up on the top! Also a fun fact that we learned from a family we met up there is that they’re related to elephants!
Afterwards, we headed down and back home! We stopped at Three Wise Monkeys for some vegetarian ramen and called it a night!