Cape Town is full of unique attractions and secret sights. It has seductive harbours, beach huts, vibrant waterfronts, and stunning viewpoints like Table Mountain that are all very popular with tourists, however, iconic Cape Town has much more to offer than just these popular attractions.
Here are a few secret gems in Cape Town that you never knew existed…
1. The Clifton Ridge Rocks
Among the many attractions of Cape Town, its sunset spots are rated among the best. However, these spectacular and colorful sunset sites are mostly enjoyed by the locals and still remain inaccessible to tourists who like to occupy the more famous places of the city.
The Clifton Ridge Rocks, situated on the Atlantic Ocean, is perhaps the most attractive hidden sunset spot in the town. The little rock ridge can be reached by a small walkway that you’ll find at the end of Clifton’s Ridge Road. Once you reach the destination, find a place to relax and wait for the sherbet-colored sunset to mesmerize you.
Other than the sunset, you can enjoy watersports in the adjacent beaches. Surfing, beach volleyball, and yacht rides are some of the favorite pastimes in these beaches.
2. Kloof Corner
Kloof Corner is said to be the ultimate sundowner spot in Cape Town. You’ll get to see the panoramic views of Camps Bay, Lions Head, and the city bowl from this beautiful sunrise spot.
Kloof Corner, with its steep climb, is famous for hiking. You can find the beginning of the Kloof’s trail on the Tafelberg Road. The path of Kloof Corner begins with a gradual incline, but soon, you will have to move in a zig-zag way to reach the side of the Table Mountain. The final destination will require riding about 215 stairs, which can take more than half an hour.
The painstaking journey to the top of the Kloof Corner is comparable to a day in the gym. However, when you reach the spot, feel the rush of the wind, and experience the spectacular view of Cape Town, you will be more than compensated for the toil. Remember to carry the essential equipment, food, and water, keeping in mind the unpredictable weather of Table Mountain.
3. Stony Point Penguin Reserve
The Stony Point Natural Penguin Reserve, situated in a tiny village called Betty’s Bay, is famous for housing a giant colony of African Penguins. It is one of the quieter and less famous attractions and is just an hour away from Cape Town. Here, you can see scores of penguins doing their everyday business like waddling, preening, mating, etc.
Stony Point presents visitors with a close view of the penguins, given that they don’t disturb the usual activities of the marine creatures. You will also experience different species of cormorants in these colonies. These cormorants, namely the Crowned cormorant, Bank cormorant, and Cape cormorant, breed near the outer rocks. Luckier tourists may get glimpses of Hartlaub’s Gulls and Rock Hyrax.
Visitors can have a view of the adjacent ancient Waaygat Whaling Station. For refreshments, there is a community restaurant nearby. Since you’ll need to remain in the car for a long time to visit the Stony Point, it is advisable to keep the interiors roomy by shifting all your luggage on the roof rack car.
4. Woodstock Street Art
Once a seaside resort of fame and a semi-industrial area of later times, the Woodstock suburb outside Cape Town now draws tourists for its creativity and hip coffee shops. The most recent addition to the list of its attractions is street art. The suburb is considered the creative hub of Cape Town, owing to the recent spread of furniture showrooms, artist studios, and creative agencies in this once infamous area.
The last time we visited Woodstock, we were surprised not only by the creativity level of the artists but also the transformative message the paintings seek to convey. The range of the artwork is quite vast, often radical, and touches upon issues such as social justice and nature conservation.
Speaking from personal experience, you should take the help of a friendly local host who has in-depth knowledge about the art and artists to realize the significance of the art you behold. Begin your tour from Essex Street, and you can see most of these artworks between Albert Road and Victoria Road.
5. Water’s Edge
Situated close to the African Penguin Colony and Boulders Beach, we found Water’s Edge to be the most elegant hidden gem Cape Town has to offer. Although the beach may seem to be a part of Boulders Beach, it falls right between Boulders Beach and Seaforth Beach.
If you are touring with your family, especially children, this solitary beach should be a natural choice. The beach remains mostly hidden from regular tourists due to its plain looks and secretive location. You can enjoy the almost-empty bay, and particularly the pools full of starfish. The beach’s turquoise waters, large granite boulders, and occasional views of Cape Fur Seals, dolphins, and whales only add to the aura of this hidden beach oasis. It is also an excellent place for snorkeling, diving off the boulders, and swimming.
6. The Look-out Cave on Chapman’s Peak
Chapman’s Peak Drive is not only one of Cape Town’s most sought-after attractions; it is one of the gorgeous marine drives worldwide. Despite its global fame, many people are actually unaware of the hidden gems located on the coastal road. One of such secrets is the mesmerizing Look-out Cave.
The Cave, also popular as a hidden sunset spot, takes some adventurous climbing and walking to reach due to its secret location just below that pass. Once you reach the place, the sense of serenity will compensate for the effort to reach there. The Cave’s scenic view includes the icy blue ocean, the red rocky periphery of the cave, mountains, and the soothing horizon.
When you visit the Look-Out Cave, be cautious when you’re climbing the rocks. Wear closed and non-slippery shoes and apply sunscreen to avoid sunburn.
7. Llandudno Beach
The Mother City indeed has no shortage of stunning beaches full of people coming to enjoy the sun and the blue waters. But according to our experience, there is no beach in the whole city as adventurous as Llandudno.
From the daring lifesavers and surfers to the meeker picnic-enthusiasts reading novels and occupying the blankets on the shore- the beach has all the colors to offer. The wind is strong, and health-conscious people should search for a sheltered spot.
The beach is never crowded, giving you a much-needed break from the hullabaloo of the city. Importantly, you won’t be able to buy any refreshments on the beach. So, come packed with all your favorite snacks and dishes.
8. Wally’s Cave on Lion’s Head
Lion’s Head is an iconic landmark of the Mother City that offers amazing Table Mountain views and is an in-demand hike for tourists. There are several hidden caves at the Lion’s Head that have mind-blowing views of the majestic Table Mountain. Sadly, Wally’s Cave is not as secret as we would have liked it to be, thanks to its fame on Instagram and other social media platforms (so it’s a must-visit for the aspiring Instagrammers out there).
Remember that to reach the Wally’s Cave, you need to leave the trail leading to Lion’s Head and take an unofficial route which may be risky. Since the path is quite steep and the trails are not well-defined, only the surefooted should take up the voyage. Although there are many hassles to reach this crown jewel of Cape Town, we assure you that you’ll thank us (and yourself) when you reach the iconic landmark.
9. The Secret Sunset Rock
If you are a sunset lover and traveling to Cape Town in autumn, there is a secret spot that will let you see the spectacular sunsets from a stunning natural environment. To reach the spot, drive through the Ocean View Drive and cross the posh locale of Fresnaye. When you hit the dead-end, you have to navigate through some rocks and bushes as there is no clear path (it’s hidden for a reason). When you find yourself on flat granite boulders, congrats, you have reached the spot.
Choose a bolder to relax on, and enjoy the unobstructed natural views till the sunset. Pack enough refreshments with you. And since it is a residential area, don’t make unnecessary noise.
The Covid-19 pandemic has made 2020 a terrible year for travel enthusiasts all over the world. But as we slowly return to normalcy, there is a clear trend of people preferring to tour less-crowded natural spots instead of busy and traditional travel destinations. These hidden gems of Cape Town offer you the rich beauty of nature without the rush of tourist hotspots. Visit them before they lose their secret tags!