Holiday guide to False Bay & Southern Suburbs

Private Property South Africa
Kit Heathcock

Find out why False Bay and Cape Town's Southern Suburbs are becoming premier holiday destinations in the Cape.

About the area

The Southern Suburbs may not be the ideal choice for tourists who want the urban vibe, or want walk everywhere and sample the night life. But the area has a lot to offer for visitors wanting a more peaceful stay and to live like a local. The area is also within easy driving distance of all Cape Town’s attractions, from Table Mountain, to the beaches and the Winelands. Imagine luxurious homes with swimming pools in Constantia that are close to historic wine estates and fine dining hot spots such as award-winning La Colombe. Then there are the Victorian cottages in picturesque Newlands, which has a forest to walk in and Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden nearby – this is Cape Town living at its most relaxed. The sights and the bustle of the city centre and the V&A Waterfront are only a short drive away, and in the other direction are the beaches and charming coves of the False Bay coastline below wild mountain slopes.

The warmer waters of the Indian Ocean are one reason that the False Bay side of the mountain has a seaside holiday feel. Its beaches and sea pools are the place to surf and swim for locals escaping the colder Atlantic Ocean waves, and the small seaside suburbs also make an ideal base for visitors, whether in winter for whale watching or in summer for family activities. Kalk Bay is a favourite spot with a harbour and charming small shops and cafes. The St James tidal pool is one of the best, and Simon’s Town with its historic naval base also offers wreck and reef diving and sport fishing charters. Boulders Beach with its resident penguins is not to be missed and there are numerous walking trails, from the coastal Muizenberg Catwalk to the hiking trails of Cape Point Nature Reserve. Adding a dash of culture with the various art galleries and museums, the area is a holiday destination that appeals to the whole family.

The whales are a big draw in winter, Muizenberg is a hive of surfing activity and the beaches and tidal pools around False Bay and the warmer Indian Ocean appeal to families in summer. This area has so much to offer visitors all year round.

Miranda Dugmore, False Bay Hideaways

Best in food:

  • Foxcroft at High Constantia
  • Bistro Sixteen82 at Steenberg Estate
  • The Conservatory at Cellars-Hohenhort
  • Myoga Restaurant at the Vineyard Hotel
  • Harbour House Restaurant in Kalk Bay
  • Olympia Cafe in Kalk Bay

Things to do:

  • Sign up for surfing lessons at Muizenberg beach.
  • Enjoy tastings at Constantia wine estates.
  • Watch a performance at Maynardville Open Air Theatre.
  • Enjoy open air concerts and movies at Kirstenbosch.
  • Go on boat and kayak tours from Simon’s Town.

Nature nearby:

  • Kirstenbosch National Botanical Gardens
  • Silvermine Nature Reserve
  • Cape Point Nature Reserve
  • Boulders Beach
  • Hike to the Boomslang Cave from Boyes Drive

This article originally appeared in Neighbourhood, Sunday Times.

Take a journey through the Cape Town Southern Suburbs:

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Explore neighbourhoods mentioned in this article

Cape Town Southern Suburbs
Affluent Village Feel
The Southern Suburbs make up some of the most popular residential areas in Cape Town. With large plots of land and roomy homes, the area attracts a fairly affluent crowd. The suburbs in the area include Rondebosch, Claremont, Plumstead, Ottery, Wynberg, Newlands, Constantia and Bishopscourt, Pinelands, Observatory, Tokai, Bergvliet, Kenilworth and Steenberg. Peaceful, quiet and leafy, the Southern Suburbs are seen by many as the perfect place to bring up children.
False Bay
Relaxed Seaside Living
Affectionately know by residents as the “Deep South”, False Bay is a beautiful, laid-back area of Cape Town. It has incredible historical villages, beautiful scenery and nature, and some of the best beaches in Cape Town. All the areas of False Bay offer a safe home for families with a sense of community. The lifestyle in the South Peninsula is slow and life moves at a relaxed pace. It's the perfect area for people scaling up, slowing down or just wanting to enjoy all the benefits of raising a family in superb natural surroundings with easy access to Cape Town.
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