The Most Family-Friendly Cape Town Day Trip: The Cape Peninsula

This day trip from Cape Town is so good that Kim and I vowed to go again with whoever visits us next.

It's so good that even though we'd already been to all the places before, we had a great day going again.

It's so good you could easily do it over the course of multiple days and not get bored.

It's also kid-friendly: not so much driving and lots of animals and outdoor play opportunities.

Here's the itinerary, plus some extra potential stops along the way.

Map of the itinerary of our family day trip around the Cape Peninsula,

Day-Trip Itinerary

  1. Kalk Bay
  2. Penguins
  3. Ostriches
  4. Hippy Bakes
  5. Scarborough
  6. Your Choice

Total Drive: 115 kilometers taking about 2 hours 45 minutes

Time For a Day Trip

On Sunday, our beach volleyball tournament was canceled and our friend Alex had left us his car while he was in San Francisco, so we made the split decision to go on a day trip.

In any of our previous five summers in Cape Town, our go-to day trip would have been either a big hike (like Jonkershoek in Stellenbosch) or wine tasting (in Darling, Elgin, or Durbanville, perhaps).

[Related: 10 Unique and Unforgettable Wine Tastings around Cape Town and South Africa]

But Kim's pregnant and we have a hyper nearly-two-year-old son, Zac, to appease. So we didn't want to do too much driving and wanted something that would please all three of us.

Cape Town's "Deep South" fit the bill.

I asked DALL-E to draw an image of exploring beyond the Lentil Curtain.

Through the "Lentil Curtain" Into the "Deep South"

I wasn't able to find any official boundary line, but my understanding is that Cape Town's Deep South encompasses all the towns and attractions of the Cape Peninsula. The joke is that to get there, you pass the "Lentil Curtain" because the area's teeming with barefoot, extra-in-touch-with-nature, raw-vegan types. Old people, too, who like lentils because they're easy to chew.

Hippies and people with bad hips find the Deep South attractive because it's tucked off in a corner of the continent. There's little reason for industry, trucks, big highways, or other de-tranquilizers to go there. And the scenery is stunning.

Those qualities also make for a great place to visit, which is why we decided to do a day trip there.

Kalk Bay
Maybe the food's so good at Kalk Bay to compensate for being less pretty than its Cape Peninsula peers.

Stop 1: Kalk Bay

Our first stop ended up being more of a drive-by because Zac fell asleep just before we arrived, but I'm including it here because it was part of our plan.

Kalk Bay has got to have the highest quality of food per capita in the Western Cape. Olympia Café is the mainstay dining option, but we regularly hear from friends about new and different restaurants there that are "even better." Then there's Kalky's for no-frills fish and chips.

[See: The Best Cape Town Restaurants for a Truly Unique Taste of the Mother City]

But we passed Kalk Bay early and aren't big on breakfast, so our plan was just to stop into Olympia's bakery around the back of the restaurant to get Kim's favorite treat: almond florentines.

Olympia Café almond florentine.
Half the plate is empty because Kim bought them.
Enjoying a show at Kalk Bay Theatre.
Friends and I enjoying a show at Kalk Bay Theatre.

Suggestion for Another Day

Check out what shows Kalk Bay Theatre has going on in the evening.

Kim and I have enjoyed burlesque and comedy performances there that deserve much larger audiences than the 100-or-so that can fit into this intimate theatre.

Penguin sign

Stop Two: Penguins

The next town after Kalk Bay along the eastern, False Bay side of the Cape Peninsula is Fish Hoek. We've yet to find anything worth recommending there, so please investigate further and let us know if you uncover something exciting.

Simon's Town, 9km south of Fish Hoek, has more obvious appeal. The main strip has cafés rivaling Kalk Bay's, so you could easily stop there for breakfast on your day trip, instead. But far and away the main draw is Boulders Beach.

Boulders Beach
Guess why it's called Boulders Beach.

Boulders Beach is beautiful. The sand is soft, the water's usually calm, and, as the name suggests, big Flinstones-esque boulders are all over it. Most importantly, tons of penguins hang out there.

Even Logan Roy from the TV show Succession wouldn't be able to resist cracking a smile watching penguins waddle around. They're such a delight.

Looking at penguins up close.

We parked on the Windmill Beach side of Boulders to avoid the tour busses and crowds. The park entrance fee is more than we'd like to pay, so we walked along the public walkway behind the beach spotting penguins and dassies (groundhog-like animals that are strangely closest-related to elephants) in the bushes, and looking down on more on the rocks and sand below.

Past Boulders' main entrance, we walked down to Water's Edge Beach to let Zac play with the seaweed, peek into the tidal pools, and ogle a few wayward penguins (as shown in this post's cover image).

We could easily spend a couple of hours at Water's Edge or back at Windmill Beach, maybe bringing a picnic, but we had much more to see. So Zac said, "Bye bye penguins," and we set off for our next stop.

Ostrich head close-up cover image of Oudtshoorn and Route 62 day

Stop 3: Ostriches

Leaving Simon's Town, we scanned the ocean-view villas to see if we could pick out the home featured in the Oscar-winning documentary, My Octopus Teacher.

What you can see if you jump into the water off of the Cape Peninsula.

Sadly, as I just discovered while writing this, we had no hope because it burned down in October 2022. But the homes and scenery south of Simon's Town are worth admiring anyway.

Every time we drive the oceanside stretch between Simon's Town and Smitswinkel Bay, I say to Kim that we ought to stop for a picnic, hike, or swim. But every time we already have somewhere else in mind.

In our case today, it was the Cape Point Ostrich Farm.

Zac pointing at ostriches.

While penguins have got to be the most delightful birds to see up close and in person, ostriches are the weirdest. You can see the resemblance to dinosaurs. And speaking of dinosaur descendants, Cape Point Ostrich Farm also has a pen with more than a dozen tortoises.

Cape Point Ostrich Farm offers a tour to teach you more about what makes ostriches so unusual. It may be worth doing, but we'd done something similar in Oudtshoorn, so we stuck to what we could see on our own for free.

Then we went to the farm's restaurant, The Hatchery, to see what ostriches taste like.

We'd had ostrich meat many times before. A few years ago, we did a blind taste test of it, beef, and various other types of South African game, and it came out on top. But we'd never had ostrich egg before. It wasn't on The Hatchery's menu, but we asked the lady in charge and she said she had fresh eggs. Soft-boiled was out of the question because it takes two hours, but she could whip up an omelet for us.

Ostrich egg omelet.

What a treat!

An ostrich egg is about the size of 18 to 24 chicken eggs, so we didn't have a whole one, but the cheese and tomato omelet she made for us was so huge that it must have used at least a third of one. And it came with got crispy potatoes, coleslaw, some type of French toast, and an excellent hot sauce. It was unexpectedly gourmet and was plenty enough for the three of us.

  • Huge portions.
  • Delicious, unusual flavors.
  • Low price.

The trifecta! Our ostrich omelet meal is the early favorite to win next year's "Unrutty" award for my best dining experience of the year.

We left super satisfied and with and with an extra special souvenir:

Ostrich egg beside a regular egg.

A fresh, 1.33 kilogram (47 ounce) ostrich egg to cook on our own back home!

The Scone Shack sign, tables, and scenery.

Stop 4: Hippy Bakes

The next stop on our day trip was only 1.5 kilometers from the Ostrich farm: The Scone Shack.

As per the Scone Shack's Instagram page description, "We are off the grid in Cape Point, serving wood fired scones and home-made jams." I would add that it's colorfully eclectic, free-range farm animals join you at your table, and they serve cakes and coffee, too.

The Scone Shack's been on our Google Maps saved places "Cape Town: Want to Go" list ever since we did a two-day midweek getaway in Scarborough in 2019 and were disappointed to find it's only open on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays.

Evidently, it's on a lot of people's want-to-go lists because nearly all the tables scattered around the garden were full. We wondered why they don't open the other days of the week, so we asked one of the friendly, barefoot, scrubbily-dressed, Manson family-esque servers, "What do you do on Monday through Thursday?"

"Umm… we water plants and hang out."

Fair enough!

To the guy's defense, there are a lot of potted succulents all over the farm to look after. And there are a lot of appealing places to hang out.

Notice all the pots to water…

Our served handed Zac a fly swatter and we set him free to whack away at the chickens and pigs that have learned to mooch for food. And at a table fifty meters away from ours, one of the servers had to use a more formidable weapon to chase away a big baboon that had snuck in to steal a scone off a terrified lady's table.

Kim and I (and no baboons) split scones and carrot cake. Neither was extraordinary enough to merit a drive down from Cape Town, or to merit their relatively high prices, but the unusual setting made the visit worthwhile.

We Missed the Point

Conspicuously missing from our itinerary is Cape Point Nature Reserve.

In the five summers and counting that Kim and I have lived in Cape Town, we've never been. We have no doubt that it's beautiful, but we have a hard time believing it's so much more beautiful than other parks and beaches to be worth the entry fee of nearly R400 per person.

But you're probably not a low-income blogger, so it may be worth adding to your itinerary. And if you're super high-paid, maybe you want to invite us along!

Scarborough town and beach.

Stop 5: Scarborough

After departing the Scone Shack's Never-Ever land, we passed two spots I'll mention because they're on my "Want to Visit" list:

  • Veld and Sea. We once did a botanical cocktail workshop with the owner, Roushanna, and would love to take part in one of her wild coastal foraging tours, where you pick up ingredients from the beach and make a banquet lunch out of them.
  • Cape Farmhouse Beer Garden. We didn't know it existed until we drove by. It looked like a happening place for some beer and BBQ.

Then we got to my favorite village in the Cape Peninsula's Deep South: Scarborough.

Scarborough is the South African version of what I imagine a Californian surfing village would be like:

  • A big surf beach.
  • A few restaurants and shops where shoes and shirts are optional.
  • A few hundred wooden homes on the hill, each with their own sunset view.

There's not a ton to do in Scarborough other than get a coffee, avocado toast, burger, or ice cream and hang out by the beach. But that's what makes it appealing to me. Zac apparently failed to see the appeal and fell asleep, so I could only pop out of the car quickly to check out the local goods in The Village Hub shop.

View of the Cape Peninsula.
From right to left: Chapman's Peak Road, Noordhoek Beach, Kommetjie. (FYI: Photo taken from Suther Peak, a nice hike in Hout Bay.)

Step 6 and On: Up to You!

Zac woke up along the scenic cliffside drive between Scarborough and the next town, Kommetjie (pronounced calm-icky). He was extremely displeased to emerge from his dreams and find himself strapped down in his car seat rather than in his comfy bed at home, so we called it a day(-trip) and drove home to Cape Town, only stopping once to get snacks from the trunk and another time because he had to pee and hasn't learned to hold it yet.

We'd enjoyed plenty enough Deep South adventure for one day, anyway.

But if you're still in the mood for poking around behind the Lentil Curtain, I suggest spending some time in Noordhoek. Some suggestions:

  • Nooordhoek Farm Village for ice cream, local products, and food.
  • Aegir Project for microbrews and Kim's current pick for favorite pizza in Cape Town.
  • Cape Point Vineyards for wine tasting, platters, and sunset views.
Chapman's Peak Drive
Chapman's Peak Drive is a scenic way to end your day trip.

Then continue along renowned Chapman's Peak Drive to Hout Bay, where you can eat and drink some more (suggestions: Massimo's for pizza, Chapman's Peak Hotel for calamari, Tintswalo for gourmet seaside dinner, Quentin at Oakhurst for country-style fare, or The Dunes for kid-friendliness).

Back in Cape Town

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