Having lived in Cape Town for many years, I’d like to share with you a few of my favourite places, all picture perfect for shooting photos and video.
Cape Town is quite simply one of the most beautiful cities on earth. The greater Western Cape region, flanked by the Southern Atlantic Ocean to the West and extending up the Indian Ocean Coast on the East should be on every travel junkie’s “must visit” list.
If breathtaking mountain and ocean scenery (not to mention world class wine and surfing) is your thing, you can’t beat South Africa’s Western and Eastern Cape.
For most of my years living in Cape Town, I chose to live in an area that is fondly referred to by locals as the “Deep South”. It can feel quite disconnected from the rest of the city, separated by the Steenberg Mountains and ocean on both sides. You either have to drive over, or around to get in or out, which can easily mean a 90 minute drive to or from the city proper depending on traffic.
For me the Southern Cape Peninsula is the most beautiful part of Cape Town.
The further South you get, the more remote, slow and peaceful things become. The smell of the ocean and mountain fynbos take over and transport you to another realm. The furthest tip of the Cape Peninsula is the Cape Point Nature Reserve, which I would have quite happily lived as a hermit with a surfboard and a camera if it had been possible.
While I wasn’t able to shoot all the places I would have liked during my 2018 visit, this video is a compilation of my favourite shots from Kalk Bay, the Cape Point Nature Reserve, and Glencairn Beach.
You’ll definitely get the picture. Enjoy.
For more on the Moondog Labs anamorphic lens used to shoot this video, click here for my post, Shooting The Cape Peninsula with the Moondog Labs Anamorphic Lens.
If you are planning a trip to Cape Town to shoot photos, video or both, a drive around the Cape Peninsula is well worth your time. I’ve highlighted a suggested route, and a few of my favorite places on the Peninsula below.
You can take Main Rd from Muizenberg along the False Bay coast to Kalk Bay, Fish Hoek, Simonstown and on to Cape Point.
Your return drive can take you along the Atlantic side of the Peninsula to Kommetjie. From Kommetjie you can decide whether to drive to Noordhoek and take the famous Chapmans Peak Drive to Hout Bay, or take Ou Kaapseweg over the mountain to Tokai. You can’t go wrong either way.
You will want to stop everywhere along this route to take photos and shoot video. It could be done in a day, but I highly recommend exploring this area over two or three days.
Kalk Bay is my favourite town along this route. A very trendy, hippy, artist enclave full of color and spirit that is fun to explore day and night.
Life in Kalk Bay revolves around its active fishing harbour. Friendly seals can be found soaking up the sun on the harbour and colourful boats gently bob protected by the harbour wall. On particularly stormy days, massive waves crash against the wall sending an avalanche of water spray over the wall.
If you’re hungry you can’t go wrong with Fish & Chips from Kalky’s or any of the excellent restaurants close by. My favourite spot for lunch is The Brass Bell, while dinner at Cape to Cuba or Harbour House is not to be missed.
There is no better place to enjoy breakfast than Olympia Cafe. I’ve spent many mornings sat at the cafe window watching Kalk Bay slowly wake up. Great coffee, and fantastic food, an incredible experience of what it’s like to be a Kalk Bay local.
Every town you pass along the False Bay coast from Muizenberg to St James, Kalk Bay, through Fish Hoek and past Simonstown has centuries of history. Simonstown has been a naval base and harbour for more than two hundred years (first home to the Royal Navy and now the South African Navy).
It’s a wonderful place to stop for a few hours, and the penguins at Boulders Beach definitely deserve a visit.
Kommetjie is home to two of my favourite spots for a long walk. Slangkop Lighthouse, and Long Beach.
Slangkop Lighthouse is the tallest cast iron light house in South Africa. Commissioned in 1914 and automated since 1979, there is a beautiful path along the rocky coast leading up to it. The ocean is often heavy with powerful surf breaking over the reefs.
Long Beach is a popular surf spot and is always buzzing with surfers and local residents enjoying a walk on the sand. Kommetjie itself is a very relaxed place, a paradise for ocean lovers, which tend to be exactly the kind of people who live here.
Noordhoek is not far from Kommetjie, located to the north and separated by a 3.5km stretch of sandy beach. Noordhoek is another spot popular with surfers, and horse lovers as well. There are a few places you might want to visit including Noordhoek Farm Village, and the beach, but the main reason I’ve added it to this list is my favourite pub.
Noordhoek is home to an endangered species of Toad called the Western Leopard Toad. Not only Noordhoek, but the larger surrounding area, and the pub is fittingly called The Toad. The Toad is located at Noordhoek Farm Village and is a great place to relax and hang out with the locals.
Another good Noordhoek spot where I have spent many evenings after a long surf is The Red Herring. Head upstairs for good beer, fantastic pizza and mountain views. It can get busy at night on the weekends.
Cape Point Nature Reserve
Cape Point Nature Reserve is part of Table Mountain National Park, and has far more hidden secret coves and beaches than I managed to explore in my years of visiting. Bring your hiking shoes and be prepared to walk. The photos will be worth it.
I’ll just highlight two specific things that I think are worth doing if you have limited time.
The first is to walk or take the furnicular up to the Cape Point Lighthouse. This easily consumes a couple of hours by the time you park, walk up to the top and stop along the way at various lookouts. The view is something you are not likely to forget.
The second is to walk down to Dias Beach. Be warned however, this is a bit of a hike and involves a lot of steps. I can’t count how many times I’ve been the only person on this beach, or at most one of a handful. The beach is surrounded by towering rocks and feels like the most remote place on earth by the time you’ve walked all the way down.
It’s a beautiful beach to watch the full might of the wild Southern Atlantic Ocean pour itself out on the sand. The surf can be spectacular to watch.
General warning. Be aware of the baboons. They aren’t afraid of you. Just pay attention to the signs.
Ou Kaapseweg (Old Cape Way) is a mountain pass climbing up and through the Steenberg Mountains and passing the Silvermine Nature Reserve. I was fortunate enough to drive this mountain road every day and it never failed to take my breath away.
The experience is different depending on which way you’re driving, but the view from the top over Tokai and Cape Town’s Southern Suburbs is spectacular. There are a number of places to pull off and take in the view, and some of the best hiking trails can be found in Silvermine Nature Reserve.
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