False Bay, Cape Town
False Bay is the largest true bay in South Africa and one of the great bays in the world. the water body covers approximately 1000km2 and the coastline is about 30km in extent.
In their outdoor recreational activities, the people of the Cape Metropolitan Area are overwhelmingly se-oriented, and False Bay is a popular destination. Recreational activities such as swimming, surfing, sunbathing and picnicking mainly occur on the sandy shores of the northern coastline and in pocket beaches along the western and eastern sections.
Popular areas include Fish Hoek, Muizenberg, Mnandi, Monwabisi, and the Strand. Snorkellers and scuba divers favour the rocky shores along the western and eastern beaches, such as Miller's Point. Angling and bait collection extend around the shores of the entire bay.
The drive between Hermanus and the Strand along the eastern section of False Bay is often overlooked, but makes for a glorious (longish) day trip, as well is being the beginning/end of the Garden Route.
I think that the view out over False Bay (either from the Gordon's Bay road looking west, or Boyes Drive looking east - see my travel tip elsewhere) is more spectacular than that from Chapman's Peak because instead of just looking out over the Atlantic, you can see the mountains on the other side of the bay - the fact that they are so far in the distance puts into perspective how enormous False Bay really is! (The only downside of a spectacle on this grand scale is that it is virtually impossible to do it justice on a photo)
The coastal road between Strand and Hermanus is in good repair, but is winding and can be slow going if the traffic is heavy or you're stuck behind something big (so allow yourself lots of time). The scenery is jawdroppingly beautiful - for preference, drive it from Strand to Hermanus as the driver gets a better - and slightly safer - look at the scenery, but this is one route on which I'll happily abandon my usual wisdom of "never travel the same route twice" as it's just so staggeringly beautiful that you'll want to do it again (and again)!
The coastline along this section is rocky, but punctuated with inlets and beaches which seldom get crowded and are a welcome relief to the massed ranks of tourists on the more popular beaches of the Peninsula. There are little towns all the way along this section of road as well as a couple of parking areas close to beaches which make good stop offs for lunch or a dip (provided that you're up to dealing with the chilly water temperature). If you're picknicking, just beware of the baboons, which are rampant in towns such as Pringle Bay and have long since become accustomed to people. On a happier wildlife note, whales are often visible from the road during the season.
On this last trip, we stayed in Paarl and took the scenic route back to Cape Town International airport. We drove through Franschoek and over the stunning Overberg range through to Elgin, and joined the coast road near Kleinmond, from where we headed west via Pringle Bay, Betty's Bay and Gordon's Bay to Strand, where we rejoined the N2 highway to the airport. This is a gorgeous drive as you combine the mountains of the wineland with the coast, and although it is anything but a direct route to the airport, it is a lovely way to make the journey part of the experience!
On the way to Cape Point, there are lots of nice little towns with nothing to see but ocean, little houses and some penguins (Boulders Beach). Nice places to relax and take pictures.
Some of the towns are:
Simon's Town (that's where Boulder's Beach is, and you'll see the penguins)