On our first trip to Cape Town, South Africa back in 2015, Sam and I explored the Cape Peninsula on a bike tour. While it was a nice outing thanks to our upbeat guide, the weather did not cooperate and the scenery was marred by fog, rain and grey skies; so when we were planning our most recent visit to Cape Town, we knew we wanted to do a Cape Peninsula tour again.
For this day trip, we teamed up with TripAdvisor who invited us to experience their offerings. We’ve been using TripAdvisor for years, mostly on our quest for delicious food (their app is great for finding the best restaurants in the area!), but this time around, we wanted to do something a little different.
With our hearts set on experiencing the Cape Peninsula, we started browsing the options. There were private tours, bus tours, biking tours and hiking tours, but then something a bit more unusual caught our attention: a sidecar tour!
Having gotten a quick taste of the riding life on our visit to Stellenbosch earlier that week, we jumped at the idea of spending the whole day cruising the Cape Peninsula in style and hit book right away.
We booked our tour with a day’s notice, and the following morning our guide Bradley was waiting for us ready to ride. The first thing he did was ask us if there were any places we really wanted to hit up on our Cape Peninsula tour so that he could personalize the itinerary accordingly.
We chose to skip Hout Bay since we had already been there and done a boat tour to Seal Island, but we wanted to see all the highlights. With that in mind, we got into our new biker outfits, and let Bradley take the lead.
Our first stop of the day was a lookout point over Muizenberg. This is a beach-side suburb of Cape Town, best known for its colourful beach huts. While a trip to the beach was not on the itinerary, we enjoyed the views over False Bay.
From there it was just a short drive over to the Shark Spotter’s, which is another popular lookout point, named aptly so for the shark spotter who sits in a booth, carefully scanning the waters below. The spotter operates on a 4-flag system: green means spotting conditions are good, black means spotting conditions are poor, red means there is a high shark alert, and white means a shark has been spotted and everyone needs to get out of the water immediately. Talk about a stressful job!
We then continued straight towards Cape Point Nature Reserve to try and beat the crowds. This turned out to be a good move because by the time we left the reserve in the afternoon, there was a lineup of vehicles waiting to get in, all the way down to the main road!
We paid our admission fee to the park (135 Rand per person) and made a beeline straight for the Cape of Good Hope – the southwesternmost point on the African continent. It still feels a bit crazy to have made it to the ends of the Earth not once, but twice!
Sam then had a failed attempt at befriending an ostrich (much to our guide’s delight!) and after grabbing a quick lunch while scanning that no baboons snatched food off our plate (this almost sounds like a safari!), we hiked up to the lighthouse for views of Cape Point. This outcrop of land caused sailors such great torment and even gave rise to the legend of the Flying Dutchman, a ghost ship that can never make port and is doomed to sail the oceans for all eternity.
We then hopped back in the sidecar and made our way towards Simon’s Town. This little harbour town sits on the shores of False Bay and is a popular weekend destination with lots of little restaurants serving up seafood. We were there on Mother’s Day, so everything was packed!
With Boulders Beach being so close by, we couldn’t resist the opportunity to go visit the penguins again, so we did! This place gets its name from the giant granite boulders dotting the beach, but the main attraction are the curious penguins who make their home on the pristine stretch of sand.
And now for what may be my favourite part of the whole drive: Chapman’s Peak. This is a winding drive that hugs the near-vertical mountains along Hout Bay. With bright blue skies above us, turquoise waters glistening under the sun, and a wall of rock rising to our right, the setting was nothing short of idyllic.
Our last stop on the way back to town was Camps Bay, one of the most iconic neighbourhoods in all of Cape Town. Camps Bay is framed by the Twelve Apostles mountain range, and like most places along the peninsula, it’s about as postcard-perfect as it gets. We rode down Victoria Road which is lined with palm trees, seaside cafes, and on this particular day, merry crowds.
I think back to our rainy Cape Peninsula tour two years ago, and we seriously could not have asked for a better do over!
Our tour booking experience
We’ve done tours with TripAdvisor before and one of the things we most value is the quality of their product. Our guides have always been outstanding, the experiences personalized, and you either go on a private tour or with a small group. That is what keeps us coming back.
I did a lot of budget tours in my early twenties often ending up disappointed with what I paid for. However, if there’s one lesson I’ve learned in this past decade of travel, it’s that you get exactly what you paid for, and these days, I’m willing to pay a little extra for an experience I’ll truly enjoy.
When booking this activity, we made sure to read through the reviews to see what fellow travellers had to say. This particular tour company had 89 reviews on TripAdvisor and nothing but 5-star ratings, so we felt very confident in terms of what we were getting.
So would I recommend the Cape Peninsula sidecar tour?
As you can probably tell from the cheesy grins on our photos, riding a sidecar was a blast. Just be prepared to wave at passersby – this ride is going to make you popular!
Have you ever ridden in a sidecar?
Would you do a Cape Peninsula sidecar tour?
This article was written in partnership with TripAdvisor, but all opinions expressed are mine alone.