Just under an hour’s drive from Cape Town CBD is the seaside village of Scarborough. Local Capetonians consider the drive “all the way over the mountain” a road trip – and set about planning stops at points of interest, filling the petrol tank and in some cases even purchasing “padkos” (road snacks).
Our foreign visitors can scarcely believe that the drive to this exquisite town, takes the same amount of time as their morning commute to work. The Scenic views en route are stunningly splendid – with unspoiled natural vistas.
Despite no public transport – you can access Scarborough from the north or the south. If you have been to Cape Point and are returning via the Atlantic Seaboard you have no option but to pass through Scarborough – although we suggest you stop.
If you are coming from town, most likely you will have driven down the Atlantic Seaboard, through Hout Bay and over Chapman’s Peak Drive, meandering through leafy Noordhoek and taking the road to Kommetjie. Just after Imhoff Farm there is a well marked sign pointing left to Scarborough – this leads you to the village of Scarborough via Misty Cliffs.
Scarborough is a random scattering of houses, perched between wild, thundering waves of the Atlantic Ocean and the steep mountains of Slangkop and Red Hill – part of the Table Mountain Chain.
This is one of those towns that calmly states “Chill out” (but they do use a capital C!). There are no traffic jams and the residents are mixture of self-employed writers, musicians and environmentalists. More recently computer programmers and stockbrokers have also chosen to make Scarborough home alongside the surfing community.
An easy going beach vibe exists and this is one of the Cape Town suburbs that is a true escape from city living and any crowds. The beach is the town’s magnet but anyone with a love of nature or space, mountain or sea will be drawn to the beauty of this conservation village. There are no shops- just one ‘kiosk’ with takeaways (Mickey’s Mousetrap- a small window open for 3 hours a day!) , one restaurant and one coffee shop so it’s hardly surprising that Capetonians think they need supplies for the journey and the residents commute to Noordhoek or Fish Hoek for supermarkets supplies and city commodities.
On arrival in the town look out for Camel Rock – the well known sandstone rock formation on the side of the road, that has been weathered into the shape of… you guessed it… a Camel!
This lovely stretch of stretch of beach is quite large, very beautiful with lovely pathways leading from the parking area to the beach. It’s close enough to walk from any of the accommodation establishments in the town and is ideal for relaxing. It’s very popular to walk on the beach, then sit on a rock or on the dunes to enjoy the views, have a picnic or watch the sunset. The 2 neighbouring beaches of Witsands and Misty Cliffs do not disappoint in terms of stunning beaches, white sands and water activities.
Swimming: This is the Atlantic Ocean with the cold Benguela Current bringing chilly waters from the Antarctic so swimming can be a little chilly if you have not warmed up from sunbathing on the soft white sands.
Surfing: This is a popular and well known and easily accessible surf spot with an exposed beach break. Despite the strong rip, intermediate surfers love the point break to the left of the car park as it is slightly more consistent than the one in front of the car park. Good swell direction: west . Good wind direction; East or NorthEast
Kite-surfing: When the wind blows especially from the NE – then the kitesurfers smile, grab their boards and their kites and hit Scarborough Beach.
Windsurfing: Scarborough Beach is also rated as one of the best windsurfing beaches in the Cape and is not for the inexperienced windsurfer. The rocks can be dangerous and due to the proximity of the mountains the winds tends to go off-shore in the middle of the bay making it tricky to reach the beach!
Fishing: Scarborough Beach and the rocky points make the area very popular for anglers. Please note that permits are required as the area is part of a marine protected area.
Adventure Course: Sunscene
This custom build outdoor adventure course is located on a farm property on the Cape Point Route, on the outskirts of Scarborough. With a variety of high and low ropes courses, uneven posts, balancing beams, a Giant A-frame cargo net, swinging logs and a climbing wall set up on a tree and much more – this adventure course is ideal for kids parties or corporate teambuilding events.
Contact: Sunscene Adventures 021 783 0203
Flavours of Fynbos: Good Hope Garden Nursery
Just 5km outside Scarborough is Good Hope Gardens Nursery who offer fabulous Fynbos Walks – walking and garden tours at the Nursery. Crisp smells, clear views, fresh breeze, tiny flowers filled with discovering and picking seasonal plants with new smells, tastes and textures. Walks for kids or guided walks for adults are available.
They also offer the flavours of fynbos- where you can enjoy a seasonal organic veg and fynbos fusion food meal using fresh farm produce, indigenous herbs, roots and seeds foraged off the land. Learn how to grow, taste, eat and cook off the land!
Tel: 021 780 9299
The mountains behind Scarborough are remote with beautiful views. The Redhill Footpath Hiking Trail starts in Scarborough and heads up past Kleinplaas Dam and then to Slangkop and ends in Imhoff’s Gift. It’s a moderate hike that takes about 5 hours.
Hoerikwaggo Hiking Trail: There is 12km hike from Red Hill in Simon’s Town to Kommetjie but the trail has wonderful views over Scarborough as you leave Kleinplaas Dam and head over the ridge to see your first views of the Atlantic Ocean. Read more…
Secrets of Scarborough:
1. Mussel Harvesting: Stop at any Post Office and get a bait permit which will entitle you to pick 30 black mussels per person per day off the rocks. Great fun for the family and a delicious meal when you cook up a feast. The mussels are found in groups attached to the rocks and are easily gathered by hand at low tide.
2. Vineyards: Wine and Cape Town go hand in hand and the local wine of origin in the south peninsula is the multi award winning Cape Point Vineyards. You will see the vineyards of the Cape Point Vineyards Scarborough Estate when visiting the town. Unfortunately there is no tasting room at this estate but the local restaurant sells their wine and you can also pop across to their Noordhoek Estate to the tasting room for some sampling!
Red Hill Pottery:
This small shop on Kilfinian Farm about 3km out of town has a wide range of functional & creative ceramic ware which is produced on the premises. Each item is hand made and the small display area and shop features their signature products – classic enamel! What’s even cooler than cool is the “paint your own ceramics” – turn breakfast bowls into bright and cheery creative designs. Ideal for kids parties, girls days out, bridal showers, even dads and alds… experiment on blank pieces of ceramics of your choice. Shop Opening Hours: 8h00 – 17h00 Tues – Fri and 10am – 5pm Mon – Sun . Contact: 021 780 9297 | | Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Red Rock Tribal:
This fabulous shop was situated at the Cape Farmhouse on Wildeschutesbrand Farm, near the junction with Red Hill. More than a curio shop, they’ve empowered artists throughout Africa and turned Rubbish into art. Sadly the shop is temporarily closed as is the Cape Farmhouse Restaurant due to neighbourhood debates. However the gallery in Scarborough can be viewed by appointment.
Contact: 021 780 9127 | Email: email@example.com
The Cape Clawless Otter: Scarborough is home to these top predators in our rivers and wetlands. Although little is known about their population size, their conservation status is thought to be stable. If you decide to walk along the beach in the early morning, you may be lucky enough to see a Cape Clawless Otter (or at least the Spoor) – it’s a rare treat.
Chacma Baboons: These intelligent primates live in the mountains above Scarborough and with a reduction in natural habitat they will frequently be seen foraging in town for food. PLEASE do not feed the baboons, who will decrease their efforts to find food naturally.
Whales in season: Mostly Southern Right Whales spotted from shore and the best sightings are usually from Schuster’s Bay (Whale season: July – November)
The Boat House:
Celebrating the art of Table d’Hote (which basically means dining at home!) – Chef Bruce Robertson welcomes visitors to his home for an ultimate dining experience of 5 courses paired with 5 wine tastings. This is not a restaurant… this is an experience! This is a fabulous day excursion for locals and an ideal stop for international visitors doing a day tour to Cape Point – stop for a late lunch after visiting the penguins and Cape Point.
For those wanting added value it’s worth considering an overnight stay and breakfast. This is normally R1250 per person, but there is a fabulous winter special available until the end of July 2013 for just R795 per person. Read More…
Often called the Meeting Place of Scarborough this relatively new coffee shop is open for Breakfast, lunch and coffees from 08h00 – 12h00 Weds – Fridays and from 08h00 – 15h00 on weekends. Breakfasts are fabulous, to die for thin-based pizzas, homebaked breads, tapas goodies and a co-op shop with lots of yummy organic products, pulses, beans and fresh dairy produce.
Kyall and Natasha | Tel: 082 678 7771
Camel Rock Restaurant:
Despite the uninspiring exterior, this friendly restaurant is cosy, casual and very unpretentious – just like the seaside town of Scarborough itself. The menu is written on a blackboard with good wholesome meals from fish to meats and some vegetarian dishes. There is a good wine list . Hours: 12h00 – 21h30 Weds to Mon for lunch and dinner. (Closed on Tuesdays)
Tel: 021 780 1122
ZenSa Lodge is the ultimate hideaway around Cape Town. It’s a place of relaxation, surrounded by beauty and nature, mountains and oceans. With 7 double rooms in calming white, 2 swimming pools and a sauna and a jacuzzi- this is the ultimate Scarborough getaway. The central bungalow, with large terrace is the central area for breakfasts and dinners on request. Children are more than welcome at Zensa Lodge. The trampoline, tree hut and proximity to the beach make Zensa Lodge an ideal spot for children of all ages. Read More…
Peaceful beach retreat situated on a long stretch of Scarborough beach in a conservation village. This self-catering beachfront villa sleeps 10 people in 4 bedrooms, with a swimming pool, games room & 2 kitchens for a dream like holiday getaway. With 2 kitchens and 2 lounge areas, plenty of entertainment & chill out areas, a swimming pool and direct access onto the beach – it’s hard to have a short stay in this stunning beachfront villa. Read More…
Scarborough Beach Villa:
Watch the waves from the verandah or stroll 50m to Scarborough Beach when you stay in this beach villa. Sleeps 9 people in 3 bedrooms. Contemporary and classic designs blend to create a feeling of relaxed beach living and luxury. Children Welcome. The downstairs living area has plenty of entertainment and chill out areas and an enclosed garden for a safe seaside holiday. There is a private TV room with satellitte TV & games & an entertainment deck that opens onto the sheltered private braai/barbeque area. There is also a swimming pool for those hot summer days. Read More…
The Boat House
The Boat House is a peaceful retreat, immersed in natural beauty and infused with an unusual sense of remoteness, bordered by the sea and rugged, rocky hillsides. This charming Cape Cod style home sleeps just 2 people and celebrates the ‘Art of Table d’hôte’ an opportunity to dine with leading South African culinary creative, Bruce Robertson, in his Scarborough home on the Cape Point Route. Read More…
The Cliff House
This architectural beauty of a house offers a special seaside holiday in Misty Cliffs, Scarborough’s neighbour and conservation village. The Cliff House is away from the crowds and located on the beach. Open-plan beach living in this gorgeous 6 sleeper home with all amenities is just 40 mins from Cape Town City. Watch the sun set with cocktail in hand from the deck, listen to the sound of the sea as you slumber and watch for whales in season or meander onto the beach which is metres away. Read More…
Cape Point Route offers day tours, packages, accommodation, activities and car hire in Cape Town’s south peninsula in addition to teambuilding events in Cape Town. Call 021 782 9356 or visit www.capepointroute.co.za