"Table Mountain, Cape Town" by Dietmar Temps via Flickr Creative Commons

Cape Town is filled with many incredible sights to keep you busy for a few days, but after that, it's time to hit the road and explore the surrounding cities and parks for a true South African adventure. Renting a car is the best way to get around and by exploring at your own pace, you'll have more opportunities to encounter wildlife and to meet friendly locals.

"Simon's Town" by Deon Odendaal via Flickr Creative Commons

Simon's Town

A little over 25 miles from Cape Town, historic Simon's Town is a must-see. An important Naval Base and harbor, shops, cafes, and bookstores line the streets, while various boats are docked down by the water. Known for it’s excellent fish n' chips, fresh kingclip, snook and hake are battered, deep-fried and thickly-cut to perfection. Dine waterfront at False Bay for a picture-perfect lunch.

"A Pair at Home" by Jomilo75 via Flickr Creative Commons

Boulders Beach

If you're like me and you love penguins, you’ll definitely want to make a stop at Boulders Beach. A quick 3-minute drive east of Simon's Town, welcome to penguin heaven. Approximately 3,000 of these flightless African birds can be found waddling, swimming or resting at the aptly named Boulders Beach, which is surrounded by 540 million-year-old granite boulders. You can get in the water with the birds, but watch your toes...they're known to bite!

"On the Way to the Cape of Good Hope" by Bénédicte Rousseau via Flickr Creative Commons

The Cape of Good Hope

About 30 miles south of Cape Town, this portion of the Table Mountain National Park is the perfect place for wildlife watching and hiking. Expect to spot baboons, zebras, tortoises, and antelope as you wind your way along way along the routes. There are numerous hiking trails, with the most popular being the Thomas T. Tucker Shipwreck Trail. This 2.5-hour loop takes you along a stretch of pure white sand and carnage from a shipwreck before turning inland, where you'll traverse through foliage on well-marked paths. Follow the signs to Cape Point for excellent vistas over a rocky outcropping and out onto the Atlantic.

At the end of each day of exploration, return to Cape Town and enjoy some of the city's world-renowned cuisine with a glass of its finest wine in hand, before waking up and starting another adventure. If you need a little help making the most of your trip to Cape Town, check out our 48 Hour Guide!