Do an internet search for “most beautiful cities in the world“, and Cape Town will appear on most lists, including this Buzzfeed article where it tops the list. The “Mother City” is indeed a picturesque place – flaunting spectacular mountains, forests and beaches.
Cape Town not only offers exiting nature scenes to photograph, it is a feast for the following photographic niches:
- The street photographer can experience the union of African culture and Western civilization.
- The underwater photographer expecting tropical see-life might be disappointed as a cold sea hugs its shores. The submerged beauty here are forests of kelp, seals, the odd shark and even penguins who speed through the water like bullets (where on land they look awkward).
When is the Best Time of Year to Take Photos?
The colder months from May to September is the wet season and this is when Cape Town has its make-up on. The grass is green, dramatic clouds fill the sky, fog and mist blanket the mountains and create an air of mystery. The sunsets are to die for. Just remember that in winter swimming won’t be an option, so keep that in mind if you bring the family with.
7 Scenic Spots To Take Photos in Cape Town
Table View Beach – The Table Mountain Money Shot
Best Time of Day for Photo: Late afternoon
Table View beach is a beautiful spot in the late afternoon and offers Table Mountain as a backdrop. Would you like to catch Table Mountain with a rocky shore in the foreground? Drive further north up Otto du Plessis drive to Blouberg Beach.
Kalk Bay Harbor – Travel Back in Time
Best Time of Day for Photo: Morning Sunrise (Golden Hour). Avoid late afternoon shoots due to the mountain shadow.
Nestled between mountain and sea, Kalk Bay can be translated as “Lime Bay” from the original Afrikaans name. It is home to a small fishing community who lives off the sea. A train track passes through merely a couple of yards from the surf. Surfers frequent a nearby surfing spot, the Kalk Bay Reef, and Southern Right Whales can be spotted between May and September.
Boulders and Windmill Beach – Penguins and Pretty Boulders
Best Time of Day for Photo: Midday or Sunrise. Avoid late afternoon shoots due to the mountain shadow.
When driving down Bellevue Road, you can take Links Crescent to its end. Park in the small parking area, take the footpath and you’ll find Cape Town’s best kept secret: Windmill Beach. Here, a tidal pool lies protected by large boulders. Fewer tourists flock to this beach than to Boulders next door, so if you want an unspoiled beach, here might be a better option.
Boulders, the Big Brother next door draws more tourists. In winter it is downright cold in Cape Town, so if you want to have only beach, boulders and penguins in your shot, winter would be ideal. To get to Boulders Beach you need to pay an entrance fee (no fee for Windmill), as Boulders is part of the Table Mountain National Park Marine Protected Area.
Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens – Table Mountain’s Pretty Behind
Best Time of Day for Photo: Mornings or midday. Avoid late afternoons to navigate around the mountain’s shadow.
Hailed as one of the greatest botanical gardens in the world, Kirstenbosch is situated on the eastern (rear) slopes of Table Mountain. It is possible to set out from Kirstenbosch and climb Table Mountain via an easy trail up Skeleton Gorge where you’ll find plenty of photo opportunities.
Signal Hill – The Lion’s Flank
Best Time of Day for Photo: Midday, late afternoons.
In olden days this was known as the “Lion’s Flank”, and in combination with Lion’s Head it resembles a Sphinx. This spot provides a great vantage point over the Atlantic Seaboard, Table Mountain and the City Bowl.
Noordhoek Farms and Smallholdings
Best Time of Day for Photo: Mornings or midday. Any time of day.
Noordhoek Farm Village sits in one of the most picturesque corners of the Cape Peninsula. With lush green meadows in winter, and farms decorated with livestock and horses, you’ll feel like you’re in the Scottish Highlands.
Noordhoek beach is a mere stone’s throw away – a spectacular long white stretch of sand with its own photo appeal.
Cape Wine Route
Best Time of Day for Photo: Sunrise, Sunset.
As if Cape Town wasn’t itself blessed with Adonis genes, the wine country a mere 50km away will make you think you’ve ended up in the South of France. If you’re on the wine route, you’ll find something to photograph around virtually every corner. Mist, clouds and golden hours are your friend.
A Note on Safety
Cape Town does have a crime problem in certain areas. There are places where it is not safe to be alone, but like any world city these areas are few and far between. Safety is in numbers. If you are not sure, check with the police or a tourist operator first. Have a good GPS app like Waze or Google Maps ready, and you will be able to navigate around quite well.