To say that Cape Town is a photographer’s dream is an understatement, especially if nature is where your lens points to most. It’s almost impossible to come to the city and not leave with at least a couple of great shots that will leave your friends back home turning green with envy. Here are some top spots where you can get a great shot.
A 20-minute drive from the city, this beach on the West Coast is where you’ll find the iconic postcard scene of Table Mountain, Devil’s Peak and Lion’s Head looming over the city bowl. While you’re almost guaranteed a great shot any time of day, it’s during sunset that the magic happens, with the sky often lighting up in hues of purple, orange, red and yellow, adding dramatic effect to an already incredible shot.
Local’s Tip: Just 5 minutes up the road from Blouberg, between Big Bay and Melkbosstrand, you’ll be able to see both Table Mountain and the Twelve Apostles mountain range that stretches behind it. A truly magnificent scene.
Top of Lion’s Head
Speaking of Table Mountain and the Twelve Apostles – a quick hike up Lion’s Head will give you a 360 degree view of the CBD, the mountain, the Atlantic Seaboard and also Robben Island. This gives a bit of a different angle to Table Mountain, and you’ll be able to appreciate this 1,000 meter high icon. Go at sunrise or sunset to get some incredible shots, and beat the crowds while you’re at it.
Local’s Tip: Hiking up Lion’s Head during a full moon is a very popular activity among the locals, especially in summer. This is a great opportunity to see the moon hanging over the city and lighting up Table Mountain in its glow.
The Western Cape is world famous for its wines, and the Constantia Valley, a short drive from the CBD, is where it all began. These farms produce wine to this day, and the vineyard is a great place to take some spectacular pictures, especially during sunrise and sunset when the sun drops behind the mountains.
Local’s Tip: Winter is when the vines wear their full coat of green leaves, on a rainy day the dark clouds can add dramatic effect.
Right next to the Constantia Valley is the Kirstenbosch botanical gardens. This UNESCO World Heritage Site is home to an incredible variety of fauna and flora, pristine green lawns and the back of Table Mountain looming behind it. The so-called ‘Golden Hour’ is when the magic happens, especially in the afternoon – just keep in mind the sun can set quite quickly behind the mountain.
Local’s Tip: The windy road that leads south towards Hout Bay serves as the entrance to a number of forests which are well worth a visit.
St. James Beach
While Muizenberg is well known for it’s colourful bathing boxes and lazy longboard surfers, but due to its popularity the beach can get very crowded, especially during summer. However, its smaller, more secluded neighbour, St James Beach, is as good a spot, if not better. It features the same colourful bathing boxes and a large tidal pool that makes for some interesting shots.
Local’s Tip: From July to November Southern Right and Humpback whales can be seen frolicking in Kalk Bay, often coming quite close to the shore, so while shooting in St. James, be sure to keep an eye out for some of these magnificent creatures who might be passing by.
The Cape Malay neighbourhood of Bo-Kaap is a favourite among photographers with its narrow, cobbled streets and brightly coloured houses. The neighbourhood has many nooks and crannies to explore, including some derelict buildings dotted along the streets.
Local’s Tip: On 2 January, Bo-Kaap comes alive during the Cape Minstrels’ famous festive walk through the streets of Cape Town. While the area gets very busy during the festivities, it’s worth a visit to see the streets of Bo-Kaap in all its festive glory.