Chapman's Peak Drive – Cape Town, South Africa - Atlas Obscura

In 1988, a driver on Chapman’s Peak Drive took his eyes off the road and missed one of the drive’s many hairpin bends, plummeting 30 stories below in his Mercedes-Benz. Miraculously, he lived to tell the tale and years later, Mercedes filmed a commercial at the spot to demonstrate the safety of its cars. 

In the decades since, the roads have improved and the route has become safer, but anyone who has driven on Chapman’s Peak Drive is acutely aware of the staggeringly steep cliffside that awaits any wrong turn. If you can handle the twists and turns of the drive, you’ll be rewarded with a breathtaking view of the Atlantic Ocean and the mountainous southwestern South African coastline.

Along the route, affectionately referred to as “Chappies,” there are several lookout points where travelers can buy local art as souvenirs and take photos. The drive is also a welcome spot for bicyclists looking to challenge themselves; one of Cape Town’s biggest cycling events goes through the Chapman’s Peak route.

The drive begins in the coastal town of Hout Bay, climbs steeply up to Chapman’s Peak, and ends in Noordhoek in the South Peninsula. Although, drivers can choose to start the route in going in either direction.

Know Before You Go

Visitors have to pay a toll to travel on the road. Before visiting, check the website to make sure that the road is open because inclement weather can cause road closures.

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