Sailing in Table Bay is easily one of the best ways to get a truly unbelievable Cape Town experience. There’s really nothing quite like making your way towards historic Robben Island by boat and looking back onto majestic Table Mountain and Cape Town city bowl in all their magnificent glory. The view you get from the bay is the same iconic imagery you see on almost every postcard and documentary. This is most definitely the perfect place to get the ultimate holiday snapshot.
Sailing a 40-foot yacht off the coast of Cape Town, South Africa offers a supremely unique twist on the “traditional” Cape Town experience. Not only is the the Cape of Good Hope a well-known travel destination with stunning views and beautiful coastline but there is a thriving food and wine scene to boot. What better way to experience the fairest Cape than by sailboat? Enjoy the sun on your face and wind in your hair while you sail along the rugged South African coastline, sipping on delicious local wines and Methode Cap Classique (MCC), the local bubbly.
One of the many highlights of sailing in Table Bay is the picture perfect perspective of Table Mountain, the famous flat topped marvel of nature that, when covered with cloud, is said to be under a table cloth. Seeing this magnificent mountain range from the sea is reminiscent of the sailors of old that would anchor off the Cape of Good Hope to refuel and stock up on supplies on their way to Asia and the mystical east on the Spice Route.
People often come to South Africa to experience the extraordinary land-based “Big 5” but even a short sailing trip around the Cape can reveal a thriving community of aquatic wildlife. The magnificent Humpback and Southern Right whale’s can be seen in Cape Town during September and October when they migrate from their breeding grounds in the tropics to the southern oceans, via False Bay. Southern Right whales are the most commonly sighted and appear in Table Bay from June to November.
Bottlenose, Haviside’s and humpback dolphins can be seen gracefully swimming alongside your sailboat. The best time to see them is during the sardine run, a large-scale migration of the small fish, which takes place between May and July. Cape fur seals are long-term residents of the V&A Waterfront and can be found lying lazily onshore or playing around the water’s edge anytime of year.
Nearby Robben Island is home to a colony of African penguins where you can sail close to the shore to see them up close and personal. And if you’re really lucky, you might run into the Cape clawless otter, which fishes in both salt and freshwater environments and are found throughout the aquatic surrounds of the Mother City.
Another unique aspect of seaside sightseeing in Cape Town is the possibility of seeing over 11 visible shipwrecks around the Western Cape. The “Cape of Storms” has played a dark but important part in South African history and has claimed many ships since the original explorers discovered the route to the east via the tip of Africa. Some of these shipwrecks are onshore and are only possible to see from the sea because of the remoteness of their locations.
Shipwrecks aside, the Victoria & Alfred Waterfront, an extension of the harbour where most sailing vessels take refuge when anchoring in the Cape, is a hive of activity. Not only is this the harbour for a myriad of different ocean faring vessels (yachts, motorboats, tankers, trawlers, kayaks…you name it!), it also plays host to world class restaurants, bars and stores of any kind. From food to décor to fashion to lifestyle, the V&A is your one stop shop for anything you need when visiting Cape Town.
Insiders Tip: the Rainbow Reloaded at Willoughby & Co. is one of our favourite sushi dishes!
Now you can enjoy the most exciting sailing adventure in the Cape with Explore Sideways, beginners and pro’s are all welcome. Hop on the 40-ft sailboat from the V&A Waterfront. After a bit of sailing, you’ll head back to the coastline and anchor in Granger Bay, a few metres from another Cape Town classic, The Grand Café & Beach. Want to stop in for a quick cocktail? Your Jetski is ready and waiting to take you there!
While you sip on your cocktail or frolic in the waves, your skipper could be barbequing up a storm off the back of the yacht or prepping canapés to whet the appetite. Bubbles, crayfish, local delicacies like biltong, South African wines and craft beers. Each sailing adventure can be customised to your own preferences, experience level and timing… all the very best to create a truly unique Capetonian experience.
When you’ve had your fill and are good and ready you’ll slowly make your way back to the docks where you’ll be delivered to the safety of land once again – full bellies, rosy cheeks and feeling healthy and vital after your adventure on the water.
Here are a few different experiences and add-on’s that you can include in your next ocean adventure:
- Half day interactive sailing experience
- Learn how to sail
- Snacks, refreshments and wine onboard
- 1hr Jet skiing extravaganza
- Stand Up Paddle boarding (SUPing) around Clifton or Camps Bay
- Sunset sundowner or motorboat cruise
- Onboard crayfish braai (BBQ) with bubbly and canapés
Get in touch if you’d like us to put something special together for you.