The Western Cape is teeming with incredible outdoor adventures. The vast variety of terrain both on land and sea provides the perfect place for all kinds of activities. Cape Town is an adrenaline junkie’s dream come true, with everything from parasailing off a mountain to world class kite surfing, your only regret will be not fitting them all in.
Stand Up Paddle Boarding (SUP)
SUPing is a traditional Hawaiian sport, which promotes balance and serves as an excellent core workout. It’s easy to learn and fun as an individual or in a group. Simply stand on the large surf-like board and use one long paddle to propel yourself through the water. It’s a popular activity in Cape Town and can be done either in the canals near the V&A Waterfront (best for beginners) or can be done in the ocean when the water isn’t too rough. Best places to SUP are on Clifton 3, Muizenberg or you can get a fantastic view of Table Mountain in nearby Table View.
Paragliding is an addictive and amazing adventure activity that is perfectly suited for the mountainous landscape of Cape Town. Based on the direction of the wind, you’ll meet at either Lion’s Head or Signal Hill where you will strap into your harness alongside your qualified guide. Build up your courage and take a few running steps forward right off the side of the mountain. Set sail into the wind and float your way down to the land below. This is an unbelievably unique perspective of the Cape Town skyline.
If you are ready for a real adventure and you are not afraid of heights, the Bloukrans Bungee Jump is the real deal. Bloukrans Bungee Jump is the world’s highest commercial bungee at 216 meters above the Bloukrans River. The view from the highest bridge of Africa captures all the breathtaking beauty of the Bloukrans River valley. Bloukrans Bungee uses pendulum bungee technology to ensure the smoothest jump. The bridge is 216 meters high, but depending on the cord your fall will take you down to about 160 meters. Do you dare?
Many people don’t know that the areas right outside of Cape Town offer some spectacularly giant sand dunes that are perfect for sandboarding. While it’s a bit more physically challenging than snowboarding, it’s much warmer, it’s a great workout, and it doesn’t hurt when you fall! Before you know it, you’ll be gliding down the giant sand dunes in your shorts and t-shirt.
Quad Biking or ATVing (All Terrain Vehicle riding)
Quad biking is an exhilarating experience unlike any other. This 4-wheeled power bike is easy to learn to drive and can reach speeds of up to 80km per hour. There are a variety of trails to choose from, whether you prefer the desolate desert dunes or the fynbos filled mountains, this is a fun way to experience the Cape Town surrounds.
Ziplining is a perfect combination of extreme adrenalin with serenely spectacular views of the beautiful landscape. Throughout the Western Cape, there are a variety of perspectives and landscapes in which you can really immerse yourself into the surroundings. The ziplines can range from 8 to 200 meters above ground and you can choose from vineyard views, mountainous canyons or even lush forests. You decide if you want a fast adrenaline experience or just a slow easy glide high above the ground.
Snorkelling with seals is one of the most unique ways to experience African wildlife. The Cape Fur seal is only found in a few places around the world. Duiker Island is a marine protected area and home to 5000-10000 of these playful seals. Cape Fur seals are the largest fur seal species and can grow up to 2.5m in length and weigh 200-350 kg. They are very curious creatures and often swim incredibly close to visiting snorkelers. The seals are most active in the summer so it’s a great way to beat the heat. And in case you were curious, this water is too shallow for sharks so there’s nothing to fear!
Abseiling or Rappelling
For truly daring adventurers, abseil off the highest commercial abseiling point in the world, Table Mountain. 100 meter long ropes embedded into the rock will assist you as you rappel down the Mountain at 1,000 meters above sea level. This is a superb way to experience 360-degree views of Cape Town that will be sure to make a lasting impression, as long as you’re not afraid of heights!
Cape Town is known as one of the most famous places in the world for kitesurfing. This challenging water sport can be described as holding a paraglide sail to whisk you around the water while balancing on a wakeboard. There are more than 30 excellent kitesurfing beaches in the Western Cape, which cater to a wide range of abilities. First timers are encouraged to take lessons in the calmer waters but experts will love the windy skies in Blouberg where swells of water will send you flying into the air.
Kayaking with Penguins
Interact with the African Penguin in its natural habitat, away from the crowded shore. Hop aboard a sea kayak in Simon’s Town and paddle past the historic Naval Harbour where you will be met by a lively colony of penguins. If the time and tide are right you can stop on a beach for a swimming break where you will be able to get up close up to the penguins that bask on the rocks nearby.
Experience the real feeling of freedom during your skydive. Make a breathtaking tandem jump out of a plane as you freefall at a tremendous velocity. Once you’ve regained your composure, you’ll be able to take in the incredible, aerial view of Cape Town including sights of Table Mountain, Robben Island and the peninsula.
Get an adrenaline-fueled view of the Cape Town skyline aboard a super powered jet ski. Ride up to 60km per hour as you navigate the water below. If you’re lucky, you can even spot dolphins, penguins, and the occasional sunfish up close and personal.
You do not need any experience to learn how to surf because for everything there is a first time. Cape Town has plenty of surf spots along its coast, from coves with gentle waves to beaches with massive waves. Surfer’s Corner is only half an hour from the city centre and is popular with those still learning to surf, as well as longboarders. The waves are gentle and form clean lines, and occasionally barrels, meaning almost every day is a good surf day.
Grab your board, jump into the water, and enjoy the wonderful feeling of standing on your board for the first time. You don’t have to do it all by yourself because there are many surf schools in Cape Town ready to teach you all the steps. And when you’re finished there is a variety of bars, coffee shops and restaurants to recharge and reward yourself after a hard day’s work.
For some adventureous activities a little further out of town check out our tips here: 13-things-to-do-in-south-africa