There are so many adventures in Cape Town, it’s hard to count. Visitors can choose from every standard adventure sport, such as kite boarding, surfing, mountain biking, hiking, and skydiving. However, for those looking for something different here’s an awesome list that will be sure to give you some thrills. These are all experiences that are unique to Cape Town and you can only find in a few other places around the world. Here’s a round up of our personal favorite while in the Western Cape.
Five Adventures in Cape Town
Shark Cage Dive
Ever since the movie Jaws the fear of the Great White Shark has been palpable. It is after all the shark responsible for the highest number of recorded shark caused human fatalities. Near the southern most point of Africa is “Shark Alley,” a strait between an island and beach home to thousands of cape fur seals. Here, the Great Whites come for a feeding frenzy. In fact, you’ve probably seen it before in a nature documentary where the sharks are jumping out of the water with a seal in their teeth. It is here that you can have one the most surreal adventures in the world and that’s why it is our one of our top adventures to have in Cape Town. Jump in the waters with these giants of the ocean and come face to face! We spent some time doing our research about the best provider given that it can be considered a controversial practice and found that Marine Dynamics is the company to go with,
Our tour kept us well fed, warm, had a professional staff, a marine biologist on board, and they made sure to put the client first. They’ve even won several responsible tourism awards – a big deal to us – and are very very very active in the conservation of these incredible animals. They are truly majestic in the water and if you don’t have respect for them before you go then you will certainly walk away changed. The sharks themselves are massive – close to 5m long – and their sheer size is awe inspiring. However, most shocking of all is how calm things seem in the water as they swim by. While sitting in the cold ocean water surrounded by a metal cage you can here the famous soundtrack to jaws playing in your head.
This adventure is not in Cape Town, and in fact it’s pretty far. However, at just six hours drive outside of Cape Town sitting on the famous Garden Route we’re still adding it to the list. The drive itself is stunning and an absolute must when visiting South Africa. This is also one of the most thrilling things you can do in Africa. The experience of bungee jumping will give even the bravest an adrenalin rush. No “manning” up here – the jump is high.
Face Adrenalin has been throwing people off of the Bloukrans bridge since 1997 and has every intention of remaining fatality free after 25 years as a bungee company. You’re in safe and capable hands, unlike here. The bridge is 216 meters high, or 708ft, making it the highest bungee bridge in the world and at one point it held the world record for the highest commercial bungee in the world. If doing a bungee jump has been your dream there is no better place to do it than with Face Adrenalin off of this bridge.
Be forewarned! The moment you jump off the bridge and see an open 216m below you, the thought “I’m going to die” will cross your mind. It is terrifying, but it is followed by an overwhelming rush of adrenalin. Just live by their motto when you’re standing on the edge, “fear is temporary, regret is permanent.” I’m scared of heights, but if given the opportunity 100% jump again.
See a waterfall like never before
If you haven’t heard of canyoneering, it is a must for any outdoor sports addict. The basic premise is to find a canyon full of water and follow the flow. We went with Frixion Adventures who operate around the Cape Town area. Brett, the owner has been doing this for over two decades. It’s seriously impressive how fast he can move down a waterfall, which you’ll be doing a lot of.
Canyoneering involves cliff jumps, hiking, swimming, and lots of abseiling. Dropping off the face of a waterfall with a rope is an experience we’re not likely to forget anytime soon. When you lean back in your harness and jump off a 65m tall waterfall you won’t forget either. I can’t think of a better way to experience a waterfall. Descending one with water pounding into your chest and your feet on the rock wall. It rocks, literally!
The canyons around Cape Town itself make for a beautiful day of hiking. On a personalized tour, everyone will get a light breakfast, lunch, and plenty of hot soup to warm back up from the chilly river water.
Abseil Table Mountain
Standing on top of Table Mountain and looking down on Cape Town is an experience every visitor should have. The cable car up to the top is the most visited tourist attraction in Africa, after all. However, for those who like an adventure standing near the edge and looking down on the city isn’t going to cut it. Abseil Africa will happily “throw” tourists off of Table Mountain from 1000m up.
Abseiling off of Table Mountain offers some of the best views possible. The abseil is about five to ten minutes of dizzying heights as you look down on the Atlantic Ocean and Camps Bay. It’s a much different experience than canyoneering seeing as it is a dry rope at a much higher altitude for a shorter amount of time. We loved the experience even if we were scared out of our minds leaning back with no hands.
Swim with the Seals
Yea, that’s right in Cape Town you can swim with the real life plush stuffed animals from your childhood with Cape Town Bucket List. Except, these seals are a heck of a lot bigger, smell pretty bad, and can out swim a boat. I’m finding a new passion and that is spending time in the water. Any marine fan and even divers will love the experience of snorkeling with the seals and having a great adventure in Cape Town. Hout Bay has long offered tourists the chance to take a big boat out to a small island just outside the harbor where 15,000 Cape Fur Seals reside. However, the brave can now jump into the chilly waters of the Atlantic and go swimming with the furry animals!
The water is bone chilling cold, especially in Spring when we went, but with thick wetsuits, you’ll survive. The seals are very curious and playful. They recognize something new is in the water and will stop by to check you out. The highlight for us was when the young pups brushed against us trying to play. The first one to dart at you is alarming, but after some time it becomes great fun. Just check out the video below:
Where to stay
We’ve given a full tour of Cape Town and have a number of great places we can recommend staying from luxury to budget. It all really comes down to what you’re looking for. With a full day you need accessibility, high-speed internet, a quality night’s rest, and some good food. After a long day of adventure sports, we aren’t always in the mood for the party atmosphere of a hostel or the work involved in a self-catering apartment.
The full name is the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Cape Town UpperEastside, it’s a mouthful. Anyways, the hotel makes for a great base. We needed a place with an extremely comfy bed and all the creature comforts we’ve come to want after a full day of activities. The hotel lobby has a massive chandelier and fancy steps that make you feel famous. It’s a mid-upper range hotel that checked off everything on our list. You can order room service from the full menu of the hotel restaurant and that’s exactly what we did when we got back from canyoneering. A tasty prego roll and salad suited the body well.
The hotel may not be in the CBD, but it is in the vibey neighborhood of Woodstock. Woodstock is the happening place in Cape Town these days. Walk outside of the modern hotel and you’ll find a gritty urban cultural neighborhood full of boutique shops, street art, coffee roasters, and one of Africa’s finest restaurants, The Test Kitchen.
Plan Your Trip to Cape Town
We rely on a few trusted websites that help save us money and time when booking hotels, flights, and car rentals. Check out some of our preferred partners below:
Flights to South Africa: Compare airlines, dates and prices all in one place with Skyscanner.
Car Rental in Cape Town: Auto Europe is a car rental booking service that compares all the major brands like Hertz, Avis, Alamo, and Europcar.
Travel Insurance: We never travel without travel insurance with World Nomads. We ALWAYS travel with travel insurance. Natasha is a bit of a worry wart and would rather stay safe than sorry. World Nomads offers incredible flexible and great plans!
Water: We found the water in Cape Town fine to drink, if you want extra assurance then we love traveling with our Lifestraw Go Waterbottle
Guide Book: Sometimes it’s nice just to have a real book in your hands when traveling. We recommend picking up a Lonely Planet to get you through the wireless nights.
We’re really happy to report that we had a stellar experience with all of these tour providers. Yes, all of the adventure activities are a tad bit dangerous, if handled improperly. However, at no point did we ever feel we were in danger with anyone. All of the providers we recommend were outstanding and professional. Please remember that all of these activities, excluding bungee jumping, are weather dependent.
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