Cape Town has so many adventures that it’s hard to count. Visitors can choose from every standard adventure sport, such as kiteboarding, surfing, mountain biking, hiking, and skydiving. However, for those looking for something different, here’s an excellent list of Cape Town adventures that will surely give you some thrills.
These are all experiences unique to Cape Town, and you can only find them in a few other places worldwide. Here’s a roundup of our favorite adventures while in the Western Cape.
Amazing Cape Town Adventures
1. Shark Cage Dive
One of the top adventure activities in Cape Town is seeing a great white! Ever since the movie Jaws, the fear of the Great White Shark has been palpable. After all, the shark is responsible for the highest number of recorded shark-caused human fatalities. Near the southernmost 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. You’ve probably seen it before in a nature documentary where sharks jump out of the water with a seal in their teeth. It is here that you can have one of the most surreal adventures in the world, and that’s why it is one of our top adventures in Cape Town.
Jump in the waters with these ocean giants 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 and warm, had a professional staff, and 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; if you don’t have respect for them before you go, you will undoubtedly walk away changed.
The sharks themselves are massive – close to 5m long – and their sheer size is awe-inspiring. However, the most shocking 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 hear the famous soundtrack to jaws playing in your head.
2. Bungee Jump
This adventure is not in Cape Town, and in fact, it’s pretty far. However, just six hours outside 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 exciting things you can do in all of 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 the Bloukrans bridge since 1997 and intends to remain fatality-free after 25 years as a bungee company. You’re in safe and capable hands. The bridge is 216 meters high, or 708ft – which, fun South Africa fact – makes 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 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 an overwhelming rush of adrenalin follows it. Just live by their motto when standing on the edge, “fear is temporary, regret is permanent.” I’m scared of heights, but if given the opportunity, 100% will jump again. Remember to empty your pockets!
3. Go Canyoneering
If you haven’t heard of Canyoneering, it is a must for any outdoor sports addict. It’s one of those great Cape Town experiences that can’t be missed. The basic premise is to find a canyon full of water and follow the flow.
We went with Frixion Adventures, which operates around the Cape Town area. Brett, the owner, has been doing this for over two decades. It’s 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. You are 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.
4. 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 Africa’s most visited tourist attraction.
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 Table Mountain from 1000m up.
Abseiling off of Table Mountain offers some of the best views possible. As you look down on the Atlantic Ocean and Camps Bay, the abseil is about five to ten minutes of dizzying heights. It’s a much different experience than canyoneering, as it is a dry rope at a much higher altitude for a shorter time. We loved the background, even if we were scared out of our minds leaning back with no hands.
5. Swim with Cape Fur Seals
Swimming with Cape Fur Seals is one of the great water adventures in Cape Town. 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.
These seals are much larger, smell bad, and can out-swim a boat. I’m finding a new passion, 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 outside the harbor where 15,000 Cape Fur Seals reside. However, the brave can now jump into the very chilly waters of the Atlantic and swim with the furry animals.
The water is bone-chilling cold, especially in spring or winter, but with thick wetsuits, you’ll survive. The seals are curious and playful. They recognize something new is in the water and will stop by to check you out. The highlight was when the young pups brushed against us, trying to play. The first one to dart at you is alarming, but it becomes great fun after some time.
Kayak in Hout Bay
One of our favorite mornings in Cape Town was when we took in the views of Hout Bay from the water. Book a guided kayak trip and enjoy the sights and stories of beautiful Hout Bay. While kayaking, you’ll likely get a visit from a cheeky Cape Fur Seal! Spend a few hours on the water – it’s one of the best things to do in Cape Town.
This is one of those Cape Town adventures unique to the area. Scootours are a fun way to explore the city. This is where you’ll jump on a Monster Mountain® Scooter and Freewheel down Table Mountain and Lion’s Head for two hours! It’s a fun adventure to have with the family!
Surf in Muizenberg
Muizenberg is right outside Cape Town and is the heart and soul of surfing culture in South Africa. The vibe is even more laid back here than in Cape Town. There are dozens of cafes, yoga shops, and beach shacks to wander into.
If you’re feeling adventurous, rent a surfboard and wetsuit and try a hand at surfing. Better yet, book a beginner’s lesson to get a lay of the land. Surf Emporium is one of the best places in Cape Town to get lessons or rent a board from!
Muizenberg is still a fantastic place to hang out if you aren’t into surfing and getting wet. Head here to take photos of the infamous colorful beach huts!
One of the best Cape Town adventures to enjoy is coasteering. So what is coasteering, you ask? Coasteering is an adventure sport that involves exploring the coastline by swimming, climbing, and jumping into the sea! On one of these tours with Gravity Adventures, you’ll rock climb, scramble, and cliff jump into the waters below.
People of all abilities and ages can do the sport, but it is generally recommended for those who are physically fit and confident in the water. It’s a thrilling experience and one of the best things to do in Cape Town if you’re looking to get your adrenaline pumping.
Paraglide off Signal Hill or Lion’s Head
Take to the sky and enjoy a paraglide over the beautiful Mother City! Typical glides depart from either Signal Hill or on the Lion’s Head trail, but when you book paraglide, they’ll let you know the best destination to take off from according to the weather.
CityRock Cape Town
One of the best Cape Town adventures to have on a rainy day is rock climbing at CityRock. CityRock has world-class rock climbing equipment suitable for beginners to advanced climbers. Here you can rent climbing shoes and a harness and hit up the routes with a self-belay system.
Or you can take an Intro to Rock Climbing course, enjoy the fitness center, or take a pilates class. Day passes are less than R200 and offer a range of activities for that fee! See more pricing options here.
Whale Watch in Hermanus
Hermanus is the world’s premier site for watching whales, and it’s just a 1.5-hour drive from Cape Town! You can book a trip with Whale Watching Hermanus, which operates daily. Prices start at R 1020 per Adult.
To see migratory southern right or humpback whales, it’s best to visit between June and October. If you happen to be visiting between late September/October, keep an eye out for events with the Hermanus Whale Festival.
Hike Up Table Mountain
Every visitor to Cape Town had to make up the iconic Table Mountain. Now, of course, you can take the cablecar up; however, for those fit and fearless travelers who relish a challenge, it’s possible to hike to the top of Table Mountain via multiple routes. The two most famous ones are Platteklip Gorge and India Venster, we did both, and they are wildly different hikes.
Pletteklip Gorge is undoubtedly the safer one, albeit a little less exciting. This one will have you climbing 700 meters in 3km and is the oldest and most direct hiking route up Table Mountain, and involves what feels like a zillion steps.
The other, India Venster, is a more challenging route involving scrambling and “doesn’t slip here” moments. Certainly more exciting, but not for the faint of heart or those afraid of hikes. If you think this is you, don’t try to go the India Venster way, as it will be tough to turn around and descend. Once you get to the top of Table Mountain, it is not recommended to dip India Venster as many steep scrambles will be tough to climb down. Every year there are deaths from hikers on Table Mountain so stick to your capabilities (and wear proper footwear).
These hikes usually take around 2-3 hours, depending on your fitness level and the time you spend taking in the views. Keep in mind the weather on Table Mountain can change without much warning, so take a few spare items of clothing and a windbreaker just in case (and lots of sunblock!).
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