Cape town is often described as one of the most iconic cities in the world. Nearly everything is possible in the Mother City, as the South African town is also known. Tourists and travelers to Cape Town will find a wide offer of outdoor adventure activities ranging from shark cage diving, over ‘kamikaze’ and awe-inspiring hiking tours, to paragliding, skydiving in epic scenery and horseback riding on some of the most beautiful African sandy beaches. There is something for everyone, as you will see in our list below.
1. Shark Cage Diving
Probably one of the most impressive adventure experiences in Cape town, shark cage diving offers a unique opportunity to meet face to face with one of the most awe-inspiring predators on earth. Divers are lowered in a cage, while awaiting eye contact with the Great White sharks. Fresh fish is thrown into the water to make the Great White come nearer to the boat, while the guests are snorkeling “holding their breath”.
The shark, which can smell the crushed fish and is inquisitive by nature, often comes right up to the boat, bringing its head above the sea level far enough out of the water to produce an impressive sight, even for the people who remain on the boat and do not participate in the cage diving.
On the downside, one could argue that associating food with humans is not an ethical nor smart thing to do conservation-wise. Also, it perpetuates the image of the dangerous killer shark, which is exactly what shark conservation organizations are trying to combat. The ultimate way of diving with sharks would be without a cage, which is exactly what the Shark Angels are educating people to do. Shark Angels are also present in South Africa, so have a look at the link above.
2. Table Top mountain climbing
A visit to Cape Town wouldn’t be complete without an adventure hike up Table Mountain, the most famous landmark of the city and one of the most iconic mountains of Southern Africa.
This mountain is a hikers paradise, offering many beautiful hiking trails leading to the summit. The trails vary from leisurely climbs to more arduous ascents – ideal for those looking for a fair challenge and a bit of adventure!
The summit of Table Mountain provides one of the most epic views of Africa, with panoramic views of Cape Town and the Atlantic coastline. For those who are not so much into hiking there is also a cableway.
Cape Town offers also some spectacular paragliding spots, especially from Lions Head or Signal Hill. A truly unique experience considering the beautiful scenery of the Cape peninsula. No need to be an experienced paraglider, Cape Town also offers tandem paragliding opportunities for beginners
4. Taking a Kamikaze tour to Kamikaze Kanyon
Some say it’s one of the best outdoor experiences in Cape Town. Hiking up a rugged river gorge will lead you to a series of rock pools known as the “Crystal Pools”. Here you can enjoy the art of “kloofing”, jumping from 3 metres to 20 metres high rocks into the water. Finish off by a 65meter abseiling or repelling down the waterfall! Sounds crazy? Well,… it is!
5. Skydiving from one of the world’s most impressive aerial spots
A 30 minute drive along the R27, away from the city center, will bring you to The Ultimate Drop Zone – an area offering one of the world’s best aerial views, spanning Table Mountain and Table Bay, Cape Town, Robben Island (Cape Town’s version of Alcatraz), Cape Point and the breathtaking beaches of the West Coast. A wonderful spot to experience a tandem skydive!
If skydiving was something you always wanted to try, you might just as well do it in South Africa, as the favorable exchange rate makes this otherwise rather expensive adventure, much more accessible. The incomparable aerial views are just bonus! Also, if you think you might get serious about skydiving, you might consider taking an accelerated free-fall course while you’re in the country.
Into: www.skydivecapetown.co.za/ and www.tandemadventures.co.za
6. Horseback riding in Noordhoek
Horseback riding is a wonderful way to discover Noordhoek, one of Cape Town’s finest and most picturesque shorelines. The wide, sandy beach stretches for kilometers offering magnificent views of Chapmans Peak and stretching south to the neighbouring village of Kommetjie.
A beach ride also offers the opportunity to see some wild life: whales, seals, otters and a variety of birds. Note that no galloping is allowed on the beach in accordance with Table Mountain Parks rules, so most of the beach ride will be at a walk.
After the ride you can follow Chapman’s Peak Drive, one of the most spectacular marine drives in the world, to Hout Bay, another picturesque coastal village. The twists and curves on Chapman’s Peak Drive offer magnificent views over Cape Town, a photographer’s dream!
7. Dune Surfing
Dune surfing, also known as sandboarding, is a great activity to explore the marvelous dunes in the area around Cape town. Sandboarding isn’t as extreme as it sounds! Actually, the activity is open to everyone, young and old, experienced and beginning board riders alike. Sandboarding excursions will lead you to the Dunes of Atlantis (on the West Coast, 43km from Cape Town), and for more experienced guests, to the towering sand hills in Betty’s Bay (on the East Coast, 85km from Cape Town). Experienced guides will teach you all the basics and safety info you need to know. In no time you’ll be speeding down the peaks like a real pro! The price of the activity includes transport and equipment. Note that the activity is weather dependent and it does not take place in rainy conditions or under very high winds.
Photo credits (from top to bottom): Cage diving by AfricanAdventureTravel.org; shark close-up by gaftels; Seal island by AfricanAdventureTravel.org; Table Mountain by AfricanAdventureTravel.org; Paragliding by Extreme-Photographer/Istockphoto; Table Mountain by Dietmar Temps; Skydiving (1) © germanskydive110/Fotolia.com; Skydiving (2) © germanskydive110/Fotolia.com; Noordhoek horse riding by NeilBradfield/Istockphoto; Noordhoek beach by DanieVDM; horse riding girl by MauritsV.