The second most populous town in South Africa, Cape Town has an absolute
catalog of astonishing outdoor activities to do. A big feature of these activities is your interaction with the natural elements – be it the water as you go snorkeling, the wind when you go paragliding, or the rocks you climb up/down, Cape Town has a great deal to offer. Covering all activities Cape Town has to offer is a monumental task, which is why we have covered the top 10 outdoor activities that you can do in Cape Town.
Paragliding from Signal Hill
Signal Hill is located along the coast facing the Atlantic Ocean, West to the city center of Cape Town, and ranks high in popularity contests among tourists for its splendid views. A 15-minute drive from the city center of Cape Town will get you to Signal Hill.
Although the picture above should be enticing enough for you to try the activity, trust us when we say, it doesn’t do justice to the view. You will glide above a Utopian civilization, lodged in the middle of mountains that resemble a lion sphinx and white sandy beaches with blue waters. A panoramic view of Table Mountain and the City Bowl make paragliding from Signal Hill one of the best things to do in Cape Town.
You’d imagine a great deal of training is involved to attempt the great feat of human flight but with a few minutes of training, you’re all set to go tandem paragliding! What’s more is that, if the weather is optimal, you could also have the chance to fly the paraglider yourself. The activity costs around 1337 ZAR, giving you around 30 minutes of airtime.
Abseiling down Table Mountain
When it comes to things to do in Cape Town, Signal Hill and Table Mountain have exciting activities to offer. A less than 15-minute drive from Signal Hill, and a 20-minute drive from the city center of Cape Town, via Tafelberg Road takes you to the popular Table Mountain. A cable car takes you to the top of Table Mountain where you can begin your activity!
For those of us who didn’t know, abseiling is the sport of descending from a rock face, using a rope. It requires a fair amount of technique…and courage. After all, abseiling from Table Mountain means descending from a hill that is 1000 meters above sea level! The threat in this activity is only mental, which means looking down can strike a bit of short-lasting fear, which is quickly forgotten about the second you realize you’re in the company of an experienced instructor.
Otherwise, the view, as you can see in the picture above is absolutely stunning! With the backdrop of the Atlantic ocean and Signal hill, you will be rewarded with beautiful pictures if you decide to go abseiling down Table Mountain.
A short tutorial is sufficient for first-timers to be fully equipped for this activity. Spare around 45 minutes of your day and 980 ZAR of your money to participate in what will be an exciting activity.
Cape Town is world-renowned for being the shark diving capital of the world and gives you very good odds of actually encountering great whites. Shark diving in Simon’s Town, which is a 45-minute drive from the city center of Cape Town via the M3 Highway is where you can pay a visit to these toothy creatures. Another location that records frequent shark sightings is a town called Gansbaai, which is 2 hours East of Cape Town, via Highways N2 and R43.
On paper, shark diving sounds like one of the deadliest things to do in Cape Town. However, even though these merchants of death are centimeters away from you, a protective cage acts as a shield between the shark and yourself. A maximum of 6 people in the cage, descend into the shark’s habitat, making this experience the opposite of going to the zoo. You also have the option of witnessing these majestic beasts in action, from the boat.
Great things take time and this activity is no different, the boat launches at 7 am and you’ll be back in Cape Town around 5 pm. The activity doesn’t require any prior training and costs around 1960 ZAR, on average.
Even though shark diving in Simon’s Town is spectacular in itself, other shark diving spots in Cape Town, are at par.
Sand boarding at Atlantis Dunes
One of the most popular spots to go sandboarding in Cape Town (and with good reason) is on the Atlantis Dunes. The meeting address for this activity is Cape Town Ziplines Sa Forest Adventures, Constantia Nek Trail, Wynberg NU (2), Cape Town, 7824, South Africa.
You could argue that Cape Town offers all sorts of outdoor activities except snow-based ones…or could you? The truth is sandboarding is very close to snowboarding – the difference being the surface you’re on. You could say that sandboarding allows you to enjoy the sport of boarding even in the summer months! Sand dunes scaling heights of 35 meters for your boarding pleasure, make the Atlantis dunes a prime location for sandboarding in Cape Town. At a quick glance, it is very easy to confuse the sand dunes for mounds of snow. As you ride down on the dunes in the hot summer sun, the cool wind hitting your face will make you want to ascend the dune, to go again!
The best part is that you don’t require prior experience to satisfy your inner child and ride down a pile of sand on a plank. Including the travel time from Cape Town and the activity itself, you’ll need around 4 hours and around 1515 ZAR to do this activity.
Surfing in Cape Town
One of the most popular things to do in Cape Town is surfing with numerous spots to select from. The top two options to take surf lessons or go surfing in Cape Town are:
Muizenberg in the southern part of Cape Town Metro.
The Big Bay is in the North of Cape Town, opposite the famous Robben Island.
Depending on the location, your surfing experience will slightly vary, depending on the waves and the weather. Surfing in Muizenberg, for instance, will have gentle waves, accompanied by north-westerly winds. The ambiance there is family-friendly, with many restaurants and coffee shops nearby.
If you’re surfing in the Big Bay, you’re surfing in one of the most popular spots with surfers of any level. With the east to the south-east wind blowing, Big Bay is included among the prime surfing locations. Locals are friendly and the locality offers a cozy coffee shop across the park.
Most of the surfing spots have surfing schools for beginners and are very affordable too. The price range is anywhere between 213 – 534 ZAR to take surfing lessons, with each lesson lasting around 2 hours.
Zip-lining in and around Cape Town
Just like some of the previously mentioned things to do in Cape Town, zip-lining in Cape Town too has more than one destination. Zip-lining is no different with options such as:
- Ziplining in Constantia Nek: Located in Silvermist Estate, Constantia Nek is the most recommended spot to go zip lining in Cape Town, as it’s almost in the city. You will have spectacular and unique views of Cape Town and Table Mountain National Park Reserve, zip-lining from a height of 155 meters, lasting 1 km. The activity lasts 2 hours and costs around 623 ZAR.
- Ziplining in Elgin Valley: 50 minutes East from the city center of Cape Town via the N2 Highway, will take you to our next zip-lining location – in the heart of the Elgin valley. Hottentots Holland Nature Reserve is an adventure lover’s playground in the heart of a World Heritage Site. A 70,000-hectare reserve is what you will be suspended above by 13 zip lines and slides with the longest one being 320 meters. The activity lasts around 4 hours, which includes, hikes to and from the activity spot in the valley, briefing sessions, and a visit to the region’s famous vineyards. All of this comes at a price of approximately 2727 ZAR.
- Ziplining Ceres Mountain Fynbos Nature Reserve: Less than 2 hours away from the city center of Cape Town via the N1 and R44 Highways is the Ceres Mountain Fynbos Nature Reserve. Just like the name of the place, the zip-line is long too with a total length of around 1.4 km between 8 ziplines. The Skurweberg Mountains, along with other rock formations and rivers form a very typical zip-lining backdrop. The 40 m high zip line costs about 534 ZAR and the activity including the hike to the slide spot, lasts around 1 hour.
If you’d like to check out all our other zip lining activities in Cape Town, please click the provided link for further booking information.
Bungee Jump from the World’s Highest Bungee Bridge
Among the many things to do in Cape Town, this one can go on the bucket list. At 216 m, the Bloukran’s bridge is the highest commercial bungee bridge in the world and is located right above the Bloukran’s River. Bungee jumping from Bloukran’s bridge is not for the faint of heart but participants are rewarded with a great deal of adrenaline and a lifetime worth of memories.
As you may know, you don’t need to be experienced in order to jump off a bridge…just take the leap and let gravity do its thing. Nevertheless, a short tutorial on certain basics about the activity will help you and be provided by the instructors. You’d have to shell out, around 5347 ZAR for this frightening activity.
Bloukran’s bridge is around 6 hours away from the city center of Cape Town but regular bus tours from the city center make your journey very convenient. One such service is provided by Downhill adventures – making sure you get to and from the bridge, having completed your bungee jump.
Quad biking around Cape Town
When it comes to things to do in Cape Town, for motor-junkies, this activity is tailor-made! Quad bikes are small four-wheelers, that resemble motorbikes and are designed for off-roading. These unique and fun vehicles allow you to experience the thrill of hitting high speeds on irregular surfaces. Quad bike excursions are not limited to one trail in or around Cape Town:
- Quad biking in the Atlantis Dunes: As mentioned for sandboarding, the Atlantis Dunes are a 40-minute drive, North of the city center of Cape Town, via the R27 Highway. Although you can ride a quad bike on smooth city surfaces, they were made for surfaces like the Atlantis Dunes. No traffic signals, no lane restrictions…just you, the quad bike, and 27 square kilometers of pure white sand dunes. The activity costs around 891 ZAR and will last around 2 hours.
- Quad biking in the Melkbosstrand region: 30 minutes North of the city center of Cape Town via the N7 Highway, you will reach Melkbosstrand – a small coastal town on the West Coast of South Africa. You will hit the sand dunes, followed by a relaxing lunch to calm the nerves and wine tasting. The activity lasts a whole day and costs you around 2085 ZAR.
- Quad biking in Hermanus: Now we would never recommend drinking and driving but quad biking and wine tasting are harmless really. World-renowned vineyards of Hamilton Russell and Southern Right Wineries will make for great pit-stops on your quad biking trail. The lookout points in the Fernkloof Nature Reserve make for the most beautiful views in the Western Cape. If you’re lucky, you might see whales from your vantage point. All of this for just 891 ZAR!
Snorkeling with seals from Green Point
Snorkeling with seals in Cape Town is one of the most relaxing things you could ever do. The V&A waterfront is where you begin your adventure by getting into snorkeling gear. From there, you will transition from land to sea in a boat and be taken to the Cape Fur Seal colony in Ouderkraal!
While you swim on the surface of the water using the snorkel apparatus, which allows you to breathe, you will be accompanied by the friendliest mammals in water – seals. These adorable creatures are just as excited to see you, as you are to them. Additionally, you might encounter other fascinating creatures of the sea like dolphins, whales, penguins, sunfish, if you’re in luck! Once you reach the colony, you will snorkel with the seals for about half an hour before returning to shore. It is important not to forget your swimwear and sunscreen for this activity.
The activity costs between 534 ZAR and 1069 ZARand will last between 2 and 4 hours.
Sea Kayaking on the Cape Town Coastline
With a coastline length of 307 km, Cape Town has a diverse list of options to choose from, when it comes to sea kayaking. If you’re looking to spend a relaxing afternoon in the sun, sea kayaking is among the best things to do in Cape Town. Getting back to where you can go to sea kayaking in Cape Town:
- Penguin viewing and sea kayaking in Simon’s Town: The most unique part about this activity is that you can spot penguins on the beach! Simon’s Town is a 45-minute drive from the city center of Cape Town via the M3 Highway and very easy to access. You will also see cormorants, terns, gulls, and marvelous oystercatchers. Fish swimming under your kayak. Seals will often gambol around the kayaks and no, you won’t see any sharks. The most attractive bit is that this activity will cost you only 20 ZAR!
- Sea kayaking in Hout Bay: Hout Bay is a seaside town in the Western Cape of South Africa and is only 25 minutes from the city center of Cape Town, via the M63. What can you expect to see? With stunning views of Chapman’s Peak and a visit to the seal sanctuary, be sure to keep an eye out for penguins, dolphins, whales, and sunfish! The activity once again is pretty cheap at 356 ZAR…especially for what you get in return!
- Sea Kayaking to Table Bay: A short 20-minute drive from the city center of Cape Town, near the V&A waterfront, is where you set off in your kayaks towards Table Bay. A 5 km sea kayaking excursion that lasts a total of around 2 hours will give you unforgettable views of Signal Hill, Table Mountain, and the 12 Apostles. Additionally, the green-point lighthouse and stunning views of the Lion’s head give you a unique perspective of life on the sea. All of this can be achieved for a unique price of 445 ZAR!