10 adventures everyone should have in Cape Town this summer

When it comes to travel, most enthusiasts will have sightseeing, culinary experimentation and cultural discovery at the top of their lists. But for others, it’s about a whole lot more. For adventure tourists, it’s all about satisfying a deep-seated need for adventure, an insatiable curiosity and perhaps a healthy dose of adrenaline. This kind of niche tourism is on the rise, with more and more destinations catering to the growing interest in partaking in physical activities in the wild outdoors.

This list features 10 adventures that you can have in The Mother City, from leisurely experiences to the more extreme pursuits. Go on, make this summer an unforgettable one.

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1. Acrobranch treetop obstacle adventure, Constantia

You’ll have to leave your fear of heights at home for this adventure that will take you on a journey between towering trees. The Acrobranch experience includes a series of obstacles that will require you to swing, climb and crawl your way through the treetops. What’s great is that you don’t have to be a modern day G.I. Jane or Tarzan to enjoy this adventure – the courses cater for anyone from beginners through to fearless enthusiasts. Your dexterity, agility and balance will be put to the test in courses of either 22 or 32 obstacles, with a zip-line adding to the action. Travelling with children? The Acro-twigs course is designed for kids between the ages of 3 and 6, with regulated safety guides standing by.

Cost: R100 – R200 per person.

acrobranch

photo credit: @lyndon_ls

2. Horseback wine tasting, Franschhoek

If you appreciate good wine, enjoy spending time outdoors and have an appetite for adventure, horseback wine tasting should be at the top of your Cape Town to-do list. The Franschhoek Valley provides the perfect setting for a magical encounter with nature, whether you’re a novice or experienced horse rider. This area has become synonymous with pristinely maintained vineyards that stretch on for miles and cover the mountain slopes on either side. On this tour, you’ll ride between vineyards, stopping along the way to taste the delectable local wines on offer. It’s an experience that allows you to take it easy, discover one of the world’s most lauded wine-making regions and enjoy some good vino. Cheers to that.

Cost: R950 per person.

photo credit: @f2006za

photo credit: @f2006za

3. Cango Caves adventure, Oudtshoorn

Although it’s not strictly situated in Cape Town, a visit to the Cango Caves simply has to be on any adventure enthusiast’s list. About 420 km outside of the Mother City, it is a series of magnificent dripstone caverns, filled with towering stalagmites and glistening stalactites. There are two experiences to choose from – the Heritage tour and the Adventure tour. For the latter adventure, prepare to roll up your sleeves and inhale deeply – if ever you needed nerves of steel, it would be on this tour. Professional cave guides will take you down steep steps, through narrow passageways where you have to crawl and finally, through a 27 cm wide opening called the Devil’s Post Box. And it goes without saying, but if you’re pregnant or suffer from claustrophobia, high blood pressure, asthma or any other ailments that may hinder you from crawling through small crevasses… maybe give this trip a miss.

Cost: R150 per person.

caves

4. Below the Surface Tour, Cape Town Central

For a unique experience of Cape Town’s central city area, go underground. The Below the Surface Tour will give you some historical insight into the city’s development while you explore a tunnel that was once a free-flowing river, leading from Table Mountain to the sea. The tour also has environmental significance, with tour guides providing information on the city’s natural history and some of the cultural stories behind its water system. It begins at Deer Park and ends at the Castle – a prominent Cape Town landmark. This is the perfect adventure for families, serving as both an informative experience as well as an exciting one, as you take on some urban exploration.

Cost: R250 – R550 per person.

photo credit: Frankly PM via Flickr

photo credit: Frankly PM via Flickr

5. Sea kayaking, Simon’s Town

If you’re drawn to the ocean and you’d like to see some of the Cape’s indigenous marine life, then sea kayaking is a must. The seaside village of Simon’s Town is an idyllic spot for this kind of adventure and kayaking tours operate daily – weather permitting of course. Paddle out into the warm waters of False Bay in your own kayak, past the Naval Harbour and out to Boulder’s Beach, where you’ll be able to see a colony of penguins basking on the rocks.

Cost: R300 per person.

penguins

iStock.com/GroblerduPreez

6. Sand dune quad biking, Atlantis Dunes

27 square kilometres of pure, white sand dunes is the setting for a riveting adventure on a quad bike. About 30 minutes from Cape Town Central, the Atlantis Dunes provide an unspoiled, undulating landscape for top speed driving on your very own quad bike under the supervision of qualified professionals. This is your chance to satisfy your need for speed. With your own bike, you’ll have full control over the velocity of your adventure so this experience is ideal for cruisers and daredevils alike. All safety equipment is included in the cost, as well as the required permits. Remember to protect yourself from the sun, so take sunscreen, sunglasses, plenty of water and closed shoes along for the ride. Vroom vroom.

Cost: From R550 per person.

Sea of Sand

7. Tandem paragliding, Cape Town Central

No adventure trip is quite complete without taking to the skies, and if you’ve never done it before, then a great place to start is at Tandem Paragliding. Most trips begin at Lion’s Head or Signal Hill so you’ll get a bird’s eye view of the mountainous landscape as it meets the urban environment. The paragliding instructor will brief you on the basics before you fly and will guide you along the wind currents on a trip that can last up to 30 minutes depending on the weather conditions. Nervous about the landing? Don’t be. Most paragliding landings are soft and generally easy, taking place in large grassy fields, so sit back and trust the pilot. Most companies offer in-flight videography and photography – cue epic photos and travel-bragging galore.

Cost: R1150 per person.

Bird's eye view of Devil's Peak, Table Mountain

8. Tree canopy walkway, Kirstenbosch

For an adventure in nature, look no further that the award-winning Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens. In the midst of this perfectly conserved tribute to the natural world, is the Centenary Tree Canopy Walkway – a recently constructed curved steel and timber bridge that winds through and over the treetops. Entitled ‘The Boomslang’ (tree snake), the bridge provides unmatched views of the forest, the mountains and the Cape Flats. The walkway raises visitors to 12 metres above ground and then dips to touch the forest floor in two places.

Cost: R15 – R60 per person.

photo credit: @trying_travel

photo credit: @trying_travel

9. Scootours, City Bowl

Scootours are relatively new in South Africa and involve an exhilarating downhill ride on a Monster Mountain® Scooter. These two-wheeled vehicles are designed in Switzerland and used in the Alps during the summer season to traverse the ski slopes when the snow has gone. The scooters are non-motorised and propelled by gravity, making this experience an eco-friendly one. The track stretches on for 5 km and will take you from Signal Hill into the culturally and historically rich area of Bo Kaap. All tours are directed by professional guides and take between 1.5 and 2 hours to complete. Anyone over 10 can book a solo ride and children under 10 can hitch a ride with an adult. Remember to wear closed shoes and a windbreaker – and don’t worry, safety helmets are provided.

Cost: From R270 – R490 per person.

scootour

photo credit: @scootourscapetown

10. Sunset Boat Cruise, V&A Waterfront

Experience the majestic beauty of the ocean at sunset and take a boat cruise, departing from the V&A Waterfront harbour. A number of tour operators offer sunset cruises on different vessels, from luxurious yachts to motorised boats. Enjoy a glass of sparkling wine while watching the sun set beyond the horizon. Some vessels have set cruises while others simply follow the wind. If you’re lucky, you may even spot some Cape fur seals or dolphins on your trip. The average tour takes about 1.5 hours and trips depart every day, depending on the weather.

Cost: From R70 – R400 per person.

Cape Town - Sailing

*All information and prices correct at time of publishing.

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