Would you – could you? Should you? – squeeze all of Cape Town’s adrenaline-spiking adventures into three days? We picked 11 grade A back-to-back dares.
Like a talon jutting out of a great beast, the Cape Peninsula extends south of the continent, where the Antarctic winds meet mountains rising out of the stormy seas. A more dramatic stage for adventure you’re unlikely to find. And so it was that the idea came about to create a three-day challenge that exhibits the best of the world-class activities on offer.
The idea is to slowly build up to skydiving, chipping away at your adrenaline and alertness so that, by the time you arrive at the plane’s door, you’ll be too desensitised and overstimulated to feel any fear.
1. Seal Snorkelling in Hout Bay
Animal Ocean takes tours at 9:30am, 11:30am and 1:30pm every day, starting from Hout Bay harbour – although you meet at the offices in Albert Road. You can rent a GoPro with underwater casing.
072 296 9132
2. Ziplining in Constantia Nek
Tours with SA Forest Adventures run at 9:30am, 11:30am, 1:30pm and 3:30pm. There’s little shade on the tour and it’s tricky to wear a hat under your helmet so take sunscreen. Water is provided along the way.
021 795 0225
3. Drive a Cape Cobra
The scenic route along the coast towards Cape Point is the preferred option in your rented Cobra, but you’re the boss here. The Winelands, or Overberg, or wherever your heart desires, is yours to explore for the day.
083 321 9193
4. Kayaking in Granger Bay
The two-hour tour takes you from the V&A Waterfront, past the Green Point lighthouse, before cruising back to base.
Tours leave at 7:30am and 10:30am
081 863 3622
5. Hiking Kloof Corner Ridge
Hiking with Santonio “Tony” Jonkers and Johan October took away an edge of anxiety but also helped me look a little closer at what we found along the way. Tony also offers kayaking tours in Hout Bay, his home town.
062 348 8446
6. Scootouring on Table Mountain
Tours start at 10am, 12:30pm and 3pm. It’s like being on a bicycle with really big wheels and no seat or pedals. A fun, low-frills way to explore the mountain and take in the views. Little kids can stand in front of parents and slightly older ones (nine years or so and up) can handle the scooter on their own.
082 776 0557
Tandem flights operate throughout the day from 7:40am to 5:40pm. Park at Signal Hill and float down to the Sea Point promenade in 8–10 minutes. All take-offs are weather dependent, so you will be at the mercy of last-minute WhatsApp cancellations should Cape Town’s notoriously fickle winds decide to mess with your plans.
082 881 4724
8. Helicopter ride
‘It’s always an adventure, always adrenaline-filled,’ says Federico Chabrat, a pilot with NAC Helicopters. ‘You’re on the edge of your seat the whole time – bewildering because, unlike being on a commercial plane, you’re able to fly so close to the earth, where the perspective is a lot more thrilling.
021 425 3868, 063 808 4141 (WhatsApp)
Skydive Cape Town has been going for 50 years, after originally starting in Stellenbosch. There are daily tours, generally in the morning before the winds start picking up.
082 800 6290
With nearly 20 years’ experience in the dunes, Dylan le Roux offers sessions that take two hours and start at 10am and 2pm.
021 054 0124
11. Sunset Sail from the V&A Waterfront
There are various ways to head out to sea at sunset, such as on a schooner, private charter or even a pirate boat, but the Explore Catamaran is the most elegant and luxurious option. Two glasses of sparkling wine are included on a trip that can potentially take you past whales, dolphins, seals and even sunfish. Tours last around 1½ hours, but the smug glow of being on a beautiful boat lasts much longer.
081 433 4041
This article was adapted from a version that appeared in our December 2022 magazine issue.
Orginally written by Matt Sterne
Be sure to check out the great Hout Bay restaurants.