July 28, 2011
Cape Town winters are cool for adrenaline junkies
Cape Town wind surfers
An active and outdoor lifestyle has long been part of the Cape Town mindset, and locals know Cape Town is often at its verdant best during winter, when cooler days, lush vegetation and lively seas become the backdrop for an adventure playground. In winter, conditions are perfect for kite surfing, wind surfing, board surfing and extreme wave surfing, as well as paragliding, abseiling, helicopter flips and skydiving. If you’re happier with your feet on the ground, the city’s mountainous landscape, nature trails and golf courses promise to keep you occupied.
Here are some of the great activities in Cape Town during winter.
Walking, hiking and caving
From the city centre to the Northern Suburbs and beautiful Helderberg, there are numerous walks and hikes. The Table Mountain National Park stretches across the peninsula from Signal Hill in the city centre to Cape Point at the tip of the peninsula. Walking and hiking trails form an abundant network across Constantia, Newlands, Lion’s Head and Table Mountain. Other spots are Silvermine Nature Reserve, the Helderberg Nature Reserve in Somerset West, and the picturesque winelands.
There are more than 100 recorded caves on the Cape Peninsula, from small overhangs to deep cracks on Table Mountain. Woodstock Cave can be seen clearly from Woodstock and Salt River, and is accessible via the Upper Contour Path on the face of Table Mountain. Elephant’s Eye Cave is easily accessible from Tokai Forest or Silvermine, and Peers Cave is an overhang in Fish Hoek that can be accessed from Ou Kaapse Weg. The Kalk Bay Caves, Tatarus Cave and Boomslang Cave are found in the Kalk Bay area.
We urge hikers to use only recommended and clearly demarcated routes and contour paths as per the printed route maps issued by the Table Mountain National Park. These can be collected at Cape Town Tourism Visitor Information Centres. It is essential to follow safety tips and, if you are unfamiliar with the area, please make use of walking guide services. All caving requires an experienced guide. Always be sure to tell someone where you are going, and do not hike alone.
Contact: + 27 (0)82 437 5145
Contact: +27 (0)21 511 4766
For overnight stays on Table Mountain book with SANParks
Contact: +27 (0)21 701 8692
Some of the more popular cycling routes around the city include Durbanville, Chapman’s Peak Drive, Ou Kaapse Weg, Cape Point Nature Reserve, the Constantia Winelands, Tokai Forest and Table Mountain. Further afield, Tygerberg Mountain Biking provides great trails in the Durbanville Hills/ Tygerberg areas, and Stellenbosch offers a variety of trails, an actual trail network and road cycling.
Tygerberg Mountain Biking
Contact: +27 (0)72 852 8272
Contact: +27 (0)21 422 0388
Kloofing, or canyoning, is a thrilling way to experience Cape Town. Designed for the adventurous and physically fit, it encompasses getting down a fast-flowing river gorge by boulder-hopping, wading, swimming, climbing and jumping off cliffs.
Contact: +27 (0)21 422 4198
An anonymous climber in silhouette at Silvermine. Photo courtesy Chronon6.97
Indoors and outdoors in Cape Town, there are plenty of rocks to climb. Indoor rock climbing is fun and safe but rock mountaineering is a very dangerous and skilled sport that should only be attempted under the guidance of a registered professional.
For indoor rock climbing call CityROCK
Contact: +27 (0)21 447 1326
For outdoor rock-climbing tours contact Venture Forth
Contact: +27 (0)21 556 4753
Sandboarding down the dunes of Atlantis is a great way to warm up, laugh a lot and feel like a kid. Try it with Downhill Adventures, Cape Xtreme, or Sandboarding Cape Town.com:
Contact: +27 (0)84 665 1314
Or book a three-hour sandboarding lesson inclusive of transport, snacks and gear with SunScene Outdoor Adventures at R275 per person, for a minimum of eight people:
Contact: +27 (0)21 783 0203
The broader Cape Town area hosts a wide selection of renowned golf courses. From established parkland courses to links layouts, the setting is beautiful and there is always a game.
In the Southern Suburbs
Westlake Golf Club
Contact: +27 (0)21 788 2020
Mowbray Golf Club
Contact: +27 (0)21 685 3018
Steenberg Golf Club
Contact: +27 (0)21 713 2233
On the Peninsula
Clovelly wetland, with the golf course in the background. Photo courtesy ifijay
Clovelly Country Club
Contact +27 (0)21 784 2100
Metropolitan Golf Club
Contact: +27 (0)21 430 6011
Durbanville Golf Club
Contact: +27 (0)21 975 4834
Atlantic Beach Golf Club
Contact: +27 (0)21 553 2223
Quad biking is a fantastic way to meet nature at speed. Grown men go weak at the knees for quad bikes, and many a woman has found her ideal sport this way. Try it at Dellrust Wine Farm in Somerset West, where the trail is led by an experienced guide.
Kamazoo Quad Rides
Contact: +27 (0)72 537 9310
For action junkies, motorsport and outdoor kart racing is where it’s at. Don your helmet and try it out at Killarney Race Track – after the applicable training period (open May, June and August).
Contact: +27 (0)21 461 1414
Snorkelling and scuba diving
What Cape Town lacks in tropical waters it makes up for in fascinating marine life. Dive with cow and gully sharks in False Bay, or snorkel with the seals near Cape Point. If you want a sure sighting and a thrilling experience, you can also kelp dive or scuba dive with ragged-tooth sharks at the Two Oceans Aquarium.
Two Oceans Aquarium
Contact: +27 (0)21 418 3823
Contact: +27 (0)72 603 8630
A sea-kayaking adventure around the Peninsula is a strenuous workout while enjoying stunning views of the Cape shoreline. Winter and spring are the best time of year for this but be sure to go with a registered guide who knows the Cape weather very well. Don’t chance it if conditions are not good.
Kayak Cape Town
Contact: +27 (0)82 501 8930
Whether it’s the excitement of fighting a large game fish or the more sedate art of fly fishing that appeals to the angler in you, Cape Town offers a wide choice of saltwater and freshwater options, from deep-sea charters to stillwater boat fishing and fly fishing on dams.
Inkwazi Flyfishing Safaris: for stillwater boat fishing during winter
Contact: +27 (0)83 626 0467
Hooked on Africa Fishing Charters: for reef and inshore game fishing during winter
Contact: +27 (0)21 790 5332
Two Oceans Sport Fishing
Contact: +27 (0)82 460 8280
Le Bonheur Croc Farm: for a quiet day on the bank of a dam
Contact: +27 (0)21 863 1142
You’ll need a top-quality wetsuit and probably a hoodie too, but surfing in Cape Town in winter is swell. Photo courtesy gaftels
Cape Town offers the most highly concentrated number of surf spots in South Africa, as well as different surfing experiences depending on which of the two oceans you surf in. Beginners are advised to visit Muizenberg and Big Bay, where conditions are optimal. For some inspiration, call in at Llandudno, the Hoek, Hout Bay, Glen Beach, Dunes, Long Beach, Crayfish Factory, and Kalk Bay Reef to watch the professionals at work.
If you are a trained wind and kite surfer, head for Blaauwberg beach. For the truly experienced adventure addicts go big wave surfing at Dungeons in Hout Bay, on giant waves up to 25m – but always with surf buddies and the right equipment.
Gary’s Surf School
Contact: +27 (0)21 788 9839
Learn 2 Surf
Contact: +27 (0)83 414 0567
Contact: +27 (0)21 788 8687
Enjoy an exhilarating high-speed sea adventure at 100km/h. Don’t worry, you wont have to drive.
Contact: +27 (0)21 422 0868
Shark cage diving
Due to the strong Cape fur seal colony in the area, the Western Cape is the perfect place to encounter the great white shark. Shark cage diving, and even surface viewing, is a close encounter never to be forgotten.
African Shark Eco-Charters
Contact: +27 (0)21 785 1947
White Shark Diving Company
Contact: +27 (0)82 559 6858 or +27 (0)82 371 8715
Paragliding, skydiving and microlighting
Take in the beauty of the Mother City from way up high by skydiving, microlighting or paragliding. You don’t even have to learn – go tandem and just sit back and enjoy.
Para Taxi Tandem Paragliding
Contact: +27 (0)82 966 2047
Skydive Cape Town
Contact: + 27 (0)82 800 6290
Go microlight with flexi-wing or fixed-wing microlights and gyrocopters just outside Durbanville in the Northern Suburbs.
Contact: +27 (0)21 975 3891
Abseiling involves coiling a cable around yourself and stepping off a vertical drop, rappelling down until the end of the rope. Abseil down Table Mountain or the Kamikaze Kanyon in Sir Lowry’s Pass for a rush of adrenaline in a spectacular setting.
Contact: +27 (0)21 424 4760
Take in the scenery in a thrilling yet relaxing ride in a restored 1963 Vietnam-style Huey helicopter.
The Huey Helicopter Company
Contact: +27 (0)21 419 4839
There are also many tour operators who arrange specialised combination tours of numerous adventure activities, such as Western Cape Tours. Western Cape Tours offers a combo of a shark cage diving tour and Huey Helicopter combat flip for R4 300 to R5 000 per person* or a jet boat and gyrocopter tour for R2 700 to R3 300 per person*.
*Dependent on bookings.
Western Cape Tours
Contact: +27 (0)83 703 3771
To find out more about an activity, please contact the venue listed.
Booking is essential for many activities.
Some activities are weather dependent.
For more ideas on how best to enjoy Cape Town with your family, whether on a gourmet wine and food journey or a cultural magic carpet ride, please visit www.capetown.travel or call +27 (0)21 487 6800.
For more information on outdoor and adventure activities in Cape Town visit http://www.capetown.travel/see-and-do/outdoor-and-adventure.