Top 10 Cape Town Out-of-Town Excursions

Three great ways to get active in and around Cape Town
By Michael Sieburg & Alison Bradley
View of Cape Town and the new Green Point Stadium
HIGH FLIER: View of Cape Town and the new Green Point Stadium (Bruce Sutherland/Cape Town Tourism)

Learn to Surf
Whether you're a beginner or a pro, Cape Town offers some of the best surfing in the world. Cape Town is located on a peninsula, so regardless of time of year or the direction of the wind, there's always a beach with an onshore breeze. Two of the best beaches for learning to surf are Big Bay near Table View, an area that offers one of the most spectacular and scenic surf spots in the world, and Muizenberg Beach, considered to be the birthplace of surfing in South Africa. Wetsuits are recommended throughout the year, as even during the summer months the water can be colder than expected.

Enjoy a Bird's-Eye View
For a thrilling way to experience the "Mother City" from the air, take a helicopter trip over Cape Town. Most tour companies are based in the V&A Waterfront and will take you on a 20-minute tour over the region's vineyards, sandy beaches, and mountain ranges. Hot-air balloon rides are another great way to float up over the picturesque vineyards to the west of town. These trips usually take place in the early morning just after sunrise but are often cancelled due to poor visibility. For the more young-at-heart, the perfect way to see the city and its coastline from on high is by paragliding or hang gliding off Lions Head (the distinctive tooth-shaped peak between Table Mountain and Signal Hill) in tandem with a guide.

Take a Hike
The Cape Peninsula is famous for its majestic mountain ranges, cliffside views, and beautiful day hikes, which can range from strenuous climbs to tranquil strolls. The Western Cape offers astonishingly lush landscapes, with plenty of coastal and inland hiking trails, the best of which include the Platteklip Gorge, Skeleton Gorge, and the Pipe Track, all of which originate out of Cape Town. The nearby Cederberg Wilderness region is also famous for its amazing rock formations, streams, waterfalls, and bushman paintings, accessible down numerous dirt roads and well-maintained footpaths. Citrusdal and Clanwilliam are both two to three hours north of Cape Town and make a good starting point for more strenuous climbs in this region.

Published: 24 Mar 2010 | Last Updated: 15 Sep 2010
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication


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