Cape Town's Best Outdoor Adventure Activities

Cape Town offers plenty of culture, dining, and city life, but what about adventure? The Mother City is a gem for outdoor and adventure enthusiasts and is a great place to try something new before or after your safari. Here are our top nine must-do adventure activities to get you out and about in town.

1. Helicopter flight

Enjoy the views from above. ©Cape Town Helicopters
Enjoy the views from above. ©Cape Town Helicopters

A helicopter excursion is perfect those who want to play it a little safer but still have the thrill of seeing the city and bay from the sky. Sit back and enjoy the views in comfort. Plus, you get to cover much more ground in a helicopter and your pilot is able to direct exactly where you go and see.

RELATED: Why We Love Exploring Kenya by Helicopter

2. Sandboarding

Hit the slopes on your next safari – just replace the snow with sand. Did you know Cape Town offers two sandboarding sites? The dunes of Atlantis can reach over 100 feet on the west coast, while Betty’s Bay to the east is home to a dune towering over 700 feet high. Your guide can help show you the best techniques.

3. Beach horseback riding

Savoring a day at the beach. ©Noordhoek Beach Rides Imhoff Equestrian Center
Savoring a day at the beach. ©Noordhoek Beach Rides Imhoff Equestrian Center

Admire the winning combination of ocean breeze and views of Chapman’s Peak from horseback. A gentle ride along the sandy shores of Cape Town’s 5-mile beach offers seasonal lagoons, shipwreck exploration, and relaxed adventure as your horse carries you up and down the sandy shores.

RELATED: Our Top 8 Horseback Safari Properties

4. Paddle-boarding

Beginners may start off with a paddle through the V&A Waterfront Canals to practice moves in more wind-protected areas. If you’re more practiced, head straight to the coves at Simons Town, known for beautiful calm waters and resident penguins, or Constantia wine farm dam, perhaps with a tasting after. The Breede River and top surf beaches are additional options for advanced SUPers.

5. Paragliding

EJ co-founder Elizabeth Gordon flying high in Cape Town.
EJ co-founder Elizabeth Gordon flying high in Cape Town.

A more leisurely choice for travelers who still want to enjoy a birds-eye view, paragliding gives you astonishing views of the city, mountains, and ocean. The best part? You have up to a half hour to soak in the scenery and fresh air from up high. Most paragliding sessions fly from Lion’s Head and Signal Mountain, but Franschoek and Hermanus are also options. Going tandem is a perfect way to try out paragliding without needing any prior experience.

6. Surfing

Cape Town has many amazing coastal surf spots, perfect for beginners or old pros. Your professional surf guide can help you master the basics, or show you the best locals-only spots. If you’d rather take a break and enjoy the scenery, you’ve always got great ocean views and a selection of gourmet treats.

7. Hiking

Hiking high above the city streets. ©Escape+Explore
Hiking high above the city streets. ©Escape+Explore

Love the city but want to keep active in the great outdoors? The peninsula offers tons of hiking options for fitness and leisure, and it’s a perfect way to avoid the typical tourist trail. Depart from popular sites like Kirstensbosh Gardens, Cape Point Nature Reserve or the top of Table Mountain itself, then lose the crowds as you follow the best hidden gems through some of the Cape’s scenic terrain.

RELATED: Trade in the Safari Vehicle for Something More Active

8. Skydiving

Calling all adrenaline junkies. There’s nothing quite like a 30-second free fall as you take in towering Table Mountain and bustling bays all around the peninsula. Then enjoy a few minutes drifting through the air with your parachute released. The best part? Going with a professional means you get all the thrill without the stress

9. Mountain biking

Table Mountain and surrounds provide numerous mountain biking routes, especially on the lower slopes. Based on your experience and fitness level, your guide can determine exactly the right trail for you.

Plan Your Visit

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RELATED: Why You Should Try Freediving in Cape Town

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John Moody