The Mother City offers a playground of adventurous pursuits for all ages

1 Take to the skies

Experience a bird’s eye view of the Mother City as a paragliding passenger. With no previous knowledge required, tandem paragliding is a safe and fun way to get an adrenaline rush. The most common sites for launch are Lion’s Head and Signal Hill, although this is dependent on wind direction. A flight can last up to 30 minutes and the tandem paragliding flight instructor (TFI) will provide a full brief before take-off. Each flight is captured in video footage and photographs that are available for purchase at R300 and provided on a micro SD card with adapter. R1 300

2 Tour Africa’ most unique museum

In September 2017, the largest museum dedicated to contemporary art from Africa and its diaspora, Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa (MOCAA), opened in the V&A Waterfront’s Silo District. Boasting nine floors and 100 galleries, the historical grain-silo building that now houses the museum is an architectural masterpiece that has been reimagined by London-based Heatherwick Studio. Its nine-story atrium has been carved out of concrete silo tubes while many of the building’s original fixtures can still be found inside. After perusing the art, enjoy a cup of coffee with 270-degree views of the harbour, Table Mountain and the museum Sculpture Garden before exiting through its impressive gift shop. R190 pp, free for under-18s, private tours on request


The atrium bowl at Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa (MOCAA). Photo: © Mark Williams
The atrium bowl at Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa (MOCAA). Photo: © Mark Williams

3 View the world from up high

Undoubtedly a major tourist attraction, the Table Mountain Aerial Cableway should not be missed. While the panoramic views from the five-minute cable car trip and top of Table Mountain are arresting, visitors seeking adventure can abseil down a cliff face, take a hike on one of three trails from the Upper Cable Station or join a free 30-minute guided walk that introduces the story of Table Mountain and the Cableway. The Cableway is wheelchair accessible and visitors wishing to spend the day in the clouds can enjoy eats and free Wifi at the Table Mountain Café and Wifi Lounge. Free audio tours for mobile devices can also be downloaded and enjoyed at leisure while sipping a coffee or taking a walk around the ares. From R330 for adults and R165 for children 4-17 years (return)

Take to the skies in the Mother City with a trip up Table Mountain on the aerial cableway. Photo: © Ross Jansen
Take to the skies in the Mother City with a trip up Table Mountain on the aerial cableway. Photo: © Ross Jansen

4 Dive headfirst into a deadly experience

Head to Gansbaai, a small fishing town two hours from Cape Town, to take a swim with one of the world’s most-feared creatures — the great white shark. The town’s reputation as the great white shark capital is well-founded. It is here where you will be lowered down in an enclosed cage and be surrounded by these majestic creatures. The dive itself takes place at Dyer Island, a 15-minute boat ride away from the mainland, which is also home to a 50 000-strong colony of Cape fur seals. From 1 850 pp

5 Do a brewery tour at Newlands

Dating back to 1820, Newlands Brewery is the oldest operating brewery in southern Africa and the home of many of the country’s top-selling beers — and open for fully guided tours. Discover the history of the brewery, gain insight into brewing methods and appreciate South Africa’s best beers with a beer tasting and complimentary drinks. Tours take place on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays at 10 am, 12 pm and 2 pm with an additional tour at 4 pm on Fridays, at 10 am and 12 pm on Saturdays, and 6 pm on Wednesdays. R100 pp, R60 pp for pensioners and students

6 Get cosy with wild cats

Just 45 minutes from Cape Town, Ashia is a world-class cheetah sanctuary and working farm. Visitors can engage with the cheetahs, take photographs and watch as the world’s fastest land mammals take a run. The farm was founded to prevent the further decline in the cheetah population and aid the re-introduction of captive-bred cheetah into the protected wild. Open-ended volunteer and internship experiences are available at a cost where volunteers assist in the caring and release of the cheetah. From R150 for a farm tour, R280 for a cheetah run, R650 for a tour and cheetah meet, and R800 to walk with a cheetah


Cheetah encounters are a regular occurrence at Ashia. Photo: © Armand Hough/African News Agency (ANA)
Cheetah encounters are a regular occurrence at Ashia. Photo: © Armand Hough/African News Agency (ANA)

7 Paddle with penguins

AfriOceans Conservation Alliance (AOCA) is a non-governmental organisation (NGO) rooted in marine species conservation. It has partnered with Airbnb Social Impact Experiences to provide transformative experiences that directly contribute to the organisation’s conservation projects. One such experience is the opportunity to get up close and personal with penguins. Marine conservationists Terry Corr and Jon Monsoon provide visitors with a safety briefing before guiding them in kayaks towards Boulders Beach to come face-to-face with the incredible African penguins that reside here. R600 pp

An African penguin at Boulders Beach in Simons Town. Photo: © Jason Boud
An African penguin at Boulders Beach in Simons Town. Photo: © Jason Boud

8 Embark on a personal pilgrimage

On a beautiful peri-urban stretch of terrain along the Cape Peninsula, visitors looking for a soul-searching experience will find just that — and plenty more. Although it takes its name from the Camino de Santiago, an ancient pilgrimage trail in Spain, the Cape Camino of the Western Cape is nevertheless an enlightening experience. A circular route that crosses over Constantia Nek and sweeps south and north (in the shape of a figure eight), the trail offers pilgrims various routes where they will have an opportunity to explore hidden gems. Packages start from R7 898 pp

9 Venture underground

The city of Cape Town is a lively place but beneath its surface, there is even more to discover. Dating as far back as 1652, underground canals that were once used to supply fresh water to passing ships and the Company Garden of the city, and later transported sewerage as the city expanded, now provide an impressive walkway of secret underground tunnels for willing wanderers. Decommissioned in 1895, these historic canals still transport water from Table Mountain into the ocean and visitors can partake in an educational tour that runs from Table Mountain to the Castle of Good Hope. Price on request

A version of this article first appeared in Edition 2-2018 of Intrepid Explorer.