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Cape Town Things To Do

Paragliding off Lions Head
©South African Tourism

When you are tired of Cape Town, you're tired of life. Yes, we stole that one, but we think it applies more to Cape Town than that other place. Seriously - there is sooo much to do in Cape Town, you'll just end up wanting to stay a year.

There are loads of adventure activities, ranging from abseiling to windsurfing (and that's just being alphabetical). You can choose between a couple of places to abseil, there are hundreds of climbs on Table Mountain, both sport and natural, and there are a number of climbing schools as well as mountain guides. The water is cold but the diving is excellent and, if the weather is a bit iffy you can dive in the Two Oceans Aquarium. The surfing is awesome - ranging from fun little breaks to Dungeons - the venue for the Big Wave Africa competition - and it's a well named event. And there are loads of surf schools in the city.

Clanwilliam spring flowers
©Licia Erasmus

You could choose between a couple of escorted sea kayaking trips, take a day walk or multi-day hike - escorted or unescorted, or ride a horse along a beach, through a vineyard or in the mountains. There are no regularly run rivers in Cape Town, but there are some fun trips just a few hours' drive away. Windsurfing and kitesurfing are big in Cape Town and also in Langebaan, which is only about an hour's drive away. If you're into flying, you can do some fun scenic flips, learn to glide not far from the city, or even go for a supersonic ride in an ex military jet (at a price). Cape Town is also an excellent place to learn to fly. For something a bit quieter, hang gliding and paragliding are both big in Cape Town, with many launch sites in and around the city and quite a few tandem operators. If you fancy leaping out of a plane, you could do a tandem jump just outside the city (and get a pic of yourself with Table Mountain in the background) or in the pretty Citrusdal Valley about two hour's drive away.

Kommetjie's big wave, Sunset
©Shaun Timoney

If you're really into skydiving, though, you could also do more serious jumps at one of the clubs. Cape Town has glorious weather so skiing and snowboarding are not exactly big - but we do have snow high in the surrounding mountains. In winter you can join a trip to the Matroosberg or even go heli-boarding high up on some gorgeous virgin snow. But the good news is we've got loads of sand so sandboarding is a big thing all year round. There are loads of mountain biking trails in and around the city and you can do a number of escorted trips. Kloofing - or canyoning - is a favourite summer activity with some pretty challenging gorges close to Cape Town.

Trad climbing on Table Mountain
©South African Tourism

If you're more into culture than the wide outdoors, there's still lots to choose from. You could go wine tasting, visit museums or take an informative tour to Robben Island. Township tours through the predominantly black residential areas offer you a glimpse of how most South Africans live. Or you could do a self-guided tour taking in historical buildings and museums. If you're really interested in the natural environment, Cape Town is probably the best city in the world. The Table Mountain National Park is home to a huge number of plant species, as well as some interesting animals. North of Cape Town, along the West Coast and into Namaqualand, the spring flowers are spectacular. There is great birding in and around the city, with some interesting wetlands, beaches and - naturally - the mountain. Not far from Cape Town, there is some spectacular birding up the West Coast. In season, you can get a good view of southern right whales from land, or join a whale watching boat or paddling trip, and there are loads of dolphins and seals too, of course.

Simon's Town Penguin Paddling trip
©KayakCapeTown

If this all sounds far too hectic, Cape Town is also a great place to just relax and recharge your batteries. In fact, if you need a real recharge, we have a number of excellent wellness centres where you can be pampered to an outrageous extent, fed healthy food and get to work on your tan. You might even have time to read the odd novel (or even a not-so-odd novel). Or chill out and watch the eye candy on one of Cape Town's many beaches. But you also need to just hang out, have fun, check out the nightlife. You'll have major trouble choosing a restaurant, but that's just part of the fun, isn't it? And there are lots of clubs, pubs, movies and theatre options so you'll never have any excuse to be bored.