Cape Town; most recently recognized as the greatest city on earth is definitely the haven for people looking for a peaceful, yet fun and adventure filled getaway. With its moderate temperature, Cape Town is the whole package, with its beaches and the numerous mountains with flat tops; and most importantly the exciting water sports in Cape Town. Or a quick trip to the Robben Island, just off the shore. This is the notorious island where Nelson Mandela was held, prisoner. It has been now transformed into a living museum. If not the prison, take in the excellent view of the boats leaving the busy harbor for the prison, or the beautiful city, or the excellent beaches, while going up and down the slowly shuttling cable cars, up and down the flat mountain tops.
But whatever you do in the lovely South African city of Cape Town, the water activities in Cape Town are a must have in your bucket list. The fun water activities in Cape Town are extremely rejuvenating for the soul. You will be refreshed, and your mind will definitely be filled with renewed energy.
5 Best Water Sports In Cape Town
While there are a number of things that you could do in the Cape Town waters; be it for leisure or be it some pumped up adventure activities, it is not possible to include all in a single list. We will exclude activities like sunbathing, swimming, kayaking, as these are true of any sea or ocean facing holiday spot. You could do any of these in any given beach, and does not need to be specially arranged. However, one has to learn the possible hazards associated with any beach, if any, before completely letting go. We have included a few fun water activities to do in Cape Town, which are unique to this city, or extremely stand out of the whole lot.
1. Shark Cage Diving
We have decided to begin the list with an extreme sport, especially for the adrenaline junkies; Diving into the ocean waters in steel cages, with the white sharks. Mind you, this is not for the faint of heart, as the sharks would pass just inches off your face. You could probably put your fingers out to touch them, however, it is highly unrecommended. That is because, however high you might think of yourself, the sharks are many times faster than you are.
Anyway, this extreme sport is in operation in the town of Gansbaai, a 2 hours’ drive from proper Cape Town. It is officially operated by the White Shark Diving Company (WSDC), and they highly recommend that children younger than 5 years do not join the trip.
2. Excel in Stand Up Paddling (SUP)
You might have heard about this sport. Or maybe you have never. It’s only fair as it is a fairly new sport, although in high demand. Of late, mostly the celebrities are seen attempting to master this sport. Stand Up Paddling is a combination of surfing and paddling. The one indulging in this sport stands on top of a surfboard while using paddles to glide through the water. The biggest attraction in this sport is that, unlike the traditional surfing, SUP can be practiced in any body of water. One does not need to study the tides; neither do they have to wait for the bigger waves. SUP can be sported around the clock.
The best place to learn and enjoy this sport is High Five. It is the only internationally recognized water sports school in Cape Town. It has been certified by the International Kitesurfing Organization (IKO). Along with SUP, one can also learn surfing and kitesurfing in this institute. All three of these sports have lessons of either an hour (brief version) or 3 days (the complete lesson). If not interested in learning, one can also go on a SUP tour from the institute around the Big Bay islands. Everything, up to wax is available for rent, and to buy in High Five. What is best about High Five is that they also have a number of Surf hostels in Table View. Hence, one can acquire the whole surfing life experience with High Five.
3. Seal snorkeling in Strawberry Rocks
Cape Town is known for their huge seals; So much, that the seal viewing has been over-commercialized by now. And the formerly most beautiful site for seal diving was the Seal Island in Hout Bay. But it is now full of divers at any time of the day. Therefore, we recommend you dive with Ocean Experience while looking for seals, as they do it a bit differently. Unlike any other company, Ocean Experience will take you to the lesser known, and a bit secluded community of seals at the Strawberry Rocks. Here you will find the seals in their natural habitat, with very few boats and divers to interrupt your intimate exposure to these playful, cute creatures.
Working with PADI, Ocean Experience focuses mainly on educating of the marine life, along with the fun activities for all. Even the ones unable to swim can have their share of fun with them. Any given group with Ocean Experience includes a maximum of six members, of which only two can be non-swimmers. While you can dive with the animals, the best way to enjoy their company is through snorkeling; wherein you float face-down in the water, looking at the lovely creatures as they swim and dive around you. The trips are mostly carried out in the morning when the seals are most friendly and active. All the equipment that is needed for the two-hour trip is provided by Ocean Experience.
While you could dive into any water body, in any part of the world, except a few killer water bodies, the diving experience in Cape Town is unique. These diving trips and lessons by PADI are the safest across the world, with a 100% safety record till date. PADI is known to organize experiences that are intimate than anything else in the world, that too in places that are the most secluded, and undisturbed by outer elements. They organize trips in small groups so that each member is looked after, and spoken to.
We are of course talking about the diving tours organized by Ocean Experience in association with PADI. Apart from diving offshores, they will also let you dive off boats to explore the deepwater coral reefs. Apart from these, you will also be viewing shipwrecks, and kelp forests in both of the Atlantic Ocean, and the False Bay. You can take lessons, or go full on, on any of these dives, depending upon your expertise. Scuba diving lessons with Ocean Experience are for three days.
5. Waltz with the whales in Hermanus
We now take you to the western part of Cape Town. More specifically, to the quaint hamlet, known as Hermanus. This place is recognized by World Wildlife Fund (WWF) as one among the twelve best places in the world to watch whales. By many, it is often called the heart of the whale route. Most of the whales seem to prefer the Walker Bay of this small fishing village. You will definitely find a few varieties whales on this bay.
While a number of whale varieties might be found here, only a few of those are guaranteed to be found:
- Southern Right whale
Distinguished by calluses on its head, this whale variety comes without a dorsal fin, and its long mouth begins above the eyes. An adult female of this variety can weigh up to 80 tons. These whales are best spotted between July and November.
- Humpback whale
These have one of the most distinctive body structures among whales. They have long pectoral fins, with a knobby head. These whales are known to create some unique sounds, which sound very similar to some complex songs. One such song could last anything between 10 to 20 minutes, and they are mostly on repeat. These whales are best spotted between May and December.
- Bryde’s whale
This variety of whale has been named as a tribute to the Norwegian consul to South Africa, John Bryde. He had helped set up the first whaling station in Durban. These whales are medium-sized and are grey in color. They have a white underbelly. These whales can remain underwater for as long as 20 minutes. These whales can be spotted the year round. Apart from whales, Orcas can be occasionally spotted in Hermanus.
While these are our recommended sports that you should not miss out in Cape Town, you could also go for some other activity on your holiday in South Africa, depending upon your choice. However, be very careful of what you choose, and as always, safety comes first.
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Frequently Asked Questions About Water Sports In Cape Town
What is Cape Town known for?
Cape Town is known for its beautiful shipping harbors, stunning landscapes, rich culture, and magnificent monuments. The unique mountain ranges such as Table Mountain and Cape Point forms the most prominent landmark for the beautiful city of Cape Town.
Which is the best time to visit Cape Town?
While March to May is the best time to visit Cape Town, the shoulder season of September to November boasts enviable weather, fewer crowds, and lower prices.
Which are the places to visit in Cape Town?
What is there to do in Cape Town?
Which are the most famous water sports in Cape Town?
Cape Town is famous for a wide variety of water sports and adventures. A few of the most popular ones are: 1. Seal Snorkeling 2. Kayaking and paddle boating 3. Diving 4. Inshore Fishing 5. Surfing
Are water sports in Cape Town suitable for kids below 15 years?
Certain activities such as cage diving, kayaking, kite surfing, and surfboarding are suitable for teenagers provided they are done with proper training and under the supervision of highly trained professionals.
Which are the best places for surfing in Cape Town?
Some of the best surf spots in Cape Town are: 1. Long beach 2. Muizenberg 3. Big Bay 4. Glen Beach 5. Dungeons Beach
Are the waters in Cape Town safe to swim?
Yes. The waters in Cape Town are perfectly safe for swimming even without the presence of lifeguards. However, it’s always wise that you learn everything about the waters from locals before you dive into it.
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