Repeat visitors may be looking for something a little different outside the confines of Cape Town to spice up their itinerary. Sue van Winsen rounds up some of the best activities on offer outside but not too far away from Cape Town.
1.Agulhas Lighthouse Walk, Overberg
Voicemap has launched a walking tour app that enables guests to use their iPhone or Android device as a virtual guide. The Agulhas Lighthouse walk is narrated by local resident, Wendy Craig, and starts from the Lighthouse in Cape Agulhas and continues through the town to the southernmost tip of the African continent. Along the way, the walk takes in the sights, including some of the shipwrecks, as well as the indigenous fynbos found in the area. The walking tour lasts 26 minutes and covers 1.2km.
Cape Agulhas is 225km from Cape Town – at least a two-and-a-half hours’ drive away. For more information, visit https://voicemap.me/walk/overberg.
2.White Shark Cage Diving, Gansbaai
White Shark Projects has one of the best track records in the business and has logged more contact with Great White sharks than any other operator in the world, year on year. Guests are collected from Cape Town or Hermanus and driven to White Shark Project’s base in Kleinbaai, where they will be given a continental breakfast and learn more about the latest sightings. Once participants are fitted with wetsuits and the necessary equipment, they will head out on the shark dive catamaran – Shark Team – with capacity for 20 passengers plus crew. The next couple of hours will be spent diving in the specially designed dive cage which can take between five and six people.
Gansbaai is about 165km from Cape Town – or a two-hour drive. For more information, visit www.whitesharkprojects.co.za/dive.html.
3.ROOT44 Market, Stellenbosch
Open every Saturday and Sunday from 10h00 until 16h00, ROOT44 Market offers a wide selection of food stalls, local crafts and live music in an ‘all-weather’ setting under marquees. The market is surrounded by Stellenbosch wine country, with views of the surrounding vineyards. Antiques, children’s clothing, jewellery, homeware and leather goods are on sale, along with wines, craft beer and freshly prepared food such as wood-fired pizzas, sandwiches and curries. The market also includes a play park and lawn area for children.
The market is situated on Audacia wine estate on the R44, just over 50km, or 40 minutes, from Cape Town. For more information, visit www.root44.co.za.
4.Seafood Feast at Muisbosskerm, Lambert’s Bay
Offering one of the most iconic seafood buffet experiences in the Western Cape, Muisbosskerm is situated right on the beach and specialises in serving freshly caught West Coast seafood. Famous for its crayfish and wide selection of grilled fish, the restaurant also serves up other traditional fare, such as ‘waterblommetjie bredie’ – a meat stew served with local water flowers, as well as a fresh homemade potato yeast bread baked in a clay oven and served with the region’s ‘hanepootkorrelkonfyt’ or grape jam. The restaurant is open for lunch and dinner and reservations are essential.
Muisbosskerm is just over 200km, or a two-and-a-half hours’ drive away from Cape Town. For more information, visit www.muisbosskerm.co.za.
5.Hot Air Ballooning over the Winelands, Paarl
Winelands Ballooning offers hot-air balloon trips over the Cape Winelands daily between November and April. The flights depart before sunrise from its base near Paarl and guests get involved in the rigging of the balloon before ascending and flying over the area’s scenic fields and vineyards for about an hour. Afterwards, guests are fetched from the balloon landing site and taken to Grande Roche Hotel for breakfast. Flights are weather dependent, so it is advisable to give several days’ notice before arranging the hot air balloon trip. The balloon basket has capacity for between five and six passengers.
Winelands Ballooning is situated 55km or 45 minutes’ drive away from Cape Town. For more information, visit www.kapinfo.com.
6.Moonlight Horseback Trail, Tulbagh
Horse About Trails offers visitors the opportunity to explore the Witzenberg Valley on horseback by moonlight. Situated far from the city, Witzenberg Valley has almost no light pollution, while the moon is bright enough to allow guests to take in the surrounding countryside. Groups meet at sunset for an introductory briefing, before heading up into the foothills of the Witzenberg Mountains as the sun descends. Participants are then taken through forest and vineyards, awaiting the rising of the moon over the mountains. All trails include a qualified guide and helmets – and groups need a minimum of two participants.
Horse About Trails is located just over 120km, or two-and-a-half hours’ drive from Cape Town. For more information, visit www.horseabout.co.za/moonlight-trails.html.
7.Zip Line Tours, Ceres
Ceres Zip Slide Adventures offers guests the opportunity to whizz along eight slides, totalling a distance of 1.4km. It is set in the Schurweberg Mountains below the Koekedouw Dam in Ceres, and participants will enjoy views of the surrounding fynbos and sandstone cliffs. The tour operates between 08h00 and 16h00 in summer, and 08h00 and 15h00 in winter. All groups are led by professional guides and an average group of eight people will take between an hour, and an hour-and-a-half to complete the tour.
Ceres Zip Slide Adventures is about 140km or an hour-and-a-half’s drive from Cape Town. For more information, visit www.ceresadventures.co.za.
8.Hike the Kogelberg Nature Reserve, Kleinmond
The 18 000-hectare Kogelberg Nature Reserve is run by Cape Nature and is one of the best places to view the indigenous fynbos of the Cape Floral Kingdom. There are a range of easy to moderate day hikes to choose from. For example, the 10km Palmiet River Walk, the 6km Oudebosch-Leopard’s Gorge Trail – a moderate hike up the gorge into Harold Porter Botanical Garden, and the 8km Three Sisters Trail that starts from the Kleinmond Golf Course. Many of the trails have marked pools along the route, so hikers are advised to bring along swimwear.
Kogelberg Nature Reserve is situated 110km or just under a two-hour drive from Cape Town. For more information, visit www.capenature.co.za/reserves/kogelberg-nature-reserve.