– different kind of adventures –
Hikes & trips
Mountain bike – Boschendal wine estate
Several trails for varying abilities
At Boschendal they have made an effort in preparing mountain bike and hiking trails trough the wineyards and mountainside. They have several trails ranging from 4 to 23 km, with varying difficulty and there’s something for everyone here. The trails are well marked and on some of the more difficult there are single track downhill trails that is a lot of fun if you’re up for it! You can rent bike, helmet and buy a day permit at Boschendal. The bike rental operates from 8am to 5pm every day.
Lion Head and Signal Hill
Watch the sun set into the Atlantic Ocean
When in Cape Town, drive towards Lion’s Head and stop at the start of the Lion’s Head trail. Then hike around the mountain on the easy trail to get around to the west side which will reward you with a great view over Camps bay, Table Mountain and the twelve apostles, as well as the sunset over the Atlantic Ocean. Many choose to bring a bottle of wine or a small picnic to enjoy while watching the sunset. If you’re not up for the hike, just continue driving on the same road and go all the way up to Signal Hill where you can park your car and watch the sunset with almost an equally spectacular view!
The famous Table Mountain is one of the new seven wonders of the world as well as part of the larger Table Mountain National Park, which is a natural world heritage site, home to a unique yet endangered plant diversity known as fynbos. On a clear day you have great views of the surrounding area, ocean(s), Lion’s head, Robben Island and the city centre below. Easily accessible for everyone thanks to the Cable Car which will get you to the top of the mountain in just minutes. Or you can choose any of the several hiking trails that will take you up the mountain. We chose the fastest route called the Patteklipp gorge, which is a well-prepared trail best described as walking a staircase for about 2 hours. Finally reaching the top is a blessing and there you can treat yourself to a well-earned cold drink (Yes, they have beer and margaritas!). If you’re not up for hiking back down, just buy a ticket to the Cable Car.
For the adventurous
Going east on N1 for about 15 minutes you’ll find the start of this hike shortly after exiting the Huguenot tunnel (a toll road), but to access the parking area you need to turn around and take the N1 back towards Paarl. You will find the parking area on your right just after passing the truck weigh station. You need a day permit to enter the park area. This hike is not well known and you might be all by yourselves on the trail with a little bit of luck. The goal of the hike is a couple of beautiful waterfalls at the deep end of the gorge you’re entering, where you can take a swim in the pools. The hike is strenuous and the trail varying, with some sections of climbing over rocks and crossing the creek you’re following. When you reach the first waterfall there are chains you can use to climb to the upper fall, which is slightly difficult especially coming back down, but well worth the effort. Bring good footwear, swimwear, enough food and water (we refilled with water from the falls). It’s about 8km roundtrip and will take you up to 5 hours, or longer if you linger by the waterfalls.
Cape peninsula drive
A must for first time visitors
Driving around the Cape peninsula is a full day activity. We chose to go clockwise starting at Muizenberg beach and driving down to Simon’s town to pay a visit to the colony of African penguins that reside here. For a fee of 75R you can enter and get up close with the penguins from slightly elevated walkways. Continuing down the west side of the peninsula and eventually entering the Cape Point nature reserve (for another 145R) driving all the way out to Cape of good hope. Year 1488AD the Portuguese explorer Bartolomeu Dias named this “Cape of storms” and since then many ships have wrecked in these waters. The place where the Atlantic and Indian Ocean meet vary from the Cape of good hope to Cape Agulhas, which is the southernmost tip of Africa. In the nature reserve you can spot Cape Zebras, Rock Dassies, Fur Seals, Ostriches and many other birds.
Heading back up on the west coast of the peninsula don’t forget to take the scenic Chapmans Peak Drive, which is a toll road, while the sun sets into the Atlantic Ocean and finish the day with a seafood dinner in Hout Bay before driving back up north.
Surf – Muizenberg Beach
Great for all levels of surfing
Muizenberg beach is well renowned for it’s gentle swell with long intervalls. It’s the perfect spot for all levels of surfers and there are several surf shops and surf schools to choose from if you need to rent gear, which is available for about 110R (for surfboard and wetsuit) as well as instructors if you want instructions when in the water. On the mountainsides there are shark-spotters whom will signal if there’s any sign of sharks, so you don’t have to worry about going into the water.
There are several websites providing good forecast about the waves if you want to check the conditions before going.
Mont Rochelle Nature Reserve, Franschhoek
Easily accessible, with nice view over the mountains and Franschhoek valley.
Just drive through Franschhoek and at the end of the Main Street, take left in the T-junction. Follow the road up the pass and when you reach the top there are signs towards the gate. The reserve is open around the clock but the gate is only manned 8am to 5pm. You need a permit which costs 40 Rand per adult and can be bought at the gate. The area is mostly covered in low growing bushes and other plants. This biome has one of the largest varieties of plant species in the world with around 8600 different species of plants. The hikes vary in length from 1 hour up to full day hikes. The trails are marked and well prepared and after only a kilometre we reached a spot which overlooked the whole Franschhoek valley. Bring water and snacks!
Hero Adventure is a company focusing on outdoor activities and making and conditioning trails for mountain biking, hiking, running, etc. At Spice Route (see wineries) Hero Adventure has a location where you can rent bike and helmet for 400R (4hours) and go biking among the vineyards and up on Paarl mountain. Entering the area is another 60R per day. The trails closest to Spice Route are very easy but if you go to the other side of Paarl Mountain and visit Rhebokskloof there are more technical trails and single track for the ones looking for an exhilarating rush.