South Africa’s ‘Mother City’ of Cape Town is abuzz with energy and fun things to do. It is not only the mainstream activities such as beach-going, surfing and cable-carting up the wonderous Table Mountain that provide tourists and car hire Cape Town users with exciting experiences, though. There are a plethora of interesting and out-of-the-ordinary activities to keep you busy during your stay. In this brief article, check out the car hire Cape Town guide on 6 unusual activities to do in Cape Town.
Car hire Cape Town recommends the adventure tunnel and dungeon tour
Coming in hot at number 1 in the car hire Cape Town unusual experience list is the tunnel tours under Cape Town. Curious visitors can explore a network of old canals and rivers that date back to the mid 1600s. These canals functioned in the past to supply the Company Gardens as well as passing ships with fresh water. Over time, urbanisation sped up and the canals were used to transport sewerage until around 1895, after which they were arched over and soon forgotten.
Today, these tunnels are rich with history and visitors who book well in advance are offered the unique opportunity to explore them. Their impressive architecture and the ominous vibe makes this tunnel activity a favourite with history buffs and veteran explorers all the same. Parking for your car hire Cape Town vehicle will be provided and visitors can start either at the Castle of Good Hope in the central business district or below Table Mountain’s slopes.
Visitors will need to bring the following for their exciting tunnel tour:
- Gumboots or old shoes with grip
- Clothes you do not mind getting dirty
- A torch or powerful headlight
- Water bottle
Each tour takes around 2 to 3 hours in duration, and the specific route will be chosen by qualified guides based on group size, group fitness, water levels and the season. As a rule of thumb, it is important to be considerably fit to take part in these tunnel tours – considering participants will need to descend and ascend a 3 metre ladder at the start and end of the tour respectively. If you are interested in this unusual and exciting activity, know that you will be joined by a qualified guide and professional rescue medic.
Car hire Cape Town recommends paragliding
The well-loved paragliding opportunity in Cape Town steals the number 2 spot on the car hire Cape Town unusual activity list. Visitors are given the opportunity to fly like birds over the beautiful Signal Hill or Lions Head. Paragliding in Cape Town is usually conducted in tandem-style, where you will be accompanied by an experienced flight guide. Flights usually last between 7 to 20 minutes, due to various potential weather conditions on a particular day.
From the air you will comfortably be able to look across the sparkling Atlantic ocean and rolling Cape Town suburbs and beaches. You will land either on the Sea Point promenade or on the Camp’s Bay High School sports field – depending on the wind direction of the particular day of your flight. Paragliding, depending on your chosen company can cost between R900 and R1400.
Car hire Cape Town recommends freediving when in the Mother City
It is of the utmost importance that anyone visiting Cape Town know how perfect the region is for freediving. Most people traveling to this seaside paradise look to go scuba diving, which is a more generic form of experiencing the ocean, although still highly enjoyable. Scuba however constricts one’s movement underwater due to the weight of the equipment and gear. Freediving offers the ocean lover an all-new and liberating underwater experience.
But what exactly is freediving? Explained simply, freediving refers to diving without an oxygen tank or any other equipment to assist breathing. Freedivers must hold their breath to the best of their abilities and explore the ocean oasis below and around them. Holding your breath underwater might seem intimidating, especially if you have never taken part in freediving before.
However, many first time freedivers have reported feeling calm and in control with regards to their breathing while allowing themselves to float above and dive below the waves as they explore. One does not need to be trained or experienced to take part in free diving. This activity is a great way to connect with your inner self, surprisingly, while you explore the marine world around you. The cold Cape Town water is also genuinely good for your skin and body as a whole.
Car hire Cape Town recommends these top freediving locations around the Mother City
Cape Town boasts some of the most beautiful and unassuming free diving locations in the world – but there are a few top contenders to visit should you decide to participate in this unusual and freeing activity:
Reef, seal sightings and shipwreck diving opportunities are only a few characteristics that make False Bay the perfect spot for a freediving adventure. While freedivers can access False Bay at all times of the year, visibility in the bay is a bit limited during the summer months. This is often due to the strong south-easterly winds experienced in the area during this period. If you are visiting the Mother City in your car hire Cape Town vehicle during the winter, be sure to check out the following diving spots within False Bay:
Pyramid Rock in Miller’s Point
Just beyond Simonstown, in a protected marine area known as Castle Rock within Miller’s Point, lies a famous diving sight that is well-frequented by freedivers from the city and across the world. It is named after the strangely shaped rock on its shore, and is marks the spot for exceptionally colourful reef, an endless variety of fish as well as gentle cow sharks. It is the perfect spot for divers of all skill levels, and reaches depths of up to 12 metres. While the best freediving spot is technically reachable from the shore, taking a boat ride there is favourable.
Patridge Point in Simonstown
This special spot consists of several fantastic diving locations, in particular:
- Seal Rock
- Deep Patridge
- Peter’s Pinnacles
- Big Rock.
All of these locations are well-frequented by the friendly seal population, so if swimming with seals is something you would like to do, Patridge Point is the perfect spot for you to embark on your freediving adventure. Divers with little to no experience as well as those with advanced training will both enjoy this dive spot, and these locations reach depths of around 20 metres. To freedive in these locations however, you will need to travel via boat.
The A-Frame in Cape Point as your freediving location
Home to one of the world’s most amazing kelp forests (where cuttlefish, small catsharks and octopuses dwell in harmony), is Cape Point’s A-Frame dive location. There is an accessible rocky plateau from which to enter the location via gently descending into the fresh, cold waters. The existence of many boulders in the depths create several impressive overhangs under which you can spot many a creature. Visitors can find The A-Frame around 5 kilometres outside of Simonstown, and it reaches depths of around 12 metres.
The Atlantic Seaboard freediving opportunity
Moving onto a new area for free diving, the Atlantic Seaboard offers its own very unique treasure troves of diving locations. The seaboard stretches from Green Point to Hout Bay, and some popular diving hotspots include Duiker Island, Oudekraal Reserve as well as the shipwreck site – The Maori. Consider visiting the following locations in the summer:
The Coral Gardens in Oudekraal Reserve
Coral Gardens is a less frequented freediving spot, but it is certainly worth a visit. Located in the Oudekraal Reserve, it is considered as one of the most beautiful diving locations in the Cape. As its name suggests, the site encompasses a thriving garden of colourful coral reef, crystal waters and a wide array of fish species. The site reaches depths of around 18 metres, and anyone visiting can expect some rather strong currents due to its exposed nature.
Visit Duiker Island in Hout Bay for your freediving experience
Another popular location for one-on-one freediving with some seals is Duiker Island, found in Hout Bay. This location is only accessible by boat and is a 4 kilometre journey by sea. While Duiker Island’s diving spot is not so famous for its reef (it mainly comprises of seaweed and kelp), it is well worth the trouble to play with some playful seals and their pups. The dive location reaches around 6 metres in depth and is appropriate for beginner to advanced level Freedivers.
Take an Honest Chocolate Bonbon class
Calling all chocolate lovers and connoisseurs! Drive your car hire Cape Town vehicle out to Honest Chocolate and take an invigorating bonbon class. This consists of a workshop that involves a full tasting as well as a demonstration of exactly how chocolate is made, and some insights into how cacao beans are processed and primarily farmed. You will be taught how to decorate, dip and wrap your own crafted bonbons to take home and enjoy.
Smash some plates at the Mykonos Taverna Greek Evenings
Find yourself at the heart of Greek tradition by joining Mykonos Taverna for an exceptional night of food, culture and dance on the last Saturday of each month. Here, you can grab some plates and smash them as tradition dictates while dancing the night away – after a delicious main course meal.
Journey to Company Gardens and play life sized chess!
In the heart of Cape Town, dating back to 17th century, you will happen upon the Company’s Garden. The garden was created when the Dutch used spring water that ran down the mountain and grew vegetables and fruit for ships on their way to the East. Today, Company’s Gardens sit on Government Avenue, well-frequented by the public as well as a large population of squirrels adventuring amongst the oak trees. On its own, the garden is a wonderful experience for you and your family when in Cape Town.
However, to spice things up a bit, have a scrumptious meal under the leafy trees at the recently opened Garden Restaurant. The life-sized bird nests are a wonderful feature to take note of as well. Perhaps the main event, however, is the life-sized chess board that can grant you and your opponent hours of fun as you battle it out across the humongous board – where you yourself are as big as the pieces whose fate you will decide. Entry into the Company’s Garden is free and finding parking for your car hire Cape Town vehicle should not pose too much of a problem.