ID #3065

Wild Waters, Cape Town, Cape Peninsula, Western Cape, South Africa.

“The Cape Of Storms,” “The Fairest Cape,” “The Cape Of Good Hope” – whatever you decide to call it – the seas around Cape Town have been tempting and terrifying seafarers for centuries, With frigid waters and rolling swells to the west and toothy predators patrolling the seas to the east, it’s a wonder that Capetonians and tourists venture into the sea at all. Yet, with its bays, and beaches, cliffs and caverns, the coast of the Cape offers a watery playground like no other.

See the Cape

The southern tip of the Cape Peninsula is one of South Africa’s most dramatic corners, prone to gusting winds and colossal waves. Climbing the steps to the Cape Point Lighthouse offers wonderful views over False Bay but you have to be out on the water to really appreciate why explorer Sir Francis Drake called this rocky promontory the “most stately thing and the fairest Cape we saw in the whole circumference of the world”.

“This boat travels at speeds in excess of 100 km/h” reads the sign on the side of the Simon’s Town Boat Company’s high-speed semi-rigid inflatable. With two growling engines on the back, it’s no surprise that this beast of a boat will have you skimming across the whitecaps at the Point in under half-an-hour.

Once there, it’s a jaw-dropping view that awaits you, with the rocky cliffs tumbling into a washing machine of foam and the lonely lighthouse at the ready to guard wayward ships from the deadly Bellows Rock. Next it’s a white-knuckle ride back to Simon’s Town Harbour via the penguin colony at Boulders Beach.

The boat company is also a permit holder for boat-based whale watching on the western side of False Bay, allowing you to get up close and personal with these giant visitors. In peak whale season (July-October) there are dozens of whales in False Bay and a boat trip is a perfect way to feel the motion of their ocean.

Seal Capers

If you have a need for speed and don’t want to leave the boat, book yourself on a high-speed jaunt to Seal Island for a close-up view of the largest seal colony in the country – home to over 75000 Cape fur seals. Just watch which way the wind is blowing and get ready to grab your nose. We call that scent “Seal No 5” says skipper Dave Hurwitz, of the unmistakable Seal Island pong.

Flying Fins

Nasal attacks aside, winter is by far the best time to visit Seal Island as this is when the feared Great White Sharks turn into flying fish, with spectacular displays of aerial hunting. Surging towards the surface, these 4-m hunting machines burst out of the ocean to play a game of airborne cat-an-mouse in pursuit of unwary seals.

Apex Predators runs shark viewing and cage diving from Simon’s Town to Seal Island allowing you to see almost every angle of this awesome predator. The company offers cage diving on both their morning and afternoon half-day trips but the early-morning expedition is the best time to see the Great White in flight.

Get Hooked

It’s good to have a sturdy pair of sea legs if you’re out on the water, especially if you are being a predator yourself on a fishing excursion on Hooked on Africa   From full-day tuna fishing trips into the deep waters off Cape Point to half-day in-shore excursions reeling in hard-fighting snoek or Cape Yellowfin, a few hours with rod and reel in hand will make an Ernest Hemingway out of even the most inexperienced city-slicker.

Easy Rider

Any self-respecting Capetonian or visitor should try their hand at riding a wave at least once in their life. Of course “Hanging 10” with thee wave riders of Muizenberg doesn’t always come easily sop you might want some professional help. The beachfront is lined with surf shops offering boards for sale or rent as well as lessons for the uninitiated.

Rosy’s Surf School has started a revolution in young girls taking to their boards. A few steps way, Surf Shack has become a Muizenberg institution and the easy-going manner of David Chudleigh will have you carving up the surf in no time.

Whatever you do, don’t procrastinate. Autumn is the perfect time to learn, with regular offshore winds keeping the surf glassy and smooth. With a set rolling in, the rest is up to you. Wait for a break, paddle like hell, leap top your feet and scream your lungs out all the way to shore. Just another perfect day in the waters of the “fairest cape in all the world”.

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Last update: 2014-05-11 00:37
Author: Alan McIver
Revision: 1.4

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