PAIGE SUTHER­LAND

They ar­rive with long lists of things to see and do, but shouldn’t th­ese tourists be tak­ing a walk on the wild side? Be­cause not that far from the beaten track of the bet­ter-known tourist ac­tiv­i­ties in Cape Town are a range of choices sure to se­cure an un

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - LIFE -

cock­pit, the sound of the pro­pel­ler roar­ing, and lift­ing off from the V&A Water­front.

Flights in­clude any­thing from a trip over the ma­jor sights of the city, like Cape Town Sta­dium, Ta­ble Moun­tain and Camps Bay, to a cruise along the Cape Penin­sula all the way to Cape Point. But, wher­ever the flight takes you, the view from this al­ti­tude is not worth miss­ing.

My four-seater he­li­copter was up in the sky in sec­onds, of­fer­ing me a spec­tac­u­lar view of the city sky­line in just one glance out of my win­dow. As we soared along­side Ta­ble Moun­tain, I could point out the fa­mous Twelve Apos­tles and clearly see how Lion’s Head got its name. We then dipped to­wards the Cape Town Sta­dium, head­ing straight for its wide open­ing like we were on an amuse­ment ride.

Al­though the flight didn’t last long, the en­tire city was en­cap­su­lated in this quick spin around town. Of­ten Cape Town is called the “pret­ti­est city in the world”, and af­ter a he­li­copter ride, there’s just no dis­put­ing it.

● Flights cost any­where from R800 to R3 200. For more in­for­ma­tion, go to www.he­li­copter­scapetown.co.za

CHOP­PER BIKE RIDE

IF YOU are a bike fa­natic but don’t have a mo­tor­cy­cle li­cence, don’t worry be­cause Cape Bike Travel of­fers chauf­feured rides around the city on a “Big Twin” Har­ley David­son.

My ride was up Sig­nal Hill, dressed for the event in mo­tor­cy­cle hel­met, avi­a­tor glasses and biker jacket.

With the wind blow­ing in my face, I got to see the scenic Cape Town land­scape from the back of a Har­ley Dyna with­out strain­ing a mus­cle.

My driver, Adrian van der Merwe, did all the work as I just sat back, re­laxed, and held on.

“When you ride a bike around the city, you have no re­stric­tions,” Van der Merwe told me.

“If you want to look at Ta­ble Moun­tain, Lion’s Head or the city cen­tre, all you have to do is look up.”

Buzzing up the wind­ing road to Sig­nal Hill, this tour was more of a joy ride than the tra­di­tional red buses could of­fer.

Lean­ing left and right, we were up the hill in no time, with me grip­ping on tightly.

It’s a com­mon drive for tourists to take, but do it from the back of a bike and you re­ally get a chance to soak up the sights, all ac­com­pa­nied by the roar of the en­gine.

● At Cape Bike Travel, this ex­pe­ri­enced biker is yours for the day, so the desti­na­tion is up to you. Rides vary from driv­ing along the Gar­den Route to the Cape Penin­sula, to tour­ing the scenic winelands. Half-day rides cost R1 600 and full-day R2 100. Fuel, hel­mets and gloves are in­cluded. For more in­for­ma­tion, go to www.capetown­travel.com

That was def­i­nitely enough for one week, but oth­ers on my list be­fore I head home to the US in­clude:

SNORKELLING

SEALS

THE clos­est most tourists get to the seals in Cape Town’s waters is from a view­ing boat, but if you put on a wet­suit, grab a snorkel and jump in, you’ll get up close and per­sonal with a host of ma­rine crea­tures, in­clud­ing sun­fish, dol­phins, whales – and seals.

De­part­ing from Hout Bay har­bour, the ex­pe­ri­enced guides at An­i­mal Ocean Seal Snorkelling will take you out for a swim with Cape fur seals. With more than 15 000 seals liv­ing in Hout Bay, ev­ery­one is bound to catch more than a glimpse of one th­ese furry crea­tures. No snorkelling ex­pe­ri­ence is re­quired and all equip­ment is pro­vided. Plus, be­cause of the cold wa­ter on this side of the penin­sula, there’s lit­tle dan­ger of sharks.

● This half-day ex­cur­sion costs R600, and scuba pack­ages are also avail­able. For more in­for­ma­tion, go to www.seal­snorke­l­ing.com

FULL

LION’S HEAD

FOR AN ad­ven­ture that won’t cost you a cent, take a hike up Lion’s Head. This short hike will take you about an hour and a half on a mostly paved track wind­ing around the slopes of the moun­tain. Al­though the walk is quite steep, it is still man­age­able and a very pop­u­lar hike for peo­ple of all ages. Start at Sig­nal Hill in the gravel park­ing lot – there’ll will be loads of cars and hik­ers, so it’s al­most im­pos­si­ble to miss. Once you get to the top, en­joy the sun­set as you soak in the 360-de­gree view of the city. Then de­scend down the moun­tain guided by the ra­di­ant light of the moon. The next full moons are tomorrow night and De­cem­ber 17.

KAYAK­ING BOUL­DERS BEACH

MANY peo­ple have had the chance to kayak, but not many can say they’ve seen pen­guins while pad­dling. Start­ing from the Si­mon’s Town Water­front, you will kayak past the Naval Base to­wards Boul­ders Beach, where there’ll be too many pen­guins to count. This guided tour in­cludes equip­ment, re­fresh­ments and some pic­tures for the scrap­book, all for R300. For more in­for­ma­tion, go to www.ex­tremescene.co.za/sea-kayak.php

AB­SEIL­ING

THERE’S no bet­ter view of the city: at 1 000m above sea level you can en­joy the city panorama, from the V&A Water­front to Cape Town Sta­dium, Sig­nal Hill, and much, much more.

No ab­seil­ing ex­pe­ri­ence is re­quired and all equip­ment is pro­vided.

All one needs is to make sure to pack a cam­era be­cause this sight will be worth sav­ing.

Ab­seil­ing ac­tiv­i­ties run daily from 10am to 3pm for a sea­sonal price of R695 per per­son.

To start your adrenal­in­pump­ing ad­ven­ture, visit Ab­seil Africa at www.ab­seilafrica.co.za

● Suther­land is a vis­it­ing grad­u­ate jour­nal­ism stu­dent from North­west­ern Univer­sity in Chicago in the US. She is do­ing a three-month prac­ti­cal stint with Weekend Ar­gus.

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