Hidden Cape Tour for Active Travelers: Hiking, Kayaking & More

A 13 day trip to South Africa 
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Winding along the southwestern tip of Africa the Cape will delight you with its enigmatic beauty and natural sense of adventure. This region of Africa is a land of breathtaking hiking trails, peaceful valleys of vineyards, staggering mountains, and the charm of two oceans. With days packed full of activities both on land and water, this 13-day South Africa tour will showcase the very best of a landscape unlike any other on the planet. Starting and ending in Cape Town, the itinerary will connect you with Mother Nature and ignite all of your senses along the way. 

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Most tours are customized for private travel.

General Information

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Detailed Itinerary

Places Visited 

Cape Town, Table Mountain, Lion's Head, Table View, !Khwa ttu, Cape Columbine Nature Reserve, Paternoster, Cederberg Mountains, Cederberg Nature Reserve, Maltese Cross, Wolfberg Cracks, Cape Winelands, Stellenbosch, Hermanus, Gansbaai, Cape Point (Cape of Good Hope), Simon's Town, Boulders Beach 

Departure Dates 

Dates are flexible and customizable for private departures.

Detailed Itinerary 

Day 1: Cape Town – Beautiful Sunset Hike On Lion's Head

Land in Cape Town and it will be hard to keep your eyes off of Table Mountain as it rises over a kilometer above the city. The standard thing to do would be to hike up Table Mountain, but there is a better option to serve as your introduction to the Cape. Lion's Head may only be 650 meters high, but the hiking route loops around the mountain. As you climb the steep and rugged steps, you will be able to take in the whole city, from the white beaches created by the Atlantic Ocean to the buildings nestled beneath the slopes. This will be a challenging hike, but it will only take an hour with your guide timing your arrival for the dipping sun.

From the summit, you will not only enjoy a fantastic view of Cape Town but your view is also backdropped by Table Mountain, and as you turn around, the peak will offer a 360-degree perspective and a truly magical sunset. By descending just as the sun dips into the ocean, you will be able to make it most of the way down before darkness with your final stretch assisted by your flashlight and the glowing lights of the city. Earlier in the day, you will have landed at Cape Town International Airport and been privately transferred to your hotel at the V & A Waterfront, where views onto the ocean and mountain are a great way to recuperate from your flight.

What's Included: accommodation, transfer, tour

Day 2: Cape Town – Table Mountain and Thrills of the Coast

During the summer, a daily collection of clouds will drop over the summit of Table Mountain, so the morning is the best time to take the cable car up to enjoy the views. Come afternoon, choose between a trip to Table View and the world's premier kitesurfing beaches to find many of the world's pros showing off their skills from December to March. The beaches are an inspiring place to learn how to control a kite and get acquainted with the sport. The beach at Muizenberg is very different, dominated by curling waves that stretch out for miles; the waves are so long that over 100 people once surfed a single wave during a world record attempt here. Almost everyone can stand up on their first surfing lesson here, and you can choose between surfing or kitesurfing, and there are also some free days at the end of the tour if you would like to try both.

What's Included: accommodation, tour, breakfast, lunch

Day 3: !Khwa ttu to Cape Columbine Nature Reserve – Mountain Biking and Discovering San Culture

!Khwa ttu is a special place, a haven for a culture that's mostly disappeared from view. It's a celebration of San life and is owned by the San community, the oldest of the tribes ever to occupy the Cape. The San are mostly nomadic, and their land will compel you to go on a journey of your own. Unlike the barefooted locals, you will be going by mountain bike for a 10-kilometer ride on a trail that passes small herds of springbok and zebra. Ostrich hops around, and there are some beautiful little hides for birdwatching. Enjoy a traditional lunch at the !Khwa ttu Cafe (incidentally, learning more about the unusual language and punctuation will be part of the tour), and then continue up the northern coast to the Cape Columbine Nature Reserve, where your private camp is hidden on a small picturesque bay.

What's Included: accommodation, tour, breakfast, lunch

Day 4: Cape Columbine Nature Reserve to Cederberg Nature Reserve – Kayaking the Atlantic and the Wine of Cederberg

South Africa's Atlantic coastline is rugged and wild, stretching virtually untouched all the way to the dunes of Namibia. Despite being only two hours from the city, it will as if you have entered a private marine playground where the frothy waves provide the soundtrack and winding sandstone formations offer the backdrop. A guided sea kayak tour is an excellent way to explore, leading you along the ocean-carved cliffs to secretive bays that gaze out towards the next nearest landmass, South America. Later in the morning, you will drive over to the Cederberg Mountains and cross vast areas of dramatic fynbos, the low-lying desert-type shrubs that cover the Cape. Upon arrival, there will be time for a short sunset hike, followed by an evening at the Cederberg Private Cellars, where the Cape's wine is complemented by a traditional braai (wood barbecue) of kudu and ostrich meat.

What's Included: accommodation, tour, breakfast, dinner

Day 5: Cederberg Nature Reserve – Sublime Hiking Trails on Classic Cape Landscapes

Some of the Africa’s finest hiking trails are found in the Cederberg Mountains. Twisted rock formations dominate the horizon, and they come with enigmatic names: Maltese Cross, Wolfberg Cracks, Lot's Wife. The rocks rise like sentinels, guarding the land in their weatherbeaten glory. The land is remote, and you are unlikely to spot another person on the day's hike. Your guide will offer a series of trails dependent on your fitness levels, including one that takes you towards the tips of the mountain range for untamed views over rural South Africa. Your adventure will lend fantastic insight into the wonders of the Cape, your journey dotted with glassy lakes and mountains occasionally dappled in snow.

What's Included: accommodation, tour, breakfast, lunch

Day 6: Cederberg Nature Reserve to Stellenbosch – Sunrise Hike and Afternoon in the Vineyards

The Cederberg Reserve will both captivate and compel, encouraging you to explore deeper and deeper. You will be eager to rise at sunrise to dip some traditional rusks (a local breakfast) with your morning coffee and then set off with the sky painted crimson. There will be time for three to four hours of hiking and various trails that are perfect in the morning light. From here, it will be a four-hour drive to the Cape Winelands and Stellenbosch, where you will check out the white-washed walls of the 18th-century town and sample some of the local delights. Stellenbosch is the heart of South Africa's wine industry, and your accommodation is on a vineyard, so expect some sensual flavors over dinner.

What's Included: accommodation, tour, breakfast, lunch, dinner

Day 7: Stellenbosch – Mountain Bike Cape Winelands Vineyard Tour

Hundreds of vineyards can be found in Stellenbosch, carpeting the valley in vines and remote farming trails. Granite boulders rise unfeasibly above the soil, creating an unusual focal point for your photos. Another fantastic view are the vineyards themselves, or the old white-washed farmhouses where cellar owners will take you on a private tasting journey. The landscape keeps you outside, and a mountain bike offers the ideal speed. You will be fast enough to visit four or five vineyards yet slow enough to celebrate the grandeur of the landscape. All tastings are included, and a variety of vineyards are chosen to showcase the diversity of the terroir and the gastronomy; among them is a special wine and biltong (traditional cured meat) pairing, plus plenty of South Africa's flagship grape, Pinotage.

What's Included: accommodation, tour, breakfast, lunch

Day 8: Stellenbosch to Hermanus – Kayaking With Whales

Approaching the ocean, you will have completed a remarkable journey from the soft blue water of the endless Atlantic to a turquoise bay where the Indian and Atlantic waters merge. The water temperature is remarkably constant here, creating an incubator for southern right whale calves. Hundreds of whales migrate here from July to November, and you will be delighted by the mothers and babies. Humpbacks are residents throughout the year, and the cliffs along the bay provide exceptional land-based whale watching. You will take a sea kayak over the waves and see the whales from the surface water. Officially, you can come within 300 meters of the whales, which is astonishingly close given that the southern right whales are nearly 20 meters in length. You will enjoy a two hours guided tour followed by a leisurely afternoon in the town of Hermanus where the cliff-side trails can be trekked without a guide and lead to some spectacular beaches.

What's Included: accommodation, tour, breakfast

Day 9: Hermanus – Great White Shark Cage Diving in Nearby Gansbaai

With just one glimpse, you will know it is the apex predator. Baring razored teeth and lurking in the dark blue, great white sharks wait for their dinner. Thousands of Cape fur seals are nearby, and they must cross Shark Alley to find their fish. So the sharks just circle and wait, sniffing for an opportunity and then exploding with power. All of the sudden a shark will jump clean from the water, flopping down with a carcass limp in its mouth. Another will disappear into the depths and then ascend like a missile, accelerating straight up to take its prey. Several more sharks will swim right past the cage, their brutal size accompanied by a certain unspoken beauty. You are not just watching the show from the boat as you are watching it all unfold from a cage strapped to the side of the boat. You won’t want to hold out your hand because the sharks are literally next to you. You will take it all in on a half-day trip and seeing the sharks is all but guaranteed; some trips may see over a dozen different great white sharks.

What's Included: accommodation, tour, breakfast

Day 10: Hermanus to Simon's Town to Cape Town – Penguins on the Beach and Riding Into Cape Town

Today you will follow the coastline back to Cape Town, winding down the Cape Peninsula to the southwestern tip of Africa and then returning along the coastline of the Atlantic Ocean. Stop first at Boulders Beach, where wild penguins waddle about, and you will not go a few meters without seeing them. Move next to cross the springbok-dappled fynbos to the lighthouses that mark the tip of the continent, and marvel that the next stop from here would be Antarctica. Jump onto your bikes for the final part of your adventure, a cycle along the coast towards the city of Cape Town. This is a breathtaking route, crossing various mountain passes and including some of South Africa's most expressive panoramas. The full cycling route is 40 kilometers, but it is also possible to cycle part of the way and drive the rest. You may also want a lift to the top of the mountain passes and then freewheel down into the small bays and fishing villages. Return to the city for a celebratory meal with your guide at one of Cape Town's finest restaurants.

What's Included: accommodation, tour, breakfast, lunch, dinner

Days 11 – 12: Cape Town – Free Days in Cape Town

These final two days are deliberately left free and you will have the ideal base at the V & A Waterfront in Cape Town. You could use the time to relax and recover from the adventure with great food, even better wine, and the pristine beaches of the city. You may still be keen on adventure and there is a huge array of additional activities as you could helicopter around the Cape, take on various hiking trails, skydive, paraglide and then slow it down for a sunset boat trips from the harbor. History can be discovered on Robben Island while the city's distinctive neighborhoods showcase the cultural side to the Cape.

What's Included: accommodation, tour, breakfast

Day 13: Cape Town – Departure

After breakfast, you will be transferred privately to the airport for your departure flight.

What's Included: transfer, breakfast

Price

Starting Price 

$5,195
This trip is customizable for your private travel.

What's Included 

  • Accommodations
  • In-country transportation
  • Some or all guided tours and activities (dependent on season)
  • Expert trip planning
  • 24x7 support during your trip
The starting price is based on travel during the low season for a minimum of two travelers staying in shared 3-star accommodations. Please inquire for a custom trip quote based on your travel preferences and travel dates.