For those with interests other than bird-watching, there is another exciting world to experience in Cape Town and the rest of South Africa! We have chosen a few of our favourite activities that we believe will give you a wider appreciation and greater enjoyment of South Africa.
INTERESTING ACTIVITIES IN AND AROUND CAPE TOWN and SOUTH AFRICA :
Shark Trips Cape Town :
False Bay in Cape Town is the only area in the world where you can cage dive as well as observe Great white sharks breaching, and do a Shark Trip in Cape Town !
In the words of Chris Fallows (who runs Apex Predators) who, together with his colleagues, was the first to document this previously unknown shark behaviour in 1996: ‘The intense predator/prey interactions and breaching behavior of the Great White Shark is what sets Seal Island in False Bay apart from any other shark spot in the world!’
The best time to experience this exciting natural phenomenon is between mid April and mid September when you should be able to see Great White Sharks breach out of the water to hunt seals, and have excellent close-up views when the sharks are attracted to the boat for closer viewing, as well as having the opportunity to experience the thrill of cage diving.
In summer, you can view Blue and Mako Sharks off Cape Point.
Avian Leisure recommends you do your shark trip with either Chris & Monique Fallows who operate Apex Shark Expeditions or Rob & Karin Lawrence who operate African Shark Eco-Charters, as they are the only two legal companies offering shark trips out of Simon’s Town, both run on extremely ethical principles. Group sizes are deliberately small, a maximum of 12 guests per trip, which gives you better viewing & photographic opportunities, a longer cage dive and will allow the guides onboard to spend time with each guest.
The boats used comply with all necessary safety requirements & carry comprehensive insurance.
Prior booking is essential.
Book your shark trip and accommodation through Avian Leisure: Our self catering apartments in Simon's Town are ideally located for access to the Simon's Town harbour.
The morning trip is 7am to 12.30pm weather permitting: Breaching, Natural predation and Cage diving.
The afternoon trip is 1pm to 5pm weather permitting: Cage diving only .
Because these trips are weather dependent, it is advisable to have more than one day available in case the first date is cancelled due to poor weather conditions.
Contact us for current rates, and let us have your preferred dates for your Cape Town shark trip and number of places required.
Whale Watching Cape Town :
Cape Town 's False Bay is one of the best places in the world for land-based whale watching! Between July and November Southern Right whales migrate into the coastal waters of the Western Cape in large numbers. First come the females to calve and nurse their young, and then come the courting groups of males and females intent mating in the sheltered bay. By November most have left on their way back to the Antarctic, although a few seem to stay in our waters all year.
During this period on the coastal roads from Boyes Drive to Simon's Town, parked cars with groups of people gazing and pointing out to sea will indicate a pod of whales easily visible! Certainly it is thrilling to watch these magnificent creatures blowing, breaching, spy hopping and generally just lolling about….
And throughout the year there are various cetacean species that can be spotted in False Bay , such as Bryde's whales, Orcas (killer whale) and Humpback whales, as well as large schools of common dolphin.
Avian Leisure's accommodation in Simon's Town (which is on the western side of False Bay) is wonderfully positioned to see these magnificent creatures… right from the wooden deck or even from the main bedroom!
If you are visiting Cape Town between July and November and want an exciting experience, book a boat-based whale watching trip departing from Simon's Town . It is illegal to approach within 300 metres of whales in any craft (boat, kayak, aircraft…) and only a few legally permitted boat based whale watching operators in South Africa may approach within 50 metres. Avian Leisure will make your whale watching boat trip booking with the sole permit holder for boat based whale watching for the western half of False Bay – stretching from Strandfontein all the way to Cape Point - The Simon's Town Boat Company.
Seeing these gigantic & magnificent mammals (the size of 12 elephants) alongside your boat is an experience that will stay with you for the rest of your life. Be ready to photograph one breaching or giving you a friendly wave with its tail!
Book your whale watching trip and accommodation through Avian Leisure: Our self catering apartments in Simon's Town are ideally located for access to the Simon's Town harbour.
The boat is an 8m catamaran carrying 12 pax + 2 crew with all necessary safety requirements & comprehensive insurance.
Tours depart daily at 10:30am and 02:00pm – Subject to weather. Booking is always advisable. Tours are 2 to 2.5 hours in length, dependant on where the whales are located.
Contact us for current rates, and let us have your preferred dates for your Cape Town whale watching trip and number of places required.
Wine Tours Cape Town and Western Cape :
We will design a private customized tour through the Cape Winelands depending on the time you have available and your preferences.
Our Classic Six Wine Day Trip is a unique Western Cape Wine Tour covering six hand picked wine estates, each well known for a particular noble cultivar, affording wine enthusiasts with the opportunity of sampling representative examples of the Cape's "Classic Six" varietals in situ - Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinotage, Shiraz, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc and Chenin Blanc. Tour follows a scenic route through the winelands with a lunch on a wine estate.
Image by Basie Van zyl
Image courtesy of WOSA
A Cape Wine Tour over a several days will give you time to visit more Wine Estates and to experience the hospitality of the Cape Winelands towns. You can spend the night in one of the beautiful Guest houses in Franschhoek, a delightful village that prides itself on its gourmet cooking! Spoil yourself by staying at the Five Star Boutique Hotel ‘Le Quartier Francais' and dining in its award-winning restaurant ‘The Tasting Room', recently voted as one of the world's top 50 restaurants!
Walk through South Africa's Western Cape Vineyards: A three-day guided hiking trail through the beautiful Wellington valley in the winelands of the Western Cape - 75 km from Cape Town - takes you through indigenous fynbos, vineyards, orchards and olive groves. All you carry is a light day-pack. Your luggage is transported to the next stop.
Birding in the Winelands: Our ‘Winebirds' Tour combines birding with wine. Bird in the early morning and late afternoon and visit wineries for tastings and lunch during the day! A unique and delightful way to combine these 2 interests…we will customize a tour to fit in with the number of days you have available.
Contact us to find out more about how we can tailor a Western Cape Wine Tour specially for you.
General Interest and Natural History :
Something different for those who prefer the roads less traveled and the ways of yesteryear.
In the Footsteps of Olaf Bergh:
A 10 Day tour which takes you from Cape Town into the hinterland along the route of the early colonial settlers who opened the way north to the vast plains of the Great Karoo. It is a land of legends and time honored tradition, of small towns and quaint names, of country food and great and hospitality. click for more detail
Along the Wagon Tracks of Lady Anne Barnard:
A 10 Day tour along the forgotten Cape highways of a past era. Experience a medley of cultural, scenic, botanical, mammal and birding sights that recollect the chronicles of Lady Anne Barnard, the wife of the secretary to the first British governor of the Cape at the end of the 18th Century. click for more detail
Botanical Trips :
We work with botanical specialists to customize tours in accordance with our client's specific requirements.
In the Western Cape of South Africa we focus on the 'fynbos' and Succulent Karoo biomes throughout the year.
During the Western Cape's Spring Flower season in late August and early September we usually have a scheduled tour option:
West Coast Spring Flower Tour: (as outlined briefly below)
A luxury tour of the West Coast of South Africa in prime Spring Flower Season : the tour starts in Cape Town and takes in the West Coast National Park , Clanwilliam and Van Rhynsdorp flower regions to enjoy the beauty of the springtime floral tapestry. Not only flowers, but also vistas and unique West Coast culture combine to make this a fascinating tour suitable for photographers and general flower enthusiasts alike.
Contact us to find out more about how we can help you with a tailor-made Botanical Tour in the Northern and Western Cape of South Africa.
Township Tours :
Half-day as well as full day tours are arranged through specialist guides for those wishing to experience the township way of life and the fellowship that goes with it. 'Gospel' tours on a Sunday are particularly popular!
Scenic and Cultural Tours :
Several guided options covering half-day as well as full day tours to the classic sights of Cape Town exist for those wishing to take a break from birding activity - Table Mountain, Cape Point, Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens, Robben Island and shopping trips.
Please note that ROBBEN ISLAND TOURS are heavily booked so and need to be confirmed well in advance. Contact us if you wish to make a booking. Please note that this is a service we offer to our valued guests and clients.
Horse Riding Excursions :
Horse riding on Noordhoek beach or through the winelands is a wonderful way to spend a few hours while your spouse is ticking off the next bird! Let us know if this is an interest of yours as there are horse riding opportunities
throughout South Africa including Horse-back Safaris.
Battlefields of Kwazulu Natal :
Zululand is an area steeped in the history of the wars between the British and the Zulu nation in the late 19 th Century and the Anglo-Boer War a few decades later. Tours and accommodation can be booked through us if this is your special interest!
Beach Holidays - scuba diving, snorkeling, or just lazing on the beach
South Africa is known for its beautiful beaches, all around its 30 000 km coastline. Some are good for lazing and paddling while others are great for surfing, and still other stretches offer great scuba diving and snorkeling. If you would like to add a ‘ sea and beach in the sun' component to your safari or tour, decide what you're after and we will add that to your itinerary! Whether you're after romance on the beach or action underwater, we can help you…
Diving at Thonga Beach Lodge Thonga Beach Lodge
Contact Us for more information as there are many more options available.