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Travel Guide: Get your adrenaline sports fix in Cape Town, South Africa

16th Aug 2016 12:00am | By Editor

Get your adrenaline fix with extreme sports in Cape Town, South Africa.

The next morning, I wake up at the crack of dawn itching to hit the beach. From Observatory, it’s a 30-minute drive to the premier wind- and kite- surfing hotspots at Kalk Bay and nearby Muizenberg – scene of my nose-to-nose encounter with the Cape Fur Seal pup – apparently they just look like sea lions.

Beach huts on Muizenberg beach credit: iStock

After a few hours of pounding Muizenberg’s waves, we decide to head down the coast to Kalk, and grab lunch at the Brass Bell – an open-sided restaurant-cum-bar that I manage to drift back to every time I’m in the city.

Bikini-clad beauties and bronzed gods sit at rustic picnic tables exchanging stories of their day’s exploits over some of the best – and most reasonably priced – grub in the city.

Gentle waves lap against the restaurant walls, sending a refreshingly cool spray into the air, and I ponder chilling out here for the rest of the day – but the promise of seeing the pint-sized Jackass penguins further down the coast at Boulders Beach proves just too alluring.

The waters in this part of the Cape, known as False Bay, may be home to animals more typically associated with Antarctica than Africa, but this stretch of coast is actually the warmest in Cape Town.

However, if you don’t mind your surf bracing, the Atlantic coast has some of the best waves. In the South African summer (Nov-Mar), Kommetjie’s Sunset Reef even boasts some of the biggest waves in the world, which on good days can reach a bone-crushing 25ft (eight metres).

The sight of the comical penguins waddling on the beach and swimming among the bathers has me in hysterics. My pals, on the other hand, are preoccupied with thoughts of the seabirds’ mortal enemies – the waters off Cape Town are home to one of the largest populations of Great White sharks in the world and, unbeknown to me, they’re planning a cage-dive with these toothy predators.

I manage to give this excursion a wide birth – I’ve seen Jaws too many times to be dangled over the side of a boat like giant bait - although I end up cursing myself when I see that they’ve still got all of their limbs intact.

“The sharks come so close to the cage,” my friend Frank enthuses, adding salt to the wound. “They just appear out of nowhere and start circling around the boat, before swimming right up to the bars for a closer look.

“It’s such a weird experience. There is literally just a few inches of metal separating you from all those teeth.”

Buoyed by his brush with death, Frank and the others plan a skydive over the city.

Later that week, a private transfer whisks them to an airstrip half an hour north of the city, and while I thumb my way through one of Desmond Tutu’s biographies by the pool, they are climbing 9,000ft above the peninsular, excitedly pointing out the landmarks beneath them.

“It’s the most fantastic way to see the city,” my friend Claire says. “We could see Robben Island and the ocean dotted with boats, and Table Mountain towering over the city on the other side of the bay.

“And the jump itself was unforgettable. After freefalling for 30 seconds, the instructor pulled the shoot and we slowly drifted back down to Earth. It was so quiet.”