Best Things To Do in Cape Town in Summer

There are few things that can compare to summer time in Cape Town. Stunning, blue-skied sunny days, late sunsets that set the sky alight in a beautiful celebration of colour, blissful sun-kissed beach days, and a vibrant summer-time vibe that fills the Cape Town air. The Mother City is pure summer time bliss!

Summer is the time of year when the beautiful, exciting, and vibrant city of Cape Town truly comes alive, and its nothing short of glorious!

Here are some of the best things to do in Cape Town in Summer, all of which will be thoroughly enjoyed by both the young and young at heart.

#Go swimming at some of the best dams & rivers in Cape Town

best things to do in Cape Town in Summer

Going swimming and adventuring at some of the best dams and rivers in Cape Town is by far one of the most fun, exhilarating, ‘make-you-feel-completely-and-utterly-alive’ adventure experiences and things to do this summer in Cape Town for both the young and young at heart.

If you’re eager to take a cool and refreshing dip away from the sand, sea water, and large crowds, Cape Town’s incredible variety of dams and rivers are the perfect place to do just that.

Let’s be honest, what’s more thrilling than plunging into a crystal-clear rock pool in one of the most beautiful locations in the Western Cape?

Check out our ‘Best Dams and Rivers in Cape Town for swimming’ blog for everything you need to know about Cape Town’s best swimming spots.

#Learn to surf & ride a wave

best things to do in Cape Town in Summer

By far one of the most fun and thrilling things to do in Cape Town this summer is to surf / learn to surf the cool Cape Town waves like a real surfing pro.

Whether you’re an avid surfing pro looking for your next big wave or a surfing first timer, Cape Town is the ultimate surfing destination. Home to some of the most beautiful beaches in the world, coolest waves, and a stunning year-round mild Mediterranean climate, Cape Town has fast become one of the most highly sought-after surfing hotspots / destinations for surfers from around the world.

To make it even better, the whole family can join in on the surfing fun and games, whether you’ve never surfed a single wave in your life or consider yourself to be a world-class surfing enthusiast – Cape Town has the perfect surfing beach for you.

A few of the top surfing beaches in Cape Town are:

  • Muizenberg Beach Surfer’s Corner
  • Llandudno Beach
  • The Dunes at Noordhoek Beach
  • Bloubergstrand
  • Long Beach in Kommetjie
  • Big Bay
  • Glen Beach
  • Scarborough Beach
  • Dungeons
  • The Hoek
  • Crayfish Factory
  • Derdesteen

Click here to check out our ‘Top 5 Coolest Surfing Beaches in Cape Town’ blog!

#Have a braai & beach day at Oudekraal Beach

best things to do in Cape Town in Summer

Tucked away in a sheltered cove between Camps Bay and Llandudno, Oudekraal is not only one of the top beaches in Cape Town, but one of the best braai spots too. It has approximately 40 private braai spots scattered along the lawns above the sheltered cove and sandy beach below.

Oudekraal is also one of the top beaches for enjoying a fun-filled family beach day. The beach is surrounded by large granite boulders that keep big waves at bay, making it the ideal place to swim, especially for the little ones. The water is also calm enough for snorkelling near the shore – adding extra adventure and thrill to a fun family braai and beach day.

**Tip: Because of its popularity and stunning beach location, the braai spots at Oudekraal can get snatched up pretty quickly. It is important to arrive early to secure a top spot.

  • Location: Oudekraal, Victoria Road, between Llandudno and Camps Bay

#Take a dip in the Atlantic

best things to do in Cape Town in Summer

Taking a dip in the chilly Atlantic is the ultimate way to beat the summer heat in Cape Town. There is nothing better than being sun-kissed, sandy-toed, and salty-haired while soaking up the glorious Cape Town sunshine. Enjoying a blissful beach day on one of the Mother City’s beautiful beaches paired with a refreshing dip in the cool Atlantic ocean water is by far one of the top things to do in Cape Town in summer.

Here are a few of our favorite beaches that all deserve to be on your Cape Town beach bucket-list:

  • Camps Bay
  • Clifton (1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th)
  • Muizenberg Beach
  • Bloubergstrand
  • Llandudno
  • Bakoven
  • Glen Beach
  • Boulders Beach
  • Big Bay
  • Oudekraal Beach
  • Long Beach in Kommetjie
  • Noordhoek Beach
  • Water’s Edge

#Cool down in one of Cape Town’s tidal pools

best things to do in Cape Town in Summer

St. James Tidal Pool & Coastal Walk

The Mother City is blessed with countless tidal pools built along the coastline, providing everyone with an incredible, safe, and family-friendly space to swim, cool down, have fun, and enjoy the sunset.

Get ready to embrace the icy waters of the Atlantic as you spot a few sea slugs or cuttlefish. Not to mention one or all of the members of the Marine Big 5 if you’re lucky!

While Cape Town has no shortage of incredible tidal pools (read our post Cape Town’s 19 Amazing Tidal Pools  to make sure you visit them all), the St James Tidal Pool is definitely one of the best. Not to mention a real fan-favourite among the young and young at heart.

How to get there: Situated close to the Muizenberg station, you will need to cross over the train tracks and follow the winding concrete path that meanders along the coast. Once you’ve reached your desired destination, a refreshing dip in the cool St James tidal pool waters is an absolute must! It really is the perfect Cape Town summer holiday activity for the whole family.

In addition to the famous St James Tidal Pool, here are a few more amazing tidal pools that will help you beat the heat in Cape Town this summer:

best things to do in Cape Town in Summer

  • Miller’s Point | Simon’s Town – Click here to find out everything you need to know about Miller’s Point Tidal Pool
  • Maiden’s Cove | Between Glen Beach and Camps Bay Beach
  • Dalebrook | Kalk Bay
  • Camps Bay tidal pool | Camps Bay
  • Shelley’s Point | Glencairn
  • Milton tidal pool | Milton Beach
  • Glencairn | Glencairn Beach
  • Buffel’s Bay | Cape Point Nature Reserve
  • Soetwater | South of Kommetjie
  • Sparks tidal pool | Gordon’s Bay
  • Kommetjie tidal pool | Kommetjie
  • Saunders | Saunders Beach, between Clifton and Sea Point in the suburb of Bantry Bay
  • Silwerstroom | Silwerstroom Resort, Meklbosstrand
  • Wooley’s tidal pool | Between Kalk Bay and Clovelly
  • Monwabisi | Khayelitsha
  • Brass Bell | Brass Bell Restaurant | Kalk Bay
  • Harmony | Strand

#Kayak with African Penguins

best things to do in Cape Town in Summer

Photo credit: Atlantic Outlook

Going kayaking alongside Cape Town’s cool and charismatic African Penguins is an experience that should be on everyone’s Cape Town summer bucket-list. Not only is it one of the most thrilling and unique ways to see the sights and scenery of the False Bay coastline (as most kayaking trips depart from Simon’s Town), but the best way to get up-close with Boulders Beach’s African Penguin Colony.

In addition to seeing Cape Town’s ultimate cool kids – the African Penguins of course – you’ll also have the opportunity to spot a few other members of Cape Town’s Marine Big 5, including Cape Fur Seals, whales, and dolphins.

**Did you know that Boulders Beach is one of the only places in the world where you can get up close and personal with African Penguins?

#Visit Crystal Pools

best things to do in Cape Town in Summer

Go on a thrilling and jam-packed adventure to one of the most sought-after and stunning natural gems in the Western Cape – The Crystal Pools.

Crystal Pools is one of Gordon’s Bay and Cape Town’s best kept secrets and bucket-list destinations. Located approximately 90 minutes outside of Cape Town, Crystal Pools boasts incredible hiking trails which lead to a series of mountain pools situated within a beautiful Valley known as the Steenbras River Gorge. Both the Steenbras River Gorge and the Crystal Pools forms part of the renowned Steenbras Nature Reserve, with the hiking trail following the Palmiet River up the gorge.

Crystal Pools, the Steenbras River Gorge, and Steenbras Nature Reserve offers avid hikers, adventurers, and anyone eager to explore the great outdoors the ultimate escape from the hustle and hype of the city.

Need to know information:

  • Location: Kogelberg Nature Reserve | Greater Kogelberg Biosphere Reserve, Steenbras Nature Reserve (via N2 and R44), Helderberg Rural, Cape Town
  • Operating hours: Office hours: 7:30am – 4pm | Steenbras River Gorge and Crystal Pools hiking trail bookings: Monday – Friday (excluding public holidays): 9:00am – 2:00pm
  • Steenbras River Gorge & Crystal Pools operating hours: Hiking trails are only open from 1 November to 30 April each year (closed during winter months) | Hiking trail operating hours are from sunrise – sunset: 6am – 6pm | Steenbras River Gorge & Crystal Pools Hiking Trail operating times may differ slightly according to sunrise and sunset times throughout November – April
  • Entrance Fees / Cost: Entry fee for Steenbras River Gorge: R75 per person | Entry fee for the Steenbras hiking trails: R25 per person | For more information and a detailed list of costs please contact 021 444 6927 or [email protected]
  • Contact details: General enquiries: [email protected] | Booking queries: 021 856 9622 | 021 856 9623 | 021 856 9620 | [email protected] | Emergency number: 021 444 6927 | 021 957 4725
  • Distance from Cape Town: +/- 65km – 80km (depending on route)
  • Steenbras River Gorge & Crystal Pools Hiking Trail Carrying Capacity: To ensure that the hiking trails don’t get too crowded, a maximum of 50 people are allowed per day | It is essential to book as early as possible to avoid disappointment
  • Essential Crystal Pools Hiking Trail Requirements: You cannot gain access to the area / hike any of Steenbras River Gorge or Crystal Pools’ Hiking Trails without a valid pre-booked and paid permit containing a unique QR Code & proof of identification (driver’s license, ID card, or passport)
  • Hiking Trail Permits: To pre-book your Steenbras River Gorge & Crystal Pools permit email [email protected] with ALL relevant information, including the date of your visit and the size of your party / group (a minimum of 2 and a maximum of 10 people are allowed per group) | One permit per person is required | You can only acquire a permit via email, not at the gate | You must pre-book your hiking permit at least two to five working days before your visit |The hiking permit does not authorize abseiling activities

Check out our ‘Crystal Pools’ blog for everything you need to know about Crystal Pools and all its incredible hiking trails, rock pools, exhilarating experiences, hidden gems, fauna, flora, and biodiversity, and exciting secret spots to visit.

#Snorkel with Cape Fur Seals

best things to do in Cape Town in Summer

Photo credit: Cape Town bucket list

Going snorkeling with Cape Fur Seals is by far one of the most exhilarating things to do in Cape Town all-year round, especially during summer in Cape Town.

The famous Duiker Island, also known as Seal Island, in Hout Bay is home to thousands of Cape Fur Seals and the perfect destination for your snorkeling adventure. These playful ocean beings are known to be very interactive with divers and only too eager to show off all their tricks and twirls, making snorkeling with Cape Fur Seals a bucket-list worthy ocean adventure experience in every way.

#Go Shark Cage Diving in Gansbaai

best things to do in Cape Town in Summer

Calling all head-over-heels thrill seekers and adrenaline junkies – this one is just for you! Going shark cage diving is an incredibly exciting experience in itself, however, going shark cage diving in one of the only destinations in the world where you can actually get up close and personal with nature’s most daring predator, the Great White Shark, is on a whole other level entirely.

#See & swim with the African Penguins at Boulders Beach

best things to do in Cape Town in Summer

Seeing the African Penguins in their natural habitat is by far one of the top family friendly things to do in Cape Town all-year round. Home to a thriving population of African Penguins, Boulders Beach is one of the only places in the world where you can get up close and personal with these cool and charismatic ocean locals. This makes visiting the African Penguin colony at Boulders Beach a bucket-list worthy experience in every way.

Besides seeing the African Penguins from the African Penguin Viewing Site in Boulders Beach, you can enjoy a variety of other once-in-a-lifetime adventures such as swimming, kayaking or enjoying a laid-back beach day with them right by your side.

In addition to Boulders Beach, Stony Point Nature Reserve in Betty’s Bay is home to an African Penguin viewing site as well as one of the largest successful breeding colonies of African Penguins in the world.

**Note: Visitors will need to pay an entrance fee (which forms part of a conservation project) to gain access to the African Penguin Viewing Site and Boulders Beach. Your ticket is valid for the entire day. You can choose to exit and re-enter as it suits you (this only applies to the day your ticket was purchased).

**Visit the SANParks website for more information regarding Boulders Beach’s Conservation Fees.

#Go stand-up paddle-boarding around the One&Only Cape Town Resort

best things to do in Cape Town in Summer

Photo credit: One&Only Cape Town

It’s time to tick a bucket-list worthy adventure experience of your list – Are you ready for it? I know you are!

One&Only’s incredible and down-right exhilarating paddle-boarding experience gives you the amazing opportunity to see and explore its private waterways from an entirely different angle.

Stand-up paddle-boarding (also known as SUP) is by far one of the most exciting, sought-after, and adventurous experiences / activities in Cape Town. Best thing is, it can be enjoyed by all and is ideal for newcomers / beginners as well as advanced paddlers alike, with the pace being entirely up to you.

You can choose to be led by one of One&Only’s experienced SUP instructors or decide to go your own way. Cruise down the resort’s series of canals, before venturing into their secure private Marina.

This is without a doubt one unforgettable adventure experience you absolutely cannot miss out on – and what better time to do it than during summer in Cape Town.

Come on, step outside of your comfort zone, set your inner thrill seeker free, and beat the summer Cape Town heat in one of the most exhilarating ways!

#Enjoy a luxury One&Only Cape Town Exclusive Cabana Experience

best things to do in Cape Town in Summer

Photo credit: One&Only Cape Town

Why not revel in and enjoy every glorious second of One&Only Cape Town’s Exclusive Cabana Experience this summer? Nestled between palm trees and the lush greenery of the One&Only’s Resort Island is the expansive infinity pool. Temperature controlled and lined with luxury sunbeds and exclusive cabanas, it is an idyllic setting for care-free sunny days, relaxation, rejuvenation, and pure tranquility.

In addition to One&Only guests / residents, non-resident guests can enjoy access to the Resort pool and Island for an exclusive Cabana Experience, with every need anticipated and catered to. From sunscreen to poolside massages, they’ve got it all covered!

Besides revelling in an exclusive luxury poolside experience, One&Only has made the process as seamless as possible. On arrival, guests can “check-in” at reception. From there, you will be escorted / shown to your private Cabana and introduced to your dedicated waitron, available to assist you with all your needs and requests throughout the day.

Guests can choose to enjoy a variety of bright and fresh sharing-style snacks, salads, elevated easy-eating plates, and delicious sliders. The package also includes a selection of alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks including a bottle of One&Only Cap Classique, two cocktails, four beers/ciders as well as soft drinks, and water.

For added relaxation, guests are treated to two 30minute poolside foot massages, to be booked through One&Only Spa prior to arrival. Unwind afterwards with the use of the Spa’s Thermal Suites and changing areas.

Additionally, all children between the ages of 4-12 are invited to the Resort’s kids’ club, KidsOnly, where they will be joyfully entertained with fun and games, all while being overseen by expert child-minders. This means parents can rest assured that their kids are in great hands.

The One&Only’s Exclusive Cabana Experience truly provides you with everything you need to enjoy a blissful summer’s day in Cape Town.

  • Location: One&Only Cape Town, Dock Road, Victoria & Alfred Waterfront, Cape Town
  • Contact details: For more information or to book, contact [email protected] | 021 431 5888