Log off, shut down – Escape to the great outdoors

Jonkershoek Panorama Circui
Jonkershoek Panorama Circuit Photo credit: Hiking South Africa

Nature and a South African background goes hand-in-hand. Spending time outdoors is food for our soul. Boasting a diverse topography and natural beauty, the Western Cape is bursting with ways to experience the great outdoors.

The human brain is wired to be outside, and though scientific research supports the notion that being in nature is good for our psychological health – being outside feels great. A complete breakaway from our daily routine is the only remedy for stress – to recharge our batteries, to get new ideas and be inspired by mother nature. We are blessed with an array of places suitable for a short holiday, a weekend getaway, or a day trip – close enough for comfort.

The Western Cape offers the ultimate escape for lovers of the great outdoors with its diverse natural beauty encompasses fynbos-covered mountains, white-sand beaches, forests, spectacular nature reserves and botanical gardens – the perfect place to picnic, day-dream, ideal for birdwatching, view a sunrise from Lion’s Head and soak in the displays of unparalleled diversity of flora throughout the region.

With its spectacular scenery the Western Cape is also a paradise for cyclists and trail runners with incredible routes and trails to explore. Hikers can soak up mountain views and jungle-like scenery while discovering hidden paths. Adventure-seekers can take to the sky, with paragliding off Signal Hill, abseiling from Table Mountain, skydiving on the West Coast, plunging into the sea for shark-cage diving, jumping over waves while kite-surfing, or experience the Garden Routes longest and highest zipline.

When it comes to accommodation, many people choose to rough it by camping, while others prefer the luxury and comfort that resorts and hotels offer.

Here are some places you could consider for your next outdoor adventure:

Cape Town: Boulders Penguin Colony is a must-see for wildlife lovers with three beautiful beaches, where these charismatic creatures waddle along the clean white sands. Other iconic place in and around the mother city are: Table Mountain, Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens, Signal Hill, Lions Head and the V & A Waterfront.

Cape Winelands: You don’t have to limit yourself to a single destination when visiting the Cape Winelands. The popular wine-making towns of Franschhoek, Stellenbosch, Paarl and Wellington all lie within easy reach of each other.

Constantia is where to go for the birthplace of South Africa’s wine-making industry. The Cape Winelands also boast with many spectacular hiking trails, one being the Panorama Circuit located in the Jonkershoek Nature Reserve.

Hermanus: Hermanus is a popular holiday resort with beautiful sandy beaches, excellent water sports facilities, and a 12-kilometer-long Cliff Path.
Cape Agulhas: Cape Agulhas is the southernmost point of of South Africa where the Atlantic and Indian Oceans meet.

Oudtshoorn: There are numerous ostriches show farms surrounding Oudtshoorn that breed ostriches and give tours. Oudsthoorn is also home to the Cango Caves and the Cango Wilflife Ranch.

Cederberg Wilderness Area: The rugged Cederberg Wilderness Area with its wide-open vistas and bizarre rock formations is also famed for its wooded gorges and caves adorned with Bushman paintings.

More outdoor Activities: Swim in a tidal pool, Sandboard and quad-bike on the Atlantis Dunes (West Coast), Sunset catamaran cruise (V & A Waterfront), Ziplining (Elgin, Cape Town, Mossel Bay, Knysna), Snorkel with seals (Hout Bay), Tandem paragliding (Signal Hill Drive), Explore the Cape in a vintage sidecar, Ride a water bike in Simon’s Town, Tuk-Tuk through Franschhoek, SUP (Stand Up Paddle boarding) around the Waterfront, visit a farmers’ market and many more.