Kayaking in Cape Town: 10 Things to Know

Last Updated on March 13, 2024 by Hannah Stephenson

Going kayaking is one of the best ways to see dolphins in Cape Town, and get some exercise while you’re at it! There are multiple companies offering kayaking tours around Cape Town, so if you’re keen to get a closer look at the marine life in the Atlantic Ocean, definitely add dolphin kayaking to your Cape Town itinerary

I went on a kayaking tour from Sea Point, and had such a fantastic time. So if you’re considering going kayaking in Cape Town, keep on reading for my full review and everything that you need to know before you go.

1. Why go kayaking in Cape Town?

Going kayaking is one of the best ways to spot dolphins in Cape Town, although I also saw sunfish, penguins, and seals when I went! Some people are even lucky enough to spot whales, especially during the winter. 

The views you get from out on the water are also pretty great. We enjoyed fantastic views of Table Mountain on our tour from Sea Point, but you can also kayak around beautiful Hout Bay for epic views of Chapman’s Peak and the Sentinel. 

Kayaking is also an affordable activity for tourists, with prices ranging from R450 to R600. 

2. Where can you go kayaking in Cape Town?

Kaskazi kayaking

You’ve got a couple of different options here! I went from Three Anchor Bay Beach in Sea Point. However, you can also depart from the V&A Waterfront, beautiful Hout Bay, or Simon’s Town. So basically, it should be easy to find a kayak tour near you! 

3. How much does it cost?

Kayak tours range between R450 and R600 in price. This is roughly £19 to £25, or $24 to $33 USD. The price usually includes all safety equipment, photos, and storage for your belongings while you’re out at sea.

4. How long does a dolphin kayaking trip last?

Again, it depends on the tour you choose, but usually between 1.5 and 2.5 hours. The tour that I did lasted for 2 hours, which I think was an ideal amount of time.

5. What are the best kayak tours in Cape Town?

Atlantic Outlook Tour from the V&A Waterfront

This tour takes you kayaking along the Atlantic Seaboard to spot dolphins, although you’re pretty much guaranteed to see seals on your way out of the harbour because there are loads of them around the Waterfront. It lasts for 1.5 hours, and you can choose to beat the heat by heading out at 7 am, or go at midday and try to catch a tan! 

The guides are super fun and laid back, and this tour is very popular – as evidenced by the plethora of 5-star reviews it has! It costs R600, and I would recommend booking in advance because it tends to sell out during the summer. 

Guided Kayaking in Hout Bay

Hout Bay is one of the most beautiful areas of Cape Town, which is really saying something! Thousands of seals live on Hout Bay’s Duiker Island, and this seaside suburb is also one of the best places to see dolphins. The water here also tends to be a bit calmer, so seasickness isn’t as much of a concern. 

This tour takes you on a 2-hour excursion around Hout Bay, with friendly guides who’ll teach you more about the marine life that you see along the way. While I haven’t done this particular tour, I did go seal snorkelling with the same company and they really impressed me. 

Another thing that I like about this tour is that it runs all year round, which means you can go during the winter and try to spot whales! It’s also one of the cheapest kayaking tours on offer in Cape Town, at R450 per person. 

Kayak to the Penguins in Simon’s Town

Visiting the penguins at Boulders Beach is a total must-do while you’re in Cape Town, but did you know that you can also kayak to them? This tour takes you on a guided kayaking excursion from Long Beach in Simon’s Town to Boulders Beach, where you’ll see hundreds of adorable African penguins swimming around. 

The route also takes you past Windmill Beach, which is a small but stunning beach where you’ll spot even more adorable penguins. Simon’s Town is located along the False Bay coast, which means that it’s an ideal spot for seeing dolphins as well. I’ve also seen whales from Boulders Beach in the winter, so it’s a good thing that this tour runs all year round! 

This tour costs R525 and lasts for 2.5 hours. You get free cancellation up to 24 hours in advance if you book through Viator, and you’ve also got the option to reserve your spot now and pay later.

Kaskazi Kayak Trip 

I booked my kayak tour through Kaskazi Kayaks after being recommended by a friend. I believe her exact words were “ignore the fact that their logo looks like something out of WWII”.

So, I did as she said, and I had a wonderful time on the tour! The guides made us laugh, and they were great at spotting dolphins. They explained to us that there are never any guarantees, but they somehow knew exactly where to go and we saw quite a few on the latter half of our tour. We also saw a sunfish, lots of seals, and a lone penguin from Robben Island! 

The tour costs R550 per person, and lasts for 2 hours. They’ve even got the option to book a sunset tour if you choose the last slot of the day. During the summertime, they even have sunrise kayaking but to be honest, that was a little too early for me.

All in all, we loved our experience and being able to depart from Sea Point was super convenient, as I was living close by at the time. 

6. When can I go kayaking in Cape Town?

The tours departing from Hout Bay, Sea Point, and Simon’s Town run all year round, although the daily schedule often varies by season. However, when I went kayaking, my guide told me that the time of day doesn’t affect your chances of seeing marine life very much. 

The tour departing from the V&A Waterfront only runs during the summer, from December to March. 

7. Is it easy?

Kayaking in Sea Point with Kaskazi

Yes! I actually thought going kayaking in Cape Town would be way more tiring than it actually was. The kayaks have rudders, which makes steering a breeze, and once you get into a rhythm the paddling isn’t too strenuous either. 

The waves were big on the day I went kayaking, so I was worried it was going to be difficult, but honestly, the kayak just glided over the waves and there was nothing to worry about. Plus, the guides give you plenty of direction. 

8. Can you get seasick?

Yes. The water around Cape Town can be pretty choppy, and the sea was quite rough on the day I went. I began to feel a bit queasy about halfway through the tour, and some people in our group even had to turn back. It didn’t ruin the experience for me but I do wish that I had taken seasickness tablets beforehand! 

I got seasickness tablets from Clicks for when I went shark cage diving and had absolutely no problems then, even though the water was a lot rougher on that day. 

9. What should I wear to go kayaking in Cape Town?

I would recommend wearing activewear on a kayaking tour. Apply plenty of sunscreen too, and I recommend covering up your shoulders if you’re prone to burning. It also might be a good idea to wear full length leggings, because I got a pretty tragic bike shorts tan from kayaking.

10. Is kayaking in Cape Town worth it?

Yes, it’s a really fun experience and I’m so glad that I did it! It’s a fantastic way to glimpse Cape Town’s marine life up close and enjoy beautiful views from out on the water, and it’s a good upper-body workout, too. 

If you’d like to know more about adventurous activities in Cape Town, you may also want to check out…

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