From breathtaking yachts to fun-in-the-sun party cruises, one of these tours is sure to float your boat.
There’s something wonderfully immersive and exhilarating about ocean travel – whether a spacious luxury liner, a tugboat for two, or a bustling public ferry. The unobstructed scenery, the wind in your hair and sea spray on your face, the time away from real life, and the repetitive rocking – all of which make sea rides decidedly appealing.
Living in Cape Town, and being surrounded by the sparkling ocean, means there are boat rides aplenty right on our doorstep. They vary widely – in terms of vessel type, duration of trip and price tag – but here’s our selection of favourites.
Have you done a boat trip lately? Which is your favourite? We’d love to hear from you in the comments below.
Pre-sunset champagne cruise
This vintage-inspired sailboat trip around the Cape coast is ideal for families, as it sets sail and returns while it’s still light, and offers spectacular mountain and stadium views.
Route Leaves from the V&A Waterfront and heads out along the Atlantic Ocean.
Duration Around 1 hour and 30 minutes
Good to know Boarding begins 15 minutes prior to departure, so make sure to be there early.
Cost R375 (adults)
Where to find it Shop 7, Quay 5, V&A Waterfront, Cape Town
Robben Island boat trip
Hop on one of the iconic ferries (historically used to transport prisoners) to Robben Island for a guided tour. Once there, you’ll be able to visit famous historical sites (such as Nelson Mandela’s prison cell and Robert Sobukwe’s house), and learn all there is to know about the island’s 500-year-old history. Keep an eye out for dolphins and seals along the way, as they often play in the water alongside the boat.
Route Leaves from the V&A Waterfront, and heads to Robben Island.
Times Friday – Sunday, from 11am
Duration Between 3 hours 30 minutes to 4 hours (whole tour)
Cost R400 (South African adults)
R210 (South African children 2 – 17 years)
R600 (non-South African adults)
R310 (non-South African children 2 – 17 years)
Where to find it Robben Island Ferry Jetty, Quay 4, V&A Waterfront, Cape Town
Luxury yacht charter
These coastal cruises from the V&A Waterfront can be personalised for any occasion – from birthdays and hen parties to team-building activities. What’s more, you can request a fully licensed cash bar (with sparkling wine and other drinks available) and choose from a variety of menu styles from buffet and canapés (for 65 guests) to seated lunches and dinners (for up to 40 guests).
Route Leaves from the V&A Waterfront and heads up the West Coast.
Duration 2 hours (an extra hour can be arranged)
Cost R23 700 – R32 000 (depending on number of passengers)
Specials Enjoy 15% off any private charters and non-private groups of 20 passengers or more, and receive a second charter for free! (Discounts exclude dining and activity charters).
Where to find it Pier head, T Jetty, (close to the red clock tower), Victoria & Alfred Waterfront, Cape Town
All-day cruise up The West Coast
Sail up the beautiful West Coast aboard the Princess Skye motor yacht and enjoy a day of luxury. Before long, the 12-seater yacht will dock in your very own private bay for a dip – and some drinks and snacks (included in the day rate) – there’s even the option for an on-board braai (or whatever your meal preference is). Every detail is customised to your preferences, making each experience on this glamorous yacht unique and memorable.
Route Leaves from the V&A Waterfront and heads up the West Coast.
Duration Minimum of two hours; maximum of 10 hours
Cost R45 000 (for a maximum of 12 people)
Good to know Bring a towel, hat and sunblock for your private-bay pitstop.
Contact 021 419 4839, firstname.lastname@example.org
Where to find it East Pier Road, V&A Waterfront, Cape Town
The Jolly Roger Pirate Boat is hard to miss, and its fun tours are hard to beat. A unique addition to the Waterfront dock, this popular party boat offers tours for special occasions and impromptu rides. Whether you’re looking for a fun day out with the kids, or a unique way to celebrate your birthday or bachelorette, The Jolly Roger Pirate Boat will have you hooked. There’s even a private lounge, dancing pole, bar area and DJ (on request).
Route Leaves from the V&A Waterfront and heads along the surrounding coastline, offering views of Robben Island, Granger Bay, Bantry Bay and Clifton.
Cost R200 (1 hour daytime trip, adults)
R100 (1 hour daytime trip, children 0 – 12 years)
R360 (1.5 hour sunset cruise, includes sparkling wine)
Good to know This fun charter also offers private charters for up to 75 people (ranging from R12 750 to R28 000).
Contact 021 421 0909, email@example.com
Where to find it Shop 7A, Quay 5, V&A Waterfront
Spend an hour or two at anchor in the Monaco-like setting of Clifton aboard Enigma, enjoying the sun and the scene. Perfect for leisure and adventure trips, this power catamaran can host up to 65 people, with the option of an onboard bar and DJ – perfect for a private party or an (end-of-year) corporate function.
Route From the V&A Waterfront you’ll sail to Clifton, Table Bay and surrounding areas. Routing is weather-dependent and at the discretion of the skipper.
Duration 1 hour
Cost R7 425 (boat hire for 1 – 30 people)
Contact 081 433 4041, firstname.lastname@example.org
Where to find it 261 Breakwater Boulevard, V&A Waterfront, Cape Town
Robben Island yacht tour
Effortless luxury and elevated sight-seeing collide, as you drift off Cape Town’s coast and out into the Atlantic Ocean on a private yacht. Included in the experience are beer, wine, bubbly, soft drinks, snacks and canapés – a perfect excuse for a special occasion, lunch or sunset cruise.
The tour also includes a three-hour trip around the coast of Robben Island with Christo Brand, author and former prison guard of President Nelson Mandela. Upon arrival on the yacht, you’ll watch an insightful video about Robben Island, featuring Madiba and Brand. And after setting sail from the harbour, Brand will point out the island’s landmarks from the comfort of the boat. Good to know Yachters need to be on board half an hour before the scheduled cruise time in order to receive safety instructions.
Duration 3 hours
Times Depends on client request and yacht’s availability.
Cost R42 000 (includes three-hour tour, drinks and canapés)
From 1 to 10 maximum people on board at a time
Where to find it (Parked behind the Cape Grace Hotel), Ground floor, Marina Centre, West Quay Road, V&A Waterfront, Cape Town
Shipwreck cruise around Chapman’s Peak
Sail past the seals at Duiker Island (affectionately known as Seal Island) to spooky Maori Bay, famous for its shipwrecks. This trip focuses on the Bos 400, an old crane barge that ran aground during the Cape storm of 1994. You’ll probably recognise it from diving-junkie videos or panoramic YouTube shots, but this tour from Drumbeat Charters will get you up close and personal for a real-life look at the sunken star.
Shipwreck Route Leaves from Hout Bay Harbour and heads to Seal Island along the Karbonkelberg mountain range to Maori Bay where the shipwreck is located.
Chapman’s Peak Route Leaves from Hout Bay Harbour and heads to Seal Island, sailing back along the Chapman’s Peak coastline.
Good to know Depending on the weather, the skipper will decide which route he’ll take.
Duration Around 1 hour
Times Weekends and public holidays, 12pm, 2pm and 3.15pm.
Cost R110 (adults)
Free (children under two years)
Where to find it Hout Bay Harbour, Hout Bay, Cape Town
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