Mike’s Cape Town activity recommendations for students!

When Cape RADD students aren’t diving or in class they can take advantage of being on the doorstep of Cape Town, one of the most vibrant and action-packed cities in the world. There is so much to do in Cape Town you will never want to leave. From relaxing strolls with penguins along beautiful beaches to extreme sports and adventure, Cape Town has it all. Here are a few things I would personally recommend to our students who join our research team and want to explore the mother city in their spare time, or anyone visiting Cape Town for that matter.


Simon’s Town (cafes, shops, mall, walks, kayaking, just nuisance)

The last village on the Peninsula before the scenic road to the Cape Point nature reserve. Simons town, named after Simon van der Stel, an early governor of the Cape Colony and home to the South African Navy is a cracking little village with more to it than meets the eye. This is where I call home and where the Cape RADD headquarters is based. A quaint, peaceful, beautiful spot and our doorway to the incredibly diverse marine world that lies beneath the blue waters of the two oceans. Trinket shops, cafes, restaurants and art galleries line the streets with views over the yacht club harbour and the Naval base where you can watch the navy ships moving in and out of the bay whilst enjoying a coffee, and every now and again you might see a submarine pop up. Simons town is surrounded by white sandy beaches with a mountainous backdrop, waterfalls and plenty of hiking routes. I can highly recommend taking the slow life on your time off exploring the joys of this unique peninsula village.



Boulders Beach

If you don’t know about Boulders Beach its about time you did. World famous for its Africa penguin colony (yes that’s right). The African penguin (Spheniscus demersus) is endemic to the South African coastline and are sadly an endangered species, at the current rate of decline the African penguin is expected to be extinct in the wild by 2026 which is very sad. Boulders beach is an incredibly beautiful area with golden sandy beaches and top banana views over False Bay.




Muizenberg (surf, shops, bars, hikes)

Surfs up Dudes! I love a surf, its great fun! I am terrible at it, BUT it doesn’t hurt when you fall off, so it’s all good! Muizenberg’s famous surfers’ corner is the place to rent a board and wet-suit and spend some time in the consistent plentiful swells of False Bay. Muizenberg also has some unique boutique shops in the village and nice beach bars to tell those stories of the time you hung ten… or something…



Wine Tasting

If you like a classy tipple, then the Western Cape has some of the best wine in the world. Constantia is Cape Town’s main wine region with superb wine and views to match. About an hour from the City is the world famous Franschhoek region with literally hundreds of world class wineries to taste and explore.  The nearest wine farm to our headquarters is the Cape Point vineyard about 15 minutes away from Simons town. A beautiful spot with a food market every Thursday where you can grab a glass of vino, a tasty treat and sit on the lawn by the lake and watch the sunset over Noordhoek beach, not a bad way to wind down your day.

Table Mountain

A Must Do! enough said!


Robben Island – (Dutch for Seal Island)

If your interested in the fascinating history of SA’s politics this is the place for you. The place where former President of South Africa Nelson Mandela was imprisoned for 18 of the 27 years he served behind bars before the fall of apartheid (and many other political prisoners). You are shown around by a previous political prisoner of the island which is very interesting.


Kirstenbosch gardens

In my humble opinion, the most awe striking and beautiful botanical gardens I’ve ever visited (and I have been to at least 6). But seriously this is 100% worth a visit. It doesn’t matter if it’s a beautiful sunny summers day or a wet winters day, there is beauty everywhere you look. In the shadow of the cloud speckled mountains there are great walks, top banana soft grassy lawns to relax on and a lovely restaurant to feed at. You can also do some more adventurous hikes such as skeleton gorge which starts in the gardens and goes up the gorge to the reservoir at the top for a refreshing dip. During the summer months (Nov-Apr) Summer concerts are held here by local and international music acts every Sunday afternoon on the sun-drenched lawns, with a spectacular stage and backdrop.



Cage Diving

False Bay is world famous for the Seal Island which has been the focus of many natural world documentaries. Home to a colony of more than 60,000 Cape fur seals. White sharks aggregate here in the winter months hunting juvenile Cape fur seals. Cage diving excursions leave from right here in Simon’s Town.



Live Music and Festivals

I love my live music and Cape Town is a vibey happening place for music and musicians, with regular music events and festivals happening all over the City and in surrounding areas there’s always something to see. If your trip is timed with a weekend festival you are sure to have an incredible Cape Town experience. There are also a few great spots for local musician gigs.  My favorites include ‘Up the Creek’ festival where the best live bands are playing on the stage built on the banks of the river while you float around the creek with the other festival goers and a beer, and Café Roux in Noordhoek for some intimate weekly live music gigs.




Sometimes, you just want to grab some popcorn and chill in front of the latest Hollywood blockbuster. Blue Route mall is our nearest cinema complex with all the latest blockbusters!



For the sophisticated ladies and gents, there are some beautiful theaters and very impressive shows in Cape Town showing local and international performances. The closest one is in Kalk Bay just 10 km from Simons Town.

Trail Running

There are literally hundreds of trails and paths through the beautiful surrounding valleys, along the coast and up the mountains for those adventurous fitness enthusiasts (look out for the snakes!).

Cape Point Nature Reserve

This place is Awesome! The tip of the Cape Peninsula declared a natural world heritage site. Encompassing 7,750 hectares of wildness. An abundance of wildlife such as bucks, baboons, Cape mountain zebra, as well as over 250 species of birds. Plenty of wildlife and some stunning scenery.



This place is like no where else on earth (that I have ever been). It has everything you need on your doorstep and all the wildlife and nature you want in the mountains and oceans. So why not come see it for yourself?

Mike Barron

Mike is a marine biologist/scientist/conservationist and a PADI master scuba diver instructor. He has travelled the world diving and experiencing many ecosystems and their inhabitants. His main interests lie in the field of inter-specific animal behaviour and he has worked on shark deterrents using Killer whale stimuli.


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