Cape Town is one of the most beautiful cities in South Africa, with the majestic Table mountain providing a fantastic backdrop. The best way to enjoy this spectacular scenery is from the ocean on a boat cruise. Boat cruises offer captivating views of the city and table mountain that lets you see it as the old mariners did.

There are many different types of boat cruises in Cape Town, but essentially a boat cruise is a trip on a boat that isn’t about the destination but is about enjoying the time on the boat. How you enjoy that time will depend on the type of boat cruise, but can include scenic cruises, wildlife cruises, luxury cruises, and more. 

With such a variety of boat cruises available deciding which one is best for you can be challenging. That is why we have put together a list of the 5 best boat cruises Cape Town has to offer.

The Coastal Motor Cruise

If you’re short on time, but still want to enjoy a boat cruise in Cape Town. Then the coastal motor cruise offered by Waterfront Charters is perfect for you. This is one of the shorter boat cruises in Cape Town, being only an hour long. It will take you from the V&A (Victoria & Alfred) waterfront along the Atlantic coastline to the operational Green Point Lighthouse, before returning to the waterfront.

While this cruise is only an hour long, it offers breathtaking ocean views of both the city and Table Mountain. The boat also has a cocktail bar, with friendly staff supplying refreshments throughout the cruise. Culminating with a view of a lovely operational lighthouse, making this a quaint boat cruise you don’t want to miss.

The coastal motor cruise departs from quay 5 of the V&A Waterfront and has regular departure times throughout the day. This cruise costs R280 for adults, and this pleasant experience is well worth it.

Website: Coastal Motor Cruise

Sunset Cruise

Cape Town is perfectly situated to admire the sunset over the Atlantic ocean and there is no better place for an unobstructed view than on the ocean. That is why a sunset boat cruise is a must-do activity in Cape Town, especially for the romantics. This sunset cruise offered by Waterfront charters is the perfect way to experience the Cape Town sunset. With complimentary sparkling wine (two glasses per guest) to enjoy while basking in the light of the sunset.

The course of this 90-minute cruise is dependent on the wind, as it is on a sailing boat. In the summer months, there is normally a prevalent southeast wind so they sail across Table Bay towards Milnerton lighthouse, before returning to Granger Bay to watch the Sunset. In the winter the wind tends to be towards the northwest. So the cruise will sail to the Clifton coastline, or the Robben Island coastline, then return to Granger bay to enjoy the sunset. You will be told the expected direction prior to departure.

The sunset boat cruise departs from quay 5 of the V&A waterfront, and it costs R520 per adult. This sunset boat cruise is the best way to experience the Cape Town sunset. Offering views of the sunset, and of the scenic coastline that you will remember for a lifetime.

Website: Sunset Cruise

Ocean Wildlife Encounter

If you are an adventure-seeking animal lover who wants to experience Cape Town’s rich oceanic wildlife then this is the boat cruise for you. This boat cruise offered by Ocean Wonder is all about seeing, and where possible interacting with, the amazing creatures that can be found around Cape Town. This includes animals like seals, sunfish, dolphins, whales, African penguins, and more. With a knowledgeable tour guide who will teach you about all of these ocean creatures.

The cruise boat is a 7.2m Ballistic semi-rigid inflatable (SRI) motor boat, that can take a maximum of 7 passengers. This 2-hour boat cruise has no set route, as it goes where you are most likely to find the animals. However, you are guaranteed to enjoy the beautiful coastal scenery, including views of Table Mountain, and Robben Island.

For this boat cruise, you will meet your guide at the Oceana Powerboat Club, before departing. The cruise will cost R1050 per person on scheduled trips, or R6900 for whole boat charters. Of all the boat cruises in Cape Town, this one truly fosters a connection with the ocean environment. Making it the perfect choice for any wildlife enthusiast.

Website: Ocean Wildlife Encounter

The Jolly Roger

Of all the boat cruises Cape Town has to offer the most unique one is the Jolly Roger. This is a cruise perfect for the whole family, as the pirate boat is sure to excite both the children and the young at heart.

The Jolly Roger offers daily scheduled 45 min cruises which depart from the V&A Waterfront and travel along the surrounding coastline. This offers beautiful scenic views of Robben Island, Bantry Bay, and Table Mountain. These cruises cost R220 for adults and R140 for children (0-12yrs). The Ship also has a cash bar on board supplying refreshments.

The Jolly Roger also offers private charters for up to 75 people. Which makes it very popular as a party boat for bachelor/bachelorette parties or themed end-of-year functions. The boat even has a private lounge. For private charters, the prices range from R12 750 – R28 000. This boat cruise is a unique scenic pirate experience that is fun for the whole family.

Website: The Jolly Roger

Private Boat Cruise

If you are looking for a more luxurious boat cruise. Then a private boat cruise may be best for you. Of all the private boat cruises Cape Town has to offer the best experience has to be aboard the Princess Skye motor yacht.

This private boat cruise offered by Sport Motor Yachts is one of the most luxurious experiences you can have in Cape Town. With a host on board who will take care of all of your needs. This cruise departs from the V&A waterfront and takes you up the beautiful west coast, to enjoy the magnificent coastal scenery. 

They offer a variety of charters varying from 1-hour private yacht experience to their 7-hour all-day cruise. These charters range in price from R12 100 to R60 500 per cruise, with a maximum passenger capacity of 12 You can bring your own food and drinks aboard, or they can handle catering and refreshments for the charter. With every aspect of this boat cruise customisable to your preference, this glamorous yacht offer one of the most unique and luxurious boat cruises in Cape Town.

Website: Private Boat Cruise

These are our picks for the five best boat cruises Cape Town has to offer. So if you find yourself in Cape Town, feeling the call of the ocean and wanting to experience the beautiful coastal scenery. We suggest you set a course for a boat cruise in Cape Town.

Also see: Whale Watching Hermanus, Paragliding Cape Town, and kayaking in Cape Town

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