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From rock pool safaris to birding paradises, exploring the wildlife within the city reveals how remarkably animals have adapted and thrived in one of the world's favorite urban centers.

When you think of Cape Town, a wildlife experience might not be the first thing that comes to mind.

However, this city is surrounded by mountain ranges and coastlines, with nature reserves spread throughout. From rock pool safaris to birding paradises, exploring the wildlife within the city reveals how remarkably animals have adapted and thrived in one of the world’s favorite urban centers.


Cape Town's Incredible Wildlife Adventures

Join us as we celebrate the wild side of this beloved city and the fascinating world of our wild friends.

Intaka Island

Wetland Bird Watching

Despite being sandwiched within busy residential areas, Rietvlei Wetland Reserve and Intaka Island are birding paradises! Quietly observe majestic pelicans, graceful flamingos, and a variety of other avian wonders. The wetlands offer a rich biodiversity of habitats, where you can learn about conservation efforts protecting them.

The fastest thing on 2 legs

As you drive through the Cape Point Nature Reserve, you will have the chance to spy on Ostriches in their natural habitat. The world’s fastest thing on two legs – you can marvel at their impressive stature and distinctive plumage against the backdrop of the rugged coastline. Make sure to stop at Cape Point Vineyards or The Foodbarn for something delicious along the way.

Darling, it's better!

Get under the sea on an ocean exploration with I am Water. Colourful sea anemones, delicate sea stars, ballooning jellyfish, elusive octopuses – you’ll have the opportunity to snorkel and witness the beauty of the underwater world firsthand. Keep your eyes peeled for unusual and exotic fish species, along with other marine treasures hidden beneath the waves.

Baboon Matters

Baboons of the Cape

Accompanied by knowledgeable guides, venture into the heart of the reserve to encounter troops of wild baboons in their natural habitat. These confident opportunists are constant invaders of our environment – or are we constant invaders of theirs? Learn about their behaviour and social dynamics while observing these fascinating primates amidst the rugged terrain.

Kayak with Seals & Dolphins

Paddle through the pristine waters of Table Bay as you keep an eye out for playful dolphins and seals. Join a guided kayak tour of this marine world, with a small chance of spotting the fascinating sunfish – one of the largest bony fish in the world. After your adventure (and only on weekends) you must make a stop at our favourite – the Oranjezicht Market, and pick up some fresh produce & flowers.

Penguin Paradise

Watch the adorable African penguins at Boulders Beach, as they waddle along sandy shores and swim in crystal-clear waters. After the penguin display, head over to The Salty Sea Dog for traditional fish and chips. Stop off for an Ocean swim at Windmill beach before exploring shopping delights in Kalk Bay.

by Mac Stone Save Our Seas Foundation

Rock pool safari 

At low tide all along Cape Town’s coast, a world of wonder is evident in the myriad of rock pools which are exposed by the retreating ocean. From cushion star fish to sea anemone, rock crabs, urchins, hermit crabs, sea slugs, sea snails, spiny seastars… and if you are very lucky – a bright Nudibranch. A few favourite beaches: Saunders, Queens Beach & Beta Beach.

The Cape's Squirrel

Escape the hustle and bustle of the city streets with a stroll through The Company’s Garden, where friendly squirrels frolic among the trees and flower beds. Take in the park’s serene atmosphere as you observe these adorable creatures in their urban habitat, reconnecting with nature right in the heart of Cape Town.

It's a frog's life

On rainy nights in Cape Town, our wetlands are filled with the calls of many different frogs. Cape Town is home to a high diversity of amphibians, which live in our urban national parks, nature reserves, gardens, and community spaces. There are loads of spots to go and explore the life cycles of frogs as well as nighttime frogging (see the link for a past frogging event).

The Mountainous 'Big Game'

When driving around the city be sure to always keep your eyes peeled for some of the Big 5. These are landmarks which look like Africa’s wild animals. Lionshead Mountain (a lion’s head), Elephants Eye Cave (an elephant’s eye) and Karbonkelberg in Hout Bay (a rhino horn). Let us know if you’ve seen more 🙂

University of Cape Town website

Hadeda Ibis, Guinea Fowl, Egyptian Goose

All over our Cape Town’s neighbourhoods – Hadehas, Guinae Fowl and Egyptian Geese (the ubiquitous birdlife of the region) can be found anywhere, anytime! These 3 species have become very familiar sights in the Cape. Despite their urban adaptation, the Hadeda’s retain their wild essence, adding a touch of wilderness (and noise) to the vibrant cityscape of Cape Town.

Dassie safari on Table Mountain

Go on a Dassie search in the iconic Table Mountain National Park, where rocky terrain provides the perfect habitat for these endearing mammals. Learn about their unique adaptations and behaviors while soaking in panoramic views of Cape Town and its surrounding beauty.

In this article
  • Introduction
  • Cape Town's Incredible Wildlife Adventures

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