Sunset Cruise Cape Town | Waterfront Boat Trips & Rides

A sunset cruise in the seas surrounding Cape Town is always an incredible experience. The V&A Waterfront has a variety of sunset cruises on offer all year round. Take your time to find the right sunset cruise to match your expectations and experience on the water.

Are you comfortable living on the edge? Pick the right boat ride and you could enjoy a glass of bubbly with your feet hanging overboard. Add a little luck and you will have whales breaching and dolphins jumping in front of the setting sun.

Deciding between wind or motor powered, dining or just drinks, mixed group or a private charter should be easy. We cover it all so that you can choose a suitable waterfront boat cruise for your evening.

Read on to find out where to go, when to go and what to bring.

V&A Waterfront Sunset Cruise

The bay has been a refuge to sailors since the first jetty was constructed in 1654 by Jan van Riebeeck. The harbour has grown from strength to strength and has managed to protect some incredible heritage buildings.

Cape Wheel tourist attraction at V&A Waterfront

Visiting Cape Town in summer is great. It means more hours of sunshine in your day! In summer the sun sets at 8pm and the sunset waterfront charters start at 6:30 pm. In winter the time of sunset can be before 6pm and trips start from 5pm.

Quay 5 is the starting point for the waterfront boat trips in Cape Town. The closest parking is the Victoria Wharf Shopping Centre garage. Arrive 30 minutes before your departure time and enjoy the surrounding environment. Keep an ear out for the amphitheatre which bustles with local musicians and performers.

Victoria Wharf sign est1992 at V&A Waterfront

Motor Boat Cruises Cape Town

The motor boat cruise Cape Town offers take place in single hull motor boats like the Southern Cross or power catamarans like the Tigger 2. Wind offers a more authentic feeling with the single hull sailing boats like the Esperance and sailing catamaran like the Tigresse.

Sunset cruise on a wooden sailing boat deck

Travelling in a boat without a noisy engine encourages inquisitive ocean creatures to come closer. Seals, dolphins, whales and even sunfish are often sighted on sunset cruises in Cape Town. Keep an eye out for the heaviside’s dolphins which are endemic to South Africa.

Sunset Champagne Cruise Cape Town

A Cape Town sunset cruise is not complete without a glass of local bubbly. South African crew are accommodating and are likely to serve you Méthode Cap Classique, a local tribute to french Champagne.

Wine drink at sunset on a cruise

Choose between a fun group trip or arrange a private charter to experience something more intimate. Climb on board the Cruise IQ or Tigresse and be greeted by friendly faces. Both catamaran’s are operated by professional sailors who have offered charters from the waterfront since 1988.

Cape Town Sunset Cruise Route

These wind powered vessels prefer to head from the harbour out towards Milnerton or Robben Island for the sunset.

View of Sea Point and Bantry Bay at sea level

Alternatively the boats travel along the coast past Sea Point, Clifton and turn around at Camps Bay. Offshore from Camps Bay the setting is incredible with Lions Head, Table Mountain and the Twelve Apostles in view.

Sailing Sunset Cruises Cape Town

The wind powered boats favour travellers with strong sea legs. The motion from side to side is more intense in the narrower single hull boats. In less than ideal wind conditions the motor powered boats perform better.

Open sail at sea on sailing yacht

Sail in Table Bay on the Esperance or the Spirit of Victoria. Both are Schooner sailboats. These twin mast vessels provide an authentic sailing experience. They are able to carry 45 passengers in two seating areas sunken below the sails.

An Authentic Catamaran Sunset Cruise

Choosing a sailing catamaran means a smoother experience when on the open sea than that of a single hull boat. The 35ft Escape Cat can accommodate 40 passengers seated on either the foredeck or trampolines. The larger 62ft Tigresse has a capacity of 60 passengers.

Sailing yacht on calm waters in Hout Bay Cape Town

The Atlantic ocean can experience rough seas generated by strong westerly winds found in the southern hemisphere. The dominant swell experienced in Cape Town is south westerly and is largest during May, June and July.

Summer months can provide breathless evenings with clear skies. But don’t write winter off just yet.  It can provide great sailing days with medium breeze and flat water.

sailing boat with crew working at sea

The experience of being on a sailing boat is exhilarating. The work never stops for the small crew who manually make adjustments to ropes and sails. Luckily your job is to just relax, enjoy the view, and revel in the salty spray.

Dress comfortably and wear non deck-marking shoes (trainers). Pack sunscreen and sunglasses. Remember to bring a pair of binoculars or a camera with a zoom lens for a better view of the wildlife.

sailing boat cruises at sunset in a calm sea

Waterfront Cape Town Boat Trips

If you don’t want to go onto the open sea you can climb on board The Alba.

Dine on a sunset cruise with views of the oldest working harbour in the southern hemisphere. Keeping to the calm waters inside the harbour the 22 meter long boat travels at a leisurely pace throughout the evening.

Enjoy the dinner cruise in Cape Town with a glass of sparkling wine to start and wine paired with the main meal. The cruise boards at 7pm and continues until 9pm.

Quay 5 view of boats at the Waterfront

Where to Go for Boat Cruises from Cape Town

The Cape Town Cruise Terminal is for arriving and departing international and local cruise liners. It is not to be mistaken as the location for sunset cruises and is located a mile from the correct Quay 5. Quay 5 is also home to most of Cape Town’s yacht charters.

Last Thoughts on Sunset Boat Cruises in Cape Town

The sunset cruise options in Cape Town are professional, affordable and are waiting to share an unforgettable memory with you. Now that you have a good idea of where to go, when to go and what to bring you are ready to experience your best sunset in Cape Town.

Whether you choose a sunset cruise on an authentic sailing Schooner or decide to charter a luxury yacht you will find Cape Town’s best sunset cruise offers at the V&A Waterfront.

Being on the water while soaking in scenic views and sighting wildlife is a recipe for a great evening. Aim to go on a day with calm conditions and remember winter cruise times are earlier and depart from 5pm while summer cruises start from 6:30pm.

If you enjoyed our guide and are planning to travel further in South Africa consider kayaking in the Tsitsikamma National Park.

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