Cape Town is known as one of the most stunning and picturesque cities in the world: from the impressive Table Mountain Range, the beautiful Cape Winelands, the majestic Cape Point to the endless beaches, great surf and incredible culinary scene. But very few people have come to this Peninsula to explore the spectacular world beneath the waves, which we – from I AM WATER – call our “blue backyard”.
The famous tip of the vibrant Cape Peninsula has various names: Cape Point, the Cape of Storms or the Cape of Good Hope. Here one can experience two very diverse ocean currents – the warm Agulhas coming from the east and the cold Benguela coming from the west – resulting in an abundant and very unique marine ecosystem and home to some of our favourite large marine animals, such as the sevengill- and mako sharks and the Cape fur seals.
We chose this destination, because: we believe that visiting marine protected areas (MPAs) widens the circle of understanding of how MPAs work and emphasises their remarkable tourism value. South Africa is a conservation leader in creating MPAs: your visit is a vote of confidence that supports the efforts of the country’s government, scientists and conservationists in ensuring the long term sustainability of the South African marine environment.
The remarkable SEVENGILL SHARK*, a living dinosaur, quietly cruising through a forest of swaying kelp stems in the Castle Rock marine protected area on the southern peninsula. Resident to this area, this 'other apex predator' in False Bay is a pleasure to freedive with.
(Many of our Cape Town dives are in a well established network of Marine Protected Areas / MPAs. Visits to MPAs can offer financial support for the species we encounter as well as a greater awareness of the challenges facing the animals. )
The friendly small BLUE SHARKS and speedy MAKO SHARKS* are in the Canyon, (also knows as the Tuna Grounds) an exciting ocean wilderness far offshore from Cape Point - far south where the blue water from the warm Mozambican current suddenly replaces the cold Cape waters. Out here anything is possible, sometimes running into whales, tuna, dolphins or sunfish.
The playful CAPE FUR SEALS are off the western side of the Peninsula in the Karbonkelberg MPA. These seals are like the Labrador puppies of the sea and they love playing with freedivers. Shallow water with magical fairyland swim-throughs in the kelp, along with the most personable of the Cape characters, makes this one of our favourite days out in Cape Town!
KELP FORESTS are like mysterious old woodlands just below the surface. A dense aquatic forest full of life. On several of our dives we will be exploring the kelp and their inhabitants, but even just as a landscape the kelp forests are inspiring and beautiful.
The AFRICAN PENGUIN is one of the tiniest of the penguin family. This small colony incongruously nesting along the southern tip of Africa offers hours of delight both in the water and on the beach. As the penguins nest in the Boulders Beach MPA, a visit to these entertaining animals also supports their continued wellbeing and protection.
* Note: Diving with sharks can seem like risky business, but the species we dive with have been carefully selected for predictable interactions and the partners we work with are the most experienced and reputable in the field.
You will arrive at our gorgeous seaside villa just in time to get settled in before our traditional afternoon yoga session and subsequent dinner.
New guests: Enjoy the sounds and view of the ocean as you settle into your room in the morning.
Mozambican guests: You will start the day with the usual morning yoga and a hearty breakfast. Afterwards you have the option of joining our new guests for the freediving training sessions, taking it easy for the day or heading into Cape Town, e.g. taking a half-day trip to Robben Island or a hike up Table Mountain with a local guide.
You will be able to have a first chit-chat with your fellow ocean explorers for the week over lunch where you will also be given more detailed information on what to expect for the next few days. New guests will then get a theoretical introduction to the art of freediving that is learning the basics of breath-holds, equalisation, finning techniques and safety in the water as well as an open water training session in a nearby lake to practice these skills.
We will all reconvene for our first daily afternoon yoga session before we gather for a welcoming cocktail and a delicious and healthy dinner prepared by out private chef.
Morning yoga on the beach deck followed by a superfood smoothie and light breakfast conducive to freediving will herald the start of each of our next 4 days.
Today you will have the opportunity to put your newly acquired theoretical freediving skills into practice so that you feel comfortable for your first ocean animal encounter in the afternoon: the AFRICAN PENGUINS at Boulders Beach in the Table Mountain National Park Marine Protected Area. Depending on the tide, you may choose to hang out at the lovely beach and / or explore the numerous beautiful and mystical swim-throughs – in any case, a great place to start our ocean adventures.
On our way back home, we will take the picturesque route via the tip of the Cape Peninsula – Cape Point and the Cape of Good Hope.
The evening will be spent at the villa on the beach, sunset yoga followed by drinks and dinner. We will be joined by Lauren de Vos, a local marine biologist completing her much acclaimed PHD on the diversity and abundance of life around the Cape Peninsula.
Following our usual morning ritual – yoga, superfood smoothie and light breakfast – we will head to the closeby Castle Rock Marine Protected Area to join the tranquil SEVEN GILL SHARKS cruising through magical kelp forests.
The sunset yoga session will be followed by our take on the typical South African braai (BBQ).
Today we will skip our morning yoga session for the benefit of making the most of our day at sea. We will head south to an area called the Canyon, or the Tuna Grounds, searching for the friendly small BLUE SHARKS and speedy MAKO sharks, yet allowing the ocean to surprise us with some unexpected encounters, such as whales, tuna, dolphins, sunfish…
At sunset we will have a private wine tasting on the beach in front of the villa hosted by a sommelier from an award winning Constantia Wine Estate.
On our last day, we will drive along the world famous and breathtakingly beautiful Chapman’s Peak Drive to visit the playful CAPE FUR SEALS at Duiker Island outside Hout Bay.
After our farewell lunch back at the villa, we will have some time for packing up, viewing and sharing pictures from the trip and final goodbyes. We will then see you off to either the airport or the next step on your adventure…
Please note: all of our days follow a rhythm conducive to optimal freediving, yoga and relaxation experiences. However, we will have a weather dependent schedule as the wind and swell will be decisive for which of our dives we do every day as your safety and wellbeing is our top priority.
Moreover all our actions are guided by the highest standards of responsible marine megafauna interaction. The animals’ wellbeing is our top priority at any time. Should we or our expert guides get the impression that our presence (in and out of water) stresses or disturbs the animal, we will distance ourselves instantly even if this might limit our interaction with the animal(s).
Freediving is an age-old practice of exploring the ocean on one breath. With its roots in subsistence living off the sea, freediving has become a competitive sport with disciplines, competitions and records and moreover, one of the biggest expanding water-sports in the world.
In contrast to scuba, freediving is the most natural way of being underwater, enabling you to get much closer to the animals – particularly the bigger ones – while having the least ecosystem impact. Furthermore, it is more athletic than scuba and allows you to move faster and more freely (in all directions). Learning from a good instructor, the art of freediving is simple and is a tool to explore your body’s (aquatic) ability, the physiology of the human body underwater with the impressive mammalian dive response we share with whales, dolphins and seals.
At I AM WATER Ocean Travel, we teach a conservative slow progression approach where you will explore your limitations and capabilities under the expert eye of top certified freediving instructors. Each day will start or end with a yoga session to prepare your lungs and body for deep breaths and time underwater, learning to control your breathing and to slow your heart-rate. You will be offered breath-hold training on land, in water as well as deep diving sessions along a rope to prepare you for meeting the animals. As world-class freedivers we will inspire you to explore your own depths!
At the end of your vacation, we will have covered all the theory and training needed for the Pure Apnea Level 1 Freediving Certification. If you are interested in becoming certified and have met all practical requirements during training, we conclude with an exam on the last night.
Joining us on one of our Signature Trips does not require more than a general interest in the ocean and its creatures, basic swimming abilities and good health. It is open to all ages and fitness levels (medical questionnaires will be required).
For further information please check our Freediving FAQ's.
Choosing a location on the Cape Peninsula is never easy. Do you go for sunset or sunrise, cold False Bay or colder Atlantic, mountain-side or ocean-side? We opt for the rough yet spectacular sunset Atlantic beachfront alternative. In this tranquil seaside conservation village just a twenty minute drive along spectacular roads to all our dive-sites, we have found one of the undiscovered pearls of Cape Town. Fall asleep and wake up to the sound of the crashing Atlantic waves outside your room, take an early morning walk on the secluded beach before breakfast or relax on any of the old style porches gracing this elegant villa and feel free to plunge into the water to refresh and rejuvenate on a hot summer day. Out of the four different room categories available, three have access to a shared veranda with breathtaking ocean views.
With our private chef we are guaranteed the best of Cape Towns creative and beautiful cuisine. We specially prepare a menu of high quality nutrient-rich food, delicious and nourishing with a focus on innovative vegetarian meals. Not only is this in line with our planet friendly ethos, but also ideal for freediving training.