Are you the kind of person that gets a kick out of hurling yourself off a cliff, or whizzing down precarious single tracks on a bicycle? Do you love the feeling of fresh air filling your lungs and other nature-y sensations assaulting your senses? Do you live for adrenaline and embrace the great outdoors? Yes? Well South Africa is the perfect destination for you then with its wide range of adventure activity holidays.
Here is a round-up of the top 5 adventures to be had in South Africa…
This involves being lowered into the ocean in a specially-designed floating cage. No experience is required – just the ability to hold your breath for a few seconds at a time. The sharks are lured to the area using bait such as tuna, when you will be able to experience an extremely intimate and moving encounter with these greats of the ocean. A reputable company such as Apex Shark Expeditions (based in Gansbaai ) will never feed the sharks and will include skilled guides who can educate you as to the plight of these endangered animals and the conservation efforts regarding the species.
Caving in the Cango Caves
The Cango Caves are a spectacular part of SA’s natural heritage, just outside of Oudtshoorn in the Western Cape. They are situated in a limestone ridge parallel to the Swartberg Mountains and consist of great halls, dripstone caverns and intriguing tower formations. There are two types of tours available, a standard tour and the slightly longer adventure tour – the one to go for if you fancy going deeper into the caves and crawling through narrow tunnels. All tours are led by qualified guides.
Kloofing (known as canyoning in other parts of the world) is not for those with a fear of heights. Generally one starts close to the source of a river and navigates the waterfalls along its path by way of a harness attached to a rope pulley system. Essentially you walk yourself down a vertical chunk of rock from varying heights. This allows you to get up close and personal with South African nature while pushing your own limits. Many parts of South Africa offer kloofing and/or abseiling, but some of the most scenic spots to do it are in the Oribi Gorge in the South Coast of Kwazulu Natal, the Blyde River Canyon in Limpopo and Table Mountain in Cape Town. All three are nature reserves so respect for the environment is paramount.
South Africa, with all its open spaces and mountains is littered with mountain bike tracks, be they on private farmlands or nature reserves. Many can be accessed privately by arrangement, but if you aren’t travelling with a bike, numerous agencies offer organised tours. For a scenic ride with a cultural twist, take a bike tour through the Wild Coast in the Eastern Cape. This region is traditionally home to the isiXhosa tribes and to this day the rolling green hills are spotted with small villages made up of round mud huts with thatched roofs. If you want a glimpse of ‘traditional’ South Africa in all its glory, the Wild Coast is the place to go.
River rafting on the Orange River
If you long to get in touch with nature, a 4 day trip down the Orange River (the physical boundary between SA and Namibia) is a must. The river runs through the Richtersveld National Park, a desert region not lacking in eery lunar landscapes and rocks of all shapes and colours. The trips are fully catered so you just need to worry about navigating your two man canoe through the gentle rapids. Nights are spent on the banks of the river, huddled round camp fires underneath the stars. All you will hear is the chattering of your fellow adventurers, the sounds of water flowing and the occasional baboon barking or fish eagle calling. Few things could be so simultaneously peaceful and adventurous.
If these options don’t epitomise adventure activity holidays, then we don’t know what does!