An Adventure Traveler’s Guide to South Africa

Keep a lookout for the variety of wildflowers and orchids adorning the cliffs
Keep a lookout for the variety of wildflowers and orchids adorning the cliffs | Courtesy of Canopy Tours

South Africa is every adrenaline junkie’s dream come true. Home to some of the most beautiful landscapes in the world, lush forests and wildlife are in abundance, but there simply isn’t enough time to fit everything into one holiday. Here’s a round-up of the top adventure-packed activities in South Africa.

Bungee the Bloukrans Bridge, Nature’s Valley

Set in the picturesque Bloukrans River valley, at 216 meters (708 feet) Bloukrans Bridge is the highest commercial bungee in the world. The bustling atmosphere is enough to excite anyone, whether you’re a first-time bungee-jumper or a pro.

The R950 paid to jump is nonrefundable if you chicken out

Snorkel With Seahorses, Knysna

Snorkeling with seahorses, specifically the endangered Knysna seahorse, guarantees to be an unforgettable experience. Divers will be taken out by an experienced guide during high tide to explore the natural habitat of these amazing creatures.

Knysna seahorses are found only in the Knysna, Keurbooms, and Swartvlei estuaries on the south coast of South Africa

Hike Table Mountain, Cape Town

Table Mountain, summiting 1,086 meters (3,563 feet), offers exceptional hiking for all levels of fitness. Half and full-day, as well as overnight hikes, are on offer and are not to be missed when visiting the Mother City. There are more than 900 hiking and climbing routes open to the public, and booking with a local guide will ensure that you experience the mountain in all her glory while staying safe.

Regardless of your experience level, Table Mountain offers some of the best hiking in the world

Cage Dive With Great White Sharks, Gansbaai

Gansbaai is celebrated as the Great White Shark capital of the world and is, essentially, the perfect spot for cage diving. No experience is needed to cage dive, but for those who prefer to stay dry, sightings from the boat are just as amazing. On top of that, all the tours are educational, so you’ll leave knowing a lot about these sharks as well as how to aid their conservation.

Over 110 species of sharks are now listed as under threat on the World Conservation Union’s Red List, while another 95 species are near threatened

Take on the Sani Pass in a 4X4, KwaZulu-Natal

Sani Pass is one of the most iconic (and scenic) gravel mountain routes in South Africa and is situated between KwaZulu-Natal and Lesotho. The Sani Pass starts at 1,544 meters (5,065 feet) and summits at 2,876 meters (9,435 feet), so prepare for high altitude, unpredictable weather, and often snow. The best option is to book through a tour operator as they’ll ensure that your vehicle is in perfect condition and capable of manoeuvring the tricky pass.

If driving ensure your vehicle is fit to take on the pass

Paraglide Over a Beautiful Landscape, Cape Town

Paraglide from Lions Head or Signal Hill (depending on the weather) and take in the vast views of Table Mountain and Cape Town. No experience is needed and instructors are extremely professional, allowing first-timers to hang back and completely immerse themselves in this awe-inspiring experience.

Paragliding flights can last anything from 5-30 minutes

Glide Through Mountain Cliffs, Magoebaskloof

Canopy touring, a fun eco-tourism activity, will take you on a journey like no other as you navigate the upper level of indigenous forest and ancient mountain cliffs overlooking the amazing Groot Letaba River gorge. Take in the scenery from the platform viewpoints over three massive waterfalls while trained guides impart knowledge about the fauna, flora, and bionetwork of the environment.

Keep a lookout for the variety of wildflowers and orchids adorning the cliffs

Walk With Wildlife, Greater Kruger National Park

Experiencing the African bush on foot is just about the closest you can get to nature and is a completely different experience from sitting in a game-viewing vehicle. The walking trails showcase the best of South Africa’s fauna and flora and guests have access to extremely knowledgeable guides and trackers.

The walks can be booked at seven rest camps within the Kruger National Park

Hike and Canoe in a Spectacular Setting, Port Alfred

These exciting “self-guided” tours in the Eastern Cape combine hiking and canoeing in the most spectacular setting. From Port Alfred to Fish River, the six-day tour includes a 67-kilometer hike and a 16-kilometer canoe trip. Hikers should go prepared with food, beverages, toiletries, utensils, matches, and sleeping bags. All the overnight huts have basic amenities but some don’t have hot water and only one has electricity.

There is a slack-packing option available where all your gear and food will be dropped off at each hut every day

Culture Trips launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes places and communities so special.

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All our travel guides are curated by the Culture Trip team working in tandem with local experts. From unique experiences to essential tips on how to make the most of your future travels, we’ve got you covered.

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