If you’re after an adventure-filled holiday, South Africa is a dream destination. The country’s diverse landscapes – from rugged terrains to lush forests – offer travelers enough adrenaline-pumping activities to last a lifetime. Here’s our round up of some of the best.
Must see attractions in the Northern Cape: Kimberley, the Orange River and the wild flowers (when in season).
Top adventure activity: Canoe safaris.
The Northern Cape is South Africa’s largest province but at the same time the least populated and is mostly known for its mining towns, the Orange River and, of course, the wildflowers in Namaqualand. The vast terrain is spread across more than 372,000 km² of the country and visitors to this vast province can canoe down the longest river in South Africa. The Orange River starts at the Drakensberg in Lesotho and flows westward until reaching the Atlantic Ocean on the South Africa and Namibia border. The four-night canoe safari combines camping, water sports and amazing photographic opportunities, all in one trip.
Where: Kalahari Adventures
Cost: R4 995 per adult (Four days and four nights)
Must see attractions in the Western Cape: Table Mountain National Park, Hermanus for whale watching and the wine farms surrounding Cape Town.
Top adventure activity: Hiking to the top of Table Mountain.
It’s best to work out an itinerary before arriving in the Western Cape to pinpoint exactly what you want to see and do while there. One thing to add to the list, as an adventure traveler, is a hike to the top of Table Mountain. The famous mountain offers adrenaline seekers more than 900 climbing and hiking routes, with Skeleton Gorge being a firm favourite. The trail leads hikers through a lush jungle, the beach at the reservoirs, and eventually summiting the mountain. The hike should take approximately 3.5 hours with an added 45 minutes to reach the upper cable station.
Where: Hike Table Mountain
Cost: R1 200 per person
If jumping from exceptional heights sounds like your idea of fun then a trip to the highest commercial bridge bungy in the world is for you. Situated close to the Storms River Mouth Rest Camp, the Bloukrans Bridge is 216 meters (708 feet) high and one of the most popular adventure activities in South Africa. The viewing deck is a hive of activity on most days as tourists and locals alike gather to test their nerves.
Where: Face Adrenaline
Cost: R950 per person
Must see attractions: Oudtshoorn’s ostrich farms and the Cango Caves.
Top adventure activity: An adventure tour of the Cango Caves.
An adventure tour of the Cango Caves is not for the faint of heart and if you’re claustrophobic you might as well stop reading now. The tour lasts approximately 90 minutes and leads guests from The Grand Hall, which seems pretty inconspicuous, to sections such as The Devil’s Chimney – a passageway of approximately 80 centimeters (31 inches) high, which visitors have to crawl through. And to make the whole experience even more exciting, The Devil’s Chimney narrows to a height of only 30 centimeters (12 inches) at one stage. Needless to say, there’s a lot of leopard crawling, squeezing, climbing and sliding involved, but nonetheless an amazing adventure.
Where: Cango Caves
Cost: R165 per person
Must see attractions: A visit to the Kruger National Park and Blyde River Canyon.
Top adventure activity: The Lonely Bull walking trail in the Kruger National Park.
A visit to The Kruger National Park should be on every traveler’s bucket list and one of the best ways to experience the wilderness is on foot. So forget about those luxury game vehicles and exclusive chalets, instead book a guided walking tour with a licensed game ranger. Guests can book a morning or afternoon walking tour, but for those who really want to get off the grid there’s the Lonely Bull Trail. This four-day, three-night backpacking tour has to be the ultimate adventure experience guests can have in the park. Guests camp in the African bush in the evenings and depart on foot each morning to track and spot wildlife – of which there’s plenty.
Where: Depart from Mopani rest camp in the Kruger National Park
Cost: R2 700 per person
Must see attractions: The St Lucia Estuary and Hluhluwe-Imfolozi Park (the oldest proclaimed nature reserve in Africa).
Top adventure activity: Go diving in Sodwana Bay.
Sodwana Bay is the ideal diving destination and offers many other exciting activities for the adventurous. From fishing to kite-surfing and turtle tours, it’s impossible to run out of things to do. Experienced divers can reach depths of up to 40 metres and there’s a good chance of spotting hammerhead sharks and sea turtles. Sodwana is considered to be one of the top diving spots on the planet and more than 1,200 species have been recorded in its reefs.
Where: On the East coast of the country between St. Lucia and Lake Sibhayi.
Cost: Triton, one of many diving charters, offers multiple packages and prices start at R340 per person per dive (for single dives).
Must see attractions: Towering sandstone cliffs, San rock art and wildlife.
Top adventure activity: The Giant’s Cup Hiking Trail.
Only a four-hour drive from Gauteng and less than two hours from Durban, the Maloti Drakensberg Park offers guests some of the most amazing scenery in the country and is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The Giant’s Cup Trail is a five-day hike where guests stay overnight in huts and walk between 9-13km a day, and the real drawing card is the breathtaking views. Hikers will spot wildlife along the way and visit historical San rock art sites, which is an experience incomparable to any other. Hikers might spot the park’s resident Cape Vultures and booking a pony trekking tour while in the area is a must.
Where: The Maloti Drakensberg Park is in KwaZulu Natal and links the Sehlabathebe National Park in the Kingdom of Lesotho and the uKhahlamba Drakensberg Park.
Cost: R375 per person