Sandboarding, bungee jumping, kloofing, gorge swing, canopy tours, hot air ballooning and more…name it and sunny South
Sandboarding, bungee jumping, kloofing, gorge swing, canopy tours, hot air ballooning and more…name it and sunny SouthAfrica has it! With its multiple offerings for those who love to rush through natural challenges, South Africa is where their dreams can come true. Each province offers something unique.
For the brave ones, nothing is more exciting than jumping off the Bloukrans Bridge into a 216m gorge. Located in the Tsitsikamma area, the Bloukrans Bridge is the highest commercial bridge bungee jump in the world. There is also a thrilling 200m Flying Fox cable slide (known as a foofie slide). The Bloukrans Bridge is the largest single-span concrete arch bridge in the world and a tour takes you along a catwalk to the top of the arch. Contact Face Adrenalin Bungy (faceadrenalin.com; from R 950).
At the Orlando Towers bungee in Soweto, a 100m drop below can get your heart pumping.
The service providers have equipment conforming to international standards and you can discuss any issues before taking the leap.
Needing the same skills as snowboarding, twists and turns here happen on the sand dunes of Atlantis, the Silver Sands in Betty’s Bay, Dragon Dune in Vleesbaai, Lagoon Dunes at Langebaan, Nautilus Bay Dunes, as well as Fish Hoek. More popular in the Western Cape, it is also offered on old mine dump slopes in Gauteng province, with Mount Mayhem in Benoni the main location. Operators use 4X4 vehicles to transport participants to the top of steep dunes and wish them a speedy descent. Enthusiasts can also opt to be pulled behind the vehicles on flatter sections. Contact Sandboarding Sundays River (email@example.com; R 1,200 for 2 adults); Surf J-Bay (firstname.lastname@example.org; R 250).
The fastest recorded sandboarding speed is 82km/hr, by Erik Johnson.
Very little specialised clothing and equipment is needed for sandboarding.
Bravehearts walk along the cliffs in high mountains and then jump into the cold waters of the river gorge below. Popular spots are Cape Town, Table Mountain, Garden Route, Port Elizabeth, George’s Valley Gorge in Limpopo and on a cliff overlooking Kruger in Mpumalanga. Contact Blyde Canyon Adventure Centre for Mpumalanga (email@example.com; approx R 200).
Kloofing started in the Western Cape province, which is still considered Africa’s kloofing hotspot.
Remember everything gets wet, so ensure that you are comfortable in a wetsuit, as you boulder-hop, paddle, swim, climb, butt-slide, scramble and leap.
Riding the highest gorge swing in the world in the Oribi Gorge in southern KwaZulu-Natal Province, will take your breath away. Teetering on a tiny platform, with only a cable for company, prepare to freefall 68m, plummeting 0-160km/h in three seconds while taking in the beauty of the landscape. More places for this are Lowveld and Graskop. Contact The Big Swing (firstname.lastname@example.org; single jump costs R 320 per adult, tandem R 290).
The sandstone cliffs at Oribi Gorge are believed to be over 365 million years old.
There are professional instructors and safety equipments, including full-body harnesses, are provided.
Zipping across treetops, sliding from one platform to the next, along a series of cables, is a thrilling way to see nature. Waterfalls, abundant birdlife and a professional guide to point out interesting facts makes it unique. These tours operate in the Tsitsikamma Forest near Stormsrivier on the Garden Route, Karkloof Forest near Pietermaritzburg in KwaZulu-Natal, Magaliesberg mountains near Johannesburg and in Drakensberg and Magoebaskloof. Contact Magoebaskloof Canopy Tour (email@example.com; R 495 per person).
South Africa is one of the few commercial canopy tour destinations in the world.
You and your companions should record each other, since a selfie might be difficult.
OSTRICH FARM RACING
Oudtshoorn is home to the world’s largest ostrich population with a number of specialised breeding farms such as the Safari Show Farm and the Highgate Ostrich Show Farm. Among the main attractions is the daily ostrich racing, featuring colourfully dressed local jockeys. Depending on your weight, you can also get a ride on the feathered beasts. Contact Highgate Ostrich Show Farm (highgate.co.za; R 320).
An ostrich egg has the equivalent volume of 24 chicken eggs.
The ostriches at the ranch are tame, so one can feed and handle them, and cuddle the fluffy chicks.
HOT AIR BALLOONING
Imagine floating high in the clouds over the gorgeous countryside, getting a hawk’s-eye view of the wildlife below. The most popular hot air balloon trips are in Magaliesberg near Johannesburg, Sabie and Hazyview in Mpumalanga, Oudtshoorn, the Drakensberg and Natal Midlands of KwaZulu Natal, and the Cape Winelands. Another popular area is the Pilanesberg Game Reserve. One should definitely experience Bill Harrop’s Balloon Safari where you can hover above the tree tops of the beautiful Magalies River Valley and drift majestically high above the Magaliesberg range in the Cradle of Humankind World Heritage Site.
Hot air ballooning goes back to 1783 when Pilatre De Rozier sent the first passengers into the skies (a sheep, a duck and a rooster) aboard a hot air balloon. The flight lasted only 15 minutes.
Ballooning starts early in the morning (before sunrise), when the air is at its calmest.
MOONLIGHTING IN THE WINELANDS
A magical moonlight trail on horseback through the Witzenberg Valley is a step back in time. Just 90 minutes from Cape Town, one is blown away by the brightness of the moon and fascinated by the shadows it casts.
The Witzenberg valley is famous for award-winning wines, export of fruit production as well as olive production.
There are horse trails, so you could keep some horse-riding gear too.