Deciding on where to plan your next action-packed adventure? Stop wasting your time and book your flights to South Africa right now. It literally has all you need on the ground, in the air, and underwater. Here are 8 ways you can get your fill of thrill when traveling in South Africa.
1. Dive with Sharks
My favourite memory from our honeymoon in South Africa was shark cage diving. You get in your wetsuit then hang out in a cage, submerged under water, in the middle of the ocean, while experts attract and lure great white sharks towards you with chum. What else could sound more exhilarating? The sharks come up to the cage, and in our case, put their head INSIDE of the cage, so remember to keep your hands in. They are wild, not pets. Their eyes will roll back while their teeth come out as they lunge right at you! It is super cool and should already be on your bucket list. If large fish aren’t your thing, you can also go cage diving with crocodiles, just be careful or you might end up as their dinner!
2. Chasing Animals
Fasten your seat belt and put on your ranger hat for the BEST excursion in South Africa, the safari drive! Admit it; we all go there to see the exotic animals. We chose Addo National Elephant Park, the third largest out of the nineteen national parks. They have over 700 elephants along with rhinos, zebras, antelope, hyenas, ostrich, monkeys, buffalos, the flightless dung beetle, lions and more. We did not see any lions (there are only a few in the park) and were not chased by any giraffe. In fact, there are no giraffes at this park since the natural vegetation in this area is too low for them to eat from. You’ll see them nearby at private reserves (which are another option to drive through for animal sightings). I was quite content with being up close and personal with the elephants. We got to watch them eat, bathe and fight, unaware of the observers close by. The fighting between them was so intense that nearby cars had to quickly reverse out of the way to avoid being crushed.
3. Jump off a Bridge
Bungy jump to your death! Okay, maybe a bit dramatic, but that’s how I felt when we were there. At 216 meters high, Bloukrans Bridge Bungy is one of the world’s highest bungy jumps. It is situated at the border of the Eastern and Western Cape in Tsitsikamma National Park, above the Bloukrans River (which will not be a soft landing if your cord snaps by the way). If you chicken out, there is a great viewing point to watch your friends soar, and check out the fantastic mountain landscape.
4. Surf’s Up
Surfing and Sandboarding at Jeffreys Bay. J-Bay is located in the Eastern Cape near Port Elizabeth. Its claim to fame is creating the surfing culture. It was the hippie hangout in the 60’s where the surf community originated and has now become one of the top five surfing destinations in the world! So if you are going to learn to ride the waves, this is THE place to be. If you have more time on your visit here, have some calamari, partake in the local water sports (like canoeing), watch some migrating whales and go fishing, just watch out for the great white sharks!
5. Fly among the Clouds
If skydiving doesn’t make you sweat and get your adrenaline pumping, I don’t know what will. If you have a desire to jump out of a plane and free fly among the clouds, then SA is the place to do it, with the picture-perfect views and spectacular climate. There are ample opportunities and various locations across the country. This activity will be easy to find depending on where your hotel is based.
6. Zip it
I had never tried zip lining before South Africa and did so for the first time at Tsitsikamma National Park. Zip along a wire over waterfalls and through 700-year-old Yellowwood trees suspended 30 meters above the forest floor. If this is not scary enough for you, there are other options in the area. This activity is better done in smaller groups so there is less wait time, however, they do move pretty quickly to prevent boredom and to keep the tempo up. You can also get photos from your adventure at the very end – to prove you did it.
7. Crawl through caves
Do you like dark cold spaces? Crawling and sliding into the unknown? Go on the adventure tour in the Cango Caves near Oudtshoorn. This tour is not for the faint of heart. You must be able to wiggle your way through tight tunnels, and remain there for a while as you wait for fellow tourists. Warning, there are actual cases of people getting stuck for hours. Some tips: It can get hot in there so dress accordingly, do not bring anything that you need to carry in your hands, and this tour is not recommended for the claustrophobic or for chip and couch enthusiasts. Expect to be there for a while.
8. Hike to the Top
Hike up Table Mountain, Lion’s Head or Signal Hill, in Cape Town. The outdoorsy nature-loving folks will enjoy this. I recommend to only do this on a nice day, keeping in mind that the weather can turn on a dime so be prepared for it. Depending on your route, it can get increasingly tougher as it becomes less about hiking and more about (rock) climbing. There are also warnings of the usual pickpockets and crime, so only attempt during the day and preferably with a group. But if you are daring enough to brave the nature you will be rewarded with the best views in all of Cape Town. Dress appropriately, take a camera and pack snacks with water.
Enjoy your adventure-filled trip, take risks but stay safe! South Africa is a beautiful country with so much to offer for any type of traveler. Each suggestion listed has many companies that provide services with different price rates. You can even opt to get a guide or join a tour if you rather not experience the journey solo.