The 10 Best Adventure Activities in South Africa
South Africa is an incredibly beautiful and diverse country and offers something to everyone, especially thrill seekers.
South Africa is famously known worldwide for it's exotic animals, the Kruger National Park, for example, is filled with an abundance of wildlife and safari-like journeys that visitors can enjoy.
But apart from going on safari there are plenty of other activities to do in South Africa, from admiring the views from the hiking trails to diving with sharks.
Most people don't even realise South Africa has a semi-desert Karoo stretches in the center of the country, and it’s one of the most visited and attractive destinations for adventure lovers.
Book a trip to South Africa and most certainly you’ll enjoy the trip of a lifetime!
From going diving with great white sharks to jumping off 216 meter high bridges, be sure to add some of these adrenalin-pumping spots around the country.
South Africa is known for its large trails and attracts thousands of tourists annually just for hiking alone. The Otter Trail is one of the most famous among tourists and it usually takes 5 days to finish the area of 28 miles. You can either book a South Africa tour package or organize your trip ahead of time and go solo hiking.
This famous trail boasts scenic beauty and it’s the perfect medicine for the soul and body. You’ll be astounded by the diverse flora and fauna, the rock formations, and stunning waterfalls along the way.
The Otter trail is unique because it’s the home of wide forests and pristine pools and the home of baboons as well.
A top recommendation - the weather can be unpredictable, so make sure you are well-dressed and packed accordingly!
2. The Cango Caves
If you want the ultimate adventure-like trip to South Africa, then you must visit places that have a close touch with the wilderness and nature. The Cango Caves are the perfect fit for this. These caves are situated under the Swartberg mountains, nearly half an hour's drive from Oudtshoorn town.
There are two types of tours you can take - a standard one and an adventure tour; we would recommend taking the adventure one! In this tour, you’ll be crawling through small crevasses and climbing narrow passages, so you need to be prepared well ahead for this type of journey.
3. Kayak With Crocodiles and Hippos
If this is not a proper adrenaline-booster tour, then we don’t know what is! Kayaking with crocodiles and hippos probably wasn’t on your bucket list when visiting South Africa, but it’s worth the thought.
The place where you can do this activity is in Northern KwaZulu-Natal, where you’d get to enjoy the views of the magnificent wildlife in this part of South Africa. The hippos are known for being both aggressive and cute. They tend to attack humans but don’t worry, you’ll be guided the whole time!
The crocodiles are pretty scary as well, if we put it that way, so you’ll find this tour an amazing experience.
4. Go Horse Riding & Marvel The Wild Coast
The Wild Coast is one of the greatest adventure destinations in South Africa, located between the Great Kei River and the Umtamvuna River. It features verdant cliffs, stunning coastlines, and pristine beaches like Bulungula, Mdumbi, and Glen.
The Wild Coast is the home of the yellowwood and sneezewoods trees and more than 150 inland bird species. Several travel operators offer horse riding trips and holidays here which are a magical experience.
Fun Fact - It’s also the birthplace of Nelson Mandela!
5. Bunjee Jumping
Another adventurous activity for adrenaline junkies is bungee jumping.
South Africa has lots of places where you can try it, but from the Bloukrans Bridge is best. This bridge is located in the Bloukrans River Valley, and you’ll be astounded by the pure adrenaline you feel when you take off the bridge. Do not worry about hurting yourself; you will be protected and secured with the highest possible measures!
The bridge is among the most popular tourist attractions, and the bungee jumping spots are easily filled, so make sure you book at least 48 hours in advance.
This isn't for the feint hearted but, if you really do want to challenge yourself and face your fears, this is something particularly adventurous and ticks those boxes.
6. Trekking in the Drakensberg Mountains
So, for some of you reading this, trekking might not sound like the most adventurous of activities. However, it can be much more challenging than people expect. Trekking in places like the Drakensberg mountains can be the journey of a lifetime. There are many organized tours that you can choose to partake in which incorporate other activities along the way.
This hiking destination is one of the most popular in the country, however, there are numerous other options to explore fully prior to making a final decision. Alternatively, you may decide on a different location entirely. You could book a walking safari which can be a thrilling experience. Many people also combine trekking with raising money for a worthy cause, something to consider.
Ever dreamed of getting up close and personal with a whole host of wildlife? A safari could be one of the perfect choices for you on your trip. South Africa is a popular location for this due to having some of the best National Parks in the world including the Kruger. Many people opt to go on organized tours which are a safe way to see exotic wildlife like tigers, lions and elephants.
However, there is also the option of hiring a vehicle and creating your own route. Whichever one you choose, be sure to go fully prepared, with items such as a first aid kit, sun cream and insect repellent! Oh, and don’t forget your camera either as there will be a plethora of photo opportunities along the way.
South Africa has some of the best diving sites in the world, and also the chance to get close to incredible marine life like fearsome great white sharks. Top places to go diving include Sodwana Bay in Kwazulu-Natal, Shark Alley in Kwazulu-Natal, Avalanche Reef close to Port Elizabeth, Simonstown in the Western Cape and Storms River Mouth on the Garden Route.
You can even undertake this activity and combine it with marine conservation work helping wildlife and nature. Lots of volunteering programs in South Africa offer combo experiences like diving and making a difference. You can learn about the culture and traditions of the place you are visiting alongside supporting the protection of ocean life. South Africa's coral reefs and the ocean ecosystems need all the help they can get.
So, you could gain valuable diving experience while helping in such a significant way. And if that doesn’t sound like an adventure, what will?
9. Skiing and Snowboarding
Whether you have ever been skiing or snowboarding before, it is something that you can enjoy while in South Africa and something most people don't even know you can do.
There aren't many locations to choose from, and of course,this does depend on the time of year. Tiffindell resort, which was voted the 19th best ski location in the world by CNN in 2014, is our top rated destination. Here, you could spend time perfecting or learning how to ski and snowboard. Alternatively, for the more experienced, you may even wish to become a qualified instructor.
As we all know, partaking in these winter sports does come at a significant cost, so working in a ski resort could be the perfect solution for you.
10. Surfing at Jeffreys Bay
Jeffreys Bay, also known locally as J-Bay, is located around 45 miles west of Port Elizabeth, and it is one of the best surfing destinations on the contient. Whether you are a totally beginner looking to learn, or you are already a pro, Jeffreys Bay is an amazing places to go surfing. Waves here range from 3ft to 10ft!
- Skydiving (multiple locations)
- Abseil down table mountain
- Canopying in the Magalies
- Water rafting on the Crocodile River
- Tubing in Magoebaskloof
- Mountain biking in Sani Pass
- Zip-lining over the koekedouw river in ceres
- Sandboarding on the West Coast
- Horse-riding in the Magaliesberg mountains
- Motorbiking in baviaanskloof
- Gyro-flying in Limpopo
Things To Consider Before Visiting South Africa
To help you navigate easily throughout your journey, we can share a couple of tips to consider:
- Do some research on the area, location, and other information you might find helpful;
- Take care of all of the travel necessities, like organizing your travel documents, keeping your money close, and carrying toiletries in approved packages;
- Travel light and pack only the necessities;
- Prepare yourself physically so you can conquer all of the physically challenging adventures - get in shape, make sure you have protein drinks, and get preventative medicine if your health is affected by the change in altitude;
- Inform yourself whether you’ll need vaccinations to enter the country; or
- Bring the right things and pack like a pro - get packing organizers and maximize the storage of your bag.
Go to South Africa Now!
You’re reading this article for a reason; you are an adventurer! So, to make the adventure happen, book your flight to South Africa and go on some of these tours and adventure trips!
Whatever you choose to do and wherever you decide to go, there are many considerations before you set off. Be sure that you have a plan your trip and itinerary well in advance so you can include as many of the adventure activities as possible,
Have you ever been to South Africa? Do you have any recommendations to share? Let us know in the comments section below.