South Africa has many adventurous and wonderful activities for all ages, experience levels and extremities. It’s no wonder families and friends visit time-and-time again.

For some fun in the sun, a multi-day canoe trip down the Orange River (also known as the Gariep River), is a great way to relax and unwind whilst having some adventure. To get the adrenaline flowing, why not tackle the world’s highest commercial bridge bungee jump at Bloukrans on the Garden Route?

Alternatively, nature lovers might wish to rope up for a relatively gentle, yet exhilarating, canopy tour through the treetops of an indigenous African forest. A tandem paraglide with a qualified instructor offers those who dare an unforgettable bird’s eye view of some of the country’s most beautiful coastal scenery.

And those keen to acquire new skills could learn to surf, horse ride or sign up for an introductory session on the sport of caving.

South Africa has no shortage of activities to get even the mildest adventurer excited, making it the ideal destination for anyone with a taste for adventure.

White Water Rafting

White Water Rafting

Horse Riding

Popular horse-trail areas include the foothills of the Drakensberg in KwaZulu-Natal; beach rides in the Western Cape; and multi-day trails in the farmlands of the scenic eastern Free State, also the heart of the endurance riding community.

Travel Tip
Before signing up for any horse-riding activity, advise your equestrian establishment what level of experience is, and what’s required for the terrain and environment.

Horse Riding

Horse Riding

River Rafting

The most popular of these trips are generally on the perennial Orange or Vaal rivers, but there are other rivers in South Africa where you can go white-water rafting.

One of the best of these is the Ash River, close to the town of Clarens in the Free State, a three-hour drive from Johannesburg. Because the Ash River is fed by water from the Katse Dam in the Lesotho highlands, rafting is possible here all-year round (unlike many other rivers that are seasonal).

The Umkomaas River in KwaZulu-Natal is a seasonal white-water destination that also offers opportunities for multi-day trips, as is the Doring River in the Cederberg in the Western Cape.

Another exceptional experience, is a multi-day river-rafting trip. This is an authentic African outing, allowing you to sleep under the stars and drift down pristine stretches of river.

Travel Fact
If you want to ramp it up a level, then you might wish to reserve your white-water rafting with an experienced operator.

River Rafting

River Rafting


The most popular spots for tandem flights are Lion’s Head and Signal Hill in Cape Town and Wilderness on the Garden Route. Tandem flights are also offered occasionally at Bulwer in KwaZulu-Natal, Hartbeespoort Dam in North West province and Dunnottar Airfield near Springs in Gauteng. Generally, a tandem flight lasts between 10 and 30 minutes, depending on weather conditions.

Flights are always weather-dependent and so cannot be guaranteed in advance, therefore allow for a window of several days during your holiday.

Did you know?
A tandem flight is where a pilot flies with a passenger, both of whom are in separate harnesses that are also attached to each other and the overhead wing.

Bungee Jumping

The 216m-high Bloukrans Bridge (about 40km east of Plettenberg Bay) spans a gorge over the river of the same name, and bungee jumpers will experience a drop of 170m.

It is one of many adventure activities to be found on this stretch of the Garden Route, where you can also go skydiving, abseiling, horse riding and shark cage-diving, among others.

The minimum age restriction at Bloukrans is 14. There’s also a minimum weight limit of
35kg. The Bloukrans operation is open 365 days a year, weather permitting.

Should you not wish to jump, you can still share in the thrill by going on a bridge walk. You will follow the jump group on to the top of the bridge arch via a secure walkway and watch the countdown for the next jump. The walk in itself offers spectacular views.

Bungy Jumping

Bungy Jumping

Canoeing on the Orange River

This is South Africa’s longest river, rising in Lesotho in the east and flowing some 2 200km towards the Atlantic Ocean in the west. The most popular stretch for this river trip is through the desert landscape of the Richtersveld in the Northern Cape, starting at Vioolsdrif, close to the Namibian border.

Each day starts with a big breakfast and a safety briefing before setting off downstream in a two-person canoe. You paddle for about six hours in total, with a lengthy lunch break, during which time you can swim, relax and fish.

After a day of fun on the river, you will disembark on an isolated beach, enjoy a catered dinner around a fire and sleep under the stars (although you might choose to take along a compact hiking tent, especially in winter).

The standard trip is three nights/four days on the river and is recommended in the cooler months (April through to October) as summers can be punishingly hot on the Orange River, with temperatures reaching more than 40˚C (104˚F).

Sun protection is necessary throughout the year, but a windbreaker and warm clothing for the nights are advisable in winter.

Travel Tip
A day’s canoeing on the Orange river will be busy, but rewarding

Canopy Tours

A canopy tour is a perfect family activity, combining a nature experience with the thrill of gliding between platforms on a zipline. Tour groups consist of a maximum of eight people at a time and the whole outing is usually a very manageable two-and-a-half hours. No special level of fitness is required, although there is a weight limit of 120kg.

If you afraid they you may not be able to regulate the speed of travelling on the zipline on your own, you can ask for a guide to go in tandem with you.

The tour starts with a safety briefing before being kitted out with safety helmets and full-body harnesses and taken to the first platform.

Guides will pause between slides so that you can learn more about the unique ecology of South Africa’s rare indigenous forests, and introduce magnificent examples of individual trees, like the majestic yellowwood that also happens to be the country’s national tree.

These tours are offered in the Tsitsikamma on the Garden Route, Karkloof in the Midlands of KwaZulu-Natal, the Drakensberg mountains (also in KwaZulu-Natal), Magaliesberg (inNorth West province close to Johannesburg) and the Magoebaskloof, a forested area on route to the Kruger National Park in Limpopo, and a newly added location in Grabouw (near Cape Town).



 Surfing in Jeffreys Bay

J-Bay is famous for having one of the best and most consistent right-hand point breaks in the world, offering the experienced surfer the prospect of an almost 1km-long ride.

This, and the fact that there are many other good surf spots in the vicinity, has made it the hub of the surfing industry in the country. For a number of years, J-Bay was on the international Billabong Pro circuit, and it remains a popular venue for national surfing competitions.Novice surfers can sign up for lessons here, while the more serious can go shopping for a hand-shaped board.

Nearby Cape St Francis is also renowned for its right-hand break that was immortalised in the film Endless Summer. And J-Bay is not only famous for its waves – sunrises are breathtaking (surfers on the ‘dawn patrol’ will be treated to this sight) and dolphins often share the waves, making for beautiful photographs.

Did you know?

J-Bay’s famous right-hand point break is known as Supertubes.

Cave Adventures

One of the most extensive of these are the Cango Caves near the town of Oudtshoorn in the Western Cape, a series of limestone caves found in the foothills of the Swartberg Mountains. Here, you can opt for the standard heritage tour or the more extreme 90-minute adventure tour, during which they will be required to leopard crawl through tight spaces.

Anyone who suffers from claustrophobia should not sign up. The reward, however, is a sense of achievement and the chance to view unspoilt rock for,ations that are only accessible to the adventurous few. Some of these will have been formed over unimaginable lengths of time (it takes about 100 years for a half-inch or 1.2cm stalactite to form).

Other caves open to the public include the Sterkfontein Caves and Wonder Cave in the Cradle of Humankind (where visitors can also do an 18m abseil into the cave before going on a guided tour) and the Sudwala Caves and the Echo Caves in Mpumalanga.

However, these ‘show’ caves don’t really qualify when it comes to the more extreme sport of caving, a niche activity that requires a high degree of fitness and a level head.

Anyone wishing to get into more serious caving should contact a reputable operator who will take you on expeditions to areas not generally open to the public. One of these is Wild Caves Adventures based in the Cradle of Humankind heritage site close to Johannesburg. These operators, however, are few and far between.

Did you know?

It takes about 100 years for a half-inch or 1.2cm stalactite to form

Cave Adventures

Cave Adventures

Contact a Travel Specialist and enquire about your South African Adventure. / +27 (0) 83 44 77 894