Top Ten South African Adrenaline Adventures

Here in the Northern hemisphere, with the sun in hiding and the days drawing in faster, it is hard not to get a little sluggish even for the most active amongst us. But like us, if you want to get your pulse racing with the thought of adventures afar, why not check out the top ten extreme adventures South Africa has to offer. Far from the safaris and the spas, these escapades are for the brave of heart.


1.Bloukrans Bungee, Tsitsikamma

What better way to feel alive than to plunge head-first off the 216m-high Bloukrans Bridge? The Bloukrans Bungee is the world’s highest commercial bungee bridge. It is also the highest commercial natural bungee jump in the world. But not content with these world records, The Bloukrans Bungee boasts a couple more: in 2008, Veronica Dean performed 19 bungee jumps in one hour and Bill Boshoff performed 101 jumps in a 24-hour period, followed in 2011 by Scott Huntley with 107 jumps in the 24-hour period.

Another adrenalin option is a tour of the Bloukrans Bridge, the largest single span concrete arch bridge in the world. The tour takes you along a specially designed catwalk to the top of the arch from where you look out over the gorge to the mountains and the sea in the distance.


2. Diving with Tiger Sharks, KwaZulu-Natal South Coast

This is far more white-knuckle than your South African safari, granted, but who would not want to take on a once-in-a-lifetime adventure of diving in – cage-free! – n the warm waters of the Indian Ocean on the East coast of South Africa and Mozambique at world-rated dive site, Aliwal Shoal. Sharks that can be seen are Bull Shark (known as Zambezis in South Africa), Dusky, Spinner, three types of Hammerhead, Copper shark – Spotted Ragged Toothed shark, Tiger shark, and the protected Great White as an occasional sighting.

South African shark diving poses little threat to scuba divers whilst making shark diving an exciting experience, so relax and discover the best diving to be found around.


3. Cable Gorge Swing, Graskop

Why not take the “Big Swing” – as it is affectionately called – otherwise known as the world’s highest cable gorge swing-68m of high-octane freefall. The adrenaline rush you will experience going from 0 to 160km/h in 2.3 seconds is priceless. And guess what? As this is nor an upside-down bugee jump, you will be seeing all the sights while harnessed in an upright position and swinging away.

For the faint of heart who would still like to experience sight-seeing at an altitude, there is also the high wire slide at 80 metres high above ground.


4. Frozen waterfall, Giants Castle Massif

Climbing is an adventurous pastime, but how about climbing on ice? Experienced climbers can take on the frozen ice gully under a subtropical sun in the uKhahlamba-Drakensberg – you will never experience cold like this before.

Africa’s only ice climb in Drakensburg, is likely to send chills down your spine, and not only because of the cold! Standing at an exhilarating 300 metres high, the fear factor is handsomely rewarded by some of the most breathtaking views of South Africa’s winter landscapes.

Frozen from late May until late August and with the advantage of having no heavy winter snowfall, the area offers the perfect ice climbing conditions. Guided tours operate throughout the season, ensuring you’re safe, even when taking on a frozen waterfall.


5. Crocodile Cage-diving, Oudtshoorn

So you thought diving with sharks was extreme? Try going swimming with a 4m long Nile crocodiles, each with a bite pressure of over two tonnes per square inch - four times the amount of pressure that a Great White shark can exert. Let’s just say there is a cage for a reason.

In a world first, at the Cango ranch in Oudtshoorn, you are lowered into a clear water pool into a bite-proof cage and into the company of Nile crocodiles. Based on the same principle as shark cage-diving, the main difference is that these crocodiles seem to see man as their natural prey. More humans are killed by crocodiles in Africa than by lions. As a result the experience is extraordinarily intense.


6. Abseil off the Table Mountain

1000 metres above sea level, Table Mountain boasts South Africa’s highest commercial abseil. If that thought does not send you over the edge, however, abseiling off it just might!

Kicking with a daring vertical descent, you will find yourself hanging off the edge in the last 30 metres. Make sure you eyes are not tight shut; the view are to die for (no pun intended!)

Rebel Sessions Big Wave Surfing event in Cape Town, South Africa

7. Surf Dungeons at Hout Bay during winter

All the way from the colder Cape waters to the tropical warmth of the Indian Ocean,surf is an essential part of South African life. And the biggest and most radical surf break on the African continent is to be found at Hout Bay in the Western Cape. It is all about monster waves here, so beginners need not apply.


8. White water rafting, KwaZulu-Natal

White water rafting in South Africa reaches its peaks at the mighty Tugela River, the longest river in KwaZulu-Natal, flowing from its source in the Drakensberg mountains down to the Indian Ocean. Rapids named ‘the liquidiser’ and ‘the washing machine’ should give you an idea of what we are dealing with here.As scary as these giant rapids may sound – and they are, as you take a thorough tumble – the experience is great fun, thrilling and, most of all, they’re safe. No rafting experience is necessary as trained and qualified South African Rivers Association guides lead all trips.


9. Thunder City, Cape Town

Blow your mind on a supersonic jet interceptor as you hurtle through the sound barrier at 1,500km an hour above the ocean. Thunder City offers a unique chance to fly in some of the most exciting, graceful and robust combat jets, including the world’s only flying English Electric Lightnings, the famous cold war supersonic jet interceptor and the world’s only flying Bae Buccaneers, the famous low-level tactical nuclear-capable jet bomber.

A typical sortie in one of these jets offers breathtaking views of Cape Town’s famous Table Mountain and the dramatic Cape coastline, or alternatively travels inland through the rugged Cape Swartland Mountains across the fertile Swartland plains.


10. Orlando Towers Power Swing, Soweto

Bridging the gap between adventure and township tourism, the world’s first bungee swing between 2 cooling towers – 100m off the ground – gives you an unprecendented way to take in the township of Soweto as you hurtle 33 storeys down and freefall for 40m until the swing cables kick in. The ominously named Abyss, another world-first, is similar to the Power Swing but sees you jumping inside the tower, swinging across the width of its base.

The Orlando Towers played a significant role in Soweto’s history. To mark this, the west tower has been painted to reflect the famous sons and daughters of Soweto as well as traditional township scenes. It’s believed to be the biggest mural in South Africa and adds a creative edge to this historic landmark.

There’s also a viewing platform for the less adventurous.

By Sinem Bilen-Onabanjo