Year-round sunny skies and a relatively temperate climate make it hard to resist the lure of South Africa’s great outdoors. Whatever your predilection – be it leisurely hikes, deep-sea diving or the rush of white-water rafting – the country’s adventure activities are guaranteed to get your blood pumping.
t A scuba diver swimming with a school of yellow french grunts
Protected within the marine sector of iSimangaliso Wetland Park, Sodwana Bay’s spectacular coral reefs are a magnet for snorkellers and scuba divers. You’re guaranteed to see plenty of colourful reef fish, and if you’re lucky you might also encounter turtles, rays, moray eels, ragged-toothed sharks and other marine giants. Caged shark dives in Gansbaai and elsewhere off the Western Cape coast offer heart-stopping encounters with toothsome great whites.
It’s easy to explore South Africa’s scenic wild places on foot, thanks to the extensive network of walking trails. An almost limitless choice of day trails is available to families and moderately active travellers, while specialized destinations for overnight hikers include the uKhahlamba-Drakensberg, Garden Route and Cederberg. Try one of the guided wilderness trails in Kruger or Hluhluwe-Imfolozi for a walk on the wild side in Big Five territory.
The most established rafting venue is the Orange River, where options range from mellow overnight camping trips to the short but frantic Augrabies Rush. Elsewhere, you can glide through a valley of volcanic outcrops on eSwatini’s Usutu and traverse Grade IV rapids at Mpumalanga’s Blyde. For a more sedate option, try canoeing through the forested gorge carved by the Touws River in Wilderness.
DISCOVER South Africa Your Way
Bloukrans Bridge Bungee
The world’s highest commercial bungee jump, with a stomach-churning drop of 216 m (709 ft).
Abseiling from Table Mountain
A giddying descent from the 1,000-m- (3,280-ft-) tall plateau of Table Mountain towering above Camps Bay.
Tugela Falls Hike
This challenging day hike in uKhahlamba-Drakensberg Park includes a vertiginous ascent of two long chain ladders.