Cape Town - South Africa is a real adventure, just waiting to be planned. From our incredible coastlines and mountain passes all the way through to some of the most innovative urban attractions, this is an adventurer's playground supreme.
In no particular order, here are Traveller24's top picks for setting an adventurous pace to your holiday escapes in 2017.
1. Abseiling Lion's Head or Signal Hill, Cape Town
With the Atlantic ocean below you and stunning views of Lions Head, Camps Bay and Robben Island around you, it is hard to beat the 112m abseil of Table Mountain. It is one of the largest commercial abseils in the world and a must for adrenaline junkies. Since the overall experience only takes about an hour to complete it still leaves plenty of time in the day to experience the other thrills available in the mother city.
Contact: Abseil Africa
2. Bungee Jump at Bloukrans
The views of the Bloukrans Valley from Africa’s highest bridge are all the majestic and tranquil but throwing yourself off more than 200 metres down towards the river below certainly is not. Recognised as the ‘highest bungee from a bridge’ in the world, Bloukrans Bungee is sure to give you a head rush of note and all aspiring adventure travellers should give this one a try.
Contact: Face Adrenalin
SEE: Drakensberg Zip-line Adventure: The Ferrari to facing your fears
3. Shark Cage Dive at Gansbaai or Mossel Bay
There are a number of shark cage diving companies operating mainly in the Great White waters of Gansbaai and Mossel Bay along Southern coast of SA. These places - because of their proximity to islands which host prey - have some of the highest concentrations of sharks in the world! What's awesome about these dives, is the fact that during the experience humans are caged - and not the animals!
Contact: Marine Dynamics, Gansbaai, Kleinbaai, Mossel Bay
SEE: 7 Secrets to uncover during a weekend at Grootbos
4. Kite-surfing up the West Coast
Love surfing? Why not take it to the next level in Langebaan? In this little sea side town's perfect beach side location on the warm windy waters of the Langebaan lagoon, professionals will assist you with your first kite experience, helping you nail that first jump as well! The West Coast in itself is one of the Traveller24's Top 10 Scenic routes in SA. Two-day, beginner lesson are about R2 600 per person.
Contact: Coastline Kitesurfing
SEE: How to have a wild adventure in the Western Cape
5. Ceres Zipsliding
There are many zipsliding offerings in South Africa, but the one in Ceres is thrilling beyond. The slides aren’t the highest in the country, nor are they the longest, but they’re certainly some of the steepest – which makes for ultra fast ziplining action over the rocky Ceres Mountain slopes.
Ceres Zipslide Adventures offers a range of slides from 328 feet to 951 feet in length.
The tour will take you through the Schurweberg Mountains, which you will find about an hour-and-a-half drive away from Cape Town. Since the Town of Ceres is often called the “Eden of The Cape” it is certainly worth the trip.
A new zip line, or foofy-slide, recently opened to the public on the quaint, family-owned Silver Mist Estate in Constantia Nek, Cape Town. Adventure seekers can now glide over the scenic valleys of the beautiful Constantia Nek area on Table Mountain, which also forms part of the Table Mountain Reserve.
Contact: Ceres Zipling
SEE: Kayaking the Supermoon: A larger than life adventure
6. Helicopter Rides
The best way to see South Africa's amazing cities is undoubtedly from the sky, which means helicopter rides are highly recommended. Although you can opt for the usual sedate private helicopter tours these won’t exactly get the adrenaline flowing. Instead, go for something like the Huey combat flying trips in Cape Town where you are whisked around in a Bell UH1 Huey Helicopter. It is one of the most famous and widely used military helicopters to date and this series saw a lot of action in Vietnam in particular.
READ: 7 Delightful ways locals can spoil themselves in Cape Town
5. The Cango Caves
Caving provides a real adrenaline rush and the Cango Caves is no exception. Head to the Swartberg Mountains, 30 kilometres north of Oudtshoorn, to explore hidden chambers of these 20-million-year-old caves, cut deeply into the solid limestone rock layer. But don't for one second think you'll only be taking a scenic tour of the ancient stalagmite formations as the subterranean tours
SEE: #KarooSecrets: A long-weekend in Oudtshoorn
6. Augrabies Falls, Orange River
The Augrabies Falls, fed by the Orange River, and located in Augrabies Falls National Park is a national park located about 120 km west of Upington in the Northern Cape Province is a sight to behold when in full flood. Hiking up to the summit of Moon Rock to see one of the park’s best views is a worthy little adventure and pretty inexpensive too.
READ: 25+ Lesser-known rivers of South Africa and why they're awesome
7. Sterkfontein Caves
The Cradle of Humankind World Heritage Site, near Maropeng, is filled with fascinating discoveries and going caving in these limestone caves, means you can explore the places where the likes of "Mrs Ples” and “Little Foot” were first discovered. Certainly an interesting experience for the whole family.
READ: Maropeng Visitors Guide: 6 ways to make the most of the Cradle of Humankind
8. Hartbeespoort Aerial Cableway
Take the ‘Harties Cableway’ for an exhilarating ride on the longest mono-cableway in Africa and some fabulous view of the Hartbeespoort Dam and Magaliesberg mountain range. Great for nature lovers who will enjoy hiking the area but the is also an educational KidsZone and walkway ensuring a fun experience for the whole family.
9. Zip 2000, Sun City
If you want to experience the Zipslide that started it all, you will have to make the journey down to Sun City for the Zip 2000. While no longer the holder of the longest or highest zip line title, this 2.4km ride has average speeds of 120km per hour and can even reach speeds of up to 160km per hour. Other zip lines worth checking out are Ballito Zip line Tour, Citrusdal SA Forest Adventure and Lake Eland Zip Line.
Contact: Zip 2000
SEE: PICS: Sun City relaunches after R1bn upgrade
10. Bill Harrop’s Original Balloon Safaris
An experience that has become quite legendary. Soar above the Cradle of Mankind, the Magalies River Valley and the Hartbeespoort Dam during this chilled Balloon Safaris. Passengers assemble at dawn in the Skeerpoort balloon launch area for a snack of hot drinks and biscuits before embarking on the hour long ride.
11. Blyde River Canyon
The Blyde River Canyon Nature Reserve is the world’s third largest canyon and exceptionally beautiful. Home to the aptly named God’s Window, this wonder situated near the Kruger National Park, the Mpumalanga Nature Reserve - adventurers can opt to go hiking, biking, fishing and abseiling, to white-water rafting, boat trips and much more.
12. Iconic Otter Trail
The Otter Hiking Trail found in the Tsitsikamma Coastal National Park, Eastern Cape, is undoubtedly South Africa's most sought-after endurance trail. It is a five-day trail, commencing at the Storms River Mouth Rest Camp and stretching westward as far as the Groot River estuary at Nature's Valley, a distance of about 43km. Accommodation is provided in four beautifully appointed overnight camps. The first hike took place in 1968, making it the oldest official hiking trail in South Africa.
SEE: Is the Otter Trail really worth the year-long waiting list?
13. Tsitsikamma Tree top canopy tours
This Canopy Tour in the Storms River Village is fun for the entire family, and the kids will love foofy-sliding in the forest between trees, 30 meters above the forest floor. This is a great activity for teaching the younger lot in your family about the abundant indigenous plant and bird life Stormsriver.
14. Sani Pass 4x4 – the route to the highest pub in Africa
Sani Pass is the mother of all South African mountain passes. Statistically and in every sense, it out distances, out climbs, and out performs all its competitors with consummate ease to have become the most iconic gravel pass in SA. It's a challenging drive in a 4X4 vehicle with all the drama, scenery, bad weather and treacherous conditions expected of a pass with a summit altitude of 2876 meter ASL. (BTW, that equates to 9 400 feet. At 10 000 feet, aircraft need pressurized cabins!) This is high-altitude stuff. Go prepared for bad weather at any time and expect snowfalls as late as October.
READ: SA's most extreme mountain passes
15. Motorbiking in the Baviaanskloof
Baviaanskloof Mega Reserve in the Eastern Cape is considered the number one adventure motorcycle route in Southern Africa. The route is an easy ride for most levels of riders. It covers an estimated 175 km from gate to gate, with loose gravel, steep passes and several river crossings giving this adventure playground its sought after character. It's best to do the route over three days and explore the area to its full potential - from the Patensie side to the Makadaat Caves and Nuwekloof Pass on the Willowmore side.
READ: Epic routes to 6 of SA's best motorcycle rallies
SEE: #FindYourEscape: Top Eastern Cape adventures
16. Abseil at Oribi Gorge Nature Reserve
Up for a challenge? The perfect way to take in the spectacular views of Oribi Gorge is to abseil down the gorge, of course. Beginners work with qualified trainers who will show you the ropes. Adrenaline rush? Abseil down a 110 meter cliff next to the Lehr’s waterfall. Make sure you have your GorPro ready!
READ: Featherbed Nature Reserve - a sacred inheritance
17. Surfing at Jeffrey’s Bay
One of top surf spots on the globe, Supertubes is the most famous area of this surfing town. Navigating Lava reef will be tricky, while the Less experienced surfers can try Kitchen Windows.READ: St Francis and Jeffreys Bay: 13 Things to make the most of this coastal escape
18. Drakensberg Amphitheatre Heritage Trail and Chain Ladder via Sentinel Climb
This popular trail to the Amphitheater escarpment in the Drakensberg is so rewarding. The hike involves a chain ladder which ascends the final 30 meter of cliff face in two sections. The Tugela Falls, the world's second tallest falls - and the highest in Africa) - plunges 948m over the basalt face of the Amphitheatre as well as the highest point on the escarpment - the Mont-Aux-Sources at 3283m are just some of the highlights of this extraordinary adventure spot in SA.
19. Moses Mabhida Stadium
Built to host the 2010 FIFA World Cup soccer matches in Durban this stadium not only enthralls local sports fans but it has its own SkyCar and a 550 step walk to the top of its arch for a fantastic views of Durban - the Big Rush swing is a must for all thrill seekers though.