Cape Town - As the lazy winter days start drawing to a close and the idea of springtime adventures crosses my mind, I already start planning out the weekends in my head. My never-ending bucket list of adventures gets longer and I'm more than ready to trade my winter boots for abseiling gear or a river raft. Bring on spontaneous last-minute hikes up Lion's head or weekend cruising on the Breede River.
South Africa is a preferred adventure destination with a selection of beach, mountain or river adventures waiting behind every turn. No matter where you find yourself, you are bound to find a cycling route or hiking spot not too far away.
Wondering what your next spring adventure in stunning SA should be?
Try out these 5 adventure ideas:
1. River rafting in Clarens
On the foothills of the majestic Maluti mountains, a stone's throw from Bethlehem and the mountainous Lesotho, you will find the little arty town, Clarens. Often visited for a tranquil weekend away exploring art galleries and unwinding, some might look right past the opportunity for an adventure! But with the Ash river's year-round flow, a river rafting adventure beckons!
Rivers in SA often only run strong enough for rafting in the rainy seasons, but the Ash is fed by Lesotho's Katse Dam, and forms part of the Lesotho Highlands Water Project.
Half-day trips are popular for social and family bonding, team building with colleagues or romantic adventures - trips for groups of two are welcome. You will take on nine grade 3 and 4 rapids while marveling at the natural beauty of your surroundings. Bird watching is a favourite pastime along the river and you can be sure to spot some unique feathered friends between rapids.
Included: Experienced guide, necessary equipment, transport and drinks. Click here to make your booking!
SEE: 25+ lesser known rivers of South Africa, and why they’re awesome
2. Diving the Aliwal Shoal
This one is definitely not for the fainthearted. Thrill seekers keen to meet the infamous raggies of KwaZulu-Natal are in for a daring adventure. Aliwal Shoal, south of Durban in KZN is a world-renowned diving spot, and in spring time, the raggies meet up for mating season. Explore the beautiful coral reefs and shipwrecks or join for Raggie Bonanza in August.
Dives are suitable for both experienced or inexperienced divers and those keen to learn can do their PADI courses in the Shoal.
3. Hiking the Hottentots Holland mountains
The Western Cape boasts rolling mountains and countless day or overnight hikes. Capetonians love to retreat to Table Mountain or Lion's Head for a leisurely Sunday hike, but many have yet to explore the Hottentots Holland range stretching for 70 000 hectares from Elgin to Villiersdorp and from Stellenbosch to the Groenland mountains.
The Boland hiking trail gives avid hikers the option of various overnight routes including two overnight huts to choose from. If you have more than a weekend, you can do the full three day hike and overnight in both huts.
Embark on the 12km (4 hour) journey from Nuweberg to Landdroskop Hut (the most popular option), the 14km (5 hour) trek from Nuweberg to Boesmanskloof Hut or the strenuous 17km (7 hour) hike from Nuweberg to Boesmanskloof Hut via Pofaddernek and Noordekloof.
Click here to view the Boland Trail map.
The Boland hiking trail is perfect for Spring. The cold Western Cape winter does not allow for swimming in the beautiful natural pools, and the scorching summer sun can make this hike quite gruelling.
Reward yourself to a well-deserved braai at the hut, but remember to pack your own steak (and everything else).
SEE: 6 Spectacular slackpacking trails in SA
4. Drakensberg Discoveries
The Drakensberg is one of SA's must-see tourist destinations for international and local tourists. Many a Saffa has 4X4'ed or hiked the beautiful mountain range and taken a peek at the amphitheatre. This spring, we suggest exploring the central Drakensberg in a totally new way by embarking on a Scootour. In the Central Drakensberg area of KwaZulu-Natal, you will find Dragon Peaks Mountain Resort, home to Scootours Drakensberg.
You will trek the mountain paths on a monster mountain scooter. This is a manually powered scooter, so your legs will have to do some work here and there, but your journey will begin atop a hill and you will mostly trek downhill for a 5.4km descent.
Keen for a bit more danger? Abseiling in the Central Drakensberg is an adrenaline rush everyone has to try at least once. Take a quick 15 minute hike to the top of Chicken Hill, from where you will make your 25m descent.
SEE: Taming the Dragon: 21 things to do in the Drakensberg
5. Biking the Winelands
Much of the Western Cape is covered in rolling vineyards and the province is home to some of the best wines in the world. Capetonians are all too fond of their weekend wine tours to Stellenbosch and Franschhoek, but few of them have probably tried this Boland pastime by bicycle.
Instead of visiting estates through the front gate, make your entrance from the private farm roads connecting popular Stellenbosch wine farms. A 21km guided vineyard tour takes you on a behind the scenes journey from farm to farm and adds adventure to your wine tasting experience.
Bikes 'n Wines offers a selection of biking wine tours. The 21km Stellenbosch cycle starts at Asara. Four wine farms (depending on the day) will be explored. Enjoy a well deserved lunch and learn from the educated guide about the history and culture of the area, as well as the process of growing vines and wine making.
Start your trip in Cape Town, using a complimentary shuttle service, or join the group in Stellies.
Includes: Wine tasting, transport, bicycle and gear, guide, snacks and water.
Click here to find out more and book your adventure!
SEE: Exploring 3 of SA's oldest wine farms
Photo: Bikes 'n Wines
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