From the craggy cliffs of Blyde River Canyon, to the depths of the Indian Ocean in a shark cage – and just about everywhere in between – South Africa dazzles with diversity. Because the choices are enough to make your head spin, the Adventure Life team brings you 15 South Africa Adventures for 2015. Some of the adventures are extreme, while others are more relaxing – but they all make for amazing day trips. You’ll want to keep these adventures in mind while choosing between South Africa tours.
#1 – Witness the migration of the Southern Right Whales
Standing at the Southernmost shores of South Africa, view the Southern Right Whales’ yearly migration into the coastal waters. Binoculars are optional, as the whales swim incredibly close to the shoreline. Humpback whales also migrate here, beginning in May and ending in December. Driving along the Western Cape, you’re sure to find many lookout points. Among the most popular are Lambert’s Bay, Saldanha Bay, and Yzerfontein. Learn more about South Africa whale watching here
#2 – Bungee jump the highest bungee bridge in the world
Head to Nature’s Valley in the Western Cape to find the highest bridge around. The Bloukrans Bridge allows adrenaline junkies the opportunity to bungee jump the highest commercial jumping bridge in the world. The bridge spans over the Bloukrans River, which divides the Western and Eastern Capes. Needless to say, this day trip is not for the faint of heart.
#3 – Go Shark Diving in Durban
It’s not every day you get the opportunity to stare down one of the largest predators in the world. Durban city has a number of outfitters that will take the bravest out to sea to get acquainted with the infamous great white shark. Snap the photos of your life from the safety of the boat deck, or better yet, climb into the shark cage and lower into the great white’s world. Either way, you’ll leave with new-found respect for this magnificent creature.
#4 – Kruger National Park Safari
A South Africa safari
tops the list for most visitors of the Rainbow Nation, and there’s no better place to safari than Kruger National Park. Kruger is one of the oldest and largest game reserves in all of Africa. While here, keep a look out for the Big 5 – the elephant, lion, rhino, leopard, and Cape buffalo. Stay at one of the many luxurious South Africa safari lodges
. If you’re a lover of wildlife and true adventure, then a South Africa safari is surely in order.
#5 – See the African Penguins
Take a short drive from Cape Town to Boulder Beach to see the African Penguins. Since 1982, Boulder beach has been home to a breeding colony of the endangered African penguin. And the sheer number of penguins just about guarantees a sighting. While you’re at Boulder Beach, take a swim in the water, soak in the warm rays and keep an eye out for the ubiquitous baboon. Adventure Life offers a few South Africa tours
that include a trip to Boulder Beach.
#6 – Blyde River Canyon
The craggy cliffs that loom over the Blyde River make for the most spectacular and grandeur scenery. Blyde River Canyon is one of the deepest canyons on Earth, and with its subtropical vegetation, it is likely the “greenest” of all canyons in the world. Because of the verdant and thriving plant life and rich natural resources, Blyde River Canyon
is home to an amazing array of wildlife. On any given day you might come across hippos, antelope, crocs, monkeys and countless bird species.
#7 – Soweto Cultural Excursion
While in Johannesburg, you should take the opportunity to tour the sprawling township of Soweto. In decades past, Soweto was the arena in which the struggle against apartheid was fought. The rich social and cultural history that has shaped the Soweto of today has not always been pretty, but it has refined the township into the epicenter, or heart of South Africa. Music, theatre and the arts thrive here, a place of stark contrasts and few apologies.
#8 – Cape of Good Hope
Aptly coined a “rocky headland,” Cape of Good Hope is located on the Atlantic coast of the Cape Peninsula. The craggy outcroppings, beautiful beaches, and peaceful walking trails are what draw visitors to this spot. Although it is oft-referred to as the “end of Africa,” this is somewhat misleading, as Cape Agulhas
is even further South on the peninsula. Nevertheless, Cape of Good Hope is a fantastic day trip and abounds with wildlife viewing, hiking, walking and birding opportunities.
#9 – Summit the towering Lion’s Head peak
Lion’s Head Mountain looms over the city of Cape Town and offers stunning views of the city and nearby beaches. You can stick to the main trail, or as you near the top you have the choice to merge off to a steeper finish where you’ll find handholds and chains and more strenuous scrambling. Within an hour, the typical person will summit Lion’s Head and will be met with 360˚ panoramic vistas of the surrounding area. Pack a lunch for a picnic at the top and be back in bustling Cape Town by early afternoon.
#10 – V&A Waterfront
The Victoria and Alfred Waterfront, situated on the Atlantic coast in the city of Cape Town, is Africa’s most visited destination. Nearly 25 million locals and internationals come to the V&A Waterfront every year. With over 450 retailers, 80 eateries, and dozens of activities to participate in, the V&A Waterfront is not to be missed while visiting Cape Town. Many South Africa tours include an afternoon of exploring the V&A Waterfront.
#11 – An Afternoon with Mandela
Ferry from the V&A Waterfront to Robben Island, A UNESCO World Heritage Site where for centuries political prisoners were held. Among the captives was Nelson Mandela, the brave soul who led the apartheid struggle in South Africa. Stand at Mandela’s jail cell and journey into the political and racial strife that hung over South Africa like a dark cloud for so long.
#12 – Enjoy a Relaxing River Cruise
Sit back and unwind while cruising one of South Africa’s many ecologically diverse river systems. A river cruise is a great way to experience all that Africa has to offer. Most South Africa river
cruises wind through game reserves. You’ll not only have the opportunity to see hippos and crocs, but you’ll also have the chance to spot the big game of the bush – lions, rhinos, elephants, buffalo and leopard, as they come for a drink.
#13 – Road-trip along The Garden Route
Between Cape Town and Port Elizabeth, The Garden Route offers some of the most magnificent coastline scenery in all of South Africa. It is possible to drive small sections in a day. But we recommend planning at least a few days to drive The Garden Route and to experience the quaint towns and hidden bays that punctuate this breathtaking byway.
#14 – Ostrich Ride in Oudtshoorn
Saddle up! The semi-desert climate of Oudtshoorn is ideal for ostrich farming. Visit one of the many farms to get acquainted with this impressive bird. And yes, you can even take your feathered friend for a ride
(if you meet the weight requirements of course). Afterwards, visit a local restaurant for down home, locally-raised ostrich steak and eggs. But bring everyone you know, as a single ostrich egg is said to feed more than a dozen people.
#15 – Zulu Village of Shakaland
The “greatest Zulu experience in Africa” can be found at Shakaland, in the Kwazulu-Natal region. Painstaking detail went into making the village into an authentic Zulu homestead, complete with 55 hotel rooms in the form of beehive huts. Participate in traditional ceremony, tribal dancing and even meet with an herbalist from the Zulu nation. We recommend heading to Shakaland either before or after your South Africa safari at Kruger National Park.
There are so many South Africa tours and attractions that you are sure to keep busy during your visit. To learn more about other attractions and destinations of the Rainbow Nation, take a look at these articles