South Africa has a great variety of fun things to do, especially for the adventurous tourist. This country has many different types of landscapes, from beautiful sandy beaches to open grasslands, deserts and subtropical forests. Not only does it have a rich cultural heritage, but it also has magnificent wildlife.
Here are a few fun things to do in the country.
No one can visit South Africa and not take in the magnificent wildlife. Kruger National Park is more extensive than some European countries and has many different species, including the Big 5 (elephants, lions, leopards, hippos and rhinos).
Game drives are conducted in open vehicles, and nothing beats seeing a huge bull elephant walk by or passing by a male lion and smelling the rancid odor of past kills. Kruger is not the only Big 5 reserve in South Africa, and there is a wide range of accommodation options available.
If you visit Durban on the North Coast of South Africa, be sure to visit the soccer stadium where you can climb the arch over top and take a ride on the world’s tallest rope swing — an adrenalin rush of note!
Drive down the coast, and you will come to the famed Garden Route, which is known for its spectacular scenery. There, you’ll come across the bridge over the Bloukrans River. If you are brave enough, dive off the deck and enjoy a bungee jump with a fall of over 700 feet.
Dive with Sharks
South Africa is renowned for the Great White Sharks that are found around the coast. This feared apex predator of the sea feeds on seals and has a horrible reputation for biting swimmers and surfers. Travel to a small seaside town called Gansbaai (about 150 km from Cape Town near Cape Agulhas).
There, you will find daredevils who invite you to try swimming with Great Whites. They will take you out and lower you into a cage where you can watch these fearsome predators feed on bait in the water.
If the idea of protection doesn’t interest you, other adventure sports aficionados will accompany you on dives sans cage with tiger and bull sharks.
Meeting the friendly people in South Africa is a must. Take a tour from Johannesburg to the township of Soweto and learn the history of this vibrant area. Enjoy a meal at a local tavern and spend time with the friendly faces that you will find.
Climb Table Mountain
Table Mountain is one of the Modern Wonders of the World, and this block of sandstone with a flat top rises about 3,500 feet above the city of Cape Town. Many routes take you up to the summit. You can either take the cable car and ride in leisure up to the top or take one of the almost 350 trails that wind their way up the side of the mountain and hike your way up.
If you walk, make sure that you take note of the weather, as it is very volatile on the mountain and clouds often lie on top (the famous tablecloth). Once on top, the views over Table Bay and the city bowl are magnificent. And with the flat top, it is very safe for people to enjoy a walk on the surface.
This country has some of the best surfing conditions to be found anywhere in the world. Hire yourself a vehicle and drive from Cape Town along the coast, stopping at any small seaside village where you can surf on a beautiful beach. Make sure you visit Jeffreys Bay, which is known worldwide for its fantastic surf. Take a wetsuit along, as the water can be cold.
Both fresh- and sea-water kayaking is popular in South Africa. For fresh-water kayaking, travel to the St Lucia estuary, where you can take a trip that includes hippos and crocodiles. The hippo is an extremely dangerous animal and moves far faster than many people realize. Do not consider taking a kayak onto the estuary unless you have a professional guide, as these animals are not to be trifled with.
Almost all the big coastal cities have operators who will take you out onto the sea in a kayak. Enjoy paddling around with penguins and seals.
Orange River Rafting
The Orange River is a big, lazy river that flows through some very different territory. Close to where it joins the sea, it flows through a dry, rocky semidesert that is home to the nomadic Nama people.
The rocks are streaked with reds, browns and yellows, and in the early morning and late afternoon, the colors are spectacular. These bright hues are set off close to the river with splashes of green, the only vegetation that grows all year round in the region.
Several operators run inflatable tours down the river where you can paddle during the day and enjoy an open-air camping experience at night when the stars seem to be so close you can reach up and touch them. A truly spiritual experience.
Hot Air Balloon Rides
Just outside of Johannesburg, you will find the Magalies River Valley. This valley is home to a wide variety of entertainment options — from casinos to safari parks — but do not leave the area without trying a hot air balloon ride at daybreak.
The balloon will rise slowly into the sky, and then in almost complete silence, you drift with the wind across the landscape. You can clearly hear the birds waking up, and if you float over the Pilanesberg Game Reserve, you will see animals on the ground utterly unaware of your presence.
Take a toboggan run
Climb onto a cart at the start of a 1.7 km thrill ride and hold your breath. This three- to five-minute run down the side of the mountain twists and turns through beautiful fields of flowers and forests. This fabulous experience can be found on the Panorama Route near Long Tom Pass, which is about 23 km from Sabie.