Adrenaline-pumping adventure activities are not everyone’s cup of tea. But surveys show that travelers to Africa often find themselves tempted to indulge in some sort of heart stopping African adventure, be it something mellow like canoeing past a pod of hippo in the Lower Zambezi on safari, to something more extreme like abseiling off the top of Table Mountain!
This continent is blessed with breathtakingly beautiful natural surroundings, and outdoor adventure can literally be found around every mountain and at the end of every road. The big draw card is the fact that many adventure activities are reasonably priced and can easily be added to your safari itinerary. So as you scream with thrilling pleasure on a white water rafting trip, your wallet is screaming ‘value’!
An adventure trip to Africa for many offers a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to experience the thrill of a bungee jump or a walk in the wild with lions. Here follows our list of our top ten thrills on the continent:
1. Rhino Tracking in Damaraland, Namibia
Seeing a rhino on foot and in the wild is on more and more traveler’s bucket lists. Damaraland’s eco-camp, Desert Rhino Camp in north-west Namibia, offers rhino tracking in an area that boasts the largest free-roaming black rhino population in Africa. The lodge works closely with the Save the Rhino Trust, which is highly acclaimed for being single-handedly responsible for the preservation of desert-adapted black rhino in the area. Tracking excursions can be done on foot or by open safari vehicle and are accompanied at all times by an experienced ranger.
2. Shark Cage Diving in Gansbaai
Humans are fascinated by sharks in general. And so for the thrill of a lifetime and to observe one of the planets most successful predators in action, shark cage diving is an experience you are bound to remember forever! You can either stay up on the boat and watch the sharks swim in slow circles around the chum. Or … get lowered into a cage just large enough for your body, submerged beneath the surface of the water and then wait suspended in water for a face-to-face encounter with a Great White Shark. Shark cage diving in Gansbaai is definitely near the top of our African adventures list, and not to be missed!
3. Bungee Jumping off the Bloukrans Bridge on the Garden Route
For centuries, humans have sought ways to experience new thrills and adventures, and to stretch their capabilities to its limits. In recent history, such daredevil experiences have come in the form of death defying acts – like hurling yourself from a bridge, secured only by a single rope tied around your ankles. Sound like fun? Drive along the Garden Route till you get to the scenic Bloukrans River Bridge, famous for being the world’s highest bungee jump! Whether you stop to jump or just to watch other crazies in action, this is a fun stopover en route to a safari in one of the Eastern Cape Game Reserves. Other adrenaline generating adventure activities nearby include black water tubing and tree top canopy tours in the Tsitsikamma Forest.
4. White Water Rafting on the Zambezi River at Victoria Falls
The mighty Zambezi River plummets over the Victoria Falls where there are dramatic views, great hotels and lots of fun things to do on both the Zambian and Zimbabwean sides of the river. With so much water about there are many soft adventure activities on the menu – from canoeing to boat based safaris. But big rapid riders will love the white water action below the Falls as well as the high-speed boat trips. Accessed from either the Zimbabwe or Zambian side (except during the high water months of February to July), all you need to do is hold on tight!
5. Microlight Flight over the South Luangwa Valley in Zambia
Like the idea of soaring over the remote Luangwa River Valley like an eagle? Then a microlight with Tafika Camp’s owner John Coppinger (one of Zambia’s most well known safari outfitters) as your pilot guide is one of the most exhilarating things you can do, besides perhaps getting up close to one of the Big Five on a walking safari. Flights are short and sweet and intended primarily to give guests a bird’s eye view of the lay of the land, and insight into the fascinating river and the wildlife that it supports from the air.
6. Walk With Lions at Victoria Falls
No 1 on every first-time safari goer’s list of things to see has to be the King of the Beasts – The African Lion. Can you imagine the thrill of actually walking alongside a pride of lions? This experience has been added to the many experiences on offer at Victoria Falls. Lasting only one hour, visitors can literally walk with habituated lions that are allowed to roam freely. This is one of those unforgettable experiences that will get your heart racing!
7. Adrenaline Combo in Victoria Falls
A trip to Victoria Falls is anything but dull, and it’s not for nothing that it is hailed as the adrenaline capital of Africa. There are so many top adventure activities on offer; the hardest part is choosing which ones to pick. Many combination packages are now available such as combining a cable slide, zip line and gorge swing as well as choosing from tree-top canopy tours, elephant back safaris, river rafting and even an exhilarating flight over the Falls in a helicopter. Regardless of which combination you go for, it’s guaranteed to spike your adrenaline!
8. Rock Climbing on Table Mountain
Table Mountain is not only one of the world’s most famous mountains but also offers guests to the Mother City some of the most popular sporting activities. Rock climbing is an addictive sport (as most local climbers will tell you) and hanging from a cliff face with the backdrop of Cape Town’s skyline is an experience like no other. There are many companies offering packages to this iconic destination, from beginner packages all the way through to the more advanced climbers.
9. Paragliding or Skydiving in Cape Town
Imagine leaping off Cape Town’s Lions Head and gliding all the way down with a bird’s eye view over iconic Table Mountain and the famous beaches of Clifton and Camps Bay? Sound good? Then paragliding is definitely the experience for you! There’s something to be said about flying without any motorized assistance, with the wind in your hair and the incredible vista of the Mother City opening beneath you. For those seeking an even greater thrill with the best views over the beautiful Cape Winelands and Peninsula, skydiving is the pinnacle of this action sport. There are numerous operators in the city offering a mere 40min drive to the drop zone from Cape Town.
10. Deep Sea Fishing in Cape Town
What is a trip to Cape Town without at least one fishing adventure? And we’re not talking about a calm day out at sea. We’re talking about travelling to the deepest parts of the ocean to go deep sea fishing for prize winning creatures like the Yellowfin Tuna and Cape Snoek. Some of these fish can be quite aggressive, posing an exhilarating challenge to even the most experienced angler!
Africa is a place of great beauty and serenity where adventure can be found at every turn. Whether you’re looking to have fun in the water, keen to conquer your fear of heights or fancy a walk on the wild side with some of the continent’s ultimate predators, an African adventure will certainly deliver that thrill you’ve been looking for.