South Africa Outdoor ActivitiesSouth Africa Adventure and Leisure Pursuits
All nine of South Africa's provinces offer a wide range of activities from deep sea diving and shark cage diving to mountain climbing and abseiling, elephant-back safaris, fishing, surfing, hang gliding, hot-air ballooning, whale watching... the list is endless.
When visiting South Africa, whether you are young or old, there's an adventure option within your fitness range that will add a lot of fun to your stay in South Africa. There are plenty of activities to choose from and the choice is growing all the time.
The daring, ultra-fit thrill-seekers opt for hair raising stunts such as bungee jumping, riding the rapids, diving with great white sharks, and leaping from the skies with parachutes strapped to their backs. Hikers follow adventure trails, climbers scale the mountain peaks, and anglers stand thigh-high in streams waiting for trout to snatch the fly.
Popular options for the less energetic traveller to South Africa include bird-watching, snorkelling and the ever popular hot air ballooning. South Africa's near perfect climate provides ideal conditions for hot air ballooning, and it doesn't require any exertion. All you do is climb aboard a basket, wait for lift off, relax and enjoy fabulous birds-eye views of the countryside. The wind, the pilot and the crew do all the work, and at the end of the flight, a celebratory glass of champagne and scrumptious brunch await you.
White water rafting can be either gentle or terrifying, depending on the river. Some, like the Doring in the Western Cape, are fast-flowing and steep. Others, including the Orange River, are calm and undemanding. You need to be reasonably fit for the really wild rivers, but most people who can swim can cope with gentle conditions. Thrills and occasional spills, tranquillity, bird song, great scenery and good company provide the ideal ingredients for a memorable excursion.
For snorkelling - the easiest (and cheapest) way of exploring the rich marine life of the underwater world - all you need is a pair of fins, a snorkel and a face mask. The rest is up to you. Scuba diving is in a different league altogether, and you should be a fairly good swimmer before thinking of taking the plunge. You'll also need specialised gear and a knowledge of the physical effects and potential dangers of the "foreign" environment. A course takes a minimum of five days and includes theory and practice sessions.
You don't have to be an experienced rider to take part in a horseback safari, and in the saddle you'll probably get closer to game than you would on foot or in a vehicle. Novice riders quickly gain confidence, and those who've tried it say that the combination of riding and game-viewing is irresistible.
For more thrill-seeking options and outdoor activities see our menu of options alongside. For specific activities and ideas on what to do in the area you are visiting see Things to Do in South Africa for more specific details.
Popular Adventures & Activities
Shark Cage Diving
Where? Gansbaai / Mossel Bay
Shark cage diving in South Africa has grown greatly in popularity and there are now a number of commercialized locations to view these incredible monsters of the deep. Your adrenaline is sure to pump as you come almost face to face with the sea....
More info and photographs: Shark Cage Diving in South Africa
Elephant Back Safaris
Imagine yourself, perched 6ft in the air on the back of a 6 ton elephant, slowly making your way through open velds or dense forests. Itís a safari like no other. As such, Elephant Back Safaris are growing in popularity. Game viewing on elephant...
More info and photographs: Elephant Back Safaris in South Africa
Big 5 Game Viewing
Where? South Africa's Game Reserves
The roar of lions echoing across the endless savannah, the sound of crickets under a star studded sky. this is what you will experience when you visit one of the fine reserves teeming with wildlife in South Africa. South Africa is a wildlife paradise...
More info and photographs: Game Viewing in South Africa
Where? Hermanus (and other locations)
For those of you who haven't yet sat in a boat, or stood on land, and marvelled as a whale the size of a jumbo jet rises out of the water just in front of you, or glides past and 'catches' your eye, then you have yet to become obsessed with watching...
More info and photographs: Whale Watching in South Africa