A Guide To Adventure Travel in South Africa
It can be easy to write off Africa as a vast desert land, a tropical continent filled with lions and tigers and hippos (oh my!). South Africa, however, is more than the sum of it’s beastly parts. From the arid grasslands of Highveld to the sandy beaches in Cape Town, adventure trips in South Africa vary widely. Prepare for a whirlwind trip (filled to the brim-of-your-safari-hat with thrills and new experiences!), as well as the chance to pick up some strange colloquialisms from the locals (like howzit?, a common greeting). Mountain and rock climbing in South Africa get points for being particularly epic in the Rainbow Nation. All adventurers must join us there!
When you aren’t busy exploring the incredible habitats on a safari during your South Africa adventures, take the time to explore the historical regions of the country. These can be found from the fossil-bearing caves along the sandy coastlines to the derelict ruins of the Kingdom of Mapungubwe.
Cape Town is renowned for its sunny promenades, nature preserves, and stunning holiday vistas. With a variety of activities for travelers to choose from, daredevils will be spoiled for choice as they plan an itinerary of rock climbing, hiking through the Lion’s Heart at sunrise, and for those brave enough, cage diving for sharks. Don’t forget to drop by the Boulder Penguin Colony and interact with your new waddle-y friends! They are known to be quite feisty towards strangers, though (avoid temptations to pet them….or challenge them to a sing off like in “Happy Feet”!).
Experience the chameleon-like city of Johannesburg—a town that is ever-evolving, ever-transforming and ever-reaching towards an exhilarating atmosphere. Famed for being the city which sparked action against an apartheid regime, Johannesburg reflects a town that is determined to persevere. Try something completely unique while experiencing South African adventure holidays, such as signing up to volunteer at the wildlife sanctuary, a rehabilitation center for injured animals. You can commit to the program for as little as two weeks and work closely with the animals in the center. You will become chommas, or friends, in no time!
Surf’s up! Port Elizabeth stretches along the western coast, offering travelers idyllic sunbathing, sports, and a strong current for those eager to tail the waters. Adventure tours in South Africa don’t always have to be about adrenaline pumping! Not only is it a great place to work on your tan, but it also plays host to some of the most coveted pints of beer in the country. Sit back, read a book, and sip the chilled glass of Africa’s finest suds as you relax and gaze out into the dazzling blue waters.
Adventure trips in South Africa will immediately allure those looking for the combination of hard and soft adventure! From snorkeling to rock climbing, surfing, and hiking to bar-hopping and safari-ing, it’s understandable why the action-fueled country of South Africa might deter some introverts! Plenty of opportunities arise, however, for those people who prefer to lay back and take it easy – yoga retreats are a fan-favorite.
There is an array of ecology-themed adventure tours in South Africa that’ll bring you up close and personal with some of the moferocious creatures on the planet, both on land and in water. When you sign up for an eco-tour in South Africa, you know you can just simply enjoy the view as you observe the magnificent animals in their own habitats, without the fear of animal rights abuses.
If you’re concerned about the South African climate, the best time of the year to go is between May to September, as these are driest months. Avoid going in December at all costs, for this is when the schools are on holiday and there are many crowds.
South Africa remains as one of the most affordable countries for travel and living. Cape Town ranks as seventh out of the most inexpensive nights out in the world. Your travel expenses, such as flights and transportation, will be your highest expenditure. Adventure tours in South Africa can come at a hefty price as well, but setting an itinerary prior will ensure that you do not spend (toooo much…) money on unnecessary expenses (like braai!). Eating out, however, is relatively quite inexpensive across South Africa.
Whether you are planning a lush getaway to a South African resort with a loved one or hope to experience a “down-and-dirty” backpacking journey between each town, adventure trips in South Africa provides a range of accommodation options that will suit every budget and traveling style! From five-star hotels to cramped hostel digs with your mates, you will easily find a place to rest your dozy head.
You might be a bit of a risk taker, but it’s strongly advised that you do not sleep on the beach or in the back of a van during your stay in South Africa adventure holidays. Leave your daredevil streak for during the day, alright?!
Generally speaking, travelers visiting for 90 days or less for tourist purposes do not need visas to enter South Africa. The visa requirements varies by country, so make sure to check in with GoAbroad's Embassy Directory before embarking on your trip to avoid the risk of being refused entry!
Sporting one of the most tropical climates in the world, adventure travelers are almost guaranteed good weather during their visit! This is your chance to break out that outfit you’ve been dying to show off but needed the appropriate weather to wear it. Don’t miss the splendor of suburbia, where locals enjoy a laid-back and peaceful way of life. Dive into the authentic culture of the rural countryside, weaving your way through the eclectic markets and picturesque nature. Integrate with the locals, barter at the stalls, sip on Pinotage or ciders, hike through the mountainous foothills, and spot the wild critters (don’t forget your binoculars!).
However, you should exercise extreme street-savvy in urban regions! Crime is highly common amongst travelers with many instances of violence and theft being reported each year. Stay within crowded areas at all times and do not venture anywhere by yourself after the sun sets; this may sound like a line from a spooky ghost story, but your safety should always be top priority. While in the wilderness, be conscious of your surroundings. Wild animals aren’t what they seem in those Disney films you watched as a kid. Do not wander away from assigned tour groups and obey your guides directions at all times. Oh, and wear sunscreen!
South Africa adventures are more than an excuse to sing your favorite song by Simba and friends. It’s eclectic, it’s vibrant, it’s colorful, it’s soulful. You can experience a thumping city life or a relaxing nature getaway. It’s all here waiting for you!