Looking for the most adventurous things to do in South Africa to add to your bucket list? Then you’ve come to the right place!
There is a reason that South Africa is one of the best countries in Africa for adventure enthusiasts. With distinctive landscapes, breathtaking natural beauty, a mix of diverse cultures, and countless activities, you are sure to find adventure when you visit.
13 Adventurous Things To Do In South Africa
Have you ever wanted to swim with sharks? Jump out of a plane? See lions up close? If so, then read on to find out the most adventurous things to do during your trip to South Africa:
1. World’s Highest Bungee Jump
A trip along the coast is not complete without stopping at the Bloukrans Bridge in Tsitsikamma National Park and taking a leap off the tallest bridge in Africa. Bungee jumping is definitely one of the most adventurous things you can do in South Africa.
At 708 feet above the bottom of the gorge, the Bloukrans Bridge offers the highest commercial bungee jump in the world and is a must for thrill-seekers.
The bungee jump is facilitated by Face Adrenalin and costs about $100 per person. You can book online for discounts and other adventure activities around the bridge, such as canyoning and ziplining.
If you are not ready to take the plunge (literally) and do a bungee jump, you can take the Sky-Walk tour for around $10 instead.
2. Safaris and Game Drives
Going on a safari and seeing wild animals up close is a bucket list item for nearly every visitor to the continent of Africa. Fortunately, South Africa has dozens of game reserves and national parks where safaris are possible.
South Africa’s own Kruger National Park is one of the largest game reserves in Africa. In Kruger, you will have ample opportunities to see the Big 5 (lions, leopards, rhinos, elephants, and buffaloes), as well as hundreds of other species of animals.
Many parks, such as Kruger National Park, allow self-drive safaris, meaning that you can drive your own car around the park as you please. You can also hire a knowledgeable guide to take you around the park to the best locations for wildlife viewing.
Other parks offer sunrise and sunset guided drives, usually in a 4×4.
Daily conservation fees cost around $30 per person for international visitors.
You’ll probably want to stay for more than one day, so it’s best to decide which kind of accommodation you would like while inside the park. Cheap camping sites are available for around $15, but there are dozens of options for mid-range and luxury lodges as well.
Although Kruger National Park is the largest park in South Africa, there are dozens of other game reserves all over the country that will give you an epic wildlife experience. Addo Elephant Park in the Eastern Cape and Mapungubwe National Park in Limpopo are both popular options as well.
Wherever you plan to go in South Africa, you will probably find a safari close by.
Another one of the most adventurous things to do in South Africa is surfing.
Although South Africa has many incredible surf spots for varying skill levels, the most famous (and most exhilarating) can be found in Jeffrey’s Bay.
This surf town in the Eastern Cape is home to the world-famous “Super Tubes,” a near-perfect right-hand point break that should be on every surfer’s bucket list. This reef break is fast and big, so advanced surfers should only attempt it.
If you’re not ready for Supers just yet, you can head to one of the other many incredible surf spots around Jeffrey’s Bay or book a surf lesson in the center of town.
Cape Town is another hot spot for surfers. If you’re new, consider booking a surfing lesson in Muizenberg before heading out to larger swells.
Surfboard and wetsuit rentals cost as little as $12 for four hours and $20 a day.
South Africa is the perfect place to find some pretty exhilarating rapids for those who love the adrenaline-filled fun of whitewater rafting.
Several exceptional rivers are perfect for whitewater activities throughout the country, all with different landscapes and scenery to enjoy as you barrel down the river. Here are a few of the most exhilarating:
✔ The Tugela River flows from the Drakensberg Mountains down to the coast. You can book a day trip or multi-day trip in Durban and travel from there. Half-day trips start at around $50.
Book your rafting excursion on the Tugela River with Dirty Boots SA.
✔ The Orange River, South Africa’s longest river, offers some spectacular desert views and some epic rapids. Half-day trips start at around $40, but you can stay on the river for up to 6 days if you feel extra adventurous.
We recommend booking your rafting tour with Orange River Rafting!
✔ Blyde River Canyon, the 3rd largest canyon in the world, is not only breathtaking but has some epic rapids as well. Most rafting trips can be booked privately through the nearby resorts.
5. Go Caving!
Many of South Africa’s most popular adventure activities take place in the water or the air, but there is adventure to be found below ground as well.
South Africa is home to some of the oldest and most extensive cave systems in the world. From massive, echoing caverns to narrow crevices filled with crystals, dozens of unique and interesting caves are open to the public. Here are just a few:
The Cango Caves, near Oudtshoorn, Western Cape Province, are one of the world’s largest and longest cave systems, with over 3 miles of tunnels that make up the entire system. They are also considered South Africa’s oldest tourist attraction.
There are two types of tours available, the Heritage Tour and the Adventure Tour. The Heritage Tour is an easy-going informative tour to some of the main caverns and costs around $10.
The Adventure Tour is for those who’d like to explore the caves more deeply, squeezing through narrow tunnels and scrambling up sheer rock faces. This tour will undoubtedly be a challenge and is not for the unfit or those with claustrophobia.
The Adventure Tour costs only $15 and also includes the main Heritage Tour.
Some other incredible caves in South Africa are The Cradle of Humankind in Gauteng and the Sudwala Caves in Limpopo.
The Cradle of Humankind is a Unesco World Heritage site and is considered to have some of the earliest known fossils of human ancestors. The Sudwala Caves are 240 million years old, some of the oldest caves in the world.
You can book your Cradle of Humankind caving excursion here!
The 3 caves mentioned above are only a few of the many cave systems found all over South Africa. If you are keen to explore underground, you will have many epic options to choose from.
6. Canopying Tours
Another way to explore South Africa’s diverse natural beauty is to go on a tree-top canopy tour. These tours involve ziplining from platform to platform as you keep an eye out for some of South Africa’s incredible wildlife.
There are 7 areas around the country where you can take a tour, each one unique and exciting in its own way.
If you would like to zipline in the dark, then the canopy tour is the one for you. Each tour costs around $60 per person, but promotions are frequently available on Canopy Tours.
Adventurous Things To Do In Cape Town, South Africa
Staying in Cape Town for your South Africa trip and looking for the most adventurous things to do there? This city is filled with incredible adventures waiting for you to experience.
Naturally, going to the top of Table Mountain is a must for any visitor to Cape Town. But how about abseiling down?
One way to get your heart pumping while also seeing some of the most beautiful views of the city, the ocean, and the Twelve Apostles is to book an abseiling adventure and rappel over 350 feet off of the side of Table Mountain.
The moment when you first jump off of the edge of the cliff is absolutely harrowing, but it gets easier as you go down, giving you a moment to look around and marvel at the epic beauty.
A 45-minute abseil usually costs between $80 and $100, but companies frequently run specials that go as low as $25 a person.
You can book your abseiling excursion on Table Mountain by clicking here!
8. Shark Cage Diving
Have you ever wanted to swim with sharks? Well, you’re in luck because in South Africa, shark cage diving is readily available (and completely safe).
The oceans around South Africa are well known for their population of great white sharks, so you will have many opportunities to get a closer look. The best time to go shark cage diving is winter (June- September) when visibility is best.
The small town of Gansbaai, located only two hours outside of Cape Town, is considered the best place for shark cage diving.
A simple shark cage dive tour costs between $120-$150, but you can add extra activities such as whale watching, helicopter rides, and ziplining for a higher cost.
If you don’t feel like traveling outside of Cape Town, you can head down to Simonstown, a mere 30 minutes from the city center. These trips run from $120 in low season and $300 in high season (May-September).
Book your shark diving excursion with the best Cape Town company here!
Skydiving is probably one of the first activities that come to mind when you think of “adventure,” and with good reason. Jumping out of a plane at 10,000 feet will surely get your heart racing.
Although skydiving is available worldwide, skydiving over the epic views of Table Mountain and the Cape Peninsula is hard to compete with.
Most companies operate just outside of Cape Town, in the Cape Winelands area, and usually offer transport from the city to the drop site. Basic packages fall just under $200, while deluxe packages with photos and video run closer to $350.
A favorite for both tourists and locals, paragliding is a must for adrenaline junkies in Cape Town. The two most popular paragliding spots are Lion’s Head and Signal Hill, both located right in the heart of the city.
Not only will you feel exhilarated as you sail through the air at daring heights, but you will get to see the city from a whole new breathtaking perspective.
Tandem paragliding costs around $90 per flight, with a little extra for photos and videos. There are often monthly specials through various companies, with flights as low as $50, so keep an eye out!
You can book your paragliding tour ahead of time with the best paragliding company in Cape Town here.
Although you can’t really go snowboarding in South Africa, you can go sandboarding! Strap on a board and shred through the sand, just the same as if you were on a snowy mountaintop.
The famous Dragon Dune boasts the longest sandboard ride in South Africa, at almost 400 yards long, and is located in Mossel Bay, about four hours from Cape Town. If you are traveling along the Garden Route, Dragon Dune should definitely be on the itinerary.
If you don’t have time to head out of the city, there are plenty of awesome dunes in and around the Cape Peninsula that are waiting to be ridden.
Sandboarding is one of the cheaper adventure activities on this list, at a mere $30 or less. Or you can combine it with a quad biking tour for even more adventure!
Note: Be sure to check the weather before you book, as the companies might reschedule if it rains and the dunes are wet.
Adventurous Things To Do In Johannesburg, South Africa
Perhaps your trip to South Africa is centered around Johannesburg.. you can still find some of the most adventurous things to do in South Africa near Joburg!
12. Orlando Towers in Soweto
If you find yourself in Johannesburg, be sure to head over to Soweto, South Africa’s largest and most well-known township.
You will find two massive, beautifully painted towers in Soweto, once part of a decommissioned power plant. Because most homes in Soweto are one-story, the towers can be seen from a great distance and have become a cultural landmark in the township.
Today, the Orlando Towers are used for extreme sports. The most popular activity at the Orlando Towers (also known as the Soweto Towers) is bungee jumping 100 meters (328 feet) from the suspension bridge that connects them.
It costs around $40 for a regular bungee jump and $70 for a straight jacket jump.
Another exciting activity available at the Orlando Towers is the world’s highest SCAD (Suspended Catch Air Device) free fall, in which you fall back and drop for 50 meters (164 feet) into a suspended net that breaks your fall.
The freefall takes place in the Western Cooling Tower and costs around $26 per person.
There are other activities available as well, such as paintballing and climbing, though they must be booked in advance.
If you’d rather just enjoy the view from the top of the tower, it costs around $5 for entry. The panorama itself is incredibly rewarding with a 360-degree view of culturally vibrant Soweto.
Adventurous Things To Do In Gauteng, South Africa
Technically speaking, Johannesburg is located in the South Africa province of Gauteng. But with so many adventurous things to do in this province, we wanted to include everything that South Africa offers.
13. Hot Air Balloon Safari
Although there are many unique ways to go on a safari in South Africa, observing the wildlife as you gently float above them is a pretty unique experience.
The hot air balloon safari is not as adrenaline-filled as the other activities on this list, but the 360-degree view is well worth it.
The flights begin at one of the many lodges in the Magaliesburg region, just 30 minutes from Johannesburg, and travel over the Cradle of Humankind World Heritage site. You can expect to see at least 2 of the Big 5 animals on any given day, as well as some breathtaking scenery.
Several tour operators are available online, with costs ranging from $160-$200 per person for a group tour. Most packages include champagne during the flight and breakfast afterward, so you will definitely feel like the experience is money well spent.
Book your Safari Hot Air Balloon Tour here!
Pro Tip: After your flight, be sure to explore the Cradle of Humankind Unesco site more thoroughly and take a caving tour.
Where Would You Take An Adventurous Tourist Visiting South Africa?
Although Cape Town and the Garden Route are both considered South Africa’s unofficial “Adventure Capitals,” adventure can be found anywhere in the country.
Most tourist visas give 90 days to explore the country and believe me, you will need all 90 of them, if not more. South Africa is a large country with a lot to do and see, but it is best not to rush to see everything.
Like many travelers who visit the “Rainbow Nation,” you will probably come again and again.
A popular route for travelers is to begin the trip in Cape Town, then rent a car and travel along the Garden Route. After the Garden Route, you will proceed onto the Eastern Cape and Wild Coast region with epic beauty and off-the-beaten-track villages.
From there, you can either explore mountainous Lesotho and the Drakensberg, or you can head to tropical Durban and try the famous “Bunny Chow” and go diving.
Head up to Johannesburg and be sure to visit Soweto while you’re there, then proceed to Kruger National Park for a safari. Blyde River Canyon, the world’s 3rd largest canyon, is relatively close to Johannesburg and should not be missed.
Remember, this route is just one way to travel South Africa. Part of the fun is not to plan too much and just see where the adventure takes you.
Adventurous Things To Do In South Africa: FAQs
So you’ve discovered all of the adventurous things to do in South Africa, but you still have some burning questions, no? Here are the most common questions people have when traveling to South Africa:
Are There Safaris in South Africa?
Yes! Going on a safari is one of the most popular activities for those visiting South Africa.
South Africa has dozens of national and private game reserves all over the country, giving ample opportunities to see wildlife in their natural habitats. Because of its varying landscapes, the wildlife in each tends to vary as well.
For example, Addo Elephant Park has an enormous population of (you guessed it) African Elephants. You are more likely to spot the elusive leopard at Sabi Sands Game Reserve.
Some game reserves are in deserts, while others are in lush forests. Many travelers to South Africa visit multiple game reserves during their time here.
If you are short on time and cannot explore the whole country, you’ll still be able to find a private game reserve nearby that fits well into your itinerary.
What Are Some Unique Things To Do In South Africa?
On top of adventure activities, South Africa offers many incredibly unique experiences, things you might not have the chance to do elsewhere:
✅ Visit Kaaimans Grotto, a seaside cave turned shelter and makeshift museum, in Wilderness, Western Cape, only reachable by abandoned train tracks.
✅ Drive down the beautiful, yet harrowing, Sani Pass, in the Drakensberg region.
✅ Go to Afrikaburn, the 2nd largest Burning Man festival globally, located in the remote desert of the Karoo.
Conclusion: Adventurous Things To Do In South Africa
There are so many extraordinary things to do in South Africa for adventure seekers. South Africa is an incredibly diverse country with many climates, cultures, and activities. Whatever kind of adventure you are looking for, you will be sure to find it in South Africa.
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