I have to admit to being a bit of an adrenalin freak. There is something about the outdoors that not only exhilarates, but also brings out the carefree (or is that care-less) in me, often to my detriment.
And so I have found myself standing on the edge of cliffs about to jump off, and in a black tube about to head down an intense water rapid, my heart in my mouth and little understanding of the obvious momentary delusion that has brought me to that point.
Whatever it is that prompts the action, the experience is always rewarding.
Here is a list, in no particular order, of adrenaline driven experiences throughout South Africa…
Step backwards over the edge of Chicken Hill in the Dragon Peaks Park in KwaZulu Natal’s Drakensberg. The 25 metre abseil down a 10 metre cliff face, and then over an overhang is guaranteed to leave you breathless. No experience necessary.
The highest commercially operated bungy jump in the world, using pendulum technology. Leap from the catwalk suspended at the top of the arch, beneath the N2 highway, at Bloukrans, 216 metres above the Bloukrans River. Eish.
A series of quad and scrambler trails in the Rhodes/Barkly East area perfect for those of you with your own bikes. The fantastic mountainous terrain of the southern Drakensberg experiences snow in winter.
Swing the Big Swing in Graskop
Freefall at 180 km an hour on one of the world’s highest gorge swings. Do it tandem or solo, neither will change the effect of the 68 metre fall in less than 3 seconds.
Filled with gorges and gullies, kloof the valley you must. But for those less inclined you can tube, climb or swim various sections of the more peaceful waters.
Not for the faint of heart, this is an extreme whitewater experience with truly challenging rapids. Start in the Mariepskop Forestry Reserve and end as the river joins the Blydepoort Dam, the Three Rondavels above you.
Abseil in the Vredefort Dome Parys
Rappel in various venues around the beautiful Dome, off the Kopjeskraal Road – anything from a 45 metre to a 16 metre abseil off a natural cliff; sheer exhilaration down vertical rock faces.
You’ve heard of cage diving with sharks, now you can experience being lowered into the croc pool in a cage specially designed to withstand the extreme power of the huge beasts, who can get as large as 4.2 metres. It’s an adrenaline rush of a slightly different kind…
Tightrope the Burma Bridge Krugersdorp
A hanging bridge 120 metres across the King’s Kloof Valley and 60 metres off the ground, the Burma Bridge is literally a cable on which you walk whilst holding onto rather flimsy hand rails and wearing a harness connected to a cable above your head. Scared? You should be.
You only need five minutes to train for a tandem jump, a skydive that is one on one – you’re attached to an instructor with a special harness – and the fastest way to experience freefall; 40 seconds of losing your stomach at a speed of 120 mph before the ripcord is pulled and the parachute opens.
Think three wheel buggy with a sail and you’ve got the latest extreme sport to arrive from New Zealand. It’s a lot easier to get a handle on than kite surfing or wind surfing. All you need is wind. Hold the steering bar and sheet rope and you’re off along the beach at the rate of knots. Even young childrren can join in, seated in the shadow.
The longest zip slide (more commonly known as a foefie slide) tour in Africa of 8 slides that each vary between 100 – 290 metres in length. It’s fast, long but safe. The Schurweberg Mountains form the backdrop and the slides move in amongst sandstone mountains and fynbos.