If you are after the unusual; that exciting experience that will get the blood pumping and the exhilaration bubbling up to behind the teeth. If it’s adventure with a capital ‘A’ that takes you out in any weather on any terrain, then the Eastern Cape of South Africa is a good place to begin.
You won’t struggle to find adventure in the country’s second largest province. The Eastern Cape is one of the country’s most diverse and interesting provinces to visit – from the magnificence of the rural Wild Coast, the semi-arid plains of the Karoo, the Sunshine Coast’s effortless hours of sunshine and pearly beaches, to Big 7 game viewing or bungee jumping off one of the highest jumps in the world, there is little that will not meet your expectations …
Even the food is an adventure of sorts, if you have not yet sunk your teeth into lamb bredie, samp and beans, biltong, springbok carpaccio or braaied seafood, and, whilst going to the beach is why most visitors head to the Eastern Cape, those intent on sand boarding, diving, hiking, skydiving, river expeditions, helicopter flips, horse trails and walking the paths of the strandlopers have come to the right province.
Eastern Cape Adventure – Adrenalin Junkie Activities in the Eastern Cape
On the backs of elephants
The Addo Elephant Park, one of the province’s main attractions, becomes a whole new ball game when done on the back of an elephant. Get into the swing of the bush on the back of a swaying elephant just outside Port Elizabeth. A couple of tour operators offer this awesome commune with these large, intelligent giants.
Free falling in Grahamstown
If skydiving is your thing, then tandem skydiving with a 35 second free-fall before your parachute opens is your kind of thing. What’s more, you don’t need any experience for these nail biting tandem thrills. And the breathtaking views from 10 000 feet up are supposed to be unspeakable. Skydiving is about as thrilling as it gets. Attached to a tandem master, the fear of going it alone is lost and one can give oneself over to the joy of leaping into the sky.
Contact EP Skydivers (the Eastern Province Skydivers Club) on +27 (0)82 800-9263
Sandboarding in Jeffreys Bay or East London
In many ways like snowboarding or even skate boarding (without the wheels), sandboarding involves balancing with two feet on a rather thin board whilst sliding down a sand dune. One can build up to unbelievable speeds once you’ve been doing this for a while, so it’s understandable that sandboarding has made its way onto the list of things to do for adrenaline junkies.
The good news, for those unsure about trying sandboarding, is that if you can stand, you can sandboard. More and more places with access to vertical dunes are offering sandboarding, although East London’s Bonza Bay and Jeffrey’s Bay definitely offer this fun activity.
Contact Jay Bay Sandboarding on +27 (0)42 296-2974 or SugarShack Backpackers, East London on +27 (0)43 722-8240
Walk the Woody Cape Hiking Trail
That no-one under 16 should attempt this hiking trail should give you an indication of the level of fitness required to conquer the hike through the largest active coastal dunefields in the southern hemisphere – the Alexandria Dune Field.
The hike meanders through the Woody Cape Nature Reserve, now combined with the Addo Elephant Game Reserve. Whilst the two-day hike isn’t difficult, it does demand a high level of fitness, particularly as in the heat of summer it can get darned hot.
Contact the Matyholweni Rest Camp for bookings on +27 (0)42 233-8621
Whilst on the subject of demanding trails, the incredible views of the Hogsback Mountains overlooking the indigenous forest below makes this trail more than worth the effort and level of fitness required to complete it. Hogsback is a magical world of mountains and forests in an area dominated by three ridges that look like the bristles on a hog’s back.
Find out more about Hogsback – where to stay, what to do, events, etc.
Kayaking on the Kromme River
Kayaking trips on some of the local estuaries, like the Kromme River in Cape St Francis or the Kowie River in Port Alfred is another way to experience exhilaration of a slightly more sedate kind, although you need to be reasonably fit to tackle a trip out to sea to swim amongst dolphins and whales. Kayaking is one of the fastest growing sports in the world and a wonderful way to experience and explore rivers. Certainly you get the unspoilt version of the rivers in this way.
Contact Kromme River Expeditions on +27 (0)84 506-6396
Snow skiing at Tiffindell
From sandboarding to snow boarding, all within one province sounds pretty idyllic, and it’s also do-able. The snow park at Tiffindell offers snow for about three months of the year. Tiffindell lies in the southern Drakensberg on the slopes of Ben Mc Dhui, the highest mountain peak in the Cape.
Of course the resort does enlist the help of some particularly good snowmaking systems, and you cannot compare this to the peaks of Europe, but for a country known for its sunny skies and hot climate, Tiffendell is a welcome surprise and offers a workout nonetheless with bum boarding, skiing, snow boarding and even mountain boarding, horse riding, fly fishing and 4×4 trails in summer.
Find out more about Tiffindell Ski Resort
For more extreme adventure options (and the less extreme) see the following:
Find a Place to Stay
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More Eastern Cape Adventures
If the above options are too extreme or “not your thing”, see Things to Do in the Eastern Cape where you will find many options ranging from water sports (learn to surf, canoeing etc), hiking trails, horse riding, cruises, scenic flights … and plenty more options to keep you you busy for days on end … Enjoy!