Are you looking for those ideal destinations for outdoor adventures in South Africa? Luckily, there are 9 provinces in South Africa and each one offers a wide range of activities from whale-watching and swimming with sharks to cycling excursions and elephant back safaris. To get you started, we’ve made a list of 15 top-rated outdoor adventures in South Africa.
1 Diving With Sharks
Did you know that white sharks can weight over 3,000 kg and grow to be up to 7 meters long? They are definitely the most feared creatures that live under the sea and you can get close to them off the coast of Cape Town. If you need some adrenaline rush, underwater cage diving with sharks is something you should definitely include in your travel itinerary while visiting South Africa.
2 Cape Floral Kingdom
Thanks to its picturesque mountains and hills, the Cape Floral Kingdom is one of the most popular outdoor destinations in South Africa. Head out to the Fynbos falls which stretches from Port Elizabeth on the southeast coast to Clanwilliam on the west coast. There are many hike trains along the way, but make sure to pack your sunscreen and a hat.
3 Robben Island
Located just off the Cape Town coast, Robben Island was once used to isolate political prisoners. It boasts a prison in which Nelson Mandela served a part of his sentence. Take a boat ride to the Robben Island and discover the history of the anti-apartheid movement. The great thing about this place is that a former inmate will be your guide to the on-site maximum-security prison.
4 Whale Watching
One of the most popular outdoor adventures in South Africa is whale watching. A small seaside village in the Western Cape called Hermanus hosts an annual September Whale Festival. If you are up for the best land-based whale watching experience in the world, you definitely don’t want to miss out on this event. Travelers can also go to the Overberg areas to spot whales and there are also dozens of spots close to the Lamberts Bay on the west coast where whale viewing is possible. Other prime whale watching spots in South Africa include Algoa Bay, Mossel Bay, and Plettenberg Bay.
5 Urban Cycling Excursions
If you are visiting larger South African cities like Port Elizabeth or Cape Town, you will have an opportunity to enjoy urban cycling excursions. Both cities have excellent cycling routes and there are dozens of shops where you can rent bikes. Cycling is one of the best ways to explore a city, since you can reach numerous destinations in no time.
6 Climbing Table Mountain
One of the most famous landmarks in all of South Africa, Table Mountain rises 3,500 feet in the air and attracts millions of tourists each year. Although most visitors take the cable car to the top of the mountain, hiking is also an option. Climbing up to the top of Table Mountain is a unique experience and offers spectacular views of the city along the way. Make sure to check the weather forecast before the trip.
Ziplining is one of the most fun outdoor adventure activities in South Africa. You are strapped into a secure harness and you go over the ground from one perch to another. Of course, most zip line destinations have their own trained experts who are there to make sure that everyone is 100% safe. Most of the places for ziplining in South Africa are located in forests, but zip line options can also be found over rocky ravines.
8 Boulders Beach
Part of the Table Mountain National Park in Cape Town, Boulders Beach got famous back in 1982 when the colony of African penguins was formed. Visitors can admire the beauty of these charming animals and take photographs. If the weather is nice, you can swim alongside the penguins and have some quality beach time.
9 Kruger National Park
Kruger National Park is one of the largest reserves on the continent and offers amazing wildlife-watching. Expect to spot animals such as Cape buffalo, lions, leopards, elephants, and rhinos. Travelers who wish to spend the night here will be happy to hear there are dozens of campsites and lodges, as well as a couple of grocery stores and restaurants. Guided safari tours and wilderness trail hikes are also available here at Kruger National Park.
10 Cape of Good Hope
A part of Table Mountain National Park, Cape of Good Hope is an ideal place for bird-watching and animal spotting, as it is home to over 200 species including zebra, fallow deer, baboon, and African penguin. This narrow coastline is also the birthplace of the famous Flying Dutchman legend. In case you need a travel planner to organize your visit to Cape of Good Hope, Cape Town Holidays can arrange trips to this amazing destination in South Africa.
11 Elephant Back Safaris
An elephant back safari is definitely one of the top-rated outdoor adventures in South Africa. At most game reserves in South Africa, these events include elephant rides, drinks, and meals. You will be seated behind a professional elephant trainer and the back safari will usually last about 90 minutes. One of the best places for elephant back safari in South Africa is the popular Magaliesberg Mountains where you will have a chance to take part in various activities including feeding the elephants, back safari rides, and elephant walks.
12 Game Viewing in South Africa
A wildlife paradise, South Africa offers plenty of game viewing opportunities. It is home to many wildlife reserves and national parks that are world-known game viewing destinations. What’s great about these places is that you can see all of the big five together here including rhino, lion, leopard, buffalo, and rhino. Game Viewing in South Africa is done in either open safari vehicles or in closed cars. Some private reserves offer tracking games on foot and night game viewing. Mpumalanga game reserve is definitely one of the most popular destinations for game viewing, but you can also check out places like Sabi Sands Game Reserve and locations within the Kruger National Park region.
South Africa is a well-known destination for some of the finest surfing breaks in the world. The Jeffrey’s Bay is one of the most popular places, as well as the whole coast that runs from Mozambique to Namibia. There are also many board shops that sell reasonably priced boards for surfers. Of course, you can also rent a board for a day or week.
14 Scuba Diving and Snorkeling
Did you know that South Africa is probably the cheapest place on the plant to get an open water certificate for scuba diving? Most courses cost around R3300 and are possible to find at many coastal cities and tourist resorts. The best diving sites can be found on the northern KwaZulu-Natal coast that is well-known for its abundance of fish and numerous coral reefs. This area is also ideal for snorkeling, since it is home to many underwater trails.
15 Fishing in South Africa
Thanks to its 3,000 km long coastline and many streams, lakes, dams, and rivers, South Africa is a top fishing destination. Whether you are after game fishing in two of the ocean or you prefer catching trout in mountain streams, there are plenty of fishing options available for everyone. Areas like KwaZulu-Natal Midlands, Mpumulanga province, and the Eastern Cape are ideal for fly fishing. The trout season here lasts from September to May, but keep in mind that permits are needed for ocean fishing.