Whether you’re the eternal thrill-seeker or just want to tick off a big, bucket list challenge, you’ll find adrenaline-charged activities of all kinds in Africa’s most popular destinations. From stepping backwards off Table Mountain to hurling yourself out of a plane in Namibia, check out some of these epic adventures for adrenaline junkies.
Bungee jump off Bloukrans Bridge
The highest bridge bungee in the world, Bloukrans Bridge has a pretty gorgeous setting – not that you’ll be paying much attention in the run-up to throwing yourself off Africa’s highest bridge. Set above the rushing river, the bungee jump is over 200 metres high. Our tip: don’t think, just jump! Afterwards, you can calm your jangling nerves and reward yourself with a cold beer at the bar. By this point, you should be able to actually admire the beautiful surroundings.
Abseil off Table Mountain
If hiking up Table Mountain or catching the cable car up isn’t exhilarating enough, you can spice things up by abseiling off the top. Join the Abseil Africa team who spend most days monkeying around the cliff edges. Once they’ve strapped you into your harness, lean back, take that first scary jump down, and hop your way to the bottom of the sheer cliff face. While you’re descending, take a moment to stop and turn around to take in the uninterrupted view of Cape Town and the ocean.
White-water raft down the Zambezi River
Victoria Falls is known as the adventure capital of Africa, and white-water rafting is just one exciting way in which you can explore this famous and spectacular part of the world. The Zambezi is a big, wild river and the rafting here is fun and fast-paced. You can raft from either the Zambia or Zimbabwe side of the river, and the most exciting time of the year is when the water is low (between August and December, depending on the rain).
Zip-line over forests
For those who like a softer style of adventure (or have kids in tow), try zip-lining over some of the Western Cape’s forests and hills. One spot you can try is the Hottentots Mountains, a couple of hours outside Cape Town, where you can explore the undulating woodland by zip-line – an entertaining (and not too scary) day out for anyone of just about any age.
Quad bike across the Makgadikgadi salt pans
Hop on a quad bike to explore the stunning, vast Makgadikgadi salt pans of Botswana. Here, there are no rules and speeding is allowed. Protect your face from the dust by wrapping up with a kikoi – and then unleash your inner speed demon.
Come face-to-face with a great white shark
South Africa is famed for its great white shark population, which makes it a perfect place to safely join them in the water and learn more about these much-maligned predators. Several companies run cage diving operations from Gansbaai, two hours’ drive from Cape Town. Once you’ve pulled on a snug wet suit (be prepared for cold water) and a mask, you can slide into the cage attached to the side of the boat. When a shark comes close, the spotters will shout, and you can duck under the water to see it glide curiously past. While you wait for your time in the cage, you can learn all about these incredible sharks which are, for many of us, sources of endless fascination.
Skydive over sand dunes
Namibia is one of those countries that you simply must see from the air. Granted, it doesn’t need to involve literally being in the air, but for thrill-seekers, this is the only way to get that bird’s eye view. Skydiving is the ultimate adrenaline rush with an electrifying freefall followed by a slow, gentle cruise to the ground – time to catch your breath and drink in that stunning scenery. Swakopmund and Walvis Bay, neighbouring oceanfront towns halfway up the Namibian coast, are where you’ll find the country’s adventure activities, including skydiving. The view of coastal sand dunes and the wild Atlantic Ocean is almost as memorable as the feeling of jumping out of a plane.