If you fancy a weekend of high-adrenalin, that’s out of your comfort zone, but still quenches your aquatic appetite, why not try these for close-to-the-edge water adventures? We’ve put together a heart-pounding bucket list at selected ‘hot’ water spots all over the country.
Kloofing or Canyoneering (as it’s known internationally) involves a whole lot more than just taking a leap of faith. It requires some hiking, swimming, jumping, boulder-hopping or bum-sliding before you reach your refreshing aquatic pool. It does require risks, so Kloofing should only be undertaken on a guided group excursion with a reputable operator.
This trail is located 90km from the Mother City, just over an hour’s drive on the N2 and over Sir Lowry’s Pass, in the Hottentots Holland Nature Reserve. This is ideal for those are embarking on their first kloofing adventure. It starts with a 4.1km hike to reach the kloofing section of the day which, only features a few compulsory jumps, the highest of which is 7m. Then it’s a 3.6km walk back to the parking area. The whole route will take you 7-8 hours, so be prepared for a long day. To book Shark Zone.
This one is certainly not for the faint-hearted and requires a good level of fitness and zero fear of heights. It is also located in the Hottentots Holland Reserve. Known as a “wet hike”, Suicide Gorge is best left to the Summer months, boasting a 14m compulsory jump, a waterfall, and 9 hours of hiking through the wilderness. To book Shark Zone.
This day trip is just 45 minutes’ drive from Cape Town to False Bay. A 45-minute walk of anticipation through the Crystal Pools brings you to the Kloofing spot which includes a 23m-cliff jump and a 65m abseil across Thunder Falls. Trained and experienced guides must accompany you on this riveting excursion. To book Shark Zone.
Located in the Groot Winterhoek Mountains, near Porterville, and known simply as ‘Hell’, this is a 15 km kloofing hike comprising boulder climbing, wading and tunnel swims. Your well-deserved destination is one of the biggest and best rock pools in the Western Cape, surrounded by cliffs and a large waterfall. You can plunge from a height of 5m into the water. To book Shark Zone.
Further afield, this popular six-hour adventure in Grootkloof is a fairly taxing journey that involves waterfall abseils as well as some fun bum slides, compulsory two-metre jumps, and swims. The day starts with an easy hike up the open slopes of the dramatic Magaliesberg range, followed by a scramble into the kloof. You reach a 20-metre waterfall abseil a third of the way down and this is the point of no return. Individual access is allowed only for members of the Mountain Club of South Africa. Join a guided trip such as those offered by Mountain Guide or Shark Zone.
There some incredible opportunities to hike up the majestic river valleys of the Drakensberg. You can hike up to the Rainbow Falls from Cathedral Peak and then there’s the fun trip up the Tugela Gorge, which involves wading through a long rock ‘tunnel’ or bypassing it via chain ladders. If you want to kloof then book a half or full-day adventure. This is a moderately strenuous trip down the Injasuti Valley, in the foothills of the Drakensberg. It starts with a stiff walk, followed by some fun scrambling, boulder-hopping and five to 25-metre abseils, some down trickling waterfalls. Book with Four Rivers Adventures.
SUP boarding in a river
SUPing is one of the fastest growing sports in the world. And not sure if you knew, but the sport mirrors the ancient art once used by fishermen and African warriors who used their spears as paddles to launch stealth attacks. Trips currently take place in the West Coast Nature Reserve (Kraal Bay), with future tours planned for the Orange River and Breede River. Hook up with Gravity Adventures for this experience.
Tubing or River Rafting
Depending on the seasons – Rafting is run in Winter & Spring and Tubing in Spring, early Summer, Autumn. The Palmiet River Experience runs in the Kogelberg Nature Reserve, just outside Kleinmond, about an hour’s drive from Cape Town. At medium and high-water levels indulge in thrilling white water rafting in two-person inflatable ‘crocodiles’ or four-person rafts. At low levels, trips are on inflatable ‘gekos’. This innovative inflatable craft was specially developed for the Palmiet and is now used countrywide. For more check in with Gravity Adventures.
Abseiling down a waterfall
This unique adventure allows you to dangle on a rope above Kaaimans Gorge in the Wilderness. You abseil down 45 metres and land safely in a canoe at the bottom. Eden Adventures are the organisers to call.
Exploring a sea cave
This cave of untold treasures is in Waenhuiskrans off the sandy shoreline of Arniston. You need to wait for low tide before you can explore its secrets. Once inside you can marvel at its history and many rock pools. There’s a variety of rock-dwelling marine life to be discovered. The name, Waenhuiskrans means ‘wagon house cliff’ and arises from an old legend that the cave is big enough for an ox wagon to do a full turn inside. Be sure to contact Cape Agulhas Tourism for information on the tides and take care accessing the cave over some slippery obstacles.
Or just Chillout on a House Boat
And once you’ve got your adrenalin fix you can continue your water-logged holiday on any one of these houseboats available for hire.
Baby Blue Too – Langebaan
This is truly a unique way of seeing the lagoon. Baby Blue Too sleeps a couple comfortably or a family of 4. There’s a double berth in the bow and two singles in the mid-section. A kitchen with gas cooker, washup basin, and all modern equipment is on board as well as a flush toilet. The top deck area is perfect for sunbathing and lunches on the go. Baby Blue Too is anchored in Mykonos but will be delivered to Indigo Blue Beach House in Sand Baai – Langebaan, where you leave your vehicle. Baby Blue Too can move around the lagoon but will need to anchor overnight in the sheltered waters of Kraal Bay. You will have access to this world-class beach and there are braai and toilet facilities on the mainland. Isn’t she a beauty? Book her through Gravity Adventures.
Shayamanzi houseboat, Lake Jozini
See a different side of KwaZulu-Natal from the decks of Shayamanzi I or II on Lake Jozini. Anglers can get their kicks fishing for the lake’s famed tigerfish – this is the only place in South Africa they’ll find them. Other activities from the boat include a guided rhino walk in the Pongola Nature Reserve. To book Shayamanzi.
These newly refurbished self-drive houseboats, previously operated by Lightleys Holiday Houseboats, are luxurious and fully equipped. Suitable for up to 4 adults or a family of 5. The galley has a stove, oven, electric fridge, sink and all kitchen utensils, crockery and cutlery. Outside there’s a braai and sun deck to take in the Knysna views. To book Knysna Houseboats.
Liquid Living, Vaal River
Drift along the Vaal Meander in an exclusive, luxury houseboat, Liquid Living, the new houseboat from Liquid Lounge that comfortably sleeps 10 people. Enjoy peace of mind knowing a professional skipper is at the helm and a private chef will prepare all meals. Take advantage of activities along the Vaal Meander, including farmers’ markets and dinner specials. To book Liquid Lounge.
Remember if you aren’t living on the edge, you’re taking up space. So, make a splash and take the plunge.
Feature Image photo credit: internationaltravellermag.com