5 Uniquely Wild Things to Do in South Africa

by Dan Allen

EDGE Media Network Contributor

Tuesday February 21, 2023

5 Uniquely Wild Things to Do in South Africa
  (Source:South African Tourism)

When it comes to adventure, no place on Earth can match South Africa for its diverse array of uniquely electrifying possibilities. Whether you prefer to seek thrills in water or on land or by air, South Africa offers countless distinctive ways for you to get your adrenaline pumping. Here are some of our favorites.

(Source: South African Tourism)

Abseiling Down Table Mountain

Cape Town's Table Mountain is one of South Africa's most iconic landmarks, offering incredible views of the city and the Atlantic Ocean from atop its distinctively flat 3,500-foot summit. And while anyone can hop a cable car to the top of Table Mountain, only the most adventurous will dare experience the rare thrill of heading over the mountain's edge and abseiling down its side. As you descend the steep cliffside and rappel into vertical space, sheer exhilaration and unforgettable views of Robben Island, Camps Bay, and the Twelve Apostles will be your rewards. The whole experience takes just about an hour, leaving plenty of time for hiking and further exploration around the much-beloved mountain.

(Source: South African Tourism)

Kayaking with Hippos and Crocs in KwaZulu-Natal

Kayaking can be thrilling. So can viewing dangerous wildlife like crocodiles and hippopotami. But when you combine these two activities, you've got a truly exhilarating experience on tap, bringing you face to face with some of the most perilous predators on Earth. The Saint Lucia Estuary in the north of South Africa's KwaZulu-Natal province is teeming with some 800 hippos and 1,200 crocs, and enterprising and expert guides can escort you on a once-in-a-lifetime kayak journey through these uniquely extreme waterways. The few-hour tour will let you get up close and personal with the gorgeous local scenery, as well as its spectacular — and sometimes terrifying — local wildlife.

(Source: Getty Images)

Snorkeling with Seahorses in Knysna

South Africa's Garden Route is one of the country's most popular and interesting stretches of coastline, cherished by visitors for its sandy beaches, indigenous forests, and adorable seaside towns. One of the best-loved of these towns is Knysna, which overlooks a tranquil lagoon and is known for its Oyster Festival in July. But it's what's beneath the water's surface here that will truly take your breath away, as you snorkel at high tide to glimpse the lovely and little Knysna seahorses. Less than 5 inches long, these mesmerizing and endangered creatures have heads like horses, tails like monkeys, and swiveling eyes like chameleons. Your expert guide will escort you to the best viewing spots, taking great care not to disturb their natural habitat.

(Source: South African Tourism)

Bungee Jumping from the Bloukrans Bridge

Forming the border between South Africa's Eastern Cape and Western Cape provinces, the Bloukrans River is much better known for what spans above it, the mighty Bloukrans Bridge, the largest and longest bridge in Africa and the highest single-arch bridge in the world, at just over 700 feet. But what brings the Bloukrans Bridge its most fame is what people flock here to do: bungee from one of the world's tallest commercial bridge jumps. The thrills commence before you even leap, as a hair-raising zip line gets you to the jumping platform (for the somewhat less adventurous, there's a still-breathtaking Skywalk along the bridge's edge). Plunging the 650 feet at Bloukrans is one of South Africa's most popular tourist attractions, so be sure to book your jump slot at least 48 hours in advance.

(Source: South African Tourism)

Diving with Sharks at Gansbaai, False Bay or Aliwal Shoal

It may sound dangerous, but done properly with a certified tour operator, shark diving is not only incredibly invigorating and unforgettable, but completely safe. South Africa offers a true bounty of ways to get your shark on. At False Bay's Pyramid Rock just south of Cape Town, you'll find one of only two places in the world to dive with prehistoric-looking cow sharks, also known as sevengill sharks. A couple hours' drive farther along the coast at Gansbaai, dive with the great whites at a spot with one of their highest concentrations in the world. And in the warm waters of the Indian Ocean at Aliwal Shoal along the KwaZulu-Natal coast, you'll find one of South Africa's most popular locations for diving cage-free with tiger sharks.

For even more great adrenaline-surging things to do in South Africa, check out this list of incredible options that includes everything from caving to kite surfing, and bouldering to ballooning.