Stepping out of your comfort zone is a great benefit of many travel destinations. As mentioned in Leaving Your Comfort Zone: Thailand Edition, participating in new adventures, whatever they may be, can help you get to know yourself better and discover new passions. It helps you really get to know the ins and outs of a new country or city. Here are some great ideas of activities to consider if you are traveling to South Africa!
Imagine yourself scraping down on a snowboard in a backdrop of rich golden sand dunes and clear blue skies. This fun activity is good for people of any ages, although it requires a bit of physical ability. It can be helpful to have previously snowboarded, but this is not necessary as the reaction of the board on the sand is quite different from snow. Sand boarding makes for a great family friendly activity just outside of Port Elizabeth!
For those who don’t wish to participate in this experience, don't worry, you can always opt to sit back and relax instead. Take in the gorgeous views of the immense sand dunes and play cheerleader to the boarders as they struggle to climb up the dunes. Perhaps if you time things right, you’ll even capture funny pictures or videos of people falling face first into the sand!
Budget Tip: You can book a trip with a company who will supply both transport and equipment. However, a cheaper option is to, like us, rent the equipment from a local shop and drive your rental vehicle to the dunes. This way, you can go exploring different locations without time constraints and save some money (especially if you’re traveling in a group of two or more travelers).
Having enjoyed zip lines throughout the world, it is always one of our recommended activity! The slight adrenaline rush and the gorgeous views make zip lining perfect for any age. We do recommend to do research about the local companies prior to reserving in order to make sure that the establishment seems to be reliable and follows safety precautions. It's also advisable to read up on other travelers' reviews, as some zip lines are significantly more intense than others! This can be helpful, as it gives you the ability to decide how extreme of a zip line course you wish to try.
In our case, we opted for the biggest, fastest one we could find! So if you’re looking for an extreme adventure, perhaps consider this one!
Shark Cage Diving
This particular activity was a must on my bucket list. To be in the waters in such proximity of these giant creatures was simply unbelievable!
Since I have dived there, I have seen some reports in the news of sharks getting inside the cages with divers, so that is one of a few risks to keep in mind (though all activities can carry their own set of risks, of course)! There has also been talk about the danger it poses to the shark itself to be around such a stressful environment (being teased with bait and brought in such proximity to human beings), so do your due diligence and make sure that the organization with whom you book your dive is ethically conscious and does not bring harm to the animals. Alternatively, if you're still worried about animal welfare, you can book a scuba diving tour!
We would also like to share one additional caution: beware of sea sickness! Individuals on our boat who had never experienced sea sickness, even while doing cruises on smaller boats, had green faces and got sick on this boat. Only a few tourists on the tour that day didn't feel nauseous, so consider avoiding food prior to departure and make sure to stock up on anti motion sickness remedies!
South Africa offers incredible safari opportunities to observe wildlife in their natural habitat. Kruger National Park is one of Africa's most well-known reserves, where you can try to spot the Big 5: the African lion, the African elephant, the Cape buffalo, the African leopard and the rhinoceros. We cannot sufficiently recommend this awe inspiring, bucket list topping activity. Not only did we enjoy this experience, but we were truly regretting not having scheduled more than five days for this adventure (though we did get lucky and spotted the Big 5 during our stay).
Budget Tip: While the wonderful 5 star accommodations offered by many tour companies can seem ideal for your perfect vacation, the prices quickly add up and may result in the tearful realization that you don’t have enough money for such steep fees (like most people!) Instead, you should consider doing like us, and reserve your cheap accommodations with less expensive companies. You will likely be staying on a private reserve instead of on Kruger National Park, for example, but if you do it right it’ll simply add to your vacation experience! (We even decided to add a little extra adventure and stayed in tree houses, which made our experience that much better!)
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Surfing is obviously enjoyed in many locations worldwide, but Jeffreys Bay (South Africa) is one of the five most famous surfing destinations in the world! That means that when the waves are big, it is very impressive to sit back and watch the pros surf the waves! We say pros because such big waves can be very dangerous; they have a strong undertow and can easily swoop you under if you're not equipped with the right training.
However, if you are a beginner to surfing or simply not very experienced, there is hope! You can try out the sport in Port Elizabeth and other more beginner-friendly locations, instead of risking it in the huge waves.
Budget Tip: It’s well worth including half a day at Jeffrey’s Bay if you have the chance in order to walk around and watch the talented surfers taking on the imposing waves. Especially if they’re calling for big waves!
Many other activities...
This beautiful country has so much more to offer, but we can't list them all here!! Regardless if you're looking for more adrenaline filled activities such as zip lining, or for less extreme adventures, such as hiking Table Mountain or exploring Robben Island, South Africa is a great destination to explore!
What are some of your favorite activities in South Africa? If you haven't gone yet, what do you wish you could try out?
*Please keep in mind that all activities and adventures come with their own specific risks. You should consult your physician or any other relevant care professionals before engaging in mentioned activities to ensure it does not represent any concerns for you.
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