There’s plenty of exciting action in our parks for those brave enough to try. Whether you like your adventure mild or wild, you’ll find something fun to do in our roundup of thrilling pursuits. By Rebekah Funk
1. Float along Storms River Gorge in Garden Route National Park
Flex those muscles as you kayak across the ocean into a bat cave, then hop onto a custom-designed inflatable mattress in the Tsitsikamma section of Garden Route National Park. With walls of rock as your companions, you’ll skirt up Storms River and, if you’re brave, have the opportunity to cliff jump, plummeting from overhanging rock ledges into the deep pools below.
2. Rock climb in Shongweni Dam & Game Reserve
Shongweni is a climber’s paradise with more than 80 routes, ranging from breezy to death defying. A short drive from Durban, the world-renowned sandstone cliffs of the dam lend themselves to steep climbs, while a hair-raising trip up the dam wall rewards with a panorama of the surrounding game reserve. The Wave and Rasta caves are two of the most challenging overhangs, both having received some of the best international climbing ratings. Many crags are open to climbers but check with Msinsi staff before you chalk up as certain areas can be closed, depending on weather conditions and resident bat colonies.
3. Kayak the Palmiet River in Kogelberg Nature Reserve
Fasten your lifejacket and prepare for action as you tackle the surging white waters of the Palmiet River in Kogelberg, a little more than an hour’s drive from Cape Town. White-water kayaking is a thrilling adventure for day trips and weekend getaways, but you’ll need some prior paddling experience to avoid trouble during the winter months when the frigid rapids are tumultuous. If you’re feeling a little faint-of-heart or want an activity that’s more family friendly, there are also meandering routes for novices and kids. The benefits of taking it slower? Paddlers can revel in the diversity of the Cape’s flora, wildlife and birds as they watch the landscape float by.
4. Mountain bike in Mlilwane Wildlife Sanctuary, Swaziland
Fancy a dose of adventure but don’t have nerves of steel? Mlilwane Wildlife Sanctuary in the Ezulwini Valley in the Kingdom of Swaziland has trails of varying distances suitable for all ages and abilities, including self-cycle and guided options. While trails through Swaziland’s gentle plains are no place for thrill seekers, Mlilwane’s mountain passes offer more gruelling opposition. For a view that will take your breath away, crank all the way to the top of Execution Rock. If you’re the competitive sort, enter the Nedbank Swaziland Imvelo MTB Classic in June.
5. Camp wild in Hluhluwe-iMfolozi Park
Nothing will make your blood pump faster than coming face to face with a rhino or hearing a lion’s deafening roar mere metres from your camp. Experience nature at its most wild for five days and four nights on the Hluhluwe-iMfolozi Primitive Trail in Africa’s oldest proclaimed park. It’s an adrenaline-charged, overnight camping adventure you’re unlikely to forget, where humans are but visitors and the only tracks are those of predators on the hunt and prey on the run. Led by a knowledgeable trails guide, the trek will reconnect you with an existence that pre-dates technology.