Kloofing in South Africa's Playground is Only for the Brave!
Sophie Foreman, returning from a recent trip to South Africa, has gathered the best activities for adrenaline junkies along the Garden Route, from exploring ancient caves to surviving the world's biggest bridge bungee jump. And she'll tell you where to go kloofing too.
The Garden Route in South Africa is basically 200km of nature showing off. Covering a vast chunk of the African continent's south coast, it boasts beautiful beaches, incredible interactions with wildlife and a whole host of activities for adrenaline junkies - the perfect playground!
1. Bungee Jumping
This will make even the most adventurous souls quake in their boots. The Bloukrans Bridge Bungee jump is 216 metres above Storms River surrounded by the stunning Tsitsikamma National Park. This is the highest bungee jump from a bridge in the world! Thankfully, despite its scary potential, this jump has never had an accident - does that make it any easier to take the plunge? If you don't want to go the full hog, you can still walk the bridge and view the fascinating jumping process happening - including the singing line of rope-wielding men who relentlessly pull up each jumper.
Explore the astonishing Old Cango Caves in Oudtshoorn stretching over 4 km (though only about a quarter of this is open to visitors) learning about these miraculous geological formations with knowledgeable guides. The Heritage Tour is filled with stories about the original cave explorers and the limestone rock formations are like nothing else you will ever see. Or, if you're like us, opt for the Adventure Tour which sees you scrambling through 15 inch passages, and up narrow tunnels with names such as "The Devils Chimney". It will have you huffing and puffing - but don't worry, you won't get stuck! This was my second time doing it, and it was still my favourite activity on the trip.
Don't want to get into the cold sea with a wet suit? Maybe sandboarding is more your cup of tea. Mossel Bay is home to the world-famous Dragon Dune, the biggest dune in South Africa and the perfect chance to try this sport; all with the promise of a soft landing! For beginners, much like a ski slope, they have a baby dune, and a third dune for those not quite ready for the Dragon Dune. If it's recently been raining, ring up in advance to make sure the dune is open.
Kloofing, as it is known in Afrikaans, is also sometimes referred to as canyoning or coasteering. This activity is certainly only for the brave (and fit), involving following a river downstream by swimming, floating and cliff jumping. There are various spots to enjoy kloofing tours throughout South Africa, but if you're on the Garden Route, we recommend AfriCanyon. Professional guides ensure your safety and you are provided with all the technical equipment needed to protect you.
With a coastline stretching more than 1770 miles, South Africa offers some of the best surfing in the world, whatever your experience level. Unusually, as well as your pick of the beaches, you can also choose from two oceans: The Pacific and The Atlantic! If you are not comfortable on a board yet, make sure you take a dip with a surf school or guide - the rip tides can be perilous here. For those at home on fiberglass, try to stay to beaches manned by lifeguards, and please heed shark warnings. My favourite beaches by far were Buffelsbai, Plettenberg Bay, and you can't forget the surf capital of South Africa: Jeffrey's Bay! As if the beautiful scenery wasn't enough, it's really common to be accompanied by dolphins playing in the waves as well
This is a more leisurely way to see some of the luscious treetop canopies of the Tsitsikamma National Park ecosystem. A super fun and almost relaxing (just me?) way to enjoy the scenery from a unique perspective, with Tsitsikamma Canopy Tours, you'll experience this stunning area of natural beauty over three hours from 30 metres above the forest floor!