10 Adventure Excursions to Try in South Africa in 2024

Embarking on an adventure excursion in South Africa in 2024 offers numerous amazing possibilities for excitement and exploration.

Renowned for its diverse landscapes and rich cultural heritage, South Africa is one of the ultimate playgrounds for adventurers and self-drive enthusiasts. From rugged coastlines to sprawling savannas to towering mountains, South Africa’s scenic landscapes provide the perfect backdrop for a wide array of exciting activities.

Whether it’s the thrill of a 4×4 safari in an untamed wilderness, or the enjoyment of a scenic self-drive along the Garden Route, South Africa has it all.
This guide to some of the best adventure excursions in South Africa for 2024 will highlight just some of the outstanding adventures this remarkable land has to offer you.

1. Hiking on Table Mountain, Cape Town, Western Cape

As one of the most iconic landmarks in South Africa, Table Mountain presents an exhilarating hiking experience for adventurers. Rising 1,086 metres, or more than 3,562 feet, above Cape Town, this flat-topped mountain is a drawcard for nature lovers and hikers alike.

View of Table Mountain from Big Bay, Cape Town.

View of Table Mountain from Big Bay, Cape Town.

The trails leading to the summit offer breathtaking views of the city spread out below and the Atlantic Ocean. Among the various routes, Platteklip Gorge is the most popular, providing a direct and steep path to the top.

Hiking Table Mountain is particularly magical during the spring months of September to November when the mountain’s unique flora, part of the highly-regarded and unique Cape Floral Region, is in full bloom.

Interesting Fact: Table Mountain is home to more plant species than the entire United Kingdom!

2. Rock Climbing in Emgwenya, Mpumalanga

Emgwenya (Waterval Boven), situated in the scenically breathtaking Mpumalanga Province, is possibly the South African Mecca for rock climbers. Known for its extensive climbing routes, this area boasts over 700 bolted routes on high-quality quartzite rock.

Aerial view of Emgwenya Waterfall, South Africa

Aerial view of Emgwenya Waterfall, South Africa

The climbs here cater to all skill levels, offering everything from easy pitches for beginners to challenging overhangs for the experienced climber. The crags are set in a picturesque environment, overlooking the Elands River and lush green valleys.

The best time for rock climbing in Emgwenya is during the cooler months from April to September, when the weather is more temperate and the risk of rain is lower.

Interesting Fact: Waterval Boven means ‘above the waterfall’ in Dutch. It refers to the town’s location above the Elands River Falls that can be reached via the historic ZASM tunnel. And yes, there is a charming Waterval Onder as well!

3. Hiking in the Drakensberg, KwaZulu Natal

The Drakensberg, or ‘Dragon Mountains’, is South Africa’s highest mountain range and a UNESCO World Heritage site. This area of KwaZulu-Natal offers some of the most stunning hiking trails in the country, ranging from leisurely walks to challenging multi-day treks.

A view of a stream in front of the Drakensberg Mountains

A view of a stream in front of the Drakensberg Mountains

The Drakensberg is known for its dramatic scenery, featuring jagged peaks, deep valleys, and rich biodiversity. One of the popular trails is the Tugela Falls hike, leading to the world’s second-highest waterfall.

Hiking in the Drakensberg is best experienced from April to June, when the weather is clear and the landscape is still lush from the summer rains.

Interesting Fact: The Drakensberg is home to the largest collection of San rock paintings in southern Africa, with over 600 sites and 35,000 individual images.

4. Tackling the Kruger National Park 4×4 Trails

The Kruger National Park, one of Africa’s largest game reserves, offers unforgettable 4×4 adventures.

The park’s vast landscapes are home to an impressive array of wildlife, including the Big Five. So never forget that you’re in an animal-dense environment, and some of those animals have big claws and teeth!

Elephants near a 4X4 vehicle in Kruger National Park, South Africa | Photo credits: Travel Taale

Elephants near a 4X4 vehicle in Kruger National Park, South Africa | Photo credits: Travel Taale

The 4×4 trails in the Kruger allow visitors to explore remote areas of the park.

The trails vary in difficulty and length, catering to both novice and experienced off-road drivers. The dry winter months from May to September are the best time to visit, as the sparse vegetation improves wildlife visibility and the cooler temperatures are more comfortable.

Here are some essential pointers for embarking on these trails:

  • Carry at least five litres of drinking water per person.
  • Have enough food on board for at least three meals.
  • You must have a GPS device and a cell- or preferably a satellite phone.
  • Other essential items include a well-stocked first-aid kit, a fire extinguisher and rubbish bags.
  • PS – don’t forget the toilet paper!

Interesting Fact: The Kruger National Park is about the size of Israel or Wales, making it one of the largest wildlife reserves in the world.

5. Bungee Jumping at Bloukrans Bridge, Western Cape

The Bloukrans Bridge, located along the scenic Garden Route, is a hotspot for thrill-seekers. It holds the record for the world’s highest commercial bridge bungee jump at a staggering 216 metres, or an eye-watering 709 feet!

Aerial View of the Bloukrans Bridge in South Africa

Aerial View of the Bloukrans Bridge in South Africa

The jump offers an adrenaline-fuelled experience with breathtaking views of the Bloukrans River valley far, FAR below.

The bridge is open for bungee jumping all year-round and attracts brave souls from all over the world. The experienced staff ensures a safe and unforgettable (trust us – you’ll never forget it!) experience.

Interesting Fact: Bloukrans Bridge bungee jump has been the site of several world records, including the oldest person to bungee jump – a 96-year-old in 2010!

6. Canoeing on the Orange River in the Richtersveld, Northern Cape

Canoeing on the Orange River, the border between South Africa and Namibia, offers both serenity, excitement and adventure. The river winds through the extraordinary and rugged landscape of the Richtersveld in the Northern Cape.

Canoeing on the Orange River

Canoeing on the Orange River

This remote region, known for its stark beauty and unique vegetation, provides a unique setting for multi-day canoeing trips. It’s also a sought-after and famously challenging 4×4 destination.

Canoeists enjoy the tranquillity of the river, as well as the many opportunities for fishing, bird watching, and camping along the riverbanks. Canoeing on the Orange can be done all year round.

Interesting Fact: The arid Richtersveld is remarkable for its plant diversity. Many plants have uniquely adapted to survive in these harsh desert conditions.

7. Shark Cage Diving in Gansbaai, Western Cape

Shark cage diving along the Cape Coast offers a unique and exhilarating encounter with one of nature’s most formidable predators, the great white shark of largely undeserved Jaws ‘fame’. Locations like Gansbaai and Mossel Bay are renowned worldwide for their high concentration of great whites, making them premier destinations for shark cage diving.

Shark Cage Diving in Gansbaai, South Africa

Shark Cage Diving in Gansbaai, South Africa

The experience involves getting into a secure underwater cage (attached to a boat), that allows participants to safely observe these magnificent creatures up close in their natural habitat.

Shark cage diving is available year-round, but June – September offers better water visibility, and you’ll have a better chance of seeing the great whites. The downside to this period is that stormy weather can occur.

Interesting Fact: Gansbaai is often referred to as the ‘Great White Shark Capital of the World’ due to its abundance of great whites.

8. Surfing in Jeffreys Bay, Eastern Cape

Jeffreys Bay, affectionately known as J-Bay, is a world-famous surfing destination. Located on the spectacular Eastern Cape coast, it’s renowned for its long, fast barrels and consistent waves.

Surfer catching waves in Jeffreys Bay, South Africa

Surfer catching waves in Jeffreys Bay, South Africa

It attracts surfers from all over the world, and the town hosts the annual World Surf League competition (now referred to as the Corona Open J-Bay), where top surfers showcase their skills. The best time to surf in Jeffreys Bay is during the winter months of June to August when the waves are at their peak.

Interesting Fact: Jeffreys Bay is considered one of the best right-hand point breaks in the world and has been a popular surfing spot since the 1960s.

9. Canopy Tours in Magoebaskloof, Limpopo

Canopy tours in Magoebaskloof offer an unforgettable adventure through the lush, green forests of the Limpopo Province, a premier self-drive destination. This exhilarating activity involves zip-lining from one platform to another along steel cables suspended high above the forest floor.

A dirt road in Magoebaskloof, South Africa

A dirt road in Magoebaskloof, South Africa

The tour provides a unique perspective of the forest canopy and its wildlife. The canopy tours operate year-round. However, bear in mind that the spring and summer months, when the forest is at its most lush and vibrant, are more likely to bring rain.

Interesting Fact: Magoebaskloof is often referred to as ‘The Land of the Silver Mist’ due to the ethereal mists that often magically blankets the area.

10. Cultural Cycling Tour in Soweto, Johannesburg, Gauteng

A cultural cycling tour in Soweto offers a unique and immersive way to experience the vibrant history and culture of this famous Johannesburg township. The tour takes participants through the streets of Soweto, visiting historical landmarks and engaging with the local community.

The vibrant township of Soweto, South Africa

The vibrant township of Soweto, South Africa

Highlights include the Hector Pieterson Memorial, Mandela House, and Soweto’s vibrant local markets.

The tours are suitable for all fitness levels and provide a deeper understanding of South Africa’s history and contemporary urban life. They can be enjoyed year-round. Walking tours, tuk-tuk tours and vehicle tours are also on offer if you’re not much of a biker.

Interesting Fact: Soweto, a joining together of the first syllables of ‘South Western Townships’, was a crucial centre for the anti-apartheid movement and remains a symbol of resistance and community resilience.

We know that this has barely scratched the surface of the many and incredible adventure activities that South Africa has on offer for locals and visitors alike! But we hope that we might have given you an idea or two for your next adventure holiday in South Africa.

Rest assured that whatever adventure you wish to pursue, we’ll have the rental vehicle you need for your trip.

Whether you need a rugged 4×4 for a challenging Kruger trail or a camper for your canoeing trip on the Orange, we’ll have what you need. And if you just want a safe, reliable and comfortable SUV for your self-drive along the Garden Route, we’ll have the perfect car for you.

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