Tourism trends show that travellers, both local and international, are looking to add some high-energy fun to their travel experience, and Jozi is a great place to start. From water sports that will get your heart pumping, to more leisurely experiences that will satisfy your need for discovery, this list features 11 adventures .
Zip line canopy tour, Magaliesberg
If your idea of fun is flying 30 metres above the ground at top speed, then a zip line adventure in Magaliesberg is made for you. This mountainous region overlooking the Ysterhout Kloof boasts magnificent views of the indigenous plants and wildlife in the area. Half of the experience is about sliding along, propelled by your body weight in a gravity-defying feat of bravery. The other half is about enjoying a bird’s eye view of the natural environment – if you’re lucky, you might even spot a dassie or a duiker. The tour includes all the safety equipment you’ll need – a sliding harness, a helmet and gloves.
Sterkfontein caving adventure, The Cradle of Humankind
If you’re a fan of the reality series The Amazing Race, you might have seen the contestants visiting The Cradle of Humankind Heritage Site, about 50 km outside of Johannesburg. There are a number of caves on the site and luckily for you, trained professionals run regular guided excursions into them. Some tours include abseiling while others require you to squeeze and wiggle through narrow crevices. Either way, you’ll feel like you’re on a journey of discovery. Cave guides use these tours to develop public awareness of environmental conservation, so this caving adventure also has great educational value. Hominid and animal fossils have been discovered in these caves – some dating back more than 4 million years. It’s an all-round experience for the whole family.
Segway gliding tour, Lion & Safari Park Broederstroom
You’ve seen a Segway – it’s a two wheeled, self-balancing personal transportation machine that moves forward and backward as the rider shifts their body weight. These battery operated vehicles will have you swaying back and forth, gliding along and having a ball of a time. Don’t worry if you don’t get the hang of it at first – the tour includes a preliminary learners’ circuit that will familiarise you with how it works. You can sail along at your own pace, so it’ll suit both speed enthusiasts and blissful cruisers alike. Zoom along past giraffes, blesbok and other indigenous wildlife. It’s an adventure and a safari in one.
Orlando Towers bungee jump, Soweto
The bungee jump from the Orlando Towers is fast becoming one of the top experiences to have in Johannesburg if thrill-seeking is what you’re all about. The towers are a prominent landmark in Soweto – South Africa’s largest and most famous township. After being secured in your harness, an open-air lift transports you along the outside of the tower to a platform. Once you reach the top, it’s 100 metres back down to the ground. What goes up, must come down. The towers are easily recognisable by their vibrant colouring – the mural that covers it was hand-painted and took 6 months to complete. Now that’s South African ingenuity.
Stand-up paddling, Emmarentia Dam
Introducing stand-up paddling – one of the newest and fastest growing watersports to hit South African shores. It’s where kayaking meets surfing. You propel yourself through the water with a paddle while standing on a board – hence the name. The Emmarentia Dam is one of the best places for perfecting your balance and getting the hang of this cardio-pumping adventure sport, with flat water being a starting spot to hone in your skills before heading to the coast to test yourself on the waves. Never paddled before? Don’t sweat it. Trainers provide beginner and intermediate programs so you can learn at your own pace.
Horseback safari, La’WiiDA Lodge
Experience some equine magic whilst spotting indigenous wildlife on a tailor-made horseback safari. These guided tours do not require you to have any riding experience and will take you on a calming, laid back adventure through meandering trails that last from an hour upwards and can end in a delightful picnic if you pre-arrange it. Look out for giraffes, impalas, kudus and springbucks. To make your ride as comfortable as possible, wear long, stretchy pants and closed shoes and don’t forget to apply sunscreen. Your equine friend for the day will also appreciate it if you take along a bunch of carrots or some apples for the ride. Trips go out daily from Monday to Saturday.
Mount Mayhem sandboarding adventure, Benoni
In need of an adrenaline rush? Look no further than Mount Mayhem sandboarding adventure in Benoni – a mine dump that’s known for its powdery white sand slopes that stretch upwards for about 50 metres. Using a board that looks similar to a snowboard, you glide down the sand dunes at top speed. Just get your feet strapped onto the board, jump off the lip of the course and experience the high-speed thrills of the slope. We can’t promise you’ll be doing 180s and Ollies after your first lesson, but the thrill is addictive.
Mapatiza gemstone mine tour, Midrand
Discover colourful underground chambers and passages on a guided tour of Mapatiza Gemstone Mine. These adventures are as fascinating as they are educational, with tour guides providing step-by-step information on how the mine operates. The tour lasts for about 30 minutes and is perfect for locals and tourists alike, as well as for groups with children. You’ll get a bag of gemstones at the end of the tour, and an opportunity to have a good scratch through a selection of gemstones that you can take home to treasure. Crystal quartz, tiger’s eye, aquamarine and carnelian are just some of the gems you can discover.
Cycle adventure tour, Soweto
Experience Soweto on two wheels with a guided tour that takes you past the biggest attractions and sights that this vibrant township has to offer. Fondly referred to as the soul of South Africa, Soweto has countless hidden gems just waiting to be discovered. Combining sight-seeing with fitness, this cycle tour can last up to 6 hours, with refreshment and entertainment stops in between. Enjoy the sounds of local kwaito music, sample some kota (popular Soweto junk food), have a beer with the locals at a shebeen and play a game of pool. The tour is perfect for people of different fitness levels and runs at a relaxed pace that’s easy to keep up with. Some of the most revered sites along the route include the site of the 1976 uprisings, the Hector Pieterson Memorial and Nelson Mandela’s former Soweto home.
If combat simulation and the chance to release you’re inner tactical genius sounds appealing to you, then paint-balling should be at the top of your adventure list. Running, ducking, leopard crawling and stalking are all part of the adventure – so be prepared for a workout. The only catch is that unless you’re joining a tournament, you’ll need a group of at least 4-5 people to join you.
Hot air ballooning, The Cradle of Humankind
For a laidback adventure that requires you to do nothing more than sit back and relax, try hot air ballooning over The Cradle of Humankind. Typically, tours start early in the morning before sunrise, when the air is at its coolest. Most tour operators take a bottle of bubbly along for the ride so you can toast to the good life while you float gracefully 1500 feet above the ground. Float along on the breeze and experience the world from a different perspective. The most riveting part of the trip is that you won’t know for sure where your final destination will be – it’s left up to fate, and the wisdom of your trusted pilot. Flights are usually about an hour long and the average hot air balloon can carry up to 8 people at once.
By Thato Malau